“City of Thieves” Review

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Original Airdate: May 24, 2010

Written & Storyboarded by: Bert Youn & Sean Jimenez

The episode begins with Finn walking around on all fours using stilts, as he tries to get on Jake’s level. These small moments between the brothers really are the highlight of the first season. They’re just so gosh darn likable around each other that just them hanging out and shooting the shit is enough to entertain me. I remember reading in the “Art of Ooo” book (marvelous book by the way, I’d definitely give it a read if you haven’t) that one of the scrapped episodes that was pitched was an episode involving Finn and Jake hanging out on top of a cloud and just talking about life for 11 minutes. I would have loved to see that!!

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F&J eventually come across a city, but an old, crusty hag warns them that it is the “City of Thieves” and that anyone who enters will become a thief. Finn disregards this warning and instead decides to help a little girl named Penny, as her flower basket had been stolen. Once in the city, Finn and Jake try to retrieve the basket, but it keeps getting stolen from one person to the next. Even Jake is tempted to steal, which gives us a brief insight to Jake’s criminal past. It’s interesting how these little scenes and moments can carry over into something bigger in the plot or help us better understand who these characters are little by little. Penny tells Finn about a king thief who steals belongings and takes them back to his tower, but only those who are pure of heart can get in. Finn’s ready to enter the tower, but Jake stole a pair of shiny red boots, so he can’t get in. I don’t blame him, those boots are luscious.

So Finn enters into the tower and retrieves a chest, but when he returns, he realizes it’s full of gold and there’s no basket inside. Penny was a sneaky little bitch who only wanted the gold, and ended up stealing Finn’s purity in doing so. Finn begins having some PTSD over being a thief and the old hag returns to gloat about being right, but Jake kicks her to the curb and helps Finn embrace his dark side so they can steal to help get back at Penny. Thus, Bat-Finn is born! Serving up justice through dark and questionable ways. Finn begins stealing swords, crossbows and even a bar of soap from a bathing horse. Sorry, Bojack Horseman. F&J proceed to break into Penny’s tent and confront her, followed by giving her a soap bath, thus purifying her. Penny thanks Finn and vows to never steal again, but when she embraces Finn, she also steals his shirt and pants. Oh Penny, you rascal!!

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This is a pretty standard episode. I really like the designs of some of the thieves, including a skeleton baby, a conjoined mutant with arms at the center of its body, and of course, the debut of Phil! How is he not human, by the way? The stealing sequences are really fast and really vibrant as well, helping give this episode a big kick to it. Other than that, there really isn’t anything too noteworthy to mention. I suppose the twist halfway through with Penny being a thief was somewhat surprising, but there was nothing especially funny or dramatic about it. I really like Finn’s descent into darkness after he steals the treasure, I almost wish we could see this side of the little man more often. And anytime Jake is portrayed as a thief is worth a good chuckle to me, he can’t help himself, dammit! Anyway, onto the next episode…

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