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Tear Jerker / Adventure Time

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"I like sad things."
Pen Ward

What time is it? It's sad-venture time...

Wow, what a bright, colorful cartoon. A show like this can't possibly have sad moments... right?

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  • Despite the colorful innocent look of the series, the backstory is very depressing, one of the most so in all forms of media to date. 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.
    • 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?
  • Ice King. As the series progresses, we learn more and more snippets of his backstory. And man was his life sad. Turns out he's not the evil, princess stealing, cold hearted king that we all thought he was.

    Season 1 
  • 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 turns his back on Finn.
    Finn: (punches ground repeatedly) I'LL KILL YOU, LUMPY SPAAAACE!!!
    • Another scene from that episode. Lumpy Space Princess shows 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.
    • What makes this scene sadder is that in the encounter against the brain monster, Tree Trunks helped Finn defeat it. It was still reckless, but before she jumped in to help, Finn was having a difficult time doing it on his own. Tree Trunks seemed to know what she was doing and successfully distracted the creature and exposed its weak spot to Finn, so as a result his concerned yelling made him accidentally come across as an Ungrateful Bastard despite him meaning well.
  • 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.
    I'm kissing him! What do you think? It's all I could think to do!
    • And then there's the reason WHY Finn might have thought to do this: in "Memories of Boom Boom Mountain", Jake's mother kisses a crying baby Finn repetitively to make him feel better. Finn may have remembered that moment and tried to bring the same comfort to the "dying" baby.
    • 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.
    • Jiggler's mom freaking out and threatening her baby, because she didn't recognize the Jiggler's juices. And Finn's outraged response suggests the guy's got some issues about being abandoned by his parents and getting taken in by Jake's mom and dad.
  • Finn's 10-Minute Retirement in "Freak City": "I guess I'll just lie here... and rot like the rest of you."
    Is this really my life? Is this how my story ends...?
  • 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.
  • 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, Ironically, it turns out that if it wasn't for Donny and his "jerky scent" acting as a repellent of sorts, the villagers would be eaten by Why-Wolves.
  • 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."
    • Seeing Marceline shrivel up and nearly die when exposed to the sun as Jake tries to "vanquish" her is kind of sad in its own way. Thankfully, she's ok in the end.
  • In "His Hero", Finn's grapple between being violent and saving the old lady, and letting her die.

    Season 2 
  • "Daddy, do you even love me...?"
    • Rebecca Sugar's original version of the Fry Song, with both verses, sung in her simple yet sweet voice with a ukulele, is absolutely 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 is at the end; the Ice King reveals that he has never been happy, and promptly lies down with Finn and Jake prepared to go to sleep, before uttering "I'm still not happy..." Damn.
  • "Loyalty To The King" has a lot of the princesses display self-esteem issues, and LSP punches out her lumps to make herself more attractive. It can hit pretty close to home for some women.
  • After the Hope Spot in "Power Animal", Finn sobbing and screaming as said Hope Spot powers the imagination machine.
  • In "The Real You," Princess Bubblegum's reaction to her "Science Barbecue" getting destroyed (breaking down in tears and hugging Finn) is more than a little pity-inducing.
  • 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 are you?" 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't Killed 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 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. Finn's whole reaction is 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.
  • Finn's imagine spot in "Storytelling", in which he threatens to kill some baby birds for rousing story material, 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 Ancient Psychic Tandem War Elephant anyway, because that's what they wanted... that's what Finn wanted. What an unselfish guy. It also turns out to be a genius move on his part since the Elephant itself also gets a wish, which is to revive Jake.

    Season 3 
  • Cute King's sadness over being an Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain.
  • 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. More specifically, male 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 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 because 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 "I Remember You" revealed that Simon Petrikov, (A.K.A. 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.
    • 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 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 severely depressed for quite a long time.
      • Watch the scene here.
    • Lemongrab doesn't have any friends, according to Jesse Moynihan. That's a tearjerker in itself.
    • 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 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...
  • Around the end of "Apple Thief", Tree Trunks calls for the Banana Guards to come over and arrest her because she thinks she stole her own apples. Not only does she sound so distressed with a depressing look on her face, but imagine if you were one of the banana guards. How would you react if you heard an old lady over the phone tearfully explain how she did something she thought was a bad crime?
  • 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 which is to increase his liver to 51 times its size so that the injected poison is essentially a droplet in comparison, 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.
    Jake: Finn!
    Finn: (holding onto Jake's leg) NO!
    Jake: ...Finn, let me go...
    Finn: (crying) Please... Please...
    Jake: You have to let me go...
    Finn: No... Please...
    • Even sadder when you realize Jake is not just Finn's best friend, but also the only thing resembling family he has left.
    • Finn is so broken it almost sounds like he's saying "pwease."
  • In the Christmas special, we finally learn the Ice King's origins. He was just an antique dealer before the Great Mushroom War, until he bought a crown off a Scandinavian merchant. He was with his fiancee when he put it on. He completely lost control, started spewing nonsense and phrases, but he had no recollection of it. Whatever he said or did was horrible enough to make her leave him. He never saw his fiancee after that. He chronicled his transformations from the crown through the video, growing more and more like the Ice King each entry. We finally find out why he tries to capture princesses: he's trying to find his old fiancee, whom he never saw after he put on the crown. Arguably the worst part? He remains perfectly aware of his transformations, never becoming completely controlled by the ice crown. Holy shit.
    • 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!
    • Both Tearjerker and Heartwarming when you realize after "Betty" that she never stopped loving him. She vanished from his past life because she had gone through a portal 1,000 years into the future that the Ice King (in temporary Simon form) had originally created to apologize to her, to try and save him.
    • Simon Petrikov calling his fiancee his "princess", eventually breaking down into tears, begging Betty to "please, love [him] again".
    • 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 King's antics ever again the same way again.
    • Pretty much anyone's first impulse after this episode is to try and 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 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 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 I 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.
