Tag Archive | Martin

“Min and Marty” Review

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Original Airdate: February 1, 2017

Written & Storyboarded by: Kent Osborne & Sam Alden

Much like the previous episode Hide and SeekMin and Marty is primarily one big exposition bomb about the backstory of Finn’s parents, his inception, and his eventual abandonment. While I always expected the events of Finn’s past to be somewhat traumatic and sad, I don’t think the writers could’ve picked a more (satisfyingly) somber way to portray his early childhood. Min and Marty is brilliant in tying together pretty much everything we’ve learned so far and everything we’ve wanted to know, while narrowing the story down to the very intriguing lives of Finn’s mother and father. Much like the previous entry, this is one of the most down-to-earth stories the series has ever told. Aside from AT‘s typically desired goofy sense of humor and some fantasy elements (the tiger owned by the female hider was a necessity, after all) it’s a very straightforward plot that merely explores the lives and characters of two humans. And it’s surprisingly compelling at doing just that.

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Continuing right on after the events of the last episode, Kara’s memory is now fully restored after revisiting her old stomping grounds. I don’t know much about neuroscience, so I can’t really confirm if her sudden ability to retain the English language makes complete sense, but I’m willing to go along with it for the sake of my own ignorance. Finn is largely out of focus in this episode, to its strengths. The sudden info bomb that his mother is still alive and (presumably) well is A LOT to take in. With the almost non-answer that Martin gave him in Min and Marty, I assume that Finn just accepted the inevitability that he would never meet his mother because there was no chance that he’d ever receive the truth in the process. As the backstory of his mother and father plays out, Finn tirelessly looks out the window of Susan’s pod, and God only know what’s going through his head during this period of time. Finn’s anxiety is apparent, and it’s likely that he’s not even sure he wants to meet his mom. While Finn certainly matured and became a better person through his experience with Martin, those were painful moments that he’d likely never want to revisit. When being faced with the idea of his mother, Finn probably fears going through the exact same series of events that he did with Martin, or possibly uncertain in not knowing how or what to even say to his mom. It’s a great background element that isn’t explored especially in depth, to add to Finn’s introspective nature.

We briefly met Minerva and Young Martin in the previous episode, though it was mostly to set up the events that led to their convening. We get a much more focused look at their characters in this one, and I’ll go ahead and discuss them individually. Let’s discuss Minerva first: the long-awaited identity of Finn’s mother. Prior to this miniseries, I had already known about Minerva’s character, and it’s all thanks to the God damned Adventure Time Cookbook of all things that spoiled her existence for me. I was initially not all that enthused by the idea of her reveal; Minerva is the name of the Roman goddess of wisdom and strategy, and I really thought for a second that the staff was going to make Finn’s mom some unbelievable cosmic goddess to explain his heroic and legendary nature. Thank GOD that’s not what happened, as we get to see a more simple and realistic character in return. While I mentioned in my review of Hide and Seek that Kara and Frieda weren’t especially strong characters due to their simplicity, I think Minerva is actually stronger because of her simplicity. It’s easy to gather a lot from her personality in just the first few minutes alone: she’s a kind, intelligent, and helping person who wants to benefit her community and mankind through her own actions. She’s hardworking, to the point where the stress lines on her face indicate that she often puts the care of others and her work before the needs of her own self, but she seems relatively confident in her own abilities regardless. There’s something just so likable about her general demeanor and nature; the role of the hardworking, intelligent, caregiver easily reminds me of the likes of my own mother, and Minerva is a super-condensed version of that.

