Hello, Spongey here.
It’s once list time, and it’s for a show that’s long overdue for one. So in other words, it’s Adventure Time!
Adventure Time is quite the beast indeed. Premiering in 2010, this is arguably the show that saved Cartoon Network. Regular Show helped too, but this was the big one. This show proved to them that letting creators and writers with their own styles helm a show would pay off.
Since then, they’ve allowed plenty of creator driven shows, with other Networks following suit. While you can argue of exactly what sparked this new animation golden age, it’s clear AT had a big part.
It deserves a lot of credit for that along, as well as proving modern cartoons can be pretty amazing for a lot of reasons. If you’ve been living under a rock, Adventure Time takes place in the land of Ooo where Finn the Human and Jake the (magic) dog go on all sorts of crazy adventures with vampire queens, ice kings, and sometimes religious allegories.
Speaking of which, this isn’t my first take on the show as in 2014 I reviewed it’s worst episode. My opinion has not changed, but you’ll hear about that in the 2014 retrospective.
It’s hard to really explain at this point why the show is so good, as plenty of people have gushed over it plenty. It’s one of those shows that seems silly at first but gets a lot more serious with deep themes, character developments, and story arcs.
Through most of it, it has managed to balance all those elements to be quite the solid show. As of Season 7, there’s way too much to sum up here but trust me, it has a lot going on. Maybe too much.
A number of people have said it went downhill after Season 5, and is now getting better with the current Season. I can’t really despiute that as I will agree Season 6 was a bit weaker in some areas.
But I will say that it’s still not that bad, and the problems come from them clearly trying. Even with my personal least favorite episode, they were at least trying to tackle an issue and they did some things right.
So it’s a bit harsh to say it’s all trash now or whatever. I’d say it was closer to hit or miss. But yeah, it did take a hit then got way better again. But in general, the show is great with how it does so many things and is still quite enjoyable.
Why has it taken me so long to even consider a list? Well, for a while I didn’t have any favorites that were not the obvious choices and I didn’t quite feel confident enough to do a lisr. I even considered a Spongey’s Favorite Episodes back when I first got that idea.
Then PieGuyRulz did his list and the idea got pushed back even more since he did a fine job with his choices and whatnot. But eventually I cracked down and re-watch the series to see if I could make a good list.
And here we are. I have a solid enough list with decent variety and it actually doesn’t cross over with PieGuy’s too much. Infact, only about 4 or so from his list ended up on mine, and they were the more obvious ones.
Like any list, some will seem odd, but whatever. So it’s finally time to do this. Adventure Time has hit some great highs in it’s run, and can be hilarious, compelling, and even more than a little sad.
Let’s honor those gems with this little list. Which episodes stood out the most with the use of characters, emotional connection, and story? Today, we take a look to find out.
This, is Top 11 Adventure Time Episodes
- Return to the Nightosphere/Daddy’s Little Monster
Writers: Ako Castuera, Jesse Monyhihan, Cole Sanchez and Rebecca Sugar. (Story by Patrick McHale, Kent Osborne, and Pen Ward)
We start with a 2 part Marceline episode written by Rebecca Sugar. Well, I don’t think I need to explain it’s great, moving on!
…Okay, there’s more to say. Finn and Jake wake up in the Nightosphere and must figure out how they got there and also save Marceline.
This is a good one to start with, as it’s one that mixes Comedy with drama decently well, and it gives me the chance to explore Marceline a bit. Rewatching the show, I forgot she was a sort of villain at first, being a bit of troll because she cooled down a bit.
She was already cool because of her nature and Olivia Olson’s voice work but starting with It Came from the Nightosphere, she became more complex with a lot of issues going on. It got to the point where she’s one of the more tragic characters on the show, but we’ll get to THAT one later..
Which leads us to this one which is pretty much a sequel to It Came From the Nightosphere…as the title kind of implies. You can argue making a two parter is pointless, but the time is used well.
Return is a interesting mystery, as the characters wake up with no memory. It’s like The Hangover, but with more demons. Something that film was obviously lacking. Part is mostly just them trying to get to Hunson Abader to get out of here, and only at the very end does anything important happen.
But that’s why it’s so good. The whole thing is them facing the bureaucracy of this hell-ish landscape and it’s so funny with how mundane is. Speaking of funny, both parts have a lot of great jokes from how long they wait, to “Hunson” giving weird punishments.
It gets maybe too jokey for a special but it’s so funny that I don’t mind. And do I need to mention the Political Rap?
Then there’s the actual plot. Basically, Hunson wants Marcy to take part in the family business and uses this amulet thing to turn her into a monster that will rule the Nightosphere like he does.
It’s on the cliché side but like most Marceline stories, it’s pretty gripping. Mostly because she’s just a naturally likable character, and Hunson even works well. He’s funny in some parts, and he’s almost sympathetic even with the things he does.
Also, he is voiced by Olivia Olson’s real father, Martin Olson who also happens to be an establish cartoon writer person in his own right. That’s cool too.
‘All this stuff leads to another great Marceline song and some nice moments at the end. It’s not the deepest story on this show, but it’s nice and simple, even with all the extra time. Did it need to be 2 parts?
Maybe not, but it gave us a great set up with the first part, so I don’t mind. Another amazing thing about this episode is the Nightosphere episode. Adventure Time has truly fantastic art direction and designs for the worlds, and this some of their best work.
This world looks awesome and it’s not just a bland hellscape. There’s an amazing panning shot of the place when they get there and it’s awesome. The extra at least lets us more fun in here.
As a whole, this is a nice exploration of Marceline’s whole deal with her father. While it’s not exactly original, it is sweet and very funny with the entire set up of part 1. It’s not the most complex thing ever, but it is very well done and quite sweet in the end.
Speaking of the end, the little joke with Marcy saying she doesn’t want to be friends with Finn because Hunson likes him is amusing but an abrupt note to end on. Some people thought she was being serious, when she was clearly joking.