    • Simon's despair in the final few tapes becomes even more heartbreaking when you consider that, sometime shortly before that, he'd had to abandon his adoptive daughter for fear that he'd become a danger to her.
    • Compare how the Ice King acts a thousand years later, to how Farmworld Finn acts after only two years (assuming time passed in Farmworld the same as in Ooo). The crown is driving Farmworld Finn to freeze the entire world - which Ice King hasn't even come close to doing after so much time. Simon Petrikov's noble soul is still in there, fighting off the worst whisperings of the Crown after all this time, which even the hero can't seem to do. And he's paying for it.
  • 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).
      I can't keep pushing this down any deeper
      Why do I keep trying if I can't keep her?
      Every move I make
      Is just another mistake
      I wonder what it would take
      Because it feels like there's a
      Hole inside my body. Like there a hole inside my heart
      It's like this feeling is gonna consume me
      If I keep waiting for this thing to start.
    • And then there's the look on Beemo's face. Good grief.
  • 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.
    • The discoveries of Marceline's past that include living in a destroyed world, she and her dad scavenging for food, and a abusive boyfriend to add to that!. Then there's 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 its way to get darker, until the finale.

    Season 4 
  • 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: It hurt.
    • The episode is just depressing. 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, 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 sum it all up: "It hurt."
  • 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.
  • In "Dream of Love", Tree Trunks and Pig were constantly disrupting the peace, tongue-kissing in public, and doing things like breaking into Finn 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. Though the Candy Kingdom looks Utopian on the surface, there are still people who are suffering and 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.
    • "I'm homeless."
    • 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?
  • At the end of "Return to the Nightosphere," it's revealed that what Finn and Jake thought was Hunson Abadeer is really Marceline, overwhelmed by the power of her dad's amulet. As Marceline expels Finn and Jake from the Nightosphere, she says they're forbidden to come back, and to "stay away from [her]. FOREVER!" Finn and Jake are probably some of the first friends Marceline's had in a long time, and now she thinks she has no choice but to push them away so she won't hurt them (which is exactly why it's hard for her to make friends of in the first place). Thankfully, Finn and Jake don't listen, and they immediately go back to the Nightosphere to save her.
  • "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 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 poor taste, 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.
  • 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 (and immortal), they'll be having a mind battle for eternity.
      Finn: Happy birthday, Stormo...
    • Goliad's character is a tad tragic. Although she goes rogue and plans to rule the kingdom in a controlling manner (literally) with no regard to the others, the reasoning behind it is sad; she has no ill will at all, but instead thinks this is how she's supposed to "lead" her people. At the start she was very friendly and had the potential to be a great leader, but unfortunately, her impressionable mind and the manner in which Finn and Jake attempted to teach her led her to believe that mind-control is the "best" way to rule with Bubblegum's explanation of proper leadership being too little and too late to change her mind. A sweet childlike soul, corrupted by the idea of being above everyone else...
  • 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!
    * A short one in "Beyond This Earthly Realm" when the Ice King is explaining that with his "wizard eyes" he is able to see creatures of the spirit plane but he can't touch them, he goes from "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.
  • 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 (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 so and ultimately survives.
    • At the hospital, he is crowned Princess of the Grass Kingdom. Heartwarming Moments should have a page for this episode.
    • What makes it extra sad is that Princess Bubblegum's laugh wasn't cruel but more amused 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.
    • "You remind me of a mailman I know."
  • 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 Margles.
    • How about Magic Man himself in that episode?! It was implied that he is a jerk because of the loss of his wife, Margles. He was shown tenderly holding a framed picture of her, caressing it and saying her name. Later episodes showed that this was exactly the case.
    • 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 Margles.
      • 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...
    • When Magic Man is telling Finn about the framed picture on his wall, he sounds like a complete lunatic. This episode turned Magic Man from a huge bastard to a huge bastard we can admittedly feel sorry for.
    • Jake's little lifeless corpse. Grob Gob Glob Grod are understandably horrified when they realized they killed an innocent being instead of Magic Man.
      • The broken way Finn whispers "Jakey..." and his justified outrage against the Globs and Lincoln.
      Finn: *gasp* Jakey... No!
      Gob: Ah! No...
      Grob: *gasp* It's the dog!
      Grod: The one we were prophezised to meet!
      Finn: I don't care none for that mess! This wouldn't've Globbed if you just... listened to my bro! You bugged up, King of Mars! The wisest, most honest superbeing of all time just put an innocent dog TO DEATH!
      Abraham Lincoln: You're right, Finn the Human. My judgement was less than the standard by which I judge my peers... of which I have none. I will retrieve your friend from the 37th Dead World. OOOOOH!!
    • Abraham Lincoln's Heroic Sacrifice, sacrificing his life and immortality to save Jake.
      Abraham Lincoln: Death...
      Death: King of Mars, what's your business?
      Abraham Lincoln: I need this one back.
      Death: Hmmm... What will you give me for him?
      [Lincoln shows him a penny with his own face]
      Death: He he he... Not this time, your Majesty.
      Abraham Lincoln: Hehehehehe. In that case, I offer... my immortality.
      Death: Deal. [shakes his head, and a gunshot is heard]
      Jake: Ugh... Huh? Hey! I'M ALIVE!
      Glob: [saddened] Yes... but at what cost?
      [Lincoln sacrificed his own life to save Jake, his body turned into stone]
      Finn: Oh, man... Should we go get Magic Man?
      Glob: No. I lost a friend, I cannot lose my brother as well...
    • Tiny Manticore's speech after Finn frees him and he flees to the skies.
      Tiny Manticore: I am the true coward... Hiding from sincere expressions like a vampire in the nude who hides from the light. Thank you, brave hero. I was freed from bottle jail, but my new prison... is shame. MY NEW PRISON IS SHAAAAME!!
  • 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-wracking 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. Basically, "emotional condition corresponding with physical condition + unstable temper = danger to others". 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. Props to Jeremy Shada for his great acting.