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Martin, on the other hand, is the opposite of such. Once more, I was a bit nervous seeing more of Martin, because I didn’t want his behavior to be retconned by an entirely virtuous past, but I think he’s handled exceptionally well here. He still is a complete swindler, using his abilities to con people into giving him devices and their trust all for practically nothing. I do wonder if he at least helped a couple people escape from Founder’s Island, because how would he get a reputation for helping hiders escape in the first place? His tactic is pretty conniving, however: playing both sides so he takes on the role of a seeker, but is secretly helping hiders in the process. Min and Marty also highlights perhaps the strongest aspect of Martin’s alluring. He’s selfish, manipulative, and an overall mess, but Martin’s ability to get what he wants always relies on one undeniable factor: he’s legitimately charming. I don’t blame Minerva for falling for him, because his attitude of flattery works on even the most intelligent of people. There is one difference that sets Minerva apart from the rest of Martin’s victims, however – Martin genuinely cares for Minnie. Even at his worst, Martin still possesses elements of humanity and isn’t a complete villain. Martin obviously is who he is because of circumstantial issues in his life, and the aforementioned psychological issues that Minerva diagnosed him with, but with all of his issues aside, good people can change shitty people. As we see from their connection, Marty easily begins to wise up in his actions after being around Minerva for a period of time, as he continues to support her and even gets a real job in the process. It’s safe to say that Martin was at his best around Minerva, and her kindness and strength is what shaped him into a more mature human being.

The sequence showcasing this growth is just great. I love whenever Ashley Eriksson lends her talents to the series, but man, every single song of hers has gotten a full release EXCEPT for this one, and it’s my favorite! I guarantee that there is a full version out there somewhere, and that the AT crew just enjoys watching me suffer in my endless search to find it somewhere on the internet. Regardless, it’s a sweet, calming melody that carries the montage through successfully, to which is entirely sweet on its own. Adventure Time can pack so much into a mere 11 minutes, but I’m so thankful and glad that even in this condensed form of exposition, every moment still feels impactful and told successfully through its storytelling. Min and Marty could have easily shown us an entire scene surrounded around Finn’s birth, but I can’t think of a single moment in the series more heartwarming and chilling than Martin snuggling up to Minnie with a baby Finn in her hands. That image alone melts my entire existence, you guys. If there was ever an Adventure Time instant that I went full-on fanboy over, it would be this one.

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If that sweetness wasn’t enough, we actually get to see Martin spending time with Finn – by choice, nonetheless! Sam Alden is typically terrific at using past scenes and storyboards for symbolism, and here we get to see Martin sitting with Finn in the same exact fashion he performed in The Visitor. It’s a terrific callback that adds a bit of melancholy to a relatively saccharine sequence. The nice moments quickly come to a halt when the deceived hiders come back to seek revenge upon Martin, as his past quickly catches up to him.

Of the sad truths presented in the Islands miniseries, I don’t think there’s anything more heartbreaking than the idea that nobody will ever know about the most selfless action that Martin carried out except for himself, but even that’s a bit hazy. To Minerva, he was a hider that used her to get closer to his goal of escaping. To Finn, he was a neglectful father that never once cared for anyone aside from himself. But, the truth is, Martin was improving on his behavior and becoming a better person, he just sadly could not separate himself from his troubled past, of which is a common issue for many people trying to better themselves. Martin was a misguided person who often chose his own selfishness above everything, but with the right influences, he could actually be a genuine guy. I thought this was the most realistic and tragic approach to covering his backstory. The surprisingly graphic promo art for this episode seems to imply brain injury had a part in Martin’s sudden turn in behavior, though I think it’d be especially lame to blame it entirely on that aspect. I’m sure the injuries to his brain affected Martin’s ability to properly remember how things went down exactly, but I also believe that Martin’s decision to go back to his old ways was a conscious decision on his part. After losing literally everything in the course of minutes without having a way back to his former life, Martin likely chose to protect himself by never looking back and to continue on with the selfish, aimless path that he started. The only time he ever opened himself up to give for others ended up as one big disaster, and who knows what ended up happening in his childhood that led him to take on such a path to begin with. This, of course, doesn’t justify his behavior towards Finn in any way, but it at least makes things more interesting and real.

