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"King Worm" is the eighteenth episode in the fourth season of Adventure Time. It is the ninety-sixth episode overall.
The episode starts with Finn waking up to Princess Bubblegum calling him her king and husband. Noticeably, the "ears" on Finn's hat are longer than usual. Finn realizes he is on the Candy Throne wearing a crown and is being watched by a group of Banana Guards, who chant, "Long live the king!" His crown floats to the ceiling, and when he looks at the group of Banana Guards again, they are upside-down except for their faces. He looks at Princess Bubblegum's shoulder and sees the King Worm. Finn thinks he recognizes the worm, who jumped out a window. Princess Bubblegum's face appears on the back of her head, and she whispers to Peppermint Butler, "He doesn't know he's dreaming." Finn is confused, and the scene changes.
Finn is sitting in a forest with Flame Princess, who calls him "honey" and tells him to eat his soup. He does not respond, so Flame Princess angrily yells for him to "eat it now!" He eats some of it and closes his eyes, and the room morphs to a room like one in the Tree Fort. Flame Princess's eyes turn into mouths for a brief moment, and she soon changes into Peppermint Butler. Holding the King Worm, Peppermint Butler then grows a second head and explains that Finn is trapped in a dream. His face then becomes blurry and his hand turns into worm-like creature who explains to Finn that he needs to find the worm and break it. Finn points out that Peppermint Butler is holding the worm, but it turns into a spoon. Phil pops up behind Peppermint Butler from his small pants, and Peppermint Butler throws the spoon at Finn.
Finn notices Jake in another room through a window, but the room appears to be upside down. Jake is wrapping a gift with Lady Rainicorn, who has two mouths and is speaking English in a very deep voice. One of her mouths spits out tape that Jake uses for the gift. Lady Rainicorn then tells Jake to play his viola, and he does. A music note comes out, then turns into the worm. Finn sees the worm escaping through a small hole in the wall and jumps in the room after it. He and Jake start to talk, and they realize that they are in a linked dream with one another. Jake states that he does not think Lady Rainicorn is real, and they decide to follow the worm through the hole, which is a problem because the hole is too small.
Jake explains that because it is a dream, Finn can do whatever he wants. He then imagines a sword capable of blasting a hole in the wall and is happy with himself for not dreaming up weird stuff. The sword then turns into a shark and Finn freaks out. Jake tells him that he needs to be careful, because if he fills the world with his subconscious fears, it will fall apart. Jake tells him to just shrink down, and the two of them go through the worm's hole.
They wind up in a field with Ice King running towards them. Ice King calls them Fionna and Cake and tells them that he has really made a mistake. Finn and Jake are confused until two monsters made up of a bunch of penguins show up. Finn and Jake run away until they find their dad, Joshua, who is not responding to anything they say. Joshua starts knitting, and eventually his knitting turns into the King Worm. King Worm then bolts to a nearby mountain, and Finn imagines that he and Jake have gigantic legs. Jake complains that it is boring for him as it is his normal power, so Finn imagines that he has a bird instead of legs. As they chase after King Worm, it starts raining Lumpy Space Princesses. When they reach the top, they find a frozen King Worm. They grab a nearby rock that appeared from nowhere, break the worm, and the dream fades away.
Finn and Jake "wake up" in their room and start asking one another if they're okay, and they celebrate that they did it. (Notably, the "ears" on Finn's hat are still longer than usual.) Finn then notices a mirror wavering in the background, and upon closer inspection realizes his reflection is Farmworld Finn. He says that he's pretty sure that it was not normal. Jake then tells him that it is fine, but when he turns, his nose is huge. Finn then points at a full mug that's falling to the floor, breaking, and then reversing back to its initial state repeatedly. Finn realizes that Jake pinched him earlier, but he never pinched Jake back. He starts trying to pinch him, but Jake backs off, telling him that everything is fine. When Finn finally catches and pinches Jake, his skin melts off, and Finn realizes for sure that he is still dreaming.
