„I’m just gonna stop trying and let my flower wilt away. Who cares?“
After a long 3-week hiatus, Adventure Time finds itself on its new Thursday time slot, and starts it off with a surprisingly important episode: „Breezy“ seems like an innocent one-off character study episode at first glance, but turns out to be quite important to the show’s central mythology – including a rather divisive ending.
Finn is having a slump, and his flower shows – it’s withering! His doctor, Doctor Princess, advises him to fight the depression with, well, having fun. How times have changed: for Finn, that means making out with as many girls as possible….
Spoilers from here onwards.
The bird and the bee metaphor.
„Breezy“ is one of those episodes that’s all about the teenage life, maybe more so than any other in Adventure Time’s history. And wow, how times do change: the Finn that was so scared of kissing Flame Princess for the first time is long gone, replaced with a real ladies‘ man – at least someone who fancies himself to be, but is too young to understand (or has forgotten) how meaningful kissing a girl can be, and thus comes to think that he will get better as long as he just kisses as many girls as possible, thereby hopefully reaching a „good vibe saturation point.“
There’s a dark undertone to this episode, seeing that Finn is actually suffering from depression, magnificently represented by his withering flower arm. And true to real life, Finn tries to conquer his sadness by venturing out and trying to have fun – but he soon learns that forced fun is no real fun at all. Since we have mostly seen a Finn that’s unsure of himself while dating, Adventure Time veers a little close into parody territory here with its depiction of Finn’s negligent treatment of dating, and it feels a little alienating to see the protagonist we have seen grow up from child to teen become such a player. On the other hand, that’s part of the episode’s message and appeal: realizing that those little children grow up oh so fast.
This sentiment is mirrored by Breezy, the little bee that befriends Finn in this episode – and wishes it would become more. Two thirds into the episode, Breezy transforms into some kind of next level bee (basically a Sailor Moon parody, including silly transformation animation and framing it before a far too giant full moon – let’s call her Sailor Bee, shall we?). But while Finn’s progress was gradually explored by the show, Breezy only has a single episode’s worth of time to evolve, and she does it (also fulfilling an anime trope) when she feels her love interest is in danger of her fellow bees.
Breezy is the typical best friend who just can’t make the protagonist realize how much she feels for him – on Adventure Time, it is even physically impossible to be with Finn. Perhaps even more harrowing is how Finn fails to see Breezy for what she is and does for him – even once she has transformed from a duckling to a swan, Finn can only see someone else in her stead. Still, Breezy puts up a good face on the matter throughout the episode and takes it upon her to be a good wingman, err, wingwoman, or wingbee. Anyhow, Adventure Time’s clever twist on the story is that Breezy falls in love with Finn’s flower, the „soft“ part of Finn that he pays little regard to.
For Finn, his flower arm is a reminder of the past, while the rest of his body aches to move forward into a more adult life – one that he seemingly is not ready for, as his make-out sessions don’t really mean anything to him, not even making him happy. On the other hand, Breezy cares about the part of Finn that he has ceased to care much, and it does Finn a lot of good. Alas, our protagonist fails to show the appropriate gratefulness – Finn has a long way to go, though at least he expresses he is sorry he is not returning Breezy’s feelings. At least somewhat.
I’ll be honest: I hate the ending of „Breezy„. I think the regrowth of Finn’s arm cheapens what has happened to him so far this season, particularly considering how soon it came. If it had happened at the end of the season, fine, but there was so much more to explore with Finn having only one arm: from the potential the flower arm showed in this episode, to various sight gags of stuff that’s difficult to do with a single arm (try climbing), to the great ever-present metaphor of the loss of his childhood due to the disappointment he experienced when he met his long-lost father, to the pleasure of the enormous payoff of the various Finns from alternate universes in previous episodes. It greatly saddens, but also surprises me Adventure Time has taken this route.