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This episode doesn’t just add humanity to Martin on one level, however. Min and Marty also proves that the events that Martin had described in The Visitor were, for the most part, true. It really helps to make his previous line of “that’s… true” even more profound, showing that he was trying to be completely genuine and honest with his son for once in their relationship. Steve Wolfhard has stated before that none of the elements he included in The Visitor were pre-planned and that he just simply threw stuff out there for other storyboard artists to pick up along the way. “The Minnie,” Martin’s ship, could have been Finn’s mom’s name, or it could not have been. It’s no secret now that the AT crew essentially make stuff up as they go along, and while that may be disappointing to some, it really comes off as ingenuous when they succeed. This episode is evidence enough that the staff writers truly work hard to tie up those loose ends in the neatest, most logical, and most satisfying way possible.

The ending sequence, which features Minvera looking helplessly to the ocean, is utterly tragic. Minnie doesn’t cry, scream, or panic in any way. She simply just sits there, empty, as she fails to comprehend the series of events that have unfolded around her. Grieving is often a confusing period; while it’s most often associated with outward sadness, I think there’s something much more solemn about emptiness. You can really tell that Minerva just cannot believe what’s happening, and how could she? The day prior, she had all of the love and affection she could ever ask for, and the following day, she’s essentially left with nothing. Finn and Minerva share more than one quality, but it’s very clear that they share the same sadness as well: the turmoil over being abandoned. Before even meeting his mom, the audience is given the chance to look at her history and realize that those eyes of confusion and heartache are ones we’ve seen frequently before on our main hero himself. Luckily, however, Finn still has Jake to support him going forward, even if he isn’t saying much to begin with.

Min & Marty is exposition at its finest, offering up everything I’ve ever wanted to know about Finn’s backstory, but also nothing that I could have predicted or expected beforehand. This is a unique, tragic lovestory that utilizes the essence of humanity to its best abilities, giving us a very real story about the trials and tribulations of moving on from one’s past and the nature of relationships in general. There are so many beautifully profound moments in this episode that it’s hard to count them, and this entire entry does its damnedest to either fill my heart completely, or rip it to shreds in the process. It’s my favorite Islands episode to date, and likely one of my favorite episodes in general.

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Favorite line: “I think someone died.” “Oh, that’s great!”

“On the Lam” Review

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Original Airdate: June 4, 2015

Written & Storyboarded by: Somvilay Xayaphone, Seo Kim & Cole Sanchez

I was somewhat nervous for this episode when it was first announced, because I really figured that an entire episode devoted to Martin would try and portray the character in some sort of tragic light. While the later episode Min & Marty managed to do so with great success, I was unsure about how much sympathy I actually wanted to feel for Martin’s character, and really liked how refreshingly committed this season has been in showcasing Martin’s awful attributes. Thus, On the Lam is just the kind of episode I wanted Martin to be the star of. It’s primarily a really fun, adventure-packed episode that capitalizes on how Martin charms and manipulates his way to success, with little remorse in the slightest of the people of whom he hurts in the process.

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It’s nice to get not only one, but two alien societies in the course of two episodes! This one isn’t as ambitious or unique as the one we saw in Orgalorg, but it does features a wide variety of some neat looking aliens. I especially like the koala people, mostly for their cuteness factor. This one does a really great job of defining just how Martin is able to survive through countless planets, worlds, and galaxies. The way I see it, he has two main skill sets:

  1. He’s quick on his feet and easily able to work instinctively off of his survival skills, rather than logic or the fear of being prosecuted.
  2. He’s able to charm the pants off of literally any community that is unknowing of his shitty nature.

The second is the aspect that plays the biggest part in this one, as Martin tricks the koala-like alien society into thinking that he’s practically a God. Or at least, he believes that they think so. Even with the idea in mind that Martin literally abandoned his son and cares little about that aspect, he still manages to be surprising in just how shitty he is. After tricking his alien allies into thinking that he is on their side, Martin immediately sells the moth that has been nurturing the alien society and presumably keeping them alive. And even after bonding with his new little friend, Martin 2, Martin eventually ditches the little guy after the two are faced with certain dangers.