Maybe something extra would have been nice, but that’s a nitpick.
This is a fine way to start out list, as it has a story without being insanely dramatic, and is quite creative and funny. It’s a decent balance, but we’re only getting straight. In short, this is a great two parter that is fun and very interesting.
Insert clever transition to next one here.
- Memories of Boom Boom Mountain
Writers: Bert Youn, Sean Jimenez (Story by Tim McKeon and Merriweather Williams)
Yes, you read that right. Merriwether Williams worked on Adventure Time. Specifically she was a story editor on the first two Seasons. I think you can guess what she left to work on. Now you know why the only photo of her I’ve seen features her having a Finn hat on.
There’s not much to say about her involvement, it’s cool that was on the show, even if I’m not sure what impact she had. But if her helped on this episode, she did good.
I’ve talked about a shows first season many times and how it’s not usually the best, but there’s that one episode that first shows signs that show will become something special. And yeah, this Adventure Time’s, at least for Season 1.
Basically a Mountain is crying boulders because of some roughhousing gentlemen, and Finn has to make everyone happy. Typical story I know.
Most of is typical Season 1 silliness, but it shows hints of deeper stuff, mostly with Finn’s character. There’s plenty of amusing things, like the Mountain himself (voiced by Gunther from Kick Buttowski which is amazing) and the ending joke with the Dolphin.
It isn’t the funniest, but it is enjoyable with their attempts to fix things and how it all escalates. Oh, and the main Roughhousing guy is voiced by Thomas Wilson, who uses the same voices he did for all those tough guys on SpongeBob.
It’s as fun as most Season 1 episodes, but then there’s some added depth. We find out that as baby, Finn fell into his…boom boom and no one helped him except Jake’s Parents, which is how that strange adoption happened.
Leave it to this show to make a poop joke kind of dramatic. This is why Finn likes helping people, and it gives his character more weight than before. In general, he’s a very likable character and this explains why he’s like this, mostly.
It’s interesting and we get a few flashbacks like that. Thankfully, it never gets too dramatic and is mostly silly with just a few bits like that. But those bits help make the episode great, as Finn tries to help everyone.
The only possible problem is the ending. It seems to be working itself to a “You can’t help everyone” moral…but he ends up helping everyone, mostly by putting steam in front of Gunther here so he cant’ see the roughhousing and his weird girlfriend can still see his mountain butt or whatever.
It’s all a clear happy ending, even with a dolphin following Jake. The weird thing is, I didn’t see the negative aspects of this at all when I saw it, and didn’t realize it until someone pointed it out.
In a way it’s a bit cheap, this was early Adventure Time so I can let this kind of thing slide. Also, in a way this still works. It shows that you can make people happy if you are clever enough.
Sure, that steam will go away eventually…but meh, it’s not like we ever see him again or anything. I think this ending works because it’s so optimistic and fits with Finn’s character. I suppose it works more on a character level.
But the rest is still great. Not only is it fun but it gives us further insight on Finn and makes him a lot more three dimensinol. There’s some nice moments here and you feel bad for him even if the boom boom thing is king of played for laughs.
I also like that the Roughhousing guys are clearly just having fun so you root for them a bit more than you normally would. This show is weirdly Pro-Violence but in a good way which we’ll actually explore in the next entry.
But as for this one, it’s a great gem from the first Season. I’ll admit the stuff with Finn is why it made it on here above arguably better episodes, but it’s still great in it’s own right.
It’s an early example of how likable Finn and it has a mostly nice moral while still being quite a bit of fun. There are more complex episodes but this is a good example of simple one with some deeper things in there.
Don’t worry, they will get better soon, I’m warming up as usual. So yeah, very good early episode, thanks in part to my favorite person to defend!
- Crystals have Power
Writers: Cole Sanchez, Jesse Monyihan. (Story by Merriweather Williams Steve Little, Patrick McHale, Pen Ward, Thurop Van Orman)
This is an episode that isn’t talked about too often except for the plot significance but as you can tell ,i think there’s a bit more to it, even if again I will admit there are better episodes out there. About 8 of them, infact!
Basically, Finn is kidnapped by Crystal Guardian dudes who try to turn him into a frozen crystal guy. And since you already know it, it turns out Tree Trunk is behind all this.
I suppose I should get that part out of the way. In her debut episode, she hate a Crystal gem (No comment..) Apple which made her blow up. Of course we saw a tiny scene of her in some strange dimension, just to show they didn’t kill her off.
It was a hell of ending, and was just an example of …weird the show was. It was a very early episode. Naturally, we wanted some resolution which that and we got it. I should just say that I honestly love Tree Trunks.
She’s just so darn sweet, and she never got too dumb for me. Really, I think Apple Wedding is the only one where maybe she’s a bit dumb, but only cuz we knew too little about King Of Ooo to know if it’s fine for her to trust him at that point.
While she only appears in the 3rd act, she is solid her with she has gone crazy with power thanks to that Apple. Her wanting to be with Finn is…creepy, though. Glad they dropped that.
She’s certainty fun and the crystal dimension place looks really cool. However, the highlight is actually Jake. He accidents hurts Finn and he’s reminded of when he once hurt his brother and his Father said he has to get used to ,as he’s going to “hurt everyone”.
This causes Jake to become soft (literally) and not want to fight people. Besides the interesting insight into Jake we get, I actually really like the moral here. They kind of did it in His Hero but it was executed better here.
They pretty much say that violence is okay as long as the person is evil. I mean, most of the baddies in this show deserve to be hurt at least a beat, especially in this episode with the crystal dudes.
We’re so used to being taught that all violence is bad, but the truth is sometimes you have to get a little violent. It’s not exactly the answer, but sadly it has to happen at some point. There needs to be a balance between extreme violence and extreme pacifism,
While it is played for laughs here, we see how hurting his friends and family affects him, and he learns to pull it back on friends but not go too soft on bad guys. It managed to teach the lesson without coming across as hypocritical, at least to me.
