Sunday, August 6, 2017

Top 5 Best Episodes of Adventure Time (Season 3)

Being arguably the most consistent season of the entire show (which is really saying something), the best of and worst of lists for it were incredibly hard to make. On the top end, some of my very favorites of the entire series were in thus season, with a dozen or so more that I also really liked. On the bottom end, there wasn't a single "bad" episode to be found, with the worst ones more often than not just simply being forgettable. So with that out of the way, don't be surprised if your favorites or least favorites aren't on this list. There were too many good episodes for me to choose from, making it very hard to narrow it down to just 5. So let's get on with this, my top 5 favorite episodes of season 3.

5. What Was Missing
A definite fan favorite, as I said in my short write-up about this one before, I don't love this episode nearly as much as most people seem to. But that obviously doesn't mean I don't enjoy it, as I consider it a great character building episode with some fantastic scenes of bonding and emotional honesty. This is the first ever episode to explore the checkered past of PB and Marceline, a pair that would later become more openly (though never directly addressed, due to international censorship) obvious of having been a couple in the past. The songs in this episode are rough, but that's sort of the point. I like the balance of funny and sweet moments, and just seeing this group of friends come together and have fun makes it a more than pleasant experience.

4. Jake Vs. Me-Mow
An episode that bugged me the first time I watched it, this one has definitely grown on me as I've learned to appreciate how fantastically it tells a story, builds tension, and allows for humor to slip in at every possible opportunity. Great Jake episodes are few and far between (largely due to how much of an inconsiderate ass he can be sometimes), but this one is a fine example of how story can be built around his unique powers and not feel like the resolution cheats the viewer out of anything by ignoring his potential. In fact, the ending in this episode is one of the most creative and hilariously simple uses of his powers in the show, which just makes the whole thing funnier. Definitely one of Jake's best episodes.

3. Holly Jolly Secrets, pt. 2
While part 1 was basically just a means to introduce the plot, I still didn't totally mind it, but the things that make this episode so great are entirely found within the second half. This is the episode where we see the first glimpses of what the Ice King was like before he became the princess-napping lunatic he turned into. Not only this, but we see Finn and Jake open up and allow him to take part in their holiday celebration. It's not the best Simon/Ice King episode, but it opened the door to a deeper examination of a previously one-note character. And by doing this, the show allowed itself to explore more characters in a similar way in the future.

2. No One Can Hear You
Unlike the previous episode, this is not one I put on the list for how it helped shape the show or its characters, but rather for how effectively it tells its story. After a accident involving a deer hospitalizes Finn, he wakes up to find the entire population of the Candy Kingdom has disappeared. He finds Jake, who's been suffering from a head wound, and the two camp out and wait for a surprise party Jake believes is being set up for him. This was by far the creepiest episode of the show up to this point, as details are slowly revealed and made all the more unsettling by these unexpected twists. To spoil this episode would be a crime, so I'll let you watch it and see for yourself just how impressive the writing and execution of this creepy little story is.

1. Thank You
When I go down the list of not only my all-time favorite episodes of Adventure Time, but also the episodes that best represent the wonderful storytelling tools and ingenius world-building of the show, this is one of the first to spring the mind. Telling the mostly silent story of a snow golem who finds a firewolf pup stranded away from his home, the snow golem decides to the take it upon himself to bring the firewolf home, even at the risk of his own life There's a simplistic beauty to the this episode that can't easily be described, but not only is the music, animation, and story itself so wonderful, what always stands out to me about this episode is how it showed how far this world can go in exploring new and interesting characters outside of the usual methods. By putting Finn and Jake in the background and allowing the snow golem's story to take over, we finally get to see how much this show has to offer in a totally different way. Not only is it a sweet story with some wonderful music and creative animation, but it creates its own story and world to be wrapped up in that doesn't rely on previously established ideas and characters. It's hard not to become invested in this story, and for about 10 minutes we get to see and feel this show's universe from an entirely new perspective. Episodes like 'Fionna And Cake' may have played around with the formula (without ever committing), but this was the episode that broke the mold and allowed for real exploration. It's disarmingly simple but massively effective and easily my favorite episode of season 3. Thanks for reading.

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