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The connection between Martin and Martin 2 was a nice touch to carry through the episode as kind of a misleading story that would often lead to a sweet ending for any other character, but this is Martin we’re talking about. The parallels between Martin and Finn’s relationship and the connection between Martin 1 and 2 are what really adds to said story. I even like how Martin explains that “if I’m going to heroically save your life, I’m going to need to take drastic action!” Despite the fact that Martin describes his past life as a “pile of mush” earlier in the episode, he clearly remembers how he did have one moment of heroism back in the day when he saved his son from certain death. Of course, the same logic does not apply now, because even though Martin tries relive the same heroic actions he embarked on in the past, they’re quickly squandered by the fact that he flees the second he has an opportunity to do so. I do wonder what compelled his decision to at least try to initially save Martin 2. I get the feeling that it was either because Martin wanted to convince himself that he’s a hero for his own selfish gains, or because he simply doesn’t care if he lives or dies. It could very likely be the latter; no matter where Martin runs off to, he keeps running into himself and is unable to truly keep moving forward when he is constantly turning the world against himself. I get the feeling that Martin acknowledges and accepts that, sooner or later, he’s not going to have any place left to run to. And while he does have that in mind, he’ll still take any opportunity he can to keep going and to spoil himself with all the riches that he can obtain, while simultaneously ruining everything and everyone he comes into contact with in the process. Poor Martin 2.

This one is packed with lots of fun moments. A lot of the humor does derive from just how relentlessly awful and charismatic Martin is as a character. Other funny moments include the bartender who took an awfully long time to piece together that Martin was a criminal, and the hauling turtle that casually delivers expository dialogue before he hauls garbage. I think the only real annoyance I had with this one is the fact that Martin 2 was randomly revealed to be super old in the last leg of the episode. It always bothers me when shows pull sight gags like these; why weren’t the wrinkles and liver spots on Martin 2 visible throughout the episode? These twists always feel somewhat lazy to me, though I think Martin 2 being the actual rebel leader was a genuinely good one, just without the added attributes that didn’t even really need to be a part of the episode.

So, On the Lam doesn’t aim at developing or touching on the history of Martin’s character, but instead chooses to have fun with him, which is just as rewarding. It’s admittedly a bit shallow, because the general gist of the story and the humor in general predominately revolve around Martin’s shittiness, but I enjoy Martin and he’s tons of fun to be with, so I don’t mind it as much. Definitely gets a pass in my book.

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Favorite line: “I hate this city, and I love hauling! I should probably go do something…”

“The Visitor” Review

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Original Airdate: February 5, 2015

Written & Storyboarded by: Tom Herpich & Steve Wolfhard

A lot of people were disappointed by The Visitor, either because it wasn’t raw and emotional enough (this was aired side-by-side with Steven Universe‘s On the Run after all, which was a terrific episode) or because many felt we didn’t learn anything particularly new about Martin. While it’s true that Martin is pretty much still just an irredeemable asshole, it does at least show how much Finn’s attitude towards him has changed over time. Finn no longer simply wants to force his dad to be in his life, nor does he want to extract revenge, but Finn still seems, at the very least, confused. He still doesn’t completely understand why Martin is such an utter piece of shit and why his father abandoned him, and Finn doesn’t have any idea about the truth behind his origins. This episode answers some of those questions… with mostly unsatisfying answers… but I’ll defend The Visitor in that I think it’s a very intriguing interactive episode between Finn and his father.

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The episode begins with another dream sequence to add to Adventure Time‘s absolute dream fetish quota. As usual, the sequence is pretty stellar and trippy, with allusions to Finn’s childhood self and the nature of his being. The sperm-y comet in his dream directly leads him on a path to Martin, as Finn carries his buff baby self. As the baby clings onto Finn and asks him to hold tighter, Finn responds, “it’s okay, I won’t ever let you go.” I saw this both as an allusion to Finn never giving up his childlike innocence, and also his failure to let go of his past history as a baby. Finn is still deeply affected by the fact that he was abandoned as a child, and he simply wants to know what the reason is behind that abandonment. It takes a long bit of time for him to truly move on from this aspect of his life. He acknowledges his statement in his mind by thinking, “that’s true.”

