Top 10 Worst Adventure Time Episodes!

Well gang, here they are! The episodes that I would consider to be some of AT‘s biggest failures. I’ll remind y’all of my contingencies for this list that I included in my Top 10 Best Episodes:

  • It should go without saying that everything compiled onto this list is entirely my own opinion. This is, by no means, a compilation of episodes that are considered the worst of all time. It merely exists as an entirely opinionated listing of episodes that I find to be pretty stink-o after years of watching the series. I welcome with open arms constructive debating if one of your personal picks didn’t make the list, but this ain’t an outlet to complain about my list aligning with your own. You’re all good boys and girls, though. I trust y’all.
  • Some of you may realize that the choices on my list may not have gotten the number one spot on my season reviews, which is simply because my opinion has shifted over time. In fact, most of the “Top 5” lists for each season are irreversible, or at least the top 3. After much time spent thinking and going over which episodes truly left me with a bad taste, I think this list will be the most accurate compilation to date. But again, check back with me in three years and see what I have to say.

Top 10 Worst Episodes

10. Son of Rap Bear

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If there was any Adventure Time episode that even gave me hints of secondhand embarrassment, it would probably be Son of Rap Bear. Adventure Time has always incorporated rap in hints and little tidbits throughout the show’s history, and while there’s definitely an atmosphere of these instances feeling self-aware, there’s also the reality that they just aren’t self-aware enough. Son of Rap Bear is kind of the pinnacle of that lack of awareness, trying to do its best to be hip and goofy at the same time, but trying waaay too hard in the process and feeling laughable at that. It doesn’t really help that this is Flame Princess’s last big role in the series and it’s wasted on a minuscule story that doesn’t really leave us with anything telling about her character. Adventure Time‘s final season had a plethora of somewhat pitiful “shitty dad” stories, and Son of Rap Bear was the first instance that showed this recurring theme didn’t really have anything more to say. Something that would have been cool is if Marceline taught Flame Princess how to channel her feelings towards her father into her music. It at least would have been something different, but instead, we get a really cliched, repetitive story that feels more like a Hanna-Barbera special than Adventure Time.

9. Slow Love

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Adventure Time has always, in my eyes, stood out for its unique and interesting one-off characters that always manage to leave a lasting impression. Snorlock is one of those characters that, like many, shows up only to never appear again. Though, I’d say there are some pretty good reasons for that. The entirety of Slow Love encompasses Finn and Jake’s sympathy for this really obnoxiously unsympathetic character that never really warrants any kind of compassion to begin with. It’s one that easily evades my memory – it isn’t particularly funny, nor is it visually interesting, aside from some cool misty shots of the Grasslands. It’s a story that sounds okay from a conceptual stage, but really, there’s not a ton to expand on. It’s just a drawn out 11 minutes of one idea that doesn’t particularly work to the strength of its characters.

8. Gut Grinder

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Gut Grinder is surprisingly significant in how generally insignificant it is for Adventure Time standards. And I don’t mean because it doesn’t directly affect the mythos of the series, it just doesn’t really possess any of the charm or delight of a typically fun Adventure Time entry. From a first watch, it already feels like a predictable story without much setting it apart or breaking tropes, and any further rewatches don’t necessarily offer much in terms of humor or visual splendor. This episode did offer up Finn’s memorable line of “justice never sleeps,” but as for the rest of it, it just kind of feels like a slog. It’s a story that’s been done a million times prior, and unlike usual, Adventure Time doesn’t really take a unique twist on it to make it stand out more. It’s definitely the first episode I think of when I think of a forgettable Adventure Time entry. Does… does that make it less forgettable? Hm.

7. Marcy & Hunson

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I originally had Son of Rap Bear in this spot, but honestly, after rewatching Marcy & Hunson for the purpose of this list, I forgot how frustrating this entire episode is. The last episode with Hunson Abadeer as character was five years prior to this episode, and it’s pretty noticeable right from the get-go how much time has passed. The staff doesn’t really seem to understand Hunson from a character perspective anymore, and he’s boiled down to just a straight up dumbass. Most of the intricate dad conflict stories in the final season were squandered by making each of these unique personalities inseparable. Hunson’s no longer the devious, sophisticated, conniver that he was in his first three appearances and deviates into a big goofy dork that breaks Marceline’s shitter and doesn’t understand how to not embarrass her at a concert. Marceline has also changed a lot since her days resenting her dad and is more of a blank slate throughout the entirety of these 11 minutes. It’s alright though, because instead of presenting her as the fun and enjoyable character that she was while Hunson was around, she becomes a vessel to spoon feed all the hungry babies in the audience their yummy, yummy Bubbline references! Marcy & Hunson also has the displeasure of feeling like a rehash of the past two entries featuring Hunson and Marceline while lacking what made them unique and interesting. Not to mention this is another episode in the season that shoehorns in the Gumbald family conflict without really having much to say or add to it. Aside from some nice exchanges between Finn and Jake, this one is a definite misfire.

6. Water Park Prank

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There was a time when I thought that Water Park Prank was the worst episode Adventure Time has ever put out, but I think I’ve actually warmed up to it a bit over time. I mean, don’t get me wrong. I still think it’s pretty damn bad. BUT, I respect it for what it is. The mastermind behind this episode is David Ferguson, a Scottish animator with a very neat and cute style. Unfortunately, I don’t think his style, writing or design wise, truly fit Adventure Time‘s mold. The main takeaway that I think sticks with everyone is Finn’s design – the eye whites, stretched mouth, and pointed nose are features that make him look super unappealing and unrecognizable. I think the other designs are mostly endearing, but Finn’s is definitely the one that sticks out the most and the one that everybody seems to remember. The script for the episode is also super juvenile, feeling like it doesn’t just quite get Adventure Time‘s humor. I had the same issue with A Glitch is a Glitch, but where I’ve grown to appreciate that episode’s visual flare over time, Water Park Prank is one that doesn’t have me consistently coming back. As I mentioned on my review of the episode, I do encourage everyone to check out Ferguson’s work on his Vimeo. Ferguson is very multi-talented when it comes to tackling different animation styles, and his work is much more fluid on his own terms and not weighed down by network budget restrictions.

5. Princess Day

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I always think this one is a shame, because an episode featuring all of the princesses of Ooo in one space is, on its own, a really promising concept. Yet, we’re treated to a needlessly mean-spirited romp that feels like its trying to be poetic in its attitudes of rebellion, but entirely misses the mark. I’ve said it before on the review itself, but this is one of those few episodes that I feel has a really shitty moral for the kiddos watching at home. I’m all for the mindset that there’s no real sense of wholly good or bad when it comes to individuals, but the attitude that it’s okay to do bad shit if they’re only “mistakes,” is really quite jarring. This is the same episode where LSP and Marceline physically assault BP’s guards, hit BP with her own car that they stole, and then end up destroying that same car by the end of the episode. In what sense is that a mistake? Princess Day is an attempt to bring two of Adventure Time‘s most insubordinate characters together to help them relate and connect to each other’s experience, but it does so in such a tone-deaf and unpleasant way that it probably wasn’t even worth it to begin with.

4. The Prince Who Wanted Everything

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The Prince Who Wanted Everything is the moment that I realized that I was perfectly fine with never seeing Fionna and Cake again. While the first two entries proved to be satirical, yet sweet riffs of modern day fanfiction, The Prince Who Wanted Everything pretty much discounts that entirely by desperately trying to get us to stay invested in these characters that don’t even really set themselves apart anymore. I’ve mentioned how LSP’s incessant vanity can severely impact the quality of an episode, and The Prince Who Wanted Everything celebrates it in the most unappealing of ways. The jokes and story are just slight variations of everything we’ve already seen from this character prior, with nothing new to add. The Prince Who Wanted Everything also has one of the worst songs in the entire series, which is the first apparent notion that Fionna and Cake probably wasn’t worth salvaging after Sugar’s departure. Aside from Peter Serafinowicz’s strong performance as Lumpy Space Prince, this is one that just feels tiresome.

3. Cherry Cream Soda

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Cherry Cream Soda starts out strong in its first minute or two in showing the grieving process of CCS after her husband was killed one season prior, but then it divulges into a confusing, uncomfortable mess that retcons a previous plot point for the sake of fanservice. It’s funny, because I don’t think people were mad because they would never see Root Beer Guy again. I think they were mad only because his death was handled in an unnecessarily tasteless way. I certainly didn’t think the gag death was particularly funny, but I also wasn’t vying for more RBG episodes anyway. He did his part in Root Beer Guy quite well and that’s all I needed to see. So the fact that this episode wants me to care about his comically soap opera-ish relationship is just too much to ask for. I think if this episode took a similar route to Root Beer Guy and showed the realistic struggles of adulthood and having a grip on one’s own identity through CCS’s point of view, it could’ve worked out a lot better. Instead, we get this really pointless resurrection of a character that ultimately amounts to nothing, simply because the series didn’t have the balls to keep him dead.

2. The Red Throne

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While many disagree, I honestly think season five’s “Finn is a horny douchebag” arc wasn’t particularly bothersome for myself. I think it’s okay to take characters in a controversial or unlikable direction if it’s done right, intentionally, and is building to a larger developmental path for the character. People seem to think the same for Steven’s role in Steven Universe Future, but like, do you really want these nice characters to be absolutely perfect at all times? The humanity of both Finn and Steven is that they aren’t perfect people, and the best way to show us that is to show them at their lowest points. The Red Throne, however, takes this one step beyond by making Finn practically sociopathic for comedic purposes. Like, there’s being desperate, and then there’s just being legitimately predatory. Yeah, he’s 15 and this is typically when kiddos struggle with their horny demons, but the choice to make it the butt of several continuous gags and jokes just does not work. Nor does it make for something I actually want to watch, especially with a character I love so dearly. Every episode where Finn acts in a manipulative way has some sort of reason or purpose for putting Finn in such a light – his longing for the old days in Too Old, his battle with loyalty in RattleballsThe Red Throne just seeks to make him as pathetic as possible to show that even a dumbass like Cinnamon Bun looks better in comparison, but there’s a way of doing this that doesn’t completely decimate the foundation of Finn’s character in an attempt for cheap gags. Though, that’s not the episode’s only sin. It’s weighed down by really shitty pacing and an awful, overly long bit of referential humor that I can guarantee 90% of the audience didn’t catch onto. This is also an FP-centric episode where she really doesn’t get to do much unfortunately, because I guess Seo and Somvy were more interested in what other aspects the episode had to offer. Which, unfortunately, were not much, and still leave me with a bad taste in my mouth to this day.

1. Fionna and Cake and Fionna

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From one of Adventure Time‘s best seasons, we have one of, if not the worst episode the series has ever churned out. The word “pretentious” has been thrown around a lot about the past couple seasons of AT, but no episode strikes me as more pretentious than Fionna and Cake and Fionna – an episode that so desperately wants to keep these characters as a part of this world that they would throw such an unbelievable doozy into the lore to do so. I guess every citizen of Ooo is just coincidentally a carbon copy of those from the Fionna and Cake TV show? There’s hints by the end of it that this may not be the case, but since nothing else was done with it, there’s very little to the imagination. This also just isn’t a fun episode in the slightest. No good Ice King quotes or moments, a super unremarkable one-off character, standard visuals, and pretty lame Fionna and Cake moments that don’t add much to help stretch out the episode. It’s essentially just an episode that exists to incorporate forced lore that nobody even asked for. Remember in Mystery Dungeon when the show made fun of the idea that Fionna and Cake would cross over with reality? Well, here we are four years later, where the series is doing it for real with complete sincerity! I’m bashing Fionna and Cake a lot on this list, and I really think that while they make for one of the show’s greatest successes, they also embody one of the show’s biggest failures. They emphasize the staff’s collective hubris and unshaken faith in this concept. That, even though Fionna and Cake are so well-received, maybe they don’t HAVE to appear every season. Maybe we COULD just leave it to those two episodes. Considering that I almost never see Fionna and Cake diehards talking about this episode, or even the last three F&C entries, I think it’s pretty clear that even that section of the fanbase had enough. It’s just a shame that it took an entirely bizarre and scattershot idea to finish off Fionna and Cake for good, leaving nothing but bitterness and confusion behind in the process.

Adventure Time: Reviewed (May 2020 Update)

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Well, it’s been almost three months without a post on this blog, and things have certainly… changed in that time. But, on the bright side, we’ve gotten some Distant Lands content on the horizon!

I’ll be frank, quarantine (along with other factors that have come with it) has really killed my motivation to do just about anything lately. Thankfully, that trailer for BMO reignited my overall joy and enthusiasm when it comes to talking about the series, along with the debut of Midnight Gospel. Seriously, if y’all haven’t watched it, please do. I’ve been considering starting up an entire review blog about that.