      Finn: What are you trying to say?!
      Princess Bubblegum: I'm trying to say that you're a hero, Finn. You're my hero. So, I'm glad you understand why you can't be with Flame Princess.
      Finn: Ugh! 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?! *sigh* PB... I was... Geh... *grunt*... I WAS IN LOVE WITH YOU!! Okay? And you didn't love me back! Now I'm ready to move on and it's like... mph... You're gonna build me up all over again! Well I'm DONE! 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 naive.
    • Princess Bubblegum's talk to Finn get's yet another layer of depressing in light of later episodes, as it becomes pretty apparent that Bubblegum is describing her own nasty breakup with Marceline to Finn.
  • The death (or near-death) of the King Worm. While he was indeed evil, by the end, he's in such a pitiful, weakened state and then just slinks away...
    • 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 Shoko's mutated ghost, and he looks absolutely horrified; his eyes are big, and he's shaking like a leaf. Poor thing. Finn must've had an encounter with his past life when he was still a toddler.
    • 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 (A.K.A. his heart). Poor thing! And at the end, when Princess Bubblegum saves him by giving him a heart transplant, complete with maracas. And his happiness.
    • The part where the Ice King says: "Guys, can I have a hug? I could really use a hug!..." in that pitiful voice. Who didn't want to hug the Ice King then?!
    • Lady at the end of the episode, when he was revealing that she is pregnant. She looked like she was either scared Jake won't accept that or that something could've happened to the babies after all that beating she received.
    • 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?
      Princess Bubblegum: Oh, Lady, I should’ve never put you in danger! I saw on the heart monitor. I didn’t know.
  • "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 Mood Whiplash 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.
    • Starchy saying, "In your dreams, you freak!" to Lemongrab. Just the fact that he called him a freak when it's clear that the poor son of a bitch is mentally unstable and terribly unhappy.
    • 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 MY 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.
      PB: Lemongrab, stop! Please. Earl, I can help you.
      Lemongrab: NO!! NO!! No more helping! You're the one who made me this way! How can YOU help?! You unload your punkest boys on me? You try to change my ways? YOU'RE POISON! YOU'RE POISON!! YOU NEED RECONDITIONING! RECONDITIOOOOOOON!!!
    • 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 assaulting poor little Crunchy, can be pretty hard to watch. Listening to the kids scream in pain is pretty... eugh...
    • When Lemongrab was about to attack Princess Bubblegum with his sound sword, Finn, without a moment's hesitation, jumps down on and runs across the electrified floor, smashes the glass window, takes the blast for her, and gets his hat ruined for her! Despite Finn probably being over her already, it still shows that he'll do anything for her.
    • 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 positive Mood 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.
  • 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.
  • Dear GOD, I Remember You is a mosh pit of emotions.
    • 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... 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 cope with a parent or friend with severe Alzheimer's or dementia. Unlike Easy Amnesia, 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 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. Just about ANYBODY, no matter how naive they are to the deeper plot of the show, will understand everything from this 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.
      • The line "Please forgive me for whatever I do when I don't remember you" is particularly heartbreaking; it could be seen as Simon's way of retroactively apologizing to Marceline if he hurts her when he slips into complete insanity.
      • 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.
      • 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 Marceline'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.
      • 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 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 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 their 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 the little princess Marcy back.
    • During Ice King's "Oh Bubblegum" song, 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 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.
      • Another possibility is that she could be feeling disgusted by it. Imagine if the guy who you viewed as a father figure started to try and hit on your old friend/ex-girlfriend (estranged or not) that you still have platonic/romantic 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.
    • Which leads to the real Tear Jerker moment for Finn, all this time he was helping the Lich. And then when he tries to fix the problem by destroying the Enchiridion, he ends up creating the portal instead.
    • 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.
  • The very thought that The Lich murdered Billy and possibly the Old Lady! And it was all thanks to Finn giving that bear the Enchiridion!
    • 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 just figured out he's adopted, and the look on his face as the gears turn in his head...

    Season 5.1 
  • Here we see that in the alternate universe Finn wished up, where the Lich never came to be, Simon died horribly, trapped under a nuke he froze mid-flight. We also see this alternate universe's Marceline, who didn't turn into a vampire and instead became a very elderly (and somewhat senile) woman who has spent her life guarding the crown.
    • Even worse he sacrificed himself to stop the Great Mushroom War but nobody would even know of his sacrifice, with people believing that magic never existed.
    • Also, AU!Finn putting on the Ice Crown to save his family and sending them away after it drives him insane.
    • 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.
    • Even before the apocalypse being started by Finn is that things 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."
  • 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 of 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.
    • 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 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.
    • We will probably never know what was going on in the heads of the Lemongrabs at the time of Lemonjon's death. In addition to that, we can only imagine what was going through their heads when they returned home, after the episode ended. Especially for people as emotionally unstable/sensitive as the Lemongrabs, seeing your little boy die right in front of you is not an easy thing to deal with.
  • "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.
    • Characters seem to change slightly, depending on who's telling the story. In BLB, as told by Marceline, Prince Gumball is much more hostile towards Marshall Lee than PB ever was towards Marceline, saying things like "Oh, it's you" and subtly insulting him while leaving (although directly after ML had just thrown food in his face). Coupled with Marcelines angry song in What Was Missing, it implies she thought that PB actually hated her. (Thankfully this is shown to not be true in What Was Missing and the Sky Witch episode).
  • "The Great Bird Man" is 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.
  • 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.
      • The Wham Line.
        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...
      • Or that he thinks the penguins are in fact Gunter, aka young Marceline. This would also explain why he remembers Marceline, but can't seem to remember who she is: he thinks Marcy aka Gunter still lives with him at his castle. This becomes particularly likely when you consider how the madness induced by the crown is similar to actual dementia: it isn't at all uncommon for sufferers to think their kids are still young, even if they are talking to their fully grown children. In fact, Gunter being young Marcy's nickname would also explain why her journal has "Gunter" written on it in "Marceline's closet".