When finally confronted with his father once again, Martin seems as scummy and conniving as he did in Escape From the Citadel. The first shot we actually see of him depicts Martin eating the contents of a baby bird’s egg, and promptly spits the feathers out of his mouth once Finn enters the tree. Isn’t he just delightful? Martin also once again tries to divert Finn’s attention away from himself, though he fails entirely, and Finn figures his scheme out. The one difference between Martin’s original appearance and his role here is that he isn’t trying to get away from Finn with every chance that he gets… though he does try to at some points. Here, I think Martin is at least trying to bond with Finn, but he’s doing it entirely for himself, and not for Finn’s well-being. He wants to make himself believe he’s putting in the work of being a caring father, but doesn’t actually seem to care if he is one or not. And again, it seems as though he’s trying to find as many distractions as he possibly can; after crash landing on Earth, he immediately wants to return to space once more, because nothing beneficial is around for him on Earth. Or at least, that’s what he thinks.

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During this meeting, Finn isn’t entirely angry or furious with his father. He had gotten over the fact that Martin was the reason he lost his arm initially, and knows that revenge won’t bring him any form of satisfaction. Though, this doesn’t stop his general disgust from showing as Martin tries to hug him after tricking Finn into thinking he too lost a limb. Finn is rationally upset because he feels as though he can’t trust Martin for anything, and he’s only more-so disappointed by the fact that Martin assures him that he’ll never be able to tell the difference. One of the cleverest bits of Martin’s character is that you can never tell if he’s being sincere, or completely lying. Stephen Root’s work with Martin is great, because every line comes off as genuinely charming and affectionate, even is he’s being a complete asswipe. It’s an effect that not only works on the characters in this universe, but on the audience as well.

The villagers that Martin and Finn come across are pretty charming; their designs are super simplified, but their nature and character traits are actually somewhat profound. I kind of love that they’re smart enough to know that they’re being tricked, though they want to help out as much as they can just because they’re simple nature has allowed for them to become altruists. It’s pretty cool to see citizens of an area in Ooo who aren’t blatantly stupid or irrational, and some who are actually quite bright and humble in contrast. Fun fact: almost all of the guy villagers are voiced by Tom Herpich, and almost all of the girl villagers are voiced by Tress MacNeille.

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Most of the episode revolves around Martin manipulating the villagers into doing deeds for him, and while it’s relatively one-note, it’s all pretty funny to watch. I love seeing Finn’s absolute dead-pan reactions to all of Martin’s endeavors. The best part of it all is easily the party he throws for the villagers, in what is supposed to be a happy celebration, though everyone in sight looks like they’re either in pain, or absolutely miserable. Really paints Martin to be like an absolute monster, as it should. Even when he’s trying to do something for others, he still always selfishly puts himself first.

Though at the party, he does set aside time for his son, as Finn begins to grow introspective and wants to know some details about his past. Martin initially bats around the questions aimed towards him, though quickly grows to being genuine when he does acknowledge how much it means to Finn. This is probably Martin at his most sincere, and likely the most sincere I’d ever want to see him. Though as he proves, he can’t even really conquer sincerity the right way, as he just vaguely glances over key details in the story of Finn’s early days. It does add a bit of depth to Martin’s character, as he acknowledges that talking about Finn’s mother “stresses him out.” Again, not much is given when it comes to the concept of Finn’s mother, though we can at least gather that Martin did truly care about her at one point, and it’s a touchy subject for himself. It can be concluded that he’s the type of dude who has grown to eliminate anything even remotely stressful from his life, simply because, after all the traumatic things he’s been through, he doesn’t want to experience anything quite as emotionally taxing again. He does pull off the gist of Finn’s story quite nicely, and ends with, “I always planned to come back for you, but I didn’t.” Martin acknowledges this statement by mirroring Finn’s line earlier, “that’s true.” It’s a small, but huge moment that shows that, while Martin is a polar opposite in comparison to his son, the two do share at least one aspect of sincerity. Of course, Finn’s statement was about never letting himself go, while Martin’s statement related to actually letting Finn go, but it’s the one moment where Martin is completely and utterly honest with his son, and while it doesn’t lead to any actual development in Martin’s character, (which I wouldn’t want to see anyway) it does at least offer us a single scene in the grand scheme of things where the two characters are able to be somewhat real with each other.

