Despite the colorful innocent look of the series, the backstory is pretty depressing. The "Mushroom War" was somehow related to nuclear explosions which destroyed almost all of Earth, almost killed out humans (Finn is said to be the last human alive), and more or less reverted technology back several stages for a while.
Not to mention it was the Mushroom War that created the lich and reintroduced magic with the use of some scary bombs. The Land of Ooo looks bright and cheerful but it is a total crap sack death world hidden underneath.
"Mushroom War" would be an easy situation to see as nuclear in a roundabout way. What with large bombs and mushroom clouds and all. "Ooo" could even be reminiscent of a person in pain after a bomb. Dark, huh?
In general, when episode credits say "Rebecca Sugar" under "Storyboarded by", you know there's gonna be some drama and usually a hauntingly beautiful song or two.
Also in general, episodes written by "Thomas Herpich," (ie Princess Cookie and You Made Me,) have EXTREMELY poignant moments that will either have you crying tears of joy, or sobbing in despair. All in the same episode!
In "The Enchiridion!" a giant ogre eats Finn's brother and best friend, for no justifiable reason. Finn helplessly tries to get him back, and ends up stealing the ogre's dollar. Finn says he'll only give it back if he gives Jake back. When the ogre says he killed Jake already, Finn tears up angrily.
In "Evicted!" the duo almost ends up homeless a second time, and Marceline almost kills Jake.
In "Trouble in Lumpy Space", Jake literally turns his back on Finn.
Another scene from that episode. Lumpy Space Princess shoes us immediately that she isn't just a shallow, bratty teenager- she's really a sensitive and insecure person. She cries and says, "I was just trying to help! I thought we were FRIENDS, Finn!" As she sobs in front of Finn and yells at him, his cheeks turn burning red from the shame of making her like that.
The ending of "What is Life?", which solidifies the Ice King's Jerkass Woobie status when he dreams about N.E.P.T.R. being his son.
N.E.P.T.R.: Shall we capture princesses now, Papi?" Ice King: No, let's just stay here a little longer, son. N.E.P.T.R.: I love you forever, Papi.
An early scene of "Crystals Have Power", in which we see that Finn is still upset after Tree Trunks exploded in her self-titled episode. At least it was comforting to see that she's still alive, just mad with power as queen of the crystal people.
And from "Tree Trunks" itself, this line is pretty tear jerky.
Finn: Is that what you think adventurers do?! Die and make all of their friends feel terrible because they couldn't save you?!
Really, imagine how terrible Finn felt going back home after this episode.
In "The Jiggler", when the eponymous baby Jiggler is dangerously sick from prolonged separation from its mother, eventually fainting. Finn tries to bring it back first with mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, and then when he thinks it's dead, by kissing it desperately. Jake (and possibly the viewer, at first) finds this ludicrous, but when he asks why Finn thinks kissing the baby will help, Finn, who looks like he's about to cry, just says that he can't think of anything else.
This is quite a lot worse for any older viewers, especially those who've had to take care of children, due to the red fluid that the Jiggler is vomiting, and the fact that Finn and Jake can do absolutely nothing about it.
From "Freak City", "I guess I'll just lie here... and rot like the rest of you."
In "Ocean of Fear", Fear Feaster rubs in the fact that Finn can't even overcome his fear of the ocean when Jake is about to drown.
Finn's very brief hoplessness in "Freak City".
Is this really my life? Is this how my story ends...?
Before the heartwarming ending, "Donny" seems like it's gonna end on a depressing note. Everyone laughs at Donny even though he was a nice guy for a change. Finn and Jake were justified, but everyone else was a HUGE jerk to Donny. It promptly turns him into a jerk again, and Donny says that Finn betrayed him and will never forgive him. Finn and Jake sadly resolve to go stare wistfully at the lake.
In "Henchman", near the end, when Marceline is out in the sun as a bat, she says that it stings, but she likes it, because it reminds her of her mother putting bandages on her scraped-up knees. At first, it doesn't seem to matter much, but then you realize: her mother is probably dead, her father is the Lord of Evil, and doesn't really love her. She just misses her mom. Though at the end of the episode "It Came From The Nightosphere", her father did admit he actually loves her and hearing the song she wrote about him, which made their situation somewhat heartwarming.
Made even more heartbreaking in "Memory of a Memory" when Finn sees the young Marceline repairing her beloved teddy bear. While she's sewing on a new eye she says "I'm hurting you because I love you."
In "His Hero", Finn's grapple between being violent and saving the old lady, and letting her die.
"Daddy, do you even love me...?"
Rebecca Sugar's original version of the Fry Song, with both versus, sung in her simple yet sweet voice with a ukulele, is so heartbreaking.
A notable example in "The Eyes", when Ice King stalks Finn and Jake in a horse disguise to learn how to have fun, because he is so lonely. While played in a somewhat humorous way, the real tearjerker ending is at the end; the Ice King lies down with Finn and Jake prepared to go to sleep, before uttering "I'm still not happy..." Damn.
It's rather heart-breaking when Finn thinks that PB got her head chopped off.
The ending of "Susan Strong", where Finn has reason to believe Susan is an actual human. "Susan.... what areyou?" She just runs off into the night.
The heartbroken, tearful look Finn has on his face as Susan runs away.
When Susan sings by the campfire, Finn's eyes light up at the joy of being with another human and no longer being deprived of contact with his own kind. It's heartbreaking when re-watching the episode and knowing what happens at the very end.
The title card for Mortal Recoil◊. Even if Princess Bubblegum isn'tKilled Off for Real. Finn's expression might not say much, but the way he's holding the like-like sweater ...
Meanwhile, Cinnamon Bun's expression in that title card is just... someone give that poor guy a hug.
The snail is frowning & waving as if saying goodbye to PB.
In "To Cut a Woman's Hair", seeing LSP having run away from home and even saying that she doesn't want to go back in her sleep. Even a few episodes later where she's still roughing it out in the woods is sad.
"The Other Tarts" has the Royal Tart Toter. He's completely insane, and he's lost all of his senses except for his sense of touch. He's old, psychotic, and injured from his job- yet he's still so dedicated to it.
In the episode "Mystery Train", when Finn thought that Jake was killed by the conductor. It was too close to the end of the episode for comfort, and just the look on Finn's face when it first happens... he even sounds heartbroken. Then before going after the conductor in his unstoppable rage, he ever so gently places Jake's skeleton on the ground. Just... Finn's whole reaction. It's sad.
Finn: (trembling, in a small voice while looking despairingly at Jake's skeleton) J-J-Jake? (carefully picks it up and hugs it) NOOOO!
During "Mortal Recoil", when the Ice King is told off by Finn and the entire Candy Kingdom that he is a lousy old man; one can feel some pity for him and the way the Ice King reacted to being called old; it was as if he never realized how long he has lived or he has been in denial of being an old man. One has to wonder if this will affect him in the long run.
It doesn't help that Ice King used to be a young human that was cursed and is trying to find his way out of his mind.
Plus the title page◊ makes it seem like their holding a funeral for PB and everyone, especially Ice King, is completely torn up about it. Thank God the funeral didn't actual happen, but still.
Finn's imagine spot in "Storytelling", in which he threatens to kill some baby birds, causing them to have heart attacks from fear. Thereafter, the mother, with tears in her eyes, asks Finn, "Have you seen my boys?"
In "The Limit", Jake nearly dies. Jake says that Finn should wish for the Elephant anyway, because that's what they wanted... that's what Finn wanted. What an unselfish guy.
A minor one in "Go With Me." Marceline is pretty adamant on making sure Finn doesn't date her. She even shows him her One-Winged AngelEldritch Abomination form. Seems like she feels she is too "bad" for a "good" guy like Finn. It's rarely addressed in the show, but maybe Marcy feels guilty about being a demon/vampire. For some reason. It's just sad to think that one of the most well-liked characters in the series is insecure.
A lot of it in the rather dark episode "Morituri Te Salutamus". Gladiator ghosts were forced to fight in an arena and either killed or were killed by their closest friends, which is why they kept screaming for forgiveness. Though this does make their liberation at the end of the episode all the more heartwarming.
Worse, according to word of god they weren't just best friends. They were lovers.
