Adventure Time 9×9 Review: Blenanas

blenanas adventure timeAdventure Time is back with “Blenanas,” a nice calm bridge of an episode before we go diving back into the deep end of the ninth and final season.

“Blenanas” begins a short time after the last episode, “The First Investigation,” lets off. Finn is trying to decipher Jake’s BRB note (bring regular babies? big red balls? beautiful rump burger?) and with BMO’s help, remembers that particular “abreve” stands for “be right back.” It’s not the first time Jake has left such a note. Indeed, BMO has a box full of “Jake valentines,” most of which simply say, well, BRB. Jake has always been consistently characterized as having attention and focus problems, so this is not particularly OOC for him. Finn knows this, and so he looks for distractions from his big bro’s absence.

What he finds is Ble magazine, a classic humor rag that seems modeled on our universe’s MAD magazine. There’s a comic inside with an option to fill in your own caption. Finn tries his hand at it, coming up with “Ouch! This isn’t helping.” This is, incidentally, the theme of “Blenanas” as a whole. Finn looks for distractions from Jake being away but nothing really helps him.

Especially the caption, because not a single Ooovian thinks it’s funny. Not BMO, not Neptr, not Princess Bubblegum, not even Ice King. But at least Ice Kink is also a big Ble fan, and believes they have been actively rejecting the stories he’s been sending them for centuries. Ice King and Finn make a plan to go the Ble offices to pitch their work, and hopefully get published.

Guarding the offices is a pudding troll, who has another pudding troll (or maybe all pudding trolls have a second, separate personality?) in their belly, named Big Tina. Together they’re the security for Ble magazine, but after a brief kerfuffle, Finn and Ice King successfully get inside to find… skeletons. The magazine hasn’t run for 500 years.

Finn, Ice King, and the pudding troll(s) decide to make their own edition. There are troll jokes, Fiona and Cake baby adventures, and of course: Finn’s caption. In the end, though, he makes peace that it isn’t funny.

Adventure Time has always been a show with… atypical morals, and this is certainly one of the more opaque ones. Part of the story seems to focus on an important lesson all artists must learn: taking criticism. Digging in your heels and pretending the audience “just doesn’t get it” can stop you from making better art.

At the same time, “Blenanas” gives a different side to the coin which is rarely given in these narratives– you’re allowed to make art just for yourself. Sometimes you’ll create something that other people don’t get. That doesn’t mean you can’t still get fulfillment out of it.

The episode also seems to be a love letter to fan creations, showing the simple joy Finn, Ice King, and the pudding troll get out of recreating and transforming something they love. What does it mean that they burn Ble headquarters down at the end? Maybe sometimes it’s important not to cling too much to the past and trying to copy something instead of making it your own.

Or maybe Ice King is just weird. That’s always a distinct possibility.

There were lots of cute moments in “Blenanas”, from Neptr and BMO actually hanging out, moments reinforcing Ice King’s friendship, to Princess Bubblegum’s overly analytical approach to comedy. Very much, this episode feels like a last call back to early season odd one-off adventures before the series takes its bow.

Author: KK Bracken & Laura B

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