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"Little Brother" is the eleventh episode in the sixth season of Adventure Time. It is the one hundred and sixty-seventh episode overall.
Shelby accidentally gains a new brother, who he inspires to become a great hero.
The episode begins with the night view of tree fort. The view goes inside the tree fort, and Jake is seen to be starting a metronome. He starts this and follows its oscillation to play his viola perfectly. As soon as he starts to play, someone is heard shouting inside his viola which startles him. As he sees inside, there seems to be a bug party going inside his viola, and it's also seen that Shelby is hosting it. Everyone is having fun, and Shelby asks a Dancing Bug to "shake it." At first he was starting to disagree, but then he agrees and starts to dance, which makes everyone awe-struck. Everyone gathers round the bug, and a scorpion starts to compliment it by saying it was the best bug in this party. This makes Shelby jealous, and he says he can do it. The scorpion asks what will he do, to which he replies he will do parkour. He performs his parkour by jumping on a pole, then on the roof, but he is pulled down because he could not hold for long. When he fell, he says that he is quite hurt, and finds that his lower part of body is severed by a string in mid-air when he fell.
Shelby falls unconscious and the scene changes to him waking after a long time. He is astonished as his lower part starts to move. Shelby asks who he is, to which the creature could only blow a rasp. Shelby finds a note in his lap, which explains that the severing of his lower part meant that he has a new brother now, and his name was decided to be Butty Butterson. But Shelby says that he will call his brother Kent for short.
Outside the viola, Jake is seen to be sleeping soundly, and Shelby calls out to him. He wakes up and is confused to see Shelby's severed butt. Shelby explains that since his lower part got severed he now has a little brother whom he will call Kent. Then Kent speaks his first words, "I'm Kent," and this startles Shelby. Jake is surprised that he could chop off a worm to get two, saying he thought it was a myth. Shelby says myth is his power. He then asks Jake how to raise a brother. Jake says to give him something sharp to fight off bad guys and says sometimes he might also have to help, referring to his and Finn's adventures. Shelby agrees and starts to go. Kent starts to leave, but before he goes, he tells Jake that someday, Jake will be his food.
After this Shelby offers Kent a sword, and Kent is happy with it. He sprouts two arms and picks the sword. This surprises Shelby, who asks how he did it, to which Kent says he does not know. Shelby then explains that since he is the little brother, he should fight off bad guys... or girls. After this he sends him away. This time, Kent sprouts legs and runs away. Shelby tries to sprout legs like him but cannot. Kent is then seen to be walking beneath the tree fort and as he walks, he comes across a rat wearing a crown who is chewing off the root of the tree fort. He starts to go after the rat with his sword, because he was a bad guy, and startles the rat. The rat runs away in a nearby hole and Kent follows it. Kent says it to get back and but it runs away into dark. Kent is suddenly confronted by some pair of white eyes, and a big pair of red eyes, which flashes and the scene changes.
Kent is bruised and sleeping in a bed. A Dewdrop creature greets him when he regains consciousness. Kent is startled and asks who he is, but it only laughs. Kent asks where he is, and another creature comes in. The new one is happy and offers him a dewdrop do drink, which makes Kent free from his bruises. The one who healed Kent introduces itself as Leaf Beard. He then explains that the Rat King has made near the roots of the tree, at which they currently reside. He asks him to be careful. Kent is confused and says that he doesn't know what or who a Rat King is. Leaf Beard then comes to the conclusion that Kent is not from the roots of the tree fort. Leaf Beard tells that Rat King is the one who is destroying their habitat, which is the tree's roots. Kent comes to conclusion that the Rat King is bad. He asks for his sword, but Leaf Beard says it was broken to shards when they found him. He asks Leaf Beard where he can find a new sword, and the creature who greeted Kent first introduced herself as the blacksmith, and only some certain ingredients are needed for a new sword. She sends Kent to bring these.
The first ingredient is to find an unbreakable ore. She tells Kent to follow the sound of the singing crystal to find it. Kent is going on his journey and when he reaches a mouse inside a emerald-type force field, who greets him. Kent asks for the unbreakable ore. The mouse instead offers him a lot of emeralds, and that he could be rich with it for life, but Kent refuses, and says that he's good. The mouse is impressed, telling that wealth cannot tempt him so he gives him the ore, which turns out to be a bottle cap. He continues with his journey, when suddenly a sword almost hits him.
The sword came from a swordsman mouse. Kent asks whether he has the mystic earth. The mouse tells him to consider marrying one of his daughters. Kent refuses it as he does not care about being a good husband or wife, and says that all he cares about is fighting bad guys. The mouse tells he has passed his test and offers him the mystic earth.
