Episodes Review: ‘Elements’ (S08E16–13)
  • Airdate: April 24–27, 2017
  • Story by: Ashly Burch, Adam Muto, Kent Osborne, Jack Pendarvis
  • Storyboarded by: Sam Alden, Polly Guo, Seo Kim, Somvilay Xayaphone, Laura Knetzger, Steve Wolfhard, Graham Falk, Kent Osborne, Hanna K. Nyström, Aleks Sennwald
  • Directed by: Elizabeth Ito, Cole Sanchez (supervising), Sandra Lee (art)

As with Islands, instead of doing a recap of the entire miniseries, I’m going to jump right into what I have to say about the 8 episodes that aired this week.

Whereas Islands went for a more serious and philosophical stance, Elements went the opposite route, emphasizing humor throughout. There are a lot of great character moments, funny bits of dialogue, and goofy fare that you’d only find in an Adventure Time episode. The miniseries’ second episode, “Bespoken For” is perhaps the best example of this fun blend, allowing the Ice King to tell his side of a pretty wacky story. In fact, the Ice King is on grand display in this miniseries, and the show really lets his amiable goofball side shine.

Another strong part about Elements is the sheer number of characters that we revisit. Marceline. Lemongrab. Fern. Flame Princess. Cinnamon Bun. Elder Plops. Party Pat. They’re all in this miniseries, as are many more. And what is more, they all have decently sized parts. In the commentary for “It Came from the Nightosphere”, Adam Muto noted that the episode included many characters who had appeared throughout season one to really emphasize the scope of Hunson Abadeer’s doings. At the same time, that episode also made the audience see how truly huge Ooo actually is. Due to the sheer amount of characters in this miniseries, Elements does something similar, allowing us to tour the sprawling lands that a boy and his dog (and by extension, ourselves) have roamed through for almost eight seasons now.

On the production side of things, everything is pretty grand. The background artists conjured up some truly beautiful element-infested set pieces, and the character designers went all out, ensuring that those who befell the slime elemental are noticeably goopy, and those who were tainted by candy are sacchrine to the point of horrifying. In fact, the candyfized denizens of Ooo are some of my favorite designs that the show has ever produced. In regards to the storyboarders, everyone turns in consistently solid work. There are no duds, but at the same time there are no real standouts, with the exception of Graham Falk and Kent Osbornes work on “Cloudy” (discussed later). I’d argue this is a good thing, since a miniseries should be a consistent whole. In fact, Islands struggled a bit because it was sprinkled with some really, really good episodes, which were surrounded by episodes that either were not quite there, or detoured from the main plot.

So, as you can see, there was a lot to love about this miniseries. At the same time, there were a few elements of the miniseries that felt kind of deus ex machina-y. Finn magically have the Farmworld Enchiridion came out of nowhere, and while this plot development is not something that makes or breaks the reality of the series, it would have at least been nice for the show to have established that Finn snatched the book after the climax of “Crossover”. In a similar way, having LSP be the ‘anti-elemental’ was not unreasonable, but it was set up in the quickest, most out-of-left-field way. The show should’ve made why LSP was unaffected a central mystery to be solved.

The miniseries also struggled at times with how it characterized the main players, with perhaps the worst offender being Betty. The episodes featuring her that led up to this have suggested that she’s a bit off her rocker, but near the end of Elements, she was downright mean to Finn and outright hateful to Ice King. Her behavior left a rather sour taste in my mouth, and so when she was zapped to Mars, presumably to pay for her magical meddling, I really wasn’t that saddened. After all, she very nearly did destroy Ooo due to some selfish desire. I only wish that the show would have placed her in a more empathetic positions—after all, losing a loved one is really hard, but it doesn’t justify treating others like total jerks.

Patience St. Pim also suffered in terms of characterization. In season 7′s “Elemental”, she was defeated and understandably angry. Then, earlier this season, she seemed to be setting up some diabolical master plan. Both episodes suggest she is crazy-powerful and about to unleash something really bad upon Ooo. In Elements, however, we learn that her plan was simply to super-charge the other elemental gals with magic, but that this ultimately backfired. Wah wah. Patience makes an appearance in “Winter Light”, largely to mope about how her plan backfired, and then she pretty much disappears from the miniseries’ plot. Frankly, this is disappointing. To put it more bluntly, she’s a wasted villain, emasculated for seemingly no good reason. Why did not the show use her as the main problem to be overcome?

But ultimately, my biggest complaint, if you can really call it that, is that the Elements miniseries was not much different from Adventure Time’s usual fare. In fact, this miniseries was almost like they took a normal, 11-minute episode and stretched it until it was 8 times its original size. Stakes used that extra time to delve into Marceline’s backstory and explore the psyches of her adversaries, and Islands made us of this extra time to explore Finn’s backstory in detail. Elements, on the other hand, drags out a “collect the gems” plot for the last half of its run. This means that the excitement promised by the first few episodes is largely evaporated when Finn et al. set out to find yet another gem. In other words, I’m not quite sure why the crew felt it necessary to tell this story in a miniseries format.

