Adventure Time: Fionna and Cake Ep 9 and 10 Review
Once again, we bid goodbye to Adventure Time. After over a month, Adventure Time: Fionna and Cake wrapped up its story. This series has seen Simon, Fionna, and Cake travel the Adventure Time multiverse. They did it for the adventure and to find meaning in lives that none considered meaningful. In doing so, they learned more about themselves and realized that what they wanted might not be worth it. As Fionna and Cake return to their world and Simon confronts his past, the Scarab catches up to them, forcing them to make the most significant choice: do they want to return to their old lives?
Buckle up because this is going to be an extra-long review.
One minor detail is that unlike the previous episodes, the final two have actual title cards. It doesn’t affect the plot, but it’s a great callback to the original series, showing how it’s come full circle.
What do Fionna and Cake Want Now?
After a nightmare in which magic has donked up their world, Fionna and Cake wake up in their world, which is still normal. While waiting for the magic to kick in, they catch up with Gary and Marshall Lee and explain everything. The issue is that neither of them is excited by this prospect, which could mean losing their memories. Thanks to their relationship, they’ve found meaning in their lives and don’t want to lose that. Given how long it took Bubbiline to work out, neither do I, especially after seeing what happened to them in the Vampire World.
This moment helps emphasize one of the overarching themes of the miniseries: finding meaning in one’s life. Fionna and Cake learned that their lives were once more magical and adventurous but also dangerous and likely full of drama. Even if they had a problem with how mundane their lives were, does that give them the right to change the lives of everyone around them? However, the issue becomes a moot point as the Scarab gets into their world and starts erasing it. He’s willing to commit genocide and mass murder just to prove that he’s in the right about following the rules.
Simon Stands on the Brink…
In another part of the multiverse, Simon awakens in a black void, home to the chaotic entity known as GOLB. Or rather, GOLBetty, as they fused with Betty years ago. After watching the Lich vent at his god for not giving his life new meaning, Simon watches as Golbetty transforms him into one of the cubes floating around them. At least his reality’s people were avenged. After that, Simon laments how he squandered the second chance Betty gave him and is prepared to use the Ice King’s Crown to give their world magic again.
For a series filled with dark moments in a franchise with dark moments, this is a very dark moment. The show pulls no punches here: what Simon’s about to do is the equivalent of committing suicide. It is a frighteningly realistic portrayal of how depression can consume a person. They get to the point where they feel like nothing they do matters and that the world would be better off without them.
Thankfully for everyone watching, GOLBetty steps in and teaches him a lesson. One involves sending his mind a thousand years into the future into the mind of Shermy, who may or may not be Finn’s future reincarnation. There, Simon reads a “choose your own adventure” book about two friends named Casper and Nva that plays out like an RPG, with the end goal being the Crown. However, Simon proceeds to ignore all the choices that Nova offers in favor of Casper’s choices, which ends in a no-win scenario where he’ll either get the Crown or lose Nova.
The Ice King is Gone and Never Coming Back
This moment serves as a callback to a realization Betty herself had shortly before the series finale. She devoted so much of herself to doing what Simon wanted that she neglected her own needs. As Simon comes to realize for himself, while he did love Betty, it wasn’t the healthiest of relationships. It’s a bittersweet moment that shows that had Simon made another choice, he could’ve avoided becoming the Ice King. In addition, it also leads to Simon having one final conversation with Betty inside his mind.
While it plays out like an illusion, it’s heavily implied that this is GOLBetty’s doing. Her way of giving Simon the closure he needs. More importantly, though, knowing that despite everything, Betty still loves him makes him realize something: his life has value. He matters to people like Fionna and Cake as Simon, not the Ice King. Thus, he finally rejects his past as the Ice King, choosing to be himself.
This was a moment that had been a decade in the making. From the moment we learned about his past, Simon Petrikov has been one of the most tragic figures in animation history. He never asked to become the Ice King, and while the Ice King was a fun guy, he was also a lonely and miserable man. I cheered when Simon was finally freed of the Crown without dying, and I hated the idea of him becoming the Ice King again. He can still fit into his new world as Simon, and even though he finally accepts that Betty’s now gone, it doesn’t mean their love doesn’t mean anything. It had value, he has value, and this inspires him to return to Ooo, though not before doing something extraordinary.