    • The Cheers theme song is primarily about going to a place where you have people who understand you and your problems, something Simon wouldn't have for a long, long time. Furthermore, the most well-known lyric from that theme is "-where everybody knows your name", tying rather obviously (but in a way that does nothing to reduce the tragedy) into Simon forgetting his own identity.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • Simon's descent has some pretty heavy parallels to a realistic Alcoholic Parent. There are some lines from the episodes that should be cruelly familiar 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:
      Marceline: But you're gonna act weird again!
      Simon: (Looking very uneasy) Don't worry, I can control it better now...
    • 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.
    • The idea that Finn lived through a life with a wife and children and implied grandchildren, which he forgot in about ten seconds after his death/awakening, is... very melancholic, to say the least.
  • Bubble getting popped in "BMO Lost". Poor BMO is devastated.
    • Oh dear God, the bubble! The subtext of the Coming-Out Story is pretty groundbreaking for a kid's show, even if it is done through Does This Remind You of Anything? At least, up until the ending.
    • 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.
  • Beemo's panic attack to Finn and Jake not talking in "Shhh!" is pretty saddening to watch.
  • Finn telling Braco 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 sounds 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 Lemongrab 1 violently domestically abusing Lemongrab 2 while their children are most likely within earshot.
    • Jake Jr. In a short time she has grown from an adorable mutant baby into a jaded adult, who's completely disinterested in her own father's attempts to engage.
    • A Fridge Tear Jerker happens when you realize that Jake Jr. has aged 8 years since we last saw her, due to her rapid aging, she's going to die before Jake is. No father should have to bury their kids.
      • Doubtful. Lady hasn't died yet at all. She's been around a few years. So it's safe to assume that she'll stable out eventually. Or Rainicorns live long lives. She's part dog, part MAGICAL dog so maybe she does age a bit quicker, but according to Jake Rainicorns age fast when growing up, so yeah Immortality Begins at Twenty is in full effect here probably. But that just leaves Jake's future, his kids, probably even lady will be left looking over him, as he finally just goes. Or even worse, they won't get that chance, considering he had that bucket dream.
      • For some true sadness there's the fact that Jake is trying so damn hard to connect with his daughter in this episode, but he just has no idea how to keep close to her when she's, for all intents and purposes, older than him. The whole scene where he tries to make her a 'time machine' and have fun with her just gets sadder when she dismissively brushes him off.

    Season 5.2 
  • Most of "Be More" was an emotional roller coaster. First Finn and Jake having to rush a sick BMO to the Mo Factory (and BMO almost dying,) then happy Tear Jerkers as Finn thinks he met another human, and BMO meeting his ENTIRE FAMILY. It was so sweet that it's hard not to get misty-eyed when good things happen to these characters.
  • Sky Witch. The desperation and the happiness Marceline displays for Hambo is both heartwarming and tearjerking, but in a good way.
  • "Frost and Fire"'s ending. Flame Princess finds out Finn has deliberately been trying to get her to fight Ice King. And that he used all the personal things she revealed to him in the letter. She's so upset that she can't even hear Finn's attempt at an explanation. And when she leaves, you can see in her posture and hear in her voice that she's not even angry. Just hurt. You blew it, Finn.
    • In addition, despite making one insensitive joke that insights the first fight, during the entire episode Ice King is genuinely nice to Finn and Flame Princess. Seeing Flame Princess attacking him for no reason is pretty upsetting.
    • Also, remember that the end of the Ice King's letter referred to him as Simple Simon... and it set him off! Not much at first, but then you realize this is the first time he's actually reacted to being called Simon. This could mean he was genuninely hurt by the letter and his anger wasn't just the Ice Crown, but Simon himself.
    • Speaking of Simon, Ice King has now lost his "The Past room".
    • Made worse in that in the next episode, Jake mentions that Finn and FP broke up.
  • What happened to Lemongrab 2. He is alive, but is horribly disfigured. He has no legs, half of his head is gone, and he's extremely thin and tired-looking. Made worse by the fact that Lemongrab constantly abusing him and yelling at him. THAT IS TERRIBLE!
    • Lemongrab 2's facial expression. He just looks so tired, run-down, hopeless, and subdued. And when Lemongrab yells at him, the look on his face is heartbreaking. He just looks so hopeless.
    • Lemongrab becoming an Abusive Parent and fitting every citizens with shock collars. And then there is Bad-Lemon No-Hope (named so because he was born with "non-sour" traits) who is the most normal looking lemon child and who is not only wearing a shock collar but is imprisoned in a bathroom with nothing to do but sing his sad, little song. Just watching as Lemongrab just kicks him down is just heartbreaking.
    • Finn finally coming to the realization that he has no real chance with Bubblegum. It's pretty bad given that he's liked her for a while, and that she had to break it to him in an Anvilicious way.
    • Lemongrab forcing one of his children to punch himself in the face while forcing EVERYONE to watch, as two children are electrocuted. The entire concept of him electrocuting his children repeatedly is just horrific.
    • Lemongrab 2 trying to share some of his food with one of the children. And then both of them getting yelled at. That sound you hear is your heart giving up and breaking.
      • The whole scene at the dinner table with that green lemon child. Lemongrab has a whole feast in front of him, and the child only has a piece of bread. He licks his lips hungrily and is preparing to eat the bread. Then Lemongrab cruelly reaches down and shoves the bread into his mouth, not looking the slightest bit remorseful. The lemon child sinks down, staring at his plate. Lemongrab 2 glances down, looking nervous, then he tears his own bread in half and hands it to the child. The child perks up and licks his lips again, taking it gratefully. Lemongrab 2's hand sinks weakly... UGH...
    • Seriously, if your favorite characters are the Lemongrabs, this will be, without a doubt, the saddest episode you will ever watch of this show.
