Tag Archive | Marceline the Vampire Queen

“Memory of a Memory” Review

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Original Airdate: July 25, 2011

Written & Storyboarded by: Tom Herpich & Ako Castuera

I incorrectly stated that Conquest of Cuteness was the last Tom-Ako board in my episode review. This is actually the last episode written and storyboarded by the pair, and it’s certainly a good episode to go out on. It’s a very interesting look at Marceline’s past history that I’d actually even like to see this as a half hour special. Just Finn and Jake exploring the memories of Marceline’s past and exploring a new understanding of herself along the way. They did fine with the time they were given, but I can’t help but feel like this one was a bit rushed.

The reason for that is that there’s a lot of exposition at the beginning. It’s all for a purpose, as it is a convoluted inception-type story, which requires a good bit of explanation for the audience. However, it does make the exploration through Marceline’s memories feel all the more shorter, while I feel as though there were points in history I’d like to see more. But of course, this is still early in the series. There are many, many more episodes where we delve deeper in Marceline’s history, so really, I’m just nitpicking.

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The memories Finn and Jake do end up exploring are really interesting. I really love the background details of the scene with young Marcy. Some burning building, tanks, and broken debris continue to entertain the story of the apocalypse, and Marcy’s experiences through it. In addition, I just think young Marcy is too cute. The actress Ava Acres (who actually plays Young PB as well) is really terrific when capturing the innocence of a younger Marceline, while also adding charm and flair to her line deliveries. This episode also introduces Hambo, which will have a much bigger role in the series later on. It is noteworthy that Marcy states “Hambo is my only friend,” which makes me wonder when this flashback is supposed to take place. Simon must have still been around then, as Marceline still appears to be very young. Perhaps it was a point where he was beginning to lose himself more, distancing Marcy. Whatever the reason, it still lines up pretty solidly with everything we’ve learned about Marceline up to now.

Transitioning into a memory with an older Marceline is the hilarious addition of the scene with Hunson literally eating Marcy’s fries, much to her dismay. A bit of fun trivia is that in the Marcy’s Super Secret Scrapbook, this scene is included as a point to emphasize the breaking point of Marceline and Hunson’s relationship with each other (as implied in the song) and the fact that food was fairly scarce during this time, leaving a plate of fries being the only thing Marceline had to eat. Here, it’s just used as a nice little humorous gap following up one of AT’s most popular songs.

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Other great memories explored are the time Marceline lived in the treehouse, her time with her ex-boyfriend Ash, and the final jump to the memory core. The memory core looks really dope. Once the boys enter in, it’s an artistically fluid trip that displays some of the most ambition artwork the show has covered yet. It really feels like something out of a trippy 70’s animated movie, and it’s disappointing it only last for a short bit of time. The reveal that Ash was behind all of it is a relatively good twist. I actually really like the character of Ash. He’s a giant douche, but they manage to give him a lot of funny lines and avoid turning him into the typical snobby jerk you see in most cartoons. He’s just kind of a dumb loser, with zero moral empathy for those around him. Also, the idea of a wizard dating a vampire is pretty rad! Hooray for diversity!

The resolution for the conflict is actually something I think is really clever as well. I think it somewhat comes out of nowhere, as when was there ever a point where Finn actually mentioned this plan before he just went ahead and did it? Besides that, it’s a pretty inventive solution to the issue by entering Finn’s memories. However, it really only makes me want an episode that explores Finn’s memories. The premise for this episode is such a good concept that I wouldn’t mind if every character’s past history was explored this way at some point. All we get from Finn’s past is the now viral Buff Baby song, which is admittedly a lot of fun. Also, it takes place in Joshua and Margaret’s house! That’s three direct mentions of Finn and Jake being adoptive brothers in a row. It feels like the writers were really trying to stress that this season. The episode ends on the best way possible: some delightfully painful abuse towards Ash, courtesy by Finn, Marceline, and Jake’s giant foot. One way to know that Ako is boarding an episode is that she loves drawing Jake with toes.

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In the end, I do enjoy this one, I just wish it had a little more time to breathe. There are just so many great ideas and interesting character explorations that I wish the show could go one step further with it. As I mentioned though, there’s plenty more of Marceline’s past to be explored in the future, so I’m okay with this brief and fun journey through her life experiences.

