Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Adventure Time: “Earth & Water”

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Why in the world would the masterminds behind this episode end the story with a coup in the Fire Kingdom led by Flame Princess and Cinnamon Bun and have all the action off-screen? Cinnamon Bun so rarely gets to do anything cool, and FP has already proven awesome in action, so the conclusion of “Earth & Water” feels like a bit of a missed opportunity. That’s unfortunate because the rest of this episode works very well, and although we don’t get to see the coup, its outcome shows how this series allows its characters to grow and change.

Finn and FP are both struggling with their breakup, and while Finn retreats into familiar activities like playing video games with Jake, FP is having a more introspective reaction. She’s confused by her conflicting emotions of love and hate for the boy who betrayed her, and she’s beginning to lose faith in the integrity of those around her. Meanwhile, Finn loses 79 rounds of Sumo Scootz in a row because that’s a logical response for a teenage boy who is trying to act like everything’s normal after a major crisis.

The serialization of the extended Finn and FP romance plot shows the writers establishing a tighter sense of continuity between episodes, and beyond the overarching relationship drama, the Ice King thread from “Frost & Fire” continues in this episode. Because Finn’s crazy ex-girlfriend burned down his kingdom, Ice King has decided to shack up with the two bros, starting by stinking up their bathroom. It’s notable that Ice King isn’t wearing his crown, having loaned it out to Gunther so he can rebuild the Ice Kingdom, and he’s downright tolerable without his magical hat. He’s not nearly as obnoxious as he usually is, and appears to have a better sense of memory, recalling how he and Jake got married that one time.

After hearing a scratching noise during a moping session of burning flowers in her hair, FP discovers that Princess Bubblegum has been researching her behavior from a distance because of the threat FP poses when she goes berserk. FP’s combustion rate is directly tied to her emotions, and PB wants to find out which stimuli garner the strongest reactions in hopes that she can prevent these dangerous emotional outbursts. This isn’t the first time PB has tried to keep FP under control, as this episode reveals that she discovered a baby FP in the wilderness when her father cast her out of the Fire Kingdom because of her tremendous power. (FP wasn’t joking when she described her home as “all deceitful and Shakespeare.”) PB brought FP back to her father, who imprisoned her until puberty, and this piece of information fuels FP’s rage against the world and its secrets.

Speaking of secrets, Cinnamon Bun reveals a big one this week as he tells a tied up FP that PB is bad. Commenters have mentioned the darkening of PB’s character over the course of this series, and Cinnamon Bun has noticed, too. PB likes to think she’s doing what’s best for people, but she’s really just manipulating those around her on her neverending search for knowledge. PB’s ultimate plan is a secret to everyone, and FP’s complete honesty attracts Cinnamon Bun to her side. FP appreciates his simplicity, and takes him with her when she returns to the Fire Kingdom to seize control.

PB flips out when she discovers Cinnamon Bun has run off with FP, and she heads down to the Fire Kingdom with Finn to retrieve her experiment. What they find is far from the confused girl PB was spying on: a new Flame Princess King who has stolen her father’s throne and caged him in the lantern she spent her childhood in. Flame King has never been more attractive to Finn, but she’s even further out of his league than before and turns him down when he suggests they get back together now that she’s leveled out emotionally. Flame King has Cinnamon Bun for affection, but she extends an invitation to Finn to keep their friendship alive as long as he stays honest. And so the book is firmly closed on Finn and the former Flame Princess’ romance, setting Finn up for his next girlfriend and more life lessons that come with young love and heartbreak.


Stray observations:

  • Jake’s butt eyes are creepy and hilarious.
  • Ice King sent a text on his banana phone. For some reason, the message didn’t go through.
  • Cinnamon Bun’s “Jake” is a loaf of bread with a mop on it. Who is sadder: Cinnamon Bun or Ice King?
  • Flame Princess: “This is going to help me understand myself?” Princess Bubblegum: “There’s a 40 percent chance we’ll be able to identify and isolate your chemical components and yes, understand you in a very scientific way.”
  • “I need to get inside to file my taxes. Also, I like using the bathroom here. Also, I like to crop dust the lobby.”
  • “Alright, you wanna get nasty? One time I blew a snot bubble that broke off and floated away, then it hit some lady’s baby in the face and it started crying.”