In "Memory of a Memory", we see Marceline as a cute sweet little girl, after the friggin apocalypse. We see her try to fix her broken down teddy bear with her very last piece of string, and even says "I'm hurting you because I love you!". What could possibly top that? Her boyfriend sold the teddy bear to a witch, because it was her most valuable possession, and we see her dad eating her fries, which makes her cry.
The look on Marceline's face when Finn shows her his memory of her lost memory of her breaking up with Ash is just heartbreaking. Even more so due to the fact that Marceline has never had such a look before and is normally far more upbeat.
Marceline: Finn... I think I'd like to wake up now.
The loss of her teddy bear is even sadder after season 4's "I Remember You." It is revealed that Simon Petrikov, also known as the Ice King, was the one who gave her this teddy bear, to make her stop crying when she found herself nearly alone and helpless in the midst of the Great Mushroom War. Now that Simon has completely lost his mind and identity, the teddy bear was her last souvenir from the days when her dear friend and father figure was still himself. And that is why she loved it so much.
While Marceline's father was eating her fries, there's some money on the counter. Money that looks relatively unspoiled. The little girl was probably starving, but she apparently felt uncomfortable just taking the fries and actually paid for them, with money no one was alive to use.
Finn's sadness at the end of "Too Young". If only Lemongrab never showed up, then maybe Princess Bubblegum could have stayed 13 instead of having to revert back to her 18 year old self...
The part where she turned 18 again and basically told Finn to move on was made worse considering how much love she displayed for Finn before. Finn's dejected look after this happens, especially after Jake calls, was utterly heartwrenching.
Jake: What's the status?
Finn:Bad news, man... I... I got dumped...
"Go up the wizard steps..."
Lemongrab's whimpering tears when Bubblegum and Finn punch and shove him onto the floor. He may be an ass, but he sounds so genuinely hurt that it's hard not to want to comfort him and help him up. The way he tries to laugh it off, while still in a great deal of pain, makes it even sadder, considering how utterly unnatural Lemongrab's laugh sounds.
It's Harsher in Hindsight when one watches You Made Me and then Too Young. Lemongrab thinks of Princess Bubblegum as a mother. Wasn't the ghost prank scene technically child abuse, then?
Fridge Sadness. It's pretty clear from multiple episodes that Lemongrab has a high tolerance to physical injuries, including two falls from high windows. We even saw him with half of his skull removed in "All Your Fault" with his brain exposed, and he didn't appear to be in any pain. It's very likely that after PB and Finn punched him and pushed him over, he cried not just because of the injury, but also because he was just plain sad, too. Also supported by the fact that the earl had been severly depressed for quite a long time.
Imagine after being born learning a little about your situation—learning that you're a failed experiment that your own creator doesn't even want or like. THEN imagine what it must be like to be totally unable to read social cues, talk normally, or express yourself in a way that doesn't cause people to be put off by you, leading to an extremely isolated, friendless life. THIS is Lemongrab's whole life. Holy shit.
Fridge Horror example from this episode, after watching "You Made Me!". When the unhappy Lemongrab is going back home to his castle, he's returning to a life of total isolation and loneliness.
"What Was Missing" had a few, but the ending where Bubblegum reveals that what she lost was an old shirt Marceline once gave her was probably the biggest.
"I'm Just Your Problem" is a pretty big one. Marceline really opens up about how she feels about PB, how she wants to be friends again, but she just can't finish the song.
The beginning of "You Are My Best Friends", before it turns all heartwarming. The defeated look on his face really sells it.
Finn: Everyone, Bubblegum. I'm so dumb. I should've just told you.... What I lost... was a piece of your hair! Now it's lost, gone forever. But I guess it doesn't matter when I just... just had all of you there. Just had all of you there with me, my friends, if you're even my friends...
In "The Creeps", everyone is seemingly killed one by one. So what's the sad part? Finn's reaction when he sees PB melt. It reveals he just meant on playing a little prank on Jake after what happened in "Mystery Train", but things went horribly wrong and he feels sadly responsible for their deaths. His voice just says it all.
"This wasn't supposed to h-happen....."
In "Jake vs. Me-Mow", in an attempt to lull Me-Mow to sleep (though he is also fully knowledgeable of the fact that he may die), Jake requests that Finn sings the song their mother's lullaby using her music box. Finn accepts and the result is everyone who hears the song falls asleep. For the fans, it means there's not a dry eye in the house.
Finn: Don't be weepy, sleepy puppies. Slip your slippers on your footies. In the morning, you'll get goodies; puppy hats and puppy hoodies. No stripes or polka-dots. Heather grey and feather soft; baby pink or baby blue. All the drawstrings you can chew.
Finn breaking down and tearfully hugging a dying Jake after the antidote breaks. It takes them about five seconds to realize the solution to their problem, but it's still a sad moment.
"New Frontier" was a surprisingly mature episode. Jake has a dream about dying that slowly starts coming true, and Finn desperately tries to stop it. It's almost painful watching Jake accept his fate while Finn just can't let him go. The scene where Jake goes aboard the spaceship that he knows will lead him to his death is the most heartwrenching scene in the episode.
His whole monologue was one minute of pure, concentrated anguish:
Simon:"Hello. My name is Simon Petrikov. I'm recording this tape so that people will know my story. I was studying to be an antiquarian of ancient artifacts. Now, I've never believed in the supernatural stuff myself; just had a fascination with superstitions. But everything changed when I came into contact with this item. After purchasing this crown from an old dock worker in Northern Scandinavia, I brought it home and excitedly showed my fiance, Betty, and jokingly put it on my head just for a laugh or something. And that's when it started... the visions. I fought with them; shouted at them until I realized it wasn't real! It was the crown! I quickly took it off, and saw my fiancee in front of me, looking at me with such contempt! What had I said? What had I done when I wore this crown? All I know is, I never saw Betty again. Since then, I now see the visions always, whether or not I wear the crown. They tell me the secrets... the secrets of the ice and snow... that the power of the crown will save me with its frost. I don't yet know what this means. As you can see, my skin is beginning to turn blue. My body temperature has been lowering at a supernatural rate, to what is now about 30 degrees Celsius. I don't know when it will end. I'm really scared. I know my mind is changing... but I'm already too far gone to know what to do. I want people to know that... if I do things... if I do things that hurt anyone, please, please forgive me! Just... watch over me until I can find my way out of this labyrinth in my brain and regain my sanity! And then maybe Betty, my princess... maybe you will love me again... please love me again, Betty!!"
Simon Petrikov calling his fiancee his "princess", eventually breaking down into tears, begging Betty to "please, love [him] again".
Here's the kicker. Early versions of Adventure Time have Princess Bubblegum's first name as Betty, not Bonnibelle. If these two are one and the same, that means that every time Finn stops Ice King, he keep the two apart.
And let's not forget Simon begging the viewer to forgive him for whatever he does while he is insane, until he can manage to find his way back from the depths of madness.
Simon slowly losing his sanity, forgetting his past as a human, his own name, and his fiancee, soon declaring himself "too far gone" to be free of the crown's effects on him.
Probably the worst part comes when you realize the Ice King is so far gone that the secret he was trying to keep was that he used to wear glasses. He just heard every last word of his story from his own mouth, and he still can't seem to fully grasp the true scope of what's happened to him anymore.
Even worse is that he doesn't realize the tapes belong to him when Finn gives them back. He thinks it's a nice gift, commenting how he used to have tapes like that.
You will never be able to laugh at the Ice Kings antics ever again the same way again.
Is it bad that your first impulse after this episode is to give him a hug?
This also makes the "I'm still not happy" at the end of "The Eyes" extra tragic- at some level, he must remember what he's lost, just enough to still be unhappy even with friends at his side for a brief moment. He knows somehow that, as comforting as sleeping with friends in his arms is, something very important is still missing.
Suddenly, all of his powers coming from his crown (a nod to the original short) makes perfect sense.
As he goes mad, you can see the snow accumulating outside the window until what was once a regular city turns into the Ice Kingdom, presumably killing everyone there.
The actual reason for that climate change? It's a nuclear winter. The knowledge of what's going on in those final tapes makes them even more bleak: this man has witnessed unimaginable horrors, dealt with just about everything life could throw at a person, survived a nuclear war, and successfully fought to keep his sanity through it all. Now he's lost the battle, and the only thing he can do about it is plead to whoever finds his tapes for forgiveness.