Favorite line: “Ash gets hungies at eight o’ clock, you need to get back in the kitchen and make me dinner.”

“Heat Signature” Review

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Original Airdate: May 9, 2011

Written & Storyboarded by: Ako Castuera & Tom Herpich

Heat Signature is an oddball; it was supposed to be aired a week before the season two finale, but ended up being spontaneously dropped from the schedule that night and aired the week following Mortal Folly/Mortal Recoil. On the DVD order, it’s placed directly before those two episodes. That being said, I still don’t think it’s in the right order! In the episode prior, Finn and Jake gather everyone together to watch Heat Signature 3, so unless the two boys were blatantly intending to screen Heat Signature’s second sequel in front of Marceline before she had even seen the first one protected by government law, I think there’s some sort of mix-up with production codes here. That aside, this is actually another one of those AT episodes I’ve probably seen the least. I actually didn’t watch it the first time it aired, and kinda thought the preview for it was just some weird fever dream I had for a little while. Much like Henchman though, it’s an episode that continues to develop Marceline’s character and actually outlines some major behavioral changes for the remainder of the series.

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I just really love this brief little scene of Finn tossing Jake up and down.

I think the premise is actually quite interesting. Finn, as we know, is pretty reckless and willing to throw himself at any opposing force, but it’s pretty crazy how willing he is to be permanently turned into a vampire and sacrifice his stance as the last human. Even Jake, whose fear of vampires has plagued him, is totally willing to get bitten. It actually sort of makes sense if you look at the big picture of his character: Jake’s aging process has burdened him for a large chunk of the series, and with both of his parents passing after a relatively short lifespan, the promise of immortality, along with the fact that he’ll be able to look after Finn and stay with Lady for longer periods of time, just might seem promising to him. It could also just be that being a vampire in modern Ooo is considered super grunge and hipster, I dunno.

Wendy, Booboo, and Georgy aren’t really that interesting. They’re typical bullies with nothing that new or fun about them, but the faux trials they put Finn and Jake through are pretty amusing. I always forget that this is the episode with Lumpy Space Princess and a can of beans (for some reason I usually remember it being in To Cut a Woman’s Hair), and that always gets a big kick out of me. Speaking of kicks, I like the scene where the ghosts brutally kick the shit out of Finn and Jake too. It’s so cruel, but there’s something so painfully funny about the two of them still going along with it. Yeah, Finn and Jake are a bit oblivious to what’s going on in this episode, but for the most part, I think it works. I’m glad they didn’t go the route of having Finn and Jake be super pissed at Marceline for “not believing in them” or some nonsense, the show keeps out any unnecessary drama involving the two boys.

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The only necessary drama we need to see is between Marceline and her friends. This is really a true testament of Marceline’s character, and one that sticks with her throughout the rest of the series. For the past two seasons, Marceline’s been portrayed more as a prankster and an anti-hero, but her time spent with Finn and Jake has had an effective result on her improving moral code. If this had been any other person in the past, I do believe Marceline would’ve went through with whatever her ghost friends had in mind. But Marcy’s time spent with Finn and Jake has opened her character up to new levels of understanding and compassion, and it’s really delightful to watch her develop a little more with each episode she’s featured in. I do feel as though Marceline’s character has been toned down a bit more significantly as of Heat Signature, but of course, these were different times. This is primarily the climax of Marceline’s teasing of Finn and Jake, as her character arc shifts focus from the main duo to Ice King and Bubblegum majorly in the next couple of seasons. I think it’s an appropriate ending for this type of relationship she shares, as it’s obvious that’s she’s gained a newfound respect for Finn and Jake that she previously didn’t have before.

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So yeah, it’s definitely a goodie. Terrific character expansions, some nice backgrounds and colors, and a decent obstacle to put Finn and Jake through. According to Pen Ward, the actual Heat Signature movie is an animated film in-universe because, if it was considered live action, it would debunk his original theory that Finn’s dotted eyes and lack of nose signify that he’s a mutant. I never bought into that theory… Finn is the Human, dammit! Sorry, Mr. Ward. Can’t stand by you on that one.

Favorite line: “What if we turn evil? I’ll have to start wearing cologne.”