    • The episode is absolutely brutal if your favorite character happens to be Lemongrab 1. He went from being a crazy yet sympathetic Jerkass Woobie to being irredeemably cruel and sadistic. While many fans are mourning for the loss of Lemongrab 2, many of these same fans were mourning the loss of their favorite character. There is probably no way that the writers can make Lemongrab 1 sympathetic and likable/relatable again. And that in itself is just sad, seeing as how many fans really did love the character immensely.
    • "Too Old" is extremely difficult to watch for anyone that was abused as a child or has suffered from domestic violence. If either of those apply to you, it's highly recommended that you avoid this episode. Please, don't watch it. It will really mess you up.
    • This post explains alot of this episode's tragedy.
    • Lemon Hope's song. To anyone who suffered from child abuse, this song is a big, fat punch in the heart.
    • The scene in the dungeon in which Lemongrab eats Lemongrab 2, and we see Lemongrab 2's weak, emaciated arm limply disappear inside of him. It's heartbreaking because less than a year ago, we saw how much he adored his little brother. It's also heartbreaking because of how weak and sick Lemongrab 2 is from lack of food and from all the abuse.
    • "Lemonbrothers, stop! It has cost me much, but I have learned lemon need not squeeze lemon to survive! Lemonhope! Go forth, grow strong and return for us!" And right after this, Lemongrab eats Lemongrab 2 alive.
    • It's incredibly sad that the lemon children actually apologize repeatedly as they pummel Finn. They have no choice. They are being tortured by their father so badly that they have absolutely no other way to escape being electrocuted and kicked repeatedly.
    • Listen carefully to what the lemon children are saying as they hoist up Lemonhope. It's a bit hard to make out because of the shouting and speech impediments, but it's one word: "Hope!" Gaaah...
    • Someone commented on the heartwarming nature of Lemonhope's narrative, as an abused child being taken out of the abusive environment. However, a lot of that narrative just makes everything else about this episode that much more bitterly depressing. Lemonhope is "normal" and "gifted" — by the Princess's standards — and almost cloyingly sweet and innocent, and so the Princess takes an interest in rescuing him. The other lemon children — and despite everything, their behavior illustrates that they are, indeed, children — are strange, mentally challenged in at least a few cases, and malformed, and are also being abused, and are just... left behind. The Princess was openly disgusted by the "floor show", yes, but she isn't moved to do anything until she sees Lemonhope, and then only takes an interest in him. Lemongrab 2 is also being horribly abused, physically, verbally and emotionally, and again, the Princess is mostly just perplexed by the fact that he and Lemongrab look so different now, never seeming particularly troubled with how Lemongrab 2 is treated. This can all be chalked up to pragmatism, or the Princess simply not having the resources or opportunity to save everyone in the castle, but if Lemonhope's situation is heartwarming because of Reality Subtext, then everyone else's situation is cynically depressing for that same reason. It is very common for children in abusive homes to remain there, because they are undesirable due to physical deformity or mental disparity, because people feel like the parent is untouchable, or simply because it's written off by others as "not their business."
    • In conclusion... some relationships can never be, some families fall apart, not everyone winds up rescued, some people are too far gone to change, and what looks like true love has the capacity to go horribly, horribly wrong. Sweet dreams, everyone. Also doubles as horrific.
    • The fact that in the episode, when Lemongrab is eating Lemongrab 2 for the first time, Lemongrab 2's hand is clawing desperately at his back, trying to fight back... but he's too weak and sick, and his hand goes limp and disappears...
    • However, some Lemongrab fans still sympathize with him after watch this episode. That's rather the fact that many consider him nothing more than a poor guy who was finally dominated by his own impulses and insanity after living so many traumatic events: Parental Abandonment, being physically abused by Princess Bubblegum, and most recently witnessed the death of HIS OWN FIRST CHILD, which seems to take a huge resentment to his clone and —practically everyone— after it done. In Real Life, it's sadly very common for abused children to grow into abusive parents, so there's also Real Life subtext here.
      • Although Lemongrab is at this point is a really Ax-Crazy character, that single look he exchanges with Lemonhope at the end is like a punch in the gut if you know what Lemongrab is thinking. Lemongrab has been, time after time, abandoned by, rejected by, and physically abused by Princess Bubblegum. He watches furiously as Princess Bubblegum adopts another lemon person. Even though Lemongrab is a complete bastard, it's hard not to think of this like it's not a punch in the gut...
  • "Earth & Water" has Flame Princess desperately trying to figure out how to "fix" herself, to the point that she's willing to let Bubblegum lock her up and experiment on her, accepting some not very comforting False Reassurances just because she wants to trust her.
    • Her reaction when she learns that Bubblegum told her father to lock her up.
    • This is made worse by the Flashback to her past, showing how that arrangement came about: After hearing that she'd become more powerful than him, the Flame King cast her out into the world hoping she'd die. She accidentally burned down her adoptive parent's cottage, then PB found her wandering around the woods (setting it all ablaze because she's a baby with no self-control), and brings her back home. Her reaction to hearing the Flame King say he doesn't want to deal with her possibly usurping him? "That's YOUR problem; either find a way to contain her powers or I'll do it myself."
    • The fact that Flame Princess and Finn do not get back together.
  • Shoko from "The Vault". Her whole life is one long line of tear jerker moments. Including her parents cutting off her arm and selling it for a computer, then abandoning her at a dojo. Then when she finally finds a good friend in PB she has to rob her to keep her life but ends up dying anyway.
  • In "Love Games", Finn bares his soul and sings a sad song lamenting that he misses Flame Princess. How Finn can't get over her because everything reminds him of her. And the look in his eyes when he finishes his song and states "Just can't get over you".
  • In "Dungeon Train", there's a moment where Jake looks up at the sky and says he wonders what his kids are doing. Since we already know how sad he is about how fast his kids grew up, it's a pretty melancholy scene.
    • Finn's rationale for staying on the train forever is "stuff makes sense here." It's sad because of the implications about what life is like for him outside the train.
