In “Winter Light”, Finn, Jake and Ice King venture into Patience’s domain, the transformed Ice Kingdom, to rescue Betty from her clutches and take the first steps to rescuing Ooo.
The episode starts off being pretty flippin’ adorable. IK being on friendly, almost grandfatherly terms with Finn will always be adorable, even if he remains pretty self-absorbed. (His continued belief that he and Finn are best friends, though at least he recognises Jake’s dynamic with the human this time). Those team sweaters he made were adorable. Also, a quick, passing moment, but Finn channeling Rattleballs to figure out how to survive the fall into the ice dome wonderful to see.
This all changes the moment they actually get inside said Dome. Perhaps the most striking thing about this episode was the atmosphere. It felt cold, in a way the old Ice Kingdom never did. Everything’s dark, with single eerie lights showing out of the pitch black. Strange, sinister figures loom in the darkness, and it’s impossible to tell who you can trust. Even Carol, who was the most lively and amicable of the people in this new world, turned on the heroes.
The team nonetheless make it to Patience’s (for lack of a better word) throne room, but she isn’t particularly hostile at all. She easily takes Finn down, but takes no prompting admitting to the spell she cast, and how it’s out of control. Patience claims that she never intended for this outcome, and, well, she sure learned the dangers of playing with powers you don’t understand and messing with people’s free will.
One has to wonder, though, how in control of herself is she herself right now? Has her personality also been blown out of proportion? It almost seems like the opposite has happened — that the normally peppy and upbeat Patience has become reserved and depressed. That’s the effect of the Ice element. Candy was happiness, and this is sadness — not tears and sobbing, but resignation.
During the course of the episode, our team manages to rescue Betty — or Weird Lady, as Ice King resolutely continues to call her. They continue be really globbin’ adorable together. The absolutely perfect moment was Betty holding onto the Enchiridion, launching into full-on evil laughter, only for her and Ice King to dissolve into helpless giggles.
It’s moments like this which make me think that this is going to end with Simon Petrikov not being restored.
With Ice King’s condition being used as a metaphor for real-world degenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s, becoming magically cured might feel just as cheap as if Finn grew his arm back. (Again.) This ending could be so much more realistic, and fulfilling, albeit bittersweet. Neither Marceline nor Betty would be able to establish the relationship with the man they once knew — but they’d be able to forge a new relationship with who he became. And Ice King certainly is in a better position than he was when Adventure Time started — not as lonely, not as confused, not cruel and so lost that he wasn’t even able to perceive his own cruelty… He’s begun to overcome the pain of the past, and forge a new, fulfilling life. Hopefully, Betty will be able to join him.
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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