Immediately after the video plays, Finn gives him the tapes and he doesn't remember what was on them. It's funny at first, but then it hits you that it's basically revealing that every wacky, goofy thing he's done on the show was really the product of his insanity and mental illness, and Finn and Jake just didn't pay close enough attention.
Another example from Holly Jolly Secrets would be the tapes Finn and Jake watch where all you see is the Ice King crying. Sure, some of it can be a little funny the first time (like when he suddenly stops crying to ask Gunter for five more minutes), but especially after you've seen the episode once, the sound of him crying like that, the agony in his voice, just makes you want to join him. It shows that even though he seems pretty cheery a lot of the time, he's still suffering.
He hates his lucid moments.
In the opening -even as far back as season one- if you pause it in the splitsecond just as it shows Ice King, you realize he's not mad, but that he has a deep distraught, down-right miserable face◊. Along with the theories on the Mushroom War making the opening HONF, watching him in such emotional pain makes the opening part Tear Jerker too.
If you pay attention to the background at the end of the episode, you'll see that Marceline isn't in the room watching videos with everybody else, instead she's floating outside, frowning. After seeing Remember You, you'll realize that this is likely because at that point in time Marceline still couldn't bring herself to even be in the same room as her former father figure.
Marceline's Journal song from "Marceline's Closet" is really sad.
In "Another Way", Finn's realizes that he mortally injured three people in order to have his way. This realization comes with a sad song that marks the return of the auto-tune.
In fact, it's so much of a Tear Jerker that the Cyclops mistook it as an attempt to make him cry.
If Finn really is the last boy in Earth then after he dies, humanity will be extinct. That's a pretty depressing thought..
In "Ghost Princess", Clarence kills himself over Ghost Princess's death, which he himself caused.
Clarence's facial expressions and the way he cries when killing Warrior Princess, who would then become Ghost Princess as a result.
In "Dad's Dungeon", Jake follows Joshua's advice and frequently insults Finn by calling him a baby, like Joshua does on the tapes. While it was originally meant to be good reinforcement for Finn, it ends up making Finn want to kill himself from disappointment in himself.
Jake: Dude, don't eat that! Finn: Why? All the people that I care about in this world are being wads.
In the storyboard, when Finn is about to eat the apple, he says, "I don't care about anything now."
"Dad's Dungeon" was actually the last Season 3 episode going by production order; viewing this after "Incendium" (aired afterward, and last going by air date) makes the above more poignant.
"Incendium" is pretty heartbreaking from the Flame Princess' point of view. Though Jake had good intentions going into it, he really yanks her chain hard by lying to her father, claiming that he's an envoy of Prince Finn sent to request the chance to woo her, earns that right, then backpedals after hearing she's a Person of Mass Destruction. Way to go, Jake.
Finn's Song "All Gummed Up Inside" is just heartbreaking. It's about how he's lost all his motivation to do anything because Princess Bubblegum won't return his affection. Later in the episode, he won't even get up when the house is on fire because he's too busy wallowing in his pain (until the fire burns up his portraits of Bubblegum, of course).
Season three in regards to Finn if you think about it. He finally gets to be with his dream girl in "Too Young" when PB gets de-aged and that only lasts a short time. They kiss and she doesn't remember any of it and treats it like it was years ago. Then comes "What Was Missing" when he just wants to hang out with his friends Marceline, PB and Jake to form a band to get their stuff back but the three all just fight until he sings his sad little song. In "The Creeps" he apparently made PB a sweet sixteen b-day card and she doesn't remember. Then in "Holly Jolly Secrets" Ice King turns out to be formerly human, making Finn and Susan Strong both alone and not alone at the same time. Then in "Dad's Dungeon" he feels like his adopted father never loved him. Add in the above quote from the same episode and it seems like he's having a hard time trusting people. Hopefully this lightens up for season 4.
Not to mention the discoveries of Marceline's past that include living in a destroyed world, she and her dad scavenging for food, and a Bastard Boyfriend to add to that!. Plus, there is the implications of Lemongrab being outright abandoned by Princess Bubblegum, when it wasclear that he was horrified of existing, and Finn being dumped by her in a rather apathetic manner, which makes one wonder about her truecharacter. Then there's of course the various villains being nastier than in the previous Seasons, excluding the Lich obviously, like the brutal Fight King that made friends and lovers kill each other, Ash the asshole and possessive boyfriend, the Lubglubs that could have also eaten a load of people, Me-Mow the tiny assassin, the fruit witches and the giant shadow beast that possibly killed Joshua, Fire King and his sociopathic daughter, and finally Stag, the freak deer who imprisoned the candy people for an extended period! It's probably on it's way to get darker, until thefinale.
Sadly, the fourth season opener yanks that dog's chain. Finn can't touch the Flame Princess, nor can he even curb her destructive habits without hurting her. He cries.
Finn:She hugged me then left. Jake: How did it feel? Finn:Ithurt.
The entire episode is just depressing as hell. It presents a rather complicated morality issue: Flame Princess believes her only purpose is to burn and expand her kingdom, so she thinks she's justified in burning innocent people to death. This presents a problem to Finn and Jake of course, who are heroes, but they can't extinguish the flames without hurting her, which is a problem since Finn likes her. This entire issue is what makes him finally break down and cry. There are a couple of sad lines like "Why can't I just like a girl?" and out of nowhere, NEPTR says "Even if everyone burns, you'll still have me, creator," which is heartwarming sure, but it makes the possibility of everyone in the kingdom burning to death that much real. And finally, the resolution to the episode (yes, even the resolution is depressing): Flame Princess thinks Finn is a water elemental since she thinks he constantly cries (which is understandable since, coupled with "Incendium", Finn hasn't been having the best time in his life). Using this reasoning, she believes they can't be together. All of this quells Flame Princess's emotions and makes the fires burning the kingdom go away.
The two last words spoken in this episode. "It hurt."
In "Beyond This Earthly Realm," seeing Ice King's emaciated body is startling, considering that his dialogue is reminiscent of an anorexic person's.
Ice King: AAAH! My winter body!! I was gonna start up on the elliptical again, but I got depressed, okay?! Don't look at me!
In "Five Short Graybles", we find that Beemo talks to his mirror image, "Football", and wishes he was a real boy, Pinocchio style.
From the same episode, Princess Bubblegum killed a cute little jellyfish just so she could make a sandwich. Poor little thing... *sniffle!*
In "Dream of Love", Tree Trunks and Pig were constantly disrupting the peace, tongue-kissing in public, and doing things like breaking into Fin and Jake's house, making out in a baby's carriage, and on Finn's sandwich. Everyone forces them to break up, which devastates them.
The song was heartwrenching to ANYONE who has ever lost a loved one, under ANY circumstances. It isn't just a sad breakup song. They lyrics are just general enough to strike a chord with anyone suffering from some kind of bereavement (whether it be separation like Tree Trunks and Pig, death, breakup, divorce, etc) and is dreaming of seeing their lost loved one again.
"I close my eyes, and feel his arms around me..." Same as the above entry, the lyrics are gutwrenching.
The people in the bar when Pig was singing. They all look beaten up, injured, misshapen, and one is missing an eye. Yet they were moved by Pig's song. They weren't evil, jaded criminals- they were actual people. These people have had horrible lives. And even though the Candy Kingdom looks Utopian on the surface, there are still people who are suffering and totally down on their luck. It leads to the implication that Princess Bubblegum can't or doesn't care enough to help all of her people.
That horrible, miserable look Finn has on his face when Tree Trunks is singing. His eyes are squinted shut, and his lower lip is quivering. He looks like he's going to start crying any second. He only loses this look when TT finishes her song.
Finn telling Tree Trunks and Pig "You two need to hide your love, or else you'll end up making the whole world throw up!" Have you ever had a relationship you felt like you had to hide from the world?
"In Your Footsteps" has that scene of Finn and Jake arguing, with BMO just sitting there listening, absentmindedly rolling his soccer ball back and forth. The tone of the scene came across exactly like a child watching their parents argue in a dysfunctional family.
This scene is a lot worse for kids (or adults) who grew up in abusive and/or dysfunctional households. Even though it's a pretty absurd scene, the mood is definitely there.
