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Adventure Time - "Hot to the Touch" Recap

After being turned down by Princess Bubblegum as a boyfriend, Finn sinks into a lovelorn depression. Jake goes out searching for a new girlfriend for Finn and gets the attention of the Flame Princess,
a fiery young girl with a hot temper to match. After a few misunderstandings, Finn is left smitten for a girl both physically and mentally diametrically opposed to him. As Flame Princess goes on a red hot rampage throughout Ooo, Finn teams up with an old friend to show her his true feelings.

After a short hiatus, Adventure Time is back with a new season premiere to answer the questions raised by the cliffhanger of the previous episode, “Incendium.”
While I always look forward to new Adventure Time, I wasn’t too keen on the first part and wasn’t in a hurry to see it followed up. It’s not that “Incendium” is objectively weak; in fact, it had some great musical numbers and expressive drawings near the end on Rebecca Sugar’s part. As someone who finds shipping to be boring at best and harmful at worst, I’d much rather see female characters being treated as platonic friends (like Marceline) than pawns in a game of “who’s hooking up with who?”. Seeing Finn’s crush on the Flame Princess so haphazardly developed on a whim didn’t help things, either.

Luckily, “Hot to the Touch” makes this relationship work by fleshing out Flame Princess and giving her an interesting dynamic with Finn to build off of. While it’s implied that Finn and FP are a very literal example of opposites attracting, she reminds me a lot of Finn from the show’s earliest episodes. With a short temper, lack of romantic experience, and constant need to rationalize her feelings in terms of combat, she is almost too perfect of a match for Finn. With three seasons of emotional maturation under his belt, Finn is suddenly in Princess Bubblegum’s shoes as he tries to make a relationship work between him and and someone too emotionally raw and immature for him. This interesting parallel between characters, along with some creative decisions involving the Flame Princess’ physical relationship to her flames, creates a really interesting character who I hope gets utilized more as the season rolls on.

Speaking of great characters, seeing Andy Milonakis reprise his role as NEPTR, Finn’s pie-throwing robot from season one’s “What is Life?”, was a welcome surprise in an episode already stuffed to the gills with important moments and treats for the fans. A season premiere’s main goal is to set the tone for the following episodes and reel the viewers in with massive surprises. “Hot to the Touch” achieves both and is a must-watch, even if you’re not into mushy romance.

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