Finn and Jake’s friendship is at the core of Adventure Time, and the best episodes find a way to incorporate the show’s psychedelic imagery and silly toilet humor into stories that build on the relationship between the two bros. “Son Of Mars” did that wonderfully, as does “Who Would Win,” which pits Finn and Jake against each other when their interests conflict. It’s another strong episode in what is shaping up to be this show’s best season, showing how Finn and Jake are slowly beginning to come apart, but that they’re ultimately at their strongest when they’re together. In typical Adventure Time fashion, these lessons are learned through fighting, with Finn and Jake taking on an opponent called The Farm: a barn with arms and legs that dumps livestock on its opponents.
This episode’s title refers to two questions: “Who would win in a fight between Finn and Jake?” and “Who would win if Finn and Jake each fought The Farm separately?” In both instances, neither of them win, and when they have a personal conflict, it ruins their chances of succeeding in the Farm fight. When Jake decides to ignore his training to play “Kompy’s Castle,” Finn slaps the video game to the ground and breaks the screen. Jake wants Finn to apologize to Kompy, and Finn wants Jake to apologize for not taking their training seriously, triggering an epic fistfight between the two best friends. In this situation, Jake is in the right. Finn reacts immaturely when Jake explains in plain language that he’s more interested in Kompy than training, and he should be more mindful of Jake’s needs because as the beginning of this episode shows, that Finn is more reliant on his dog than vice versa.
At the top of the episode, Finn miscalculates the distance between two cliffs, jumping across and falling into a chasm twice but he is always saved by Jake. The second time, Jake latches on to Finn’s arms and legs and turns into a flying squirrel-like glider; when the two of them are together, they literally soar. When they’re apart, they become battered and bruised. The fight between Finn and Jake unfolds a lot like the Peter/Chicken fights in Family Guy, depicting a long stream of moves ranging from Jake kicking Finn with dozens of little legs to Finn hawking a huge loogie in Jake’s face. The music does a great job of capturing the chaos of the initial moments of the brawl, and the electronic layers are stripped away as the fight continues, ending with a single sad guitar that is the perfect fit for both characters’ desperation.
Drained of energy, Finn and Jake resort to cheap moves to attack each other: Finn gives Jake an Indian sunburn, they slap each other with mud, Jakes depantses Finn and smothers him with his butt, Finn takes a bite out of Jake’s butt. By the time Finn decides to take on The Farm, he’s completely worn out, and both he and Jake are pummeled into unconsciousness. It is in this state where they meet the Dream Warrior, a blue creature shaped like a snowman with arms and legs and long orange hair and voiced by Matthew Broderick. He gives them cryptic clues regarding cheap cars and the other name for sweatpants and golden apples, then splashes them with water to wake them up. When Finn and Jake wake up from their shared dream, they apologize to each other for letting their personal feelings get out of hand, and with their friendship restored, they figure out how to take down The Farm.
The Dream Warrior’s ramblings were instructions for Finn and Jake, telling them to use their cheapest moves to defeat their opponent: Punching out the car lights means throw mud in the eyes, “pants by another name” means depants The Farm, and the golden apples mean they need to bite his butt. There’s a lot of butt biting this episode, and while the episode ends with Finn and Jake being praised as #1 Brogends, the message of the story is a little muddled. By fighting each other, Finn and Jake learn how to harm their enemies, which isn’t the best thing to teach children, but at least Finn and Jake are hurting people together by the end of the episode.
- The Train Vs. The Farm is clearly a commentary on the changes in agriculture following the Industrial Revolution. Or not.
- Judging by the horse, cow, and fox next to Finn and Jake when they wake up from their dream, they got pooped on by The Farm.
- My favorite visual of this episode is when Finn and Jake are stretching during the training montage and Jake divides down the middle to create a creepy flesh pretzel.
- “I can make that drizz no problem.”
- “The train will chug on. My friend makes bionic legs, I will be better than before.”
- “JAKE / I’VE ALWAYS / HAD A CRUSH / ON YOU.”
- “I’m gonna break every bone in your body, then heal you later with the magical goo we got from the Cyclops’ eye.”
- Jake: “I’m gonna turn up the juice!” “I’m gonna drink it!”
- Jake calls sweatpants “give up on life pants”. “I do because peeps need to respect themselves when they leave the house, even if it’s just for ice cream or TP or whatev.”