In the month leading up to BMO, I’ll be dishing out some new rad content that I think y’all will really dig, as indicated in the artwork I made above. It’s actually been a while since I’ve checked out the blog, and I was amazed and humbled to see that it still gets nearly 200 views a day! That’s amazing, guys! I’m truly thankful for everyone who has been patient with this blog. I know there’s not a ton left to cover at the moment, but there’s still topics I’d love to discuss and see what y’all have to say about them. I can’t really promise any release dates for content right now, because I’ve been burned by my own lack of dedication in the past, but I can promise you all that there is new stuff in the works, some of which is nearly finished! Once again, thank you for your patience, and I look forward to chatting with you all soon! Hope everyone is staying safe and feeling good!

– Eric

The Best of Adventure Time Episodes!

This is one that I’ve been a pretty excited for. Let me start out with a bit of a precursor:

  • It should go without saying that everything compiled onto this list is entirely my own opinion. This is, by no means, a compilation of episodes that are considered the most popular of all time. It merely exists as an entirely opinionated listing of episodes that I find to be terrific after years of watching the series. I welcome with open arms constructive debating if one of your personal picks didn’t make the list, but this ain’t an outlet to complain about my list aligning with your own. You’re all good boys and girls, though. I trust y’all.
  • Some of you may realize that the choices on my list may not have gotten the number one spot on my season reviews, which is simply because my opinion has shifted over time. In fact, most of the “Top 5” lists for each season are irreversible, or at least the top 3. After much time spent thinking and going over which episodes truly impacted me, I think this list will be the most accurate compilation to date. But again, check back with me in three years and see what I have to say.

Without further ado, I give you my top 10 best episodes of Adventure Time!

Top 10 Best Episodes

10. Evergreen

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Adventure Time‘s lore is rich and expansive, but Evergreen is a testament to how strong it really is. Outside of the fact that it is providing information into one of the show’s longest running mysteries, it just makes for a terrific tale. Evergreen feels like an old children’s fable at heart, with a cautionary message tacked on about respecting and treating the people in your life properly. Evergreen is also the series at its most beautiful, with beautifully crafted background, designs, locations, and lighting that really make the whole thing pop. This one was boarded by Tom and Steve, though Steve admits that it’s really Tom’s baby. I love these two as a team, but I really connect with Tom’s stuff the most. The man is a master storyteller, and I think Evergreen is a passion project that certainly proves how much creativity explodes into his work.

9. Cloudy

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Cloudy isn’t a standalone episode, by any means. It’s apart of the Elements miniseries, and one of the few filler entries of said miniseries at that. That didn’t stop Cloudy from being the strongest episode of Elements, let alone every miniseries to date. Cloudy was spawned from an idea by Pat McHale that came around during the first season. The idea was that Finn and Jake would get stuck up in the sky and just talk for the entire episode about relationships, Finn’s past, Jake’s dog side, where their lives will lead, and so on. Cloudy sticks to most of that, while taking its own creative liberties in how far our characters have come since the beginning. The jokes, story, and interactions are mostly simple in the most delightful way possible, though Cloudy does have a strong emotional core. Jake finally outwardly acknowledges the stress within him that he doesn’t like to talk about because he’s supposed to keep it together. As close as Finn and Jake are, you really get the idea that they’re so much more closer because they’re able to be so transparent with each other. Cloudy is an episode that celebrates these two lovely boys that we’ve come to know for so long, in what is probably the sweetest AT episode of all time.

8. The Eyes

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An early example of an episode that really opened my eyes (no pun intended) to the show’s true merit. The Eyes is a hilarious situational episode that pits the boys against a poo-brained horse that won’t stop watching them no matter how many times they try to divert its attention. Confusion and frustration are two moods that I often find the funniest to deal with, and watching Jake and Finn become absolutely delirious as they fail time and time again really never wears on me no matter how many times I watch it. It’s also just a really strong episode that showcases their brotherly bond. Even as they begin to bicker, they recognize that the situation at hand is driving them apart, not each other. Couple that with an Ice King appearance that makes for both a really fun, fast-paced battle sequence, but also a bittersweet revelation from the old coot: that he just wanted to watch Finn and Jake so he could learn how to be happy. I’ve pointed to What is Life? as a key moment in Ice King’s transition into a more sympathetic character, but I really feel like The Eyes kicked it into full gear. It’s both really funny and super sad to hear him admit that he’s still unhappy as the episode draws to a close, and I feel like it’s the perfect, quiet closing to an episode that is otherwise restless. In the best way possible, of course.

7. Time Sandwich

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It’s funny because Jake’s self-entitled episode from earlier in Season Five feels almost less representative of Jake than Time Sandwich does. Jake the Dog seems to only really recognize the less than optimistic side of Jake’s personality: his selfishness and his ability to be easily distracted. Time Sandwich focuses instead on the simple kindness of Jake’s character in the most effective way possible. While it’s fun to have the entire gang together in general, Time Sandwich is a hilarious, memorable, and sweet treat. As the band member with the least baggage, it’s really nice to see everyone stand behind Jake, putting their own resilience to the table for something as simple as a sandwich. Even after forming the “ultimate sandwich,” Jake’s first instinct is to share his creation with his friends, rather than to hog it for himself. It’s a tiny moment that really goes a long way in showing why this mission is so important, and even more triumphant when Jake does get his big, glorious win in the end.

6. All the Little People

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Certainly the most Twilight Zone-esque episode of the series, All the Little People is a really intriguing exploration of a power struggle during Finn’s formative years. A good chunk of it could have easily been dismissed as mean-spirited, promiscuous nonsense, but the episode is very smart with making Finn’s role as a god more out of curiosity than out of malice. After all, he’s not doing anything to purposely hurt the little people, and there is the consistent excuse that they’re “only toys.” Of course, it still goes to pretty dark places, as Finn soon discovers that his experimenting does have consequences and he is determined to make things right in the end. All the Little People exists not only as a fascinating concept, but as a really neat exploration of the Finn’s entrance into adolescence.

5. Incendium

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Adventure Time has gotten a lot of flack over the years for being stagnant in its growth and development. While the show’s more ballsy decisions definitely arise later, I still think its early seasons were dedicated to the expansion of its characters. Aside from Holly Jolly SecretsIncendium is one of the first big 360s for the series, acting as a culmination of Finn’s failed romantic advances towards Bubblegum, and an explosion of raw, powerful bits of teen angst. The two songs within this episode “All Gummed Up Inside” and “All Warmed Up Inside,” are some of my favorite in the entire series, allowing Rebecca Sugar to really nail it in releasing that sweet, sweet emotion that she loves so dearly with the former. Incendium is also quite beautiful, containing some of my favorite imagery and music in the series, namely when Flame Princess ignites the Tree House. It’s also quite funny, featuring two of my favorite side characters in the series: Flame King and Flambo. Along with a pretty strong introduction for Flame Princess, who, even at her most basic and one-note, makes a very powerful impression right off the bat.

4. I Remember You

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I know, I know. I’m basic. But I Remember You is too damn good, y’all! It really brings together some of the strongest writing in the series, being essentially a bottle episode that exists to explore the unfiltered relationship between two characters. It reminds me a lot of All in the Family‘s episode Two’s a Crowd, which is primarily a very similar concept – two polar opposites are forced to spend time together and discover an emotional center about the other through their bonding. Except in this case, the bond is already there, Ice King just isn’t able to discover such an element. The songs, per expected, are terrific; some of the best in the series. I know a lot of people who have loved ones with Alzheimer’s really identify with this episode because of its themes, and while I can’t necessarily say I’ve lived through similar experiences, I still think the episode is powerful whether you relate to the situation or not. It’s simply an impactful story that finally tackles the true reality of Ooo’s past and present, helping the show to grow and expand because of it.

3. The More You Moe, The Moe You Know

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Adventure Time has always hit it out of the park when it comes to tackling the subject of growing up, and how utterly terrifying the thought of it can be. Normally we see these themes through Finn’s perspective, but The More You Moe, The Moe You Know gives BMO a chance to deal with his own feelings of being forced into growth. The episode really never strays away from some of harsher elements that life often presents – this certainly isn’t your “yeah, everything is gonna be okay in the end!” type of story. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. BMO’s creator is dead, he killed his brother, and he’s left with the uncertainty of his own being. The More You Moe, The Moe You Know is quite explicit in showing that life really doesn’t always end up alright and that there are tragedies that can occur quite literally out of nowhere. It certainly isn’t bleak in its execution, however. BMO is left with the consolation that, as long as he always trusts his own intuition, he’ll be alright. Similar to Herpich and Wolfhard’s other half hour special, Lemonhope, this episode is packed with a lot of cinematic moments – namely any time BMO reflects on what it means to be grown. Its lovely imagery and commitment to the darker aspects of its themes is what makes The More You Moe, The Moe You Know stick out as one of the strongest.

2. You Forgot Your Floaties

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You Forgot Your Floaties is unlike anything I’ve ever seen in an animated series aimed at children, and it doesn’t ever act like it’s trying to be anything else. Sadness and loss are themes that the series has been no stranger to either, with Season Six in particular exploring depression as much as possible. While Finn’s own personal turmoil is resolved a few episodes later, You Forgot Your Floaties deals primarily with two people who are unable to cope with the losses that life has dealt them. Magic Man and Betty are two characters that I never thought would make a good pairing, yet they are so ingeniously tied together because of their dedication to their late spouses. At first, I was really sure how to feel about Magic Man being painted as a more sympathetic, human character, but I think the episode’s dedication to showing how madness and sadness are interconnected really goes a long way in showing the intricacies of his past. The scenes from his past with M.A.R.G.L.E.S. always leave me awestruck – I suck Tom Kenny’s dick nearly everyday on this blog, but I think this is surely one of his most standout roles in the series. And speaking of standout roles, this is also one for Jesse Moynihan. This is definitely an example of Moynihan at his most unhinged, as he’s allowed complete creative freedom to go absolutely bonkers. In doing so, he whipped up the show’s most ambitious effort to date.

1. The Hall of Egress

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Easily the most interesting 11 minute cartoon I’ve pretty much ever seen. Egress is a simple story that works surprisingly well for its repetitive nature, going to dark places that do a better job of expanding Finn’s growth into adulthood than words ever could. This is an episode that forces Finn into a role of independence after years of relying on those around him to make everything better. It’s his first real step into the unknown as he depends on his own intuition and instincts to help him through. Similar to other Herpich entries, Egress feels almost like a cinematic experience. It’s as creative as ever, with beautiful imagery, an intricate setting, and enough complexities that could allow for hour long analyses on the topic. Possibly Egress‘s best quality is that it’s primarily standalone, and you can pretty much show this to people who have never seen the series and not lose much. This is always my go-to for friends who haven’t watched the show before, and the reaction is usually pretty positive (though slightly confused at the same time). For so long, Adventure Time fans have been craving its ongoing story and nothing else. Egress is an example of “filler” that goes above and beyond just merely connecting to existing threads and provides an example of the series at in its most passionate and creative form.

 

Stay tuned next time for the WORST of Adventure Time Episodes!

Season Nine Review

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Has anyone realized yet that I always start the season reviews with a picture of Finn and Jake and sometimes other people hugging? Seriously, look at every other season review. Even the miniseries reviews had ’em. I’ve worked really hard on finding these hugging pics guys. I honestly think that shit ties this entire blog together. It’s my true magnum opus.

Anywho, season nine! Season nine is probably the weakest Adventure Time season to date. There has been a couple of seasons that I didn’t really connect with on a greater scale. Season 5.1 kind of strikes me as slightly hit-or-miss with not many episodes that truly stood out. If we’re taking Cartoon Network’s rebrand into consideration (of which I’m really starting to regret not following, I feel like I’ve ultimately dated this blog for future readings) Season 7 wasn’t too hot either. I think Season 9 stands out more than others on a quality front because:

  1. It is the last season of the series, after all.
  2. It’s shorter than every other season to date.

The second aspect is interesting, because I don’t necessarily think a smaller quantity equals a lesser quality – in fact, it’s usually the opposite. But in this case, it’s noticeable because Season 9 mainly spends its time focusing on a more serialized story arc, rather than following the show’s previous attempts at being episodic. Considering that I think the Gumbald arc sort of falls apart by the finale (though it was never especially interesting to begin with) it makes the season feel more wasted, even if I do appreciate that it was giving fans what they wanted after so long: a continuing story, not weighed down by filler.

I have a weird relationship with Adventure Time‘s attempts at serialization. I’m not necessarily opposed to the idea, but this is a series that was kind of built on the foundation of having little-to-no continuing story. That’s not to say it can’t change – Steven Universe was also kind of in the same boat in its first season (and in some respects, the seasons that followed it) until committing to a more ongoing storyline. Part of what makes Adventure Time so unique, however, is that it can kind of do whatever it wants whenever it wants with very little limitations at hand. A serialized story, while more rewarding in a sense, actually makes Adventure Time‘s individual entries standout less. I remember Always BMO Closing less as a fun BMO and Ice King adventure and more as a dull continuation of Gumbald’s story. Marcy & Hunson isn’t allowed to just focus on the already tumultuous relationship between Marceline and her father, but it also has to shoehorn in a secondary forced conflict with Princess Bubblegum’s cousin Chicle. Then again, Adventure Time ‘s eight season was almost exclusively bigger, serialized stories with very few standalone entries, and it proved to be one of the show’s best. So does it just boil down to poor quality in general?