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This doesn’t last very long, as Martin plans to leave on his ship (christened as the “Minnie”!) after leaving the entire village in absolute despair. He attempts to ditch Finn without even saying goodbye too, but also in a rare moment for himself, he invites Finn to come along with him in space. Granted, I don’t think this invitation is met with the same sincerity that his previous interaction was; I think Martin simply wants to use Finn as an ally and then to ditch Finn when he is no longer of use to himself. Finn is smart enough to now to know this truth, and instead of joining Martin in an attempt to either get closure or to bond with his father, he chooses the path that he knows and one that has benefited him in his toughest times: being a hero. And it also means sending his father directly into space, as far away from Finn as possible. Finn no longer feels like he needs Martin’s validation or love to move on with his life; Finn has a handful of other emotional support options to fall back on, and he realizes that his dad is genuinely a bad person. It certainly doesn’t make Finn whole completely, but he’s continuing to develop on himself by choosing to eliminate negative influences from his life, rather than to bounce back on them. In the end, he reigns a hero once more, but is confused about the lack of an actual comet that appeared in his dream. Little does Finn know, the actual convergence of a catalyst comet approaches shortly.

The Visitor is a good combination of funny and sad moments, with most of its poignancy reflecting just how awful Martin is to Finn and that Finn is still primarily deeply confused. It does end happy, however, with a positive step forward in Finn’s life path, and one that continues to increase his affirmation for life in general. Granted, I can see how a lot of people were disappointed with the lack of actual answers we got with Finn’s backstory, though I think I’m more so satisfied knowing that those answers are confirmed later on in the series. As is, The Visitor is an entertaining entry that focuses on the differences between Martin and Finn, yet cleverly also touches on their few similarities.

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Favorite line: “Everything is ruined. Everyone is fat.”

“Escape from the Citadel” Review

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Original Airdate: April 21, 2014

Written & Storyboarded by: Tom Herpich & Steve Wolfhard

Of all the trials and tribulations that Finn has experienced over the years, none compare to the sadness and disappointment that came along with meeting his human father. Though Finn had his bouts of skepticism and confliction in regards to meeting his father, nothing could have prepared him for just how shitty Martin Mertens really is.

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First off, let me just say that the presentation of this episode alone is incredible. The Citadel is likely one of the coolest locations in the entire series, with its heavily pink and purple color scheme, its lovely designs (of both the guardians and the monsters are are incarcerated), and just the overall background details of how the entire setting literally begins crumbling throughout the entirety of the episode. Man, it’s all so awesome! The attention to detail with how well this episode captures the collapse of a society entirely in the background, while the main focus is centered on the drama between Finn and his father, is executed masterfully.

And let’s get right into the pathetic piece of shit himself: Martin. Martin is the definition of a careless dick character that’s written exceptionally well, mainly because of how unforgiving Tom Herpich and Steve Wolfhard were when conceiving his dialogue. Martin doesn’t have any sympathetic or charismatic attributes: he’s purely an asshole because he doesn’t put any effort into caring for his son. His one-dimensional nature is refreshing, because I was so worried that, at any point in this episode, he was going to have some sudden moment of compassion or it would have been revealed he was in some form of trance the entire time, but that would have been way too obvious and would have ruined anything they were trying to carry across through this character. The main thing to gather from his character is to show how truly human Finn really is. While Finn has some interesting cosmic developments later on in this season, he was not born as some kind of prophecy or came from a long line of super righteous heroes; Finn grew up like any other human child: being conditioned by his surroundings and the people who cared for him. Finn is kind and caring because his true parents, Joshua and Margaret, raised him to be such a person. The idea of Martin and Finn being complete polar opposites is certainly upsetting, though entirely plausible. Heroism and kindness are not genetic traits, and Finn owes none of his positive characteristics to Martin. The promo for this episode incorporated the song “Cat’s in the Cradle” in the background, and I can’t think of a more fitting way to foreshadow the father-son relationship that develop between Martin and Finn.

