This week's Adventure Time brought us bad parenting, Jake's political views, and a surprising lack of Legend of Zelda references. Spoilers ahead!
Our episode begins at a picnic celebrating the birthday of Jake and Lady's five children. Unfortunately, it turns out Jake is now three hours late to the party. Even worse, he was supposed to bring the food, so everyone is starving. Viola is willing to defend her father, but Jake Jr. points out most of them haven't even seen Jake in a long time. Turns out in the year since they were born, T.V. has only met his father twice.
As Lady Rainicorn starts to say... something, to her pups, Finn and Jake arrive from some sort of adventure, covered in gooey skeletons.
Jake tells them up front that he forgot to get presents for any of them, but he did bring... A handful of macaroni salad which he sets on the ground in front of them all. Kim Kil Whan, obviously displeased with his father, teleports away from the group, before teleporting Jake to him.
Angry with his father, Kim Kil Whan reveals that... He's purchased the treehouse!
He made a trade with Marceline for the deed to the treehouse (a nice throwback to "Evicted!") in exchange for "one lunatic bass."
Hey, it sure would be cool if Marceline were in an episode again sometime soon.
Jake asks why he would buy their treehouse, and Kim Kil Whan teleports them to the treehouse. Once there, he says that, as their new landlord, he'll need to see their treasure room in order to find out how much they can afford to rent. Jake tells him no problem, and they enter the treasure room, before realizing, oh, right, we spent all of our money.
In exchange for two vintage photographs, Kim allows them to rent a ladder as an apartment. Just the ladder.
Dozens of people (including Mr. Fox, and a bird wearing a Charlie Brown shirt) pour into the room. Turns out the treehouse is being divided up into apartments.
That night, Jake apologizes to Finn, saying he thinks it's his fault somehow (psst, it's because you're a terrible father, Jake). Finn tries to sleep on the ladder, and be cool about the whole thing, but after someone steps on his face and a second person drags his butt over it, Finn freaks out and runs to the bathroom.
Unfortunately, as Finn washes his face, he doesn't realize the bathroom is also someone's apartment now, and he's trespassing. The guy who is renting the apartment calls the police, terrified of this home invader, and of Jake as he too enters the bathroom to tell Finn things will be on an upswing soon.
Man, the banana guard really are only competent when it's plot convenient, aren't they?
At the station, Finn starts freaking out. He can't understand how Kim Kil Whan can just show up one day, and say he owns their house when it's their house. Jake tells him it's simple, the laws aren't there to protect the common man, they're there to help the rich stay rich.
Well. This got unexpectedly political. #occupythecandykingdom?
Kim Kil Whan shows up and pays bail for the two of them, but gives them a bill for it. He tells Jake it's time for him to finally grow up, get a job, and stop playing games. Before Jake can even retort, Kim Kil Whan teleports away.
The two decide they need to get money together to buy their house back. Jake suggests they rob a bank, but Finn says they should, actually, probably get a job. Jake then remembers he buried a ton of gold in the yard of their house! Everyone can now see where this is going!
Kim Kil Whan catches them digging up his yard, and isn't happy. They tell him they're ready to buy the house back. They show him a giant golden bone buried in the yard (I sometimes forget Jake is a dog), and Kim Kil Whan points out that it was buried on his property, and therefore it's his.
...I'm not sure how the legal process of the Grasslands works, but that doesn't sound right.
He teleports away again, and Jake shrinks down, sadly asking why his son would do all of this to him (pssst, it's because you're a bad dad, Jake).
Finn suggests maybe Kim has a secret problem he can't help Finn and Jake with, like being in debt to mob goons or something. Jake decides this must be it, and the two follow Kim to his home.
To quote Finn, "Woah. Kim Kil Whan is rich, like wow, like hello, what?" Realizing Kim couldn't need their money, Jake actually has a thought about what he might be looking for.
Later, the two throw rocks at Kim's (open) window to get him to come down. Kim asks what Jake is doing there, and why he's not at work. "I never even looked for a job!" Jake says, obliviously. "Really?" Kim says, sadly.
Jake says he realizes Kim Kil Whan doesn't really need their money, so he counteroffers "father love" instead. I'll talk about this is the final thoughts section, but jeez Jake, you're the worst.
Jake does a little dance for Kim, repeating "I love you," and gives Kim a present.
It's an ocarina. Finally, I was really starting to wonder why the episode was called "Ocarina."
It's not actually a functional ocarina, either, he just poked some holes into a hunk of clay shaped like an ocarina, and called it good. Kim Kil Whan sighs, and agrees to accept the ocarina in trade for the deed to the treehouse.
We zoom out, and watch silently as Jake and his son part ways, and Kim Kil Whan heads upstairs once again.
We see Kim with his wife (a bear, this show is very progressive on interspecies relationships). Kim sounds somewhat disappointed, as he tells his wife that he was really hoping he'd be able to get his father to stop living the life of a child.
He looks at the nonfunctional ocarina though, and says he does think he was wrong about his father. "I think he's good."
Bad parenting is something of a recurring theme on this show, isn't it? I mean, Marceline's dad ate her fries, Finn's dad is apparently evil, Joshua is probably the best parent we've seen on the show, and I mean, let's be honest, even he's not great. Now we see, again, that Jake really just isn't being a father to his kids. It's really interesting that this is where we've landed. Between this and all of the implied bad parenting in The Legend of Korra now, I don't know how much more tear jerking I can take.
It's nice to get a chance to really meet another of the puppies, I love Kristen Schaal's Jake Jr. but it's nice to get an idea of one of the other kid's personalities. It's actually surprisingly deeper than I expected Kim Kil Whan to be, especially after seeing him being a grump back in "Apple Wedding."
Let me be clear here, it's never been more apparent that Jake is a bad dad than it was in this episode. It really bothered me just how bad Jake is in this episode. I understand that Jake's character is, honestly, childish and immature. He's easily distracted, and that can lead to hurting those he cares about ("Power Animal" is a good example of this).
But the fact that Jake is so selfish, he only offers to actually extend "father love" to his son when it gets him something in return, at the end of the episode, was really the tipping point. Jake is just a bad dad. Jake is just kind of a bad person, here. Kim's disappointment in his father, both at the end, and when he simply says "really" in response to Jake not even trying to grow up, was really pulling on my heartstrings.
That's the point though. The point is that Jake is a bad dad, so me actually disliking his behavior in this episode isn't a negative. This is a good episode. It had some funny jokes (I especially loved Finn and Jake's unintentional home invasion), and some really good touching moments. Jake's puppies have been surprisingly underused this far in the show, and I'm glad to see not only an episode centering around one of them, but around their relationship (or lack thereof) with their father. Two thumbs up.
That said, seriously, how does an episode of Adventure Time called "Ocarina" not have a single Zelda reference in it? What's up with that?
Note - I apologize for a lack of quality in some of the screengrabs in this week's recap. I'm not sure whether it was a problem on my end or Cartoon Network's, but their online player was having more problems buffering in anything resembling a high quality this week, and some of the screen captures are blurry as a result.
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.