Adventure Time Review 6×42 and 6×43: “Hot Diggety Doom” and “The Comet”

hot diggity doom

We’re thirsty for answers. But what does Finn want?

At the beginning of this week, I littered my review with questions.

I should have known better. Adventure Time‘s season finales have left things in chaos and questions while its premieres settle things down as the season plays out.

At the end of season three, “Incendium” introduces Finn to a new crush, Flame Princess. At the end of season four, Finn and Jake are being dragged into another dimension in “The Lich.” At season five’s close, “Billy’s Bucket List,” Billy tells Finn that his human father is still alive. Though these aren’t exactly cliffhanger endings, the show prefers to throw balls in the air rather than close another book of episodes.

Princess Bubblegum has problems as a leader, but it’s a testament to her that she’s more focused on an incoming catalyst comet than on an election.

When she loses, she chastises her opponents as dillweeds, but, when prepared to scream at the ignorant candy people for their ignorance, she has second thoughts and spares her creations her harsh words. When she and Peppermint Butler head to her old shack, she instinctively tells non-present candy people how to protect themselves from bats. Despite her invasiveness and sometimes outright tyranny, Princess Bubblegum feels dedication to her people that’s necessary in a leader. Of course, her noble focus on something more important than campaigning, the upcoming catalyst comet, costs her the Candy Kingdom.

Similar praise cannot be given to King of Ooo, who dazzles the candy people with slander and hot air (“Now I hear you asking, ‘King of Ooo, how can you be so wise?’ I’ll tell you how. Did you know that I am 8,000 years old? Could Be!”). When in office, he briefly worries that he’s doing a poor job–the sky is falling, after all–only to have Toronto appeal to his selfish sense of legacy as Princess King of Ooo. They both delusionally conclude that things would be far worse with her in charge, and the rioting candy people–I absolutely love the sight gag of Starchie throwing a barrel at a window only to have it bounce off and roll over him–and incoming comet are PB’s fault.

King of Ooo revels in being a Princess, but not in the duties that come with it. His first act is performing a musical number: “There’s cheap healthcare / Work camps there / The general mood is laissez-faire!”

But in the end, the election is just part of the long game for King of Ooo’s campaign manager, Mr. X, to get his hands on PB’s spaceship. When Mr. X is revealed, he’s somewhere between being Gunter and Orgalorg.

And with that, “Hot Diggity Doom” is largely a prelude to “The Comet,” but it’s also a great, fun picture of power changing hands in the Candy Kingdom in its own right. Princess Bubblegum’s shack is next to a golden pond like the liquid she and her people dissolve into in her prophetic dream from “Hoots.” Her people have turned on her, but they haven’t met any kind of doom, and neither has she. The fallout from Orgalorg’s interference in her dream seems incomplete.

“Hot Diggety Doom” score: 8/10

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This season’s arc has been woven around Finn’s emotional state relating to his father, from their first meeting to their last.

Piloting the spaceship is something between Gunter and Orgalorg. When Finn demands, “Gunter, what are you doing?” he gets “What am I doing? A fog shrouds my true intent even from myself.”

With Grob Gob Glob Grod dead, a catalyst comet coming, and his escape of Earth’s gravity, Orgalorg comes out: “Like a mighty chrysalis pushing out of a damp cocoon, I emerge!”

Finn floats helplessly into space and all he can do is hope through song:

“Everything’s falling into place
I’m right where I should be
The tides of life all led me here
And that’s why I’m not scared
I know the answer will appear

Finn is friends with Prismo, the wishmaster, and he’s met the Cosmic Owl in person. He’s had a conversation with Grob Gob Glob Grod. He knows that the King of Mars, Abraham Lincoln, sacrificed his own life to save his best friend Jake. He’s seen Betty Grof travel through a time portal to help her mentally psychotic paramour.

Finn is resigned to forces in the universe, because even if he has a deadbeat dad and doesn’t have a lady friend, he’s seen these forces, and they’re good to him.

Martin rescues Finn, likely because he has nothing better to do while riding in a moth he can’t control. He offers another take on the universe: “It’s kind of fun, right? See, there’s no reason or purpose or, what you said, ‘universal intention.’ Look around, Finn. Empty crud. So empty.”