In "Hug Wolf" Finn is hugged by a Hug Wolf. He and Jake later are in a library searching for more info about Hug Wolfs. Jake finds out there is no known cure for Hug Wolfism and Finn states he is scared and reaches to hug Jake, but Jake slaps his arms away. Finn could have been already before metamorphosis stage, but it still was pretty sad how Jake refused to comfort him right there.
"Princess Monster Wife" is pretty much a tear jerker from start to finish. Not only is there the wife, who did nothing to anyone but gets called a monster just because of her appearance, and then has to face the realization that she was patched together out of parts stolen from other princesses, but we also see what the Ice King would do if he ever really got a princess to marry him: he'd be an absolute sweetheart. He does everything in his power to make the wife feel beautiful and loved, and it makes the inevitable conclusion of the story all the more tragic for him, because he ends up losing the one thing that's ever made him happy since becoming the Ice King.
It was really depressing when the Ice King just straight up gave up fighting Finn and Jake with tears in his eyes, and for a moment, it made Finn and Jake seem like the bullies.
Which is also kind of sad, because they were genuinely in the dark about what's been happening. All they know is the Ice King stole body parts from the other princesses (which he does genuinely deserve punishment for), but never see any real evidence his wife is fully sentient until after she's already given all her components back to their proper owners. They didn't know they were hurting someone with their reactions.
When PMW cries, she cries with three voices. Her weeping is the saddest part of the episode, because it sounds so genuinely pained. Who else wanted to give PMW a big, big hug?
The ending with PMW giving all her body parts back to the princesses has the Ice King saying "She gave all my stuff away!". While that may be poortaste, it also means that Ice King can't form long term relationships; once they're gone, he doesn't show a remote interest in them, which is a both a tear jerker and a sign of sociopathy.
A note on the sociopathy. When was the last time we saw the Ice King play a major role in an episode? "Holly Jolly Secrets". At the beginning he seemed quite like his normal self, but once once we found out about the crown and Simon Petrikov, it looked like he was going to be a Tragic Villain who would eventually become good. This episode wipes the slate clean, seeing that he did the one thing we never expected him to do and that is hurt a princess. This train of thought allows us to see the Ice King slipping further into insanity.
Another explanation is that Ice King may not be entirely sociopathic, but that he may be simply incapable of forming emotional bonds due to the effect his crown has on his memory. In other words, he may have forgotten who the MWP was the moment she went away.
A short one in "Beyond This Earthly Realm" when the Ice King is explaining that with his "wizard eyes" he is able to see creature of the spirit plane but he can't touch them, he goes form "Can't touch them..." to "can't KILL them..." and finish in a very dark tone "I hate them!", because seeing this creatures was the first transition to become the Ice King and at some level he knows it's probably the cause of his break up with his fiancée Betty
PB's frazzled appearance in "Goliad." She's normally so prim, well-kempt, and presentable. When we see her here, her hair is tied back into a messy ponytail, there are tired lines under her eyes, and her eyes are so strained that she needs glasses. Her voice sounds shaky, as well. That's because she hasn't slept for more than a week teaching Goliad to be a good ruler.
The ending. To defeat Goliad, PB has to make another clone, but this time she uses Finn's DNA to make a bird creature called Stormo. Finn sees the connection and thinks of him as a son. Unfortunately since Stormo and Golidad are psychic equals they'll be having a mind battle for eternity.
Happy birthday, Stormo...
A tearjerker in a more heartwarming sense. In "Gotcha!", LSP, a stuck-up, often superficial teenager, finally learns the importance of inner beauty, thanks to a surprisingly touching speech from Finn. She has really grown as a character.
"Princess Cookie". In the episode, a cookie who is crazy holds the Candy People hostage to steal Princess Bubblegum's crown. Later in the episode, he is threatening PB because as a child, PB crushed his dreams of being a princess (keep in mind he's a male). So what does he do after Jake comforts him? Commit suicide. And is happy about it. But he fails at doing soand ultimately survives.
At the hospital, he is crowned Princess of the Grass Kingdom.Heartwarming Moments should have an entire page for this episode.
What makes it extra sad is that Princess Bubblegum's laugh wasn't cruel but more amuse like she found his comment cute and could be a case of a bad misunderstanding.
The scenes of the depressed children in the orphanage.
The scene of Princess Bubblegum coming to the orphanage to read to the kids.
According to Jesse Moynihan, the Royal Tart Toter is "beyond rehabilitation."
(If it's any consolation, he's happy.)
The promo art for "Sons of Mars". It shows Magic Man crying and desperately holding out his hand, trying to catch his falling girlfriend.
How about Magic Man himself in that episode?! It was implied that he is a jerk because of the loss of his girlfriend. He was shown tenderly holding a framed picture of her, caressing it and saying her name.
Magic Man's house. It was implied that he really let the place go a long time ago. There's a corner filled with dried up snot where he claims to "blow his nose all day." (That could imply that he actually cries a lot when no one's looking.) The only part of the house that seems to be clean is the framed picture of his girlfriend.
Perhaps the saddest aspect of this episode is how autobiographical it is. If one does some poking around on the internet, one discovers that Jesse Moynihan, one of the writers on Adventure Time who wrote this episode, based many parts of "Sons of Mars" on events in his own life. Moynihan had a girlfriend named Margaret (whom he called Margles), who eventually broke up with him. If you peruse Moynihan's Twitter, you'll see posts about him crying because he misses Margles, or crying because a particular song or television show reminded him of Margles. Apparently it's been about three years, but he still misses her. And apparently, he's still single after that breakup. He sometimes speaks about the idea of dating other people, but he is apparently still single after that traumatizing breakup. Poor Jesse...
Finn and Jake's treatment of Bubblegum in "Burning Low" was rather horrible and sad in hindsight. Neither Finn nor Jake care for what she has to say when she originally goes to them to inform them about why Finn should stop dating Flame Princess - Finn runs off to see the girl in question and Jake falls asleep. Jake then goes on to (not illogically) misinterpret PB's actions as jealousy, and informs Finn of his ideas as if they are fact, which causes Finn to shout at PB when she discusses responsibility and sacrifice to comfort him thinking that he understood. Jake later also shouts at Peebles and throws a box of pancake mix at her. All this is going on while PB knows very well that the world is at risk. The episode ends with no apologies, and Finn giving PB the "cold shoulder" while Jake jokingly accuses her of further jealousy after the nerve-wrecking experience they had just gone through.
In hindsight, this could have been avoided if she got to the point instead of giving extremely elaborate and actually very unnecessary explanations as to why he couldn't be with Flame Princess. She almost doomed the world with her Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness.
The title card◊ for the episode is a big one, considering how rarely PB cries.
Finn venting all his frustrations at PB. The boy barely kept from bursting into tears by the end.
Finn: BUBBLEGUM... I CAN'T DO THIS ANYMORE! Princess Bubblegum:What? Finn:NOW you like me?! Princess Bubblegum:Finn, what are you talking about? Finn: What am I talking about?! PB... I... (stammers, struggling to choke the words out) I WAS IN LOVE WITH YOU, okay?! And you didn't love me back. And now I'm ready to move on and it's like... (grunts)... You're gonna build me up all over again! Well I'm DONE! (with resolve) I'm done. (walks off)
In the episode, PB was forced to attempt to kill Finn in order to kill Flame Princess to save the Land of Ooo. She had Jake plug up the hole they were in so that Flame Princess would run out of oxygen to burn with. Just when you think the show can't get darker...
Finn giving his oxygen to Flame Princess, making himself pass out.
Finn:(gasping for air) Hey... What's wrong? Please... Say something. Please. I need you... To be ok.
The promo art by Rebecca Sugar. It depicts a young Flame Princess locked in her lamp, curled into a Troubled Fetal Position, her little face buried in her arms. Princess Bubblegum (who had her locked up in the first place) is standing beside the lamp, gingerly touching the glass, looking sad.
It is heavily implied that Princess Bubblegum had a failed romantic relationship in the past which she gave up because of her responsibilities. To make this worse, this is hinted at just before Finn goes ballistic and shouts at her at how she broke his heart.
Princess Bubblegum: Finn, sometimes you want someone and you (puts hand on Finn's left knee) want to kiss them, and be with them. But you can't, because responsibility demands sacrifice.
