Know what time it is? Iiiiiiiit's time for some serious daddy issues and a learning experience. I guess you can call that an adventure. Most people call it, like, clinical therapy. Then again, most people don't get to manifest telekinetic arms and build towers into space in therapy... wait, I'm getting ahead of myself.

Welcome to this week's Adventure Time recap. "The Tower" was a good episode that chronicles Finn's first attempt to deal with his inner dad-demons. There are a handful of interesting things to note, as always, but the episode was mostly a tease (the good kind, though). Also, this recap is picture heavy because there's so much stuff going on. So, BEWARE OF BEAUTIFUL PICTURES (I can only think of the horror you're about to endure).


Anyway, the episode starts with Finn making spaghetti, which turns out to be really hard when you have a giant fucking prosthetic candy arm that swings around like an elephant trunk made of jaw breakers. This raises the first question of the episode: PB couldn't have done better? I mean, we saw her build Shoko (Finn's past life girl from last season) a perfectly functional, minimal robot arm. So I'm not sure why she went with this beastly thing, but Finn gets fed up with it pretty quick. Then it just kind of explodes.

That's when Jake pokes his head in to see what all the hub-bub is about. Finn vents his frustration, but his pal assures him that it's OK. After all, Finn has just gone through some serious emotional biz with his dad and losing his favorite arm. But Jake also tells Finn that he'll feel better eventually, and that the answer for how to do so will come from within — within his melon-heart, that is. Finn looks inside seeking answers and comes to the conclusion that the best way to feel better is by punching his dad in the face and ripping off his favorite arm. Jake just laughs that off, saying that can't be Finn's melon-heart talking because violence is bad. And before he runs off to the spaghetti store, he reminds Finn to trust his melon-heart.

Finn takes the alone time as an opportunity to clear his melon-heart the field outside the tree house. He comes to the conclusion that it would be easiest to solve the problem if he could just find his dad. And since his dad went through a portal into space and space is in the sky somewhere, Finn considers how he might get to space. The ideas aren't really coming, but a few rocks are — floating over, no less, into a spectral hand that stacks them up. It takes a minute for Finn to realize what's happening, but eventually he finds that not only is the arm (which is reminiscent of the white, healing-goo from the season opener) attached to his bod, it's powerful too. As for the rock pile, Finn takes it as a message from his melon-heart, seemingly coming to a conclusion as the scene shifts to later that afternoon.

On his way back from the store, Jake sees Princess Bubblegum standing outside this massive tower. Totally normal, he assumes. But when Pre-bubs stops him and shows him Finn's note, he understands what's up. The thing is, while Bubblegum is super worried about the danger of Finn's manifested arm, Jake thinks it's no big. They obviously disagree though, and the confrontation is left unresolved.

Baby is building, a tower into space.

Space is where he's gonna find his dad.

Daddy's got an arm,

and baby's gonna harm his arm by tearing it off his daaaaad.

Sorry, I can't get that song out of my head. Anyway, the story then cuts back to Finn and shows how he's pulling building materials for his massive tower from all over Ooo. At this point it doesn't seem like such a terrible thing, but the harmful nature of the tower is clear when a deer gets accidentally carted up to the top of the tower and is forced to climb down. Finn doesn't even notice what he's doing though. He's too focused on the task at hand.

Eventually, Finn builds his tower right through the floor of a cloud-home. But Carol, the surly owner, isn't having it. She just zaps Finn and talks trash to him as she floats away. Not much goes on here other than Finn being confused and some beautiful shots of Ooo from high above, but Carol becomes more important later.

The night comes and goes, with Finn working straight through. There's a quick montage of all the damage he's done, and much of Ooo is getting torn apart to make this tower happen. Hell, part of the tower is just a stack of living penguins (poor Gunter!). But Finn still doesn't notice, even though his tower is starting to lose its structural stability.

Then Carol comes back, this time ready to apologize. Finn accepts and gets an earful of advice. You see, Carol was once water. And as water, people swam in her. Carol hated that so she evaporated to get out of dodge. Now she's much happier having run away from the problem, though she does freak out whenever she thinks about her old life (like her mind-hand touched a hot stove). Finn isn't really sure what to think about this, and frankly the bad advice isn't even really for him because he isn't paying much attention. It's for the audience, and the advice's terrible quality is very obvious on purpose. The writers want you to know that running from you problems is bad. But at the same time, it's also obvious that Finn's revenge tower isn't good either.

Back on the ground, PB is building some kind of contraption when BMO comes outside to ask where Finn is. Aside from stealing the episode with cuteness (as always), the scene really just serves to trigger an argument between Jake and Princess Bubblegum. They clearly still don't seem eye to eye on how to handle the Finn situation, and Bubblegum seems set on stopping him somehow.