King Worm then rises from the melted Jake and says that Finn cannot defeat him. He proclaims that he will keep Finn in the dreamscape until he has consumed all of his "life energy." Finn yells that he uses that and starts to attack, but he realizes something is missing and gets depressed. He sadly states that he will be stuck in the dreamscape forever, revealing a significant fear. The ceiling cracks and a chunk falls on King Worm's head. He tells Finn to "knock it off" which causes Finn to remember what Jake said about fears breaking down dreamscapes.
Finn concentrates on his deepest fears, and saltwater begins to pour from his navel and fill up the room. The Lich then crawls out of his bellybutton, and Finn freaks out. The clearly deteriorating worm tells him to calm down, to which he replies, "Never!" Princess Bubblegum comes out of his stomach next. Finn starts to feel relieved until she tells him to quiet down because she is having coffee with The Lich and that he would not understand because he is "too young." This freaks him out even more and causes more damage to the worm. He then goes into a crib and remembers Ghost Lady (Shoko) and continues to be horrified as the worm deteriorates to near nothing. He asks the King Worm to stop one final time, but the worm claims he does not know what Finn is talking about. Finn strains and a clown pops out of his navel. The dream breaks as the worm is shriveling up even more so, and Finn is with Jake in his living room with the shriveled King Worm and his minions; the minions suddenly explode. Finn then orders the worm to get out of his house in a manly voice, and the worm meekly complies. Finn pinches Jake to be sure he is awake. Jake crosses his arms and walks away, saying, "Come on!" Finn replies that he just did so to check, and the episode ends.
- Princess Bubblegum
- Peppermint Butler
- Shark Sword
- Ice King
- Ice Penguin Monsters
- Flame Princess
- Shoko (as a ghost)
- Lady Rainicorn
- The Lich
- Banana Guards
- Lumpy Space Princesses
- Fear Feaster
- Jake (Dream Jake)
- Farmworld Finn (cameo)
- The sword that Finn conjures in his dream has the same appearance as the sword from the Adventure Time logo, except with minor color differences. The sword stuck on the ground near the skulls seen at the end of the opening theme song also looks like it.
- This is the first episode Flame Princess is in that does not have a fire related title.
- The symbols used below the promo art are examples of optical illusions.
- This is the first episode where Finn calls Peppermint Butler "Pep But."
- Almost all of the major characters are seen in this episode, the only major character not seen is Marceline.
- Lady Rainicorn speaks English in this episode.
- The scarf that Joshua knits looks similar to the scarf that Tree Trunks knitted in Legends of Ooo.
- When Finn chases after King Worm in the room with Lady and Jake, you can see Finn's echo run backwards in the mirror.
- The ambient background music heard when Finn sees his alternate form in the mirror is the same ambient music heard throughout Farmworld in the episodes "Finn the Human" and "Jake the Dog."
- This is the first time Farmworld Finn is seen (seen in the mirror).
- The mushroom cloud that comes out of Princess Bubblegum's cup has been seen to come from mushroom bomb and the Lich's Well of Power.
- The Shark Sword was seen again in Break the Worm, a playable game on the Cartoon Network website.
- Throughout the dream, the ear in Finn's hat are longer than usual. They return back to normal when he wakes up.
- There is a PHIL FACE in the title card.
- In the Korean dub of this episode, Lady Rainicorn sounds normally and she still speaks Korean.
- The king worm had hypnotised Finn and Jake in the end scene of "Evicted!". In this episode, when the dream is broken, the background and character positions are similar in both chapters.
- Finn's fears are all things that have been mentioned in past episodes:
- Fear Feaster and the Ocean from "Ocean of Fear."
- The Lich from "Mortal Folly."
- Princess Bubblegum saying that Finn is "too young" from the song My Best Friends in the World in "What Was Missing." And Jake telling Finn that he is "too young" for Princess Bubblegum multiple times in the series.
