Back in October of last year I reviewed the Complete Fourth Season Blu-ray of Adventure Time and wondered melodramatically when the Fifth Season would be released, saying I didn’t know if I could wait that long. Well, the wait wasn’t as long as I’d expected, with The Complete Season Five having hit the shelves on July 14th! And if you are an Adventure Time fan, this is something you must have. When I said that Season Four was a game-changer in terms of depth of storytelling, Season Five takes everything that came before and continues weaving narrative threads into an amazing tapestry of mythologies, personal histories, emotional turmoil, action, adventure, and broken hearts. There’s so much development here that the season is twice as long as any season before it, clocking in with 52 episodes in all! The season kicks off by immediately following up on the Season Four cliffhanger ending, with “Finn the Human,” where Finn (Jeremy Shada) and Jake (John DiMaggio) following the Lich (Ron Perlman) through a dimensional portal to Prismo’s Time Room at the center of the multiverse, just in time to see the Lich vanish after wishing for the extinction of all life. Prismo (Kumail Nanjiani) is a Wish Master and takes a liking to Finn and Jake, guiding Finn into wishing that the Lich had never existed in an attempt to save all of life. Finn suddenly finds himself in the alternate Farmworld reality we got a peek at in “The Lich” where Ming-Na Wen voices his mom and Jake is just a normal dog. As with all the other alternate Finns, our hero is missing his right arm, and instead has an archaic-looking mechanical one. As one might expect, things go downhill pretty fast. This episode transitions smoothly into “Jake the Dog” as Prismo and Jake hang out in a hot tub with Cosmic Owl (M. Emmet Walsh) while Farmworld turns into an apocalyptic nightmare. By the time Jake figures out (with some helpful guidance from Prismo) what to wish for in order to reset reality, we’ve been given a crash course in world-building and Adventure Time is off to the races. As the series continues, there is more and more attention paid to Finn’s emotional state as he falls in love with Flame Princess (Jessica DiCicco) and proceeds to undermine the relationship thanks to some not-so-subtly sexual dreams (inspired by watching her beat up Ice King(Tom Kenny)). It’s some heady stuff for what is ostensibly a children’s show, but it’s a testament to the quality of Adventure Time that they’re able to really explore the emotional development of Finn as he gets older without losing any of the wonder and excitement of a boy and his dog/brother living on their own in a magical post-apocalyptic world. The break-up ends up being a traumatic turning point for Finn and he spends most of the rest of the season working through it emotionally; a high point of which is Finn coming to terms with the fact that Princess Bubblegum (Hynden Walch) is too old for him – like centuries too old! In addition to Finn’s emotional roller coaster ride, this season also sees Jake become a dad, the Earls of Lemongrab (Rick and Morty‘s Justin Roiland) turn into psychotic despots (one of them, anyway), and the history of Marceline (Olivia Olson) and Ice King gets more fleshing out and takes a dramatic turn as the season winds down. This is maybe my favorite extended storyline of the season, beginning with episode 5.14 “Simon and Marcy” (which carries on thematically from Season Four’s “I Remember You”), where Marceline tells Finn and Jake about her The Road-Lite childhood with Simon (The Ice King when he’s not crazy). I’m a sucker for these stories of Marcy and Simon, as they perfectly hit those notes of melancholy, danger, and heartwarming emotion. Marceline’s nostalgia for the past next rears its head in episode 5.29 “Sky Witch,” where she prods Princess Bubblegum into helping her retrieve her childhood stuffed toy Hambo from Maja the Sky Witch (Jill Talley). Maja uses items of great sentimental value to power her magics (more of which we’ll see next season in episode 6.10 “Something Big”). This seems like a strange one-off episode, but Hambo returns to play an important role in episode 5.48 “Betty” – a follow-up on Season Three’s “Holly Jolly Secrets” where Finn and Jake discover that Ice King was once a human named Simon who drove his girlfriend Betty away with his insanity. She disappeared and he never saw her again. In “Betty” Ice King finds himself drained of his magic by Bella Noche (Maurice LaMarche) and transforms back into sane Simon. While he still has his wits about him – and before he dies of old age (the Ice King magic was keeping him alive) – he enlists Marceline’s help in creating a time portal so that he can contact