Becomes even worse when you remember "Too Young", considering her responsibility for her kingdom is what got in the way of her possible relationship with Finn.
We find out that Flame Princess has been locked in a lamp for most of her life because she could destroy the world if she experiences romance, and this is why she is so innocent and naieve.
Finn's terror in that episode. Especially the scene where he reverts to an infantile state and is forced into a high-chair to face the ghost woman, and he looks absolutely horrified; his eyes are big, and he's shaking like a leaf. Poor thing.
The very first scene of the episode with Finn as king of the Candy Kingdom, with Bubblegum as his wife, suggests that he may not be entirely over her yet.
Lady Rainicorn's grief in "Lady & Peebles." She's absolutely heartbroken over Jake's disappearance. As she tells PB that the last conversation she had with Jake was about bad food, she sounds like she's going to cry.
The Ice King, minus his heart, lying on the ground and getting stepped on by Ricardio. Poor thing! And at the end, when Princess Bubblegum saves him by giving him a heart transplant, complete with maracas.And his happiness.
Bubblegum every time Lady Rainicorn is hurt, especially towards the end. It's very clear she cares about Lady immensely and you can practically hear how much it hurts her to see her hurt. Taken Up to Eleven when she realizes that Lady Rainicorn was pregnant the entire time and just how much danger she was really in. Is it any wonder she beat Ricardio to a pulp for what he did?
"You Made Me!". Lemongrab appears to be suicidal. He opens a window and tries to either jump out or smash his own head with it, upset that his castle has no citizens. "I AM THE EARL OF NOTHING!" Of course it's narmy because of his screaming and that he survives the fall and immediately opts to start running around tearing his clothes off instead, but he's obviously EXTREMELY unhappy- enough to actually end his own existence in his despair.
A Fridge Tear Jerker. Castle Lemongrab has no citizens. The only people there are servants, who only serve to take care of Lemongrab's most basic needs. He's been all alone in that castle for over a year, with no friends, with no one to talk to. Poor guy.
Princess Bubblegum outright says, "But you don't get along with others! I don't understand you, Lemongrab!" She doesn't say this in a particularly mean way; she sounds mostly concerned and mildly frustrated, but you can tell how much these words would hurt somebody like Lemongrab. Especially since their conversation sounds uncomfortably familiar to the Real Life conversation between a frustrated, confused mother and her special needs child...
"NO ONE... NO ONE UNDERSTANDS! I AM ALONE! YOU MADE ME LIKE THIS! YOOOU MAAADE MEEE! YOUU MAAADE MEEE!!! YOU'RE YOU GLOB! YOU'RE MY GLOB!" When he starts to say those words, he sounds like he's going to cry! The whole first half of the episode was essentially Lemongrab having an emotional breakdown about being isolated and damaged. And he isn't just yelling- he is wailing in total misery and despair.
The music in this scene is heartbreaking.
When one of his subjects asks, "Are you CRAZY?!", he begins to say "yes," before trailing off and saying "YEEEEEEAAAAOOUUUHHH... MEEE?!" Before he does that, he looks at himself in the mirror and points at himself in outrage.
In the climax of the episode where Lemongrab goes batshit and tries to attack Princess Bubblegum, it's still obvious that he's really hurt by all of the things that Princess Bubblegum has said to him and done to him. She's trying to help, but he doesn't want to hear it- he's had enough of her, and he doesn't want her to hurt him again. He's obviously outraged, but you can tell from his voice that he's still hurting pretty badly, too.
Lemongrab: "No! No more helping! YOU'RE the one who made me this way! How can YOU help?! You unload your punkest boys on me?! Try to change my ways? You're poison! YOU'RE POISON! YOU NEED RECONDITIONING!"
It is revealed in this episode that Lemongrab Would Hurt a Child. Depending on who you are, the scenes of him electrocuting Finn and the Pup Gang, and basically assaulting poor little Crunchy, can be pretty hard to watch. Listening to the kids scream in pain is pretty... eugh...
The most heartbreaking moment from the episode was one simple facial expression. After Lemongrab has his emotional meltdown and rips off his clothes, Princess Bubblegum is standing by the window with her head pressed against the glass, watching this broken man run off into the night. The look on her face is one of complete misery and regret. She sighs.
The entire ending of this episode, the last two minutes, is one of the happiest tear jerkers in Adventure Time's history, and one of the biggest examples of positiveMood Whiplash. Princess Bubblegum introduces Lemongrab to Lemongrab 2 (a clone of himself.) They meet each other, stare at each other awkwardly for a little bit, poke each other... then they both burst into the happiest grins and nuzzle their foreheads together. Lemongrab 2 cheerfully suggests that Lemongrab pardon the prisoners, and Lemongrab agrees, sounding just as happy. The episode ends with Princess Bubblegum bidding a happy good-bye to both of the Lemongrabs, who are grinning from ear-to-ear and hoping that their "Mother Princess" will stop by and visit again. Excuse me, I have something in my eye...
Flame Princess's situation and her relationship with her father. He imprisoned her in a lamp for several long years of her short life, leading to her developing an emotionally unstable personality. What's sad about this is that Flame Princess really is a sweet person, who happens to have angry outbursts and had been terribly sheltered by the person who was supposed to care about her. It's no wonder why she resents him. It's so sad to watch Flame Princess, that sweet child, suddenly becoming furious, and screaming in anger about her father.
"Reign of Gunthers" is the story of a neglected pet desperate for some attention. Too bad he decides taking over everything is the way to get it.
The title card for "I Remember You"◊ showing Ice King looking at his reflection—Simon Petrikov in his third stage.
Marceline is absent from the title card, which is strange, considering the huge role she plays in the episode. Then you realize why: At that point, Simon had already forgotten Marceline completely.
The rest of the episode was just as tear-worthy. Especially how Marceline was so desperate for her only friend left from her childhood as well as her father figure to remember her. Especially after "Marceline's Closet", where she states that no one can relate to her because no one went through what she has... except apparently Simon. And the ending... just, the ending... Marceline's most treasured possession, which she has been shown to care for as a child almost, and which she has broken up with a boyfriend over, was a gift from Simon.. .and it's implied that that's why it's so special to her.
The interactions between this episode is pretty melancholy. It reads like someone who has to put up with a parent or friend with severe Alzheimer's or dementia. No amount of mementos or memory-jogging will make them remember what they forgot.
Made worse when you realize on some level, the Ice King does still care. Marceline even says he makes excuses to come see her even if he can't remember her. Like when he pushes her off him after she tries to stop him acting crazy. He at once feels guilty about it, and sounds almost, ALMOST slightly sane as he apologizes! Considering he's a crazy sociopath who once said 'oops I've got the dropsies!' when he almost killed Bubblegum. The scene comes off almost like the Ice King has a subconscious fear of physically hurting Marceline in anyway.
If one considers how reflexively he responded like that, they might think that it was something that came up (perhaps frequently) before. The idea of a small child trying to get a grown man to control himself and for him to respond violently, before profusely trying to apologise and explain...
The song they were singing. Not because of the lyrics, because it was a note left by Simon trying to explain what was happening to him. Marceline freaking CRIED while singing it.
The sad, yet understanding look on Marceline's face when she first sees the note, and again when Ice King asks her to sing it like it's just some lyrics. He doesn't even know what's written there and that anguish on her face as she realizes why Simon left, and the song they made from it just seals the deal.
Even worse is the reactions that Marceline has while singing the song. Besides just crying, she seems shocked as well. It could just be her finding a note Simon left explaining himself, or Marceline (like I did in a moment of Fridge Logic) realizes that besides keeping himself alive, Simon wore the crown and went insane to protect her for as long as physically (and mentally) possible.
In case you haven't cried enough, here's the song:
Marceline, is it just you and me in the wreckage of the world? That must be so confusing for a little girl. And I know you're going to need me here with you, But I'm losing myself, and I'm afraid you're going to lose me, too This magic keeps me alive, but it's making me crazy And I need to save you, but who's going to save me? Please forgive me for whatever I do... when I don't remember you Marceline, I can feel myself slipping away I can't remember what it made me say, But I remember that I saw you frown. I swear, it wasn't me. It was the crown.
You can even see Marceline closing her eyes as she sings the refrain a second time. Possibly pretending that it's Simon singing this with her and not the mad thing that's grinning like an idiot.
