This last week of Adventure Time would make an awesome animated feature. The rhythm would be radically different from most cartoons and it would rely on a lot of preexisting knowledge of the show, but there are strong ties between these episodes that make them work well as a unit. “You Forgot Your Floaties” establishes a focus on mythology that is prevalent in “Orgalorg” and “The Comet,” and “Be Sweet,” “On The Lam,” and “Hot Diggity Doom” have more grounded perspectives that offer insight into the inner workings of supporting characters. “Grounded” on this show is relative, though; those last three episodes are still pretty spectacular and ridiculous, and those mythology-heavy episodes still provide a hefty amount of character development.
Airing in quick succession after a very idiosyncratic episode, these six episodes feel like one big arc that begins with Magic Man trying to become the new Grob Gob Glob Grod and ends with Finn being given the opportunity to ascend to a higher plane of existence. “The Comet” is probably the most existential episode this show has ever had, building to Finn having a quite literal existential crisis where he has to weigh his past life as a human against a future as a celestial being. It’s some heady stuff, and I’m not going to tell you that I fully understand what the hell just happened, but it is totally fascinating and crazy ambitious for a children’s TV show.
In the end, everything in these last six episodes is connected because everything in the entire series has been connected, a multitude of threads that weaves together to form the tapestry of Finn’s life. But before we get to Finn’s cosmic decision, there’s “Hot Diggity Doom,” which sets up an intriguing new status quo for Princess Bubblegum and the Candy Kingdom going into season 7. Preoccupied with the fast-approaching comet and confident that her subjects aren’t complete dillweeds, PB doesn’t campaign in the Candy Kingdom princess election, so she’s dethroned by the charismatic, showboating King of Ooo.
After a furious tantrum chastising the candy-fools, PB throws down her crown and moves to her Uncle Gumball’s cabin in the country with Peppermint Butler, and she looks like a brand-new woman without her crown on. The crown was the main visual indicator that PB was a princess, but without it she just looks like a normal young woman, a significant shift that makes if feel like there’s a world of new possibilities for her now. I don’t know how long this status quo will last, and it’s very easy to see the Candy Kingdom needing its old monarch back as soon as possible, but I would love to see more of PB exploring who she is without the responsibilities of a ruler. Seeing her in casual painting clothes with her hair in a long braid gives her a more relaxed disposition, and she immediately becomes a softer, more engaging character. It’s a vibe that isn’t that far off from Marceline, and I would love to see how the new PB interacts with the Vampire Queen.
Another reason I want PB to continue without her crown is because I want more of Andy Daly’s hilariously smarmy King of Ooo. The character reminds me a lot of The Music Man’s Harold Hill, a conman that is able to fool the people of a small town because he’s just so damn smooth and entertaining, and those qualities are highlighted in his “I’m A Princess” song and dance routine for his candy constituents. I’m sure he’d make a horrible ruler even if his kingdom didn’t plunge into chaos four hours into his reign, but damn he’s a lot of fun to watch. He also makes a great foil for PB, who is so concerned with the well-being of her people that she sometimes goes overboard in her efforts to protect them. King of Ooo is primarily concerned with his own wellbeing, which is a problem when it comes to protecting the incompetent candy people. They need strong guidance in crisis situations or they are overcome with panic, and that’s exactly what happens when the Catalyst Comet casts a purple glow over the Candy Kingdom.
The mysterious Mr. X, who is actually Gunther-Orgalorg in disguise, orchestrates King of Ooo’s win so he can remove PB from the Candy Kingdom and steal her space ship, giving him a way to get in the comet’s path so he can absorb its power. The green Orgalorg brain has grown considerably in size to the point where it can wear an adult-sized trenchcoat, and the visual of a catatonic Gunther with a monstrous green brain emanating from his head wound is one of the creepier visuals this show has come up with. But it’s not quite as disturbing as what comes when Orgalorg is outside of Earth’s gravity and the green brain peels away to reveal his true form, replacing the cute little penguin with a grotesque alien world-eater.
The fully-powered Orgalorg destroys the spaceship and sends Finn and Jake careening through space, putting Jake on the path to the croak dream he had back in season 3’s “The New Frontier.” There’s little likelihood that Jake will actually die, but that croak dream connection brings some extra suspense to the narrative. Finn is floating alone in the void of space, but he doesn’t lose hope, instead dedicating all his power to merging his intentions with the universe through meditative song. He sings about how things are falling into place and he’s exactly where he needs to be, and he achieves serenity by fully believing these words. The universe responds to this belief by making it true, and Finn ends up being exactly where he needs to be: right in the flight path of Martin’s giant glowing moth.