That’s pretty much the main reason this gets on here. There’s some jokes, some great designs, and Tree Trunks is funs, but I like it mostly for Jake and how the moral is handled. It’s not even preachy about it, it just lets this stuff play out, and Jake’s little moments don’t drag it down.
It’s a pretty enjoyable episode with a bit of depth that is refreshing to see in a kids show. His Hero was written in a way where I can see people taking issue with the moral, as it’s played very much for laughs, but this wrote it so that it’s a better moral and not quite as comedic.
That’s really there is to it. It’s fairly simple even with these two main things going on. It does everything pretty well has a nice moral at the center of it, even if it is an odd one. This one won’t be on most people’s list, but it’s on mine because I like it.
Now like many lists, the first few entries are more of less warm ups. The first 3 were pretty much tied, along with some of the Runners Up we’ll get to. But the next 8 are all really great in their own way and truly stand as something special, while these 3 were just…really good.
So you know I mean it with the next ones. But hey, this one is still great with what it does. It not only addressed a cliffhanger, but it also gave us a refreshing moral and other fun stuff. It’s quite good.
- Holly Jolly Secrets
Writers: Kent Osborne, Somvilay Xayaphone (Story by Mark Banker, Patrick McHale, Kent Osborne, and Pen Ward)
Who is up for a little Christmas in May? Or whatever Generic Winter Holiday got started in this episode.
But yeah..oh boy, this is a big one. Most people may not have one on their lists, since most people just think it’s good for the reaval and that’s it. While that is the best part of the episode, I actually have it on here for the format of it all.
Finn and Jake find some tapes Ice King hid and watch them to find any evil secrets. That’s pretty much, it’s just them watching tapes. And it’s a 22 minute special, where nothing that important happens until the end.
But all counts, it should be a slog with only one good part. Heck, it was advertised as the big Christmas Special, but it has nothing with the holidays until part 2. But in a way, this all why it’s so great.
The entire thing is build up to this reveal, and the more you wind up like that, the bigger the payoff has to be. The payoff is so amazing that it’s like the episode is the best joke ever. Actually, it seems like it’s building to a joke, so what happens is even more shocking,.
They do make a joke about it with Ice King thinking his glasses are the deal, but even that’s tragic with how he doesn’t get it. And yeah, that twist is great.
We find out Ice King was once Simon and he was a normal guy from before the whole Mushroom War stuff. But one day he found a crown that pretty much drove him insane, gave him ice powers, and drove away his fiance, Betty.
The tape shows his transformation, and ends with him still having sanity, but still alone and crying out for Betty. This was…well ,a Drama Bomb, as Jake put it. It’s a ton of info to process at once, and I don’t think anyone saw it coming.
It adds a lot of tragedy to his character, and gives so much insight into the greater story going on. And man, Tom Kenny deserves all of the credit for his performance as The Ice King in general ,especially for this episode and one coming up later.
He does a great job as Simon making him sound normal to contrast to later when he just goes insane. He hits it all perfectly. The entire ending in general is just sad, then really heartwarming with how they all bond.
But while all this great, the other main reason this is on here is that it’s really funny. The whole thing is just them watching tapes, but they get a lot of great Comedy here on all fronts. There’s everything BMO does (“Finn, get Naked”), and all the stuff on the Ice King’s tapes.
We knew he was pathetic before, but they come up with some fun ways to show it here from him talking about his lame day to scolding Gunther in a weird news style thing. It’s all really funny and enjoyably.
It oddly enough doesn’t drag for me. It’s just kind of nice to watch these weird tapes, and see their reactions to them. It’s almost relaxing in a way especially with Christmas slowly starts to come up with the sweaters.
As small as the Christmas element is, it works too due to how they build it up. They intentionally make it just a normal episode with Christmas elements, in a way only this show could.
The ending makes it more than Christmas-y enough for me to watch it every year. But the rest is what it makes it special enough for this list. Yes, it has that crazy twist but the build up is really well done with how funny it is, and exactly how they build it up.
Most people would think it’s just notable for the twist, but I think it needs more credit. It builds up to the twist brilliantly, and is incredibly funny and makes for a very different Holiday Special at the same time. While I also really liked their recent Holiday Special, it honestly can’t top this one.
It may be a bit strange with it’s pacing, but it pays off with good comedy and an amazing twist that changed the show forever. It’s a holiday classic in it;s own right.
- Princess Cookie
Writers: Tom Herpich. Skyler Page. (Story by Patrick McHale, Kent Osborne, and Pen Ward)
One of the best things about Adventure Time is that it’s multi layered. By that I mean, it does go into deeper stuff but it’s usually under the surface. If you want just to see a simple story, you can but if you want to go deeper, that stuff is usually there.
This is part of why Season 6 got so much flack, since it didn’t remember it quite as much. But they mostly get it right, and this episode is a perfect example of that.
A cookie holds up a Candy Kingdom store, and Jake sent in to take care of him only for him to eventually find out what his deal is and side with him.
There’s quite a bit to discuss with this one, but let’s stick to the simple parts first. For one, I like that that it focuses more on Jake. For a main character, he doesn’t get as much to do as you might think.
He has to get an episode clearly about him to be really important. But for this episode, they gave him the spotlight when it really didn’t matter who bonded with Princess Cookie. I think with Finn it just wouldn’t feel as special, since he’s less likely to disobey Bubblegum for obvious reasons.
With Jake, it makes more sense and there’s a better connection. I think more episodes like this would make Jake just a bit better, even though he is already pretty great. And that’s part of why the episode works.
Princess Cookie himself is likable, mostly due to Donald Fasion’s voice work. This show has pitch perfect casting, even with it’s one shot characters. He’s not only amusing, but his backstory immediately makes you like him, which is good given what he goes through in the end.
While it’s not quite as big Comedy episode, it has it’s moments such as Alvin’s Hot Juice Box. But in general, this is a more serious one so let’s so the…interesting parts. It turns out that he was an Orphan and his Orphanage was pretty crappy, until Bubblegum showed up and made it all better.