“Video Makers” Review

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Original Airdate: April 18, 2011

Written & Storyboarded by: Kent Osborne, Somvilay Xayaphone & David C. Smith

Pendleton Ward mentions in the commentary of this episode that he hates pitting Finn and Jake against each other. Simple reason: it’s just not fun. I completely concur with this notion, as with pretty much any series, watching two characters bicker for a majority episode just simply isn’t enjoyable or interesting enough to watch. Finn and Jake have a very close relationship, which means they’re prone to fight every now and then and get into disagreements. I personally think the episode Who Would Win? did a pretty decent job of that while still keeping the episode fun and enjoyable. How does this episode fare? Well, let’s check it out.

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It’s interesting to note that this is actually the first time the Great Mushroom War gets named dropped, and it’s done so in a relatively humorous way. I really like how seriously Finn and Jake take the Federal Warning, and it works perfectly as a conflict driver. I like how the literal apocalypse can be used for such a simple plot point like this one.

The scenes that follow are pretty humorous. I like that this is an episode that really uses most of the main and recurring AT characters to its advantage, and even giving some others a bit more screentime. For instance, this is really the first time Mr. Cupcake gets a chance to shine, and one of the first he’s pitted against Jake. Jake’s jealousy of him is pretty enjoyable, and I love how this is actually the start of a long term rivalry between the two of them. In addition, Shelby, one of my favorite side characters, gets some well deserved spotlight in this episode. Shelby’s general snarky attitude and diverse personality from the rest of the mostly optimistic AT characters is actually pretty refreshing, and the “check pleeeeease” line is definitely something I’ve considered putting on my graduation cap on more than one occasion. There’s also some other little fun gags at the beginning, like Finn’s magic cup that pours everyone’s preferred juice and oh-my-god-whatever-the-fuck PB was drinking. I seriously don’t know what to make of that.

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Aside from that, there’s simply not much to this one for me. Finn and Jake’s bitching at each other is tiresome, and it’s a bit ridiculously over-the-top for them to be angry at each other for such a dumb reason as picking a genre for their movie. I think it would’ve been way more interesting if they just went with the “two characters try to make a movie and it turns out terribly” plot, but instead they choose and obvious route that brings down the entire episode. It’s a shame really, because had they chose the former, they were headed in the right direction. There’s some other funny scenes like the one where Slime Princess jumps right into the crocodile pit and when Finn attempts to make it look like PB is riding the frog chariot, and if they just stuck with those ideas in mind, I think it would’ve turned out a much better product. Luckily BMO’s song (written by David C. Smith) is sweet enough to end the episode on a very endearing note, but otherwise, it’s a pretty weak entry from the second season.

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Favorite line: “Check pleeeeease!”

“Go With Me” Review

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Original Airdate: March 28, 2011

Written & Storyboarded by: Ako Castuera & Tom Herpich

Go With Me is Adventure Time at its purest: no big battles, no enticing adventures, no opposing villains, just engaging interactions between the characters and what makes them each so unique. Season two is certainly a lot more rounded in its humor and writing than the first season, but there are times during the second season that it can be a bit… “sitcom-y.” With some subversions, there’s a couple of different plots that feel as if they could be on any show (Blood Under the Skin, Heat Signature, Video Makers are some examples) and this episode could be included in that category. That doesn’t necessarily mean these are bad episodes, but part of the fun with AT is how unique and eccentric it can be with tackling your expectations vs. reality. However, Go With Me is a special episode that uses the characters to their very best abilities that avoids any feelings of being too generic or done-before.

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In my review of Henchman, I discussed how disappointing it is that Finn and Marceline barely interact outside of casual small talk in recent years. It’s really a shame, because if this episode is an example of anything, they are too freakin’ adorable together, and not even in a romantic sense. Obviously there is the giant age gap between the two, but I just generally enjoy watching Marceline tutor Finn on the experiences of life. Finn’s still very inexperienced with many topics, as he’s just recently entered his teen years. Marceline, however, has been around for ages. It’s really endearing to see the enjoyment Marceline has in shadowing a young companion, and the excitement Finn has in being taught how to talk to girls.