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I think it’s easy to kind of jump on the idea that Season Nine COULD HAVE been better had the series not ceased production so early or if there were more episodes in general. But I think there’s also the possibility that AT may have just run its course. Not saying that it’s the obvious answer (we’ll see how Distant Lands fairs) but I think there’s a definite chance that the series, seven years old by this point and 260 episodes in, just wasn’t able to delight and surprise as it once did. Don’t get me wrong, Season Nine had some goodies. Blenanas was just the kind of standalone madness that I had been craving from AT by the time it aired. The Wild Hunt boasted some of the show’s slickest animation and storyboarding yet. Ring of Fire, despite the criticism facing it, was a delightfully horny Tree Trunks entry. But, even then, the entries that are great or good don’t really even rank among a top 10 or anything. Likewise, the episodes that are bad aren’t horrendously bad, but they’re also a special kind of mediocre that I’m not really used to seeing from the series.

Jake the Starchild was this really big culmination of a lot of elements that were built up throughout the series and it kind of just ended with these elements going absolutely no where. I know one could argue that Adventure Time is no stranger to holding the status quo oh-so-dear, but at this point in the series, I’d like to see some actual punches thrown. It doesn’t even really have to be a gamechanger by any means necessarily, but just do SOMETHING new with this story element that quite honestly wrapped up perfectly fine in Abstract, even without lasting consequences. While The Wild Hunt boasted some of the best animation in the series, Seventeen exhibited some of the worst, feeling like a mish-mash of storyboards that just felt super unpolished. Hunson & Marcy, aside from bits of forced conflict, brought back a long-running antagonist only to basically execute an exact repeat of all of his spotlight episodes thus far. Comparing it to the previous season once more, I feel like Season Eight seemed to address the show’s longstanding complaints by closing doors and offering more immediate satisfaction and overarching stories. Season Nine, while keeping in the spirit of what Season Eight wanted to accomplish, feels like one step back in its execution of these events.

The actual story arcs weren’t particularly strong either. I’ve gone on and on about how Gumbald’s arc fell flat in previous reviews, so I wouldn’t be adding much by elaborating on it here. At the very least, I will say that the Gumbald stuff isn’t awful, nor does it ruin any aspect of the series for me. It just isn’t very good and kind of squanders the potential of the last handful of episodes, but it’s executed in a quick and painless way and at least provides for some (relatively) interesting bits of PB’s past. I said “story arcs” above, but truthfully, that’s pretty much it. Fern gets some flack throughout, and while I don’t think his ending was particularly strong, I think his recurring role in the series probably makes for some of Season Nine’s strongest points, namely his battle with Finn in Gumbaldia. Otherwise, that’s kind of it for ongoing arcs. There’s a few episodes with Jake and his dad that go nowhere, as well as setup for GOLB, but most of that is dealt with in the finale.

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It’s difficult to talk about the success of boarding teams this season since there’s so few episodes. Per usual, Sam Alden hopped around from partner to partner, and almost always did great wherever he landed. Current and old AT staff members hopped on board to assist every now and then, which was a treat. Adam Muto chimed in for Marcy & Hunson, and I’m kinda sad in realizing that a lot of the Muto-boarded episodes after season three… aren’t very good. I mean, he’s had some gems, such as Everything StaysLittle Brother, and Varmints. But he’s also had The Prince Who Wanted EverythingDark Purple, and Marcy & Hunson. Yeeesh. Still love the direction that he took the series in, but I can’t really say he’s been the strongest when it comes to the boarding front these past few years. Erik Fountain joined Sam Alden for The Wild Hunt and proved that he’s one of the most skilled storyboarders on the staff. Pat McHale returned after years apart from the series for Blenanas, making for the best episode of the season. And Kent Osborne lent a hand for some BMO-Ice King goofiness in Always BMO Closing. For all of the praise I focused towards Seo and Somvilay last season, I really didn’t like a single episode they churned out during Season Nine. Their chunk of the finale was probably the weakest, and I think Son of Rap Bear ranks upon one of AT‘s worst efforts. Tom and Steve’s work was enjoyable, though not necessarily up to par with what I typically expect from them. I completely acknowledge that I sound like a self-righteous douche saying that, but I mean that in the most complimentary way. They’ve been one of the strongest teams throughout this show’s run, but nothing in Season Nine struck a chord with me in a particularly strong way. I kept thinking that Temple of Mars should have been the greatest episode ever, but it just wasn’t. Hanna K. and Aleks Sennwald dished out a good amount of hit-or-miss material, with the mixed bag of Bonnibel Bubblegum, the mostly delightful The First Investigation, and the painfully bland Jake the Starchild. Per usual, Graham Falk hopped around as well, in mostly decent-to-meh boarding efforts. It’s funny to me that Falk ended up boarding the last chunk of AT material to date. I have mixed feelings on his episodes overall, though I do recognize his talent. Still, he’s one of the last storyboard artists I would have expected to finish out the series entirely. I guess his role in the final calls is also up for debate, however.

Top 5 Best Episodes

5. Temple of Mars – A pretty neat continuation of Betty’s story, along with some cool psychological trials along the way.

4. The First Investigation – A fun time-skip episode interlaced with really sweet moments between Finn, Jake, and their late parents.

3. Ring of Fire – The journey of life told from a horny elephant’s perspective. I’m sold!

2. The Wild Hunt – An action-packed, high stakes episode with stellar animation to boot. A really nice exploration of Finn’s psyche as well.

1. Blenanas – All-in-all, a super fun, endearing, lighthearted, and funny entry that is as simple as the series can possibly get. And, as proved time and time again, that can sometimes be enough.

Worst Episodes

5.  Always BMO Closing – A mish mash of silly ideas and forced serialization that never truly complement each other.

4. Seventeen – The animation and poses in this episode are super awkward and stilted, and the plot itself isn’t entirely compelling.

3. Jake the Starchild – Just a really lame, pointless story that kind of goes no where and has nothing new to say.

2. Marcy & Hunson – A rehash of every Hunson entry in the series so far, interlaced with pandering moments for Bubbline fans.

1. Son of Rap Bear – A truly insignificant way to wrap up Flame Princess’s character, mixed with poor story elements, weak character moments, and even somewhat of a desire to be “hip with the kids,” which I never thought I’d say about Adventure Time.

Final Consensus

Season Nine is likely the weakest season to date. Outside of time limits, the episodes we got just weren’t very good in my eyes. There certainly is much more of a higher expectation for this season than previously seasons, however. Considering that this is the final batch of episodes for such a longrunning series, there’s more immediate satisfaction desired. Episodes in the past with some of the biggest sins, such as Breezy, are now more overlooked since episodes like Reboot came along to repent. Episodes such as Jake the Starchild and Son of Rap Bear aren’t as easily overlooked, considering that there’s no longer a cushion to make up for their squandered story elements. But as I’ve said above, this season wasn’t necessarily awful. It never had me shaking my fist in anger or denouncing the series. It was just kind of a let down for a series that has been going on for so long and has consistently sought to improve itself. But, considering that we now have more Adventure Time material on the way, maybe this will be the staff’s opportunity to truly get their final say in. Or maybe it will tease seven seasons worth of Adventure Time material down the line. It’ll probably be the latter.

That about wraps it up for the routine material – now we get to the fun stuff! Tune in next week for the Best and Worst of Adventure Time episodes!

 

 

 

 

 

“Come Along With Me” Consensus

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Before checking out this review, be sure you read the segmented analyses of each part of Come Along With Me.

It’s been a while, friends! Hope everyone had a terrific holiday season and a great start to their new year! Following the release of the final Come Along With Me individual review, I was definitely feeling burnt out and needed space from the series and this blog for a bit to rekindle my energy. My enthusiasm for discussing AT has happily renewed, and I’ll be wrapping up the first wave of this blog throughout the next few weeks with some bonus content. Since I’m just getting back into the swing of things, I don’t want to promise any form of heavily stressed deadlines, though this is the order of content you can expect for the next few weeks:

  • Season 9 Review.
  • The Best and Worst of Adventure Time Episodes.
  • Top 10 Adventure Time Moments.
  • Adventure Time Character Analysis.

I’ve batted around a few more ideas for bonus content before, and those ideas are still on the table, but I’d like to focus on the stuff I really want to tackle before possibly over-promising anything too elaborate.

A reminder that my giving campaign is still up and running! If you feel like you got one dollar’s worth of entertainment reading this blog in the past or present, or if you want to support the future of this blog, feel free to throw some cashola my way in you have the extra money!

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With that said, let’s take a look at Come Along With Me as a whole! Ever since the release of the finale, I’ve seen nothing but overwhelmingly positive responses about Come Along With Me. Review sites like The A.V. Club and IGN awarded the finale with an absolute perfect score, while several longtime fans and fans who jumped back on board to see how the series ended were pretty amazed. I was pretty much in the same boat, but as time has passed, and I’ve looked at the finale with clear eyes not clouded by hype of everything…

It’s a’ight.

I think there’s a lot to like about Come Along With Me. In many respects, it is a completely inoffensive, loving, and dedicated finale. This certainly isn’t a Game of Thrones situation where the finale is so bad that it hurts both rewatch value and the overall quality of the series, but it is a finale that I find somewhat underwhelming. On a thematic level, Come Along With Me succeeds in following the main mission statement of the series that “the fun will never end,” by portraying the optimistic viewpoint that life and existence still continue regardless of impending doom that so often afflicts humanity (and Ooo-manity, of course). But, when looking at it from a surface or story level, I think there’s still a good amount to be desired.

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Let’s start with the good stuff. The expansion of the 1000+ world that was introduced in Graybles 1000+ is quite impressive. I was initially a bit miffed that this futuristic element was being crammed in, seeing as how the finale was already so jam-packed as is, but I think it really adds a lot to what the episode sets out to say. Shermy and Beth are quite likable, albeit not particularly remarkable. I think they fill the shoes of “two wide-eyed scamps set out to do good,” really nicely. BMO’s presence in the future is also similarly endearing. I think he’s really the only character from the main cast that I would actually like to see this far into the future. Every other character is tied to some form of baggage that would probably devolve them into a gritty, worn-out version of their old self, but BMO is just BMO. His stagnant personality is a perfect fit 1000+ years later. The general layout of the 1000+ world is pretty gnarly. It does a great job at setting itself apart from the past version of Ooo, while still retaining its likable nature. I’ve seen a lot of comments about future Ooo being depressing, though I can’t really can’t behind that. There’s a definitely a more muted color scheme, but its spirit still feels light and playful. And considering that there’s a giant heroic Sweet P. traveling the land, it also still retains its large sense of heroism. After all, the whole point of the finale, as well as BMO’s story, is that there really is no end to anything. Ooo is different from what it once was, and Finn and Jake are no longer roaming around, but their spirit and energy lives on in other brave souls and environments. Like I said, the thematic elements of the episode are quite strong.

Come Along With Me feels very dedicated in its fanservice. Some moments feel like a little bit of a stretch for me, (Shermy singing “On a Tropical Island” was a bit too on-the-nose for my liking) but I think it is quite enjoyable for that reason. BMO’s treasure trove of items from the show’s history is so wide that I’m sure there are some elements that haven’t even been discovered yet. There’s plenty of cool character callbacks, some of which return just for the sense of wrapping up their individual arcs, like Maja and APTWE. The ending montage, in particular, is chock full of characters from the show’s history, as well as important character moments. I’ll throw in the entire montage as one of the great elements of this finale, partly because I never get sick of hearing “Come Along With Me,” and because there’s a couple bits that even got me misty-eyed. BMO sending Moe’s memories into space was a perfect epilogue to Moe’s story that ended in The More You Moe, The Moe You Know, Prismo not being able to bring back Betty was a super clever way of turning the tables on Simon’s tale, and Magic Man coming to terms with Margles’ absence was undeniably sweet. I also really can’t think of a better note to leave Finn’s character on than his mother and the humans finally arriving in Ooo. I still hold close that it would’ve been cool to see Finn and Jake take on their parents’ old job as a way to fulfill their desires of adventuring in a more stable environment, but I think this was a solid way to leave off his story in a relatively ambiguous, yet hopeful, way.

The finale also does have moments that legitimately do grab me in terms of excitement. The third part of Come Along With Me is probably my favorite, mainly because it is this fun, fast-paced, action-packed battle that never really takes a second to breathe or think. This is kind of what I was expecting for most of the finale, and I’m glad it delivered on some level. It gives you an idea of how tense and real the stakes are, even if everything ends up okay, for the most part. I think there’s three moments in the finale that really echo that somewhat hopeless feeling: Jake realizing the destruction after he arises before battling GOLB’s beasts, BMO’s face being smashed up, and the animals watching on as GOLB sucks up everything. There’s a true sense of finality that I do think boosts Come Along With Me into feeling like this big, grand entry. The song “Time Adventure” assists with that, which is a song that I love, though not particularly in how it’s executed within that actual episode. The studio recording of “Time Adventure” is a tune that I genuinely love and one that truly does make me feel something, but the way it’s included in the episode feels a little hollow. I still like everyone joining together in harmony in an attempt to defeat GOLB, but I would’ve like it if we got to hear the song the way it was intended (i.e. with Jake singing the final line to Finn).