He liked her so much afrer that he wanted to be a Princess like her. He tells her that and she just chuckles, which he thinks is her mocking him. From that day onward, he starts to hate her and that’s why he’s here.
There’s..plenty to gleam from that, but as I said, you can view it both ways with no problem. On a general way, this works really work. His backstory gives him a perfect reason to want to be like her, because this bit made him see her this amazing angel and he wants to be like that.
It makes total sense in the story and makes him more understandable. As for Bubblegum’s role, she thinks it’s a silly thing he said, she isn’t really laughing at him or anything. So she’s fine too…even if she never learns his reasoning for doing this stuff now, until perhaps the very very end.
Yeah, that’s my only problem. Getting her POV would have made the story more complete, instead of mostly making her a villain especially given the deeper meaning you can find in here. Still, that’s not too big a deal.
As story, it’s very strong making you like the character and giving things a very nice ending. However, it’s time to go a bit deeper, this should be fun. I think it’s clear what you can gleam from him wanting to be a Princess.
But like I said, if you just want to see him wanting the crown because of the good qualities he associates with Princesses, then you can, as it’s mostly about that. Meaning you don’t have to look deep to like it.
And you can look deep and find some good stuff here. The stuff hinted here tends to be frowned upon in general, so it’s no wonder he thought she was mocking him. That’s sadly the world we live in, so this has some real world context.
Now, there are arguably more issues with Bubblegum’s side if you look deeper, but it mostly works due to the heart. For the most part, it is just a story of him wanting to be princess, with nothing too crazy about the implications.
Here that side is just a nice bonus, which works better than if you smacked you over the head with the point. But then we get to the uh…most interesting part of the episode. It’s the thing people remember the most, yet don’t quite discuss as much, oddly enough.
In short, he pretty much attempts suicide. There’s..really no other way to put. He gets to a big trench thing with everyone chasing him, and after thanking Jake, he falls backwards into it. …Yeah, this happens.
First off, this aired on the same night as the Regular Show episode Out of Commission, where at one point the cart that is alive (Don’t ask) …does something similar in attempting suicide of some kind.
Yes, both of these scenes happened the same day. I have no idea how that happened but it’s incredibly creepy and a very….odd unintentional theme. People seem to have forgotten about this, but I thought I had to bring up.
But…yeah, people seem to be fine with this since no one complains about it. And in general, its’ respectful enough but here’s the thing…it becomes a joke. Yeah, as a Cookie he just breaks into a few pieces, and still lives.
Yes, they make a suicide joke, pretty much. No one, that I know of, has commented on this, much like whined about it. I get in general, since there’s no malice here. And…to be honest, it is kind of funny, due to the timing of it all, and how cartoon-y it is in general.
However, with how much people love to whine and nitpick shit like this to find offensive materiel that isn’t actually there, it’s strange how no one brings this up. Maybe it’s because back in 2012 this stuff just wasn’t as big of a deal and it would be get more whining now?
Because while it is handled fine, it is a suicide joke in a story that can be linked to transgender issues, and unfortunately suicide can sometimes be involved in that in some very bad cases. I’m not quite calling them out, I just find it odd that this didn’t get nitpick-y assholes while other pieces like this do get those people.
Now, another reason is that there is a happy ending. He is somehow put back together and put in what seems like a loony bin, where he does get a princess crown and is worshiped by the other people there, getting what he wanted.
It’s an incredibly satisfying ending. There’s a nice little Adventure Time twist to with the location to make it fit while still being incredibly sweet. PB is even seen here being happy, so clearly she learned her lesson in some way.
Speaking of sweet, there;s more bits like that. The bit at the trench is so great, with how we see his plight and how Jake has bonded with him. The big moment is done really well and makes the very ending even better.
As a whole, this is a well told story with a very likable character in the lead, with a great connection to Jake. And there’s even a deeper meaning to give it more weight, but if you don’t wanna see it, you don’t have to!
There is one kind of awkward bit, even with it being mostly done well. And honestly, that does keep it from being a bit higher on here, as I can see it bugging people. But in general, this is a great episode that is a interesting story with a lot of deep stuff to chew on.
While there are maybe better episodes that fit the structure I discussed, this is the biggest example of it, with everything it does. It’s great.
- What Was Missing
Writers: Adam Muto, Rebecca Sugar. (Story by Mark Banker, Patrick McHale, Kent Osborne, and Pen Ward)
Oh boy, this one. It’s first real obligatory choice, and it’s very much deserving as being a beloved episode.
Through means I don’t want to get into, Finn, Jake, Bubblegum and Marceline must use music to open a magic door.
The set up to this one is just great. It’s so simple when you get down to it, but brings up development in a brilliant way. The music stirs up some emotions in them and causes tension in the group. This allows the drama to happen naturally, and really uses music in a way it should be used
Kind of what Penn Zero, but to a deeper extent, even if it’s not quite a musical episode like that one was. This one is a lot simpler than the other episodes on the list, but what is what makes it so good.
The plot is nothing complicated in general, yet has a lot going on. For one, it’s a lot of fun. The music is great, and there’s good jokes, especially Jake as a rocker. Gets me every time. There’s a sense of fun to the whole thing, as the drama doesn’t take over too much.
It even ends on a joke, which works due to how the characters usually are. But it is the deep stuff that everyone remember. Including the…elephant in the room.
Yes, we find out that Bubblegum and Marceline have a history together, and it’s strongly hinted that they dated in some ways. First off, I think it’s smart that they don’t quite say it, so it can work no matter what you think.’
No matter if you think they hated or not, their relationship is still great. Seriously, any episode about them is automatically great. So while they sadly can’t drop the bomb, I think it works in their favor.
Plus, it layed the groundwork that Steven Universe eventually took advantage of. And yes, some crap happened because of this but I don’t wanna get into it again because it doesn’t really matter.
