“What Have You Done?” Review

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Original Airdate: September 13, 2010

Written & Storyboarded by: Elizabeth Ito & Adam Muto

I mentioned in my review of When Wedding Bells Thaw that I believed that episode felt a bit scattershot when tackling the Ice King’s sociopathic nature. What Have You Done?, in my eyes, was a much better look at both the sympathetic and sociopathic sides of Ice King’s character.

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This episode continues where The Duke of Nuts left off with transforming Princess Bubblegum into a cute and pretty damsel in distress to a somewhat tyrannical ruler whose best interest is always in the Candy Kingdom. We don’t really get to see the full effects of this transformation till later in season five, but it’s nice that this side of her character was introduced in the first season, rather than coming completely unexpected later on. Speaking of things introduced and developed more later on, we’re also introduced to a potential origin of the crown, as Ice King claimed to have made the crown with the magic that he stole. This seemed as though it was a continuity error up until the backstory of the crown unraveled in Evergreen. I really love how this show can build on non-sequiturs or one-off jokes four or five seasons after they are introduced and create them into a coherent plot thread.

What really works in this episode is continuing the Ice King’s development from an insane, pathetic jerk to insane, pathetic, and a jerk with a heart of gold. The episode acknowledges that, while he is crazy, he typically means well in his actions, and even when he means well, he can still be stubborn and obnoxious. He’s a perfectly fleshed out and yet convoluted character that constantly leaves you on the edge of your seat on what he’s going to do next.

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The scenery in this one transitions from dark and chilling to dark and illuminating, and the background music compliments both tones. I’m pretty sure that’s a hammered dulcimer conducting most of the score in this one (correct me if I’m wrong) and it really does a standout job at capturing some of the grittier moments, such as IK in jail, as well as some of the lighter moments toward the end of the episode. This episode has some great Simpsons-type humor in the background as well; one of the codes on PB’s book reads 5318008, which of course is the universal code for boobies, and Ice King has “I.L.P.B.” carved in his castle (I love Princess Bubblegum). Also, this episode introduced Bubblegum’s interesting bilingual ability to speak German. Maybe the mother gum formed in Germany? Theories!

And of course, any episode that ends with Jake happily carrying Finn through the Candy Kingdom gets a thumbs up from me. Also, fun fact: when this episode first aired, there was a random commercial break after Ice King flies off when Finn and Jake let him out. It was totally and completely absurd and made me think I was getting a two-parter. But sadly, I wasn’t. Boo.

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