What all of this means is that Elements isn’t bad—honestly, far from it—but that it rather isn’t that amazing, either. I’d consider it, in terms of tone and plot, to sit among other ‘standard’ Adventure Time episodes that succeed at telling a fun story, but are nonetheless not on the same level as “Simon & Marcy”, “Min & Marty”, or “Evergreen”.

But let’s talk about “Cloudy”.

I know that my above rantings might sound like I hated this miniseries, and I didn’t. In fact, I absolutely adored the fourth episode, “Cloudy”. Based on a scrapped first season plot, this episode places Finn and Jake on a cloud for 11 minutes and just lets them be. They give each other imaginary haircuts, talk about their feelings, and try to hold their bladder. It’s cute and relaxing, and it really affirms why I love these two characters. Ultimately, the episode doesn’t have much to do with the Elements miniseries, although it does serve as a sort of interlude, allowing the episodes to shift from the creepy-drama of the preceding three episodes, into the more find-the-jewels mode of the final three. It’s a respite and a pivot, and in that regard it works wonders.

It’s also a delightful episode on its own, even viewed outside of the miniseries. Were I to have never seen Elements, I’m pretty sure I could’ve still enjoyed “Cloudy”.

Mushroom War Evidence: Nothing.

Final Grade:

Elements was Adventure Time’s final foray into the art of the miniseries, and I think it was a decent note to end on. It could’ve been better (as my review makes clear), but it was ultimately a fun trip. In terms of how I’d rank this among the other miniseries, it goes:

Stakes > Islands > Elements

Ultimately, I liked all of the miniseries in their own ways, but I only felt that Stakes really knocked it out of the park consistently. But then again, I love Marceline more than most of the other characters, so what do I know?

“Elements” Parts III & IV (Adventure Time)

Winter Light

So Ice King decides to make a plan to rescue Betty from the Ice Kingdom with Finn and Jake in this episode.

The visuals of the Ice Kingdom were really pretty to look at and the music sung by the Ice Foxes was really unsettling and soothing.

I liked that we saw the return of Carroll, the cloud that gave Finn advice of not using revenge against Martin in Season 6’s The Tower, but instead had turned into an ice cloud and became much more angry and isolated, while letting Patience know about Finn, Jake and Ice King’s entrance into the dome.

Although I was expecting Patience St. Pim to have a larger role in this miniseries, I felt her (lack of a better word) coldness and depressed behavior made sense, as this is the wish she wanted, but instead of having the other elements be her friend, she ended up making them disappear into their elemental forms of the 4 sections of Ooo.

Patience realized there was nothing she could do, so she kept locked away in her ice dome with now only having the Choose Goose be her friend.

I do wonder if Patience will get another role near the end of the series.

The team rescues Betty and mentions that the only possible way to fix this spell is to use the Enchiridion, which Finn managed to snag another copy of the last time he was in Farmworld in Season 7’s Crossover.

I think this happened off-screen, if I’m correct.

My absolute favourite joke of this episode was when Ice King gives Finn and Jake sweaters he knitted and Jake swaps his for Finn to wear, while Ice King FREAKS OUT over seeing how Finn is wearing a Finn sweater, only to say that “Oh, I get it. The top one’s fake.” Simon is still not exactly in the best mental state yet, unfortunately.

I appreciate that Finn is also starting to remember his sword training from Rattleballs and I hope he gets even stronger, by the end of the series!

All in all, a solid episode with great visuals and setting up the plan to fix Ooo.

Cloudy

Although Ice King and Betty are thinking of ways to fix Patience’s spell, Finn gets way too tense in order for them to fix Ooo, while Jake decides to calm him down and tuck him in a cloud, while they float away stranded in the sky and talking about their problems, playing pretend barber and having a chance to breathe since coming back to Ooo, which this is literally a “breather episode.”

While some might call this the filler of the miniseries, this is honestly one of my favourites of the batch.

Supposedly, Patrick McHale, the creator of Over the Garden Wall, pitched an episode way back when he was working on the show’s first season of Finn and Jake being stuck on a cloud, talking about themselves and their lives, etc.

I’m glad the idea made it into this miniseries, as it’s the very definition of what makes Adventure Time special, charming and meaningful!

We learn that even though Jake is just trying to support Finn, he doesn’t show his insecurities and concerns about what’s happening.

The episode had a lot of great humour and expressions to go with it, especially being boarded by Kent Osborne and Graham Falk, as this was their first episode together.

It’s great to see how far Finn and Jake have come in terms of their relationship and character development, especially with Finn not fighting the cloud lard and talking to it.

One of my hopes in the series finale is that Finn and Jake end up opening a barber shop, but anything could go, at this point.

The episode ends with Betty revealing that they need to use the jewels from the elementals crowns to fix Ooo, as the next episodes will focus on the team retrieving them, similar to how Marceline had to defeat each vampire to retrieve her powers in Stakes.

Looking forward to where that goes, as this episode was quite the lovely breather we needed.

Schrodinger’s Number: Adventure Time Finale Edition

Now that Orb and Elements are out of our way, we now have 23 episodes remaining until the end of Adventure Time. Or is it?

Take a look at this

This is where thing starts to get confusing: take a look at the production codes for Frog Seasons and the Graybles Shorts. Together they form a full episode.

Does this mean the shorts count as episodes? Does this mean that there are 21 episodes remaining?

I’ve asked Adam Muto if they count as episodes, but he didn’t answer me back.

Also, remember when CN announced that there was going to be a movie for Season 5? That movie was cancelled, and parts of the plot were recycled for Something Big and the Orgalorg arc.

This cancelled movie had four unproduced episodes with four production codes (1014-125, 1014-126, 1014-127, and 1014-128)

Does the cancelled movie counts as episodes as well? Were the Graybles shorts and Frog Seasons made to fill the gap between these four cancelled episodes?

The answer: we don’t know. We don’t fucking now.

All we know is now that there are 23 or 21 episodes remaining.

“Elements” Parts V & VI (Adventure Time)

Slime Central

So now that Finn and Jake have to find the jewels of the elementals, they first stop at the Slime Kingdom and see that it’s become a giant roller skating party. Slime Princess has become quite large and the winners of the competition get to be absorbed inside of her, while the losers get caged.

Finn and Jake end up bumping into LSP and all end up losing, but still getting absorbed in SP, but from the back, while Finn manages to get SP’s jewel.

The episode ends with Jake getting absorbed from the slime, which causes Finn to get really upset and heartbroken at his loss, but LSP tells him to move on and to continue his mission.

This episode had a lot of good jokes and was a fun way to bring back many characters into a skating match.

Seeing variations of Party Pat, Abrcadaniel and many others was fun to watch and I’m glad that the AT crew hasn’t forgotten about a lot of these characters!

My favourite quote was when Jake was getting absorbed in the slime and he compares it to being in a warm bath full of snot. I found that both disgusting and hilarious at the same time, which is what this episode could be summed up in.

It’s interesting to see that LSP has not been affected by the elements, as her lumps protect her. It’s also good to see that she’s now supporting Finn after losing Jake from the slime.

Seeing Jake succumb to the slime was pretty sad and creepy. He’s getting really old and accepting that he’ll eventually die, similar to his dream in Orb. It would be really sad if he does end up dying by the end of the series.

Hanna K. Nyström & Aleks Sennwald has delivered another solid episode into this miniseries and it’s too bad that this was their only board together.

They have easily become one of my favourite boarders of the show since Season 7.

I can’t wait to see more of their works as the show ends!

Happy Warrior

While still sad over the loss of Jake, Finn, LSP and Gunter make their next destination at the Fire Kingdom, which has become completely engulfed in white and blue flames and the inhabitants are filled with anger and fighting each other.

Fire Wyatt and Lady Rainicorn attack the heroes and try to restrain themselves from the anger.

Finn finds Flame Princess as a dragon and tries to retrieve her jewel, but ends up swallowing it which causes Finn to resort to violence and give into the Fire Kingdom’s anger, along with Gunter included.

LSP yells at everyone to stop fighting and tries to convince them to be like the Candy Kingdom, which everyone decides to start a war and fight against them instead.

Finn who has now succumbed to his anger makes haste to the Candy Kingdom with Flame Princess and Gunter.

We got a lot of returning characters in this episode, especially with both Wyatt and Rainicorn in their new designs and I really like Lady Flamicorn’s appearance!

It’s almost like the AT crew wanted to have a huge reunion of characters, just so they can redesign their appearances and it works really well.

Seeing Gunter kicking ass in this episode was quite fun.

LSP gave a lot of good humour, such as being bossy with Finn, along with speaking her mind about the violence and try to be like her.

While some may find LSP annoying, I think she’s the only one who has common sense, so far in this miniseries, as it looks like she’ll be the last hope of Ooo in the last 2 episodes.

I also liked that Cinnamon Bun has become much more mature and wise as he’s been in the Fire Kingdom. Much better then when he was just a goof in the Candy Kingdom.

Interesting that Finn had give into his anger, as that’s where a lot of his character development started as he doesn’t resort to violence as much as he used to in earlier seasons, so it’s fitting in his character.

I almost thought that FP bit off his arm for a split-second, actually!

Another fun episode and another one of my favourites of the miniseries!

SPOILERS! (season 8)
According to show-runner Scott M. Gimple, Negan’s backstory might be told.
“Absolutely, I have thought about incorporating that. I will say in one of the most recent issues of the book, with Rick and Negan’s discussion in the house, which reflected “Here’s Negan” a lot, absolutely. I will say, not full bore but pieces of it spread out a little bit more. Negan’s backstory has been weaved into his comic tenure and we do want to introduce it a little earlier than it was in the comics. So yes, but we’re building it up.”

“Elements” Parts VII & VIII (Adventure Time)

Hero Heart

So after letting the Fire Kingdom’s rage get to Finn, LSP tries to change him back to normal before they start to attack the Candy Kingdom.

LSP gets upset from all of the violence and war and she ends up eating a part of Marceline as a marshmallow, which makes her calm down. LSP decides to give a part of PB to Finn to also calm him down, to make him remember the good times and happiness he’d share with PB and successfully returns back to normal.

PB then decides to fire more candy powers to convert everyone into obedient candy slaves, while LSP protects Finn from the power, from her lumps.

Finn ends up getting both PB and Flame Princess’ jewel and gives them to Betty, but ends up leaving him to stay in the Candy Kingdom.

This episode had a lot of fun bits and returns of some of the characters Lemongrab and Fern.

Their ice cream pie attack was quite humourous.

Marceline play fighting with Flame Princess was pretty cute.

I liked how this episode had Finn come back to terms with his anger and we got to see hints that Finn still deeply cares for PB and that he still likes her in platonic love. It was a very bittersweet moment to show how far Finn has come to understand love and friendships!

I felt bad for how Finn got “Betty-trayed” and I was really disappointed she ended up doing so, but it’s understandable why, especially in the final episode, but it’s interesting that Finn was tricked to using the Enchiridion, similar to The Lich back in Season 4.

The ending scene with everyone in the Candy Kingdom singing “Let Me Call You Sweetheart” to Finn was one of the most disturbing scenes of the entire series.

It’d be creepy to see Finn succumb to be turned into candy and things didn’t look quite well for him to be stuck without Ice King and Betty.

I’m glad that Finn returned to normal, this episode, but it leaves on an unsettling note about what’s going to happen next!

Skyhooks II

So now that Betty has the Enchiridion, her plan is to go back in time before Simon became the Ice King and even possibly stop the Mushroom War and Ooo’s existence!

LSP ends up saving Finn from the Candy Kingdom, while PB is still converting everyone into candy, which makes Patience freeze herself once again.

Ice King isn’t exactly still sure as to what Betty is doing, as he breaks her machine, which causes Betty to disappear!

Finn tries to find out why LSP is immune to the elements, only to discover that she is the complete “anti-elemental”.

Ice King ends up giving Finn the Enchiridion, with the jewels and LSP is able to absorb the gems, which causes her to transform all of Ooo, back to normal!

We end up seeing where Betty ends up, being at Mars with Normal Man and Finn ends up reuniting with Jake, only to see that he changed into his shapeshifter parent!

Finn is surprised by the new look, but plans to help Jake in the future, as they hug it out.

Hoo, boy! This episode just raised a LOT of questions that will probably lead into the big series finale!

First off, how will Jake return to normal, seeing as we have around 21 episodes left of the show? I don’t think the change will be around for very long.

I loved their hug at the end!

What will happen with Simon and Betty’s relationship, seeing as how she’s now on Mars with Normal Man, which I didn’t expect to see, considering she really “donked up.”

We also see part of Sweet P’s horns grow back! Is the Lich going to come back for the finale?! I’m really scared.

One of Ice King’s jewels pops out of his crown, which seems to imply that the magic is wearing off and Simon could possibly return to normal.

I loved seeing all the characters gather around LSP, seeing how important she’s become to saving Ooo.

I notice that the message of this miniseries is to just be true to you, like Patience trying to force everyone to unlock their powers, but that completely backfires, as well as Betty trying to convert Simon back to normal, but that doesn’t work.

LSP decides to just be her lumpy, assertive and bossy self which is what causes her to save Ooo, which is great that she finally got to be the hero of this story.

So while some may be disappointed that this miniseries didn’t tie everything together or reveal a ton of backstory, I really loved how it leads to more story arcs and possibilities to what the last few episodes could be about!

This final miniseries was a fun ride and I cannot wait to see where everything will wrap up.

Although I still found Islands to be a better miniseries, this one left me more excited for the possibilities to come in the future.

Sad that Adventure Time’s ending is near in sight, but all good things must come to an end.