Don't forget the look on Ice King's face near the end when he's singing the note; he looks at first surprised, then depressed. He might actually be remembering who she is, at least while they're singing.
This even makes a random silly plot point from Marcelline's debut episode depressing. She has a lot of homes and keeps moving between them. Why? Because she usually leaves whenever Ice King finds her again. Why does she leave when that happens? Because she can't bear to see him like this.
Marceline:(singing) Every time I'd move, eventually you'd find me...
Ice King painfully and tearfully asking Grod why no one will just freaking love him.
What makes it worse, is that the Ice King knows SOMETHING is wrong with him, and that is why no one would love him. But he just doesn't know WHAT is wrong with him, and he just really really wants to know.
Marceline almost sobbing as she yells at the Ice King to look at the note he wrote himself.
The Ice King still doesn't even know his own name.
Marceline: You don't remember anything, do you?! Simon?! Ice King: What-mon?
The final scene of the episode is completely heart breaking when you realize Simon was once a very kind person who looked after a helpless, lonely little girl as the world went to hell around them. The way he smiles as he wipes Maceline's tears away, then brings her a teddy bear to cheer her up is so sweet, the fact he's been reduced to a crazy, pathetic old man who has been suffering from his insanity for centuries makes you want to cry right along with Marceline.
The Ice King's ancient scrapbook is soaked, with either tears or mucus. Why? Because he must have been sobbing inconsolably when he made it, as the precious memories it represents finally slipped away from him forever.
The liquid on the pages was fresh, which is even worse. It suggests he's been sobbing into it more recently.
Keep in mind the pages are fresh even when the Ice King is in his palace, so it's not like the pages had just been coated in ice, which melted when he went outside.
The Ice King's scribbled lyrics on the old newspaper article documenting one of his discoveries. In brainstorming a love song for princesses, he almost writes that he's been working on his personality. He ended up changing it to "working on [his] pecs". Either he gave up hope that he could change his personality for the better, or he doesn't understand that he really needs to. Tragic either way.
In Simon's videos from the Christmas episode, we learn that even when he isn't wearing the crown, he's still losing his mind. In the ending scene of "I Remember You", notice how Simon-turning-into-Ice-King isn't wearing the crown, as if he's trying to see how long he can go without it, and if not wearing it would stop his descent into madness...
As if these weren't bad enough, the original title of the episode was supposed to be, simply, "Help."
One of the worst aspects of this episode in hindsight is the beginning, when Marceline sees the Ice King heading towards her home, all she says is a quiet and almost desperate "no" upon realizing that he's found her once again, and again she has to confront the fact that someone she cares about very much has been driven almost completely insane.
The Ice King trying to kiss Marceline after she says she cares about him. Wrong at first on so many levels, but the more you think about it the worse it becomes. It means that the Ice King at this point doesn't recognize Marceline as different in any way to all the princesses he always tries to steal. Oh and just try and imagine the absolute Squick that must have been for Marceline to have a man she considered a father figure try to kiss her, with the added bonus that it pretty much spells out that the Ice King remembers nothing about their bond.
Alternatively, it could suggest that some part of Simon still exists inside the Ice King. During they're hug, something deep within the Ice King may have awoken, reigniting the bond he once shared with Marceline. In this fleeting moment of parental affection, maybe Simon just wanted to give Marceline a kiss on the cheek or forehead as a parent would to comfort a child and reassure her that he still exists somewhere deep inside his own psyche. However, since the Ice King is completely crazy, his mind can't differentiate between parental affection and intimacy, and all he could register out of it was 'Kiss Marceline'. It's even sadder when you realize that this goes to show how any of Simon's attempts to come through will always be foiled by his own madness.
During the scene where Marceline hugs Ice King, she closes her eyes and looks as though she's close to tears. This is probably the only time since his transformation that she has done something like this.
Hindsight tearjerker from Holly Jolly Secrets, Marceline didn't enter Finn's house, this seemed strange and now we know why. She can't bear to seeing Simon again.
Ice king tends to go after younger women. Much younger women. Maybe he's not looking for a wife. Maybe he wants to reclaim the happiness he had with Marcy, but, due to his insanity, cannot separate love for a wife from love for a daughter.
This makes more sense when one looks back at his interactions with most princesses: overprotective, tactful, essentially treating them like a child. Up until now, it was an example of classic chauvinism, degrading women by treating them as though they were incompetent. But after this episode...Maybe he just wants he little princess Marcy back.
I noticed during Ice King's "Oh Bubblegum" song that Marcy's face shows a hint of joy and amusement. Maybe it reminds her of some goofy games she played with Simon when she was younger. Or maybe it was Simon who sparked her interest in music. Maybe she had hoped it would cause him to remember... From there, however, when Ice King starts singing about Bubblegum, her face becomes angry. there is a possibility that she, as a child, had an innocent crush on Simon. It's like in The Professional : Marcy never knew the love of a good father, her father basically being an obsessive demon business man. Simon, on the other hand, did his best to take care of her. She probably feels a hint of jealousy at the mention of Bubblegum.
Then again, she could just be jealous of the attention.
Another possibilty is that she could be feeling disgusted by it. There are constant hints that Marceline and Bubblegum used to be a couple. Imagine if the guy who you viewed as a father figure started to try and hit on your ex-girlfriend that you still have feelings for and has enlisted your help in doing that. Just think about that for a moment...
Finn fighting with Princess Bubblegum for her crown during "The Lich". She accidentally cuts his face with the scissors towards the end of it, and there's this look that Finn shoots her, one of complete and utter betrayal, that's just heartbreaking.
The episode brings up his age subtextually. He blindly trusts Billy, he lies about the bear to not get Billy mad at him and he impulsively steals her jewel instead of trusting her to understand the situation all because he's too young.
It was a frightening shock for Princess Bubblegum too: She's just having a normal night of science, when out of nowhere, Finn, her trusted friend/champion, crashes through the ceiling and demands her crown's gem. When she protests, he instead goes for it like a maniac, and in trying to fight him off she accidentally slices him across his face. Only once she catches up to Finn does she learn the reason for his actions.
In the scene where Princess Bubblegum tells Finn that Billy is actually the Lich. It isn't that sad, until one of the Gumball Guardians attacks Billy aka The Lich, and Finn has this panicked look on his face while screaming his name. The moment was made all the more heartbreaking once Finn finally realized he was being used.
From the same episode, a deleted storyboard ('deleted' meaning it was very likely supposed to be canon) shows that Finn's birth-father was wrongfully cast into another dimension of the Multiverse, and is fighting for his life to this day. On top of this, Finn has literally just figured out he's adopted, and the look on his face as the gears turn in his head...
Here we see◊ that alternate universe Simon died horribly, trapped under a nuke he froze mid-flight. We also see an alternate universe non-vampire Marceline who due to not being a vampire here, is a very elderly looking woman (still same age) who has spent her life guarding the crown.
Barnverse!Finn pulling his Jake out of the Lich's pool... only to find that his old friend is now a new Lich and, thanks to the crown, Finn is more than willing to kill him. Jake's, the one from the main timeline, reaction as he watched helplessly from Prismo's time room only makes things worse.
Jake: Finn wait that's not me! I'm here Finn, I'm here.
In the multiverse, many different possibilities, outcomes, and differences exist. In other words, it's actually possible that the universe that Finn just created is still out there. And everything probably just kept getting messed up and horrible. Plus, remember. Finn JUST put on the Ice King's crown. Which means, he may come back to himself and realized what he's done or doing. If he wins against Jake, he would've killed one of his best friends (similar to what happened to Simon with Betty in a way). That's straight up depressing.
According to what Prismo said, the Finn we know may not even be the Finn we've been watching all throughout these years. That Finn could probably be still stuck in the Farmworld, going crazy from the crown's influence.
The conversation between AU-Marceline and AU-Simon. If it's really Simon's ghost trapped in the crown talking to her, or it's in her imagination (since she did spend over 1000 years trying to guard the crown, isolated from the rest of the world), either way it's a huge tearjerker both ways.
