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Adventure Time – “What Was Missing” Recap

by on September 26, 2011

A mischievous space-bending Door Lord zips into the lives of the main characters as he steals items important to them. Finn, Jake, Beemo, Princess Bubblegum, and Marceline team up to pursue the thief and get their stolen valuables back, but their progress is halted by an enchanted door that requests a song. As Finn tries to deduce what was missing from their previous attempts to open the door, Bubblegum and Marceline’s opposing worldviews threaten to disintegrate the gang. 

One of the best things about Adventure Time is the music. Casey James Basichis and Tim Kiefer constantly pump out artful and inventive background scores for each episode, and storyboarder Rebecca Sugar often slips in great musical numbers. Sugar says this musical episode took a lot out of her, and I would say all the extra effort was definitely worth it. Just like in the episodes “Freak City” and “It Came from the Nightosphere”, the songs are not only catchy, but vital to the storyline and heartfelt. The songs are also aided by talented voice actors with natural singing chops, especially Olivia Olson, whose character Marceline delivers one of the best Adventure Time songs yet near the beginning of the episode.
Jeremy Shada also does a good job as Finn with the last song of the episode. It’s not my favorite Finn song, but it’s nice to see the writers letting Shada sing more without relying on Auto-Tune effects as a crutch. The two songettes in between don’t really make as much of an impression as the two longer bookend songs, but that might be due to their short lengths. Finn’s noodle song seemed like a bit of filler that didn’t really go anywhere, and while Bubblegum’s blueprint song was interesting, it felt like it was cut too short. 

One thing I like about this show is its willingness to flesh out the chemistry between its characters, and while I wish there were more episodes beforehand to build up the fractured relation between PB and Marceline, the episode does a good enough job at cluing the audience into what is inferred to be a long-established relationship. Rebecca Sugar’s use of subtle expression also increases the amount of characterization in the episode. But while I liked both the character development and the musical numbers, I think the actual humor is what was missing from this outing. Not to say this wasn’t a good episode – on the contrary, it was a fascinating watch – but it’s more of a fascination from the pleasant music and interesting character chemistry than belly laughs. It’s a great episode for those looking for something deeper than just wacky visual gags and snappy dialogue, but I wouldn’t show this one to a newbie, or someone looking for a quick and easy laugh.

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