Holy Schram! Last night's season premiere of Aventure Time was packed to the brim with major developments and general insanity. Don't read on if you missed it or spoilers aren't your thing, because there will be some big-time reveals below, plus pictures. You have been warned!
The first part of the episode starts off with a party at Prismo's, the extra-dimensional wish granter from the fourth season's finale and fifth season's premiere. If you recall, a friendship budded between him and Jake back then, and the latter has apparently been sneaking off to hang out with the former on a semi-regular basis. But you can clearly see why — this place is the haps! All of the most important players from Ooo and beyond make an appearance, including but not limited to: The Cosmic Owl, Party God, Grob Gob Glob Grod, Death, and Peppermint Butler. Also The Lich is there just hanging out, almost like party fixture. It's pretty creepy.
Creepiness aside, no one really seems to give much of a shit that the most destructive force in history is just catatonic in the corner. In fact, everyone is taking #selfies in the corner with him. Prismo says it's since The Lich can't kill anyone in the time room, he's shut down — like a machine without a purpose. And though Jake is unsettled by things at first, he eventually calms down and returns to his tree house home. But just look into those eyes, man! Those aren't the eyes of a shut down machine. Thems are some eyes that are bidding time.
Anyway, Jake sneaks home to find an awake Finn still reeling from Billy's revelation: his human father is still alive. They share a heart to heart about the matter, and Finn is really hesitant at first — and rightly so. He's never known the man, let alone another human. Plus there's that whole issue of why Finn was abandoned in the first place. Jake, being a good brother, comforts Finn with some possible explanations. Maybe he was ambushed in the woods and hid Finn to protect him. But the ultimate decision comes down to a cover-up. Finn says he wants to meet him to find out what he'll look like when he's older, but the truth is much more simple. His curiosity won't let him pass up the opportunity.
With their minds made up, the duo returns to Prismo's party to ask the wise wish-granter for advice on how to get to The Citadel, where Finn's can find his dad. But Prismo assures them they don't want to go , as the universe's baddest criminals are all housed there. Finn assumes his dad must be the warden or something, but a savvy viewer can see the more likely outcome (not that an obvious development is a bad one!). Regardless of the danger, Finn and Jake want to go. When Prismo refuses to take them, Jake reveals the ace up his ear: Shelby the worm! Since Prismo had already granted Finn and Jake wishes, only a new visitor could wish for a trip to The Citadel. Of course, that wormy Shelby wishes for a horse for his girlfriend. Our heroes are frustrated, but Prismo finally relents. All they have to do to earn a trip to The Citadel is commit a cosmic crime. If they bring a sleeping old man from the void to him, Prismo will show them how.
Armed with laser-light pens, Finn and Jake set out on the short expedition to find the man sleeping on an upside-down duck-rock. They pick him up without waking him, as instructed, but shadowy Prismos slip from the old-timer's mouth every time it cracks open. Finn and Jake dispatch them handily with Prismo's light-pens and make it back safe. That's when Prismo tells the two that their cosmic crime will be killing him, which they can only do by waking the old man up. You see, Prismo is the dream of a sleeping man. At first the duo is hesitant, but Prismo insists that he'll be back when the old man falls asleep again (in 1,000 years). But the boys never have their chance.
Instead, The Lich springs to life (surprise!), proving once again to be the last character you ever want to underestimate. Taking things one step farther than necessary, he wakes the old man and kills him with foul necromancy. The tragic loss of Prismo sends Jake into a rage, but the fight is interrupted by the appearance of an unknown force.
The strange guardian of The Citadel (which looks like a mix between Tree Trunks' crystal friends from way back in season two and a nervous system) encases The Lich in a red crystal and drags him to his prison. The duo tags along to find Finn's father. When they arrive, they start searching right away, ignoring the strange black essence that seems to be corrupting The Lich's crystal. Oblivious to their peril, Jake spots someone who looks just like Finn. It's his dad, encased in crystal as a cosmic criminal.
Finn agonizes, clearly frustrated, over whether or not to free his father. If the man is a prisoner here, he must not be good. But at the same time, he's still Finn's father. Before he can really decide though, The Lich's magic has already started melting most of the crystal prisons. Finn's father Martin is partially freed and is far more interested in escaping than reintroducing himself to his teenage son. Even after Finn saves him from The Lich's magic, all he can ask about is whether or not they have a star-skipper he can book it on. Strange deep-space implications aside, it's unsettling for Finn, Jake, and the audience to see Finn's dad treat him so badly. And when the fight resulting from the Lich's corruption of the other criminals ends with Martin getting a section of his leg disintegrated, he leverages Finn's instincts as a son to get some magic crystal blood that can heal him. It's pretty messed up.
