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Checkmate

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"Checkmate" is the seventh part of the Adventure Time mini-series Stakes and the twelfth episode in the seventh season of Adventure Time. It is the two hundred eleventh episode overall.

Synopsis

Marceline's archenemy visits and makes an odd proposal right before battle.

Plot

The episode opens with Peppermint Butler writing a mysterious passage about the Vampire King and how he is a powerful agent of darkness, which turns out to be a diary entry about how cool he thinks the Vampire King is. A knock on the door startles him, and he opens the door to find Jake, who was sent by Princess Bubblegum to pick up a bucket. Before Jake leaves, Peppermint Butler asks Jake if he thinks the Vampire King will sign something for him. Jake calls Peppermint Butler weird and leaves, and Peppermint Butler shuts the door.

Meanwhile, in preparation for the Vampire King's arrival, Bubblegum and Marceline are exercising in the forest, while Finn is whittling a small tree with branches into a giant stake. While exercising, Marceline tells Bubblegum about her poison coma dream, and how she was old while Bubblegum was still "nice and pink." This causes Bubblegum to lose count of the "bat-jacks" they were doing, though Marceline does not mind since she had already felt done with them due to a strange feeling in her stomach. Bubblegum suggests that the feeling is fear, while Marceline guesses that it is love. Before she can guess again, Jake arrives with the picnic bucket and calls for a snack break. Marceline takes a bite of a sandwich and realizes the feeling is neither fear or love: it's hunger. As Marceline is eating, Bubblegum asks her about the Vampire King and how they are going to find him. Before Marceline can answer, the Vampire King appears in a beam of light and announces his arrival.

Everyone immediately launches into attack mode, yet the Vampire King is reluctant to fight and would rather talk. When Finn continuously tries to stake the Vampire King, he is taken hostage. The Vampire King explains that while he thirsts for blood, he is willing to change in the new era and no longer wants to be the Vampire King, effectively surrendering. While he is down, Marceline tries to stake him, but Finn prevents her by getting in between the two. She tells him to get out of the way, but he refuses and explains that it is against his code of honor to strike a surrendering enemy. Marceline says that those are rules she does not follow and continues the fight, but while her guard is down, the Vampire King grabs her and brings her into the sky.

The two duel across the sky as Marceline continues to try and stake the Vampire King. As she fights him, the Vampire King tells her to realize she is the only one alive to see a recurring pattern in society: events are bound to repeat themselves. The Vampire King criticizes Marceline for making the same mistake and, in an awesome display of power, bellows to the group that he is not afraid of change, and regardless of what happens he will not bite her, as that would make him a hypocrite. Marceline finally agrees and the two float down together. The Vampire King discusses the possibility of having his vampirism removed with Bubblegum, who agrees to do so. The group lead the Vampire King to the cabin, secretly agreeing to put Bubblegum's machine in full blast should he try to betray them.

Back at the house, Peppermint Butler waits anxiously for the group. He mentally coaches himself for asking the Vampire King to sign his diary, but when the group arrives, he freezes and becomes too scared to ask for the signature. When he musters the courage and runs down to the basement, where the curing machine is, he finds that the Vampire King is already strapped into the machine. Disappointed, Peppermint Butler looks down, but is surprised to hear the Vampire King's voice in his mind. The Vampire King telepathically tells him to look into the diary, where Peppermint Butler gleefully finds a psychic signature. Bubblegum turns the machine on, and when the process is complete, the devampirized Vampire King re-emerges as a normal lion (the cow that he had been carrying around is also cured.)

The next day, Peppermint Butler is still seemingly blinded from not having protected his eyes from the machine's blast, as his eyes are swollen and he misses the bowl that he was pouring milk into for the lion. Despite Bubblegum's concern, Peppermint Butler reassures her that his "other sight" works perfectly fine, so Bubblegum tasks him with bringing the Vampire King's vampiric essence into the deep catacombs and burying it, as it is extremely dangerous. Peppermint Butler agrees to the task and takes the bucket, but his allergies cause him to step on the lion's tail. Startled, the lion knocks the bucket out of Peppermint Butler's hands. Both Peppermint Butler and Bubblegum struggle to keep the bucket from breaking open on the floor and releasing the essence. When it lands by a sleeping Jake without harm, they sigh in relief, but Jake then unconsciously grabs the bucket and opens it, causing a large explosion and releasing a dark cloud monster – the manifestation of the Vampire King's vampiric essence – unto the lands of Ooo.

Characters

Major characters

Minor characters

Music

Trivia

Episode connections

  • While exercising, Bonnibel is counting in German; the last time she spoke German was in "Frost & Fire."
  • The song that Finn sings while making stakes is a variation of "Bacon Pancakes" from the episode "Burning Low."
  • In Bonnibel's log cabin, a framed photo of a light-skinned, dark-haired woman, in a wide-brimmed hat can be seen on top of the fireplace. The woman in the photo mostly resembles Marceline, who has worn a wide-brimmed hat in past episodes to avoid sunlight touching her skin.

Cultural references

  • When the Vampire King appears before Marceline is similar to how the Holy Grail appears before Perceval in the 1981 film Excalibur. The Vampire King further reinforces this idea by stating, "I come to you," which is how Perceval was able to find the Holy Grail.

Production notes 

  • This episode has been leaked online before its intended air date.

Errors

  • Near the end of the episode, in the wide shot of Uncle Gumbald's cabin with the grazing cow, a yellowish "ghost" of the fence that surrounds the cabin can be seen trailing off the right side of the screen.

Censorship

This episode was censored in some countries. See Censorship of Adventure Time for more information.


Gallery

Official art

Background art

Screenshots

Storyboard panels

See Full Storyboard

References

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