The third item is the sacred flame. He continues and is greeted by a ninja mouse. He tells him to consider drinking some sap, which he produces from breaking a wall nearby, which will make him immortal. Kent refuses and says that he was born earlier that day and thus doesn't have a sense of mortality. The ninja then offers him the sacred flame, which is a firefly. With these, Kent returns, and the blacksmith makes him a perfect sword. He happily leaves, but on his way out, he spies the Rat King. He chases it to its lair. The Rat King then speaks to him, asking why he is here. Kent replies he is here to fight him. He goes through the body of his enemy, which turns out to be a body made of many rats. The Rat King says that he should join him and he will become a king, and live like a god. Kent refuses and goes to kill it by getting near its head.
He then takes his sword and severs the teeth of the rat. The scene changes to Shelby watching Finn and Jake being happy. Shelby starts to sing about his brother. By and by, Kent's voice comes and they both start to sing at same time. After this, Shelby and Kent become happy, but then Shelby writes about how his brother, due to his ingestion of the dewdrop of the underworld, needs to return there. Maybe he was going for the offers the mice made, but he just knew that due to the break of the Rat King's curse, the willow tree will bloom for the first time. The scene changes to the willow tree, which is bloomed with pink blossoms and the episode ends.
- Mouse Wizard
- Mouse Knight
- Mouse Thief
- Finn (cameo)
- Pincer Beetle
- Leaf Beard
- Shelby's brother is based on the mistaken belief that earthworms can have two living segments when split in two. In actuality, while one half might recover, you will not produce two separate earthworms in this way. Jake even points out in the episode that this is not supposed to be possible.
- This episode is Finn's shortest appearance in the series by far.
- Kent can walk, despite being a worm, but Shelby cannot.
- This is the first time the Tree Fort has been seen in bloom.
- The concept of rats being ruled by a rat king inside the treehouse was first seen in a Fionna and Cake comic by Natasha Allegri.
- Finn was going to speak in this episode, but he never made a role for unknown reasons.
- This episode reveals that Jake's Viola is no longer taped together.
- Kent somewhat resembles a Scientific Parasite.
- The Pincer Beetle's voice is much deeper than when he was first introduced.
- According to episode storyboarder Madeline Flores, the premise for this episode came about when Pendleton Ward was at a party and a guest accidentally cut off the tip of their own finger, prompting them to go, "I'm so dumb."
- Kent's return to the underground due to partaking the dew is similar to the myth of Persephone, who must return to Hades during the winter due to eating three or four pomegranate seeds from the underworld.
- This episode closely follows the structure of a Monomyth.
- The Rat King concept was possibly based on a background character in Alan Moore's The Ballad of Halo Jones.
- The Sacred Flame might be a reference to the Castlevania and/or Zelda series
- A rat king is where a bunch of rats are intertwined by their tails. A modern legend has it believed that some thought a rat king shared a single, collective intelligence.
- The making of the sword can be a reference to The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap where the hero must rebuild a broken sword by finding various elements. Further references to this game include the tiny, bug/Minish-sized world where leaves are pillows and blankets and mushrooms serve as furniture.
- The three rats that appear in the episode that give Kent the elements to make the sword are based off of the three main classes in Roleplaying games (the first one being a mage, wizard, etc. the second one being a knight, paladin, etc. and the last one being a ninja, assassin, etc.)
- The Mouse King is the chief antagonist in The Nutcracker, which is most famous as a ballet by Pyotr Tchaikovsky
- The King Rat as a collective intelligence is the also the main antagonist in the Terry Pratchett book, The Amazing Maurice and his Educated Rodents.
- Rats chewing at the roots of the tree fort is reminiscent the Norse legend of Yggdrasil, the world tree that sustains all life on earth. Its roots are being eaten by either by countless snakes or the single wyrm (dragon) Níðhöggr, in order to bring about Ragnarok.
- Leaf Beard, the dew drop he gives Kent and his outrage at the destruction of the tree is a reference to The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, when TreeBeard finds two of the hobbits (Merry and Pippin) in the forest and gives them the food of the Ents (water that recovers them and makes them grow taller).
- Pincer Beetle is seen doing the dance move Jake taught him in "Power Animal."
- He is also dancing to the same song.
- The premise of this episode is similar to that of the scrapped episode "Brothers in Insomnia," the only change being Shelby and his brother being the main focus of the episode instead of Finn and Jake.
- This is the first episode boarded by Madeleine Flores.
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