Finn’s life is saved because he believes that there’s a purpose to existence, but Martin views life the way he views space: “a world of empty crud.” Martin is a lonely, hopeless old man that is never going to change, but Finn is a 16-year-old that sees a world of possibilities and is eager to explore them. Martin was neglected by his parents, so he didn’t have a strong foundation for future relationships, but Finn received a lot of love from his adopted family and created more relationships in turn. Finn cares about other people, and that plays a big part in whether or not he chooses to ascend to a higher state of being.
Diving into Orgalorg’s mouth to free the Catalyst Comet, Finn cuts a slit through the phallically shaped titan, causing an ejaculation of cosmic power that contains the promise of new life if Finn accepts it. The seed of this change is the purple three-eyed sphere that is the comet’s core (voiced with a soothing calm by Tig Notaro), and it offers enlightenment to Finn, showing him his past life as the comet that crashed into Earth back in “Evergreen.” The comet became a butterfly and some other intentionally vague random, absurd stuff (I wonder if we’ll be seeing more of Finn’s past lives in this next season), but it all leads to Finn in space at this exact moment, choosing if he wants to go with the Purple Comet to “the end and beginning” or if he wants to stay a human and struggle like a beautiful autumn leaf.
“This is your crisis,” says the Purple Comet as a rainbow radiates from Finn’s head, projecting images to accompany all the words in the forthcoming list. “As you stand on the edge of freedom from love, hate, friendship, isolation, jealousy, secrets, violence, video games, ice cream waffles, sadness, madness, power, honor, loyalty, saucy, mothers, fathers, scoundrels.” The inclusion of video games, ice cream waffles, and saucy is the perfect way of incorporating Adventure Time’s irreverence into this life-changing moment for Finn, but they also represent the smaller things in life that are as much a part of the experience as the bigger ideas. Finn cuts the comet off and asks how long it’s going to keep listing things, but the comet replies that it’s a very long list. That’s because a life is made up of a million and more different things: relationships, emotions, possessions, experiences, and on and on and on.
Finn points out that none of this seems all that bad, and the comet answers that it’s not supposed to. It depends on perspective, and when Finn looks at his life, he’s happy with what he’s created. He’s enjoying his meat life, so he’s going to keep working at it and be the best human (with a plant arm) he can be. Martin doesn’t have that positivity and excitement for the future, and would love the chance to enter a new mode existence. Finn is initially disappointed that his father is going to run off again, but he finds comfort by realizing that Martin was never going to change and that this ultimate act of abandonment is what his father’s life has been leading to. And then Martin is gone, transported with the Purple Comet to a new state of being.
It’s a lot to take in, and I can just imagine the confused faces of children that have no idea how to interpret the comet’s offer to Finn and what it means when he chooses to go back to his human life. To this adult that has already started dissecting past mistakes and regrets, Finn’s decision resonates as a powerful reminder of all the things that make life special, and his optimistic, carefree attitude is inspiring. Even when Adventure Time gets dark, it returns to a place of hope and happiness that is a welcome oasis in the hurricane of failure and disappoint that is adulthood at its worst. The show has started to incorporate more intellectually stimulating content in the last few seasons, but it’s always maintained a thrilled enthusiasm that makes me feel like a kid again every time I return to Ooo. When Finn crash lands back on Earth, he’s energized and ready to move forward, and hopefully it won’t be too long until season 7 because I’m ready to move forward with him.
- I don’t talk enough about how imaginative and charming the designs for the Candy Kingdom are. I love seeing the wide variety of designs for the candy people, and the color palette makes me feel like I’m eating cotton candy at an amusement park in the middle of the summer. The colors are so vivid and the world is so sweet and warm.
- Things the King of Ooo says PB says: she hasn’t gone rogue; she’s not a wild dog, thirsty for blood; she’s not a literal baby, masquerading as an adult woman.
- Can someone please make a .gif of Jake’s two punches getting blocked by Orgalorg, and then Jake punching him with a third hand grown from his forehead? I love the rhythm of that action moment.
- I really like the dissolve transition from the candy child shooting a confetti gun to the house on top of the hill. The similar geometric outlines of the shots create a very smooth flow between the scenes.
- “A barely and yet fully legal election!”
- “Vote for the candidate who’s not a teenage gum-golem!”
- “Poor old Starchy. Always getting the sweaty end of the lollipop.”
- “I thought it was ‘Kinkoff goo.’”
- “Toronto, I’ve been princess for four hours, and society has already totally collapsed!”
- Orgalorg: “It’s all yours if you’re willing to take it. Destroy worlds. Crush anyone blocking the door. Feel their bones crumple and their goo spill out.” Finn: “I don’t like that at all.” Jake: “He made it ugly.”
- “It’s kinda fun, right? See, there’s no reason or purpose or—what you said—universal intention.”
- Martin: “It was like 40 years ago.” Finn: “I’m 16!” Martin: “Well I don’t have a star to revolve around to track time.”