Martin’s resigned when they’re confronted with the horrifying beast that is Orgalorg, but Finn takes action and leaps straight into his mouth. With his favorite arm under attack by Orgalorg’s insides, the thorn that’s been on his palm since “Breezy” sprouts Finn’s arm into a thorny vine, and Finn slices up Orgalorg to pieces from the inside.

Finn, a comet in his past life, trades words with this comet.

“Finn, do you remember?”

“Yeah, I think so. A long time ago, I was you, sort of, and I crashed on Earth. And became a butterfly or some biz, and I guess it was just some random, absurd thing. Just a joke I’ve been playing out for centuries.”

“Who’s creating the joke? Are you? And if so, then are you my creator?”

“Uh, maybe? I dunno. Probably not.”

“Probably not, but who knows. I’ve been around forever, and have experienced so much impossible junk. I’ve embodied all that is good and evil, and now we’re here. It’s unprecedented, and I give you a choice: come with me to the end and the beginning or struggle here for a while like a beautiful autumn leaf.”

It reminds me a lot of what the Ancient Psychic Tandem War Elephant heard when staring at the sun: “I’m more ancient than you. Someday, I will engulf the solar system. What was and what will be are meaningless. Meanwhile, you should wonder: are you just a two-headed pile of meat on a crash course with the cosmic dump? Or do you contain the soul memory of a million dead stars? How do you light a candle without a match?”

Finn, offered a new mode of existence, takes little time in deciding: “I feel like I’ve put a lot of work into this meat reality. I’d like to see it through.” His choice and reasoning echo the last decision of Grob Gob Glob Grod: “Well, it’s not enough to have created something amazing, right? What if I just let my Martian super society go to butt?”

Finn has just been told from on high that what he does matters. He remembers this.

Martin, who doesn’t have a star to revolve around to track time, takes the offer, though. And he speaks truths to an irritated Finn: “No answer I give you will be satisfying.” “You burn enough bridges, the only direction to move is forward.”

The comet and Martin discorporate, and Finn floats alone and sounds vaguely satisfied saying “goodbye, dad.”

Jake and Banana Man, just flying around in his spaceship like it’s no big thing, rescue Finn, hinting that Jake’s premonition dream of floating alone in space with Banana Man wasn’t a croak dream after all, seeing as his individual earth consciousness didn’t go all everywhere while Glob tallied his deeds.

They even bring Gunter back. “Pretty random, right?” Jake gawks.

Finn disagrees: “It wasn’t random; I did it.”

The unlikely and the impossible are contemplated over and over again in “The Comet.” Peppermint Butler offers his opinion on Finn and Jake being okay: “I’d say it’s about a fifty-fifty chance.”

“That’s pretty much everything in life, isn’t it?” sighs PB.

A conversation with Orgalorg early in the episode illustrates the lessons Finn has learned since he fiercely built a tower to take revenge on his father.

“These are doorways the universe presented to me.”

“Ah, I know about open door philosophy!”

“What’s that, you just say ‘yes’ to stuff all the time?”

“Pretty much.”

“That sounds all right.”

“It’s all yours if you’re willing to take it, destroy worlds, crush anyone blocking the door, feel their bones crumple and their goo spill out…”

“I don’t like that at all.”

“He made it ugly.”

There are still so many questions. Sweet P shows up in this episode and the dormant Lich will likely remain a constant tension. King of Ooo is still in charge of the Candy Kingdom. Prophetic dreams have yet to play out.

But Finn finally has the peace of mind that’s been missing ever since he learned his father was a scoundrel, the sort of acceptance and optimism that allowed him to control his blade of grass (oddly, we’ve been able to see much of his emotional arc simply through his arm).

We’ve been focusing so much on what we want. What about what Finn wants?

And what about the fact that the stories we live are so often left unsatisfying?

Just after Finn and Jake’s conversation with Orgalorg, Finn is drifting through empty space, desperately noting “I’m gonna croak out here, like a fish in the hands of a child.”

At the end of the episode, the space ship lands in the golden lake, and a fish splashes out into the hands of Peppermint Butler. The fish laments, “I’m gonna croak out here.”