Soon after we return to Finn, whose tower has been reduced to a stack of bricks that's broken the atmosphere. Carol calls out from below what space is like, but Finn is far too busy dying of oxygen deprivation to understand what's going on. He does, however, come across a gaping portal that looks just like the one his father went into. What it's doing conveniently floating over Ooo is up for debate, but Finn is so close to reaching it. Unfortunately, the top of his tower starts to collapse before he can make it through, and he's also basically out of oxygen. But the last thing he sees before passing out is a mysterious spaceship of unknown origins.

When Finn wakes up, he's in a futuristic looking bedroom, presumably on the spaceship. This is mostly interesting because it's one of the locations with the highest concentration of future-tech (or I guess past-future tech?). Usually we see this stuff littered throughout Ooo, but here it's all in one place. The dissonance in tone is as disorienting for the audience as it is for Finn. He regains his senses quickly, though, and explores deeper into the ship. All he finds is a door, but Martin sits on the other side, watching TV.

Seeing his moment of vengeance about to be realized, Finn can't help but giggle as he sneaks up on his dad. It's actually kind of creepy to see our boy-hero getting in touch with his dark side, but it's also very humanizing. It's also worth mentioning that Finn is also supposed to be 16 now, and it makes sense that his morals are greying. Regardless, the second Finn's dad notices him, Finn socks him one with a giant, spectral punch (also in my mind he does it while saying "falcon paunch!"). Once Martin is down for the count, Finn jumps on top of him and starts yanking on his arm. But as his father mumbles about his not wanting to lose his favorite arm, Finn loses his drive. Deflated, he keeps mumbling "butts" while sitting in the chair Martin had been occupying. And just when he seems fit to sink into a depressed funk, Finn hears Princess Bubblegum say, "It didn't help much, did it?"

Then she flicks the lights on to reveal that Martin was actually just a patchwork suit with PB in it. Finn actually gave her a black eye and never really found Martin in the first place. Bubblegum explains it was an easy trick to pull off since Finn was hallucinating hardcore thanks to getting grunked up in space. He was actually in the Candy Kingdom Fallout Shelter the whole time. Finn learns the lesson PB wanted him to figure out (that revenge won't solve anything) and his emotion-arm disappears. Finn's melon-heart, with a little push from Pre-bubs, finally got him through his troubles.

Finally, Finn heads home to find Jake passed out with the deer from before. Jake asks how his buddy feels and rejoices to hear that Finn's melon-heart was trustworthy in the end. Then the two decide they don't need the tower anymore, and Finn gladly causes it to collapse. All over the candy kingdom. And probably other parts of Ooo. The episode ends with PB yelling in pain and frustration about her arm, leaving a whole mess of questions for us to ponder.

Assorted musings

  • What gave Finn the power to manifest such a powerful arm? Was it the healing-goo from the season premiere or did it have something to do with his curse? Or did the power come from Finn himself? The last possibility probably has the most ramifications for the show, but there wasn't much in the way of an answer. And under most circumstances, something this weird would be easy to shrug off. A lot of weird stuff happens on AT after all. But PB said that this was the most powerful thing in Ooo. That means we get to make a big deal out of it.
  • Was the portal Finn found above Ooo actually there or was he hallucinating that too? It was obvious he was starting to lose it, but it does seem possible. If it is there, we have to wonder why. Is Martin keeping an eye on his son or is there something more sinister going on? All the people who escaped through the portal were criminals of the highest order, so it wouldn't be surprising if something nefarious was going on.
  • Has PB always been able to go into space? We know she's a technological wunderkind, but you'd think she'd have already explored space by now if she was capable. So maybe she has, and there's something out there that kept her Earth-bound. And following a similar line of thinking about the princess, what is the Candy Kingdom doing with a fallout shelter. It looks like it was built with tech from the past. Did something happen in the past that required a fallout shelter, or was this a remnant from the mushroom war? Does that mean the Candy Kingdom was built on the remains of this shelter? And could this even be the same area where proto-bubblegum saved Simon and Marcie?
  • Will there be lasting ramifications from Finn's tower? It seemed to strip much of Ooo bare, and its collapse also did a lot of damage. Will all that get hand-waved away, or will we see a rebuilding effort take place? And will PB have lasting arm damage, or was that just a last minute joke? Instinct leaves me torn, because while Adventure Time likes to force characters to deal with the consequences of their actions, they've also been known to just let things resolve off-screen.

Over all, this was another solid episode. This seasons is really shaping up to be great on all fronts, and the alternation between serious plot stuff and silly tangents is also a nice touch. Also, if that pattern is to be believed, it means next week's episode will be silly — which makes sense considering it's about how Jake's tail sneaks off to perform in a clown troupe while the rest of his body sleeps at night. The good news is Neptr seems to be back. The bad news is fucking clowns.

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