For a long time, The Bravest Warriors was another way for fans of Adventure Time's Pendleton Ward to see what goes on in his head. The animation was the same, the writing was similar yet more grown up, and the potential for a realized story was lying in wait under the surface. And with the final episode of the series' second season, The Bravest Warriors finally seized its potential and became a complete show — the kind with depth that brings it to the same level as Adventure Time.
If I'm being honest, though, the show has been toying with greatness since the beginning of this season, when Beth entered the See-Through Zone and saved her father from the Aeon Worm. Even before that the show was, at the least, fun and entertaining. And the previous two episodes aptly set-up the finale to be a huge success.
The episode starts where the last left off — with Beth, Danny, and Wallow searching for Beth's father and his army of hamster fanatics. Chris is still no where to be found and the Aeon Worm is on the verge of breaking out of his prison. Still, despite the absence of their de facto leader and Wallow losing an arm, the team pushes on. And in no time at all, they discover what they've been searching for.
Beth is fantastic in standing up to her father, acting like the mother she never had. She faces him basically alone, though, since Wallow is down an arm and Danny is emotionally shaken because the arm thing was his fault (plus they get incapacitated pretty quick). But the good news is she doesn't seem afraid in the slightest. That is, until her father manages to summon a facsimile of the worm through his heat-sensitive sticker.
While the worm isn't completely free, he's seemingly able to impregnate Beth. It's a truly creepy moment fitting of an H.P. Lovecraft story, and we don't actually know whether he finished knocking her up, as it were. But we do know that it was really gross to see the mind-controlled Beth basically begging the worm to give her his babies.
But thanks to the doubts of one hamster, Beth's horse is able to partially break through the See-Through Zone and psychicly control Mitch to fight off the worm once more — by turning off Beth's father's sticker. It's kind of an anti-climactic confrontation, but the humor fits. Eventually, the horse loses the struggle and is chased off.
Danny, having partially recovered from his self-induced trauma, takes the opportunity to escape his confinement and join the fray. And unlike the last episode, his stick can serve a purpose. With some light shed on the situation, he understands what he must do — he has to go hit Beth's dad in the head with a stick.
The simple ploy works perfectly, cracking Beth's father's brain-dome and sending the Worm away. Wallow disposes of the villain's head-sticker before it can explode in their faces and the day is saved. All the hamsters are free, and they celebrate Mitch's morality, naming him their savior.
With the worm finally beaten once-and-for-all, the team can relax a bit. But there are some lingering questions to be answered. Where was Chris this whole time, and how will his absence from this critical mission affect his standing with the team? Did Beth get pregnant, and will this lead to the disaster that the Emotion Lord often speaks of? No one can say until season 3 begins.
All we can say is that this episode was masterfully done. It finally gave a chance to finish rounding out all the characters that aren't Chris by giving them some real adversity to face. And for once the team faced some real consequences. I mean, the illusion of consequence was often present in older episodes, but this was the first time where something was truly at stake. And the show handled the tone with all the skill we know Pendleton Ward and those who work with him possess. It just sucks we have to wait to see what this new evolution brings.
The good news is, despite there being no date, it's apparently coming soon. Catbug's voice actor announced it himself. So while now we must wait, we can do so fully satisfied with the knowledge that this show is finally more than a string of funny jokes and situations. It's got the true depth of plot and character we've been hoping to see for some time.