Adventure Time: “Jake Suit”
B+

Adventure Time: “Jake Suit”

Considering that Adventure Time’s fifth season runs the length of 52 episodes, it's astonishing how strong this series is every week. Only two of the past 26 episodes have received less than a B-minus T.V. Club grade, and the second half of the season begins on a high note with “Jake Suit,” an episode that focuses on the relationship between Finn and Jake but also highlights the expansive cast this series has built over the past three years. When Finn abuses his Jake Suit privileges by forgetting to consider how his actions are harming his bro, he makes a bet that he can withstand any pain Jake puts him through while wearing a Finn Suit. Jakes tries to break Finn through different types of physical and mental torment, but ultimately, Finn proves that he's just as resilient as his superpowered dog, even if he can't do all the cool stretchy stuff.

I've written before about how Finn and Jake are entering different stages in their lives; Finn is at the cusp of adolescence while Jake is firmly into his adulthood, and Jake is starting to lose interest in the childish things that used to make him happy. Dogs age faster than humans, so Jake is well on his way to senior status while Finn is approaching his physical peak. But Finn is unwilling to accept that his brother has outgrown their adventuring. He assumes that diving off a room and landing groin-first on a picket fence won't hurt anyone, and when Jake complains, Finn takes it upon himself to remind Jake that pain is part of the joy of youth. "You just have to imagine that every bruise is a hickey from the universe," Finn says, "and everyone wants to get with the universe."

Jake decides to give Finn a taste of his own medicine by jumping into his mouth and stretching into his nervous system, but he quickly learns that controlling another body is more difficult and than it seems. He tries to get Finn to punch himself in the face, but all he can muster is a gentle caress, so he pursues different means of inducing pain, beginning with forcing Flynn to read Dream Journal Of A Boring Man Vol. 12. The writers really land the comedy this week, and the dream journal is a joke that keeps on giving. The sequence starts with Jake's dramatic reading of the journal before jumping to an accelerated time lapse shot from outside the tree house, and then zooms in on a page of nonsensical dream journal text about disgusting chewing gum and expensive pickled eggs.

Turns out Finn actually gets a kick out of this, especially during the parts where the boring man knows he's in a dream, so Jake decides to make Finn suffer with meatloaf. This is when Jake’s cruelty starts to shine through, forcing Finn to cut slices of meatloaf that are then devoured by the tiny dog in his mouth. Still, Finn does not back down, so Jake elevates things by accepting the invitation Flame Princess sends Finn on his Special Occasion phone. FP wants Finn to meet her less evil relatives, including her younger brothers, older brother visiting from the military, and judgmental aunt and uncle, and Jake snatches the opportunity to humiliate Finn in front of his girlfriend’s family until he admits that being worn as a suit is hard.

Standing in front of Flame Princess and her family, Jake forces Finn to strip off all his clothes, stick a tablecloth in his underwear, and perform the "Buff Baby" song. It's a hilarious callback that leads to some cute new developments for FP and Finn, who are getting closer as time passes. Finn just met FP’s extended family, and she totally didn't even mind that he made a fool of himself once she found out it was because of a bet with Jake. She believes that Finn will win and cheers him on, giving him the support he needs to survive the final stretch of Jake's gauntlet.

This week we get some new information on another one of Jake's pups, learning that T.V. doesn't have an apartment like the rest of his siblings and is currently crashing at mom’s place. Joining his Bob’s Burgers costar Kristen Schaal (Jake Jr.), Dan Mintz brings Tina Belcher's droll vocal tone to Jake's laziest son T.V., who lives a life of eating Doritos and playing computer games. There are five pups and five members of the Belcher clan, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed that Eugene Mirman, H. Jon Benjamin, and John Roberts will land the remaining three roles.

T.V. gives his dad the suggestion that he should throw Finn into a volcano, and when Finn doesn't surrender after being licked by fire wolves and having his head dipped in lava, Jake finally decides to call it quits. Finn is right, and Jake just has to learn to live with the pain of being abused by his stronger friend, which is a really messed up moral to the story. Jake ultimately gets the last laugh, though, when he and Finn end up in the hospital after Finn in the Jake Suit dives back into the volcano. Finn is initially pleased with himself as he lays trapped in a body cast, but that all changes when the Clown Nurses appear to take care of him/haunt his nightmares. As Jake said earlier, there are all kinds of pain, and clown nurses hit Finn where it hurts.

Stray observations:

  • Can someone please make a .gif of BMO hitting Jake with a plank of wood? I love when that little guy gets violent.
  • Nice cameo from Marc Maron’s Squirrel in that time-lapse sequence, still riding that perfect flying disc throw.
  • “Björk” works very well as an Ooo swear word.
  • “You were a little rough with the Jake Suit today, bro. You mashed up my doggy bag pretty hard.”
  • “Dude, I’m graceful. Mom raised me graceful.”
  • “In my dream, I was eating jasmine rice, but it was also brown rice, and it was also my mother.”
  • Jake: “We have a bet going on.” FP: “And you made him dance like a baby semi-nude in front of my family? Wow, that’s pretty hardcore.”
Filed Under: TV, Adventure Time

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