Adventure Time: Fionna and Cake has brought us to so many different universes, from Farmworld to the Vampire Universe, while managing to keep its dedicated focus on the emotional arcs that Fionna (Madeleine Martin), Cake (Roz Ryan) and Simon (Tom Kenny) are going through.
After barely escaping a vampire-ruled reality with their lives at stake, our main trio are at an intense standstill as Fionna and Cake are left on bad terms following Fionna’s insistence to protect Cake from Marceline (Olivia Olson) and the Vampire King (Billy Brown). In addition, Scarab (Kayleigh McKee) was ever so close to stopping the adventurous duo but has been recalled to a place more cosmic.
Now trapped in a desolate, barren wasteland, Cake remains angry with Fionna for not letting her get the Crown for Simon as the three embark on a journey through a dead Ooo with little resources. Time will only tell if they can survive and escape this universe.
Fionna & Cake Episode 8 Recap Review
While this episode does see our main trio trying to survive, this episode actually opens up with a flashback to a time when Simon and Betty (Felicia Day) were happier together looking for the Enchiridion. As much as Fionna and Cake focuses on the titular duo, it takes its time to further develop Simon as a character, which this show happily indulges based on the original show’s tidbits of history.
Shortly after, the episode picks up with Fionna, Cake, and Simon trapped in a barren variation of Ooo, where life seems to be missing, with Cake very upset that Fionna didn’t let her be the hero. The episode utilizes this as an emotional obstacle that wonderfully ties into how Fionna and Cake are growing into their true selves.
As Cake goes on to find something that could help them, Simon continues sharing his past with Fionna with his introduction to Betty. In an easter-egg-filled presentation about ancient artifacts, Betty is stunned by Simon’s smarts much to her friend’s pessimism.
However, as Simon and Betty get to know each other, Betty shares this enthusiastic obsession that Simon is okay with. It emphasizes what Simon’s primary goal was while showing how Simon might’ve had more say and pull in this relationship than he thought. These moments are sprinkled throughout the episode, which helps insert a sense of nostalgic acceptance for Simon to comprehend.
In the present, Cake locates Finn and Jake’s old and decrepit treehouse, but not after yelling for some help after finding something really scary: BMO (Niki Yang), who’s surprisingly alive in this universe.
BMO’s playful ignorance has its sweet touch even in the dire of circumstances as they help Fionna, Cake, and Simon travel to the remnants of the Ice Kingdom. Cakes manages to find an old tape that BMO plays, which reveals to be Ice King comically recording himself singing his rendition of the iconic Adventure Time song “Everything Stays” and putting on his own two-man play with Gunther.
It’s somewhat of a sad reminder of what Simon once was and what he’s trying to get away from now, yet it helps him accept what he thinks his purpose is. Suspiciously, it cuts to static, hinting at what could’ve caused this universe to be the way it is here. Luckily, there’s one more hope: Princess Bubblegum.
Though they reach the Candy Kingdom, BMO’s explanation hints at what could’ve caused the world to be like this: one day, everyone suddenly turned into skeletons and the next, a being named “Jerry” appeared. Adding on to the creepy undertones of the last episode, the show benefits from all the spooks it’s throwing even if it’s an explanation from BMO.
Focusing back on Simon and Betty, the episode continues showing heartfelt scenes, including the two’s curious expedition into serpent territory and Simon’s rising popularity after his uncovering of the Enchiridion. However, the most impactful scene has to be where Simon catches Betty at the last minute before she travels to Australia for her own studies.
In a way, this episode looks back on Betty as a character in the original show as it subtly emphasizes her love for Simon and how she grew this extreme obsession with fixing him. The moment between the two before Betty gets on the bus is established to be this interpersonal catalyst that drives how their relationship would continue in a way that’s beautifully impactful to Simon’s arc.
This ties in later with perhaps the song that could rival episode 2‘s “Part of the Madness”; that being “Everything in You”, Simon and Betty’s song that Cake previously heard all the way back in episode 1. It’s one of the sweeter moments that serves as a nice icebreaker between the bleakness this episode has while further contextualizing Simon’s acceptance process.
Moved by Simon’s stories, BMO decides to help the trio out in the way he can by powering the remote. While it does seem to work at first, the overload explodes BMO, shockingly killing him. It’s a sad, yet moving moment that helps Cake forgive Fionna: she finally understands that Fionna just wanted to protect her because they could’ve faced the same fate.
And so, Fionna, Cake, and Simon make their way to Jerry’s hideout, which has the show’s most terrifying reveals: Jerry is actually the Lich (Ron Perlman) still bound to Billy the Hero’s skin.
Here is where we finally get a solid explanation: the Lich was successful in carrying out his mission of ending all life in his universe. However, it has left him hollow, or as Simon puts it: “depressed,” rendering him nothing more than a shell.
Meanwhile, Scarab was recalled to a realm of awaiting by his auditor Orbo (David McCormack), which suggests there’s a larger system in place beyond what fans may have thought. Though he may have been lacking depth, this episode actually gives him a touch of personality through his own fear of the boss and Orbo. Thankfully for him, the Boss approves Scarab’s decision and sends him back to the field.
In the hideout, Fionna reveals that she found a powered Crown in the Ice Kingdom to Cake’s angry surprise. Though the two banter, Simon agrees with Fionna that he needs to be the Ice King so their world can be magical again. It’s really saddening to watch Simon have to go through this process of transformation again, especially since he’s accepted this as his only option.
As Simon performs the ritual again, Fionna and Cake confidently make the jump as Simon prepares to become Ice King again. Suddenly, Scarab appears and tries to stop Simon, only for a red portal to swallow them both.
Perhaps the Lich and GOLB’s doings will have more influence on what happens to Simon after all, leaving an exciting breaker to end the episode on.
This episode of Fionna and Cake happily builds upon Simon Petrikov’s beautiful relationship with Betty and his process of acceptance while developing the personal obstacle of independence for Fionna and Cake to overcome. In addition, it does a great job of increasing the terrifying multiversal stakes that connect back to the journeys of Fionna, Cake, and Simon.
As the show is nearing its grand conclusion, it has managed to successfully integrate the original audience’s understanding of Adventure Time while broadening its themes of growth and acceptances for newer fans. It’s certainly pulled me in for the better and I hope it’ll leave a lasting impact in its last two episodes.
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 Stars
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.