So, I just finished watching tonight's Adventure Time episode "Betty." THAT HAPPENED. Totally mathematical spoilers incoming.
Jeez, that was a lot of stuff to process. Let's do a little recap of the episode, shall we? So, the episode opens in Wizard City with the wizards involved with some sort of mysterious ritual which has been going on in the background for, like, ever, finally performing the ritual... Summoning an ancient evil called Bella Noche.
So the summoning ritual takes place right as Ice King shows up to try and be included in the wizard stuff happening, and Bella Noche is freed, only to reveal itself as a creature of anti-magic, who absorbs (or negates?) all the magic in the area... Including the Ice King's crown.
As a result...
Yeah, Simon is totally back. So Simon escapes Bella Noche as he begins destroying Wizard City, and heads back to the Ice Kingdom via a magic carpet he stole from Marceline's Ex, Ash. Once he gets back to the Ice Kingdom, he not only reveals another room behind the room of repressed memories (or whatever Ice King called it back in "I Remember You") but calls Marceline up and tells her to bring Hambo.
We get a little bit of flashback filling in any new viewers about the Simon and Marcy dynamic, and then we get treated to Marceline (who was wearing the very same outfit she wore as a child) and Finn and Jake (who do nothing in this episode, not sure why they're even here) travelling to a now melting Ice Kingdom, where we finally get a heartwarming reunion between Simon and Marcy.
...Which is then interrupted by the information that SIMON IS DYING. YEAH.
Luckily, it turns out that Simon just happens to have created a time machine which he can use (by consuming Hambo, which provides a link to the past) to create a portal to say one last goodbye, and apologize to Betty.
...And then Betty jumps through the time portal, into the land of Ooo. And then Simon collapses. Betty decides that the only course of action is to destroy Bella Noche, fix the crown, and return Simon to being the Ice King until she can find a method to return him to normal and keep him alive. She pulls him onto the carpet, much to his protestations, and flies all the way back to Bella Noche. (Notice how I didn't mention Finn and Jake doing anything this episode? That's because they do nothing this episode.)
...And then she manages to do what no one else could do, jumps right on into the protective shell Bella Noche has going on, punches out the anti-wizard inside.
The whole thing explodes restoring the magic to everyone in Wizard City, and healing Simon... As the Ice King.
The episode ends with Ice King talking to (a kidnapped) Muscle Princess, telling her that the girl of his dreams saved him during his blackout day... Only to be lost as a casualty of Bella Noche's destruction.
AND THEN WE ZOOM OUT AND BETTY IS TOTALLY STILL ALIVE AND SHE FLIES OFF!
...And all of that (plus a bunch of jokes which I didn't even mention, including a subplot involving Death following Simon) happened in 11 minutes.
Look, I really like Adventure Time, I've really come around on it, and they do some absolutely excellent work within the (admittedly difficult) 11 minute format. I can name half a dozen episodes which work extremely well within that restrained time, including the past two Simon episodes, "I Remember You," and "Simon and Marcy," as well as the excellent recent episode "Blade of Grass."
Unfortunately... This just isn't an example of that. This really should have been decompressed into multiple episodes, even if they took up an entire season (as Adventure Time often does).
As it stands... It's just too much stuff packed into the format, and it feels like a lot of things don't get the gravity they should. Simon and Marceline being reunited really should have been its own episode, and as it is, the way they just glaze over what should be the most powerful reunion the show has ever had really bothered me. Marceline is really just a supporting character in this episode, and that just isn't right.
I know Adventure Time rarely does two parters (although Holly Jolly Secrets Pt. 1&2, Incendium/Hot to the Touch, and The Lich/Finn the Human/Jake the Dog has proved they aren't opposed to the idea), but even if this were stretched over multiple episodes in a season, and had Simon just in the show in the background in some capacity, that would have been better.
The Adventure Time fan in me really loved seeing a lot of the stuff which happens in this episode, and Betty being introduced as a real agent in the story is really exciting, but I felt burned by the lack of focus, and the way the episode simply has to keep moving because of the amount of content packed into it.
Still, even with that complaint, this was a really fun episode as a fan of the series. We got to see a lot of stuff from previous episodes finally pay off, and it's left us with some interesting places to go in the future. I'm really excited to see where they eventually take this all.
(Screengrabs taken from the Adventure Time wiki.)