There’s also Marceline and Bubblegum’s scene, which explicitly shows that they are involved romantically. Thought this was a super nice treat for people who had been invested in their relationship for so long, and somewhat of a big step forward in LGBTQ+ representation within children’s media. Like I said prior, Steven Universe had beaten AT to the punch YEARS before they had pulled this off forreal, but I think it still feels impactful. Steven Universe always kind of had the excuse that the gems were “genderless” in order to fly by the censors. This is an instance where two female characters are quite clearly portrayed as sexual counterparts, and I don’t think there’s really explanation around it either way.

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Now onto the bad/mediocre material. Surprisingly, I think Come Along With Me is really weak from a character standpoint. All of the main characters, in my opinion, are weighed down either by a story element, or the fact that there’s just too much going on at once, with the exception of BMO. Finn gets severely shafted in the third and fourth parts, being essentially a fly on the wall while all of this cool shit goes on around him, and his main character motivation in the first half is handled poorly. Bubblegum’s story of empathy has a pretty lousy payoff, considering that she really doesn’t end up changing the behavior that got her into such a circumstance to begin with. Jake’s presence is fun, but a bit too distracting in terms of tone at points, and he really isn’t given any kind of overarching role aside from being a bystander. Marceline is once again weighed down by her character only revolving around Bubblegum and Simon and not really getting a chance to do anything independently. As for Ice King, I think it works in everyone’s best interest (or at least a majority of the fan base) that he got the resolution that has been built up for so long, but I still have a couple qualms about how Simon’s return essentially means the end of Ice King, even if Gunter’s role attempts at subverting that.

A lot of these issues tie into the fact that there really is just too much going on in Come Along With Me, as to be expected with a series that’s been on this long and that has so many lingering mysteries. Even the elements that are given a good bit of attention, such as Fern’s redemption, feel all too rushed along for myself to truly get behind. Couple that with the fact that the story, or stories, themselves are not very strong.

The first half hour of the special is dedicated to the Great Gum War. This storyline had already felt kind of clunky throughout the course of season nine, but it really ends up going nowhere in its climax. While the dream sequence is interesting in some aspects, namely the scenes where PB and Gumbald experience life inside each other’s shoes, it feels wasted with the conclusion we get. I’m not even sure what the takeaway of Gumbald’s entire story was. It was originally supposed to tie in to PB’s overall insecurity of being a corrupt ruler, and it seemed like that’s where this episode wanted to take it, but it basically just ends up exactly where she started, trapping her family members in a barren vessel because she doesn’t want to deal with the real issue at hand. Except for Aunt Lolly, who apparently is super sympathetic towards PB for… some reason? Even though the last episode clearly showed that it was all a ruse? Her character is painted with little to no depth and it really shows. Not to mention that her role in the episode makes the entire first chunk of the finale moot, since Finn’s choice to Nightmare Juice PB and Gumbald had no effect on Aunt Lolly’s decision. Yet, the episode acts like Finn was the holy savior even after the fact when his choice only benefited Fern and not the overall war. I don’t get it, man. I could go on and on about how the way Gumbald’s betrayal at the end of Part 2 is written in a very sloppy way, but I think I could forgive the conclusion itself if we actually got something interesting from the war element. Since the development between Gumbald and PB ended up being scrapped, I would’ve at least liked to see some of the excitement that the past two episodes have so desperately built up to. I know its in typical AT fashion to subvert expectations, but c’mon, it’s the series finale. Go big with it! I wanna see Pete Sassafras murder someone.

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The GOLB twist provides for that surface level excitement I had been longing for, but I don’t think it’s especially strong either, which mostly has to do with GOLB as a character. The build up to GOLB’s presence was super mysterious and kind of suspenseful, but when he actually shows up, he’s kind of lame. He mainly just acts as a plot device for absolute destruction. The thing is, I’m not really sure how to make GOLB more interesting. I think it’d be silly if he had a speaking voice or some kind of evil plan, but I feel like another element should’ve been added to make him appear more intimidating. The animation shift to a more sketchy style during his demise was rad as hell, I wouldn’t mind if his entire appear called for some kind of animation shift. Or even just in shading – Come Along With Me is also plagued by really dull colors.

Simon’s story is wrapped up within the last chunk, and ehhh. I can’t really put blame on the staff for deciding that the only decision that made sense was curing Simon after years of build up, and to be fair, the way it’s executed isn’t bad by any means. I just think that Ice King’s character became way too elaborate for its own good to the point where I really didn’t want Simon to come back at all. Ice King is a character that has been shown to grow and develop on his own, so why should he get the shaft? I know that he technically still lives on through Gunter’s wish, but I dunno, it seems like a more complicated issue that was glossed over all too fast for the purpose of a quick conclusion. I do think Betty’s sacrifice was genuinely quite potent, and made for a nice role reversal in Simon and Betty’s never-ending saga.

Fern’s arc also gets a grand conclusion, which is bumpy, but still relatively satisfying. I think Part 2’s redemption story for Fern is way too obvious and unchallenged in how it handles his quick decision to cooperate with Finn, but I ultimately find his death to be quite poignant and a nice sentiment of Finn bidding farewell to his childhood and a part of himself.

Parts Ranked

  1. Part 3 – Just a ton of fun, and the one chunk of the finale that actually had me super invested in everything going on.
  2. Part 1 – A nice exploration of the 1000+ world, and a genuinely suspenseful build in to the faux war that never actually comes into fruition.
  3. Part 4 – A little clunky and awkward in how it tries to quickly wrap everything up as fast a possible, but still provides for a nice ending.
  4. Part 2 – The only part of the finale that I’d say is just straight up bad. Makes the entire storyline of the season feel partially wasted and it just isn’t all that interesting either.

Final Consensus

Come Along With Me is a safe, inoffensive finale, and that’s not necessarily a huge downfall. I think, in its core, it is a finale that had a lot of passion and love put into it. Like I said, there’s really nothing in here that could ruin the series for anyone or is even that deplorable, but I don’t really think that makes it especially good either. It still is very underwhelming in parts, and clearly comes from a staff that really had no idea how they were going to tie everything together. In my eyes, the series has already churned out some episodes that could make for great finales. Faults aside, The Comet did feel like a culmination of everything that Finn had learned up to that point, and a nice conclusion of himself finally finding peace. Islands also wrapped up a lot of long-standing questions, and offered fans an essential answer to who Finn truly is. Not necessarily saying that these episodes should have been finales – I think it would probably drive people insane if The Comet was the series finale. But those are both examples of episodes that set out to tell interesting stories first without the pressure of having every lingering detail figured out. Come Along With Me feels like a hodgepodge of ideas that want to offer ultimate satisfaction, but never really just focus on being entertaining first. Overall, I think it does get a pass for trying its damnedest to make everyone as satisfied as they possibly can be. But for me personally, it’s far from one of AT‘s strongest entries.

“Come Along With Me” (Part 4) Review

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Original Airdate: September 3, 2018

Written & Storyboarded by: Sam Alden & Graham Falk

Before we start, I want to let y’all know that there will be another giving campaign for this blog as I’m wrapping up the first wave of reviews. Some good reasons (I think) to give are:

  • Supporting future reviews for Distant Lands buy helping me acquire a subscription to HBO Max, complete with high qual screengrabs.
  • Supporting for reviews in the past.

I always feel super guilty asking for money from you guys – it’s not like I need it to put food on the table or anything. But this gig is, and has been, a lot of work, and I’ve never really figured out a good way to monetize it despite the decent traffic it brings in. Considering that there is still work to do, with more content on the way, it does feel more like a juggling act in my work and personal life which is already super jam-packed. If y’all are feeling generous and that you got $1’s worth of entertainment or enjoyment from this blog in the past, feel free to support me using the link below (the goal is listed as $1, though I mostly just put that as a placeholder because I didn’t have a specific goal in mind). This is in no way determining the future of the blog, I still plan on reviewing Distant Lands regardless. If you don’t donate, it doesn’t make you any less of a fan of the series or this site. If you feel as if there’s anything deceitful about me asking for donations, or if you just don’t feel like the blog itself is worth any monetary value, there is no pressure on you either. This is simply for anyone out there that is interested in supporting the past and future of Adventure Time Reviewed, and to help assist in motivating me forward.

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I’m partially filled with a warm bittersweet sensation as I tackle my final episode review. I say partial, because it turns out we have waaay more content coming along with Distant Lands, so there’s no use in really getting wishy-washy here. I’ll probably save these warm feelings for my reviews of Distant Lands, only to hold off once again because there will probably be a billion more reboots and revivals in the future. I’m gonna be 80-years-old trying to achieve closure for this series that obviously is never going to die. But still, it took a long way to get here and it’s surreal that I’ve finally gotten to the end of the original run. The final act of Come Along With Me has a lot to jumble, essentially trying to wrap up nearly every loose end up to this point, and from the finale alone. These last 11 minutes feel super rushed, and I really didn’t expect any less. With all of the mysteries that Adventure Time has held onto overtime, it didn’t seem realistic in the slightest that everything would be pulled off in the most satisfying way. But still, even with that in mind, there’s plenty of sweet moments that help this final chunk to land.

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During Adventure Time‘s finale panel at 2018’s San Diego Comic Con, John DiMaggio shed more than just a couple of tears at the idea of the show’s conclusion. That being said, you can really tell how much passion he’s putting into his performance as Jake. That beginning scene where Jake laments the destruction of his sanctuary is both super saddening and humorous in just how over-the-top it is. I mentioned this in my last review, but the idea of the Tree Fort being destroyed in general is immensely depressing. That’s not to say that its demise was necessarily a bad choice – I think it works as a unique tie-in with the theme that this episode revolves around, that being that some things end, but they also don’t really. I could’ve been cliche and said “everything stays, but it still changes,” but I held myself back. While the Tree Fort is no longer standing, the memories and what it represents (family) are still very much in tact. Or, at least, somewhat. That initial shot of BMO’s face is probably as sad as this finale gets; obviously we know the little guy isn’t going to die or anything, but his simple silence, as he stares down sadly at his caretaker, speaks so much louder than words. Adventure Time has always tried to emphasize the importance of silence as opposed to outward emotions, and I think this is a really great example of how well it can work. No tears, no outbursts, just the sad acceptance of what is already done. It’s amazing what AT manages to do with two dots and a line when it comes to reading visual emotions.

And even through all of that sadness, BMO manages to comfort Jake for all that he’s done to protect the members of his household. I’ll admit, I was a bit taken back when BMO ended up being the one singing “Time Adventure.” When Rebecca Sugar debuted the song months before the finale’s release, I assumed it would feature Finn and Jake singing it to each other, or some variation. It initially felt a little too silly for my liking, especially given that the scene essentially shows everyone in Ooo accepting that they’re probably going to die. But I’ve warmed up to the idea, and “Time Adventure” has become one of my favorite songs in the series. I will say that the officially released soundtrack version is waaay better than what we got in the actual episode. I cannot begin to express how bummed I am that Jake’s ending solo got cut out. It’s so beautifully chilling and touching that I have no idea who thought it was a good idea to put Simon and Betty banter over top of it. Still, I think both versions have their perks. The soundtrack version really feels like the harmony it was made out to be, where each character involved (Flame Princess, Magic Man, Slime Princess) can clearly be heard vocalizing. On the other hand, the episode’s version actually really emphasizes on Pendleton Ward’s voice, which I thought was super sweet. I do wonder – did other members of the staff join in? Can Muto’s voice be heard somewhere in this collaboration? I have no clue, but I thought it was nice that Pen had such a strong role in singing his creation off.

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Another strong moment from this section of the finale comes from Simon and Finn’s brief exchange as they anticipate decimation in the pits of GOLB. Simon’s delivery of, “no one gets to choose how it happens,” is genuinely impactful, especially so coming from him. Honestly, Simon’s been through so much at this point that I’m sure he just wants to die and get it over with – hell, that’s exactly what he wanted to do in Betty. I’m slightly more disappointed with Finn’s role, because again, I really feel like he’s a bystander to everything that’s going on around him. His line, “I always thought I’d go out saving someone,” just made me wonder, “why isn’t Finn saving someone right this second? Why was he written to be such a spec on the wall while everyone is included in all of this cool shit going on around them?” I’ve seen the argument that, since Finn has saved everyone countless times, this is an opportunity for everyone to save him, buuuut I don’t really buy into that. One, because it just doesn’t feel like it was written to be played out in such a way – the episode seems convinced that Finn effectively put a stop to the Great Gum War when that’s not really what happened at all. Second, there’s a way of carrying out the “now it’s our turn to save you,” story without making the hero ineffective or sidelined. I overall think that pairing Finn with Betty and Simon was a poor decision. He doesn’t really add anything to their dynamic, and is easily overshadowed by their arc.