The way each character works off of each other in this episode is just splendid. Jake is still afraid of Marceline, Marceline still gets a kick out of fucking with Jake, Finn and Marceline I mentioned above, Finn and PB’s continuously awkward state, and a hint of Marceline and PB’s past history together is thrown in. I love how subtle it is as well; you really can’t gather anything from that brief bit of dialogue, but you know somethin’ is amiss. And hey, PB’s name is Bonnibel! Part of what adds to that mystery is that it’s really never revealed what Marceline’s motivation is behind helping Finn. She could legitimately want to help him score with Bonnie, but at the same time, she could also just be trying to spite the Princess. I mean, wrestling and being chased by wolves? Even Marceline, in her dark and mysterious ways, didn’t like being treated poorly by her ex-boyfriend Ash, so it’s very likely that it was all just a front to pick on PB.

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I love all of the awful advice Finn receives from Jake and Marceline and all the attempts he goes through to get PB’s attention, as well as just how far he’s willing to take it to do so. Jake and Marcy’s bickering and Finn’s general lack of experience with women is very sitcom-y, but hey, that doesn’t necessarily have to be a bad thing. I’d much rather watch these characters try to find a date for movie night than say, the cast of Full House, Saved by the Bell, or some other corny 90’s sitcom.

Like I said, it’s just really enjoyable to watch Finn and Marcy work off of each other. They’re two cool people who much rather enjoy having fun and enjoying life than feeling obligated to do what everyone else is doing. Finn learns an important life lesson in this episode: that he should follow what he wants to do rather than what society and social norms suggest. Finn probably would’ve been better off if he had just taken a blanket or duck to begin with, but hey, at least he got to spend the night with a good friend. Marceline taught him that valuable lesson, and she helped him to focus on excitement and livelihood in the end. It’s one relationship I never get tired of watching.

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Favorite line: “Naw, he just needs some spaghetti.”

 

 

“It Came from the Nightosphere” Review

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Original Airdate: October 11, 2010

Written & Storyboarded by: Adam Muto & Rebecca Sugar

Marceline is one of the most mysterious, yet developed characters in the entire series. Many elements of her past are vague; how she came into this world, the timeline between her entrance into vampirism to the time she met Finn and Jake, her past relationship with Bubblegum, etc. In her two spotlight episodes during season one, the only thing we could gather about Marceline is that she’s lived way beyond a handful of the main and secondary characters, and that she’s lost a chunk of her moral ethics along the way. It wasn’t until this episode that the more hidden layers of her character begun to unravel, in what is most likely the second season’s strongest effort.

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This is the first episode to welcome Rebecca Sugar to writing team, and I’m sure I don’t even have to explain to any of you who she is. I have somewhat controversial opinions about some of the episodes she has worked on, but overall believe that she’s one of the strongest writers on AT. The staff has said time and time again that Marceline is one of the hardest characters to empathize with, but I think it’s safe to say that Sugar knows Marcy better than anyone. She really made the character her own during her time on the show, and helped this episode to go above and beyond to showcase her more sympathetic side, along with the help of Adam Muto.

While I’m certainly not one of those people who believes that the series instantly began to rot once Sugar left during season five, the music of the show sadly did undergo decline. The reason I mention this is because “Fry Song” is the first song that was written by Sugar, and it really sky rockets above anything we’ve heard thus far in the series, and one that isn’t really comparable to anything we hear in later seasons. The raw emotion, the soothing strums, coupled with Olivia Olsen’s beautiful voice are really what make it one the show’s most famous symphonies.

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Hunson Abadeer, who is simply referred to as “Marceline’s Dad” or “Daddy” in this episode, as well as being voiced by Olivia Olsen’s father Martin, is the first real threat to the series. Thus far, we’ve had Ice King, Magic Man, Ricardio, among others, but none have felt as threatening as Abadeer. What makes him most effective as a villain is his connection to Marceline; we’re not really supposed to like this guy, but at the same time, we feel the strong emotions of our main heroine (in this case, Marceline) and want the two of them to be able to be able to reunite as family once again. It’s an impressive feat of conflicting emotions, and helps us both empathize with Marcy, as well as wanting Abadeer to be defeated.

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Finn is written terrifically in this episode. While we’re able to put ourselves in Marceline’s shoes, Finn never lets his emotions get the best of him. What he wants is what’s best for Ooo, but also for Marceline. While a 12-year-old can’t possibly understand what Marceline’s going through, Finn knows to allow what’s pure and righteous to save the day, and not to let his own feelings control the outcome.

