As of now, I have now seen Candy Streets). The main list has not changed, but the follow up list, the list of episodes I think are amazing, has.
Hot to the Touch (also Incendium, but mostly Hot to the Touch)
First off, Incendium.
This episode is the reason I started watching Adventure Time. While browsing the Tearjerkers entry on Tvtropes (I’m not ashamed. It’s a good way to see if a work is worth your time) I came across a description of Incendium and Hot to the Touch. I was fascinated by the idea that the episdoe could be considered a metaphor for abusive or dysfunctional relationships.
That metaphor is questionable (I’m not sure if I believe it myself, but I can understand the thought behind it) but these two episodes are exceptional.
While not much happens in Incendium (the first of the two part episode) this episode introduces Flame Princess, who’s character remained static and flat for a while but as of now is slowly becoming much better. Also, she’s freaking adorable.
Most shows have a certain status-quo. The man will never get the girl even though romance is implied, the macguffin will never be reached, etc. However, Adventure Time felt as though it was time to change things and introduced a new character. It was a controversial move that some long time fans did not agree with, but I came in knowing it would happen. The emotions Finn felt and displayed resonate well with the audience members who remember being in love for the first time. That first time being in love with someone who you can’t be with is a powerful emotion. Sometimes we felt like crying about it but we live in a society of norms that don’t allow such a thing. We hid it and went on with our lives.
But, seeing as there is no human society to create norms out of in the land of Ooo, Finn is allowed to express all his sorrow in an almost embarrassing (okay, not almost, just plain embarassing) but oddly understandable to those who have felt the same.
The character Flame Princess remained a mystery in Incendium until the end, where the unexpected happens. I won’t spoil it but it’s something the father says that makes Jake give us the funniest “WHAT!?” face an animator can draw.
Hot to the touch is where the real gold of the two parter is located. I loved every part of this episode. I love the return of NEPTR (Never Ending Pie Throwing Machine), I love the things Finn says and how he thinks they’re romantic (and maybe they are in their strange little way), and I love the sadness of it all, a kind that most children’s TV shows try to avoid.
This episode blends two kinds of plot lines that children shows often use (Spoiler alert): Main character cries and Not being able to kill the one you love. Usually there is a certain rhythm to these things. The first is generally over something cliche, like when a character’s friends are dead (or they think they’re dead). The latter is usually a situation that’s resolved without too much complication. In this episode, they’re played at the same time and it works magnificently. The episode is brilliant and haunting.
Things to look out for:
Is it just me or is NEPTR jealous of Flame Princess?
“Wood On Fire For Sale!”
All in all, This is my favourite episode 4.3/10 of the time
Finn the Human/ Jake the Dog
I…well….um…..okay, I may need to catch my bearings for this one. Okay.
If there was ever anything that has blown me away in a kids’ show, it’s these two episodes.
Now, I know that these episodes have a TON of issues, especially the second one.
However…God! These episodes are some of the darkest and coolest ever! I mean, it’s one thing to be dark in a children’s show, but it’s another thing to do what these episodes did without too overboard! It pushes the boundaries of what adventure time can get away with. For spoiler-free comparison’s sake, a character wears another dead guy’s skin and that is one of the least shocking things in these episodes.
Things to look out for:
A Whole Bunch of stuff!
I think these are my fav episodes 3/10 times which is less often the above pick, but much more powerfully so.
Right before the above episode was this one. This episode was almost as (or arguably more so) as shocking as Finn the Human and Jake the Dog. Finn has a prophetic dream so he and Jake leave to find Billy the Hero, a character who was introduced in His Hero (an episode not on the list but is definitely an honorable mention). Billy takes them on a sneaky adventure which he says is vital to saving the world. Is that all? No. Not by a long shot, but saying anything else would be spoilerific.
This entire episode takes place at night giving a feel of sneakiness and spookiness. Watching the main characters perform sneaky actions at night under the guidance of Billy is sort of thrilling to watch, if it only lasts for a minute or so.
