Lady Rainicorn doesn’t get very much attention on Adventure Time, so it’s a pleasant surprise to see her step into the spotlight in “Lady Rainicorn Of The Crystal Dimension.” Written and storyboarded by Graham Falk, the episode delves into the untold history of Lady before she came to Ooo, offering a better idea of what the show’s fabled dog vs. rainicorn conflict looks like in the Crystal Dimension. T.V. sets off this trip down memory lane by eating a crystal sandwich he finds hidden away in the kitchen, and removing the Crystal Mergence Of Destruction from its weird box makes it detectable to Lady’s ex-boyfriend Lee, who has been searching for the object since Lady stole it from him years ago.

“Lady Rainicorn Of The Crystal Dimension” is a fun mythology episode, but it also brings a lot of depth to Lady, who has been primarily defined by her roles as Princess Bubblegum’s friend and Jake’s girlfriend/mother of his children. Both of these roles have diminished over time—T.V. makes a joke that he didn’t know P.B. and Lady still hung out—so it’s nice to see a new side of Lady in tonight’s episode. The flashback to Lee and Lady’s early days together reveals that Lady went through an anti-establishment punk phase, joining Lee as he tormented the dogs that used to hold all the power in the Crystal Dimension.

Lee’s a straight-up urban terrorist that puts bombs in trashcans and demolishes buildings, and even though these events have the fairly innocuous result of covering dogs in rainbows, they still represent a destructive mentality that makes Lee an especially dangerous figure. Lady’s parents think he’s a deluded idiot, but Lady is caught up in the thrill of breaking the dogs’ rules. It’s a typical young adult viewpoint, and while we don’t get a firm confirmation of Lady’s age during these past events, it’s easy to assume that she’s a teenager (or whatever the rainicorn equivalent of that is).

Fighting the power is just a phase for Lady whereas it’s a permanent lifestyle for Lee, and when he takes things too far, Lady wises up and decides to sabotage her boyfriend to save her dimension. Underneath all the colorful fantasy trappings of this episode is a story about growing up, with past Lady realizing that she needs to cut herself off from Lee in order to mature while T.V. realizes that he needs himself off from his mom in order to mature.

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Those ideas of maturity differ dramatically between generations. For Lady, it means fleeing her home dimension in order to keep it safe from destruction, assuming the responsibility of guarding the Crystal Mergence even though it means cutting herself off from everything she once knew. Maturity has a certain amount of duty attached to it for Lady, but not so much for T.V., who thinks that he’s grown up once he makes the decision to leave mom’s house and live in the Crystal Dimension. He doesn’t have any sort of plans for what he’ll do in this new environment, though, so he ends up defaulting to his usual behavior, moving in with grandpa and grandma and mooching off of their abundant generosity.

These two concurrent storylines remind me of the montage in Aziz Ansari’s Master Of None that summarizes the struggles of Aziz’s father’s upbringing in India and the tribulations he faced when he moved to the U.S. It highlights the shallowness of Aziz’s problems by showing what his father had to deal with to reach a point in his life where he could give his son a life of relative privilege. Lady had to make big sacrifices and take on a huge amount of responsibility when she was younger, and those decisions allowed her to raise her child in an environment where he wouldn’t have to deal with the same kind of intense conflict that defined her youth. It’s unlikely that T.V. will ever be the kind of hero his mother is, but Lady planned it that way, making decisions that ultimately gave her child an easier life.

Stray observations

  • Keep your eyes on The A.V. Club’s Newswire for some very exciting Adventure Time comic-book news on Monday. That’s all I will say about that.
  • The revelations in this episode puts Lady and Jake’s relationship in a new context, and it makes sense that she would pursue a romance with a dog after being with a man whose hatred of dogs tore them apart.
  • Do not mess with Lady or she will ruin your perfectly crafted latté.
  • I love the design for Lee’s wheelie. I wish the rest of the Crystal Dimension had more of that sleekness, although the Crystal Dimension also looks really cool in its own jagged, vibrant way.
  • “Gonna sell a weird box / Gonna make some mad bucks / Gonna buy some new…books”
  • “Groceries are a dog-driven concept. There’s enough nutrition in that macramé owl on the wall there to feed this entire city for a year.”
  • Bob: “No more nose ring bozo.” Ethel: “Prayer works.”
  • “It’s a good thing I didn’t sell this box.”
  • “Being independent is awesome. You guys have any food?”

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