This is also a great episode to showcase some of Ooo’s wonderful side residents. Among some of those residents are the Marauders and the Fuzzy Friends, who, to this date, have not appeared since this episode. Maybe they never got their souls back? Keeping in the tradition of building story arcs off of non-sequiturs, Abadeer deems Gunther as the most “evil thing I’ve encountered,” and we learn later on that Gunther is actually the powerful space deity Orgarlorg. I doubt this was planned from the beginning, but it’s a lot of fun to go back and watch this episode to see that the concept of Orgalorg didn’t arise from nothing.

There are some really beautiful nighttime landscapes in this episode. Ooo feels extremely expansive, as we explore Marceline’s House, the Grasslands, Red Rock Pass and the Ice Kingdom. The colors are especially vibrant, and really make the entire experience illuminating. As I’ve said, it’s just really nice to see Finn and Marcy hanging out as well. I just genuinely enjoy the way these two characters work off of each other, and this is one of their cutest interactions thus far. Also, if you were wondering where Jake was in this episode, he was in Finn’s pocket the whole time!

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Favorite line:No one flicks me in the butt without my consent!

“Henchman” Review

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Original Airdate: August 23, 2010

Written & Storyboarded by: Luther McLaurin & Cole Sanchez

Aside from Heat Signature, another Marceline-centric episode, Henchman is an episode of Adventure Time I’ve most likely viewed the least amount of times. That’s not to say it’s bad either (nor is Heat Signature, for that matter) I’ve just happen to revisit it much less frequently than other episodes. However, upon watching it again, I’ve realized how important it is as a developmental episode for Marceline. Marceline’s relationship with Finn and Jake was left off ambiguously in Evicted!, and it was clear that more had to evolve before the three of them can be considered friends. Here, Jake doesn’t budge, but Finn and Marceline begin to develop a true friendship.

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I really miss episodes like this especially. Sometime after season three, Finn and Marceline’s friendship just sorta dies out. Of course, they still hang out from time to time, but really, the show has done its best to shift its focus off of their friendship and more so onto Marceline and Bubblegum’s relationship. Don’t get me wrong, PB and Marcy’s relationship has developed beautifully throughout the series, but I really miss Finn and Marceline just being able to hangout. They’re just two cool people having fun. Watching them onscreen together is always a delightfully good time, and that’s exactly what this episode does best.

One of the true highlights is that this is the first continuity heavy and developmental episode; Marceline’s return, Jake’s fear of vampires, Finn and Marceline bonding, Marceline drinking the color red, and the return of the Duke of Nuts and family. When I first saw it, it was nice for me to see that Adventure Time was a show that didn’t ditch it’s secondary characters. Of course, this is the last time we ever get to see the Duke of Nuts, and I do hope that he was able to get his life together through therapy and rehabilitation. That dude deserves it.

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Of course, the backgrounds and scenery are beautiful as always. There are some really rich nighttime colors (outside the Duke of Nuts castle) and some very colorful and bright contrasts (the strawberry patch). I really like how predictable and unpredictable the trials that Marceline put Finn through could be at times as well. You always know there’s a twist, but you’re never certain on how they’re going to be a twist. You’re half expecting Marceline to go through with her demented plans at times, but simultaneously reminded that somehow something is going to subvert it. Really good way of keeping things creative and investing in a somewhat predictable premise.

I’m not a big shipper, but I gotta say guys, I really love when Marceline and Finn hangout. Of course, I know it would never work because of the thousand year age difference, but their interactions between each other are just so cute and fun. They really bring out the most exciting and amusing sides of both characters, and watching them feed off of each other in this episode is just so delightful and charming. I really love the way this episode ends with both of them finding a newfound respect for each other. And of course, I feel as though Finn’s influence on Marceline helps her to become a better person. Or vampire. Or half-demon. Whatever. Also, I’ve always a big fan of Marceline’s wardrobe changes, and her outfit in this episode is one of my favorites. In most of my crude notebook doodles, you’ll usually find Marceline sporting this outfit.

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So while I’ve viewed this episode sparingly, it’s proved to be one of the most entertaining, as well as the most developmental episode of season one.