  • At the end of "Play Date", Keeoth kidnaps Jake and the episode... just ends.
    Finn: ...Jake??
    • Not only that, the fact that Finn ends up having to break Joshua's sword. It's one of the only things he has to remember his dad by, and in the end it didn't even save Jake from being kidnapped.
  • The death of the Little Buddy in "The Pit". The adorable turtle-like creature wakes up after spending the first 12 years of his life asleep, happily greets Jake and expresses excitement at experiencing life, and is promptly killed by the booby-trapped supplies.
  • Both the beginning and toward the end of James. At first you don't know what's happened, but seeing Finn and Jake so broken up really tears at you. Then when it's revealed what happened, it all just makes it even more heart breaking.
    • Adding to that, Cloned!James acts like he doesn't know who Jake was or what significance the coin Jake gave him was, even though it was his special coin from his non-cloned self.
  • In "Apple Wedding," Princess Bubblegum doesn't want to ask Jake to help Finn keep LSP away from the wedding because she hasn't seen him this happy in a while. Then we see that Jake is happily playing with some little kids from Mr. Pig's family. This becomes a massive Fridge Tearjerker when you think about Jake's disappointment about his own kids having become independent adults so quickly. He's been unhappy enough about it that even PB could tell.
  • In "Blade of Grass", Finn is still using the demon-blood sword, and at first refuses the idea of getting a new one, even though the demon-blood sword is broken. Since he's never shown this much attachment towards any of his other swords, it's pretty easy to guess why he doesn't want to let this one go.
  • The fact that Rattleballs had that gumball lodged in that "weird spot" for so long (possibly centuries.) He's possibly been coughing horribly like that for hundreds of years. Geez...
    • Not to mention the fact that he is the last of his kind. All of his friends and brethren were killed by Princess Bubblegum because they were too dangerous, the person whose kingdom he was sworn to protect. He was alone in that junkyard with no friends, no family, and that Glob-forsaken cough.
  • "Betty"
    • First is the synopsis: Ice King is restored back into Simon Petrikov by a badly-aimed magical spell, and manages to get Betty back with the help of Finn, Jake, and Marceline... but if he doesn't put the crown back on, he dies. Yep, everyone grab the tissues.
    • When Ice King first turns back into Simon, he doesn't think "yay, I'm cured!" but rather, "Oh, god, what new level of insanity have I reached?!?"
    • Betty hiding from Past!Simon around the street corner. The pain of watching Simon turn into a man she hardly recognizes and not wanting her last memories of him being insane, violent, and dangerous is just heartbreaking.
      Betty: Simon... don't leave me like this...
    • Simon practically begs Betty to not save him. He would rather die than turn back into the Ice King.
    • And at the end of Betty, Betty is seen at the end, watching the Ice King imprisoning Muscle Princess. Even though he survived, he no longer remembers her anymore. And with this context, the episode is arguably sadder than Holly Jolly Secrets, because now we know it's possible there's no way for Simon to be with his princess anymore.
      • Alternately, it can be assumed that since Betty survived by the end and wittnessed Simon's resumed insanity, that she had retreated on the carpet not out of abandonment or despair, but out of the hope of finding some way to "fix" Simon and fulfill her promise to him of breaking the crown's hold for good. There is hope that there will be a Happy Ending.
    • There's something very sobering about the way Gunter just turns and looks stoically at an unseen Betty as she leaves on a magic carpet at the end.
  • The ending of "Bad Timing." To sum it up: LSP might have unintentionally killed Johnny, and in her state of grief she asks Bubblegum to use her time machine to make her forget her mistake. Bubblegum does so, but LSP is still in tears and might not know why. Also, if one looks carefully, Johnny appears in the episode's odd borders.
    • Worse, the Adventure Time Wiki claims that the "odd border" might be an alternate dimension. So basically, Johnny is not dead, but instead trapped in another dimension with no known way out.
      • And even worse than that, Johnny is aware of the events happening in the real world. You can see his expression of shock and sadness as he sees LSP erase all her memories of him and revert back to the Jerkass she previously was, and there's absolutely nothing he can do about it.
  • What things are like at Lemon Castle. Those poor lemon children...
    • Lemongrab 2's Heroic Sacrifice. He knew full well what would happen to him if his brother exploded while he was still in his stomach, but helped make it happen anyway, even passionately yelling encouragement for Lemonhope to keep playing the harp, because he so desperately wanted to liberate his children.
    • The ending of "Lemonhope Story," which is implied to be 1000 years in the future, showing a now aged Lemonhope returning home after finally exploring the whole world. The song sung by Bubblegum over the scene only makes it more heart-wrenching.
      Poor Lemonhope,
      I found you in the dark.
      You lived in the bathroom,
      Now live in our hearts.
      • Lemonhope walking through the deserted Candy Kingdom and Castle Lemongrab, devoid of all signs of life (the Candy Kingdom looks like it's suffered through another apocalypse, even). Bubblegum singing that he "came back for his brothers, and for himself" while he walks the silent halls of Lemongrab make it all the more sad. Then he finds the room Bubblegum prepared for him, untouched, and crawls into the bed, closing his eyes with a smile.
      • Seeing what Ooo is like in another 1000 years. The Treehouse has grown until it reaches the clouds; the Ice Kingdom is gone, replaced by ordinary mountains; the Candy Kingdom, having grown into a futuristic Skyscraper City, seems to have gone through another war, and is ruined and devoid of life; and Castle Lemongrab, still in the same state, is deserted. Everyone we know is probably dead.This scene is just disturbing and melancholic
    • The end of "Lemonhope Part 1", with the horrific and depressing image of a badly dehydrated and starving Lemonhope falling face-down in the sand with his hair on fire.
      • The fact that Castle Lemongrab has remained the same suggests that it did not undergo the technological progression the Candy Kingdom went through. Castle Lemongrab will always be a type of slum.
