Welcome back to today’s AT installment! Strangely enough, season 4 was a bit less of a struggle for me to pick and choose from. This doesn’t mean there aren’t many good episodes, and I feel I’ve represented some of the season’s highlights in my list and honorable mentions. Let’s get it started!
5. Five Short Graybles
It was between this and “Card Wars” for me, and while I enjoyed the latter, I’ve always had a soft spot for shows that can do little vignette episodes and do them well. This one is set up to tell five short graybles (a play on fables) that all sort of tie into each other and feature various AT characters. I like each individual story and the payoff, an unexpected theme that ties them together, was really clever. There have been two more grayble episodes since this, but this one is still my favorite as it introduced a fresh spin on the vignette concept. Of the season’s “lighter” episodes, this one is very well executed.
4. The Lich
While I can’t say it led to an overly satisfying conclusion, I really enjoyed this season finale above all the others. The Lich makes his return having killed the warrior Billy and stolen his body. I liked how dark this one got, as the Lich plots to destroy the world and make it in his image. Finn and Jake do all the right things to stop him, but they don’t take into account that they’re playing into his (or, as they think, Billy’s) hands. The cliffhanger ending was great and I can imagine how eager I’d have been seeing it play out live on television. Season 4 seemed to have a lot of dramatic episodes, and this was the perfect finale to appeal to that and hype up what was to come.
3. Burning Low
I said last time that I enjoyed Flame Princess’ first appearance in “Incendium” and that remained true for Season 4’s premiere “Hot to Touch.” However, for this season, “Burning Low” was my favorite appearance by the little firestarter. This episode establishes her as Finn’s official love interest/girlfriend and the possible devastating consequences (to Ooo, anyway) of their relationship. In regards to that, this is also one of my favorite Bubblegum episodes, as she’s played off as being jealous but is actually trying to save the world and its inhabitants from Flame Princess’ destructive power. My favorite part, aside from the rescue at the end, was Finn blowing up at her, admitting he had liked her but now just wants to move on. This was an episode that I felt showed great development for the show and especially Finn, and for me is the highlight of his and Flame Princess’ relationship.
2. Return to the Nightosphere/Daddy’s Little Monster
This two-parter was one of those rare times where I actually enjoyed the world building more than seeing Marceline (though I of course still liked that too). Finn and Jake wake up to find themselves in the Nightosphere, which is literally a Hell dimension, and have to both figure out how they got there and how to find Marceline and her dad. It’s basically like a mystery spliced in with a lot of humor and action. There’s also a little bit of development between Marceline and her dad, with her not wanting to take his place as ruler and he tricking her into doing so. Luckily, he sort of comes to his senses by the end. Being a Hell dimension, there’s also a lot of awesome and freaky character designs, including Finn becoming a demon at one point. I don’t feel they’re the strongest Marceline episodes in the series, but they had a lot of good laughs and creativity.
1. I Remember You
Anyone who’s seen AT long enough knows this one’s a no-brainer as my top pick. “I Remember You” builds upon the backstories of both the Ice King and Marceline by making them intertwined. This is revealed mostly through song, as Ice King wants Marceline’s help to write a love song to land a wife. The episode starts off goofy in this way, but as it progresses, it slowly becomes more bleak and bittersweet as Marceline’s connection to him is revealed. I absolutely love the songs in this episode, whether they’re meant to be silly or incredibly emotional. The episode’s namesake song, “I Remember You,” is my favorite of Marceline’s and is made even more poignant by actually showing a hint of the Ice King and Marceline’s past. It’s just an amazingly powerful episode for such a typically silly show.
Honorable Mentions: Card Wars, Hot to Touch, Reign of Gunters, Hug Wolf, King Worm
So, that’s my list for Season 4. As usual, feel free to chime in with your own thoughts or personal favorite episodes. See you all here Tuesday, when I tackle the lengthy and diversive Season 5!