I personally do think that Simon and Betty’s arc is wrapped up in a pretty satisfying way, as well as tragic. I like how Betty’s codependence never really dissolved, and it’s ultimately what ended up consuming her in her very last moments. Even when trying to move past her ultimate hidden desires, they resurface when she realizes that sacrificing herself is the only way for Simon to truly be free. It’s probably the least happy ending that occurs during this finale, but one that feels fittingly somber. As time went on, Simon and Betty’s relationship was being portrayed as more and more unhealthy from both parties, and I think the end result being that, no matter how much they love each other, they’ll never be able to be happy together, leading to the culmination of the general unhappiness that has consumed them for so long. A quick “fuck you” to the Simon & Marcy comic series for effectively undoing every sacrifice that occurred in this finale by giving Simon and Betty a totally normal, happy ending. This is much more potent.

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Pretty much every Cartoon Network finale in the past 5 years or so allows for like, 20 seconds of an animation boost of some sort. Regular Show and Steven Universe recruited the likes of James Baxter for a brief segment of animation; it’s a shame he couldn’t come back once more to assist with AT‘s finale, but we do get a cool, sketchy sequence ala Take On Me when GOLB unhinges. I always love these big “fabric of the universe disintegrating” moments in animation, and this one does not disappoint. Though, I am so unnecessarily bothered by the fact that the crew neglected to pitch-shift Shelby’s voice. Come on, guys! This could have been a great final appearance of the little guy if one of his key features wasn’t removed entirely. Now it’s just super distracting.

I dunno what the general consensus is on the GOLBetty design, but I think it’s pretty rad. Steve Wolfhard did the initial concept design, and while aspects of his take on the deity remained, the overall anatomy shifted and I think it looks way better as is. Props to Tom Kenny for obviously being one of the most versatile voice actors out there, as Simon’s disbelief at the sight of Betty feels so real and raw. Then we get to Gunther, who effectively brings Ice King back through the power of the crown. I dunno, man. I guess I’m fine with this? There’s the somewhat uncanny aspect of it all; this transformation was written in such a way that makes it seem like Ice King is back and nobody should worry about it… but like, is it really Ice King? The goofy, stilted dialogue that Gunther utters once he shifts feels like a pet’s perspective of their human owner, but everyone reacts like it’s okay and they shouldn’t think twice about it. It’s tough because I like the idea of Simon being saved by Betty, only for her to end up in a mind prison for all of eternity, but I really don’t like how easily Ice King gets the shaft in the process. This was clearly a timing issue, as there was only five minutes left in the finale by this point in time and the crew probably just decided it was something that could be handled quickly in the quirky manner. But I’ll reiterate once more, the Ice King-Simon story had gotten way too complex and intricate for it to ever have a fully satisfying conclusion. Personally, I think I would have been more happy with the idea that Ice King remains, while Simon is gone forever. I think more people would have been upset with this concept, and it would have been another example of Adventure Time being afraid to shatter the status quo, but man, I can’t help but feel Ice King got did something dirty. I like him so much more than that nerd, Simon. It’s disappointing that, no matter how much effort Ice King put into his own personal growth, it essentially didn’t matter because he’s reduced to a facsimile of his former self.

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One character death certainly isn’t taken for granted, however. Fern’s withering away is not only a poignant farewell for his character, but a nice way to tie-in to Finn saying goodbye to his childhood and a part of him in the process. The idea that he plants it where the Tree Fort once stood represents the idea that a piece of him will always be there, and the growing tree emphasizes the legacy that Finn has built and left behind in the process. Farewell, Fern! Truly one of my favorite secondary characters and probably my favorite aspect of these last two seasons. It’s just a shame that your redemption arc couldn’t have been much stronger than it was.

My gripes with the overuse of Finn’s girlish scream in later seasons aside, I do find the joke that he’s outgrown as his voice has deepened to be quite funny. I’d enjoy the sight gag of Finn being taller to be more enjoyable, had their been some consistency with his character model throughout the episode. I don’t really mind its inconsistency during the course of the series, but it feels just a bit too cheap only being included for this one moment.

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I like the notion that BMO’s story to Shermy and Beth was kind of an allusion to the crew telling the tale of the “end of Ooo” to AT‘s audience. I think many people were expecting this finale to be the end of all things, essentially. Hell, I think you could even argue that half of the fanbase was expecting Jake to be dead by the end of this episode. But that’s really not the story that the staff wanted to tell, and I don’t think that’s the story I necessarily wanted to see either. Don’t get me wrong, I find a good chunk of the finale to be somewhat underwhelming. However, I do appreciate the staff’s commitment to the idea that these characters don’t really have an “end” in mind. Just as Adventure Time has had plenty of moments throughout its run that have signified closure for its characters, such as Mortal Recoil or The Comet, there have also been plenty of new challenges and moments of growth since those instances that have further elaborated on the sinuous nature of our heroes. Even though Finn and Jake are dead by the time BMO is narrating this story, their spirit still lives on in the hearts of Shermy and Beth. Heroes die, but others arise. Even in Sweet P.’s case, an eternity of evil can become an eternity of righteousness. I keep writing myself into a corner that forces me to say “everything stays, but it still changes.” But it does! Adventure Time‘s central theme carries all the way into its final moments, hitting on the specific note that the opening theme reminds us each and every episode: the fun will never end. Even when we’re rotting in the ground!

Another great way to tie that theme together is bringing back Music Hole, a character who has lived through countless centuries, and has watched countless endings and beginnings at that. Even sweeter is the inclusion of Ashley Erikkson as Music Hole, who has very quietly been with the series through the very beginning. She sings the titular song we had all been waiting for, and it makes for a really nice epilogue.

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The montage aims at either wrapping up specific character arcs or just works as a way of showing what their lives held for them in the future. Discussing this speedy wrap-up in cohesive paragraphs seems somewhat impossible, so for your consider, I’m going to go ahead and bullet point each clip in chronological order:

  • The snail can be seen for the final time on the growing Fern tree. I’m not especially invested in this Easter egg, but I think it would have been more fitting if the snail appeared in the final scene with Shermy and Beth, waving goodbye. It’s a sweet and suitable idea that would possess the deepest lore of the snail’s immortal nature.
  • Jake and Lady flying together was nice, but it’s a bit of a shame that Lady’s “closure” is just that she kept dating Jake. Lady’s always been somewhat of the black sheep of the main characters that really doesn’t have a particular arc outside of her relationship with Jake, but I still think the staff could’ve came up with something a bit stronger. Hell, it could even be related to her connection to Jake. Have those lovebirds get married! (Every time I suggest this, some guy on the subreddit yells at me.) Even seeing Lady and Jake snuggling up in the Crystal Dimension would’ve been a nicer sentiment.
  • LSP becoming LSQ was super sweet. Even through all of her vanity, it feels genuinely rewarding to see her have a moment of triumph and receive actual respect from the other princesses of Ooo. Even Breakfast Princess, for crying out loud! I guess this is solid proof that the hierarchy of princesses only applies to Ooo, as queen seems to obviously be the highest position of royalty in Lumpy Space.
  • Haha, Ice Gunther marrying Turtle Princess was too bizarre to resist. It is funny that all Ice King had to do to claim a bride was find someone in Ooo as lonely as he is, as Turtle P is the perfect fill-in for that role. Also nice was the addition of a small, reconstructed King of Ooo in the background of their wedding. They actually managed to make the coniving shyster look adorable.
  • It was sweet to see that the reconstructed Rattleballs is finally able to hang out with other Candy Kingdom personnel in public. Though, his cameo in Jake the Brick ended up being an entire waste. I always thought that Rattleballs rebuilding his bros meant we were in store for a huge army of RBs to help seize the day in the finale. Unfortunately, it amounted to nothing. Seeing a war-starved and depressed Colonel Candy Corn was quite amusing.
  • Possibly the most obscure and easy to miss cameos during the montage is Carroll, who is back to her liquid form and content at that! I really just assumed this was a new model for a Water Nymph that the staff decided to draw up upon initial viewing. Such a thoughtful and nice addition, even including her interest of drawing elves that was mentioned in Winter Light.
  • T.V. moving into Margaret and Joshua’s old office feels a bit cheap to me. Before the series got canned, artist George Mager was commissioned to storyboard for a noir themed episode featuring T.V. in an investigative role. This was scrapped before it was finished, but it would have added a little bit more context to this moment that seems unwarranted to anyone not in-the-know. T.V.’s last appearance in Lady Rainicorn of the Crystal Dimension had him acting as selfishly as possible, and now he gets this gnarly character development out of no where? It would have been more revealing than necessary, but Finn and Jake running their parents’ old office would have been much, much more fitting than what we got.
  • Sweet P.’s graduation was nice. It would have been cool too if other known child characters were featured in the ceremony as well, such as the Pup Gang or the Marshmallow Kids.
  • Bubblegum and Lolly serenading Neddy is nice, I suppose. So, did Lolly ever bring up the fact that she tried to essentially kill her niece one day prior? We just gonna go ahead ignore that fact? Alright.
  • One of my favorite clips in the montage is Prismo’s inability to bring Betty back, only possessing the ability to whip up the waste basket that was previously seen in You Forgot Your Floaties. I like that Come Along With Me takes the time to show that not everyone receives an inherently happy ending. Despite Simon regaining consciousness, he still loses out on the one person he cares about most, continuing the codependence of their relationship by Simon dedicating his life to bringing her back.
  • Jermaine painting a new, more simplistic mural for Lemongrab was sweet, but the icing on the cake is actually see Lemongrab with a genuine smile on his face. The neurotic lemon-man has finally achieved his moment of peace.
  • I became pretty misty-eyed at BMO sending Moe’s memories into space, per his request in The More You Moe, The Moe You Know. That episode in particular is one of my very favorites and has a special place in my heart, so seeing BMO fulfill his loving creator’s final wish was just splendid.
  • Flame Princess and NEPTR rapping together is just sad to me. Like, this is what Flame Princess’s character amounted to? That she’s good at rapping? Not anything relating to her elemental nature being inherently chaotic and learning to become a positive force to those around her despite it all? What would have been a fine solo NEPTR moment is weighed down by the fact that Flame Princess’s “conclusion” is inherently meaningless. What a lame climax for a character who started off with such intrigue.
  • Cyber Tiffany 2.0! I get the feeling that the staff was super bummed out that they never got to follow up with the Dr. Gross arc. I do wonder if this will somehow factor into the Distant Lands specials, considering that it is one of the major loose ends that never really was followed up on.
  • The fully grown up Jiggler is probably the funniest cameo of all. It’s the kind of absurdist return that I’d want to see from such a rarely seen character.
  • The Jiggler’s scene is followed by the equally absurd return of the Crabbit from Something Big. It’s cute (Donny is also seen in the audience) but it doesn’t really grab me and feels like a stretch for cameos that felt absolutely necessary in the sequence. It’s like, did anyone really care about the Crabbit enough for him to get his own dedicated moment in the show’s final montage? I’m harping too much on a small moment, but when you consider that other major players, such as Shelby, Cinnamon Bun, Hunson, and Flame King don’t even get a designated appearance in this montage, it feels a bit like wasted space.
  • It was super cool to see Kara and Frieda again, with a Lemonhope cameo smushed in between. Again, similar to what I said about Simon, it’s kind of interesting to see that Lemonhope seems completely lost in life in this one small appearance. His initial appearance kind of set out to prove that he really had no idea what he was doing, and his sad expression here shows that he probably still doesn’t have a clue. Poor little Lemonhope.
  • The Candy citizens clinking their glasses just frustrates me. Again, it’s kind of unfortunate that Chicle isn’t even permitted a second chance, even though his demise was Gumbald’s fault and not his own. Even Gumbald staying in Punchy’s body feels super offensive. It would have been a way nicer sentiment if Gumbald had reverted back to himself by the end of it, showing that PB did learn a lesson in empathy along the way. Something as simple as Gumbald waking up alone by Butterscotch lake, discovering a fishing pole in front of him, and choosing to solemnly relax instead of scheme while PB is seen confident in her decision from afar. Or Gumbald being locked up and PB choosing to stand by outside his cell in an attempt to connect. Anything that doesn’t paint PB out to be somewhat heartless.
  • Tree Trunks is still bangin’ aliens. Niiice.
  • Magic Man’s mission to save Margles never really ends up coming into play in Come Along With Me, and the montage sweetly shows that he’s accepted her passing on, but will always hold memories of her dearly. I especially love that this scene occurs at the verse, “I’ll be here for you always.”
  • The shot of the princesses (and Marceline) in their fashionable wardrobes is actually a reference to a the cover of Adventure Time #51 by Mia Schwartz, whose art you can check out here! Though it wasn’t included on the original cover, I think Flame Princess’s getup is my favorite. Her bangs are too cute.
  • Huntress Wizard meditating is whatever, I suppose. It’s a shame that her character only truly started developing this season, only for her inclusion to be cut short. It really wouldn’t have made sense if she had a bigger role in this finale – there was already so much going on.
  • I do like the next scene a lot, mainly because it shows that, even if Simon is back in the picture, Marcy and PB still chose to actively hangout with him and continue being his friend. It’s super sweet. Though young Pepbut is cute, I DON’T GET WHY PB LEFT HIM LIKE THIS. WHAT THE HELL, MAN? I guess the implication with both Peppermint Butler and Gumbald is that there was no cure, but like, that hasn’t been implied until up to this point. PB’s reasoning for not bringing Gumbald and friends back in Seventeen was that, “[they] were happier this way,” not that there was no known cure. I’m gonna go ahead and call bullshit in terms of continuity.
  • Perhaps the sweetest sentiment of all is the closing scene, in which a now homeless Finn and Jake are greeted by the final arrival of the humans from Founders Island. The staff actively wanted to avoid “wrapping up” Finn and Jake’s characters by showing where they ended up in the far future, so instead they offer a bit of a glimmer of hope among big changes occurring in their lives. It’s a really nice note to end on for our heroes, even if the next chapter is right around the corner.