      • Or that it was destroyed/depopulated shortly after Lemonhope left, and left empty.
  • Finn being on the verge of tears when he is reminded Billy is dead and gone in "Billy's Bucket List." Meanwhile, Jake's still in denial about it.

    Season 6 
  • The season six trailer played "Cat's In The Cradle" over scenes from the premiere. Given what happened, many tears.
  • At the end of "Wake Up", Prismo was Killed Off for Real by The Lich. Jake's grief is just... ugh.
    • Prismo died twice, first when his body woke up and then when the Lich killed that too... And he was willing to die just so Finn could meet his horrible father.
    • Notice that minutes before this happens, the Cosmic Owl suddenly leaves in a hurry, with a fabricated excuse about washing his feathers. While it could be said that he didn't want to become the victim of whatever cosmic crime Finn and Jake would need to perform, it could also be said that he foresaw Prismo's death and couldn't stand to watch his best friend murdered in front of his eyes. No wonder he was so insistent on one more game of Card last game...
  • At the end of "Escape from the Citadel" after seasons of foreshadowing, Finn finally loses his right arm from trying to stop his father, who clearly wants nothing to do with Finn. The look of total defeat and heartbreak after everything that has occurred is heartwrenching. To put it in perspective, for the entire show's run, Finn has been constantly wondering about his true origins and whether or not he truly is the last human being in Ooo, if not the entire planet. Now he has finally found his birth father, which is an opportunity to gain answers for every question he's had since he could talk, only to discover that the man is a selfish intergalactic criminal who claims he can't even remember what prompted him to abandon his newborn child in a forest. And despite that, Finn still wants to connect with him in some way, only to have the guy run off into the cosmos despite how hard Finn tried to hold on to him. The sullen look on Finn's face just screams how much he's still processing this. Poor unfortunate son.
    • After the above happens, Shelby comes out from behind Jake's ear and worms his way towards Finn, and starts silently crying, being the only one willing to fully give into the gravity of the situation at the moment. Also doubles as CMOH, considering how much of a series Deadpan Snarker Shelby is.
    • Think about Jake during this. He just lost Prismo, one of his best friends, and now the guy he considers his brother loses his arm trying to communicate with his deadbeat father. The look on his face is just as heartrending as Finn's: he doesn't know what to do or say and spends several minutes in complete silence.
    • Now think about the reaction of everyone Finn knows when he returns to Ooo, coming back with a nub of a right arm. That in itself is Fridge Horror for the rest of the characters, who have known Finn throughout the series as this Wide-Eyed Idealist Kid Hero who is always looking out for others and tries his best at everything he does, never giving up. Just imagine yourself in the position to notice one of your close friends becoming back utterly depressed, heartbroken, and gravely injured like that.
    • Tree Trunks wanting a divorce from Mr. Pig feels needlessly sad, and despite the Lich baby "changing everything", there's no evidence that things will be okay for the couple.
  • In "The Tower," Finn is clearly having trouble learning how to function with only one arm, and is having to deal with the rage he feels toward his father. This rage actually manifests into a prosthetic arm created from telekinetic energy.
    Finn: Thanks a lot, DAD!
  • The titular character of "Breezy" gives up her free life in order to save Finn from a mob of angry bees. When he rejects her (and by "rejects her," we mean "refuses to go under a Forced Transformation into a mating drone"), she cries.
  • "Something Big" has Root Beer Guy's death, defending the Candy Kingdom.
    • Then there's the whole deal with the Giant Darren and the War Elephant, in a unusual tearjerker, we're presented with the realization that the only concept the two understand are fighting, nothing else; So now that they've been awakened for what can only be guessed as thousands of years; theyre confused about how the world has changed so much. It then makes them realize that they would better off be dead then live anymore since they have no desire to continue living without a purpose (except for the War elephant who is trying to find a new one) To make it more clear, when Darren dies, he says "thank you" before he explodes, grateful that he no longer has to live in a world where he doesn't belong. Now that is a special kind of sad.
  • "Thanks for the Crabapples, Giuseppe" is for the most part a cute road trip episode with Ice King and his wizard friends. But then there's a random tragic scene where Ice King reads Giuseppe's magic; it's a poem for his daughter, with a flashback to little girls trying to wake up their dead fathers, and then Ice King cries but he's not aware of it until the others (who are also crying) point it out to him. Bet you weren't expecting Simon/Marcy feelings.
    • When Giuseppe is left behind after leaving the bus to pick up the crabapples. The Ice King seems like he's going to pick him up, but he just wants him to throw him the crabapples, then leaves him stranded in the middle of a field. You can feel how rejected Giuseppe must have felt as he watches the bus slide away without him.
  • "Princess Day". The stuff that Breakfast Princess said to LSP, even if it was all true, it was still pretty brutal to see her just bash LSP like that with no one defending the irradiated star dust thing.
  • "The Nemesis". The horror in this episode all culminates to just this one single word. "Yes..?"
  • "Everything's Jake". The way Goose comes through for Jake even though it means the "Jakeworld" will cease to be and Jake crying as he eats, remembering Goose's sacrifice.
    Jake: (Sheds Single Tear) Just getting a snack, Goose...
  • At the end of "The Cooler", Flame Princess calls Princess Bubblegum out on her overprotective and Lawful Neutral nature telling her that she's cold not because she's a ruler or a scientist, but because she's a bad person. The look on PB's face and the crack in her voice as she says "I'm not a bad person" is heartbreaking, especially because it's Peebles, of all people.
    Princess Bubblegum: I'm PB! I spy on everybody! No big D!
    Flame Princess: You're cold, PB.
    Princess Bubblegum: ...Eh!
    Flame Princess: And it's not because you're a scientist, or leader. It's because you are a bad person. Something inside you is messed up girl, and whatever it is... (sighs) Whatever. Whatever, PB!
    Princess Bubblegum: ...Alright. Keep one last fire giant. I'm not a bad person... I want you to see that.
