In the last two episodes of Adventure Time: Islands, Finn learns what it means to be one of the “Helpers.”
When Marty and Finn disappeared, Minerva Mertens lost practically everything. With her family gone, she threw herself into her work… but what happened when her work began to fall apart around her as well? The society she had been taught was completely safe finally met a threat that a colossus couldn’t keep out: plague. Dr. Gross’s experiments went too far, and whole portions of the population were wiped out. Every single one of Minerva’s fellow doctors died. Minerva herself was dying when she decided to upload her brain to a computer.
One can hardly blame Minerva for falling to such overprotective policy in the aftermath. Her whole life had taught her to fear the outside world, and whatever else, the Minerva bots were incredibly effective at maintaining the health and safety of her people.
They were, however, very bad at helping ensure their freedom.
In some ways, Minerva is a lot more accepting than I expected her to be. Considering the way the helper-bots reacted when they discovered Jake was a mutant, the active murder of non-human lifeforms seemed likely. But Minerva accepts Jake along with Finn… but only on her own terms. Even after Finn gives her literally every memory of his life, she is incapable of understanding why he would want to return to Ooo. She says it is too dangerous and that he should let one of his friends be the hero for once — but that is missing the point. Finn doesn’t want to return home because it is in danger without him, but because it is home.
There is a lovely, if sad, bit of role reversal in Frieda and Susan’s story. Susan, who had been perfectly happy with her life on the Islands, ended up amnesiac and fully embracing her new life in Ooo. Frieda, who had longed for exploration, gave up her dreams and settled for being stuck on the islands forever. One wonders how she got that way… Was it re-education? The heartbreak of Kara’s betrayal? The simple wear of the years? All of the above?
One of the refreshing things about the storyline of “Helpers” and “The Light Cloud” was how it handled the freedom/safety dichotomy. Much like how Adventure Time didn’t criticize the humans who chose to remain in virtual reality, the writing does not judge the characters’ choices. Frieda is able to set off on her childhood dream of exploration with her childhood love. Finn decides to return with his adoptive family to Ooo. Minerva shuts down the colossus and gives anyone the option to follow them. For now, none of them do. They all have their own lives to live, and pretty nice ones at that. But now they have the choice, and one day someone will take the option.
Thus ends Adventure Time: Islands. We know what happened to the humans. We’ve met Finn’s mom. There’s just over a season and a half left of this wonderful show — what questions will they answer next?
Author: KK Bracken & Laura B
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