“Wizard’s Only, Fools” Review

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Original Airdate: July 1, 2013

Written & Storyboarded by: Jesse Moynihan & Thomas Welmann

Wizard’s Only, Fools cleverly uses wizardry and science to elaborate on the topic of “religion vs. logic,” which is a motif I’m always interested to see touched upon. Though, it is one that can often end up with polarizing results, considering that most shows would either lean in one way or the other. Thankfully, Adventure Time handles this without seeming preachy or having an ultimatum, and feels more like a story that shows off both sides of the argument without really siding with either.

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I’ve mentioned before in my review of The Suitor that this season has been pretty lacking on strong PB episodes, which is a shame, because last season was full of ‘em! But the princess returns to the spotlight in this one and sports a more condescending and pretentious attitude, which is really enjoyable to watch. I can see most people viewing PB as uncharismatically cruel, as she talks down to those who have certain beliefs, and ultimately ends up getting herself and her friends arrested as a result of her stubbornness. To me, it makes her so much more admirable. Everything PB has experienced, even down to her own birth, as well as everything she has created and invented has all been a direct result of her scientific prowess. None of her people have been created through what most would consider to be “magic,” so therefore, in her 800 years of existing, she has always relied on science as her guide and the key to life. So it is quite lovely to watch her so passionately stick up for what she believes in, especially when it means putting her life into potential danger.

Though, her arrogance shows that, while it is admirable to stick up for what you believe in and to defend your own standards, it sometimes is less selfish and more selfless to suck up your own pride and give in to society’s standards. It isn’t really the right choice, but it could’ve shown PB and her friends justice if she just simply complied with the Grand Master Wizard’s request. While we’re on the subject, did his voice sound different in this one? It’s still Maurice LaMarche, but his inflections sound radically different from his first appearance and his subsequent appearance. Quite odd, but back on subject, I don’t think PB is necessarily unlikable or cruel in this one. Despite her ego taking over her logic and sense of compassion in some instances, the entire reason she is going on this endeavor at all is for one of her people. Her asking Starchy, “you still think I’m a jerk?” was incredibly cute and really showcased PB’s soft side. Even through her density, the happiness of her people is important to her, and she probably wouldn’t be able to just continue on with her work if Starchy was still mad at her.

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Finn and Jake mostly just serve as sidekicks in this one, though in the best possible way. Finn is actually a pretty great source of comic relief; he’s a little bit of a jokester in this one! I like his constant fake-outs, “Let’s stay home-just kidding,” and when he briefly gives up while trying to get past the Wizard City wall. I also like him questioning if PB was straight-up naked. It was something that was on my mind as well, though is even better that Finn brings this up while they’re under pursuit of the Wizard City Police. Jake, on the other hand, mostly serves as an adversary towards PB, and I always like the somewhat hostile differences Jake and PB have at times! It also makes sense that Jake, an alleged magic user, would combat Bubblegum’s thinking process and see her as someone who is entirely stubborn in her beliefs. It also makes sense that he would resent her for the decision she made against the Grand Master Wizard; Jake has somewhat of a strong belief system too, but he’s a pretty chill and laid back guy and would probably do whatever is easiest for him to get out of trouble. It’s the bickering between the two that I always enjoy to see, even more so than Jake’s relationship with Marceline.

Abracadaniel returns as a supporting character in this one, and I wasn’t really a fan of him in his first appearance, and I’m still not much of a fan of him here. Though, it isn’t an appearance that the episode or the story really depends on. I do actually enjoy how he gets wrapped up in PB, Finn and Jake’s conflict; I was critical of Candy Streets for its mean-spirited punishment of the character Pete Sassafras, though Abracadaniel’s such a dork/buttmonkey as always that I don’t really mind when he gets the bad end of the stick. It’s kind of what his character exists to do. And honestly, if I was for some reason running from the police, fuck yeah, I’d grab the first person I know and ask them for help! Not saying I have been… heh… heh heh.

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The Secret Wizard Society returns in this one, as their plans only get increasingly more ambiguous and rather intriguing. It is noteworthy that their board shows Abracadaniel getting sacrificed in regards to whatever they are planning. I remember by the time Betty arrived, a lot of people were wondering if Abracadaniel had been killed, yet he has made several appearances subsequently. Honestly, I wouldn’t have minded if they just killed him off. He’s not a character I particularly care for, but besides that, how fucked up would it be if his character was never seen or mentioned again after Betty? That’d be quite the dark scenario, but one I’m not opposed to.

A lot of Wizard’s Only, Fools is just simply enjoying the atmosphere and the culture of Wizard City, which, as usual, looks great. This is also the introduction of Ron James, a very quirky, fun addition to the cast of Wizard characters. I enjoy Ron James’ lingo (I’m just now realizing that there’s three characters in this show with “James” in their name and I’m not sure how to feel about it) and how he’s about as equally passionate about magic as PB is about science. The Wizard City prison is a really nice ominous setting, and in fact, I think the use of color in this one is just great. I like the darker shadows in the wizard cultists’ lair, the bright whites in Grand Master Wizard’s dome, and the reds, browns, and oranges that permeate throughout the prison. There’s a lot of different places and landscapes in this one, so using color to help make them pop is a decision AT typically excels at. And as always, there’s the little things, like the many different wizards you can spot within the backgrounds. You can tell Jesse Moynihan had a lot of fun with this episode, and Thomas Wellman, who previously wrote and storyboarded for The Suitor, provided some splendid drawings for this one. I dunno why Wellmann only wrote two episodes of Adventure Time, because I actually have really enjoyed his work on this episode and The Suitor. Writing aside, he’s got some really nice, expressive drawings, especially on Jake.

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The conclusion of this episode features PB finally giving in, though not the way we quite expected. She tried the best she could to help Starchy, though it failed, and it was either her way or the highway. Again, it seems like somewhat of a cruel ending to give Starchy the antidote against his will, but remember, this is PB we’re talkin’ about. She could literally just say “fuck it” and clone another Starchy if the first one for some reason died off. I mean, that might be drastic because it’s just a cold, but still. PB’s care for her people will not allow her to allow them suffer, and though she tried to make Starchie satisfied, there comes a point where you just have to accept treatment as it is.

So yeah, this one’s a lot of fun! Besides being an interesting allegory towards religion, it’s pretty much just a ball all the way through. Fun characters, some hilarious moments (I still crack up at PB forcing Ice King to give her the password to get into Wizard City), and a terrific setting that really helps it excel, Wizard’s Only Fools is a fun trip to Wizard City that highlights PB’s personality and her character flaws quite seamlessly.

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That’s the first half of season five, folks! I was seriously considering if I should break this season up and review them separately, and ya know what, I think I’m gonna do it. 5.1 and 5.2 are so wildly different in tone and direction that it only makes sense to give input on them separately, so the next review that will come out will be the season 5.1 review! There won’t be any mini-review to go along with it like there has been with the past few seasons, as this review is kind of already a cheat as it is. The season review will be out later in the week, but until then, thank you all for continuing to read this blog! Really enjoy hearing your input every week, and I’m happy to have gotten this far in the series. About half of Adventure Time is left, so hopefully I can tackle it completely throughout the next year or two!

Favorite line: “You know, no one has touched me in months. Could you touch me again?”

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