The good son

play date

Adventure Time – “Play Date”

Since Ice King moved in with Finn and Jake, Adventure Time hast mostly relegated him to the background, popping up once an episode to remind you that he’s still hanging around while Gunther rebuilds his kingdom. And yet, he’s seemed like a fine guest, but even pleasant guests have to move on eventually.

The plan to get Ice King out of the tree fort is a classic: the New Best Friend. It’s a simple play, but it does require some planning. The NBF needs to be someone from the periphery of all parties, able to bring something different to the table, yet connect to the target. And for Ice King, Abracadaniel is an excellent choice. They’re both outcast wizards with childish outlooks on life who enjoy music and being the center of attention. But there’s one thing Finn and Jake couldn’t plan for: the Trickster Twins.

See, the problem that arises from Finn and Jake dealing with manchildren is that neither has experience with real children. Sure, Finn is young, but he’s not old enough to recognize the behaviors of children. Jake is just clueless all around. And so neither realizes that sticking Ice King, mischievous and attention-seeking, to Abracadaniel, a beta even to Ice King and a willing enabler of his hare-brained schemes, is a recipe for trouble.

And man, does that trouble escalate quickly. Just like in “We Fixed a Truck,” a pleasant episode turns very dark very quickly. Ice King and Abracadaniel have fun putting on a revue for Finn, Jake, and BMO and playing video games together, but eventually the Trickster Twins have to cause trouble. Ice King takes down the demon sword and reveals an incantation on the handle that he says will summon a vision of the demon Kee-Oth, whose blood is infused in the sword. But when Ice King actually reads the runes, they summon the real Kee-Oth into the tree fort. Finn and Jake show up a minute too late, and Kee-Oth demands his blood back or else he murders Jake (who he mistakes for Joshua, the one who actually stole Kee-Oth’s blood). Finn relents, but it’s not enough. A now-superpowered Kee-Oth disappears in a burst of flame, taking Jake with him. Ice King and Abracadaniel decide they’re bored of the tree fort, so they head back to the Ice Kingdom, which was been rebuilt for weeks. Finn is left alone, without his best friend or his sword, and in shock.

Finn hasn’t thought of Ice King as a bad guy for quite some time now, but with the recent number of incidents causing him to question the loyalties of long-time friends, this could, and should, have a massive impact on their relationship. Finn is able to accept and roll with many things, but even he has a breaking point, and the loss of his best friend to a demon bent on revenge is more than enough to get him there. The fact that Ice King’s apathy has rubbed off on Abracadaniel is also a bad sign. Abracadaniel is impressionable and in the infancy of his powers, but his compassion is what drew Finn and Jake to him in the first place. With that gone, and his involvement in Jake’s kidnapping, there’s nothing to stop Finn from seeing him as one of the bad guys. Perhaps we’re reaching a point where Finn is going to say enough and step back into his rigid Lawful Good alignment. This could have dangerous repercussions for many characters, most importantly Bubblegum, Marceline, and Jake, all of whom have taught Finn that the line between good and evil is extremely fuzzy.

But most immediately, Finn has to rescue Jake from Kee-Oth, and there’s no chance that’s going to be easy. As we reach the end of season five, it makes sense for the writers to bring back the more serialized and epic elements of the show, and Jake’s kidnapping is an exciting and unexpected way to begin.

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