But Finn musters up the courage to ask an important question before healing his old man: "why did you abandon me in the forest when I was a little baby?" Martin's answer is just awful — "You know me; I'm a funny guy." Finn is stunned, but he doesn't even have a chance to respond before Martin takes it a step further by shifting the blame to Finn. How does Finn know he wasn't the one to leave Martin?
Their chance to hash things out is cut short though, for as soon as Finn heals his father's leg, The Lich's rotting prison floats up to greet them. Finn and Jake stand ready to fight him as a family, and Finn seems genuinely excited to bond with his dad over battle. The only problem is Martin flees before Finn even has a chance to ask him to fight. He has to run to the store, of course
The fight probably wouldn't have gone well even with Martin's help. The Lich absolutely crushes Finn and Jake's will with nothing but a word: "fall." It's honestly one of the heaviest and most frightening moments of the show, because you can feel The Lich's power through his monologue. And after all the times they've foiled him, it seems like Finn and Jake can't win. The Lich claims that he'll use these criminals, these "ancients" (total Lovecraft shout-out), to wipe out every life in the universe — starting with Finn. And every time the boy tries to stand, he collapses with frailty, eventually dropping into the healing blood from before. Coated in the stuff, he reaches out a weak arm as a paltry attempt to hold The Lich at bay. It seems like a hollow gesture, but something miraculous (and admittedly horrifying happens).
Much like Martin's leg, the blood brings The Lich back from the dead. This breaks his dark hold and allows Finn to fling more of the junk on his mortal enemy. Covered in regenerative ichor, The Lich undergoes a grotesque transformation that brings him back to life.
For the record, I only included that because oh my fuck is it rough to see in a still-shot. I guess I'm mostly doing it to force others to endure the suffering my screen-capping earned me.
Getting away from that tangential nightmare, Finn is now free to chase after his father. Martin used the commotion to join the criminals on a get-away thing (there's not much else to call it), but Finn won't let him escape. When their pod launches off into space, he grabs onto one end with his cursed arm. With seemingly no hope of holding on, Finn's sheer will-power causes the curse to manifest in a thorny mass of tendrils that dig into Martin's only means of getting away. Egging his fellow criminals on to fly away faster, Martin convinces a wizard to open up a portal to space that will use its powerful vacuum to suck them away from Finn. Our hero holds on for a long while, but eventually the pod escapes him, taking his arm with it.
In what is an odd Empire Strikes Back call-back, Finn floats into the ocean below, dejected after losing an arm to his newly discovered father (the arm, not the floating, is the call-back. Duh). The aftermath is more muted than the emotionally charged scene between Luke and Darth Vader, but the parallel is strong with this one. The added twist, this time, is that some of the healing blood coats Finn's arm-stub and a flower sprouts forth. And when Jake pulls him back to dry land, they both commiserate over all the loss they've shared that day: Prismo, Finn's father, and his arm. But at least The Lich is finally vanquished. Well, not quite.
The healing goo ultimately resulted in what I like to call Poo!Lich, for the obvious poo brain effect that becoming a living baby has caused. Jake likes him a lot, too, and he apparently smells neat. What's strange and heartening, though, is that Finn regards the creature with a smile despite his heavy heart. He recognizes that maybe this creature can be taught to use its power for good. Instead of having to kill The Lich, he can be rehabilitated. And Finn and Jake know just the loving couple who can help.
The story cuts to Mr. Pig and Tree Trunks right before the apple pie baker is about to ask for a divorce. But a ringing doorbell and the sound of Jake saying to run interrupts her. Confused, the two find something outside that changes everything — the Poo!Lich in a baby basket. He ends the episode with a "Hello!" that's as cute-creepy as the old Lich was regular-creepy. And now we all have to wait a good while to see these story-lines develop.
- Now that Finn is missing an arm, he seems primed to end up looking just a bit more like his alt!history self from the season five premiere — the one with the robot-claw arm. I wonder if any other things from that alt!history may come to pass.
- It was a nice twist to cast Martin as a villain, and it'll be good to see Finn struggle with an absentee father who is also a pretty shitty person. Giving him a loving pops would have been too easy and left more questions than this Martin did.
- Will Poo!Lich grow up into a force for good (He's obviously not going to just disappear)? The Lich has constantly surprised us with his ability to return from a defeat.
- This episode wasn't funny so much as it was interesting and informative (aside from a few lines here and there, like the one about Finn burning his eyes out if Jake's get torched). And that's ok. But I wonder if that tone will be more common in the future. Is the show evolving into something more?
- Those criminals are still out there, and they must have really grunked stuff up big time to end up at The Citadel. Will future plots resolve that or will the team let things dangle?
There's obviously a lot more to ponder, but my head is still spinning from all the madness. Let's hash out more of the episode's secrets in the comments, yeah?