The Second Season gets one in Reverend Putty bonding with Stephanie.
Every time Orel goes against what his father, or Reverend Putty for the sake of actual morality to be heartwarming. Special mention goes to the scene where he helps a dying Jewish doctor, by moving the medicine towards him, so he can try to treat his own wound... all while clearly and thinly rationalizing it, by using his father's own hypocritical lesson to do some good.
The first meeting between Stephanie and Orel. Heck, their friendship in general.
In "Loyalty," Joe and Orel (reluctantly) beat up two gay kids. When Orel is taken away by Clay, the other gay kid manages to take Orel's bat and whack Joe unconscious. Then they resume their "You're nice" *Kiss* "No, your nice" as if unfazed by the beatings.
For all of its bleakness, the third season of Moral Orel has two episodes so refreshingly optimistic it's hard not to crack a goofy smile (possibly intended to keep the viewers from killing themselves):
The first, Closeface, is about Orel sneaking out to go to a dance with Christina, the young girl his parents had forbidden him to date. There's also a sub-plot about Putty seemingly being uncomfortable with Stephanie's homosexuality, but it turns out he was just worried about her because her girlfriend didn't care about her.
That episode had a surprising moment where Reverend Putty says that Stephanie and Kim couldn't compare themselves to Orel and Christina. It was so completely unexpected and yet so sad and true at the same time, and could be considered more of a Tear Jerker:
Stephanie: Why, 'cause we're two girls and tolerance is only a pretend theme? Putty: No, because she never cared about you.
The second, "Dumb", involves the sociopathic bully Joe being reunited with his mother (Nurse Bendy), coming to terms with his father's crippling senility, and bonding with his half-sister and mother at the end. For this season, this was a huge Hope Spot.
As his half-sister tries to discipline Joe for the last time, she half-snarkily remarks "Why should I tell you, I'm not your mother." After that, she smiles as if to say "Well, go to your real mother then."
Both Joe and Bendy are extremely well-established characters who probably weren't written to be related, but their backstories complement each other really well, and their personalities fill each other out and fill a hole in both of their lives.
The episode takes on a greater weight than people take it for, especially since "Alone" gave viewers a somewhat disturbing look into Nurse Bendy's past.
Even with how bleak and depressing Season Three is, the episode "Dumb" is quite heartwarming when Nurse Bendy reunites with her son, especially when viewers know that she's seen as the one woman in town everyone wants to sleep with — and that she's treated poorly due to the fact she isn't as intelligent as everyone else.
This episode is punctuated perfectly by a later Freeze-Frame Bonus: the last time we see Joe and Bendy is in Honor — it's only for a second, but they're ice-skating and smiling together. Awwww.
There's also a few other moments in the season that count:
In spite of being one of the bleakest episodes of the season, "Sacrifice" begins with a Heartwarming Moment. In an earlier episode, Putty was searching the congregation to come up with inspiration for his Easter sermon about hope — only to change the title to "Hopeless" when he found that even Orel was depressed. When he finally gives the Easter sermon at the start of "Sacrifice", viewers are expecting something dark — and it seems to start out that way...only to turn around and become the thing that makes Orel finally start to brighten up again after the events of "Nature":
Putty: If you remember last week's sermon, I ended it with a little cliffhanger: what was in the tomb when Mary Magdeline and company checked it out? Well, here's the answer: nothing. Nothing was in the tomb. Now, usually, nothing is a downer — one big goose egg. Well, this time, the goose laid a golden egg, people — nothing meant hope for everyone! So the next time you look and see nothing, have a little hope for me. Amen.
When Clay breaks down and says that the people in this town are too nice, you see Clay's attempt to break Orel into being like him failing, in part because the authority figures who, in the beginning were nothing but corrupt and incompetent, started to earn their right to their positions.
There's also a couple of moments from the series finale, "Honor".
Rev. Putty and Stephanie are seen together listening to Orel's and Stopframe's christmas carol with forced smiles on their faces. It shows that they have been spending Christmas with each other (and the fact that they politely endured the carols is sorta nice).
Coach Stopframe helps Orel figure out what about Clay makes him worth honoring:
Stopframe: Orel, in his own blundering way, your father made you...and that's honorable.
Reverend Putty, the occasional deadpan snarker, offers up an honest-to-God Crowning Moment of Heartwarming as the last lines of the show, which — knowing his history as a guy whose lost most of his faith one way or another — is quite possibly the most uplifting thing said in this series:
Putty: Today's Christmas sermon is about family. What is family? Well, a lot of times, family is just a bunch of people who are forced to be together just because they came out of each other — but every so often...a miracle happens. A loving family, just like that, out of nowhere. Now, what causes this — a belief in God, a strong moral structure, blind luck? Who knows, who cares? Ah, you're not gonna get any answers out of me. I'm just a puppet for the Big Guy. I don't write this stuff. The end — I mean, Amen. Nah, who am I kidding? The End.
The last thirty seconds belong in the Crowning Moment of Heartwarming hall of fame. It shows that Orel grows up to have a happy, healthy, loving family. I cried bitch tears.
Better when you realize how it bookends the series: The show's opening credits all end with Orel waving up at God/the viewer. The final shot of the series shows Orel's baby daughter waving up as the camera pans out. D'awwwwwwwww.
Better still when you see that Orel's wall has pictures of his parents, who clearly haven't changed for the better over the years. As monstrous as Clay was to him, Orel still keeps the old man in his life, which says more about Orel than words ever could.
According to Dino, he imagines that Orel ultimately stays in Moralton. Why? Because he wants to make it a better place.
The very last scene of the show: Orel packs up his beloved stop-motion animation set and gives it to Shapey and Block for Christmas.
"I don't need Proof to know i can trust you grandpa!"
“Dear Orel, always remember, son, even though you are the perfect candidate for brainwashing in this town, you’re also too pure and good-hearted to be corrupted. -Love, Grandpa”
While it could easily be out of disinterest, it is noteworthy that Clay hadn't told Orel about God for as long as he did, given the nature of the town. And when he was being urged into it, he had some obvious reluctance about the whole thing, which means that (at least at that point), he did want to do right by his son, unlike how his father had done with him.
Really, the fact that the bleakest, darkest, most disturbing season of the show — and maybe the darkest set of episodes of any show in [adult swim] history — is also the most genuinely heartwarming of the show has to count.