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"Rattleballs" is the forty-sixth episode in the fifth season of Adventure Time. It is the one hundred and fiftieth episode overall.
Princess Bubblegum is startled when she finds Finn in her kitchen at five in the morning. Finn explains that he has rededicated his life to serving and protecting Princess Bubblegum now that his relationship with Flame Princess has ended. Bubblegum mentions that she is out of milk and Finn runs off to get it. Three weeks later, he returns with mink milk and is visibly exhausted. Upon seeing this, Princess Bubblegum orders Finn to take some time off and rest.
Finn goes to a junkyard singing a song while cutting objects with his grass sword. While playing around, Finn is almost crushed by a falling car, but is saved by a mysterious hooded swordsman. They have a duel, but Finn is outmatched and easily defeated. After the fight, Finn's opponent reveals himself to be an old gum ball robot named Rattleballs. The robot praises Finn's warrior spirit, but criticizes his swordsmanship before walking away. Finn tries to convince Rattleballs to train him and is successful after helping Rattleballs remove a gumball that had been lodged inside of his body.
When the training is over, Rattleballs shows Finn his secret technique and tells him he will be able to perfect his swordsmanship after ten more years of rigorous training and becoming a robot. Rattleballs then tells Finn about his past. He was once part of an elite robot police force created by Princess Bubblegum to replace the incompetent Banana Guards. Although he and the other gumball robots excelled at protecting the Candy Kingdom, the Princess was disturbed by their ruthlessness and love of violence.
She soon ordered the robots to gather into a factory where they were to be destroyed without their knowledge. Rattleballs, through sheer willpower, overcame his programming and escaped to the junkyard and stayed there ever since. He asks Finn not to tell the Princess because she would have him destroyed. However, Finn feels bound to his word to serve the Princess and immediately tells her everything. She, Finn, and the Banana Guards go to the junkyard and surround Rattleballs. Finn tells the robot to surrender as he believes Bubblegum will hear him out, but the Princess orders the guards to destroy him. Rattleballs easily defeats them but does not kill them, as he claims he has found peace. He then surrenders to the Princess, saying that he still serves her "one hundred percent" even if it means his destruction.
Later, Princess Bubblegum gives the Banana Guards a metal cube as proof that Rattleballs had been crushed and killed. However, it is revealed that the cube was fake and the Princess had spared the robot in secret. She sends him out into the kingdom so he can protect it from the shadows. Rattleballs accepts this duty, stating that was "marginally better than hiding in a dump," before being knighted and jumping away with a smile.
- Peppermint Butler
- Banana Guards
- Root Beer Guy
- Gumball Guards
- Gumball Guardians
- Jake is absent throughout this episode, but he is mentioned by name.
- This is the first appearance of Rattleballs.
- This episode features Finn's new Grass Sword, which he got in the previous episode, "Blade of Grass." Finn uses the grass sword to dislodge a gumball from Rattleballs' body.
- Finn fearlessly accepts Rattleballs' threat of plucking his eyes out, and then is shown to bear the extreme heat of the burning charcoal, a reference to his sadomasochistic behavior and extreme resilience to fire from "Jake Suit."
- Finn cites "getting out of his last relationship" as his reason for rededicating his life to defending princesses. This is a reference to his break-up with Flame Princess in the episode "Frost & Fire."
- Here Princess Bubblegum addresses Root Beer Guy as "Captain Root Beer Guy," a connection to the episode "Root Beer Guy."
- In Rattleballs' flashback, the Candy Kingdom isn't yet fully constructed. The banana guards are still green, though the Gumball Guardians are completed and Princess Bubblegum is not wearing her amulet, showing that these events occurred sometime after "The Vault."
- During Rattleballs' flashback, Princess Bubblegum has the same hairstyle as in the episode "You Made Me."
- Inside the Ooo Junkyard, many of the dilapidated and destroyed cars were from the 1960s and the 1970s. Two of the notable cars shown briefly were a 1971 Nissan Skyline KPGC10 2000 GT-X seen at the top of the pile of junk. Another was a Yellow 1966 Nissan Cedric Wagon toppled over the top of the pile at the next scene.
- In this episode, some visible references to Regular Show can be seen. Rattleballs is similar in appearance to Benson. He also says, "Eggscellent," which is also a Regular Show episode title.
- Rattleballs and the police force he was originally a part of seem based on the Manhunters from DC Comics. The Manhunters were the precursor to the Green Lantern Corps. but were destroyed by the Guardians of the Universe because they became too violent. The Manhunters had a red and blue color scheme, like Rattleballs, and just to drive home the similarity, the Banana Guards were green, like the Green Lanterns that replaced the Manhunters.
- The episode contains a small reference to the Walt Disney Animated Classic Hercules. The scene where Rattleballs is training Finn is similar to Phil training Hercules: both include a tough obstacle course shown with a zoom from start to finish.
- The part where Rattleballs threatens to pluck out Finn's eyes with his sword references the bluff scene in The Princess Bride, wherein Westley says he will do the same to Prince Humperdinck, adding "Your ears you keep, and I'll tell you why. So that every shriek of every child at seeing your hideousness will be yours to cherish." This is similar to how Rattleballs says, "Whenever you try to see stuff, you will think only of me."
- In the flashback during Rattleballs' story, the music that plays as the two robots are facing off in the arena is very similar to the music from the Pokémon video games during a Pokémon battle.
- This episode may be the first one that reveals what the Banana Guards look like under their peels.
- In the first few scenes of this episode, the light switch beside the fridge in Princess Bubblegum's kitchen, which she flips to turn the lights on just before being surprised by Finn, disappears in the next scene directly after Finn surprises her.
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