Considering how much of “Time Sandwich” unfolds in slow-motion, it’s an episode that moves incredibly fast, showing how this series can turn the most mundane of tasks into an exciting adventure. Tonight’s plot surrounds a sandwich, but it’s not just a sandwich, it’s the Greatest Sandwich, made with divine inspiration from the Realm of Creation Above. Magic Man steals Jake’s sandwich and encases himself in a time bubble, forcing Jake to solve a riddle in order to get his beloved meal back. The last few episodes have been so emotional and character-heavy that it’s refreshing to step back and get an episode that is just simple silliness, and as various Ooo players show up to lend their support, the situation inside the bubble becomes more extravagant to add a very fun visual element to the story.
With “Time Sandwich,” Adventure Time gains its version of Blondie’s “Dagwood,” a monster sandwich that fans can make at home if they’re willing to procure certain unorthodox ingredients. Here’s the recipe for the sandwich I’m calling “The Great Jake.”
- Place one piece of meat in a plastic bag with rosemary and thyme, cook in water at 135° (sous-vide).
- Toast baguette, spread cream cheese on both halves of loaf.
- Add pickles (preferably from Prismo), fresh dill, diced boiled eggs, poultry (preferably from a window), common cucumber, sliced roma tomato, organic sweet yellow onion, tears for salt, bacon.
- Boil a lobster, fan its soul on to sandwich (most important ingredient).
How does it taste? Jake would love to know, but Magic Man steals it and tells him he can have it “when your face shows 7:20. When green leaves turn brown. The only way forward is down. Then you’ll see, the wetter the better.”
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Jake is a dog and his life priorities are vastly different from Finn’s, hence the shift in tone when he’s the focus of an episode. He has a wife and a family, sure, but what Jake cares about most is putting food in his belly. Making a sandwich is a religious experience that he mentally and physically prepares for, but there are more important things in life, and Magic Man shows him that in his own unique way. As Jake mourns the loss of his sandwich, those around him rally to help, and ultimately it’s friendship that allows Jake to get his hands back on his glorious food.
Finn doesn’t offer much help in a technical sense, but he’s there to provide valuable emotional support and connections to people who can help, like Princess Bubblegum. BMO’s the first outside party to offer assistance, suggesting a plan that involves him skateboarding off a ramp and grabbing the sandwich mid-air, but once he hits the bubble, his movement slows to near stasis. That shot of BMO flying through the air on a skateboard like the teen hero of an ’80s sci-fi movie is the foundation for the hilarious picture that develops inside the bubble as new people arrive to aid Finn and Jake.
Princess Bubblegum realizes Magic Man is using a “molasses-based super covalent subatomic bond” so she deploys a molasses warmer to melt the bubble, adding an explosion in the background of that wicked BMO shot. PB calls Marceline, who solves the problem by serving up some “demon juice,” meaning she turns into a giant bat monster and body slams the bubble. The final bubble tableau has badass BMO skateboarding in an explosion while a vampire bat monster flies behind him, a.k.a. the perfect tattoo for a hardcore Adventure Time fan.
After all his friends fail, Jake succumbs to total sadness, which just so happens to be the solution to all his problems. His face has to a do a 7:20, or “a sad face” as some people say (nobody does). When he’s sad he can walk through the bubble at normal speed, so he has to force himself to think sad thoughts. He imagines he dies and Mr. Cupcake sweeps up Lady Rainicorn, but that creates anger rather than sadness as a long-running resentment is exposed. Jake decides to change his track of thinking and considers the friendship he’s denied himself by being jealous of Mr. Cupcake. He thinks about how Mr. Cupcake would react to his death and gives Cupcake his blessing to marry Lady if he does die, creating a scenario that is so sad it bursts the time bubble.
The Mr. Cupcake sequence interrupts the breakneck pace of the episode to introduce some character conflict, and while it feels like an unused plot from a different episode, it adds an interesting layer to Jake’s obsession with his sandwich. When Jake has to think of something sad, his mind immediately goes to losing Lady, and his fear of losing his woman makes him react more passionately when he loses his sandwich. He’s projecting his feelings about his relationship onto an insignificant object, and once he confronts those anxieties he’s able to take a bite. Jake gets his sandwich and Magic Man gets blown up, run over by a skateboard, and body slammed by a vampire bat monster. The episode ends with Jake grasping his sandwich with tears in his eyes, finally taking that delicious first bite. Maybe he’s learned a valuable lesson about the value of personal relationships, but dogs have bad memories so it’s unlikely that food will ever be second place in Jake’s heart.
- Has anyone made a catalog of all the physical games the characters play, like this week’s match of “finger spread” between BMO and Finn? To play: Blindfold yourself and your opponent, hold both forefingers together like little guns, try to find your opponent’s fingers and spread them apart.
- What is it with kids’ shows and sandwiches? Teen Titans Go! just had a Perfect Sandwich episode, too.
- You know Marceline hasn’t shown up in a while when the writers throw in an expository “…the Vampire Queen!” exclamation from Finn when the character is mentioned.
- Congrats to the Adventure Time comic book team, who won Harvey Awards for Best Original Graphic Publication for Younger Readers, and Special Award for Humor in Comics. They’ve also got a new original book coming from Boom Studios.
- “You stay away from my woman! Eh… my sandwich!”
- “He’s not frozen, he’s super slow-mowzen. Motion.”
- “Wait wait wait. BMO, are you just making a skateboard video?”
- “Once you explained about Jake’s sandwich, I had to.” PB understands what a Sandwich Emergency means: