Ooooooohhh, this is a big one, Aaaians! Let’s get down to it.
Season 1 episode 5, The Enchiridion.
This is our first introduction to the Enchiridion, which has one of the biggest impacts on Seasons worth of stories and revelations, backstories and universe-revelations.
The episode starts off with Finn rescuing Princess Bubblegum when she falls from her castle at a huge party in the Candy Kingdom. She tells Finn about The Enchiridion, a book only for the true of heart, a book for heroes. Guarded by a Manly Minotaur, the book require those who seek to obtain it to go to a secret location and go through riddles and challenges that try their physical and mental capabilities.
Jake points out wisely (as usual) that the place was “designed to mess [Finn] up, to mess with [his] head” because the whole place is trying to test his “heroic attributes.” From helping out jerky gnomes despite their evil behaviour later, to returning the huge money to a jerky fat-baby monster, and facing a hooded shadowed creature and having to choose to slay only evil creatures, even at the risk of losing The Enchiridion, Finn proves that he is righteous and has a clear sense of right and wrong.
The Manly Minotaur whose muscles have muscles, shares juice and spaghetti with them as he gives them The Enchiridion for being so righteous. And interestingly enough, when PB asks what the Enchiridion is about, Mannish Man tells Finn not to tell her.
- Knowing what we know of The Enchiridion, and of PB’s loooong past and extensive knowledge, why does she want Finn to be in possession of the book? Its current location is one of safety, so why ask Finn to retrieve it as a sort of coming-of-age test to his heroic attributes?
Does PB have something to do with The Lich eventually landing his hands on The Enchiridion, or is this more to do with her knowledge of his eminent escape, and her desire to keep it safe in the hands of an unwavering, true hero, rather than at the mountain with Manly Man who might just be an illusion? More on that later.
- At the end of the day, the challenges test if the heroes are true of heart, righteous, have a desire to help, and more importantly, if they can fight themselves. Because external battles are easy to fight with the fist, but the internal battles are the hardest to triumph over. Something we see throughout the show as he battles his fears, depression, abandonment and rejection over and over.
- While this book is clearly only for heroes who are righteous at heart, is that the reason why no one else, including Finn’s liege, is to know of its content, or is this a hint at PB’s lack of pure righteousness? This is something that gets developed further as the seasons go by, and we see that her idea of right and wrong is almost perpetually justified by grey areas.
- Is every creature (gnome, baby-monster, old ladies) all an illusion at the mountain? The ladies are seen to poof into nothing at the end of the episode. Does this mean the whole place is but an illusion, with only the gatekeeper and the Manly Minotaur being the watchers of the book? This would explain her desire to take The Enchiridion out of there and in the hands of someone who is brave and true like Finn, in the face of a master of illusions like The Lich.
Additionally, this episode, with its focus on the testing of a righteous heart and of fighting evils for good to prevail, could be hinting at how the distinction between right and wrong is but an “illusion” and completely subjective. That is to say, they are but illusions structured and influenced by society, and are not as black and white.
This is especially the case in the final trial, where Finn states with pride that he only fights evil creatures, and when faced with a neutral ant, refuses to fight it. What exactly is that test based on? Does it test Finn’s ability to discern right from wrong? To judge the degree to which one is evil enough to be defeated? Or is it a test of how much one is applauded if they are in sync with what society deems to be right and wrong, making decisions that are solely aligned with the unwavering walls between good and evil that the society we live in agrees upon.
After all, looking at extremists and cults, what they do and why they do stuff may be seen as delusion to the rest of society, but does that mean that a majority of agreement is the only Correct determination of right vs wrong? Is our assumption that our values are instinctive (e.g. murder is bad, helping others in need is good) truly instinctive, or is it a succumbing to peer pressure by a majority vote, and being coerced into believing that just because everyone says it is so, means thus?
I’ll be back next week with a review + theory on Season 1 Episode 6, The Jiggler!