Adventure Time as a series ends exactly how it began – with two heroes standing triumphantly at the forefront, showing that even 1,000 years in the future, some things never change. The Ooo that we knew is no longer intact, but the spirit and the foundation of what it was continue on regardless.

SUPPORT ADVENTURE TIME REVIEWED

So that’s it, everyone! All 284 episodes of Adventure Time reviewed! I won’t waste my time getting sentimental here – there’s a couple more weeks of stuff I want to get out, and then the eventual release of Distant Lands, presumably around mid-summer. Here’s a quick glimpse at what’s coming the next few weeks:

  • Come Along With Me consensus.
  • Season Nine review.
  • The Best and Worst Episodes of Adventure Time.
  • Adventure Time Character Analysis.
  • Series Overview and (Kind of) Final Words.
  • Top 10 Adventure Time Moments.

There will likely be more to come from there before Distant Lands, but I do want to focus on these six above, as they’re the ones I’ve been most excited to tackle/chat about. As I mentioned above, if you’re feeling generous, feel free to send a dollar bill my way. Otherwise, stay tuned for more AT content!

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Favorite line: “I wrote this for my son, Jake!”

“Come Along With Me” (Part 3) Review

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Original Airdate: September 3, 2019

Written & Storyboarded by: Aleks Sennwald & Hanna K. Nyström

Enter GOLB. GOLB has been an element of curiosity ever since he debuted back in Puhoy, and for good reasons. Besides a bizarrely unique design, his true nature and role in the world of Adventure Time has only ever been alluded to – GOLB himself has never truly been put into action. Come Along With Me finally brings the enigmatic deity to centerstage in Act III, as a result of Magic Man, Betty, and Maja’s combined magic going haywire. As an antagonist, GOLB really isn’t all that unique or intriguing. He’s just kind of there as an ultimate beast to cause destruction throughout the Land of Ooo, but unlike a character such as the Lich, there really isn’t anything particularly intimidating about him beyond his gnarly design, as previously mentioned. He’s more of a plot device than anything. That being said, Part 3 of the finale is arguably the most entertaining. It’s a high-stakes, wild battle that never really takes a second to breathe. Every moment is filled to the brim with fights, carnage, and powerful character moments. It’s not necessarily that meaty or thought-provoking (though it has its moments) but it does provide enough excitement to take the bitter taste of the previous segment out of my mouth.

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Despite his failure to be a legitimately intimidating force on the Land of Ooo, I do enjoy the humor that encapsulates this first part, as everyone has their own unique perception on his arrival. Jake’s theory of GOLB being this big celebratory baby is another great example of him making the best out of a bad situation. Though this comedic instance alone does come with its own subtext – Jake mentions that they’re being congratulated because “they saved the day,” but again, the way the story actually played out doesn’t suggest that Finn and Jake were the ultimate saviors of the situation. Aunt Lolly just decided out of nowhere that she wanted to be on the side of the Candy Kingdom, and that’s what inevitably saved the day. I love my boys dearly, but it slightly angers me that this was written in such a way to glorify them instead of analyzing the actual events that went down prior. The following scenes do provide for less problematic entertainment, such as Fern’s little exchange with Flame Princess or Lumpy Space Princess’s selfie as the literal apocalypse occurs behind her. There’s even a nice little flashback that ties back into Simon’s fascination with ancient deities and the unknown. The more we learn about these interests of Simon’s, the more it shows how kind of unhealthy his obsessions truly were. His connection to the crown was initially played off as kind of an instant lack of control, but the passion he feels when talking about such subject material kind of suggests that he was partially willing to give up his sanity for the sake of exploration and discovery. The flashback is also hilarious as well. Betty full on chucks a glass jar at him. I can’t think of any normal person that would have done that. Those two are all kinds of crazy.

I mentioned the cool design and features of GOLB, and the other beasts that are featured in this episode are pretty neat in their own right. Backgrounder designer Jesse Balmer did most of the concept designs for the GOLB-fused beasts, and it really shows in how much raw detail their is in their designs. It is weird in the sense that I don’t really see GOLB as this beast who causes mayhem and ruin by the act of releasing beasts onto the world, more so in just erasing everything from existence. Buuut, in the same sense that it would be kind of boring if that was the case, so a few gnarly beasts along the way doesn’t really bother me much. This is actually the first time the Candy Kingdom Haters are seen on the battlefield and, as I harped on in Gumbaldia, they’re almost entirely useless. Not even a single one of them is given a designated voice role, but again, I’ve repeated myself a million times in saying that Gumbaldia‘s ending intended for more and that I can’t really blame the staff for excluding such an inconsequential subplot.

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As much of a shame that it is that Finn doesn’t really get any kind of ultimate heroic moment in the finale, it is nice that this part in the story shifts gears to focus more on Ice King’s role in the world. He’s pretty much the only major player that hasn’t gotten to do anything up to this point, and it’s both rewarding and kind of funny that the fate of the entire world rests in his hands. Whereas the first chunk of Act III mostly focuses on establishing the conflict with GOLB’s inclusion, the remaining half is chock full of a lot of stellar character moments that really make it feel like the grand finale it was hyped up to be. Some of the callbacks in Come Along With Me feel a bit too fanservice-y and contrived for my liking, but one of my favorites in this 44 minute chunk is Ice King singing “Oh Fionna” in order to get Betty’s attention. These last two seasons have really been knocking it out of the park when it comes to portraying Betty’s codependence. I love the day-and-night feel to Ice King singing this soft tune to lure Betty back into a state of comfort, only for that comfort to be swiftly pulled from under her as IK’s shrill vocals soil a genuinely touching moment. My favorite callback is also followed by one of, if not my ultimate favorite moment in the entire finale: Maja fucking exploding only seconds after she gains consciousness. I know there was a good chunk of people that were pissed about this, because this is Maja’s only actual appearance after the huge build up of Something Big, but it’s a grievance that I can ignore completely just because of how funny, absurd, and well-timed it is. It isn’t even acknowledged after the fact. I’m gonna be totally basic and reiterate what literally everyone has already said when referring to this moment, but – how’s that for poetic justice?

There’s plenty of other terrific callbacks on the battlefield – PB using her elemental abilities one final time (to no avail), Marceline channeling the power of the Vampire King that she gained in The Dark Cloud, and Jake’s eventual unleashing of his alien form. More characters do end up joining the battle, which feels… confusing? After Jake lands in an attempt to restrain the owls from the possessed Gumball Guardian, NEPTR is just suddenly on the battlefield out of scenic nowhere. Don’t get me wrong, I love NEPTR as much as the next guy, but how in the hell did he get involved in the battle? The episode cuts to him tossing pies not long after and it doesn’t even look like much is being done. I’m still not sure if it’s a continuity error that is bothersome or just surreally amusing. Like I said, though, it is nice to see the little guy getting a piece of the action. Everyone gets a chance to be in full hero mode – even Fern, with his badass line reading of, “I’ll defend Ooo down to my last blade.”

Buuuut, I’m just wasting time at this point. You all know what you’re waiting to hear me talk about. I’m sure half of you are hear specifically for this discussion. The kiss that took the world by storm…

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Lemongrab and Lumpy Space Princess! I love this hysterical callback to something that was clearly set up as a one-off joke in Normal Man. It’s awesome to finally see Lemongrab open to getting some with a girl who’s actually (?) into him. Hell, good for LSP too! Her love life hasn’t exactly been the most rewarding either. This feels like the only true satisfying conclusion for these dorks. This is truly a moment that fans have been waiting to see for years and years, and I’m glad the episode finally set things straight by showing their true feelings for each other. I hope you guys enjoyed that gag twist as much as I did in my head. 

But forreals, let’s get to the big shit. Come Along With Me finally comes out with (literally) the fact that Marceline and Princess Bubblegum are in a romantic relationship with each other. It’s been alluded to a million times, often in the most obnoxious of ways, but Come Along With Me throws all ambiguity out the window by having them full-on canoodle on screen. I’m gonna be 100% frank and say, with all of the cynical things I’ve said about their relationship in the past, I think this moment was handled in a really solid way. I even fanboyed a little the first time I watched, and I’m not even a Bubbline fan! As much as I get annoyed with how Marceline’s character has become dependent on her connection to Bubblegum, I do feel as though her transformation into the dark cloud following PB’s supposed “death” was quite touching. I do like how Marceline’s emotional outburst doesn’t only have to do with the fact that she lost PB, but that she’s always afraid of losing PB. Even after making up, they never truly resolved those underlying anxieties and fears that came with separating. The moments between Marceline and Bubblegum that I do enjoy are the ones that deal with their tumultuous past in an honest and convincing way, and don’t just boil them down to the lovey dovey duo. I’ve seen a lot of people complain about Bubbline essentially being “queer-bait,” though I don’t really think that’s essentially a fair judgement. We’re STILL in somewhat of a climate about kids’ entertainment tackling LGBTQ relationships, though it’s gotten considerably better, and I feel like the staff was simply doing what they could at the time while still forming a legitimate relationship between two characters. The past generation of animation was sooo involved in building up relationships between two friends that remained ambiguous for an extended period of time (Kim and Ron from Kim Possible, Danny and Sam from Danny Phantom, etc.) and this is a great subversion of the trope. So, essentially, the kiss is more build up from their long, hyped up connection, rather than it is a statement of “wokeness” (though I’m sure that played a part in it). Even if Steven Universe was making strides three years prior, I still feel like this development is somewhat of an accomplishment for LGBTQ media in children’s entertainment. There’s no longer the excuse of, “oh they’re just rocks they don’t have any gender lol,” this is flat out two female characters neckin’ each other. I don’t see it being queer-baiting as much as keeping fans on their toes for a romantic relationship that DID end up having its pay off in the end. This isn’t like The Legend of Korra, where the ending was left almost too ambiguous for it to even make sense; I do believe there is a genuine bit of satisfaction in this development. Even though I don’t consider myself a fan of Bubbline, I think the staff did a relatively solid job at helping their relationship to feel gripping and exciting for fans. Of course, I could take all of that back and complain about how Marceline’s only huge development in Come Along With Me is based around Bubblegum, and how she doesn’t really get to do anything else after this, but I’m getting ahead of myself. That is a discussion for another day in my character analysis.

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The other big development that Act III establishes is Simon finally regaining his sanity, as GOLB’s powers revert him back to his original state. This is both a huge achievement and kind of a disappointment; almost in the same vein as Bubbline, Simon regaining consciousness was a moment that needed to happen for how much it was built up over the years. But with all of the work that went into developing Ice King’s character as an individual, I can’t help but feel a bit dismissive about the fact that Ice King doesn’t really get his own moment of triumph for all that he’s accomplished over the years. This isn’t technically the end of Ice King, as we’ll discuss in the next episode, but IK, like Fern, is another character that was probably too well-written for his own good. Personally, I would’ve liked an ending where Ice King is fully accepted for who he is, as those who surround him come to terms with the idea that Simon is never coming back. But alas, I feel as though the staff felt almost obligated for this moment to happen because of how much fans wanted to see it happen. And I can’t blame ’em, I was pretty much in the same boat until Elements came along. The growth of Ice King’s identity as a character definitely complicated things for the long run, no matter how solid this growth was, and I’m not sure I can so much as criticize the choice as much as just to be disappointed by it. Though, I’m still kind of confused how GOLB works. Like, Simon is reverted to his past self, Betty just changes into to the turtleneck she wore in earlier episodes, and Finn isn’t affected at all. I’m gonna play devil’s advocate here and ask, shouldn’t GOLB’s powers have reverted Finn’s arm back to normal? Now, don’t get me wrong, I would’ve gauged my eyes out if that happened a second time, but in this one instance, wouldn’t it actually make sense if it did occur? The entire nature of GOLB feels kind of janky with this in mind.

