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Adventure Time – “Beautopia” Recap

by on November 7, 2011

Susan Strong returns to the treehouse to convince Finn and Jake to take back her mutant tribe’s original subterranean home of Beautopia from the mysterious and deadly “glub-glubs”. Finn agrees to light Beautopia’s massive torch, but Jake is suspicious of both Susan’s sanity and identity. 

While it’s only been less than a year since the original “Susan Strong” premiered, it feels like an eternity has passed since we saw Susan and the Hyoomens. The episode’s cliffhanger ending about Susan Strong’s possible identity as a human and the interesting peek at the post-apocalyptic sewer city she lives in left me wanting a lot more, and “Beautopia” left me somewhat satisfied. The episode does answer questions and fills in a few blanks from the previous episodes, but it feels like it sacrifices humor to do so. While the jokes didn’t fall flat, only a few choice lines and expressions by Jake (mostly aided by the talents of voice actor John DiMaggio and the wonderful storyboarding team of Adam Muto and Rebecca Sugar) really had me on the floor. 

The majority of the episode feels like buildup to a payoff that’s a bit too short to fully make up for the middle of the episode, which feels a bit empty and hollow, as if the characters are just stalling for time and waiting for things to pick up again in the final scene. The last scene definitely makes the episode worth watching, though. The abandoned-shopping-mall look of Beautopia looks both creepy and awe-inspiring, and while the writers go pretty much where you’d think they’d go with the nature of the glub-glubs, some deranged and genuinely freaky character designs make up for the lack of the usual clever Adventure Time twist. The big question of Susan’s humanity is answered, but in a quiet, implied way that really makes me respect the writers for their subtlety, even if they had to spend a few minutes dawdling around to display it. Ironically, while this episode answers a lot of questions from the previous Susan Strong, it raises dozens more. I’m definitely willing to spend another season in suspense, even if it calls for an episode less funnier than average.

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