Get all your news in one place.
100’s of premium titles.
One app.
Start reading
Jake Kleinman

11 Years Later, 'Adventure Time' Finally Tackles the Show’s Wildest Paradox

— Cartoon Network

For a kid’s cartoon about a boy and his magic dog, Adventure Time went to some pretty dark places. And when it did, the culprit was often the Lich, aka the embodiment of nuclear destruction and pure evil.

The Lich played a key role in one of Adventure Time’s darkest (and best) episodes, the two-part Season 5 premiere, “Finn the Human/Jake the Dog,” which aired in November 2012 and introduced the alternate reality known as Farmworld where, through a series of awful events, Finn accidentally becomes the Ice King. Now, 11 years later, Fionna and Cake is finally making sense of that terrifying story — and the trippy canonical paradox that followed.

But for showrunner Adam Muto, it’s also a chance to tell a different type of story within the framework of Fionna and Cake’s multiverse-hopping adventure.

“Going back to Farmworld allowed us to visit another alternate-universe Finn/crown-bearer and a more traditional post-apocalyptic world,” Muto tells Inverse via email.

If you’re feeling confused, you’re probably not alone. It’s been a while since Farmworld, so here’s a refresher on the complicated plot that got us here, along with Muto’s explanations for what happens when we return to this universe in Fionna and Cake Episode 5, “Destiny.”

Adventure Time’s Farmworld, explained

Let’s back up even a little bit further. In the Adventure Time Season 4 finale, the Lich tricks Finn and Jake into building a portal to the Time Room, a dimension outside space and time where the cosmic entity Prismo lives. Prismo’s whole deal is that he grants wishes, but those wishes often come with a catch and may lead to the creation of alternate realities — some worse than others. The Lich wishes for the destruction of all life. In response, Finn wishes that the Lich never existed. But, of course, there’s a catch.

Finn is transported to Farmworld, a new reality where the nuclear bomb that transformed Earth into the magical Land of Ooo never went off thanks to the intervention of the Ice King, who gave his life to freeze the bomb before it could explode. As a result, the Lich was never unleashed, but humanity has still regressed to an agrarian society for reasons that are never fully explained. This version of Finn lives a humble life with his family and a non-magic dog named Jake. But when he runs afoul of the evil Destiny gang, they burn down his entire town (including his house with his family inside).

In response, Finn takes the crown off of Simon’s dead body and puts it on, transforming into Ice Finn. As the crown drives him to insanity, Ice Finn attacks indiscriminately, freezing both his enemies and his family. Meanwhile, with the crown activated, the bomb explodes, and the Lich is unleashed. Worse, it takes over Jake’s body, turning him into a horrific Lich-dog (see for yourself in the image at the top of this page). As everything becomes totally nightmarish, Jake, who’s been hanging out with Prismo this whole time, makes a wish that undoes the entire thing and sends them both home, with Finn having no memory of the incident at all.

Adventure Time returned to Farmworld one more time in the Season 7 Episode “Crossover,” which revealed that, through a paradox, Farmworld still existed. In that dimension, Lich-Jake had convinced Ice Finn to create a portal to the multiverse so he could eradicate all life (because that’s his whole deal). Prismo freaks out and worries that his boss will punish him, so he sends regular Finn and Jake to save the day. Then, Prismo does some timey-wimey trickery to fix Farmworld Finn. The bomb still explodes, but it destroys Ice King’s crown in the process. The Farmworld versions of Finn and Jake revert back to their normal selves and live happily ever after. Until now.

Fionna and Cake: Return to Farmworld

In Fionna and Cake Episode 5, “Destiny,” our heroes return to Farmworld. Several decades have passed, and the world has taken on a Mad Max aesthetic. If you’re wondering what happened to this rustic countryside, Muto has you covered.

“In the episode ‘Jake the Dog,’ Farmworld goes through a second apocalyptic event due to the actions of Farmworld Finn,” he explains. “As Ice Finn, he subsequently imprisons all the surviving humans he can find, and it’s not until the episode ‘Crossover’ that they’re all released. Since we’re picking up Farmworld more than a decade later, it felt like they would have rebuilt their world in a different form than the original one.”

As an added bonus, this also gives Fionna a chance to embrace her inner Furiosa.

“Fionna’s seen plenty of movies and played games, so she thinks she’ll know how to navigate this place with ease,” Muto says.

Beyond its post-apocalypse style, Farmworld has also changed in another way: its inhabitants are a lot older. The Destiny gang still rules, but their leader Big D is showing his age and even has a daughter.

Meanwhile, Farmworld Finn is all grown up and living a humble life with his children and an elderly non-magic Jake (his wife is briefly mentioned, but she passed away, leaving behind a pot of soup that Finn has been faithfully cooking and adding to for years). We get to catch up with these characters and see a world where Finn actually grows up instead of living as a man-child like the version we met earlier back in Ooo.

Overall, it seems like Farmworld is as okay as we could have hoped. Paradox, be damned.

Oh, and if you’re wondering about Prismo’s angry boss, Muto has an answer for that too. Sort of.

“Prismo’s boss is mysterious,” he says. “I can say they do play a bigger role this time around.”

Fionna and Cake airs on Thursdays on Max.

Sign up to read this article
Read news from 100’s of titles, curated specifically for you.
Already a member? Sign in here
Related Stories
Top stories on inkl right now
One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
Already a member? Sign in here
Our Picks
Fourteen days free
Download the app
One app. One membership.
100+ trusted global sources.