Adventure Time Review 6×41: “On the Lam”

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In this episode’s pivotal moment, Martin Mertens ostensibly sacrifices an accomplice he thinks of as his child–enough to call him Martin 2–for the sake of ill-conceived getaway.

Martin Mertens is bad news. He’s given us nothing but trouble every second we’ve been with him since his debut in “Escape from the Citadel.”

We’ve seen his narcissism in assuming leadership in three out of three appearances now: first he led other Cosmic Criminals to escape the Crystal Citadel, then he pretended to be a god so some helpful critters would slave away fixing him a ship, and now he’s gone and assumed leadership of a rebel faction on this warring planet.

Martin also apparently has a talent for becoming surrounded by little critters, as he did in “The Visitor.”

We’ve never gotten a real window into Martin’s life in space, and now we’ve seen that it’s only made up of what we’ve seen before. His life is an endless cycle of committing crimes, getting thrown in jail, and breaking out of jail.

After some rebels help him break out of prison, he decides that his rebel companion, of the koala people, reminds him of his son, Finn. He then names him, of course, Martin 2 (I’m assuming Martin didn’t name Finn, because otherwise Finn would likely be named this). He then proceeds to fly away on the koala people’s only food source and sell it while Martin 2 cries.

But the key moment of this episode isn’t when he sacrifices Martin 2 in the ensuing chase, but when he realizes that the police don’t care about him. There’s a much more interesting story going on here than Martin Mertens, and it’s a Yoda-esque rebel leader who’s old as hell and can fight.

Martin is still a scumbag who leaves his companion to possibly die while Martin 2 cries out and calls him “papa,” but the rebel leader escapes in the end. Martin then escapes the planet with all the riches.

This was an essential story to tell; Martin’s dickishness is much less impacting when we have no idea what he’s up to. Until now, he might have been able to claim he’s been off doing something important.

That said, any story of Martin Mertens isn’t a particularly interesting one, and this episode is determined to show us that. In fact, you could likely follow someone he just happens to bump into, and that’d be a much better story.

Like Finn, Martin 2 matters. Martin doesn’t.

Score: 7/10

Joey's a 23-year-old who graduated from the University of Minnesota Morris and now lives in Minnesota's Twin Cities. He enjoys art, activism, and politics, especially when he's looking at them through a lens of popular culture. First and foremost he's obsessed with popular music, but aside from what you'd expect, he's also into comic strips, graphic novels, cartoons, and indie games made for mobile phones (his highest tile in Threes is 3,072). He'll tell you that his favorite book of all time is Goodnight Moon. He needs more people in his life who understand the joys of Achewood.
  • Gregory Phillip

    I’ve heard people say before that characters like LSP aren’t compelling enough to hold the audience’s interest for an entire episode since she’s essentially the singular joke of being the valley girl drama queen (basically her voice). Even considering her current hobo status, I only find her enjoyable in cameos (like in Breezy) or when she has a stronger character to play off of (like in Princess Day).

    I find Martin to be the same way. He’s fine for an occasional appearance as a reminder/update of Finn’s relationship with him, but can’t carry an episode by himself. Personally, if they had to give him this type of an episode, I would’ve preferred it if he crash landed in the Ice or Fire Kingdom to interact with Ice King or Flame Princess respectively. Neither Simon nor Phoebe know of Martin being Finn’s father and I think it would’ve spoken more about his “dickishness” if these characters that we already care about were hurt by him instead of some alien he happened to call his son.

    • maththemath

      I’d say that “Bad Timing” and “The Monster” are strong counters to your feelings re: LSP.

      But more importantly, I feel like it was really necessary to see the antics he gets into off-planet, considering that’s where he spends almost all of his time. Getting a sense for what his life is, that’s important! His character has very little to do with our setting, so we don’t learn some basic, important things about him if we only observe him there.

      And what we learn is that he’s just doing the same crap over and over and over.

  • Peter Bognar

    Just to point out something: I had the feeling that Martin was anctually trying to save Martin 2 (he was trying to draw attention to himself and let the koala person go unnoticed while he makes his getaway), just to realize that nobody cares about him, he’s only the hero of the story inside his head, to the point of not even looking at details that don’t fit with his “headcanon” of events.
    Th erealization may have lead to his decision in The Comet.