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The relationship that the two share is certainly uncomfortable to watch, in all the right ways. It seems like with each passing conversation, Martin’s treatment of Finn only worsens as the episode progresses. Finn is nothing but property to Martin; a means of helping him out of trouble and helping him to “escape the citadel,” though Martin wants nothing to do with him otherwise, and does not want to build an emotional connection with his son by any means. Finn begins to acknowledge this little by little, but is not able to accept it by any means necessary. Though Finn realizes he has loved ones and people to care for him, he is still conflicted because he doesn’t know why he was abandoned and left alone in his own feces as a baby in the first place. He’s at the age where he wants to know about his existence and place in the world, and this is the next step into figuring out who he really is.

Yet, Martin offers no answers, and only puts a further hold on Finn’s developmental process. Martin even begins to warp Finn’s perspective by blaming him for the reason the two of them were separated in the first place. Again, Martin has no time to humor Finn’s emotional turmoil, and wants to rush through the interrogation as fast as possible in order for him to successfully escape. But, without answers, Finn isn’t able to fulfill the closure that he craves so severely. And without that closure, Finn feels as unloved and worthless as ever. The funny part about all this is, while Martin is a character that we’re all supposed to hate and despise, he still has qualities that make him somewhat entertaining. By just how much of an absolute douchebag he is and how hard he tries to avoid his responsibilities (“I’m going to the store!”) he comes off as just ridiculous enough to kind of laugh while shaking your head at his antics.

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On the other side of things, Jake is as caring and compassionate as possible. Despite the clear anxiety and stress he experiences throughout this entire endeavor, he never leaves Finn’s side and assists him every chance he gets. Though with all love also comes tough love, and Jake has no issue calling out Finn for attempting to help Martin after several moments showcasing Martin’s neglectful attitude. Jake goes as far as to call Martin a “loser,” which is an effectively touching move that shows just how much of a disdain Jake has for this guy that he met only minutes ago. In Jake’s eyes, anyone who fails to see how special and awesome a kid like Finn is, especially when it’s his biological father, is not worth Finn’s time and that he shouldn’t even attempt to pursue a relationship with him further. And as much as we feel bad for Finn throughout this episode’s run, we also can’t help but feel so sorry for all that Jake is put through as well. The Lich is on the loose, his surroundings are falling apart, there’s absolutely no clear way to get home, and his brother is experiencing absolute pain in what was supposed to be a rewarding endeavor. The weight of the situation is surely weighing on Jake, who not only has himself and Finn to worry about, but his girlfriend and children back home. And the inevitability of whether they’ll survive through all of the destruction, combined with the drama that is currently affecting them, is enough to send the usually laid back and calm Jake into a full-fledged stress attack.

And then there’s the Lich… oh man, is he at his all-time best in this one. Seriously, his speech to Finn and Jake, as everything goes dark and Ron Perlman reads off those haunting words, is one of my all-time favorite moments in the entire series. Gonna quote this monologue to break it down a bit further:

FALL. You are alone, child. There is only darkness for you, and only death for your people. These Ancients are just the beginning. I will command a great and terrible army, and we will sail to a billion worlds. We will sail until every light has been extinguished. You are strong, child, but I am beyond strength. I am the end. And I have come for you, Finn.

The Lich’s words are antagonistic, but also convincing. The Lich doesn’t know about Finn’s current state with his father, nor does he really even care to know. All that the Lich knows is that Finn is a lifeform, which means that he has no other fate aside from death. While the Lich has tried to destroy Finn’s life, and lives of all beings, several times, Finn has averted such a future through vigilance and his own heroic deeds. Yet, the Lich does not feel intimidated by heroism or the the greater good; he has his instinctive duties to destroy all life, because all that deserves to exist is destruction. The Lich addresses how strong Finn is; Finn managed to thwart the Lich’s plans twice during the course of the series. Yet, the Lich knows that, no matter what Finn does, he cannot be defeated. There is no end to the Lich, and as long as life exists, death exists as well. Everytime he is defeated, he will eventually be revived. Because anything that represents mass destruction also represents the Lich. Yet, through all that, Finn’s strength manages to subdue the Lich once more, in one of the more disturbing and demented moments in this episode. As the fleshy-white substance latches onto the Lich, he begins to grow flesh and blood, in a painful, convulsing experience. Jake’s reaction speaks words, as he briefly opens his eyes and watches the horror in front of him, only to soon close his eyes and avoid such terror all together.

