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Distant Land’s “Wizard City” really isn’t magical

Sorry for going MIA again, work left me exhausted. Then over Labor Day weekend, I had a freelance assignment that took me out of state for two days. I just did not have the time to make a review. And I didn’t feel like there was much to talk about…But I’m back. And I swear I’m going to do better.

It was hard to pick what to review this week, but to ease myself back into things, I went with the final Distant Lands episode, “Wizard City.” I want time to savor the new Kid Cosmic season, so that will have to wait.

The episode takes place sometime after Adventure Time – likely right around “Obsidian.” It follows a dum-dum juiced and babyfied Peppermint Butler – now called Pepper Mint or Pep – who is off to wizarding school. Pepper Mint has to start over as an inexperienced wizard – and when mysterious events begin to occur, the blame falls on him. Will his past as dark wizard Peppermint Butler come back to harm him?

It’s definitely one of the weaker episodes – it doesn’t have the same emotional resonance as Obsidian or Together Again, but at least it’s not as nonsensical as “BMO.” It’s just kind of there…The whole episode is focused on Pepper Mint and his journey of figuring out his identity, but he’s not the most interesting character in the episode.

Cadebra is.

Abracadaniel’s niece is also starting wizarding school and ends up in the same bunk as Pep – the lowly Skink dorm. She has no interest in magic though -preferring to do stage magic. However, she definitely has a gift for sorcery – and could have been one of the highest achieving students, if that’s what she wanted.

While Pep certainly has a different kind of story – as he still wants to be a dark wizard like his past self – it just doesn’t do anything for me. I don’t know if it’s because I’m not attached to his character or if this new personality just didn’t have enough time to get developed.

The conflict of the episode spurs when top-student (and bully) Spader goes missing – and Pep is the prime suspect. Like many shows that do this premise, Pep has to prove his innocence. It’s just…nothing I haven’t seen before.

The story beats are predictable. “Wizard City” is kind of dull but busy. And none of the characters really get a lot of development. I just found myself bored and just wishing the episode would get to its inevitable conclusion where Pep was found innocent, and he could escape from the shadow of his past.

I feel like Centaurworld, Kid Cosmic, and the other episodes of Distant Lands kind of spoiled me with how they subverted my expectations. Man, I hate that phrase, but they really went above and beyond what I thought they would be.

And “Wizard City” just feels like an (overly long) episode of the original series. If you’re a Peppermint Butler fan, or a die-hard fan of the franchise, then yes, this might be worth your time. But honestly, nothing was really ever going to beat “Together Againafter it aired. Hopefully, the Fionna and Cake miniseries will give me more to talk about.

Anyway, sorry for the short review, but I promise next week’s will be better.

And that’s the scoop!

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Grade: B –

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Year of Release: 2021

Length: 49 minutes

Executive Producer: Adam Muto

Writers and Storyboarders: Maya Petersen, Hanna K. Nyström, Anna Syvertsson, Aleks Sennwald, & Haewon Lee

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