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Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Adventure Time: “Ignition Point”

Illustration for article titled Adventure Time: “Ignition Point”
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What show other than Adventure Time could begin with farts and end with Shakespeare? “Ignition Point” is an episode with everything: toilet humor, romance, drama, non-sequiters, and even some moral philosophizing. It all begins when Jake and Finn are performing magic tricks for Flame Princess, which means creating fart and burp balloons that FP ignites to create colorful clouds of smoke. This is fun for a while, until the air starts to smell bad, sending FP into a funk that can only be cured by her scented candles back at home. Unfortunately, she’s still furious at her dad for locking her in a lantern, so she refuses to return to the Flame Kingdom. When Finn and Jake infiltrate FP’s bedroom to grab the candles for her, they overhear a plot to kill the Flame King and change their mission to save the dad of Finn’s potential girlfriend.

As Finn and Jake make their way through the castle looking for a guy with a hiss-voice and another guy with an untied shoe, they find themselves in increasingly bizarre situations, beginning when they’re almost spotted in a hall of paintings. To avoid being caught, Jake bends his body into the shape of a painting where Finn can hide inside. The guards notice the new images and think its one of those paintings where the eyes follow you, testing their hypothesis by moving around in front of Finn, who is trying to hold his breath as long as possible. The guards finally move on, and Finn and Jake continue their stealth mission despite being painted blue in a completely red environment.

Sneaking through the vents, Finn and Jake peek in on citizens of the Fire Kingdom looking for the conspirators, a search that results in a series of non-sequiters. What could the importance be of the fire monsters playing the “you”/“double you” game? What about the man who is eating a dessert and measuring it after every bite? Finn and Jake don’t know either, and when they don’t hear the hiss or see the shoe, they keep moving. Eventually, they hear that hiss, jumping down from the vent into a cook’s kitchen. The cook is ready to turn them into bite-sized blueberries. It turns out that Finn just has a snake on his shoulder, and when the cook comes after them with a knife, Finn and Jake run off, grab two actors passing by, tie them in a backroom, and steal their clothes. The cook discovers the two actors stripped and tied together, to which he simply responds: “Actors.”

Now a part of an acting troupe preparing to put on a show for the king, Jake comes up with a brilliant idea that is completely original to him: Play the murder plot of the conspirators and watch the audience to see who gets squirmy. For anyone not familiar with Hamlet, that’s the same plan Shakespeare’s hero has for finding out whether or not his uncle killed his father. Finn and Jake put on the show to a completely lost Flame King, but they don’t get the reaction they’re looking for. There’s one guy getting nervous in the audience, but he just has to sneeze or eat a hot dog. He’s not planning any regicide. As Finn and Jake continue to lay out the killers’ plan, the Flame King grows in anger, jumping out of his seat just as the villains are about to pour ice in his ear. (Hamlet’s father was also killed by poison in the ear.) He orders Finn and Jake executed, but just as they’re about to be killed, they notice the familiar hiss and untied shoe on their executioners, exposing the two men as the king’s would-be killers. They’re Flame King’s nephews, there for revenge after their uncle snuffed out their father to take the throne, an action for which Flame King has no remorse. It turns out everyone in the Fire Kingdom is evil, including FP.

Fathers have had a larger presence on Adventure Time than mothers, and the female characters tend to have horrible father figures. FP and Marceline are trying to be good, but they have to resist the evil that their fathers have ingrained in them their entire lives. And then there’s this episode’s connection to Hamlet, which shows just how daddy-crazy this show is. When Finn finds out that FP is evil, he asks her father if theoretically, the right man could change someone like FP from bad to good. He says that it’s possible, but he’s not going to let any man take his daughter away from him so easily. The episode ends with Finn leaving some scented candles in FP’s bedroom while she sleeps, which turns out to be the perfect way for her father to whisper the word “evil” to her in her sleep by projecting himself through the candle flames. It’s hard for any dad when his teenage daughter starts dating, but Flame King takes separation anxiety to another level.

Stray observations:

  • Flame Princess is a lot like Animaniacs’ Katie Kaboom in the way she switches between sweet and sadistic at the slightest irritation.
  • I wouldn’t mind seeing some more of Shakespeare’s plots getting reused for Adventure Time. Imagine A Midsummer Night Dream or The Tempest through this show’s filter.
  • “Haha, you guys are full of magic air.”
  • “It’s just, the air smells bad from all your magic tricks, and now I feel sad.”
  • “Snacks! Snacks! Snacks! Snacks!…”
  • “Sufferin’—succotash.”
  • “Of course you know this, being fellow actors from the exact same troupe.”