Betty (Lena Dunham) a thousand years earlier and say goodbye as Simon instead of as the Ice King. It turns out that to create this magic, he requires a sacrificial object that has been loved and tended over the centuries: enter Hambo. In a fantastic twist, it turns out the reason Simon never saw Betty again, is because Betty leaped through the time portal into the present-day Adventure Time world. In another great twist, Simon is forced to become the Ice King again in order to save his own life, and Betty sneaks away on a flying carpet in search of a cure for him without his knowledge. Ice King is becoming one of the most tragic characters on television as this series progresses; right up there with Donna Noble from Doctor Who. Honestly, though. It’s hard to pick a favorite episode (or run of episodes) from a season with classics like the psycho-sexual-mind-bending of “All the Little People” or Finn’s loss of self in “Davey” or another Fionna and Cake adventure (told by Marceline, this time), “Bad Little Boy.” There’s also the Star Trek: The Next Generation-inspired “Puhoy” (featuring the first of three ST:TNG guest-stars of the season), Jake dipping his toe back into the criminal world in “One Last Job,” the two-parter “Play Date” and “The Pit” where one of Jake’s dad’s old nemeses returns, or the oddly anti-Randian “Lemonhope Parts 1 & 2.” “The Vault” is another gem, as Finn starts sleepwalking and dreaming about the Green Lady he’d filed away in his memory vault back in Season Three’s “The Creeps,” only to discover that she is actually a one-armed mercenary named Shoko who is one of Finn’s past lives. Shoko was around centuries earlier when Princess Bubblegum was FIRST BUILDING THE CANDY KINGDOM!!! For helping her build her Gumball Guardians, PB makes her a robotic arm exactly like the robot arm Farmworld Finn had (not to mention Old Jake’s arm in “Puhoy”)!!! And the tree that Shoko eventually dies under later grows into the tree in which Finn and Jake’s tree fort is built. The season ends with a return of Billy (Lou Ferrigno) – at least in spirit – in “Billy’s Bucket List” where Billy’s ex-girlfriend arrives to pass on Billy’s loincloth to Finn. Together they return to Billy’s cave where they discover his bucket list and proceed to cross off the final couple of things Billy hadn’t gotten to. Once Finn does this, Billy appears to him in the night sky and tells him that Finn’s father – his human father! – is still alive in a mysterious place in another dimension called The Citadel. Which leads us right into Season Six, which just ended a few weeks ago. All in all, Season Five is every bit as good as Season Four and maybe even better since it’s twice as long! This was the season that Adventure Time took a big hit creatively, losing Rebecca Sugar (who left to create the brilliant Steven Universe) and Patrick McHale (who left to create the brilliant Over the Garden Wall), but was able to maintain a steady quality that actually improved as the season went on. Special Features Similar the Season Four release, the special features this time out are a bit sparse. There are no commentary tracks, but there is an “Adventure Time Forever” featurette with a wide variety of creators and contributors to the show commenting on the origins of Adventure Time. There was a lot of anxiety early on, which is to be expected given the creative leaps that Adventure Time takes, but strangely enough, there’s not a lot of real insight into the show’s creation. In fact, there’s practically no attention given to the fifth season in particular, with the creators instead focusing on the first few seasons and then hoping that it could go a thousand episodes. It’s a nice little diversion, but as with the Season Four featurette, there’s not a lot of meat on these bones. Also included are animatics for many of the episodes and an Easter Egg Snail Hunt, which sounds fun, but is actually just access to a slideshow of design sketches. Again, it’s neat, but there’s not much substance. Luckily the episodes themselves are more than enough value for the money. See larger image Adventure Time: Season 5 [Blu-ray] New From: $34.37 USD In Stock Adventure Time: The Complete Fifth Season Blu-rayPaul's Rating5.0Overall ScoreReader Rating: (0 Votes)Share this:TweetShare on TumblrLike this:Like Loading... Related One Response Advance Review - Adventure Time: Card Wars - Psycho Drive-In July 11, 2016 […] could undo all of reality! It seems that the alternate reality that Finn created in the classic “Jake the Human” and “Finn the Dog” episodes, didn’t disappear when Jake wished his own fix, and in that alternate timeline […] Log in to Reply Leave a Reply Cancel ReplyYou must be logged in to post a comment.