They are taking down two trees outside my window. One is a giant fig and the other a pine. I keep imagining them with little Pendleton Ward eyes and mouths, pleading for their branches.
“Don’t prune me, dude!”
If they based R-ratings for TV shows on arboricide and coulrophobia, this episode of Adventure Time would be buried in the same vault they keep all the racist Sesame Street episodes I just made up. Because if you don’t like seeing clowns or injured trees, take a pass on this episode.
“Well, now you know we can’t jump off of birds,” says Jake, by way of describing the adventure we missed out on that left our heroes with bandaged right feet. Jake’s paid a troupe of Maria Bamford-voiced clown nurses up front for their rehabilitative services, but they annoy Finn to no end. The nurses are also unpleasant to look at and surprisingly flatulent.
Finn especially hates the clown nurses “love therapy,” which involves two clowns securing his arms while a fatter clown kisses his boo-boo. Mostly, he hates being told what to do. Finn has a hormonal rage fantasy in which he’s trapped in a clown-based reality where all he can hear is the phrase “it’s the only way.” That’s never the case, especially in Ooo.
Finn would prefer to heal the old fashioned way: by adventuring to the Forest of Trees to find a magic cyclops who’s tears heal any ailment. No offense Jake, but I’m with Finn on this one!
Fortunately, the video crew is with Finn as well. Finn yells “I choose my way” and hobbles to the woods where he encounters a fork in the road. There are only two paths, a tree stump that sounds like Rachel Dratch announces. On the path to the left you lose all your hair forever. On the path to the right you’re smelly forever.
You might be thinking, “I’m sure the dulcet whispers of breeze through the pines would salve Finn’s clown-nurse ferocity.” Wrong again, noble audience. Instead, the stump offers Finn with the same lack of independent thought as the clowns. I was all like, “Not even queen B can’t help with this one, bro,” so Finn creates his own path, trampling over the stump and into the brambles between the two lesser options.
He gets to a river that is acidic (“it’s like orange juice,” says a shrub, “it’s gross”), full of electric eels, and has a current that will “turn your butt inside out.” Finn pulls the shrub from the ground and sears off all its leaves to get a quarter of the way across. Along the way Finn stars smoking and is shocked repeatedly by eels. At some point he pukes, which was jarring to see.
“Isn’t this the top-rated cable show for boys ages 2-14?” wonder young parents everywhere. “And what ever happened to those racist Sesame Street episodes the recapper made up? Are they up on imaginary YouTube yet?” The racist Sesame Street eps were a device, guys. Calm down and focus on teaching your kids that soda is useless, war is an outmoded form of communication, and nothing is simple, no matter what the politicians, the 24-hour news cycle, or clown nurses allege.
Finn is losing it. He hurts a kind hairy creature’s wife while destroying the guy’s wagon, home, and melons. He ventures to a cliff overlooking the Forest and sings about being wrong. He contemplatively takes off his hat, letting his blond locks flutter in the wind. The appropriate masses swoon. There’s a waterfall homage to Escher.
The cliff turns out to be the magic cyclops. He’s pretty awesome looking; his back is made of forest! The cyclops is like, “I’ll never give you my tears you dingus,” but Finn doesn’t want the tears any more, because he doesn’t like the person he’s become on his quest to do things his own way.
Finn gets the tears though, by punching the cyclops in the eye in self-defense. Just when you think he’s about to learn a lesson, he heals, then announces “my way can still work.” So he pops off the cyclops’ head (!), which is basically a huge magical eye, then retraces his steps, squirting magic tears on everyone he’s hurt along the way as well as a sandwich (that wasn’t injured to begin with, but, thanks to the tears, becomes sentient).
Jake is still loving his clown therapy and wants no part of the magic tear cure. Finn wants no part of the scary clown kisses, so he lets the nurses remedy the body-less cyclops. “How does that feel?” scary-clown-Maria Bamford asks the disembodied eye-face.
“Bittersweet,” he moans.