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We Finally Understand The Ending Of Adventure Time

Straight from the brilliant mind of Pendleton Ward, Adventure Time debuted on Cartoon Network on April 5, 2010. It took viewers through the colorful yet mildly dangerous Land of Ooo, and the many exciting journeys that Finn the Human (Jeremy Shada) and Jake the Dog (John DiMaggio) found themselves on. It initially took on an episodic format that didn't concern itself too heavily with continuity or long-term arcs. However, by the end of its tenure, it had grown into a young adult drama, tackling real-world issues and fleshing out the history behind the protagonists' wacky adventures.

As is the case with most television shows, the fun couldn't last forever. Fans said goodbye to Adventure Time in 2018, with the 16-episode season 10 (the finale, "Come Along With Me" was a four-part episode) marking the program's grand conclusion. It was an emotional farewell, to say the least, sending the iconic series out with a time jump, a montage, and no shortage of Easter eggs to boot. At the same time, everyone's favorite characters made it to the final chapter of their respective stories, for better or worse. But, not everything was tied up in a perfect bow, leaving viewers with plenty more questions to ponder. 

Nearly three years removed from its finale, we finally have a solid handle on how Adventure Time wrapped up.

Narrowly averting war

"Come Along With Me," focuses largely on the conflict known as the Gum War. The culmination of rising tensions between Princess Bubblegum (Hynden Walch) of the Candy Kingdom and her Uncle Gumbald (Fred Melamed) of Gumbaldia, the battle had the potential to turn deadly very quickly. Thankfully, the timely intervention of Jake, Finn, and a healthy serving of nightmare juice prevented such a gruesome outcome — sending themselves, PB, Gumbald, and Finn's grass doppelgänger, Fern (Hayden Ezzy), into a hallucinatory state to work out their differences.

In their trance, Princess Bubblegum and Gumbald clash in the Dream Realm, but they eventually put their feud to bed. She apologizes for turning him into the happy-go-lucky Punch Bowl using Dum Dum Juice, and for not allowing him to further his vision for the Candy Kingdom. In response, he calls off his attack on the Candy Kingdom's forces. Meanwhile, Fern and Finn go head-to-head, but then team up to face the Grass Demon that has warped Fern's mind. Allies once again, they defeat the entity together and end their rivalry once and for all.

Now awakened from their slumber, Bubblegum and Gumbald prepare to end their war. Conniving as ever, it's revealed that Gumbald had a vial of Dum Dum Juice on hand to turn his niece into a hapless candy person. Luckily, Aunt Lolly (Maria Bamford) steps in and uses the serum to turn Gumbald back into Punch Bowl. In his stead, she legitimately calls for a truce with PB and the Candy Kingdom. Simultaneously, Fern dies without the Grass Demon to keep him alive, leaving behind a seed in the shape of the Finn Sword.

Betty saves Ooo and accomplishes her goal

Princess Bubblegum and Aunt Lolly reached a peaceful resolution, but their situation took a dire turn moments later. Thanks to the efforts of Normal Man (Tom Kenny), Maja (Jill Talley) and Betty Grof (Felicia Day), the interdimensional being known as GOLB arrived on the battlefield and began to wreak havoc across the land. This leads all of the present characters to band together in hopes of stopping the creature, at first failing miserably. Once Bubblegum learns that GOLB's weakness is harmony, she convinces everyone to join BMO (Niki Hyun Yang) in singing "Time Adventure" to combat it.

In the confusion, Betty, Ice King (Tom Kenny), and Finn end up inside GOLB and are broken down into their essential forms. This means that Ice King reverted to his Simon Petrikov persona and Betty loses her magic, leaving the trio helpless to escape digestion. As the walls closed in and their doom inched nearer, Betty conjured up a plan to escape just in the nick of time. With their host weakened by the musical ensemble outside, she used the Ice Crown to wish that her love, Simon, was protected no matter what. Thus, she fuses with GOLB and departs into the cosmos. 

This decision, while heartbreaking to witness, ultimately completes Betty's longtime mission of keeping Simon safe. In the episode "Betty," she arrives in a portal from the past and learns the painful truth that Simon will soon die without the Ice Crown prolonging his existence. From that point on, she made it her goal to find a way to keep him alive without subjecting him to his Ice King form. It took plenty of trial and error, but she finally cracked the case, even though it meant not being able to see her beloved Simon ever again.

