The Finn Sword is one of the weirder objects in Adventure Time, a weapon made from the body of a dream world duplicate of Finn and containing a separate Finn personality inside its hilt. Jesse Moynihan wrote and storyboarded the episode that birthed the Finn Sword, and “I Am A Sword” reveals that he has deeper plans for the weapon. Moynihan and co-writer/storyboard artist Sam Alden send Finn on a journey to find his sword-self when he foolishly tosses it off a bridge at the start of the story, and that mission leads to mysterious changes for the Finn Sword by the end of the episode. This story a small part of a larger arc for the weapon, and the creative team does exceptional work crafting a highly entertaining plot around the living object.
As evidenced by the long list of quotes in the Stray Observations, “I Am A Sword” is one of the most quotable episodes of Adventure Time in a while. The dialogue is hilarious, as are the numerous visual gags Moynihan and Alden fill the episode with. It also features comedic genius Amy Sedaris in her Adventure Time debut, and her signature cackle is put to great use as she voices Bandit Princess, a malevolent thief with devil horns and no redeeming qualities. The whole point of the character is that she’s a total piece of shit, and Sedaris is the perfect casting choice to passionately voice a character wholly consumed by immorality. Her performance is appropriately over-the-top, and her commitment to making Bandit Princess gleefully evil reinforces the episode’s idea that some people are just plain horrible.
Bandit Princess acquires the Finn Sword and uses it to steal from the Spiky Village and terrorize the feline residents of Box Kingdom. The Spiky Village is the stage for some of the episode’s funniest moments, like the scene where the mayor tries to get Bandit Princess to return the bank’s gold by offering her a pre-approved home loan with zero percent A.P.R. for the first six months. The mayor then mutters the fine print about A.P.R. for the next 30 years and monthly processing fees, and it’s the kind of joke that will go over kids’ heads but will resonate with adults that have a better understanding of banks’ shifty practices.
The Box Kingdom doesn’t rely on the dialogue for comedy, instead mining humor from the visuals of Bandit Princess attacking a territory full of innocent cats on cardboard boxes. It starts with the image of Bandit Princess getting pounced on by an army of cats, and continues with Bandit Princess slaughtering the Box Prince, which causes one of the cats to vomit. After their monarch is killed, all the cats go on the defensive, and the sight of Bandit Princess surrounded by a bunch of hissing cats highlights the absurdity of the entire situation.
“I Am A Sword” is built on Finn’s relationship with an object in his life, so Moynihan and Alden fill the episode with little moments showing characters interacting with various items. Bandit Princess gets off on making her gold coins make out with each other, Jake is constructing with Tinkertoys when Finn goes to him for emotional support, and Jake has Finn play a “modern videogame” to lighten his mood. One of my favorite scenes in the episode has Finn telling Jake and BMO about his nightmare while Jake fills a pancake with goop and BMO tries to use a stapler, and these actions are excellently used to add humor to the conversation.
I’m not quite sure what the metaphor driving this episode is, but a short scene with Finn lamenting how he took the sword for granted makes me thing the writers are exploring the remorse and regret that come when something personally valuable is lost. The Finn Sword is literally Finn, but in the real world, people imprint themselves on certain objects in their lives, and losing them can be especially painful.
I remember losing my favorite stuffed animal as a child during a family vacation, and how it felt like I’d lost a part of myself. As a comic-book collector, I’ve developed some strong emotional connections with certain physical books. When I go through my collection looking for things to sell, I’m not necessarily keeping books that are valuable or that I will ever read again, but ones that have an important place in my heart because of who I was when I first read them. We give objects power, and it hurts when these objects are lost and/or broken, in the cast of the Finn Sword. Finn’s pain is even more intense because of the fantastic circumstances of his situation, but as the end of this episode reveals, the Finn Sword may have a second life in the future.
- Grass Sword breaks Finn Sword, Finn Sword starts to glow green. What could it mean???
- I don’t get the joke with Science Cat’s vials of chemicals (Scandium, Ruthenium, Cerium, Einsteinium) which then dissipate and leave letters IENL in the air. Can any chemistry-minded folks help me out here?
- Subjects of Finn’s nightmares: break-up, The Lich, Jake dying, Finn dying, other break-up, growing up, not growing up, spiders.
- Metaphor Temple is an amazing name for a text-based videogame. I want to play it.
- I love Finn’s intense face when he says “this is freakin’ serious”.
- “I’m not sure I’m totally scoopin’ what you’re poopin’.”
- “Wakin’ up screamin’ again.”
- “I couldn’t get your mouth right. Sorry!”
- “Do you ever take those off?”
- “Talking to animate objects. (To power cord.) Get a load of this guy.”
- “I was born with rabies and my parents didn’t love me ‘cause they both had mono!”
- Finn: “We’ll get your husband’s head, Sharon.” Sharon: “And the gold, please.”
- “Gray area wet wipe.”
- Finn: “You guys got swords, why didn’t you do anything?” Spiky Person #1: “Oh, this isn’t a sword. It’s a massive a hangnail.” Spiky Person #2: “I got one too. It hurts.”
- “Give this tranch acute arthritis!”
- “You mean some people are just a pure city sidewalk boom-boom from a red dunk and that’s all there is to it?” I don’t think I have this quote exactly right, but if this is the exact line, I love it even more.