Maybe not.

“The Comet” score: 9/10

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.
  • Shade

    Best Review I’ve heard so far! ;D

  • chicken fry

    season 7… the fish

  • johsue

    i just cant agree on 9/10… to me its like 11/10 as the best episode and end of season on the show.. maybe its because that my personal beliefs and philosophies were answered as i was suspecting from AT cast and pendleton ward, the whole being infinite and stuffs.. dunno awesome to me.. greate review btw

    • maththemath

      Thanks! I tend to reserve 10/10 only for the absolute best, it’s not like I really saw anything wrong with this episode. I’d probably only give a 10/10 to “I Remember You” and “Bad Timing.”

      • Timothy Foley

        I love Bad Timing, but I find it very interesting that you would give that one and that one alone equal status to the unquestionable “I Remember You”. Nothing wrong with that whatsoever, I just don’t see many people rating it quite that highly.
        10/10s for me…”Simon and Marcy”, “Lemonhope”, “Wake Up/Escape From the Citadel”, and probably this finale.

        Thing is, though, I find those to be so great because the philosophical and emotional questions they explore are very compelling; but not every episode tries to achieve that. What flaws can I find with “James Baxter the Horse”? How can I say that it achieved anything less than what it set out to achieve, including the reaction is gets out of me?

        Just rambling now. Carry on.

        • maththemath

          You’re in luck: Monday should see the publication of my incredible top 50 episodes feature, which I’m putting a lot of work into. Every episode you’ve mentioned is in at least my top 21 (except “Wake Up,” I treat episodes as separate episodes if they have a different storyboard team, so only “Holly Jolly Secrets” and “Lemonhope” are the 2-in-1). All but one make the top six.

          Also, “James Baxter the Horse” freaking rules. Not sure if it’ll make the 50 (I’ve only solidified the top 30 so far, and it’s not there).

          And something can only be an A+ if it aims high enough to be an A+. You can be flawless but still not aim for something that truly hits the right spot. And to me, “Bad Timing” is a small stakes story that brings us a level of sympathy for a character that up until that point deserved about none, along with the outright expulsion of an innocent character from that dimension. It’s sad in a way that Adventure Time never matches unless you have Finn meeting his father while The Lich is there or some stuff. “Bad Timing” and “I Remember You” are wonderful because they’re so simple.

          One is two days in the life of an emotionally unstable teen who tastes true happiness for the first time in a while, and the other is about a recluse finally giving her old friend another chance, through playing music.

          Bringing out Hunson Abadeer, Orgalorg, or The Lich is great, but to me, Adventure Time is at its best when it’s hitting us with the smaller stuff. The big stuff is great, don’t get me wrong. But it’s all the more impressive when those small stakes episodes pack every bit as much punch as the colliding conflicts of, say, “Escape from the Citadel.”