Happy endings all around

With GOLB defeated and Gumbald reduced to his Punch Bowl form, all is calm in the Land of Ooo. Finn and Jake lay in a field of grass near the Music Hole (Rebecca Sugar), reminiscing over the past conflict. They then end up on the topic of music, prompting the sentient crater to show the boys her latest song, which turned out to be Adventure Time's theme song, "Come Along With Me." As the famous track plays, viewers are treated to a montage that explains what became of the program's many side characters.

Some of the more relevant updates include Lumpy Space Princess (Pendleton Ward) being crowned queen of Lumpy Space and Sweet P (Ethan Maher) graduating from school with Tree Trunks (Polly Lou Livingston) and Mr. Pig (Ron Lynch) cheering him on. Also, Gunter the penguin (Tom Kenny) — now in his Ice Thing form — weds Turtle Princess (Steve Little), Simon embarks on a journey to find Betty, and Flame Princess (Jessica DiCicco) forms a rap duo with Neptr (Andy Milonakis). Not to mention, Princess Bubblegum and Marceline (Olivia Olson) rekindle their lost love after some time apart.

Perhaps the most important occurrence of them all is the return of humankind to Ooo, led by Finn's AI mother, Minerva (Sharon Horgan). So begins a new era in the Adventure Time chronology, one full of happy endings, sunnier days, and a whole lot less evil to contend with.

New heroes for a new age

Speaking of new beginnings, one cannot discuss the end of Adventure Time without mentioning its intriguing time jump. "Come Along With Me" kicks off roughly 1,000 years past the events of the Gum War, giving fans a glimpse at how the world has changed. A Prize Ball Guardian roams the land, Sweet P now dons large horns and a thick beard, and Finn the human is no more. Novice adventurers Beth (Willow Smith) and Shermy (Sean Giambrone) discover his robot arm, leading them to the King of Ooo for answers about its origins.

As it turns out, a still-functioning BMO has taken on this royal mantle and goes on to tell his visitors about Finn and the Gum War. Having learned about Fern's demise during the conflict, Beth and Shermy travel to the tree that grew from his remains. In the episode's closing moments, the latter takes up the Finn Sword, and the two strike a pose similar to the one that Finn and Jake assumed during Adventure Time's title sequence. 

A recurring theme throughout the show is that of rebirth and the cyclical nature of the universe. In this instance, it's implied that Shermy is simply Finn in another form, just as Finn was a loose reincarnation of Shoko (Isabelle Fuhrman). Therefore, it's safe to assume that Beth and Shermy's adventures will mirror those of their predecessors, as is the way of their world. Although, whether or not we'll get to see those tales unfold on the small screen in the form of a sequel series remains a mystery.

Questions continue to linger

As mentioned, Adventure Time seemingly finished up quite nicely. Most of its heroes saw a pleasant, fitting ending to their story, and the Land of Ooo apparently rid itself of its biggest threats. Even still, with the introduction of Beth and Shermy coming via a time jump, the events of the meantime are lacking any substantial explanation. Does Simon ever find Betty, and if so, can he communicate with her now that she has combined with GOLB? Do Marceline and Princess Bubblegum stay together this time, or will they face more bumps in the road? Arguably the biggest question of the bunch is what became of Finn and Jake?

Some of the answers to these queries will likely come courtesy of the HBO Max limited series, Adventure Time: Distant Lands. At the time of this writing, two of the four installments have aired, those being "BMO" and "Obsidian." The first was a prequel that showed how the titular robot came to meet Finn and Jake when they were kids, while the second took place long after the events of "Come Along With Me." Still an item, Princess Bubblegum, and Marceline help defend the Glass Kingdom from the dangerous being known as Larvo. 

Once their mission is accomplished, an adult Finn — sans-robot arm — arrives alone, sporting a bushy beard and a chest tattoo bearing Jake's likeness, leading many to speculate that the shapeshifting dog is indeed deceased. Two more Distant Lands specials are on the way, those being "Wizard City" and the Finn and Jake-centric "Together Again," where we'll see the duo's biggest adventure yet after some time away from one another. It stands to reason that these extended episodes will provide plenty more insight, and put a proper punctuation mark on the Adventure Time story.