life in the ship breaking yard

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The role in the pilot of Hal, the father to four rambunctious boys, was all but an afterthought. “I imagined him as just remote, distant,” remembers creator Linwood Boomer. “It was a writer’s conceit that just lay there on the page like a turd.” The part was so underwritten that Cranston’s audition, held on the set as it was being constructed, consisted mostly of listening to a fight between the mom and one of her sons. Cranston pulled out a pipe and just watched, head swiveling back and forth between the readers. Boomer fell off his chair laughing.

“People say that, but I literally fell off my metal chair,” he says. “He just had this vast inner life going on. You realize, ‘This guy looks like he’s listening, but he’s actually building a rocket ship in his head.’

Episode Review: ‘Graybles 1000+’ (S06E35)

The Grayble episodes started out as quirky excursions that enabled the show to tell little stories that could not otherwise support full episodes. The first of these, “Five Short Graybles”, was great. The vignettes were quaint, and the jokes came and went without lingering. In season five, two more Grayble episodes aired, and they slowly started to over-stay their welcome. By the time “Another Five More Short Graybles” rolled around, I was bored with the format. Five stories. One episode. I get it. Let’s move on.

So I was a little bit skeptical going into “Graybles 1000+”. Luckily, my doubt was completely misguided. The installment is easily the best Graybles episode that has ever aired.

Unlike previous episodes that arrange the five vignettes around a pre-existing theme revolving around the number five (for instance, “Five Short Graybles” deals with the five senses, and “Another Five Short Graybles” revolves around the five tastes), “Graybles 1000+” instead frames its stories around a hectic episode in Cuber’s life, a thousand years in the future. After accidentally disrupting a space wedding, Cuber’s ship comes under attack, and he is forced to crash-land on Ooo. Pursued by a vengeful space-groom, Cuber decides to use his Graybles as veritable survival guides in order to make it through the assault.

The first Grayble tells of how Finn and Jake buried a magic wand in their yard. Cuber subsequently digs up the wands and tries to fix his situation, to no avail. Next, he breaks his leg and uses a Grayble to show him how Ice King coped with fracturing one of his own. After healing, Cuber wanders to what used to be Marceline’s cave and plays a Grayble showing where he might procure a GPS device that will enable him to send an SOS to the (newly mobile) Candy Kingdom. Once taken in by what appears to be a futuristic Gumball Guardian, Cuber uses his final Grayble (a memory of when his sister, Tuber, saved him when he was a baby) to regain the strength to overtake the space-groom’s ship. He soars across Ooo (driving through what appears to be a seriously overgrown Ice Kingdom, complete with strange, Evergreen-like entity chasing him) and flies back to his ship.

Wolfhard’s depiction of Future Ooo truly is rather bleak. Everything we know and love about the world has changed, in some instances minutely, and in others drastically. Where is everybody? The Tree Fort has grown into a massive tree, but there’s no sign of Finn, Jake, Bubblegum, or Marceline. What happened to the Ice King? We got to see some sort of specter flying around the Ice Kingdom (it has Ice King’s beard, but has ruby eyes like the Lava Dog that Evergreen slew), but is that the Future Ice King? Or is it merely a phantom produced by what remains of the Ice Crown? Only time (and future episodes) will tell.

To quote a Reddit user by the name of hybrination: “[The episode] was so incredible. There’s always been the criticism of Graybles episodes, that they are throwaway filler with a bunch of half-baked stories. But this episode confronts that criticism head on: making Graybles directly applicable to the actual overarching storyline! Then showing glimpses of what has become of Ooo! … Adventure Time has become one of the most smartly experimental shows on such a large pop culture scale, it really makes me so happy.” I couldn’t agree more.

Mushroom War Evidence: It’s hard to say. We were 1000 years in to the future of present-day Ooo. There was a lot of debris lying around, so it’s entirely possible that was from the interim period between ‘current’ Ooo and ‘future’ Ooo.

Final Grade: “A perfect combination of funny vignettes, lore, and speculation, ‘Graybles 1000+’ is easily the best Graybles episode yet.”