It just matters that they did it well here. We don’t know what happened in their past, we just know Marcy resents PB and it’s shown very well with her song. Granted, it comes a bit out of nowhere but the rest is so well done, I don’t care.
Things get more dramatic as more emotions pour out, especially as Finn just gets lost in all of this. You really sympathize with him here, with all of his friends arguing and getting in the way of their goal.
The songs carry a lot of the weight here, and while it’s not a musical, they are used in the same way they would be used there, and since there’s only a few, it works really well! Both major songs are great with the emotion and just how well the voice actors perform them.
It’s certainly a “Slice” Episode, with it just being small and having one big emotional bit, but the way it’s done makes it one of the best of that kind. It’s kind of like Princess Cookie in how you can view it two ways and still like it.
Honestly this one is only higher due to that one’s small issues, as I do prefer more action packed stories. But this one is still awesome for all the reasons I went into.
The final song really sums it all up and makes for an incredibly sweet finale. That bit with Marcy’s shirt is great too. This is just a nice little episode, that happens to do it a lot right.
It’s fun ton makes it very re-watchable, while also having big emotional weight to make it more interesting, with some fascinating character insights. This is another early example of the show showing it’s deeper side, and it’s mixed really well with the jokes.
There isn’t too much more to say, it’s pretty simple when you get down it. The interactions are great, the songs are awesome, a new dynamic is explored, and it’s just a blast with some real emotion to it.
Needless to say, nothing was missing from this episode, which is rare for something of this type.
- Susan Strong
Writers: Adam Muto, Rebecca Sugar (Story by Mark Banker, Patrick McHale, Kent Osborne, and Pen Ward)
In this apocalyptic landscape Finn being the only human is bound to be interesting, as we still don’t quite know he came to be the only one. Now we know it’s maybe connected to Martin somehow, and his family must have somehow been able to survive even with everything else with going to shit.
Natrually, they’ve gone into this in a few episodes, including teasing other humans, even before Martin showed up. This was our first hint, and it’s known just for that, but I think there’s more to it.
Finn and Jake discover some Human looking people underground and take one girl, named Susan, up to the surface. The main thing that makes this episode work so well is the pacing. Qutie a bit goes on, but everything is paced perfectly.
We get enough of each section for it ot hit like it needs. From the opening where they bump into this place to begin with, to showing Susan around, to the ending, everything is as long as it needs to ,and they fit in plenty of comedy ,action, and heart.
With some episodes, you feel like it needs to be longer since they can’t contain so much story in only 11 minutes, but this handles it perfectly. It doesn’t need to really reveal, or even do all that much.
It just needs to reveal these people, and go through these events, and make you wonder if Susan is human or not. Since it won’t answer the big question, it’s free to handle that later while still being it’s own thing.
They did go back to her later, and had Finn find out what she is, but we’re not sure. …Maybe. In Dark Purple I think we saw her as normal with her hat off, but I’m still not sure if I even saw it right.
I don’t think we need to know, like a lot of things, it’s best left to our imagination so everyone will be happy. The story itself is pretty interesting, as hits some typical notes well. It’s interesting to see Finn possibly meet a Human, and there’s a nice ending with ambugiot done right.
Susan herself is very likable with how she is scared of the world and doesn’t know that eating candy people is kind of wrong. She just doesn’t know any better, and she’s even better in her other episodes. And she’s voiced by Pacfica Northwest!
There’s also some amusing moments mixed in like Jake wanting to rule them like “Angry Gods” and the marshmallow kids. This episodes mixes in a lot of things really well, and is just a complete experience.
Granted, maybe some parts are too rushed in some way, but the pacing is so good otherwise that it doesn’t matter. Like Holly Jolly Secrets, people might think it’s only notable for one thing, but honestly I care about how well written it is above the silly mystery going on.
It’s just a nice bonus. As a whole, this episode is just really done. It mixes a lot of elements, and still comes off like a great complete story. It’s funny and sweet, and knows exactly how much to show, for the most part.
Add in a great ambiguous ending, and you have a very special episode that does almost everything right. Susan made have appeared again but she wasn’t quite as…strong as she was here.
I’m not sorry.
- Mortal Folly/Mortal Recoil
Writers: Adam Muto, Rebecca Sugar, Cole Sanchez, Jesse Monyhan (Story by Mark Banker, Patrick McHale, Kent Osborne, and Pen Ward)
Adventure Time has done a number of epic two parters over the seasons. With most shows, the first of it’s kind of would be fine but upstaged but the rest but oddly enough, it’s the opposite.
This Season finale was so good that no other special has been able top it, honestly. The others are still decent, and a couple come close, but they all feel like they are missing something, or have one issue.
This has mostly no problems and is awesome all the way through. In short, The Lich makes his epic debuet and our heroes have to stop him. There’s more to it but that’s mostly the plot right there.
There isn’t a ton to say here. It works due to the simplicity. It’s epic but doesn’t have too much going on. It’s mostly them chasing The Lich, with an added sort of subplot of The Ice King wanting to marry Bubblegum.
A lot of finales in general while try too hard to be big with too many subplots, but this stays simple and just makes the simple plot as epic as possible. And it still functions as a normal episode, mostly with Ice King’s antics.
He is particularity pathetic here, but it’s kept funny, and he does help a couple times. Even if he leaves at the very end because PB is young. (We’ll get to that..). While it’s not the funniest, it has some moments, even with all this epic stuff going on.
Mortal Recoil gets pretty creepy with The Lich possessing Bubblegum which no one knows but The Ice King. They get some disturbing visuals out of this and there’s a sense of dread where you know something is off.
The whole thing has this great feel to it, with part having a sense of emergency with them chasing the Lich. It makes the whole thing really engaging with everything that happens. It also helps that The Lich is awesome.
His design is awesome and Ron Pearlman helps make him really creepy whenever he speaks. He’s a great threat and they always handle him well, even when he’s in a little boy. …Don’t ask, it’s a long story.
