When I look at the Adventure Timepage on my Cartoon Network app, it shows the last six episodes. It’s hard to forget how dark they were. Finn’s broke his legs, Jake experienced dementia, a “croak dream” predicting his own death, and was poisoned repeatedly by a tiny feline assassin. The holiday specials were less grim, but still barren of conventional action or plotting. Either could have been directed by Jarmusch in 1995.
The new episode converges the dark with the minimal. Finn and Jake arrive at Marceline’s for a jam session without the whole band (no Bubblegum or Beemo). Finn holds an untied, blown-up balloon he considers the future of music. He qualifies that point with an excellent song that includes one of the best hooks of the year: “Shake your extremities.”