You heard it right: Cake’s (Roz Ryan) finally made her way to the whimsical reality of Ooo and she’s trying to make the most of it without Fionna’s (Madeleine Martin) caring help.
From the first two episodes, Adventure Time: Fionna and Cake has already created this intriguing setup: the Fionna and Cake we see in this show uniquely contrast the heroic duo from the original show as they live a completely normal life.
However, in the second episode, there are a few more drops hinted during Simon Petrikov’s (Tom Kenny) purpose searching with Finn (Jeremy Shada) that suggest that our unlikely protagonists may have more to their lives than what they already know.
Now, in this episode, with Cake finally making her way to Ooo, this episode creates another special perspective on self-actualization that will definitely resonate with fans as Cake discovers her own path, by fate or otherwise.
Fionna & Cake Episode 3 Recap Review
Opening up, this episode starts with a familiar treading of a classic Adventure Time episode as Finn and Jake (John DiMaggio) make a daring escape from the Cockatrice’s sky palace with a talking egg.
It’s a fun icebreaker that reminisces on old times, calling back to previous things such as the Jake Suit while taking advantage of its TV-14 rating action-wise with the gore. However, the episode doesn’t linger on this memorable moment as it cuts back to Prismo (Sean Rohani), who’s watching all this from his Time Room while the alarm goes off on his remote.
Potentially hinting at the events of the previous episode, it signifies the heightened stakes that could have come with Cake’s transporting to Ooo. Surprisingly, Prismo decides to ignore this little annoyance just for now as he continues watching the two.
Shortly after, it cuts on the aftermath of the previous episode’s ending: Fionna willingly jumps into the ice cream cart where Cake disappeared into while a scared Cake tries to gather her surroundings in front of a surprised Simon. Simon, who thought his spell would bring back Betty, decides to help Cake, not knowing who she actually is. When he finally puts on the talking collar he took on Cake’s neck, a slight realization finally sets in as he tries to acquaint Cake: he’s done something wrong.
As much as Simon wants to put what Ice King did behind him, he may never be able to do it now that Cake’s in the mix. Even more so, when Simon asks how she got to Ooo, Cake sings a song that triggers something within Simon, which doesn’t further help his traumatic state of mind. Despite Simon’s insistence, Cake manages to make her escape from the apartment thanks to an incidental notice from Astrid (Audrey Bennett), who tells Simon about Cake’s oddly familiar presence.
The sequence where Cake finally discovers her new surroundings manages to create those feelings of dread and wonder in a way that excitedly creates this outlandish world for Cake. Besides calling back to details like the Minerva Bots (Sharon Horgan), it also draws suspense on whether Cake could find Fionna and survive in this new reality.
Though she thinks she does, Cake gets tricked in a fake-out by someone who looks like Fionna. Terrified of what’s going on, she escapes the Humans’ floating city by falling, hearing the song that brought her here from the newly shaped Ice Kingdom.
However, Cake actually begins to take in her new surroundings, seeing all the magical creatures that charm her. In a way, she’s finally believing that she’s supposed to fit in here even without Fionna to help her.
As a surprise, Cake comes across the Squirrel (Marc Maron) from the season 5 episode “Up a Tree”. Discovering that he can talk too, the Squirrel decides to help her by fixing the collar, giving her her iconic voice. Even though Cake is discovering her physical self, she’s still adjusting to her new environment as she begins to realize her inner true potential. She’s not supposed to be this normal house cat who meows all day and more and more, Cake is opening up to the idea of this being true.
As Cake and the Squirrel head into town to restore Cake’s size, after eating a cursed apple, the duo share this small heart-to-heart as they open up to one another about their previous lives. Cake is beginning to realize that she doesn’t need Fionna’s help in the same way that the Squirrel wanted his own independence from the Tree. For viewers who haven’t watched the original show, the Squirrel wanted to “fly away” from the Tree, but the others doubted him and didn’t want him to in the end.
It’s a sweet moment for Cake to find some common details with someone else who’s in the same circumstances. The episode continually nails in that Cake isn’t meant to be this character she was in the first episode: she’s meant to be someone with her own livelihood and her own independence as she follows her own instincts.
Meanwhile, Fionna is still looking for Cake in the normal world, coming across Marshall Lee (Donald Glover) and Ellis P. (Pendleton Ward) for help. Though she believes that Cake does need her, this is surprisingly proven wrong after Cake and the Squirrel come across the Squirrel’s “buddies” from the Tree, making quick work of them by clawing and scratching.
After the two make their way into town, Cake manages to get cured and comes across a lively tune as she begins singing. Cake’s song actually emphasizes her instincts-based independence from Fionna, expressing her existential emotions in a way that helps her actualize who she really is.
It’s a fun, odd beat as it cuts back and forth between Simon trying to repeat the spell and Cake causing chaos, turning one of the Hot Dog Knights into a normal hot dog, hinting at the alarm Prismo ignored in the beginning.
As Cake closes out her song, the townspeople close in on her, hoping to punish her for the things she’s done.
In the normal world, Fionna is still tirelessly trying to track down Cake. She continues to remain determined on finding the portal, even if no one else believes her. Luckily, Gary (Andrew Rannells) is up to help Fionna with a iced cup of coffee, though she gets an ache due to Simon’s re-opening of the universal connection.
Thanks to this, Fionna gets transported to Ooo, much to Simon’s shocking dismay and anger. Simon still doesn’t believe what he’s done: he’s been so focused on finding and getting to Betty that he believes that Fionna and Cake are just Ice King’s manifestations of madness. Even though they’re real now, Simon is still not able to cope with all these mishaps and mess-ups.
After leaving Simon’s apartment, Fionna easily takes it all in and approaches Astrid, who’s been waiting outside and believes Fionna to be a cosplayer. Surprisingly, unlike Cake, Fionna is able to absorb this all in quicker because she’s dreamt of this exciting life. Now, after entering this new world, she might be able to have that.
With Astrid’s help, Fionna is able to track down Cake to the square, where she’s been held prisoner. This sequence finally begins to open that locked box of potential: as Fionna and Cake fight to survive, it shows that they have an inner capability for something more.
It also showcases that while Cake does have independence, her loving connection with Fionna remains stronger as the two have this shared bond just like Finn and Jake. It’s a nice parallel for this episode to show that these two characters, no matter what variants they are, will always have this special, strong brotherly/sisterly connection that truly shows how much they care for each other.
Saving Cake from the (mostly innocent) townspeople, Astrid finally realizes that Fionna and Cake are the real deal. However, before they can do anything else, they’re teleported elsewhere, presumably by Prismo’s hand.
Overall, this episode of Adventure Time: Fionna and Cake is a nice, charming exploration of independence and self-actualization through the instinctual eyes of Cake the Cat.
As Cake goes through her own journey of self-discovery in this episode much like Simon did in the previous episode, this show has mastered its capability of exploring a range of characters through its own meaningful ways. Though the callbacks to the original show may seem a bit much, they do help in building Cake’s story in a way that feels compelling.
However, as the stakes grow ever more intense, we can hope that this personalized form of character development and storytelling will continue to play a major role in the grander multiversal plot.
Rating – 4 out of 5 stars
Adventure Time: Fionna and Cake episodes 3 and 4 are now streaming on Max – new two episodes are released every Thursday.
This review was written during the 2023 WGA (now resolved) and SAG-AFTRA (ongoing) strikes. Without the labor of the writers and actors currently on strike, the series/movie being covered here wouldn’t exist.