We fell a little behind with our Adventure Time reviews here at PDI, so get ready for an Adventure Time onslaught! Today and tomorrow will get us caught up on back episodes, and then every day this week we’ll have reviews of the Adventure Time Corn-Ooo-Copia marathon of new episodes that aired Thanksgiving Week! Tell your friends! In yet another episode of Adventure Time that barely features Finn or Jake at all, “Nemesis” shifts the focus to something that’s been kind of hovering around in the background for a while now: an evil force growing in the Candy Kingdom that may or may not be Princess Bubblegum. Oh! And it’s about the difficulties of being a parent. I mentioned the virtual absence of Finn and Jake right off the bat, but it’s really not an issue for me. The worldbuilding going on with Adventure Time is so dynamic and detailed that I always want more, whether it be glimpses into other kingdoms, the past, the future, or just the ways everyday citizens of the Candy Kingdom try to make their lives less mundane. And that’s where this episode begins, with a meeting of the Veritas Brigade; a group of citizens concerned with revealing Princess Bubblegum’s “shady dealings,” whatever those may be. In one of the more disturbing revelations about PB, it seems she has eyes everywhere. Not only is she watching the “secret” meeting on a hidden camera, but one of her Banana Guards is attending the meeting undercover. I know that she’s a control freak, and as far back as “Goliad” we’ve known there’s something unsavory going on down to her DNA, but I had no idea that there are candy people in her realm who realize it also. The Veritas Brigade’s slogan, “Lux in Tenebris” (which is Latin for “Light in Darkness”) may hold a few clues to the themes of this episode and the show overall. The slogan is from the Gospel of John, Verse 5 Chapter 1: “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.” Given how PB seems more concerned with control and Peppermint Butler is an actual master of Dark Arts, I’m thinking there’s some layered meanings going on there. A second level of meaning is slight, but amusing, as “Lux in Tenebris” is also the name of a short farcical play by Bertolt Brecht about a moral crusader with some ulterior motives. There’s a little bit of Peace Master (Rainn Wilson) there, but without the play’s prostitutes and venereal disease. Also, the main character in the play is complacent with the evils he’s raging against, whereas here, Peace Master is simply redirecting his anxieties toward something he thinks he can actually battle. So there’s less hypocrisy and more denial in Adventure Time. Also, less gonorrhea. The real heart of the episode, though, is Peace Master’s family anxieties. While he looks like an Adventure Time version of Robert E. Howard’s puritan adventurer Solomon Kane, he’s actually a single dad with three kids, the oldest two of whom are extremely interested in the Dark Arts. Whether this is because of a real interest or just to spite their old man, we don’t know, but trying to keep bad influences away from his kids is all-consuming for Peace Master — to the extent of blaming the Dark Arts for wrecking his mini-van after his baby throws up on him and he crashes. Baby vomit could be considered evil magic, though, so he may not be too far off there. The real force of evil in this episode is Peppermint Butler, operating right under Princess Bubblegum’s nose. We’ve known for quite some time that Pep Butler had a dark side that he is somehow able to hide from everyone (even the Gumball Guardian has called him “Dark One” before, but done nothing about it). And even after Peace Master tries to expose him to the rest of the Veritas Brigade, they’re not having it, with Starchy going so far as defending him, saying “That’s my boy Peppermint Butler you’re messing with.” With even the Veritas Brigade oblivious to Pep Butler’s true nature, despite his knife attack and open hostility for Peace Master, they remain convinced it’s Princess Bubblegum who is the real threat. So it’s not only the darkness that did not comprehend what the light showed, even the light doesn’t see what is exposed. But we do. The way Pep Butler used Peace Master’s children against him, transforming two of them into monsters before PM would finally throw away his charm sack, was just evil — even if the kids kind of dug it. Continuing on to humiliate Peace Master was just over the line, and even Pep Butler realized it. In the end, the over-arching story of the growing evil in the Candy Kingdom continues and Peppermint Butler’s secret side remained a secret from PB and the citizenry, while Peace Master was forced to realize that try as he might to protect his kids from bad influences, there’s just so much a parent can do. His ultimate acceptance of their monstrousness was a little heartbreaking, but was a good lesson. He still loves his two half-demon monster kids as much as the baby whose transformation he avoided. By the way, does anyone else think that Kenneth’s device to disrupt parallel dimensions is going to come back into play sometime in the future? It already rescued Pep Butler from Peace Master’s magic hat; who else can we think of who’s vanished to other dimensions? Hmmmm. Adventure Time 6.15 "Nemesis"4.0Overall ScoreShare this:TweetShare on TumblrLike this:Like Loading... Related One Response Advance Review - Adventure Time: Card Wars - Psycho Drive-In July 11, 2016 […] already talked about some of them here at Psycho Drive-In: “Nemesis” showcased the conflict between Peace Master (Rainn Wilson) and Peppermint Butler; […] Log in to Reply Leave a Reply Cancel ReplyYou must be logged in to post a comment.