Speaking of Finn, I think the biggest flaw within Act III of Come Along With Me is the lack of Finn that I mentioned earlier on. Well, it’s not so much a lack of Finn as it is just the entire cast of characters seemingly ignoring him. He nearly gets Stakes levels of neglect here, being ineffective in almost every situation and being treated by others as somewhat of a nuisance. I know that other character arcs and stories kind of required attention here too, but damn, everyone seems to get this big heroic moment in this part specifically, whereas Finn feels like a tiny spec in the grand scheme of things. It’s even sadder to look back and see how little he gets to do in terms of heroism during the finale as a whole. The most noble thing he does is helping Fern to see the light, though that was even partially aided by Jake’s help. Come Along With Me feels like a solid wrap up for most characters, though Finn isn’t necessarily one of them, and I think that’s what’s most disappointing of all.

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Act III does end in a genuinely solid and dramatic way, as a handful of our main players are left completely pummeled at the hands of GOLB’s beast – except for Jake, who has enough energy to put up a decent fight for a bit, only to be faced with absolute devastation when the Tree Fort is destroyed. This moment hit me hard, and I think the sharp commercial break immediately after provides for added shock value. One of Adventure Time‘s biggest staples is destroyed in the blink of an eye, and it feels just as tragic as it was made out to be.

Even with its flaws in mind, I think Part 3 is definitely the most entertaining aspect of Come Along With Me. That’s not even necessarily to say it’s the best, but it definitely was the segment that engaged me the most and had me on the edge of my seat. At least, from the perspective of a first viewing. Lots of really nice character moments, a genuine sense of tension, and some solid callbacks along the way. It does everything to make Come Along With Me feel like a true finale… if only Finn was able to join in on that fun, though.

We’re on the verge of the end, my friends! The review of Act IV will be releasing next week, followed by a consensus of the finale overall, and then further updates from there. I’ve kept quiet about Distant Lands and a lot of post content so far, but stay tuned! There is a plan in effect that will allow for plenty of new reviews, analyses, and discussions throughout the end of the year and 2020!

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Favorite line: “They’ll be talking about this fight for years! And by “they,” I mean BMO and Shelby.”

“Come Along With Me” (Part 2) Review

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Original Airdate: September 3, 2018

Written & Storyboarded by: Somvilay Xayaphone & Seo Kim

The dream realm has always been a big part of Adventure Time, and it only makes sense that the grand finale would also pay tribute to the show’s most notorious fetish. Part 2, boarded by Somvilay Xayaphone and Seo Kim, is possibly the most visually interesting of its sister pieces. Aside from a stellar array of Ghostshrimp backgrounds, this section of the episode also cleverly plays around with its imagery to stress the similarities between Gumbald and PB and also Finn and Fern. This is definitely the kind of trippiness I did want to see from the finale, and on some aspects, it does succeed. In its execution, however, I think it drives a problematic cause into the main story of this conclusion.

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I don’t know if the beginning of this section is subject to criticism or just legitimate questions, but how did Finn know what would happen after igniting the nightmare juice? There’s no way Nightmare Princess was of any help describing it, and it doesn’t look as if there was a description of any sorts. For all Finn knew, it could have nuked the fucking planet. I guess it played into the surprise element of not knowing what was coming next, buuut, a little bit of context would’ve made this feel a little less like a deus ex machina.

Though not primarily associated with dream themes, it is fitting that Somvilay’s last co-board revolves around the unconscious realm, seeing as how he had such a large part in Adventure Time‘s first full-length nightmare, King Worm. There are some fun, trippy bits right off the bat, like the singing poodle that helps to take weight off of the situation at hand or the chimney containing a presumably dead Jake, with a sign that reads, “laff it off!” There’s also quite a few awkwardly executed moments that don’t really work either. The exploding poodle that blinds everyone except Gumbald isn’t presented in a visual way that it actually feels blinding. The color and light stays stagnant and contained at the center of the screen, and it doesn’t convincing feel like it’s as bright as the characters react. I know this seems like a really small, insignificant aspect to harp on, but it is yet another example of the lack of direction that seems to be a staple of Somvilay’s boarding. Similar to the lifeless way Finn’s friends bang on a force field containing him in Seventeen, the gang covers their eyes for the purpose of Gumbald running away, and as he’s about to escape, they all cease covering their eyes, only to blankly stare at him while he delivers a speech about how he’s going to get the upper hand. I’m certainly being overly critical towards a moment like this, but in the finale of the series, and the final board of one of Adventure Time‘s longest-running storyboard artists, I’d also expect more.

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Fern being ditched by Uncle G. is definitely his own way of experiencing first hand how Finn felt when being ditched by his own maker, though I don’t really think it’s played off as the emotional moment it truly could’ve been. Fern’s pretty much lost everything by this point, and you think instead of comically transforming into a pterodactyl (which was admittedly awesome, thematic aspects aside), it would be built into some genuine turmoil. Though, the sweet grass boy does get a handful of nice one-liners here and there, such as, “I’m gonna fly around and wreck things until I feel better! Or at least until I tire myself out.” He really is just the emo equivalent of his counterpart, because that could also come straight out of Finn’s mouth as well.

Jake’s role in the episode is both funny, and somewhat frustrating. It’s frustrating because he exhibits Jake the Dog levels of neglect for his brother. Jake spends a large portion of the first half of the episode dicking around while his bro is in peril. What happened to the Jake a mere episode earlier that curb-stomped the fuck out of Fern for messing with his bro? It is made up for in that Jake helps deliver the solution to Finn’s problems, but the overly cheerful dog with Jermaine at the beginning of the episode goes a bit too far in demonstrating his clueless bliss. It is also justified partially from a humor perspective, I do really get a laugh out of Jake’s concern about getting fired from his imaginary job as Finn asks for help. Seeing as how PB and Gumbald later end up being altered by the dream realm, I suppose it could be argued that it had an effect on Jake’s psyche as well.

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In fact, we actually do get the most “deep” look into Jake’s inner fears with his nightmare-fueled children. The scenes with the pups denouncing Jake’s farts are mostly played for laughs, but I think there is something of substance under the gag itself. Jake values the respect of his children more than anything, and has many underlying anxieties about his role as a father. It’s silly, but also understandable why this triggers such a sensitive part of him. Along with the fact that his children are literally being cooked before him. Best visual gag of the episode officially goes to baby Kim Kil Whan in a hot dog bun. I should note that Jermaine does take on a secondary role in this section, though it’s pretty unremarkable. Not that it’s really even supposed to be the real Jermaine anyway, but a mere reflection of Jake’s subconscious. His presence did serve for one sweet moment – the revelation that balloon animals used to cheer Finn up when he was a child. It’s a small moment, but really adorable to dwell on, especially with Jake’s added look of nostalgia following the exchange.

Perhaps the most well-executed part of the episode is the most surprising: I thought the scenes featuring the swap between Gumbald and Bubblegum’s roles were really well done. I don’t necessarily think that these few minutes alone reconcile for an onslaught of really boring and unremarkable Gumbald moments, but they certainly provide for something to chew on in terms of his ultimate motivations. Bonnibel Bubblegum painted him to be this super uninteresting schemer whose main drive was greed above all, but Come Along With Me takes the previous episode’s intentions further and continues to drive home the underlying similarities between Gumbald and his niece. Although his initial motivation of building apartment buildings in the aftermath of a literal apocalypse was inconceivably stupid, it really is just one part of his vision, of which PB ultimately didn’t have right off the bat either. Gumbald wanted to create his own slice of home where he, and those around him, could live prosperously, which is exactly what Princess Bubblegum sought out for. His motivations to get what he wanted, while questionable, were in desperation to preserve his art and what he saw for the future. PB is no stranger to this practice either – she nearly destroyed an entire kingdom in The Cooler because of her own paranoia. PB also had the chance to properly contain Gumbald even after he was transformed into Punchy, but she chose for him to stay that way because, again, she didn’t want him to stand in the way of her vision. As the vision in the nightmare shows, Gumbald as “princess” could have resulted in an almost identical outcome to Bubblegum’s path, dealing with an ingenuous, yet morally corrupt ruler who is essentially the god amongst his people. Though, like PB once experienced, Gumbald’s role may have not been able to last forever, and it was a time when she surely needed others to depend on. But her O.G. family couldn’t truly support her in their current states, as demonstrated by the tiny Candy Person representation of PB, who can only smile and act goofy even with the pain occurring beneath her. It’s a delightfully fucked up sequence that really shows the equal amount of shittiness on PB’s part, even far beyond her metamorphosis.

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Finn and Fern end up going through a similar understanding of their shared torment, though I think it is a bit on the obvious side. The idea of the boys’ having shared traumas comes as a surprise to Fern, buuuut Fern’s whole deal is that he’s partly Finn. Should this really come as such a revelation to him? That the two have shared experiences that they can both relate to? I feel as if there should have been a bit more of an emotional confrontation. As self-destructive as he is, Fern does have legitimate reasons for going so far off of the deep end. His whole life was turned upside down and everyone that he has ever loved doesn’t really want to associate with him. I would have liked if his turmoil resulted in more of an eruption of pain which would lead to his eventual epiphany, but the resolution between him and Finn feels all too quick. There’s also the conclusion to the curse that lives within Fern, as he and Finn confront it head-on, which is just alright for me. I like the idea that Fern choosing to confront his issues is ultimately what set him free, but if nothing in the Nightmare Realm is actually real, I’m not sure how Finn and Fern were able to affect a real-life situation as a result. I also think Fern was written too well throughout season eight for his own good. Like I said, Fern has legitimate reasons to be ridden with anxiety and turmoil, and I feel as the idea that all of his sorrows being connected to some cursed squid demon is a lot less interesting than the turmoil itself. Though, it does provide for a relatively neat concept that Fern isn’t physically able to exist without issues – the part of himself that he eliminated in order to make him feel more human is ultimately what made his humanity fall to shreds. I’m probably putting too much thought into it, but it is a neat idea. The shared traumas between Finn and Fern are all pretty apparent – the death of their hero at the hands of the Lich, the guilt that comes with hurting friends such as Susan, and the sensitivity of abandonment and fear of being connected to one’s roots as seen with Martin. Though, I feel like it’s up for debate what PB’s role in the vault holds. I get the feeling that Finn is somewhat haunted by his feeling for Bubblegum, never being able to fully move past them and fearing that he may be controlled by his love for her forever, which results in him pushing his feelings way down where they can’t affect him. At least, from a surface level.

The conclusion to this segment of the episode is kind of where my main issues lie. While PB gains her own empathy for Gumbald, he apparently did not, as he was planning on juicing her, demonstrated by Aunt Lolly’s sabotage. I have problems with almost every aspect of this bit. The bigger, more encompassing reason is that I feel like you could deem a good chunk of the first 22 minutes of the finale, and Finn’s plan for peace, relatively pointless. Aside from Fern’s personal growth, nothing that occurred within the dream sequence between PB and Gumbald actually had an effect on anything. The conflict was ultimately resolved by Aunt Lolly, who had no idea what actually went on within their shared nightmare and doesn’t have a strong enough character arc for it to even make sense on her own. She appears to be convincingly against Gumbald’s plans in the previous episode, then we’re taken down a complete 180 as it shows that it was all an elaborate ruse all along. Now… she’s apparently good again? I don’t even understand what we’re supposed to gather from her character – why does she WANT to side with Princess Bubblegum? One might just argue that it boils down to the simplicity of morality, but the staff didn’t even take those simple steps to make her seem like a fully fleshed out character, or even relatively fleshed out at that. You could also argue that, while Gumbald didn’t learn anything in the nightmare world, PB did gain a higher sense of empathy, but does she really? The finale ends with both Gumbald and Chicle trapped inside empty-headed Candy People where they don’t really get any form of free will, and Chicle didn’t even get a second chance at that. Not saying Gumbald should just be free to roam around the Candy Kingdom, because he’s clearly dangerous, but he should be given SOME kind of freedom regardless. I can’t believe the nightmare sequences would highlight how fucked up it was for a somewhat conscious person to be trapped in the goofiness of a candy body, and then just leave them that way by the end of it. Empathy doesn’t really work if you only empathize with someone when do they exactly what you want them to do. The framing of Aunt Lolly tripping Gumbald doesn’t make a lick of sense either. Chances are he might have already had the juice on him when he actually walked down to confront PB, as there wasn’t a single moment after that he would have time to retrieve it. When he trips onto it, he’s not even holding the bottle, it’s just tucked within his robe. The episode plays it off like he was going to juice PB, but the way it’s executed makes it feel like it was just a freak accident. The Gumbald arc started in a way that I felt was relatively mediocre, and it ends in such a way where I feel like I’ve gained almost nothing at all.

