This week's Adventure Time takes us on an adventure close to home. Spoilers ahead!
Our episode begins with Shelby throwing a bug party inside of Jake's viola.
Dancing bug (doing the dance Jake taught him way back in "Power Animal") gets complemented by a female scorpion, and Shelby becomes jealous, saying he's got moves too. The scorpion makes fun of him ("What are you going to do, the worm?"), and Shelby says he's going to do some parkour.
He jumps around the voila, hanging from the top of it and swinging around, before falling. He hurts himself, just a bit.
After passing out from the pain, Shelby wakes up hours later with a note laying on him, and the tip of his tail, which got chopped off, now alive and moving around. The note explains the situation to Shelby, and says the the partygoers named Shelby's new baby brother "Butty Butterson." Shelby says he'll call him "Kent" for short.
Shelby goes to Jake, and says hi. Jake's alarmed by Kent's presence, and Shelby explains what happened. As he says his brother's name, Kent says "I'm Kent!" and Shelby is surprised to find that Kent can talk.
Jake says he thought it was just a myth that you could chop a worm in two and get a second worm, and Shelby says "Myth is a powerful force in my life, dude." I'm actually really glad Jake says something, because it bothers me when a show for kids spreads bad science information, like that commonly-known-but-not-actually-true fact about worms. It's a good way to explain that this is just Adventure Timeweirdness, not something the creators want to spread as actual fact, and I'm cool with that.
Shelby says he doesn't know anything about being a big brother, so he wants Jake's advice. Jake says all you have to do is give your little brother something sharp, and send him to go fight bad guys, and maybe stretch into something huge if he gets into real trouble. It's a funny joke.
As Shelby worms away, Kent says to Jake, "Someday, you'll be Kent's food!" With that, he giggles and bounces away. Well, that's alarming.
Shelby gives Kent a sword, and Kent immediately sprouts arms to carry it. Shelby asks how he did that, and Kent shrugs it off. "All right Kent, you're my little brother, so your purpose is to fight bad guys. Or girls. Don't discriminate." It's good to see Adventure Time promoting equality, even at its silliest.
Kent runs off into a knot in the wood of the treehouse, and begins wandering into the depths of the tree's roots. Before long, he comes across a rat gnawing on the roots of the tree, and wearing a crown.
The rat sees Kent, and runs away. Kent chases after it, saying he's new to fighting (and being alive).
The rat ducks into darkness, and Kent follows it. From the darkness, however, dozens of eyes begin to open, including a giant red pair, which glow brightly.
Kent wakes up battered and bruised in a town built within the roots of the treehouse. A root-person named Treebeard walks in, and heals Kent with some magic dew. Treebeard tells Kent that the Rat King has been making his way toward their end of the roots, and that he needs to be more careful.
Kent, obviously, doesn't know who or what a Rat King is, and Treebeard realizes he's not from the roots. The Rat King is, apparently, a "sick nasty bad" guy, who has been chewing up the roots of the tree harming it.
Kent wants to go fight the Rat King, since he's a bad guy, but unfortunately his sword is broken, so he'll have to get a new one forged by the town blacksmith.
To forge a new sword that would be able to slay the Rat King, Kent has to find three mystical elements from deep within the tree.
The first one Kent comes across is an unbreakable ore. A cloaked rat offers Kent a choice between the ore, or unimaginable riches, showing off a cavern of emeralds.
Kent doesn't care about riches, just fighting bad guys, so he chooses the unbreakable ore (a bottle cap).
The second element is mystic earth. Kent comes across a second rat, this one wearing armor, and wielding a sword that would make Cloud jealous. Kent asks him for the earth, and the rat offers him a choice between the mystic earth, and one of his daughter's hands in marriage, promising Kent true love.
Again, Kent doesn't care about true love, only fighting bad guys like his brother told him to, so he chooses the mystic earth. The rat spits on the ground, and hands Kent a handful of mud.
Finally, Kent comes across a third rat, this one dressed as a ninja.
This third rat offers Kent magic sap from the tree, which would grant he who drinks it eternal life. Kent's less than a day old, and doesn't understand mortality, so he chooses the sacred flame. The rat gives him a lightning bug.
Back at the town, he gets his new blade forged, naming the weapon "Punch Party," and heading to the Rat King's lair.
He falls into a room which looks starry and magic, and the Rat King's eyes open from the background itself.
Kent says he wants to fight the Rat King, and swipes at the beast. The Rat King is no normal rat, though, his body is made of hundreds of smaller rats.
The Rat King asks why Kent is fighting for his brother. He offers Kent cosmic power, to live out the rest of his days as a god, but Kent refuses, remaining incorruptible, and noble of heart. Hey, remember that part five minutes ago where he said he was going to eat Jake? Good times.
As Kent attacks the Rat King once again, we cut back to the treehouse, where Shelby is watching Finn and Jake out the window, sighing that he misses his new brother.
Shelby begins singing a song about he misses Kent, and how he shouldn't have sent Kent off, so young. During his song, Kents voice joins in, and Kent jumps in with a bag slung around his nonexistent shoulders, finishing the song together.
Kent opens the bag, and Shelby marvels at its contents.
We get some exposition, as Shelby narrates that Kent had to return to the roots, having partaken of the magic dew there. Shelby wonders whether that was true, or whether Kent had some other purpose. We see the Rat King run by, his teeth now hanging on Shelby's wall as a trophy, alongside the sword his brother used. I'm assuming that's what was in the bag.
Finally, Shelby tells us that he knows one thing for certain, that spring, free from the Rat King's corruption, the willow tree was in bloom for the first time in many years.
Yeah, this was all right. Truthfully, it didn't feel like there was a ton to it, and as a result I don't think I have a ton to say about it, but it was still fun. While I hesitate to use the word "filler" here as easily as I would for something like "Sad Face" or even "Furniture & Meat," since we don't know for sure what will come up again in future episodes (I would not be surprised to see Kent, or the Rat King, return in the future, not to mention the fact that the treehouse looks completely different now, which I suspect will be true in some future episodes), it definitely feels a lot lighter, and more standalone than episodes like last week's.
I was really surprised where they took this one. It seemed pretty obvious where it was going up front, with Shelby discovering his new little brother, but the episode ended up being less Three Men and a Baby and more Redwall.
Poor Shelby. Even when he gets an episode, he doesn't get an episode.
The ending was really nice. I really like the image of the treehouse in bloom.
Overall, this mostly felt like a breather episode after last week's was so crazy, but I certainly can't hold that against it. A perfectly fine episode. A few parts I really liked, nothing I especially disliked, so I'll call that a win!
This was originally posted to Whereinirant.com. Check out the site for more content like this, including my recaps of shows like The Legend of Korra, or Sword Art Online II.