Speaking of transformations, there’s the ending. Long story short, Bubblegum is hurt and while they fix her, gthey don’t have enough gum and they are forced to make her 13. Which happens to Finn’s age.
This was an odd risk, but certainly interesting. I had problems, but had potential. I was excited to see what they did with it, and they reversed it after only a few episodes in Season 3.
This show tends to hate change for some reason. But at least we got Lemongrab out of it. And it’s still a cool risk in the context of this episode. It does add to how big this one is.
There’s nothing really that complex about the story of this one compared to other specials, but it manages to be better with what it does. There’s even a neat fake out with the sweater of l..liking someone a lot.
It is interesting how they have yet to top this one in terms of their specials, unless you wanna count Stakes even though it’s way longer and has an unfair advantage. The problem with the other specials is that they do a bit too much or have a minor issue, like Jake the Dog’s Cop out ending.
This one has a mostly simple plot and just sticks to that, giving us a lot of great little things. Through this, it does everything right from the humor to the suspense. It does one main thing and sticks with it, and does a really good job with it.
There are more complex episodes, but this one is just plain engaging. It’s fun, it’s creepy, and very suspenseful with some nice shocking moments. It’s been forgotten among the bigger specials, but I think this one needs more credit for what it gets right.
It’s not the most emotional episode ever, but it makes up for it by being dramatic, epic, and just plain awesome. It was an amazing way to end Season 2, and this is where the series really got started.
Some may prefer other specials, but this one is my favorite, at least for now.
- I Remember You/Simon & Marcy
Writers: Cole Sanchez, Rebecca Sugar (Story by Patrick McHale, Kent Osborne, Pen Ward)
Oh yeah, we’ve reach that point. The two most obvious episodes I could have picked for the list. I think most people are okay with me tying them since I can’t decide which one is more amazing.
And they are only number three. Honestly my top 3 are pretty much tied in a way, I just put them in order in terms of how well rounded they were are episode,s not letting feels and such get in the way, for the most part.
But yeah, let’s talk about these episodes. The original one is first for obvious reasons. Ice King asks for Marceline’s help with a song and it turns out they have a bit of a history, to say the least.
This is another “Slice” episode, and it’s the best one ever. Not much really happens when you get down to it, but what happens carries just so much weight. The episode masterfully goes from silly antics to total heartbreak in 11 minutes, without being too whiplash-y.
The only break once it gets dramatic is a quick gag with Finn and Jake’s reactions, which is just great.
Despite the drama, there are jokes in the 1st arc, and they are pretty funny from Ice King singing one of Marcy’s songs, to the The Past Room. Because the gags focus on Ice King it works and even adds to the drama in a way.
Things properly escalate with Marceline seeing just has bad his memory is, as we find out more about their past. It feels like quite a bit happens as we see the characters go through these phases, even though not much really happens.
But of course, the big ending is the highlight. We find out that Simon was kind of surgotage father to Young Marcy after the Apocalypse hit. And apparently some bad stuff happened due the crown but he doesn’t remember.
We get to see the more tragic side of his memory loss, while Holly Jolly Secrets kept it funny from his side. The whole thing is just so tragic, especially since Ice King doesn’t even get it. To him, he’s just singing a silly song.
Which makes the song itself even more powerful, especially when we see that flashback and find out that Simon is the one who got her Hambo in the first place. No, it’s not a pig Rambo or that Action 52 game.
This ending is just a giant tearjerker with the music and the pure weight behind all of this. And yeah, I did kind of shed a tear or two when I first saw it. Shut up,. And maybe I did when I watched it again for the list, what of it?
This is a great example of how to do a Slice episode. Not too much happens but a lot of emotions of conveyed and things happen throughout, and not the ending. They write in a way that makes it feel more is happening is great writing. The whole is just emotional and awesome most of the way through, with quite the tearjkering ending.
Not onto Simon & Marcy, where we just get a slice of what their life was just back in that post apocalyptic world. This has the exact same writing team as I Remember You, which is good because they fit perfectly.
The writing in this one is even better. It’s technically a Slice one as well, but it’s a bigger slice. I remember being slightly underwhelmed when I first saw it…but mostly because I wanted more, in a good way!
They could have made it a special, but I think it fits into 11 minutes. Mostly because it’s just a small slice of what their life was like. I think it tells us more than some big epic story. It’s them hanging around and trying to get chicken soup while facing some monsters.
It’s small but gives us a big picture in a lot of ways. Before I go further, I have to say this has what may be the best performance in Tom Kenny’s career, which is saying a lot. When he’s Simon, he’s really nice and really seems like a great “father” to Marceline.
He can be silly perfectly, and serious perfectly. And we already know he can play Ice King perfectly without going overboard. He does it all so well and he’s especially when good when he needs to sound emotional.
He tends to be good at all this stuff, but this is just amazing. Speaking of voice acting, Ava Acres is really good as Young Marcy. She’s beliavle as the young girl, while also being able to be taken seriously when she has to be. She seems fairly young, which makes this even more impressive
She’s actually the younger sister of the gfirl who voices Young Bubblegum, which is fitting when you think about it.
Anyway, This one packs in so much into just a little slice of life, that it’s awesome. Basically, we see how Simon and Marcy bonded and how the crown affected him. The main story is cool, but there’s a ton of little details that might take you a few viewings to catch.
Like how a form of Princess Bubblegum gets in here, which I didn’t’ notice even then it technically plays a notable part.
But yeah, the main story is pretty great. Simon is really likable, which makes what happens to him even more tragic. With him, we get quite a few jokes in their bonding scenes, which work to show how Simon usually is.
Heck, one joke comes back in a dramatic well. Let’s just say you’ll never hear the Cheers theme the same way again.
A lot of this episode is kind of fun due to how likable these two are. Their bond is done really well, and you can actually feel it. This is important as before we were just told about it, so they had to prove to us that their bond was strong enough for us to cry about what happened to Simon.
