The eleventh episode of Salad Fingers, “Glass Brother,” is everything fans of the old series could have hoped for.
My first memories of Salad Fingers, the British animated series created by David Firth, are oddly pleasant ones. Sometime in 2004, I remember sitting down at the family computer with my older brother and best friend. We typed “Newgrounds” into the Google search bar and soon discovered one of the most bizarre cartoons we had ever seen in our lives. We were mesmerized.
Something about the protagonist’s stilted way of speaking, his slow, child-like English accent, coupled with the absurd premise (a single green creature with a rust fetish living in a dystopian hell-scape) had us in uncomfortable hysterics. It was odd, it was disturbing, but somehow, it was funny. The following school year my friend and I may have been the only fifth graders in our class whispering to each other over barely stifled laughter, “I like it when the red water comes out.”
So, almost fifteen years later, when David Firth announced that an eleventh episode would be released on January 30, 2019, of course, I was beyond excited. And thankfully, the episode has lived up to all the hype.
Front and centre in Firth’s newest creation is Salad Fingers’ favourite puppet, Hubert Jason Cumberdale, who becomes a slug-like mound of humanoid flesh after intensive cosmetic surgery. The quality of animation in this newest episode is stunning compared to the first two-dimensional creations that were originally uploaded to Newgrounds. What’s more, the audio engineering creates a disturbingly immersive experience wherein the audience can hear every slap of moist, disembodied skin and the skitter of every shard of broken glass.
This eleventh episode also appears to confirm a popular fan theory that Salad Fingers and Hubert Cumberdale are in some way the same person. At approximately the 1:30 mark, Salad Fingers holds a mirror to Hubert’s face as Hubert lies in a puddle of what must be his own tears. When the point of view switches to Hubert, however, the face staring back is not that of the stitch-mouthed puppet, but that of Salad Fingers himself staring menacingly into the glass as he says, “You’ll never be a real boy.”
If this interpretation is correct, then it creates more questions than it answers. Are we to believe that Salad Fingers has remade himself in a desperate attempt to become more human? Is his “glass” family merely a manifestation of his inner doubt, a sort of perpetual self-deprecating voice in his head that tells him he cannot improve himself? Or, has Hubert always been a separate being from Salad Fingers, an individual with his own unique personality and desires?
With the success of this newest episode, I wouldn’t be surprised if a twelfth is in the near future.