Attraction between people is a strange, ethereal thing. It can be immediate or slowly develop over time. It can be passionate or gentle, loud or quiet, deep or shallow. That last dichotomy makes attraction especially slippery, and it can come as quickly as it goes. Finn has experienced attraction to other people in the past, but he’s never approached it with the maturity he shows in “Flute Song,” which finds him making an intimate connection with Huntress Wizard (Jenny Slate) and ultimately choosing not to pursue it further.

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Jake is one of the last people to learn that Finn has been hanging out with a new lady friend, and he immediately jumps to conclusions about the nature of Finn and Huntress Wizard’s relationship. Jake isn’t one to consider the nuance of certain situations, as evidenced by his cheerful song detailing the events of the two weeks that pass after he’s freed from Age Of Grinders. It’s a cheerful, vibrant sequence that includes tidbits like the Ancient Psychic Tandem War Elephant making a comatose Maja his new companion and Jake taking T.V. to the farmers’ market, turning into a boat to sail with whales, and briefly seeing death in the middle of a field. No matter the circumstance, Jake musically recounts it with peppy glee, and that excitement drives his actions around Finn and Huntress Wizard.

Jake doesn’t find out about Finn and Huntress Wizard because Finn is trying to keep their relationship on the down-low, taking it slow so he doesn’t sabotage it like his previous attempts at romance. He’s taking it so slow that he doesn’t even realize he’s courting Huntress Wizard until Jake shows up and starts loudly announcing his assumptions regarding Finn’s intentions, but Jake isn’t wrong. Finn is indeed attracted to his new friend and she’s attracted to him, but rather than directly addressing this, they’re focusing their attention on summoning the Spirit Of The Forest (Matthew Broderick), giving them an excuse to spend time together without admitting their true feelings for each other.

The guest cast on this episode is phenomenal, starting with Jenny Slate, one of the most distinctive voice actors working today: Her breakout post-SNL role was voicing the titular character in the viral stop-motion short film “Marcel The Shell With Shoes On,” she voices a recurring voice on Bob’s Burgers, and is also featured in the current #1 movie in America, Zootopia, as an assistant mayor sheep. Matthew Broderick is no stranger to voicing anthropomorphized Disney animals either, having played the adult Simba in The Lion King, and he’s also previously appeared on Adventure Time as Dream Warrior, a character that shares quite a few similarities with Broderick’s Spirit Of The Forest this week. Both performers do excellent work bringing dramatic weight to the dialogue, but they never lose grip on the humor that keeps everything from becoming too heavy.

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Writers/storyboard artists Jesse Moynihan and Sam Alden deliver an episode with layered character development and rich visuals, and the bold imagery amplifies the emotional beats of the script. Color plays a big role in establishing big changes in tone, starting with a dark, dreary palette for Jake’s video game imprisonment at the start of the episode that segues into the wide spectrum of colors in his song. The palette gets dark again when Jake searches for Finn, finding him atop the canopy of forest trees playing his flute while Huntress Wizard watches in the background. The colors emphasize the secret nature of Finn and Huntress Wizard’s nighttime meetings, and foreshadow Huntress Wizard pushing Finn away at the end of the scene by creating a cold atmosphere.

There’s another surge of color when Finn recounts his initial encounter with Huntress Wizard, and the lush palette reflects the attraction that blossoms between them when Huntress Wizard stumbles upon Finn bathing in the nude. Vivid greens and blues dominate this scene, drawing extra attention to the golden streak of Finn’s luscious long locks, the physical trait that Huntress Wizard is most attracted to. Moynihan and Alden cleverly flip the script in that initial meeting, with Finn playing the fair bathing beauty that attracts a nearby huntress with his sweet song, played on a flute, which is a traditionally feminine instrument.

Finn takes on traditionally feminine traits in this episode, and rather than being aggressive and dominant in his relationship with Huntress Wizard, he allows her to dictate the terms and shows empathy and compassion when she ultimately decides they shouldn’t be together. Huntress Wizard is going through her own personal issues right now, and she’s using Finn to work through her feelings for her ex. The exact nature of Huntress Wizard’s relationship with the Spirit Of The Forest isn’t clarified, but when he’s finally summoned, he reveals that the two of them grew apart when Huntress Wizard left the forest for magic city living. That changed their bond on a fundamental level, and there’s no way to go back to what they had before.

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“Attracting forces come and go,” Spirit Of The Forest says, and it’s an important lesson for both Finn and Huntress Wizard. Once they both admit their attraction for each other, the attraction begins to fade because that’s just how Huntress Wizard is wired. She admits that she’s afraid that finding what she’s looking for will make her soft and she’ll cease to matter in the world, and like Jake’s video game at the start of the episode, love is a prison for Huntress Wizard the deeper she falls into it. She argues that it’s the same for Finn, who is a similarly extraordinary beast that shouldn’t be caged by attraction, and it’s a sentiment that makes Finn feel better about the whole thing. Attracting forces come and go, and even though Finn isn’t feeling the attraction any more, that doesn’t diminish the pleasure he got out of his temporary fling.

Stray observations

  • I had a video game situation similar to Jake’s at the top of this episode when I was playing The Legend Of Zelda: The Wind Waker without a memory card in the Gamecube I briefly acquired from my cousin. I played it in my basement and left the system on for over two days, and then my sister noticed it was on and turned it off. I was not happy.
  • Science Cat makes his return to Adventure Time after six seasons away this week, but without his pal, Sword Shark, who has died of old age. It’s fitting that Science Cat would return in another episode about Jake meddling with one of Finn’s relationships, although this week’s he’s trying to bring Finn and Huntress Wizard together rather than Finn and Lady Rainicorn.
  • Things I love about the Thunderboar design: it looks like a giant rock when it’s not moving, it shoots out little cloud puffs when it moves, its tusks are lightning bolts.
  • “I cannot talk and run this game at the same time.” Jake: “Nooooo!!!! Well I guess that means I’m free. I LIVE AGAIN!”
  • “I wanted to check out your new lady friend. But I guess she just dumped you like a diaper in the dirt, bro.”
  • “First off: I’m a great fighter. I’m especially agile when I’m nude, so good luck. Second: my flute improv ain’t no secret. I let my grass hand do whatever it wants, which is usually sort of shreddy and busy.”
  • Jake: “I’m like your sleepover chaperone!” Finn: “Grow up.” Jake: “You grow up, you teen!”
  • “Before we hunt the thunderboar, you should drink from this enchanted spring. It might give you crazy dreams. BUT, when you wake up you’ll be immune to the boar’s electric attacks.”
  • “It’s all about patience. And treating each grueling, repetitive battle as if it were your first.”

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