- Shoko's ghost from "The Creeps."
- Clowns, such as in "Another Way."
- Likewise, Finn's dream seems to foreshadow future events:
- When Finn sees himself in the mirror, his reflection has a pointy nose, a mechanical arm, and bigger eyes. This reflection is Finn's alternate universe self in the final scene of "The Lich," almost all of "Finn the Human" and some of "Jake the Dog."
- The Lich's appearance in the dream foreshadows his return in the season finale.
- The Gunter monster foreshadows the events of "Reign of Gunters."
- Finn turning his and Jake's feet big is dreamed again by Jake in "The Lich," in which he got big feet.
- Ice King refers to Finn and Jake as Fionna and Cake, without knowing the difference. The gender-swapped counterparts first appear—in Ice King's imagination—in the eponymous season 3 episode, and return in season 5's "Bad Little Boy."
- Baby Finn from "Memories of Boom Boom Mountain" and "Memory of a Memory" appears again.
- The shape of Lady Rainicorn's mouth is very similar to the design from the animated short.
- When Finn tries to pinch Jake, the title song from "His Hero" plays.
- Jake's bird feet are like the ones Jake gets from the power of the wand in the episode "The Wand."
- The hole that Finn and Jake travel through is literally a "wormhole" leading into another dream universe, foreshadowing the multiverse theory explained in the episode "The Lich."
- The first phrase "Long live the king" and Finn wearing a crown might foreshadow when Farmworld Finn wears the Ice King's crown in "Finn the Human."
- Jake is playing his viola that he taped back together after he broke it in "What Was Missing."
- Lady Rainicorn speaking English in a very deep voice relates to the old man voice the Universal translator device gave her in "My Two Favorite People."
- Princess Bubblegum still has her new haircut from "Burning Low."
- After Princess Bubblegum said that she was having coffee with the Lich, she said "You're Too Young," which was the title of a Season 3 episode.
- When she says that, a green mushroom cloud appears from her cup. That cloud is exactly the same as the one in "Mortal Folly".
- The music in the long preview was used in the "Burning Low" trailer.
- Finn's extended ears appear again in "A Glitch is a Glitch," a season 5 episode.
- All his fears seem to come from his belly button, just like the Fear Feaster in "Ocean of Fear."
- Some of the scenes were inspired by Youtube Poops.
- A possible one is when Finn says, "The worm!" and a blue colored Finn appears out of nowhere, repeating in a squeaky voice, "The worm!"
- The scene where Finn's head turned into a shape for a while after going into a hole is a reference to Tom and Jerry.
- The way Finn and Jake jump resembles the animation of Super Mario Bros. 3.
- When Phil appears he says, "Satori," which is a term used to define a deep meditative state in which an individual becomes enlightened.
- This episode refers to lucid dreaming, since Finn knows he is dreaming.
- The idea of King Worm using Finn's dreams and sucking his life energy is inspired by the Mara, a lady from Germanic Folklore that turns dreams into nightmares and drains life energy.
- Before it is revealed that Finn is dreaming, the unusual size of the ears on his hat and the large crown similar to Ice King's he is wearing that later goes floating towards the roof hint at it; not to mention Princess Bubblegum calling him 'my king' and 'husband'. Also, when Finn looks at the Banana Guards for the second time now they are upside down.
- This is also true of Finn when he believes he has woken up with Jake, as the ears on his hat are still larger than normal. Only when he actually wakes up do they return to regular size.
- It would seem by the similarities between the end scene from this episode and the one from "Evicted!" that this episode's events are the dreams caused by the King Worm on that day.
- Several things in the dream hadn't been known to Finn yet at the time of "Evicted!" (his fear of the ocean, Shoko, Flame Princess, etc.). This means that the events are not the same, and King Worm hypnotized them a second time.
- The episode was originally titled "Worm King."
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