Even before the the apocalypse pretty much being started by Finn is that thing's were still sad, but still had a bit of a cheery feel to it. Alternate Finn had to sell a mule named Bartram (or Barbar) he loved to help his family, but tries to avert that from happening the best he can. Then he encounters Alternate Marceline who already had been through a lot and steals the crown from her in an attempt to sell it instead of Barbar. Then the Destiny Gang burn his hometown and steal the very mule he was trying to save. He then tries to save everyone after facing them by putting the crown on. It doesn't end well obviously. He by accident sets off the very bomb Simon stopped, making Simon's death all for nothing in the end. Then Finn kinda tries to save everyone with his ice powers only to be called insane, despite that he technically is. Then he has to watch his own loyal pet dog crawl towards him disturbingly and almost zombie-like as Jake turns on him. Then he has to fight him. And all of this from him just wanting to find another way instead of selling Barbar. Instead, all involved have SOMETHING bad happen to them. Does This Remind You of Anything? from a previous episode? It's really depressing in hindsight since Finn didn't want this and all he wanted to do was help. Instead, all hell breaks loose on what was a pretty normal day for him.
The tear jerking nature of the alternate universe is best summed up by this observation made on tumblr
pretendplaytime: In both universes, Marceline is left◊ alone◊, and Simon is◊ lost◊
"All the Little People" has the scene where Mini-Rainicorn bursts into tears after Finn makes Mini-Finn hook up with Mini-Flame Princess instead. Then there's the scene where Jake comes back from his extended stay at Lady Rainicorn's to find Finn sitting in his messy living room, staring forlornly at Mini-Finn and full of regret.
During that same scene, Finn drops Mini-Bubblegum in between Mini-Finn and Mini-Flame Princess and makes the former stroke his shoulders. The look on Finn's face as he watches this (as well as the ensuing Cat Fight that goes on between Mini-PB and Mini-FP) seems to cement that he really might not be completely over Bubblegum...
In "Jake the Dad" episode. One of the puppies seems to be missing a face (she has one but it is terribly malformed and hard to see). Some people have theorized that it's because of this scene.◊note
Despite the fact that they were running him absolutely ragged, and as much as he tries to disguise it, Jake's disappointment that the pups grew up so quickly and no longer need him is palpable.
The episode "Davey" has Finn getting so fed up with being a hero that he creates a separate personality for himself so he can be more normal. Hearing Finn argue with himself on why he should stay Davey is absolutely horrifying.
In "Mystery Dungeon," when Lemongrab is trying to figure out what the Ice King tastes like, the Ice King says, "Kinda lonely." And that's simply ignoring the fact that one of the most beloved characters in Adventure Time is currently in danger of being eaten by a psychopath.
NEPTR being heartbroken that his own half-father doesn't remember him. And it doesn't help that this brings to mind the premise behind "I Remember You."
A Fridge Tear Jerker. Lemongrab is actually, quite literally, starving to death. He's so desperate for food that he actually resorted to disgusting attempts to acquire it. To add insult to injury, all of his family at home is starving, as well. For once, Lemongrab panicking and angrily lashing out at people was justified.
Poor Lemongrabs. They just wanted to do what they thought their mother wanted them to, and found that they found joy in creating new life. But then their neuroses and mental problems twisted it into something horrid. Especially poor Lemonjon who was given empathy by Finn and Jake, thus providing him with a moral dilemma that he could only solve with a heroic sacrifice.
The beautiful final words of poor, brave, young Lemonjon: "Whoa, hold the phone. What is this powerful new juice coursing thrumpst my core source? The juice aches. Is this the rumored ache of feeling? The feeling of caring unknown to lemons? New thoughts emerge... If I act, the candy people will suffer; if I don't, the lemon people will suffer... The greater good demands but one course only! That I dissolve the bonds uniting me and become component to all!"
The scene of Lemonjon dying.
The fact that Lemonjon is the very first candy person who has ever been Killed Off for Real. He was the kindest and most selfless candy person who has ever lived, and he was the only one who has actually died. All other candy people who have died in the show were either rescued at the last minute, or they were resurrected. Not Lemonjon.
In a happy way, the Lemongrabs discovering their capacity for love and affection: "It just felt so pretty okay inside greeting each new placid face, and hearing each new piercing song!"
At the end when Lemongrab's brain is visible, one can pause the screen and read his thoughts. Several of them indicate that Lemongrab is suicidal and very unhappy. "Call me crazy, but I think it's time for us to die." Oh dear god.
What's really sad about that screenshot is the disproportionate amount of unhappy and angry thoughts compared to others. The largest words on the brain are words like "RAGE" and "SUFFER." Happy thoughts are much smaller and less frequent. There's also a thought about Lemongrab saying "I'm sorry for my outburst," implying that he does realize, possibly often, that how he acts is wrong and he does actually feel remorse when he makes a mistake.
That large "SUFFER" is actually attached to a phrase, partially obscured, that is "Watch as my people suffer." Another little gem of depressing from the brain is found nearby, in small font: "My heart weeps." Oh dear god.
Just the image of the Lemongrabs looking so emaciated and ill from prolonged lack of food and malnutrition. That in itself is pretty hard to see, especially for fans who have a soft spot for them. (Fortunately, they seemed to be looking and feeling much better by the end of the episode.)
The sheer amount terrified desperation and despair in Lemongrab 2's voice as he says this line:
Lemongrab 2: Who CARES, anyway! They brought NO food! WE'RE ALL GOING TO DIE!!!
Just the very idea of the episode- a young couple starving to death, while watching all of their babies starving to death at the same time.
Lemonjon's weary, worried, despairing tone as he says this line. It's brief, but it does a good job of showing the desperation and somberness of the situation:
Lemonjon: They're quite hungry.
The "blink-and-you'll-miss-it" shot of that two-headed lemon child hiding behind the door, convulsing and shaking either from terror or illness. The looks on those faces are looks of pure hopelessness. Some of the soft coos of the littler lemon children can be pretty disheartening, too.
YMMV, but there's a scene at the beginning where Finn and Jake are mobbed by starving Lemon Children, who are trying to eat them. Jake forms his hand into the shape of a large piece of cake, and says, "Hey weirdos! Get the birthday cake!" while waving his arm towards the wall. The Lemon Children run after where they think Jake "threw" the cake. It's pretty damn sick because A) the Lemon Children are very young, B) they are literally starving, and C) they, ironically, had recently celebrated their birthdays. The fact that this scene was meant to be funny makes it all the more jarring.
Speaking of the lemonchildren, Finn and Jake did not recognize them as children at all at first, treating them like freaks because of their appearance and inability to properly communicate (Jake specifically refers to them as "weirdos"). Later, even after knowing the children are just that, Finn and Jake are fully willing to kill Lemonjohn if it means stopping him. Both of these facts are sad in and of themselves, but consider that Castle Lemongrab is now very close to the Candy Kingdom. The candy people hate Lemongrab for the events of Too young, and probably You Made Me as well. What might this mean for the already rather disadvantaged lemonchildren?
Well, Princess Bubblegum did end the episode by saying that she would keep a closer eye on Lemon Castle. This would probably include looking out for the safety of the Lemon Children, and making sure that the Lemon People and Candy People don't harass each other. As the ruler, creator, and technical mom/grandmom of the earls and their kids, it would be her responsibility to do so anyway.
The ending, when Princess Bubblegum says, "Their hearts are fine. They're just like this," and the earls make happy noises and smile. Considering that four episodes ago, Princess Bubblegum was calling Lemongrab a "failed experiment" and a "butt," it's incredibly touching that she has finally accepted him for who he is, warts and all.
A quick little scene that's quite sad when you notice it. When the little goat Lemon Child is chomping on Finn's hand, Finn gets freaked out and shoves his hand back. The goat falls, looks stunned for a moment, and then looks up at Finn with a hurt look.
The fact that the Lemongrabs attempted to use their own son as a Person of Mass Destruction. Lemonjon also seemed to be in physical pain in some scenes.
A kind of meta example. When describing their profound joy about their newfound fatherhood, Lemongrab describes this feeling as "so pretty okay." He has been chronically depressed for so long that he's unable to adequately articulate what it feels like to experience true happiness.
"Little Dude"- the Magi's backstory. He's had a pretty hard life, and a lot of the trouble he's caused wasn't really his fault even.
The ending of Marceline's story in "Bad Little Boy" with Fionna being both angry and horribly sad at the apparent death of Marshall Lee after he plays with her emotions by asking if she is in love with him. Additionally, Marceline might have created that part of the story as a reflection on her own inability to be truthful and real, to the point she might be pushing people away or hurting.
