Welcome back to another installment of my AT blogs! Today, I’m looking at Season 3, which as usual left me struggling to narrow down both my list and honorable mentions. I had debated putting “Holly Jolly Secrets Part II” on the list, but I felt the big discovery at the end of the episode didn’t make up for how kind of boring the rest of it and Part I were. Ultimately, my choices reflect my interest in these episodes, and people are more than welcome to disagree. That said, let’s get down to business.
5. What Was Missing
I consider this episode as sort of a pseudo-musical one. The story kicks off with a door lord apparently stealing precious items from Finn, Jake, Princess Bubblegum and Marceline and locks himself behind a door.. They decide to band together and become, well, a band when they discover the door responds to music. The songs are pretty good, and I liked the concept of singing as the way to open the door. I did like the hints of backstory involving PB and Marceline, and you can easily take the implications of their past as romantic or purely friendship. Plus, I really liked the camaraderie between the group. Overall, I felt it was a fun episode.
4. Thank You
This was apparently a Thanksgiving Day special and is one of the very few Finn and Jake-lite episodes in the series. This by no means makes it a bad episode, as while they do appear briefly, their screentime is pretty hilarious as they battle Ice King over a sandwich. But the core of this episode is my favorite, as a Snow Golem finds himself taking care of a fire wolf pup. Obviously, with him being ice and the pup being fire, they don’t make the greatest match. But he doesn’t let that stop him from caring for the pup. I really liked the design and concept of the fire wolves, and the puppy was just adorable. The Snow Golem was a great silent character and had good humorous moments through his expressions and reactions. All in all, I loved this one for its simplicity and heartwarming ending.
This episode marked the end of Season 3, and while I can’t say it’s the best finale, it did move a lot of story aspects along. Finn learns to get over Princess Bubblegum thanks to Jake’s attempt to set him up with the Flame Princess, who he quickly gets a crush on. I consider Flame Princess to be my favorite of all of them, and it has nothing to do with her interactions with Finn. I find her character a bit fun and interesting. This episode also introduces the Fire Kingdom, which looked almost and had plenty of neat character designs, and the douchey Fire King as played by Keith David, who does an awesome job. I really liked Jake’s role as well, showing that he cares for Finn and wants him to get over PB for his own sake. I just really enjoyed Finn’s development in this and the expansion of Ooo with the kingdom’s appearance.
2. Memory of a Memory
Yes, this is the first instance where a Marceline episode didn’t make the top spot, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t close. This episode dives more into Marceline’s past (and a tiny bit of Finn’s) by having Finn and Jake retrieve a memory from her brain for a mysterious man. We learn about an ex-boyfriend of hers named Ash, which is a character I rightfully grew to hate and was glad to see get his comeuppance. I’ve always been a fan of dream and memory-based episodes because of the creativity involved, and this revealed a few details involving Ash and also part of her childhood. I enjoyed how Finn resolves everything by the end, and his little baby song and dance was incredibly catchy and too cute. This episode would’ve easily been in the top spot had it not been for my instant love of my top pick.
1. Fionna and Cake
Yes, I know people love and hate this episode, but from the moment it started I was instantly drawn into it. Even with the admittedly surprisingly twist at the end, I enjoy episodes that can take established characters and create alternate universes with them, in this case a genderbent one. I liked the little nuances used to separate the characters from their counterparts, like Fionna appearing older and slightly more wiser than Finn and Lord Monochromicorn speaking in Morse code versus Lady Rainicorn speaking Korean. Plot-wise, it’s a pretty standard and simplistic, with Fionna and Cake taking on the Ice Queen and Fionna being wooed by Prince Gumball. I liked this, though, as it kept the adventurous feel of a normal episode with a girl’s take on romance and ultimately self-worth. Plus, it didn’t hurt that Gumball was played by Neil Patrick Harris, who is an actor that can do pretty much no wrong in my eyes. His sequence where he sings to Fionna was great, mixing a lovey dovey song with a scene that throws in a bit of violence for fun. Overall, I hope this universe continues to be explored in some way, because I can’t get enough of these characters and their stories.
Honorable Mentions: Holly Jolly Secrets Part II, Jake vs. Me-Mow, Marceline’s Closet, Ghost Princess, The Creeps, From Bad to Worse, Beautopia
And that’s my list for Season 3. As always, feel free to comment whether you agree, disagree, or have episodes you enjoy that I didn’t mention. I’ll see you all back here on Sunday for Season 4!