Adventure Time 8×21 Review: ‘Happy Warrior’
“Happy Warrior” begins hot on the heels of the last episode, with Finn grieving for the loss of Jake.
His assimilation into Slime Princess somehow feels so much more permanent and irreversible than the candy zombies, and while it’s a good bet that we’ll get him back somehow before the miniseries ends, Finn can’t know that. LSP, however, has no time for Finn’s moping, throwing his techno-photo album away and forcing Finn to stay on task as the pair of them (and Gunter) venture into the Fire Kingdom.
This place, too, has been transformed. Since it was always a burning, magma-coated land, now the flames have all become blue. Pop culture holds, after all, that blue flames are hotter than red ones, which isn’t really true, but the symbolism is there. Finn’s always required flame-spell shielding to go inside the kingdom proper, but here he needs it just to survive on the surface. (LSP, oddly, seems as resistant to fire as she was to the slime.) Even with the shielding, Finn easily begins burning whenever he gets the slightest bit upset or angry — and considering that Finn has to constantly fight off the Flame Kingdom’s raging, violence-obsessed citizens, that happens a lot.
The title of the episode is interesting, because the emotion that consumed the people of the Fire Kingdom wasn’t happiness, but anger. But the thing about anger is that it can feel good. It’s hard to hold back on your emotions, to consider the other side, to empathize with people you disagree with. It is easy to just blame another person, to scream at them, to go on the attack.
And if you don’t keep that instinct in check, it can go out of control, like a wildfire.
The main theme of this miniseries seems to be how each Kingdom got consumed by a different emotion… but when you look closely, those emotions aren’t as different as you might expect. Candy was happiness obviously, but so was Slime — just a more wild, less responsible happiness. And here anger is portrayed as a kind of happiness, too. That would put Ice’s sadness/depression in direct opposition… but then, perhaps there’s a kind of happiness there, too? Carol certainly was satisfied with her lot, to the point of selling out Finn and Jake before they could ruin it for her, and surprisingly, no one seemed unhappy with their position. It can feel good, and easy, just to wallow and accept that nothing can change.
The only people who are able to resist the all-consuming fire are Cinnamon Bun and Lumpy Space Princess. CB makes a lot of sense. Not only does he have an extra-strength, permanent spell shield, but he’s gone through a lot of character development from the incompetent fool he began as. He conciously chooses to avoid the monsters, and the conflicts, and so never gets sucked in. Finn, meanwhile, has no option but to engage, and so gets affected. But what about LSP? She’s as thick in the fray as anyone, but still she remains completely cool.
She’s the one who implores the Fire Kingdom to see sense, to stop mindlessly attacking each other. One of the first times in her life that LSP has actually good advice to give, and nobody around her is in any state to listen. In fact, they twist it on her head, and all of them — even Finn — declare war on the ‘nerds’ of the Candy Kingdom.
Which leaves LSP, Ice King and Magic Betty as the only people left to save it, and end the chaos.
I’m sure this’ll go great.
Author: Laura B
Lover of fantasy and science fiction, fascinated in how they impact the real world. Professional writer and science communicator.
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