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!
“I remember feeling like someone had peeled the layer away from my brain, and my reality was no longer anchored to any point of reference, and I had to fight to keep from being crushed under the weight of an unforgiving new paradigm of ultimate reality. It was so cool, man!”
It’s difficult to do a really good time travel story and make it both entertaining and internally consistent. Looper couldn’t do it. It’s also difficult to do a really good dream story and make it both entertaining and internally consistent. Inception couldn’t do it.
But Jesse Moynihan does both with this episode of Adventure Time, “Is That You?”
Yes, I did just say that this was better than Looper and Inception.
Live with it.
“Is That You?” is one of the best episodes of Adventure Time I’ve ever seen. Straight up. I’m a sucker for time loop stories to begin with, but I’m also a fan of Prismo and it was good to see him back. The episode kicks off with Finn and Jake performing a Dream Ritual after eating the last of Prismo’s Homemade Artisinal Pickles and then rushing off to sleep. While Jake is drawn immediately into Prismo’s “Plan B” dream for returning to life if he ever gets killed, Finn is stuck outside in his own dream and is forced to figure out what’s going on for himself.
Luckily, he’s a smart boy and soon realizes that the Jakes he sees reenacting the Jakiest Jake Moments from the series are dreams and when they explode it’s because he’s interrupted their reenactments. So when a Dream Jake begins to reenact the Dream Ritual that opened the episode, Finn plays along, discovering that the empty pickle jar is the portal to “Plan B.”
Does that make sense? I’m not sure I’m explaining it clearly.
Well buckle up, because then it really gets weird. And by weird, I mean awesomely cool.
In Jake’s dream, he finds a bed. A wondrous bed. The sort of amazing bed that just has to be a trap. And Jake doesn’t hesitate to congratulate whoever set the trap because it works. He falls asleep and suddenly Prismo appears! But as we learned at the start of the season in “Wake Up” Prismo only exists so long as the dreamer dreams, which means if Jake wakes up, Prismo dies again.
It’s an intriguing metaphysical conundrum for Jake and Finn. Or it would be, if they weren’t Heroes.
Prismo’s plan to return to life requires that Jake sacrifice himself, but by setting up the time loop inside the dream, Prismo allows for an alternate version of Jake to sacrifice himself — with the approval of Original Jake. And Finn is forced to sacrifice an alternate version of himself to keep alternate Jake dreaming.
I think I’m losing the thread here.
We’ve got two Jakes and two Finns — both dreams — and both agree to sacrifice themselves (or a version of themselves) to get Prismo back. Because heroes risk everything for their friends. The sacrificed version of Jake transforms into the sleeping old man from “Wake Up” and the sacrificed Finn transforms into the FINN SWORD!!!
Finn now has a sword that is made of Finn.
Let that sink in.
To carry on a thread of discussion I’ve been having with myself over these last couple of reviews, Jake’s self-sacrifice in this episode plays out as a natural progression of his experiences in “Ghost Fly” and “Everything’s Jake.” He understands the value of life and the value of death. He understands the pain of losing a best friend who’s a part of himself.
Now, in “Is That You?” Jake is able to sacrifice himself to save the life of his friend and everyone is better off for it.
Especially the viewers.