This episode is particularly sad because of something that hardly anyone else ever talks about. Throughout the entire journey, Finn is seen as happy. Even though what he’s doing is morally questionable and even though he believes the sake of the entire world is at stake Finn is never anything but happy and childlike. One scene that particularly gets to me is when he is riding atop Jake’s back alongside Billy he imitates his hero by taking off his hat and letting his hair flow. He’s obviously having the time of his life.
Like Finn, the audience feels safe with Billy. It’s dark (again, night time) and he’s the only source of direction and his calm and leader like coolness is comforting.
Which makes the ending all the more sad and horrific.
Things to look out for:
Billy doesn’t say much to Jake while he holds the gems.
Finn follows Billy blindly because he’s too enthralled by the opportunity to hero out with his idol. Not even the fact that he’s stealing something very precious from one of his best friends snaps him out of it. This makes the shocking plot twist near the end more of a wake of call.
I Love this episode. It is my favourite 2.5/10 of the time which does not seem a lot, but it’s amazing pacing, feel, and shocking twists gives it this spot. For a while, I loved this episode more than the fan favourite “I Remember You.” Speaking of which…
I Remember You
Many fans call this their all time favourite Adventure Time episode. Seeing the nature of this list, I guess it is mine as well (but not the most frequent one).
This episode is sad, and I mean very sad. It deals with emotions that seem unfamiliar to TV watchers but very familiar to people living their everyday lives.
Nobody dies in the episode. It’s not that kind of sad. The emotion in this episode is realistic and sobering (though it’s viewed through fantastical spectacles).
I really don’t have much to say about the episode that hasn’t already been said. There are plenty of other “Top Ten” lists that deal with this episode. This episode is my favourite…I really don’t know. Alot.
This episode ranks above I Remember You for balancing sadness with uplifting romance, high stakes action, and probably the greatest screams in history from Finn. Things to look out for:
Princess Bubblegum can’t bring herself to outright tell Finn the dangers of Flame Princess. Also, she underestimates love.
“End of the world scenario!”
“I’ll still keep seeing her.”
Mind you, that conversation never happens, but think of it this way [Spoilers] PB comes to Finn’s house and expects him to break up with Flame Princess because of simple facts. This doesn’t happen, not just in an idealistic (albeit surprisingly dark) series like Adventure Time, but also in Real Life. She relies on logic about earthquakes and rocks to get out of having a heart to heart with Finn. When this doesn’t work (and it’s obvious it never will work) she depends on Jake to explain the painful stuff to Finn.
Another thing to look out for in this episode: Heaps of subtle facial expressions on Finn and Princess Bubblegum. You can see Finn’s small expressions detailing his frustration, feeling of betrayal, and utter resentment. The not-so-subtle emotions he shows are also amazingly portrayed: his hopes, fears, anger and happiness is instantaneously infectious.
Princess Bubblegum also shows many deep and subtle facial expressions. Her hiding of emotions while speaking with Finn while at the same time trying to have a heart to heart with him(which is a rare moment indeed when Princess Bubblegum has an emotional speech to give)
This episode is my favourite…a lot again. I really have to stop using numbers to measure things, it’s exhausting!
What was Missing
I won’t be mentioning the Mathematical controversy, just letting you know. I also won’t mention whether I think PB and Marceline the Vampire Queen are gay or not because, really, I don’t care.
This episode has something really rare: A FRIENDLY INTERACTION X4 Combo between the Finn, Jake, Princess bubblegum, And Marceline!!! (I’ve been reading Homestuck)
It’s really rare to have such a variety of characters interacting (with well written dialogue). Even though they do not speak to one another as much as I’d have liked the subtle facial expressions, the way they behaved with one another, and all the singing made up for that.
Most episodes have to do with Finn and Jake interacting. They’ll meet up with Princess Bubblegum or Marceline, but rarely both at once. In this episode, the four of them are all banded together for a common goal, but the focus is more on them getting along (and not getting along) then the goal.