They pulled it off. The pacing is surprisingly good, considering there is a brief wraparound with Marceline telling this story to Finn and Jake. It’s kept short and is there for contrast, and to inform us this show takes place roughly 996 years in the future.
It works since we get just a slice of their life. It doesn’t bite off too much so the pacing doesn’t feel too rushed. Naturally, there are some emotional moments as Simon feels he needs the crown to protect Marcy but she’s more than a little worried about him due to what it does to him.
It manages to be pretty heavy without going full tear jerker. It’s a somewhat happy ending and mostly interesting and sweet rather than tearjerking. That works very well and still manages to be emotion.
Overall, both episodes are amazing. Simon & Marcy is more well rounded, but I Remember You is more memorable due to how epic that reveal was. I can see why some would call these the two best, as these carry the most emotion.
There are plenty of emotional episodes, even before IRY (including our next pick…) but these just carry a ton of weight their stories, especially due to the real world subtext, with an old man losing his memory.
These might objectively be the best in terms of emotional, but I decided to rank these in terms of how they are as Adventure Time episodes, and personally I think there are more well rounded ones out there.
But still, these episodes are beyond amazing. I Remember You fully changed the show and gave it even more weight than it already had, and Simon & Marcy gives us an amazing slice of life. Not bad for a Season 5 episode, if you ask me.
So yeah…they may be as good as everyone says.
- Princess Monster Wife
Writers: Somvilay Xayaphone, Bert Youn (Story by Patrick McHale, Kent Osborne, Pen Ward)
This is an episode that tends to be forgotten, and while I kind of see why, I think it’s pretty fantastic.
Ice King makes himself a wife out of his favorites part of his favorite princesses, and while she looks a bit ugly, he actually loves her.
I think the main reason people seem to forget about this one, is that it’s just a weird stand alone story, and it didn’t really lead to anything. And it’s technically a story we’ve seen before. But despite that, this one is amazing.
All the odd things that may take away from it actually add it. We’ve seen stories where someone loves an ugly monster, but this puts it’s own Adventure Time-y spin on it. I mean we have a creature made out of other characters, like Frankenstein but with more unique parts. The design of the Princess Monster Wife herself is really cool, and I love how she the voice of three princesses at once.
Not only is it funny to hear Steve Little, Hyden Walch, and Pen Ward’s voices all at once attached to this unique character, it actually plays into the themes. Even though Ice King tries to treat her like she is her own person, she’s clearly just a bunch of parts.
I’ll get to more of that in a bit but let’s focus on Ice King. Despite his weird actions, he genuinely seems to love his wife. Yes, it’s clear he made her at first just so he can have his own princess wife but he seems really caring here.
He’s still funny two with some little cracks he makes, and he just still acts odd, so it’s certainly in character. And really, maybe the best woman for him is someone he made himself, he just went about it the wrong way.
Their relationship is well handled, as it’s not all just cheesy lovey stuff. We get some sweet moments, along with small gags. Nothing hilarious but enough to make it nice. There’s also Ice King’s song, which one of the more underrated AT songs. It’s very much like A Whole New world, in a good way.
Every scene with them just works, especially with him trying to make this whole thing look normal but she keeps being reminded of how …different she is. It just feels so natural, and the whole is nice, but you keep being reminded that this is just…off, like it’s not natural, even they are trying to make it work.
There’s a sense of tragedy throughout most of it, which works really well. Then there’s Finn and Jake’s role. They are they to be the people horrified by the monster wife. While they maybe overreact a little bit (I don’t think she’s faint worthy, honestly) this does work in the context of the story.
Then there’s the ending. I have to spoil as it’s another amazing thing about this episode to skip the bold text if you haven’t seen this episode or just don’t recall it.’
In the end, she finds out how she was made and Ice King tells her about how he loves her even without her parts. So she takes her parts and gives them all back to the princesses, just leaving her clock thing behind.
If you ask me, this is just the perfect ending. Usually in these kind of stores, the people horrified by the creature end up killing it or something, and it’s all very tragic. Here, she pretty much offs herself, although we do see part of her is still out there.
BMO would later know a similar feeling but that’s another story.
This is honestly even more tragic. She knows she is just not right in her current state, and things would be better like this. It’s incredibly tragic, tearjerking, while also being really heartwarming.
It’s just perfect on so many levels. There’s actually a joke right after it that’s so funny I won’t spoil it, hence the bold being done.
It’s a joke that doesn’t ruin anything because the timing is great, and it makes sense with the character. Which brings us back to Ice King. What he did here was kind of bad, taking parts of other Princesses, yet you sometimes forget that because he’s so nice.
He’s just honest and nice with this girl he just made himself, and it shows how nice of a guy he can be. (Of course, now we have a better idea why he can be so nice sometimes). So when some things happen, you remember this is still Ice King despite how nice he is here.
The whole thing is just tragic because you know it can’t work out due to her very nature and what Ice King did. And the payoff is perfect.
If I have all these nice things to say, why isn’t it number one? Well, it’s the nature of it. Because it’s a stand alone not meant to be remembered, it does prevent it from beating more impactful episodes.
Plus, some reactions are a bit over the top and I can see the ending bugging people, while I have no issues with the Number one spot at all. I have other reasons but I’ll discuss them there.
But yeah, this episode is amazing. It’s a typical story but done in such a wonderful way, being charming, creative, funny and tragic in all the best possible ways. This is how you do a story like this.
By the way, can you tell I like Ice King a lot yet?
I think I said everything I need to, Princess Monster Wife is just…great.
Before I get into these, let me tell you how I made the list. After I watched each Season ,i made a top 5 for each for reference, and after season 2, I put those two lists together to make a full list, and I kept doing that until after Season 6, to get my top 11.
Meaning, I compared stuff to each other and felt add having some episodes top others, which is how you get the odd first 3 choices. I should have done it like I normally do, but ah well, I’m happy with my choices, especially my Top 8. The Top 3 was incrdibly hard to pin down, by the way.
