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Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Adventure Time: “Lady & Peebles”

Illustration for article titled Adventure Time: “Lady & Peebles”
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When Finn and Jake disappear after the usual scuffle with Ice King, it’s up to Princess Bubblegum and Lady Rainicorn to save the boys in “Lady & Peebles,” a turning point episode for both characters in very different ways. The episode opens with the two ladies camped out on the outskirts of the Ice Kingdom, where PB is trying to calm a hysterical Lady by telling her that they have nothing to fear as long as they have science on their side. In this case, “science” is a robotic tea kettle, a GPS hidden in Finn’s ear, an electrode gun, and the Ball-Blam-Burgler-Ber, a weapon that shoots small green balls that create devastatingly immense explosions. Fearing the worst, Lady delivers numerous nervous speeches in Korean, but her heightened concern doesn’t fully make sense until the episode’s conclusion. Are there any Korean Adventure Time viewers that can understand what Lady is saying? Does she give any clues regarding this episode’s cliffhanger?

PB and Lady take on the roles of Finn and Jake in this episode, working together to infiltrate the Ice King’s castle and save their dudes in distress. The episode takes a turn for the grotesquely bizarre when PB directs Lady to fly “through that sphincter,” and the fact that I’m writing about a bubblegum woman riding a stretchy rainbow unicorn through a burnt sienna sphincter like it’s nothing goes to show just how well Adventure Time has trained its audience to accept the aggressive absurdity. Once inside the Ice King’s fortress, the pair has to avoid a wave of grabby hands, then runs into a wall of laser beam-shooting eyeballs. It’s probably not advisable to look too deeply into the symbolism of this show, but its possible that the hands and eyes represent the pressures that contemporary young girls face. The hands are the temptation to engage in physical relationships, while the eyes are the piercing perceptions of others. Or it’s just a bunch of arms and eyes because that looks cool.

When Lady is hit by one of the eye-lasers, PB carries her on her shoulder through the dark catacombs of the Ice Fortress. There’s some really nice direction in this sequence, with the two walking through darkness and briefly illuminated by flashes of light from the heart monitor. The tension builds the longer they walk, finally breaking when they discover the Ice King on the ground with a giant hole in his chest. Adventure Time fans know what that means: Ricardio the Heart Guy is back.

Ice King’s anthropomorphized heart voiced by George Takei is always welcome on this series, largely due to Takei’s delightful voice work. There’s a theatrical smarminess to his vocals that is a stark contrast to the Ice King’s nasality, and Takei always sounds like he’s having a great time reading the ridiculous lines that are written for him. Ricardio keeps himself primarily in the darkness when PB first finds him, with only the side of his face visible. That’s because Ricardio made himself a body synthesized from Ice King’s living tissue, and when he emerges from the shadows, it’s an unnerving visual of two arms and legs barely connected to a giant heart by exposed muscle sinew. A paper smiley face mask lends Ricardio added creepiness, but he thinks that his transformation will make PB love him. He’s wrong.

Princess Bubblegum dominates this episode, whether she’s shooting explosive rounds out of the Ball-Blam-Burgler-Ber or beating the shit out of Ricardio. She makes a deal with the Heart Guy to marry him if he can defeat her in combat, and all that time spent with Finn has paid off. PB goes ballistic on Ricardio, tearing through the sinews to rip off his oversized limbs. “You think we’re intellectual equals?” PB says, doing her best Walter White impression. “It only took me SECONDS to get you off you guard!” She then uses the detached limbs to continue beating Ricardio until he lets out his final words: “I just wanted to impress you.” PB’s response: “You didn’t.” This episode reveals a side of her that we rarely see, and hopefully we’ll get more of badass PB in the future.

One character who will probably be spending some considerable time on the sidelines is Lady Rainicorn, who reveals at the end of the episode that she’s pregnant with Jake’s puppies! I don’t know how it’s possible (well, I guess I know how, but it still doesn’t make any sense), but the prospect of Jake becoming a dad suddenly opens up a brand new realm of storytelling possibilities. Will we start seeing episodes that are allegories for parenting issues? It’s a big move from the writing team to try to shake up the status quo, and it will be interesting to see how this show deals with this new development. It’s certainly an unexpected ending, and Lady’s news is as shocking for the viewer as it is for the Jake.


Stray observations:

  • If you want more female-centric Adventure Time stories, don’t forget to check out the Marceline And The Scream Queens comic. No, Kaboom’s not paying me to pimp its series, I just think the AT comics are doing a great job at maintaining the tone of the show while adjusting the stories for the different medium.
  • How great would it be if Lady Rainicorn’s pregnancy was super fast? I have the feeling those rainicorn/puppy hybrids are going to be very cute, so they should get here soon.
  • “Lady, it’ll be fine. We’ve got science!”
  • “I made it out of Ricardio’s sinews, and some toffee and maracas."