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Though Finn’s duties are not done, as he still wants to reach out to his father in a demand for answers. Finn latches on to the severed stem that separates himself from Martin, in a desperate attempt to keep the connector together (tremendous symbolism, by the way) as Finn’s anger, fear, sadness, and stress take over his body in the form of his grass sword. As the engrossed grass arm tries to hold on as tight as it can, Martin effectively separates himself from Finn, and Finn separates from his right arm. Finn has not only lost his father, but a part of himself as well. The anxiety and intensity with which this past scene is executed, along with its transition into complete and utter silence, is some of the most “edge of your seat” material you’ll ever see in Adventure Time. Coupled with the fact that people had been waiting YEARS for Finn to lose his arm, thanks to heavy foreshadowing (and an upcoming episode that would simultaneously kill the dreams and aspirations of all of those who looked forward to it the most. Heh.) As the unending frustration of Finn’s dilemma increases to a point where you feel like your beating heart cannot stand anymore, the episode takes a moment to stop entirely to let everything sink in, and allow your heart to almost stop to a complete halt as we watch Finn sadly, and lifelessly float to the bottom of the crystallized fluid. In his downward floating, some of the growth goop gets onto Finn’s stubby arm, as a flower begins to grow. This shows two things: 1. That the eternal grass curse is very much still active within Finn’s body. 2. That beauty can exist in even the most tragic situations.

As Jake fishes Finn out, his behavior is incredibly nuanced and considerate. He doesn’t immediately start asking Finn if he’s okay or freak out for putting his own life in danger. Jake simply takes the time to silently check if Finn is alright, prop him up for comfort, and tells him “it’ll be okay, dude.” In just a few simple words, Jake really shows how much he does care for Finn and how much he understands Finn’s pain. Though he can’t relate to the parental neglect, Jake knows how much Finn must be suffering, and while he also understands that Finn isn’t going to be able to immediately feel better with his situation, Jake still wants Finn to know that everything is going to work out in the end. And even if that doesn’t get the water works going, Shelby, still in Jake’s ear, crawls out to lie on Finn’s lap like a puppy dog to comfort him.

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Even through all the heartache we just suffered, we get a bit of a happy ending with the Lich rebooted into the form of a baby. This is a decision I’m… kinda okay with? We get some decent episodes and concepts out of it, but I’ll discuss in further episodes how I feel about Sweet P as a character. I like the idea of birth being the factor that essentially “defeated death,” though I still am uncertain if this was a long term decision I liked for the Lich’s character. Regardless, I do enjoy the ending that reveals that Tree Trunks already wants a divorce after presumably only being with Mr. Pig for a month or so. A hilarious idea that shows how easily she feels stagnant in her relationships, and how the role of being a parent apparently (pun intended) changes everything. Somehow it even works out!

I have a few minor gripes with this episodes, one being the whole babified Lich concept, which again is more revolved around my uncollected thoughts with how this was executed over the course of many seasons, and the other being that some of Finn’s dialogue can be a bit too goofy at times in Herpich’s segments. It’s okay to keep him wacky to keep the heavier scenes lighter, but Finn screaming “UH OH” over and over when his dad basically loses his leg makes him feel dissonant to the entire situation at hand. Though, while that particular instance bothers me a lot, the other moments are brief and few. Otherwise, I think this one is pretty fantastic. It’s a really exciting episode that holds every bit of my investment everytime I watch it, and it’s equivalent to that of an emotional rollercoaster. It’s a terrific start to the season long arc of Finn’s inferiority complex regarding his relationship with his father, and one that leads to many, many interesting opportunities down the line.

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Favorite line: “The Lich is super cute now, and he smells real neat!”