Anyway, for these, I picked one from each Season to make it easy:
The Enciridion: The first great episode, with the cool adventure with some nice trails. This is actually the first episode in production order. Now that’s an awesome introduction.
Videomakers: I love making a movie episodes, and this one is very funny with a sweet ending.
Thank You: A very unique little story that’s cool and sweet. A nice little break from the usual stuff, I think.
King Worm: One of the best Dream episodes I’ve seen ,taking full advantage of the dream concept and being just a ton of fun.
Dungeon Train: This was the closest to being on the list, consider it Number 12. It’s an interesting look at escapism that actually doesn’t fully bash it, as we need a little escape sometimes. It’s also really sweet and just fascinating to watch.
Little Brother: While the side character episodes can be a bit dull sometimes, this is one of the best. It’s a cool story about Shelby’s butt, which is not as dumb as it sounds.
And my favorite Adventure Time Episode is…
- Dad’s Dungeon
Writers: Pen Ward, Adam Muto, Natasha Allegeri (Story by Mark Banker, Patrick McHale, Kent Osborne, and Pen Ward)
Before I explain my special reason why this one is Number one, let me explain why it’s awesome on it’s own.
Finn and Jake explore a dungeon by Jake’s father which turns out to be a test for Finn. Adventure Time is known for it’s dungeon episodes, which are always great. Seriously, from Season 1’s Dungeon to Vault of Bones, they are always called Great.
They tend to be creative and each does something different. This one isn’t quite as much of a shake up, as it has the coolest dungeon and easily the best story. It’s somewhat basic in how it’s executed, but that makes it better in some ways.
First, the Dungeon has cool stuff like that ugly guy and those chicks with the fruit. They are way funnier and more creative than they sound. There’s also the big boss who has an awesome design and makes for a fun final fight.
As usual there are good jokes all throughout, from the start with Jake changing shapes on request, and the end with the remix of Joshua’s tapes. Remember, the family sword is made of babies.
It’s a fun ride, even with the deeper stuff. Speaking of, Joshua recorded these messages and set this up when Finn was a baby and wanted to toughen him up. So he tells Present Jake to insult Finn and stuff like that to test him and such.
Yeah, Joshua comes across as dick-ish here. In general, he has a tough side but here we see he has his reasons. Hey, better than Finn’s actual Father who is a dick because…uh..um…reasons.
His methods are a bit off, but we see that he does just want to toughen him up and wasn’t sure if he could have faith in him, since he was a baby at the time. Remember, this was the kid who was found sitting in his Boom Boom.
By the way, Joshua is voiced by writer Kent Osborne, I find that cool. He was previously a writer on SpongeBob, which is even cooler.
They do a good job of showing Finn and Jake’s reactions to this. Jake doesn’t want to put Finn through this but his Dad said so, so he has to. You see his thought process, so it’s not like he’s blindly doing this.
There’s some nice small moments where Finn thinks about this upon finding this out, which really adds some depth to this. They take a moment, even if it’s small. It also doesn’t get too cheesy so it’s still fun.
It’s just a really interesting story with some nice Daddy issues. This show can mostly due that well, it seems. It manages to have some depth with Joshua and is rather sweet, and quite enjoyable.
It does every element right, and has stuff to think about. But….so does everything else on this list and frankly some are better, so why is it number one?
Well, that’s true but here’s the thing; The others have only ALMOST everything. Most of them are funny, have great character insight and depth. But of them only Mortal Folly/Recoil has the extra element this one does, and that’s,…the adventure!
It’s not much of one, but it is from the ground up a fun dungeon adventure that happens to have all this extra awesome stuff to it. Some of them have it, like Crystals have powers, but don’t have the other elements work nearly as well.
This has every element work perfectly. The drama is perfect. The comedy is perfect, the dungeon is awesome and so on. As much as I love the deep stuff, the show is meant to be fun on top of that. As much as I love the past few episodes, I wouldn’t call them “Fun” per say.
This one is, alogn with having great writing. Sometimes the show will forget the fun factor. Serious episodes are fine but they should be saved up, not abused. Having too many fun episodes would be just as bad, by the way.
In other words, this episode is well rounded. The rest mostly just aren’t., Objectively you can call a few better, but my standards, this one is perfect.
Any possible problems have positive aspects to them like Joshua’s actions are justified. You can like any of these better, if they fit your preferences. My preference is for something that sums up everything I love about the show.
And this has that. It’s a really fun adventure that happens to be deep and very interesting. Everything just works perfectly. Like I said, the Top 3 were about tied but I put them in order of my preferences.
So while the others are great, this one has everything. It’s a lot of fun with a cool dungeon and has great depth with more of that awesome insight we tend to get on this show. It’s interesting how Pen Ward personally wrote it instead of just being on the story. It’s clear they wanted this one to be special, and it really was.
While it was hard to pick a favorite, this one made it there for it’s combination of everything wonderful about this. Overall, Dad’s Dungeon gets it all right, and THAT is why it’s my favorite Adventure Time Episode.
And that’s another list done. This one was a bit weird, but I think at least I had the Top 8 Down perfectly. That was a hard one but I think it’s good. Through it’s ups and downs, I still quite love this show.
I’m so glad the current Season is doing better, and it’s mostly fun. I will hopefully do a list for Season 7 when it’s down as it deserves it so far. And honestly, it as never too bad, it always had something interesting and they clearly try.
I’m so glad to have this show done with for a list. Expect more lists on the way. Infact, I got yet another CN one coming up. Or maybe it’s a Spongey’s Favorite Episodes, we’ll see. All I can say is that’s on a show I’ve talked before, and how it needs a bit more credit.
That should be….eventually. In the meantime, there’s plenty of other stuff to look forward to, but don’t expect too many blog projects outside of the current big things like the MLP Comic Stuff. I’m busy working on other stuff, and getting ready for finale month.
Well, that’s all I got, hope you enjoy my opinions once again.