Another San Diego Comic Con, another Adventure Time episode. Apart from getting an exact date—September 3rd—and a trailer for the last episode, the Minecraft crossover episode “Diamonds & Lemons” also aired on Cartoon Network. It’s a sort of extra episode before we say goodbye to the show, one that also happens to exist purely as advertisement for Minecraft and its Adventure Time pack. Does this make the episode any less enjoyable? Not really.
“Diamonds & Lemons” takes not only the style but also the nature of Minecraft. We follow Finn as he fights zombies and helps Jake mine for diamonds. When he realizes that Jake only wanted diamonds so that he could throw them into lava, Finn starts searching for a new purpose for his diamond to show his brother how senseless he’s being. Marceline and Princess Bubblegum are building a windmill when Finn meets them and PB makes him a firework using the diamond. She’s “positive Jake will appreciate it for both its fleeting sensation of beauty and its false sense of purpose.” PB, always so eloquent.
Finn also encounters Lemongrab and together with PB helps him grow a lemon tree that turns into an apple tree in the end. He gets a pumpkin pie from Tree Trunks and a ride from Mr. Pig, and can I just say, both characters look hilariously a lot like their usual designs. Lumpy Space Princess helps him get rid of an Enderman and Ice King’s prank turns back against him. Finn does eventually end up getting back to Jake and presenting the firework, but he concludes that:
Beauty is in the hard work itself and the—oftentimes false—sense of purpose we feel when doing it. It’s a fleeting sensation that drives us to repeat our actions in order to capture it again.
So there was that.
All in all, “Diamonds & Lemons” is not too dissimilar from a typical AT episode: it’s fun, it has wacky characters, and a surprisingly deep moment. What makes it stand out is the unique art style and the way elements of Minecraft are incorporated into the Land of Ooo. Both were done remarkably well; the art style is not completely pixelated like the intro but is a sort of fusion between AT’s regular style and Minecraft’s. As for the Minecraft elements, well, I can’t claim to know much about the game and its mechanics. Despite this lack of understanding, I recognized the borrowed elements and even appreciated them at places, like with how certain shots were from Finn’s and Lemongrab’s perspectives with their inventories and how LSP defeated the Enderman with the power of stubbornness.
When I first heard that there would be a Minecraft crossover episode, my first concern was that I knew there were only a limited amount of episodes left and I didn’t want this to “waste” one of those slots. As it turns out, “Diamonds & Lemons” was an extra episode on top of the normal season 10 ones.
As an extra, it works well. It’s more Adventure Time and I was never going to say no to that, unless it went out of its way to promote Minecraft instead of being true to the show’s spirit. That didn’t happen, fortunately. Instead we got an honest promotion and a tasteful combination. Was it anything special? I’d imagine that if one loves both then this makes for a great experience, but even if you only like Adventure Time it’s still nice to get an extra 10 minutes of your favorite characters before their last adventure.
The timing of this episode is somewhat weird and yet very clever. Originally, there were rumors that “Diamonds & Lemons” would come out after the finale, which would technically make it the last AT episode. That didn’t end up happening and instead we have it as a break before the final battle begins. This placement does make me view the episode in a slightly more positive light than I think I would’ve had otherwise. With only a limited amount of AT left, even a blatant promotional episode is more appreciated simply for being any kind of content. It was good content at that; not great, but good.
With its interesting art style and clever uses of Minecraft elements, “Diamond & Lemons” manages to stay true to Adventure Time’s essence. It’s short, it’s fun, and it’s just about enough to get fans through the summer and keep the hype up until September. Plus, I’m never gonna say no to extra Marceline and Bubblegum scenes.