While we don’t regularly cover Adventure Time here, let it be known that a number of staff members are fans. And why shouldn’t we be? This is a fantastic show; easily one of the most creative and entertaining cartoons to premiere in a long time. It’s a program loved by both children and adults (I heard Guillermo Del Toro of all people spouting his love for it). Two weeks ago at New York Comic Con, Finn and Jake and co were most definitely in the top 5 most cosplayed characters. And so, I’d like to present to you my quick take on the season finale, and my list of the top 5 episodes of this season. SPOILERS BELOW!
The season 4 finale just aired, and like the show it comes from, it was funny, exciting, scary, and MIND BENDINGLY MESSED UP! Let’s cut out all the middle stuff about Finn’s dream, and the snail and the bear and Billy. Let’s skip the hilarious bit where they were stealing princess crown jewels and LSP’s was so not compatible with The Enchiridion. Let’s not mention how Finn looked so hurt after PB accidentally scratched him with a pair of scissors. Let’s just talk about Alt-Universe Finn and Jake – where Finn has a southern accent and a robot arm, and Jake can’t talk. Because WHAT?! Risking my inner Fringe nerd coming out, hopefully this mean’s we’ll be exploring a lot more Alt-Universes and that we’ll see them interact with each other. A Finn and Fionna meet up, hopefully? Anyways it was a great finale to a FANTASTIC season. And while The Lich definitely comes close, it didn’t quite make the cut into my top 5. Keep on reading for those.
5. Card Wars
Card Wars is a love note to the nerds in the AT audience. Finn sits down to play a tabletop trading card game (think Magic: The Gathering) with Jake, who suddenly has no one to play with. The reason? Because Jake turns into a super-competitive player who is frankly obnoxious to be around, whether he wins or loses. The episode pays hilarious homage to the furor experienced gamers get when they come up against beginners luck. It also gave us the phrase “I floop the pig!” which is never not fun to say out of context.
4. Burning Low
After the bittersweet goodbye Finn and Flame Princess had to say in the season premiere it was nice to just jump in with the pair on a pseudo-date here. Which then begins a string of hilarious gags. From the Finn!Burrito hug, to Jake talking about the different tiers of relationships (do NOT do tier 15!), to the repeated instances of Bubblegum breaking into the tree house and making Finn scream like a girl. There are legitimate laugh out loud moments, both from Jake: the bacon pancakes song and the President daydream. Then there is the question of whether PB is jealous of Finn and FP, or if she’s only acting as a responsible royal. Finn standing up for himself to her on the hill and later unabashedly saving FP in the end both show a growth in maturity that is so great to see. Flame Princess’ best episode by a long shot.
3. Return to the Nightosphere/Daddy’s Little Monster
This two-parter pulls a bit of a Tarantino on us: we don’t know how or why F&J ended up in the Nightosphere until the second episode, or just what’s up with the bananas (spoiler: it’s demon poop.) The scope of the Nightosphere is impressive to look at, immeadiatelyreminding me of Robot Hell from Futurama. However the best moments come from the socio-political and bureaucratic jokes peppered throughout – in both the waiting in line scenes, and more obviously in the political rap. It expands on Marceline’s problematic relationship with her father, and gives us a peek at what happens to our favorite good guys when evil corrupts them. Joke props go to Jake’s entry on his camera phone sounding like a Real World audition tape, and to F&J’s demon disguises (“Paper plate mask, yo.”)
Although it isn’t number one on this list, it is in my heart. “Gotcha” is easily my favorite episode of AT ever. Lumpy Space Princess decides to go undercover to try and seduce Finn with her lumps, thereby having concrete examples with which to write a trashy lady book for Turtle Princess. LSP is a fan-favorite character because she is so completely unaware of what she looks like or how she acts. Between thinking that a vulture and snake are hitting on her, to commenting that she looks “fresh to death” in a plastic bag dress and fruit-filling lipstick, most of the laughs in this episode are accompanied by “what did she say?!”s. There is also a sweet moment at the end, where Finn boosts her self-confidence and, realizing that he is the hotter one, LSP changes the angle of her book. (There’s also a pretty sweet sight gag if you manage to pause a hi-res video of her manuscript. Her prose is just as funny as her speech). It’s a refreshingly honest and selfless moment from the character. And this is all not even to mention the line that literally made me spit tea out the first time I heard it: “LSP, you’re wearing garbage for clothes!”
1. I Remember You
Only a week old at this point, this is an episode that will haunt Adventure Time fans for a while. I was pleasantly surprised at the sheer number of articles and blog posts I saw from all corners of the interwebs praising the show after this aired. The Ice King needs help writing a song so he goes and seeks out Marceline to help him. After F&J spy him and attempt to drag him out (this bit featuring John DiMaggio channeling his inner Batman) Marceline allows the perverted old man to stay, seemingly distressed by him being there. She explains that no matter where she goes, Simon, as she calls him, always manages to find her. (We learned the Ice King was a man named Simon who became possessed by his crown and has no memory of his former life back in season 3.) Papers that he brought with him feature notes to a child Marceline as well as pictures, showing that after the Apocalypse he found her alone and saved her, even finding her prized teddy bear, and staying with her for some time. It’s incredibly heartbreaking to watch Marceline sing these notes that Simon wrote to her, filled with so much emotion, while the Ice King sits and plays his drums, not comprehending a word. A beautifully haunting episode that explores the past of two complicated characters, and gives a rare look at the world not long after the apocalypse. It will be hard for Adventure Time to top this one for a long time coming.
Did I miss your favorite season 4 episode? Honorable mentions for me included Lady and Peebles, Hug Wolf, and In Your Footsteps.