Episode Review: ‘Flute Spell’ (S07E25)
- Airdate: March 12, 2016
- Story by: Ashly Burch, Jesse Moynihan, Kent Osborne, Jack Pendarvis
- Storyboarded by: Sam Alden & Jesse Moynihan
- Directed by: Andres Salaff (supervising), Sandra Lee (art)
It’s been awhile since we’ve seen Finn pursue romance. Previously, he was emotionally immature, which led to several disastrous relationships. In “Flute Spell”, has Finn finally learned his lesson?
Jake, who has been distracted for two weeks playing (what sounds like a terrible) video game, realizes that Finn isn’t around. He eventually tracks him down in the forest playing his flute for Huntress Wizard. Jake assumes that Finn is trying to woo a new lady friend, but Finn claims he’s really just trying to help Huntress Wizard track down the Spirit of the Forest. Jake, however, doesn’t buy Finn’s claim.
Finn, after drinking some tripped-out water, experiences a vision of the Spirit, who makes him immune to electrocution, allowing him to fight an electric boar and seize one of its tusks. Huntress Wizard then fashions this into a new, improved flute, and eventually, the two perform a flute duet. This works in summoning the Spirit. Huntress Wizard implores the Spirit to return to her, but he expresses disappointment that she is now a soft city-dweller. The Spirit then inquires as to what the two of them were thinking about that enabled their combined song to summon him. It is at that moment, that both Finn and Huntress Wizard admit that they were thinking of each other. The two kiss, but they both realize they cannot be together.
Huntress Wizard (who was originally voiced by Maria Bamford in season four’s “Reign of Gunters”) is voiced in this episode by Jenny Slate, a hilarious actress and writer (she’s know for a variety of things, but in my mind, will always be associated with her hilariously obnoxious character Mona-Lisa Saperstein, from Parks and Rec). Slate does a great job, and brings a certain spunkiness to the character. I’m glad we finally got an episode that deals somewhat with Huntress Wizard, as she is one of my favorite background characters.
Speaking of guest voices, Matthew Broderick returns to the series in this episode, playing the part of the Spirit of the Forest; he had previously voiced the Dream Warrior in the fourth season episode “Who Would Win?”. It’s not entirely clear if he is a completely different character/entity, but there are several hints that suggest they are one in the same (for instance, the wavy purple background that we first see when Finn and Jake talked to the Dream Warrior reappears in Finn’s fever/drug-dream).
The episode itself is highly enjoyable. Perhaps what I enjoyed most about “Flute Spell” was the refreshing way it dealt with romance. Finn likes Huntress Wizard. Huntress Wizard likes Finn. The two kiss. They realize they cannot be together, and both move on. The process of ‘moving on’ is not fun, nor is it easy, but it sometimes has to happen. And truth be told, neither of these characters was in love: they were merely (and perhaps mildly) infatuated with one another. Infatuation is a strong feeling, but it is one that eventually fades. The fact that both Finn and Huntress Wizard understood this hows that they both have a level of maturity.
For Finn, this is huge. The last time he dabbled in romance he “took a swim in the deep end” with Lumpy Space Princess (whatever that means). The time before that, he made his girlfriend fight an old man just so he could have a wet dream. “Flute Spell”, on the other hand, suggests that Finn has learned his lesson. He even admits to Jake that he’s taking things slow with Huntress Wizard because he doesn’t want to rush into romance and screw it all up. Finn went through a lot of growth last season, and it’s wonderful to see this growth stick.
But unlike “Breezy”, which was rather serious through and through, this episode is served with a hearty helping of humor. For instance, the first two or so minutes are taken up by Jake trying to beat a video game and then singing a ridiculously silly/catchy song about how “[his] name his Jake and [he] love[s] [his] life”. Throughout, both Moynihan and Alden mine the episode for its humor potential. The water-trip scene, in particular, lets the two cut loose and play around with in-jokes (Jake takes the form of a bird from “Food Chain”) as well as general goofiness. This hijinks pairs well with the episode’s heart.
All-in-all, this isn’t the best episode of the season, but it is pretty darn good, and does a great job of exploring romance and relationships.
(Random fun fact that I’m proud of: two years ago, there was a fundraiser for the Landofooo.com Adventure Time fan forum. Several storyboard artists agreed to draw little doodles and let us bid on them. I won a Huntress Wizard doodle made by Jmoyns himself. It’s up next to my David Tennant autograph.)
Mushroom War Evidence: In the forest, there are ruined buildings.
Final Grade: “‘Flute Spell’ successfully balances humor with pathos.”