          • Timothy Foley

            What a coincidence (Not really, since a big season just ended). Me and Andrew Tran (An excellent writer who does some fantastic reviews for this show) are doing a top twenty episodes feature on Overmental pretty soon. We should each post links in this thread, so we can compare and contrast.
            As far as what merits an A+, I more or less agree. I always feel slightly awkward when I watch that scene in Dead Poets Society where the cool Robin Williams professor tells the students to rip out the introduction to their poetry books that tells them they can determine a poem’s greatness by graphing its flawlessness against its ambition, because I kind of agree with that. Okay, it’s ludicrous to think you can measure greatness like a science, but there is some truth to the idea that great art consists of a fantastic execution of worthy subject matter.
            For me, though, there are two kinds of Adventure Time episodes worthy of full marks: episodes that showcase the beautiful, childlike philosophy at the core of the show, and episodes that demonstrate that that philosophy is still relevant and applicable even when you are surrounded by the terrifying elements of this world. “I Remember You”, “Bad Timing”, “Lemonhope”, “Frost and Fire”, these are all great because of the weighty subjects they deal with while still holding onto that little sliver of optimism, but to me, “James Baxter”, “Thank You”, “Sons of Mars”, and “Shh!” are on that same level just for showcasing that optomism on its own.
            I do agree about small-scale episodes often being just as–or more–powerful than big epic ones. That’s part of why “I Remember You” is so staggeringly great: it’s not just the tragedy of the story, it’s the way the episode tell it to us: have these two characters, in their present, wounded state, share the same few rooms for almost the entire length of the episode and just TALK. It depicts the tragedy not by info-dumping it on us, but by showing its effect on these people, and then banging the story out as they lash out at each other. It’s breath-takingly great character writing.
            It’s also one reason I thought “Friends Forever” was really underrated by most of the AV Club crowd. It didn’t give us any new lore or backstory, but it reminded us just how truly alone Simon is: his mind is so warped that he is literally incapable of either progress or meaningful connection. The book he keeps zoning out while reading is actually his own journal from the days of the aftermath, but he rejects his former self to the point of the very concept being alien to him (“What-mon?”). This is exactly what happens towards the end of the episode: the furniture break his little fantasy bubble and point out that he’s a crazed loner who talks to penguins all day, but he’s so desperate not to see himself that way that he is unable to process their accusations at all. His addled brain shifts from pathetic goofiness into a straight-up psychotic rampage, and he immediately kills the people who were trying (Albiet insensitively) to help him, precisely because they were trying to help him.

          • maththemath

            I’m holding off until next week for three reasons: A. I want to post it on a Monday B. Steven bomb C. this site is doing a Bob’s Burgers countdown and I don’t want to be eclipsed by that.

          • maththemath

            And speaking of the Steven bomb and 10/10 episodes…

          • Timothy Foley

            Yeah, geez. I review Steven Universe, and by the looks of it, it’s going to be a fun week.

          • maththemath

            And now it’s up! Tumblr reblogs and Reddit upvotes greatly appreciated.

      • KCIV

        10/10 should be given after the passing of time, and not awarded hastily in the moment. I think after AV has concluded a rescoring of the episodes is due.

        its like Star Trek Next Generation, The “10/10” episodes sometimes didn’t happen till after you finished the show and seen it a few times. Then you could really know the true best episodes.

        • maththemath

          I generally agree with this, which is why I award it so sparingly. A bit of the reason I’m blessed as a critic is because I’ve gotten very good at determining when I’ve figured out how much I like something. I gave myself twenty listens to To Pimp a Butterfly before I dished out that award and it’ll likely remain feeling that good for the rest of my life.

          Check out my huge feature on this site, The Top 50 Adventure Time Episodes, for 48 episodes I consider a 9/10 and two I would give a 10/10.

          But you’re very right that knee-jerk perfect scores are irritating. Which is why when I decide to actually go out there, it’s only when I’m absolutely certain I’ve just witnessed something incredible, such as Gravity Falls’ “Not What He Seems,” which, wow.

  • Matiigo

    Great episode!
    Great review!

    • maththemath

      Thanks so much! I’m going to be highlighting the 50 top episodes sometime in the coming week, so look out for that.

  • Mieli

    Great review. Just to note you say “Jack” when you mean “Jake” once. No big.

    Also, when did Glob tally deeds? Or was that just an expression replacing God with Glob?

    Anyway, awesome reviews, will probably check out more of your stuff since you’re a good critic.

    • maththemath

      Thanks so much (and also, fixed)! In the third season episode “The New Frontier,” Jake has a croak dream and then tells Finn “when I die my individual earth conscious is gonna go all everywhere while glob tallies my deeds.”

      This is also one of Jake’s bits that’s given an encore in “Is That You?”

  • Denney_thejets

    I love how AT always presents philosophical lenses to see things through. You have the notion that life is one meaningless abyss full of random events VS the idea that there’s a greater cosmic power guiding characters/events with purpose… and of course a spectrum of everything in-between.

    Was it cosmically meant for Finn to destroy Orgalorg (hence him running into his father in space – what are the odds!?) or was it sheer luck and optimism that put him in a position to do so? In either case, he wouldn’t have had the agency to stop Orgalorg if he didn’t believe in himself. And I think that in itself is a great universal truth.

    Also, great review(s)! Thank glob you self-promoted yourself in an AV Club Review and I read it