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Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Adventure Time: “Frost & Fire”

Illustration for article titled Adventure Time: “Frost & Fire”
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Finn the human is in the throes of puberty, but as the last of his kind, he doesn’t get any help adjusting to his physical and mental changes. When he has a sex dream about his girlfriend, he doesn’t understand what it means and tries to replicate it with disastrous results. “Frost & Fire” is my favorite kind of Adventure Time episode, a metaphor that speaks to the difficulty of growing up while embracing the unbridled fun of being a kid. It’s one of the show’s most personal narratives, but it’s also full of hilarious gags and spectacular action sequences. If this episode was just Flame Princess and Ice King battling it out, it would be one awesome cartoon, but the added element of personal drama takes it to another level.

Finn is an adolescent in a relationship with someone he can’t be intimate with, so it’s no wonder his subconscious goes wild when he experiences the slightest arousal. He can’t stroke FP’s hair, so he drops pieces of popcorn on her head and watches them burn. He can’t hug her, but he can watch her hug a log and imagine the burn. This is how Finn can show affection, but it’s not very stimulating for him.

It’s very likely Finn has never felt any kind of sexual desire up to this point, and he’s mostly treated FP as a semi-romantic friend rather than a true lover. At the start of the episode, he doesn’t know what that type of arousal feels like, but he does after he watches FP beat up Ice King. That’s right, Adventure Time is doing an episode where Finn gets turned on by violence and ends up ruining his relationship in his attempts to get his rocks off.

After a rude comment from Ice King sends FP into a fiery fury, she gives him a massive beating that leaves Finn blushing. It is the first of many such moments. Before diving into the sexy stuff, a rundown of the best moments from this week’s multiple fight sequences:

  • Ice King creates a giant snowball, FP punches him in the gut and makes him drop it.
  • FP sky-writes a flaming heart by kicking Ice King through the air, then lights his underwear on fire.
  • Ice King forms a Legion of Snow Warriors that all fall apart except for the teddy bear.
  • FP shoots a fireball that turns Ice King’s snow blast into an ice boulder which smashes him in the face.

When Finn goes to bed after that first fight, he dreams FP is engulfing his crotch in flames, but he doesn’t get burned. Instead, it feels good. It feels good and he wants more. He goads FP into fighting Ice King again the next day, but when he goes back to bed, he dreams that Ice King is freezing his junk. Also: the Cosmic Owl appears. Finn is experiencing the horrors of what happens when you try to manipulate your subconscious, and when he tries to control his dream, it immediately begins to focus on what he’s least attracted to.

Upon hearing about the Cosmic Owl, Jake is convinced these are prophetic dreams and tells Finn he needs to finish the nightmare. Once again, Jake offers horrible advice. Finn writes two letters that succeed in pitting FP and Ice King against each other, but he does too good of a job and sends his girlfriend into a rage that puts everyone at risk. When Finn gets knocked out by the steam rising from the melting Ice Kingdom, he finishes his dream, once again feeling FP’s hot touch except this time the flame burns him up and leaves him as an adult baby crying in his diaper. That’s when the Cosmic Owl tells him, “You blew it,” and he wakes up.

It’s all very abstract, but my interpretation of the dream is that Finn can never truly become an adult man if he stays with FP. Being a man doesn’t necessarily mean having sex, but it does mean having an understanding of what intimacy means and how it impacts a relationship. Finn doesn’t know what’s happening with his body, but he won’t find out by staying in a stagnant relationship with FP. In the end, she’s going to burn him, and he’ll be left an overgrown child.


Luckily, Finn screws up royally by writing an insulting letter intended to manipulate his girlfriend, and when he confesses to stop FP’s rampage, she ends up putting their relationship on ice. Adventure Time isn’t afraid of changing its characters, and Finn has a major learning experience this week as he sabotages his relationship. He still has a lot more to learn, but the show is only getting better as Finn embarks on the adolescent adventure.

Stray observations:

  • As jealous as I am that I didn’t get to review last week’s PB/Marceline episode, I’m even more jealous of Sonia’s amazing write-up, which offered some fascinating insights into this show’s female cast. We’ll need to have her drop by Ooo more often.
  • In Ice King’s grocery bags: frozen liver and prunes. He really is the saddest.
  • Jake doesn’t do much this week, but I love the scene where he tells Finn about his dream involving paintings and Cinnamon Bun.
  • “Ah! My hams!”
  • “E-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-egg gorilla!” And then Finn smacks into the stove.
  • Finn definitely crosses a line when he calls FP’s candles “heinous.” Not cool, bro.