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So, Part 2 had its moments on both a visual and story level, but I think it may ultimately be the finale’s biggest flop in terms of story execution. The way Gumbald’s arc was resolved was truly poor, showing hints of interest in the actual dream sequence, but squandering them in the grand conclusion of it all. I feel like Finn was treated as the savior of the situation by the end of it, but ultimately his plans for peace failed (almost) entirely without the episode actually acknowledging this factor. Fern had some decent moments, and I do like that saving him also resulted in sacrificing him later on, but I think his resolution itself was somewhat boring. Add this with some wonky visuals, confusing character moments, instances of stilted animation, and you have yourself a pretty lackluster second act. That being said, I do want to congratulate Seo Kim and Somvilay Xayaphone for managing to be the second longest running team in the show’s history. A lot of their episodes together are far from my favorites, but they always did seem like they had a genuine chemistry going on as collaborators. Hopefully Summer Camp Island is treating you both well.

Favorite line: “Why don’t you just fight me like a real butterfly!?”

“Come Along With Me” (Part 1) Review

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Not a single rip or tear. *sniff*

Original Airdate: September 3, 2018

Written & Storyboarded by: Tom Herpich & Steve Wolfhard

And so begins our four week trip through Adventure Time‘s big climax! Going into Come Along With Me was a surreal experience. Adventure Time was this huge, juggernaut series that once seemed undefeatable – it was essentially Cartoon Network’s SpongeBob for a good chunk of the 2010s (until Teen Titans Go! started picking up steam). The idea of a series finale for such a massive show was almost unreal to me, not to mention a show that has sold itself on having many, many, many, MANY hanging threads. When I sat down to watch the long-awaited finale, I went in with a sense of excitement, but also a sense of dread. Adventure Time was, and still is, my favorite series out there, and the idea of its finale not landing was exceptionally stressful for myself. Luckily, upon a first viewing experience, I was very much enamored with its sense of closure and the general care and passion that the crew clearly put in. Upon reevaluation, I still think a lot of what worked on a first watch still succeeded… while other aspects, unfortunately, did not. But before we tackle the contents of the episode, let’s first dive into the intro that precedes it.

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Come Along With Me begins in the distant future that was elaborated upon in Graybles 1000+. Steve Wolfhard clearly had a ball boarding for this sequence, and you can really see just how much of his love for the fallen Ooo really shines through. A lot of the concepts he kickstarted feel fully fleshed out, or at the very least, semi-fleshed out. All elementals are accounted for, including the battling fire and slime beings named X and O respectively, the ice dome that still holds Patience St. Pim, and a bit of a mystery regarding the Candy Elemental. Within the Ice Thingdom, there are pink hands that can be clearly seen behind bars, but there’s also the hooded character watching over the land that has been theorized to be PB. I like how the 1000+ world works in a way that doesn’t reveal too much in terms of what happened to our major characters from the past – they might all be rotting in the ground, or some of them might very well still be kicking. I like the subtlety of playing around with the idea, rather than having it fully spelled out like the Season 11 comics attempted to do. It’s much more intriguing this way. There’s other neat touches, like the rise of the “Pup Kingdom” and the idea that Charlie’s future son rules over it. Again, a lot of stuff that Wolfhard clearly fleshed out in one way or another, which also makes the episode at hand more interesting and quite charming.

Then we’re introduced to Shermy and Beth, the duo that essentially work to capture the essence of Finn and Jake’s bond and heroism. There was never really a ton that went into Shermy’s history or past, but Beth is riddled with a hidden baggage that Wolfhard conducted off-screen. Beth, as revealed in the intro, is the “pup princess,” though her role as a leader didn’t last, as she was exiled and became a fugitive of the Pup Kingdom. She also has the gnarly ability to warp things through her belly-button, carrying on the legacy of her alien ancestor, Jake. Shermy and Beth are both fun and likable. There’s a simplistic charm to their characters that is very (successfully) reminiscent of their adventurous counterparts. Though, I don’t necessarily buy into the idea that they are reincarnations of Finn and Jake. Obviously Beth is related to Jake in some way, but I don’t really think Shermy is supposed to be a future version of Finn. Or at least, that’s not what I took from his character. Heroes, like Finn and Jake, die off eventually, but there will always be a righteous duo in the world that proceeds them. Despite their ancestry, I like to believe that Shermy and Beth are just two cool peeps that don’t have any kind of heroic blood or vital force inside that connects to our former duo, they’re just two close companions that help to lighten up the world through their connectedness and desires for good (even if it involves being a bit rambunctious). Since the series has concluded, I’ve seen a handful of people pitch the idea of an entire show revolving around Shermy and Beth, buuuut I’m not sure if I’d be especially interested in that concept. They’re fun placeholder characters, but I don’t think their creation intends for them to be filled to the brim with depth.

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The further fleshed out version of the 1000+ world remains intriguing in its blend of macabre and goofy developments. It’s definitely bleak, with more muted colors and a sense of degradation, but a lot of its inhabitants are endearing in a way that would even make them suitable inhabitants of the pre-post-post (that’s a doozy) apocalyptic world. Princess Zip exists to show that interaction with extra-terrestrial life has increased after the events of High Strangeness, but also as an example that things have changed drastically, yet not very much, in the thousand years since Finn and Jake roamed Ooo. A barely intelligence alien princess is odd, but in actuality, is it any more odd than a rainbow unicorn fluent in Korean? It feels very real in not changing so much that it’s unrecognizable, but changing enough that clear transitions have occurred over a long period of time.

It’s super silly, but I feel like I can totally get behind BMO being the only character whose status is confirmed in the 1000+ world. This isn’t to say that BMO doesn’t have depth, but he surely is the most static of the main cast. While any other character would probably go through some drastic, grittier appearance change, BMO remains virtually the same with very little physical altercations. I also like the idea that, in a world where technology is constantly evolving, a little robot boy that is likely considered primitive by the standards of the 1000+ is still standing. Of course, it is slightly questionable from a believability standpoint. BMO has been prone to more life-threatening obstacles than any of his other friends in the main cast, and it is somewhat difficult to grasp that the little robot has made it this far. There’s the possibility that he’s always had someone to look after him and upgrade his software over the years, but the independent BMO that we see before us does raise some questions. Like, what if his batteries end up dying? Is he just dead there forever with anyone to put him back together? I’m probably way over-thinking it, but I think almost anything in this type of futuristic dystopian could be subject to skepticism.

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I also love the idea that BMO, er, the King of Ooo, is regarded among Ooo civilians as some kind of legend or urban myth, when really, it just seems like another case of BMO playing dress-up. I was fully prepared to see the self-proclaimed King of Ooo in this episode, as Wolfhard had already pitched around the idea of KOO existing in the far future once before. BMO’s abode (atop the iconic Mount Cragdor) is riddled with various easter eggs from the course of the series. Mentioning each and every one of them would be redundant – they’re all listed out on the wiki page, and I really only identified all of them through this complete comprehensive list. I will comment on the few I find most interesting, however.

  • There’s several items that really make me wonder how BMO even acquired them in the first place: Finn’s discarded grass arm from Escape From the Citadel, the maid from Crossover, Melissa’s license plate from Trouble in Lumpy Space, etc. I’m sure the thought process behind these small cameos was not necessarily to make complete sense, but rather to sprinkle in as many tiny references for the audience to recognize as possible. Though, I think a couple of these may be too ambitious for their own good.
  • Apparently BMO has multiple remnants of his dead friends? Beth picks up Mr. Fox’s skull and apparently the dead Fionna and Cake Omnibus is in there too, haha, holy shit. Not to mention AMO’s empty shell lying about as well.
  • I thought it was super sweet how one of the cards from Shh! was actually framed. BMO considers it a true relic.
  • I kind of wonder if some of the items spotted were not even intended to be easter eggs, like the basketball from Simon & Marcy or a block from The Tower. I wanna believe that they were, but I also think it’s funny to see just how deeply people dug into analyzing even the tiniest of references.

These easter eggs are fun, though perhaps a bit too overwhelming. I mean, BMO has lived 1,000 years after the passing of Finn and Jake, I’d like to think that there would be more unusual or unknown artifacts from years passing that don’t connect to anything that we’ve seen in the series. But of course, I’m being cynical. This made for a fun little game of I Spy that’s main purpose was to engage with fans, and I can’t say I blame it for doing that. I much more bothered by Shermy singing Tropical Island, a song that was sung ONCE in the entire series and never documented in any way. That was a bit too fanservice-y for my liking.

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BMO coming across Finn’s discarded robot arm was both really sad and somewhat humorous. I do wonder what happened to BMO that he isn’t able to remember Finn’s name. I mean, half of the shit BMO owns is connected to Finn in some way. The little guy may have gotten that much dreaded memory wipe that was first referenced in Be More, but I’m not sure if he would be able to recall anything in that case. But, regardless, this moment where BMO can’t fully recollect his former best friend and owner is super saddening, though comforting in the very least that he remembers the history of “Phil” regardless.

As we trek into the actual story of the Great Gum War, I love the immediate sense of conclusiveness as our first scene of past (or present) Ooo is Finn’s spirit animal, a butterfly. In general, butterflies carry a great meaning of hope and endurance, and never have those traits been stronger in Finn than on the brink of war. Even though it doesn’t commit fully, the first act of Come Along With Me feels very dark and desolate, but also very massive. Prominent characters like King Man, Betty, and Maja all converging, as a legion of heroes congregate below, does make the weight of Come Along With Me much more apparent. I mean, the God damned Duke of Nuts is there, for crying out loud! The dude hasn’t shown up in eight whole years. I like all of these big royal figures being there, but honestly, I think they could’ve went one step beyond. It would’ve made my heart happy if literally every princess that has ever appeared was apart of PB’s union, but I can understand that they mostly just wanted to focus on the big dogs. Though, I’m not even sure I fully get behind all of these big political figures standing very clearly at the center of a war. Maybe I’m just politically naïve, but this isn’t traditionally how wars work, right? A president or world leader hasn’t just stood erect on a battlefield in front of their entire army, correct? I can’t really get behind the logic in that. How is Lemongrab gonna be helpful during a full-scale war?

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I do like the continued establishment of each character dealing with the concept of war in their own unique way. I wish it had been a bit more emotive and raw, but Marceline, being the only character present that has consciously survived through The Great Mushroom War, has a nice reflective moment of both understanding the notion of history repeating itself, yet not wanting to relive such a tragedy again. That brief cut to a young Marcy standing before the destruction of the world around her is actually one of my favorites from the entire episode, as a visual representation of Marcy’s true depth of anxiety. PB is clearly fully detached emotionally and isn’t prepared to let her feelings for those around her compromise what she ultimately believes to be right. I kind of thought that maybe she was a bit too detached to Marceline, but then I realized that her comment, “let’s talk when this is all over,” is probably Bubblegum’s most sincerest form of saying “everything will be alright” without actually saying that. Jake, in typical Jake fashion, doesn’t blow things out of proportion with his belief on the outcome of the war, and feels optimistic that maybe everything will be quick and painless. But Finn clearly opines that things don’t have to be this way, and that there must be another way out. I think those involved in the war are clearly either working on PB’s same level of paranoia, a sense of pride for Ooo, or just as a simple allegiance to the Candy Kingdom. Finn, however, while probably slightly selfish in wanting things to remain stagnant, seeks out an alternate opportunity for what he sees is the only way to save those around him, in a paranoia almost opposite to PB’s. Cue the nightmare juice.

I will say, Act I really succeeds on the humor front. Those first few scenes on the actual battlefield are hilarious – even Gumbald whips out some funny lines here and there! I don’t know why they tried to make Gumbald this super serious and intimidating character, Fred Melamed seems more in tune with comedic timing than actually carrying out legitimately threatening dialogue. Gumbald’s whole deal with taunting Bubblegum using a lemon was funny enough, but Lemongrab writing down “un-make me” was the icing on the cake (no pun intended). I also really loved Pendleton Ward’s delivery of LSP’s opening line, “here we go,” as she embraces the war occurring in front of her. It’s super interesting to me that PB’s decision to reconsider was reinforced by her ability to reminisce about her connection to Shoko. Shoko was someone PB cared about during the initial inception of the Candy Kingdom, and she unfortunately lost her before they could become close. She finally had the opportunity to befriend a young pupil when Finn came along, and doesn’t want to risk similar consequences of war befalling him. Her honest emotions outside of her deeper anxieties begin to set in, as she starts to reconsider. It doesn’t last long, however. A back-and-forth with Uncle G. sets her right back into her primitive desires of survival, which triggers our transition into the next act, where 3/5ths of our main cast are officially dead.

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Finn and Gumbald’s poses… Yikes.

The first act of Come Along With Me does a pretty stellar job of establishing the finale’s story, with a well-developed look into the future and genuine tension as the conflict of war finally arises, along with a few good laughs along the way. I think it’s a little disappointing for me personally that Herpich and Wolfhard had a big part in the setup, but not the execution of the episode. At the same time, though, the stuff with Shermy, Beth, and the 1000+ world really is Wolfhard’s baby, and I’m glad he got a chance to see it through to the end. There’s also plenty of terrific visual moments, namely the establishing of opposing sides on the battlefield as dawn breaks. I’m still not positive if, in its execution, Come Along With Me was as big as it was hyped up to be. But this first part does, at the very least, commit to making things feel as large as possible.

Favorite line: “Have fun on the other side of this door!”