What would you do for love? How far would you go? Would you throw yourself out a window? Risk your life fighting giant monsters? Sell your soul? These are all viable options for Braco, the Princess Bubblegum-obsessed 21-year-old at the heart of “The Suitor,” who undergoes severe emotional and physical agony in his efforts to win PB’s heart. We’ve seen in the past that PB can be emotionally distant, but with Finn, she could place the blame on his youth rather than her own personal issues. That’s not the case with the adult Braco, and he learns the hard way that PB isn’t ready for a romantic relationship right now, no matter what he does to impress her.
We’re about due for a Peppermint Butler episode soon, because he’s clearly up to something. “The Suitor” begins with PepBut dangling Cinnamon Bun over him while cinnamon glazes drips into his mouth, giving him the power to summon a demon that possesses Cinnamon Bun’s body. (Huh?) PepBut is trying to gain the key to the shadow realm when a Gumball Guardian interrupts him and demands that he return to his royal duties as PB’s aide, beginning by picking a suitor that will get coax her from her nine-week campout in the lab. He picks the only one that isn’t disgusting or old: Braco, who has taken his late father’s place in line for PB’s affections.
Braco loves PB for no reason and feels extreme pain when he’s not with her, emotions that PB views as side effects of infatuation rather than true adoration. PB tells him that his pain is a product of him overvaluing a projected imaginary relationship, and what we have here is a classic case of heart vs. head. Braco is motivated by pure emotion, devoting himself completely to whatever he’s doing without thinking about the consequences for either himself and others. Meanwhile, PB is all about logic, and she needs to know how someone gets from point A to point B or the trip didn’t count. Love is a formula that she doesn’t understand, and she sees Braco as an opportunity to run some experiments and find out more about the elusive emotion.
After being told he’s infatuated, Braco jumps out the window of PB’s land and safely lands on Mr. Cupcake, but it’s just the start of his self-destructive behavior. When he tries to “peacock” PB by wearing an elaborate hat and is turned down, he smacks himself and sets off on his next valiant act of stupidity. When PB asks Finn and Jake to retrieve a soul stone for her, Braco decides to take on the quest for them, something Finn allows because he understands the poor guy’s predicament. Finn is initially cool with Braco until he finds out Braco is “dating” PB and then starts to think he’s weird, passive and baby lambish (typical ex-boyfriend reaction), but once Finn actually talks to the man, he realizes how similar their situations are.
Braco jumps into a raging fire and then faces a trio of bloodthirsty monsters in order to get the soul stone to PB, but she doesn’t need it anymore. She’s found that it’s easier to create a soul and manipulate it rather than try to control an already living one, although what she’s done to Braco and Finn suggests that PB has more power than she thinks. We don’t really know the full extent of PB’s history, and there have been hints that PB has connections to the early days after the Great Mushroom War; in “Simon And Marcy,” the title pair is helped by a pink substance that appears to be in the early stages of sentience. (If the rest of the Candy Kingdom evolved from the primordial ooze of that pink blob, does PB have authority because she is closest to the original substance?) PB has wisdom beyond her years, and Braco finds out too late that her cold, detached demeanor is not indicative of disinterest but rather a lack of focus. PB thinks Braco is great and that he deserves to be with her, but she also can’t commit to a serious relationship with all the pressures in her life, and she comes up with a solution just after Braco makes a deal with the devil.
After throwing a tantrum in his tower, Braco is grabbed by a Gumball Guardian and brought to PepBut’s cave, where he’s given the opportunity to use dark magic to become a love magnet. Willing to pay any price for love, Braco is mutated into something horrific as PepBut’s captive expands half of his face and gives him extra legs and a giant arm. Braco is hideous but he’s a love magnet, and the first being to fall for him is PepBut, who wants to make babies with him now that he looks like something that crawled out of hell. Braco makes his way to PB’s lab, where he discovers the PBot, a robot that PB has created to love Braco in the ways that she can’t.
All this time, PB has been looking for a way to satisfy her suitor while he became increasingly desperate to gain her attention. Braco ultimately makes an unnecessary sacrifice when he could have just been more patient, and it’s a good lesson for the tween set to learn as they begin to enter the world of adolescent romance. There are going to be a lot of crushes that don’t appear interested and the temptation to change behavior in order to gain someone’s attention is high at that age, but “The Suitor” reminds us that everyone is living their own life and dealing with their own issues. If Braco was willing to slow down until he and PB were on the same page, he’d be able to live happily ever after without the permanent disfigurement.
- There’s going to be a new Adventure Time video game coming this fall, made by the same developers as Hey Ice King! Why’d You Steal Our Garbage?! Expanding into the realm of consoles and PC, Adventure Time: Explore the Dungeon Because I DON’T KNOW! will have multiple playable characters and 4-player co-op. I’m jazzed.
- Mind Game by Jay T. Doggzone returns! What could it mean? Should we expect Jay T. Doggzone to appear at some point in the future?
- PB calling Morrow to take her away is pretty much the coolest way of exiting a conversation ever.
- “Princess, this lab reeks like brown mist. It’s unhealthy.”
- “That road you’re on… leads to nowhere.” I love when Finn gets reflective.