“Evicted!” Review

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Original Airdate: May 17, 2010

Written & Storyboarded by: Bert Youn & Sean Jimenez

Jake tells Finn a spooky “based on a true” story about vampires that really psychs him out. I don’t believe I’ve mentioned this yet, but Finn’s pajamas really psych me out. There’s no way in hell they’re even remotely comfortable, and they must itch a bunch. Finn heads off to bed, but is too scared to sleep, and is intruded on by a worm in his bed. Finn tosses the Enchiridion at it, because that book is only good for killing bugs and sitting on when the grass is wet.

After seeing the shadow of a vampire through his window, Finn rushes downstairs and panics to Jake. Jake calms Finn down by telling him that he made the whole thing up, but just then, Marceline the Vampire Queen pops in! And thus, we have our first appearance of Marcy. Sorta weird how it took 12 episodes to introduce one of the show’s most fleshed out and interesting characters, but here she is! Odd to say, but I especially like the way she’s designed in this episode. She’s wearing the basic gray outfit you see in most promotional pictures and merchandise (ain’t it weird how this is the only episode she wears that shirt?) but there’s something especially fluid and expressive about her movements and facial expressions in this episode. Marceline informs Finn and Jake of all her adventures around Ooo, including riding through a sea of fish in the DAYTIME. You lie, Marcy! Marceline overstays her welcome, however, when she kicks Finn and Jake out and claims that treehouse was her property first. Of course, Finn wants to kick her in the face a little, but Jake’s hella scared of vampires, so the two search for a new home together.

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What follows is one of my favorite scenes from AT’s first season: “The House Hunting Song.” The montage is a fast-paced romp, featuring some of the funniest and most absurd parts of the episode; Finn continuously keeps sticking his foot in people’s houses and a frog barfs a tiger, all perfectly ordinary events in the Land of Ooo. What really ties this scene together is Pendleton Ward’s hilarious singing voice. He gives every line of the song a certain umph and really nails every single delivery that the song never grows stale throughout its entirety. In addition, it even helps build Marceline’s character a bit! She’s 1,000 years old and she lost track of her moral code, but she certainly isn’t a villain of any sorts. After losing her closest friend, her jerky boyfriend, her favorite teddy bear and her father figure going completely bananas, I don’t blame her for losing stability in her life. The one small thing that bugs me about the sequence is that it raises the question: why isn’t BMO with the boys?? I know this is before BMO becomes a major character, but it seems like a bit of discontinuity looking at the series now with how close the boys are to their sentient game console.

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After that song is done with, we transition into another one where Jake serenades Finn by telling him that home is where the heart is. Obviously Jake isn’t really taking it seriously and is only having fun with it, but it’s a sweet little moment between the two brothers. After finally finding a home inside a cave, F&J decide to throw a rad housewarming party. A party that’s so rad, it raises back Tree Trunks from the dead!

As all the guests party, Marceline enters the boys’ new home and tells F&J that the cave is also her property. Finn’s like, “fuck this, it’s time to kill us a vampire!” Jake reminds Finn that home is where the heart is, which prompts Marcy to try to kidnap Jake. Marceline transforms into that awesome bat form that she has under her sleeve, as her and Finn begin to fight. Marceline grabs Jake once again, and sucks the blood right out of him. Finn is super pissed and punches that literal homewrecker right in the jaw. Marceline is impressed and kisses Finn on the cheek, causing his 12-year-old boyhood to exacerbate. Jake is revealed to have survived because he stuffed all of his guts in his thumb, and Marceline decides to give the boys their house back. Upon returning, Finn and Jake find that their house is infested by worms. The King Worm enters the room and makes Finn and Jake hug him. End of episode.

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There’s not a whole lot going on in this episode, to be honest. It’s pretty much just Finn and Jake get kicked out, find another house, fight Marceline and return back home. That being said, I think it’s a really great and fun introduction to Marceline’s character. While she actually doesn’t appear much in this episode, you can clearly tell from her brief appearance that Marceline is a very two-dimensional and layered character, and I really like how Finn and Jake work off of her. Jake is obviously terrified of her, while Finn seems equally scared of her, but more of an “intimidated by a hot girl” sort of way. Aside from that, “The House Hunting” song is really what turns this episode from a good one to a great one, and really is one of the most enjoyable scenes in the entirety of the first season.