Particularly because I think it is not even a great narrative choice for this episode. The message is a little bland as is: love conquers all, even the psychological damage caused by family members that betrayed you. But it’s all fake – neither is Finn in love with the person that just gave up so many freedoms for him, nor is the love he feels for PB a realistic option. I wish his feelings for Princess Bubblegum had been dealt with more recently, too – here it feels a little arbitrary, especially as it was insinuated that he was in love with Flame Princess, judging from the look of the princess that was sitting on his couch.
What this development does add to „Breezy„, however, is a lot of tragedy. Breezy, who has given up its many freedoms to save Finn from her bee hive by drinking the secret bee goo (a rather contrived plot device, let’s be honest), experiences a cruel twist of fate as she mistakes Finn’s shedding of the flower (metaphor!) for genuine affection for her. Instead, Finn merely projects his feelings for his first great love on Breezy: the beautiful spring tree, symbolizing life force, blooms for the prospect of conquering Princess Bubblegum, not the bee queen.
Breezy’s heart is „full to burst“, as she sings in the lovely song, but Finn’s sleepy eyes betray him and make him see what he wants to see: an idealized Bubblegum that bestows a sword and her faith onto him, singing how much she loves him. Because Finn doesn’t tell Breezy what he sees, neither of them is hurt, but the betrayal is still there – and little can redeem Finn’s (admittedly partly inadvertent) duplicity considering Breezy’s great sacrifice. Breezy, meanwhile, has to learn a different lesson in her Sailor bee form: being grown up is awesome and provides many new possibilities, but the days of childhood, with few real responsibilities, are gone forever once one enters adult life.
I would argue that „Breezy“ is one of Adventure Time’s most complex episodes ever – even as I am writing these finishing touches, I am still constantly reevaluating the many things that have happened in this episode. And yet I am having difficulties classifying it as one of the show’s great episodes, as I think not all of the episode’s elements blend all too well. The Sailor Moon parody is fun, for instance, but lacks the classiness to match the episode’s more somber tones. Also, it feels like it is just a little too stuffed with relevant events that will have many repercussions for the next weeks. On the other hand, I am always grateful when the show embraces its serialized nature – and in that regard, „Breezy“ is one of the show’s most dedicated episodes – and yet another proof that Adventure Time’s sixth season will continue to honor this trend as it has in the recent past.
Even more bla:
– This episode has made me realize that Finn really needs a new sword. He was entirely helpless against half a dozen bees, for heaven’s sake!
– Then again, how funny is watching Finn be attacked and mangled by a bunch of bees? The animation is really great here, particularly how their attacks are not menacing but rather clumsy and blunt.
– Princess Bubblegum’s arm is in a sling. That’s a somewhat lame payoff to the previous episode’s cliffhanger, to be honest.
– Finn and LSP kiss!!!!!! But seriously – has Finn just been literally deflowered by Lumpy Space Princess? Adventure Time has never done such a suggesting cutaway, as Finn does not refuse her offer to „pull him into the deep end“, easily dismissing Finn’s claim he isn’t such a great swimmer. There’s a first time for everything, Finn.
– „Whoops, I tripped right into you, haha!“ Says the bee. Yeah right.
– Love the crazy bee house design – half hive, half house at the river.
– „Guess I’ll make out with crab princess.“ I will dearly miss childlike Finn. I wonder where the show will go from here with Finn. The maturation process is a great gamble, and so far it has paid off greatly for Adventure Time, but I’m not so thrilled with teenage dating being prominent for the next few years. I actually think this episode has taken away from the childlike magic that the show has inhibited, it’s just a little disillusioning to see Finn just make out with several princesses – but that’s a very subjective thing, and I hope I’ll come around eventually.
– „I’d invite you over, but you can’t breathe under water, right?“
– I particularly love the Egyptian-themed girl Finn made out. Tail, creepy tongue, sharp teeth, and a weird cult worshiping her? Doesn’t matter, had kiss!
– „I’m lost in the darkness.“
Rating: 8,5 out of 10 points.
„Breezy“ is full of great metaphors, with the bird-and-the-bee one only playing the smallest fiddle. The episode is witty to the brim, possibly more than for its own good. „Breezy“ is excellent food for thought, though, and is an episode that offers new insights with every repeat viewing. If it just wasn’t for that lame ending…