What about what happened to Xergiok at the end of "The Great Bird Man"? Don't tell me I was the only one who felt bad for him!
This was a pretty heavy episode. From the suicidal mermaids at the beginning, to Xergiok slapping his best friend (a bird,) to the poor, sad look on the bird's face as he leaves, to Xergiok attempting suicide. This episode should come with a trigger warning, for having more references to suicide than any other.
The poor, sad look on the bird's face.
In "Simon and Marcy," there's the part when Simon has no choice but to break his promise to Marceline and wear the crown that they both know is turning him into the Ice King.
Specifically, Marceline begging Simon not to wear the crown, because it makes him "act weird". Sure enough, when he puts it on it's like someone flips a switch and the Ice King takes over. And Marcy can't get through to him. Even after she knocks the crown off, Simon's still in Ice King mode, and doesn't snap out of it until Marcy says he's scaring her. For the record, Marceline is seven when these events take place.
We find out "Gunter" is a name applied by the Ice King persona to the people he cares for. Specifically, it applied to Little Marcy - but in the same vein of Ice King forgetting "Princess" applied to Betty, "Gunter" now applies to his penguins.
Marcy: I love you, Simon. Simon: I love you too... Gunter.
Unless the viewers want to depress themselves further, and assume he gets the name wrong because for all his good intentions, Simon's actions just fractured his mind a little more. The first time he calls her Gunter is when he's consumed by the Ice King persona, after all.
It's probably is that, because when he called her "Gunter" the second time, he still had longer hair and bluer skin, instead of reverting back to how he looked for most of the episode.
Some people can't hear the Cheers theme without tearing up.
This brings up the possibility that the penguins he's named Gunter are, in fact, his attempts at replacing Marceline. Think about it- they're about the same size, they have the same color scheme, he treats them like they're his children...
The lyrics to the Cheers theme song are "Wouldn't it be nice to get away", while Simon and Marcy are trying to do just that, but it continues with, "where everybody knows your name", made all the more tragic by the fact that we know eventually the man singing those lyrics won't even remember his own name.
Adding on to that, the opening lyric is, "Making your way in the world today takes everything you've got." In the Ice King's case, that includes his memories and personality.
Whenever Simon wears the crown, his appearance shifts closer to the Ice King (colder blue skin, longer nose, beard and hair, etc.). The first time, the changes reverse shortly after Marceline knocks the crown off. The second time, after Simon fights off the monsters, they... don't. This time, most of the physical changes seem permanent. Also, his outfit changed colors to blue, and he lost his glasses.
Hell, even the title card is a tearjerker. All it is is a faded, worn Hambo, lying in a field of snow, and it has a very desolate feel to it. It also seems rather symbolic.
On a more Meta level; one of the episode's writers, Cole Sanchez, revealed in a Formspring post that originally, little Marcy was so sick that Simon legitimately believed she would die if he didn't get her medicine, but Cartoon Network thought that would traumatize children, so it was changed to her illness being less severe and the two looking for chicken soup. Sure, we know that either way, she would have turned out all right in the end, but the mere thought of that would make anyone's heart sink.
Learning this makes a lot of scenes fall more into place. Simon's panic about Marceline's state seemed a bit extreme if it was something as simple as a cold (which does suck breadballs, but for the most part everyone knows that you are able to recover eventually), and his anger concerning the "Clambulance" makes more sense. Rather than being picky about the type of soup was best, his reaction was due to the fact that he was looking for an actual ambulance.
Simon's descent has some pretty heavy parallels to a realistic Alcoholic Parent. There are some lines from the episodes that almost should come with a Trigger Warnings for those who've survived loved ones that've succumbed to addiction and alcoholism-related dementia. Particularly this one, accompanied by Marceline's disbelieving expression:
This could also be compared to Alzheimer's disease, given that Simon never intended to go insane. His rampages can be compared to those found in The Notebook
If rewatching the episode, there is something extremely heartbreaking and touching about Marceline's simple declaration that she loves the Ice King/Simon, particularly considering that Marceline is not very upfront about such things (as discussed up in 'Bad Little Boy') but for Simon...
Even in the faux television bit where Simon sings the Cheers song for the first time. The pained way that he sings it, as though he's thinking about their current situation (Making your way in the world today takes everything you've got), losing himself in the song until Marceline gets his attention again.
Simon trying to remain himself by singing the Cheers theme. The poor guy is fully aware of the fact that he's losing it, but also knows he needs to protect Marceline.
This is also the first time that it really sinks in- after the Mushroom War, everyone is dead, or mutated beyond recognition. The people at the soup store, the people driving the Clambulance, and YOU.
Puhoy. A The Final Temptation story. The scene of an elderly Finn dying in bed, as his kids (now married with kids of their own) and wife cry. NO story about a land filled with magical cute pillow people should be this sad...
All Roselinen wants is for Finn to remember her and their family when he returns to his world. Her speech even caused Finn to shed some tears. Sure enough mere moments after returning, he can't recall anything about them.
Another sad thing about Finn's death is when Bonnie, his daughter begins to cry. There's just something so sad about seeing such a sweet girl cry like that.
The scene where Jake is reminded of the fact that his kids didn't stay kids for very long, and are now grown adults. It's a quick but absolutely heartbreaking scene. When Jake is reminded of this fact, his face clearly contorts with grief, and he looks, for several seconds, that he is going to cry. His eyes become a bit shiny, too. His expression alone is enough to make one's eyes well up with tears, the way it's drawn is so realistically grief-stricken and scrunched. Jake pretending to not be upset at the end of "Jake the Dad?" All a facade. He IS actually grieving because he barely had any time to be a father to his babies. And if those words alone were enough to solicit this reaction from poor Jake, it's safe to assume that he cries about it when he's offscreen.
A Fridge Tear Jerker. If we go by the interpretation that the Pillow World was all a dream... what does this series of thoughts produced by Finn's subconscious tell us about Finn's deepest desires and griefs? What sorts of issues was he subconsciously working through in the process of dreaming?
Another Fridge Tear Jerker is that Finn says to Rasheeta that he's been searching for decades. The Tear Jerker is, Quilton is probably dead and Finn's pillow family probably never got to see his last moments, even worse, finding out he was dead when they got home.
Too bad it becomes scary within seconds after that... though at least BMO doesn't seem to mind.
Honestly, everything that happens after BMO and Bubble meet. From the look of it, BMO finally got a day where he met someone who always listened to him and was always there, even when he thought he was going to be alone, like right after BMO is forced to give up Ricky/Sparkle. He'd already been far from Finn and Jake for more than a day, and considering how few times he really shows up for an adventure, it was all typical for him to be alone, but not with a complete stranger. The final moment Bubble shares with BMO right before getting popped just changed everything for BMO, and it's taken away from him like that. Even worse, Finn and Jake don't realize it and are too busy laughing at him.
B-Mo's reaction to Finn and Jake not talking in "Shhh!". He basically has a panic attack.
Finn telling Brako that pursuing Princess Bubblegum will only lead to heartbreak. He doesn't seem particularly bitter about it (a sign of how much he's matured since then), but you can tell he was affected by it.
Braco. A self-imposed Love Martyr who is burned and then mutated into a monster by the demon Ogdoad at the end of the episode in order to win the heart of Princess Bubblegum. And it doesn´t work . When he asks the Princess Bubblegum to marry him, he just sound desperate.
Braco:I paid the price for love, was it worth it? Do you love me? .
At the end of the episode, when Braco leaves with P-bot, Princess Bubblegum drops a tear and says in a very sad manner " You're welcome, my love".
In "Another Five Short Graybles," we are treated to a lovely scene of the Lemongrabs violently domestically abusing each other while their children are most likely within earshot.
Lemongrab ate Lemongrab 2. That's just horrible. The guy is most likely dead or horribly traumatized now.
One of the scenes involve Marceline, alone and unmutated, trying to pick things up in the aftermath of the detonation of the Mushroom Bomb. And there's a view panning out to see the Earth, and the orbital satellites are still firing, trying to kill each other even in the aftermath of the most apocalyptic thing to happen to the Earth since Theia crashed into it and helped form the moon.