^ Feel like it’s worth mentioning that this title card originally depicted Finn stabbing Jake with a knife and Jake’s guts scattered everywhere. Yeesh.
Original Airdate: April 19, 2010
Written & Storyboarded by: Pendleton Ward, Patrick McHale & Adam Muto
I mentioned in my review of “Slumber Party Panic” that I thought a different season one episode held the distinction of being a better “premiere” type episode for the series. “The Enchiridion” is that episode, which is no surprise, seeing how it was the first episode of AT ever produced.
The episode starts off with one big dance party. I distinctly remember this being the first clip of “Adventure Time” I had ever seen, as they had this first scene in promos. A prototype version of Cinnamon Bun who sounds more like Chet takes a tumble into Princess Bubblegum’s castle, causing her to fall. Finn saves her, and she declares him a hero. PB says she’d like to show Finn something, and it’s none other than the Enchiridion, a hero’s handbook that is only bestowed upon the most righteous of adventurers. On a side note, if y’all haven’t checked out the actual Enchiridion book written by Martin Olsen, I’d do so asap. It’s seriously amazing.
So Finn and Jake head over to Mount Cragdor and meet a cute little guy called the Key-per, who rambles on about a riddle to open the door. Naturally, Finn just uses the big key on the top of his head to get through. In their travels, Finn and Jake save a group of Gnomes stuck in a lava pit, and to show their appreciation, the Gnomes blow up a bunch of old ladies. Only seems appropriate. Finn feels guilty for the death of these elderly women and runs off, while Jake scolds the gnomes and puts those sick little bastards back in the lava pit. As Finn wistfully stares at a lake, Jake joins him and gives advice about being truly righteous and how the old ladies were most likely just illusions. Finn feels rejuvenated, only for Jake to get gobbled up by some giant Ogre. This Ogre is awesome! He’s got animals all tied up to his arms and legs. Why? Who the hell knows? He just does! Also, he sounds exactly like modern day Cinnamon Bun. I guess Dee Bradley Baker didn’t want to do the same voice in one episode? Finn, enraged by the Ogre who ate his best friend, steals his giant dollar bill and uses it to hang-glide in the air and deliver a roundhouse kick to the Ogre’s gut, causing him to vomit up Jake. The two fly off and the Ogre cries about his stolen dollar, to which Finn returns it to him via paper airplane. Why does an Ogre who ties animals to his arms and legs need a dollar bill in the first place? I don’t know, he just does!!
Finn and Jake finally enter a tower where a Dark Magician resides, and Finn must defeat an evil heart beast before continuing. Finn defeats it, and his final task is to slay an ant. Not an evil ant, just neutral. Finn refuses to kill the ant and kicks the Magician in the boingloins, defeating him. The Key-per then enters the room in a little devil costume, declaring that Finn has succeeded in his trials, but Finn kicks him down as well in a state of over-stimulation. The Key-per sadly states he was wearing the devil costume because he was getting ready for bed. Dude, it’s broad daylight out. Outside, Finn is greeted by Mannish Man the Minotaur and the old ladies. Hey, I guess it was an illusion after all! Finn is rewarded the Enchiridion and the first chapter he looks at is “How to Kiss a Princess.” Hasn’t helped me in real life.
This episode is pure unadulterated fun. Pen Ward, Adam Muto and Pat McHale, arguably the driving forces of AT’s beginning, wrote and storyboarded “The Enchiridion”, and it’s clear that their vision of the show heavily influenced the tone and story this episode. It mixes Ward’s silliness and charm with McHale’s whimsy and folklore with Muto’s genuine and strong character depictions. As I mentioned above, there are a lot of small, nice details throughout. The Ogre is just riddled with scars and iconic imagery that I really wouldn’t mind an entire backstory episode devoted to this one-off character. In addition, I really like how this is Finn’s first big step into being an adventurer. I love his devotion to being as righteous as he possibly can, and that even killing a measly ant is considered unjust in the eyes of our hero. This episode is also a big step in the general tone of the show. While the past couple episodes have had more of a focus on absurdity and humor, this one definitely ups the fantasy element of the show that we hadn’t really seen yet, and it’s a totally enjoyable journey throughout. This is the ideal season one episode: charming, funny, fast-paced and imaginative. Little did we know at the time that the Enchiridion would have a bigger role in the main story that we never could’ve imagined…