They Canonized Themselves
It’s unclear how it happens, but I think it was because of GOLBetty’s powers. Fionna and Cake’s world leaves Simon’s head and transforms into a dandelion. This is a powerfully symbolic moment and a callback to the show’s first episode, where Hunter (Huntress Wizard’s counterpart) told Fionna that, despite being called a weed, every plant can be called such. In other words, a dandelion can still be beautiful and have value despite being looked down on by others, like how the Scarab looks down on Fionna and Cake’s world for existing when it shouldn’t. But it still matters, and the powers that be seem to agree.
After giving Fionna and Cake the dandelion, representing their reality, Fionna makes a wish on it. And somehow, that wish connects their world to the rest of the multiverse. In other words, the powers that be have decided to make them legit.
Scarab is a Hater, and Hater’s Gonna Hate
This is an important moment in both the story and in a meta-sense. Fionna and Cake started out as fanfiction, considered non-canon. Yet despite this, they persevered, won people over, and got the support that they needed. And if enough people come to appreciate a fan-made story, it can end up being canonized. Score one for fanfic writers everywhere.
Piggybacking off of that logic would make Scarab an avatar for a specific kind of fan. He’s the guy who looks down on and hates fanfiction for existing when he thinks it shouldn’t. I used to be like him and didn’t see the value in fanfics, either. But then I realized that they can be a great outlet for the creativity of budding writers and can keep a story going even after it’s officially come to an end. That, and if you’ve read my reviews of Star vs. fanfics, then you know that they’re good for coping when a show you love ends. The point is they have value, and that’s Scarab’s being a toxic hater.
The hater aspect comes full circle when Scarab, enraged that Prismo’s creation is canonized and thus letting him off the hook, decides to work Fionna and Cake’s world anyway. Thankfully, Prismo summons people they’ve met across the multiverse, and together, they give the wad the beating he deserves.
After that, life continues for Fionna and Cake in their now-canon universe. The city’s rebuilt, and things return to normal for everyone, but with a few twists.
Magic From the Mundane
Firstly, Cake retains her sentience and stretchy powers, which is awesome. Secondly, the people Prismo summoned, like Jay Mertens, Little Destiny, Baby Finn, the Pep-But tank, and the Squirrel, all decide to stay in this reality. In addition, all of Scarab’s prisoners decide to stick around as well. The result is that Fionna and Cake’s world becomes more magical than they wanted.
More importantly, though, Fionna and Cake have changed people thanks to their trek across the multiverse. Before they set out, they saw their world as dull. However, their grand adventure taught them that there’s magic and beauty to be found anywhere they go, no matter how mundane. They just have to know where to look. In this case, Fionna appreciates how things are with her life and understands that she doesn’t need the life of a grand adventurer to lead a happy and fulfilling life.
The Secret to Being Happy
Here in lies one of the two messages behind Fionna and Cake. Those who watched Adventure Time are now all grown up and facing adult problems they likely hate. They may think their world should be more like what they remember when they were kids. However, just because their lives may seem mundane as adults doesn’t mean it’s not magical and wondrous. Everyone has it in them to find reasons to keep on living and things that make life worth living. That can be their job, their loved ones, the places they go; the sky’s the limit! So, they shouldn’t dismiss their lives as meaningless. They’re only meaningless if we decide they are for ourselves.
Continuing this, Simon also learned his lesson: he’s made peace with the fact that he’s no longer the Ice King and has to move on from Betty. He misses her, but the memories he had with her still hold value, even if they’re bittersweet now. While he does fear backsliding into his depression one day, he’s reassured by Dr. Minerva Finn’s mom) that he has it in him to overcome that.
As for Scarab, he gets punished by becoming Prismo’s assistant, which is fitting. However, Prismo opens up the idea of letting him create his world one day so that he can see the joy of doing so. That’s basically like converting the anti-fanfic guy over to your side, and I love it.
An Amazing Return for Adventure Time
So, what is the final verdict on Fionna and Cake? I loved it. I wish I could’ve been longer, but questions remain unanswered. Like, is Farmworld Finn still alive? Are the PB and Marceline of the Vampire World still alive? And will they ever return Baby Finn to Baby World? These are all loose ends that a sequel series or spin-off could resolve, though, and if not them, then a fanfic writer will do so.
Beyond that, though, I think Fionna and Cake was an amazing show. It helped me fall in love with Adventure Time again, reminding me why it was such a huge hit. Without Adventure Time, I might have walked away from cartoons once I became an adult. Now I know better: cartoons are for everyone and can grow as their fans grow older. So, if this is the final chapter in Adventure Time, then cheers. Thanks for the memories, you guys!