I’m just a big sucker for friendship episodes. Interaction between a variety of characters beats action any day (That’s how Homestuck Kicked Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann/Neon Genesis Evangelion off my “Favourite Fiction Ever list, but that’s a story for another day)
The main characters all have troubles in their lives, depths we never truly look into. Marceline’s troubles are obvious but this isn’t the case for Finn. Princess Bubblegum also suffers from her inner troubles, what with being the ruler of an entire kingdom and all. Jake’s troubles are the deepest and most well hidden of all with only three or so episodes giving hint of it and only one episode focusing on it so far.
In this episode, Marceline sings about her problems with Princess Bubblegum (Marceline having troubles? Never had an episode like that before! (sarcasm)). Princess Bubblegum reacts rather emotionally, which is strange for her. Finn and Jake are left out of the issues of the older and more outwardly troubled adults for most of the episode. Finn deals with it by acting as the glue between the two while Jake (being an enigmatic and unpredictable manchild) goes with the flow and outwardly pretends to have friendship troubles too (I’m not even joking. The two girls have arguments and Jake decides to pretend to have ’em too).
But we are all made to remember that Finn, although he’s young and usually carefree, does indeed have troubles too. Unlike Marceline (who badly conceals them) and Princess Bubblegum (who never lets them get in the way of her and friends) Finn has the character and bravery to sing them all out in the open.
The ending is great too, but I don’t want to spoil it.
I absolutely Love this episode to Death. It is my Favourite Episode VERY often. But if I was to choose which episode I l0ve watching the most of them all…
Return to the Nightosphere/Daddy’s Little Monster
I will be the first to admit that this episode being my absolute favourite episode is a surprise. It was a surprise to me when I declared it my favourite episode a few months ago. But…I love these two episodes!
Okay, I’ll need to organize this part otherwise this review will just be me gushing about how much fun these two episodes were to me.
First off is Return To the Nightosphere. Finn and Jake wake up in the Nightosphere and don’t remember how they got there. They try to get out the long and technically “legal” way, no matter how long and tedious. You’d think it was boring, but the Nightosphere is just so well designed it feels like an adventure all the way through. There’s a glorious slide view of the setting and it needs to be seen to be believed. At the end, without spoiling too much, is a rare example of a non-one sided fight scene between Finn and an opponent that really should out-class him. I like to think that he can fight this opponent because of his new sword (See Dad’s Dungeon). In the end the two find a portal out of the Nightosphere, but that doesn’t end the fight because the being they’re fighting follows them into it. The fight (still awesome!) continues until…I don’t want to give it away! They escape but find out that their old friend, Marceline, is in the Nightosphere and needs to be rescues. Again.
You know, for a being who is supposedly the most powerful of the four main characters Marceline needs rescuing a lot.
Things to look out for:
Keep your eyes on the backgrounds when you’re watching this episode. There is a lot of hidden history to uncover in it. See if you can find: Peppermint Butler, Marceline being held by her dad, and a picture of a mysterious woman.
Jake’s role as Finn’s older brother is shown through a pretty touching moment where Finn is about to give up. It’s a rare thing to see Finn so distraught and it’s nice to know it’s not always him keeping Jake on the right path but also the reverse.
The two characters spend a good long time trying to get out of the Nightosphere (A reeeaaaally long time) and faced so many obstacles that would make anyone cry in anguish. Now they’re out and home free. But one sign that a friend is in danger and Finn doesn’t hesitate to declare that they must go back. That’s heroism right there.
Next is Daddy’s Little Monster. This episode continues on the previous one so I won’t explain the plot too much. Finn and Jake find out why they were in the Nightosphere (and they also discover another secret about Demons…but I won’t give that away).They go back to the Nightosphere and what follows is more action, jokes, and Finn doing something that makes my jaw drop every time! Also, he knocks the sandwich out of Ooo’s version of the devil’s hands.
I really like one of Jake’s scenes where he protects Marceline. That part rarely gets mentioned, but seeing as Jake hated and has nearly killed her before (also vice versa) this is a touching moment.
These Episodes are my all time favourite Adventure Time Episodes!
For the next Adventure Time related list I’ll write about runner ups, great but underappreciated eps, and the like. Thank you for reading.