    • PB's character as a whole becomes a lot more tear-jerking after this episode, if you think about it. She truly believes locking herself away from those she cares about and spying on them from afar, constantly checking that they're safe and monitoring possible threats 24/7 is the only way to make sure nothing happens to them. What must have happened to her in the past to make her react and think in such a way? The main cause of her moral ambiguity and questionable drastic actions is that she cares too much for her kingdom and her friends, and as long as whatever she's thought of will benefit them in some way, it seems right to her. After all, if it's keeping everyone safe, it couldn't possibly be a bad decision, could it?
  • In "Evergreen", Evergreen treats his apprentice, Gunther, like crap and never bothers to teach him magic. Things go from bad to worse when it's up to Gunther to use the wishing crown to stop the Lich Comet. Instead he wishes for his deepest desire: to be like his idol, Evergreen. The crown fulfills his wish, but also drives him insane. With the wish wasted, the comet crashes into the Earth and kills everyone. All because Evergreen was a terrible teacher and father figure to Gunther. Evergreen comes to realize this just before he dies.
  • The bullying that happens to Sweet P in "Gold Stars". Poor kid.
  • "The Mountain" is one of the few Lemongrab episodes that could be said to actually show his perspective. Consequently, it's confirmed that he aches for Princess Bubblegum - effectively, his mother's approval and acceptance, and to play the "family bonding" game of catch (even if he doesn't quite get how it works). He's also deeply insecure about how bad he is at relating to others, and insecurity that makes him outright fear Lemonhope even now. And finally, he deeply regrets the fight that led to half of his past self being hurt, so much so that wanting to stop the fight outweighs his desire to be accepted. The episode also reaffirms that he's suicidal. Even before all this, he seems depressed at the start of the episode. Jesse Moynihan described the driving inspiration for this episode as "What keeps someone from finding peace?"
    • "Don't hurt him!"
    • The reason Finn and Jake are even involved: Finn spotted Flame Princess doing dance exercises with Cinnamon Bun, and he follows Lemongrab to take his mind off of it. The mountain teases him with the image Cinnamon Bun opening himself up like a suit and telling Finn to get in him so that he could spend time with her.
  • BP/ Betsy Poundcake's musings on adulthood and the future in the final moments of "The Diary".
    BP: You know when you're little, and the future feels really far away? You don't know what it looks like. You just hope you'll have stuff figured out by then. You'll know exactly how to act, and feel. You'll have conquered all your fears. And you'll never feel dumb or uncomfortable. You don't think about how you'll actually get there. The middle parts, between then and now? The middle parts suck.
  • In "Friends Forever", Ice King uses the Magi of Life Giving's magic to give life to all his furniture to have them be his best friends. Soon, it turns out that all the furniture is smarter than Ice King and he can't really form a connection to them. On advice from a living lamp, the only piece of furniture to like him, Ice King reaches out to the rest of them. The furniture is well aware of how deep Ice King (who they only refer to as Simon)'s mental problems are and seek to help him. Enraged by this, he freezes them and and pushes them out of the window except for the lamp, who sees him as a cruel, cruel being for giving them life and taking it away so quickly.
  • Poor Jermaine was living in his parents' house ever since they died, and he couldn't leave because so many demons were surrounding the house, demanding their stuff back. He's been having to keep them at bay for at least five years. His jealousy of Finn and Jake's carefree lifestyle finally causes him to lose his temper at his brothers and accidentally set fire to the house. In particular, watching Jermaine get physical with Jake (as in punching and biting him) can be a little hard to watch.
    Jermaine: You got to be Dad's favorite! I GOT STUCK WITH HIS MESS!
    • Even more painful because his situation is a self-inflicted one. Nobody was forcing him to do any of this except himself. He even admits that "I built my own cage."
  • In "Grables 1000+", we see the land of Ooo in the distant future. One thing that sticks out about it is that while most of the planet is now devoid of life, Marceline's house is still in good condition, with the lights still on. This implies that Marceline is still alive after all these centuries, left alone in the world after having outlived all of her friends.
  • In "You Forgot Your Floaties", the fact that many magic users suffer from madness and sadness.
    • In the same episode, Betty's mental breakdown after gaining the powers of the Magic Man and having a vision of Simon telling her "You forgot your floaties"; it also means that Simon may never be cured now that Betty, too, is insane.
  • By the end of "Be Sweet" we find out LSP is incapable of learning a valuable lesson, possibly mentally ill, definitely full of self-loathing and possibly hitting rock bottom.
  • A subtle one in "Orgalorg": after Gunter reawakens as Orgalorg and sends a signal to his home planet, Gunter snaps back to normal and smashes the wooden figurines he made to send the signal, looking horrified at what he's just done. This could mean that "Gunter" has developed his own personality, and is terrified of going back to his old self.
  • In "Hot Diggity Doom", the Candy People don't vote for Bubblegum after King Of Ooo disparaged her, even though she was sure they'd at least get that she made them, and she rants angrily at how everyone fell for a fraud's tricks, only to be met by the blank smiles of the Candy People, who are too unintelligent to comprehend the moral difference between Bubblegum and King of Ooo. Realizing this mistake, Bubblegum throws her crown on the ground before storming off. Poor woman does so much and has to make a lot of tough choices, and gets very little in return.
  • In "The Comet", after Finn rejects the eponymous entity's proposal for a new way of existence, Martin decides to take it in his place. Finn gets angry and calls him out for wanting to escape once again, and Martin responds in perhaps the most honest and open ever, admitting that he's burned so many bridges that he can't help but move forward, and that no answer he gives will ever satisfy anyone. Finn just accepts with a broken smile that there's no point trying to change his father. Martin tells him he's glad they've come to an agreement before dissapearing along the Comet forever.

    Season 7 
  • In "Bonnie and Neddy", Neddy's whole life is considered to be one considering that from the day he is born, he immediately landed into a spiky rock that permanently scarred him so much that he becomes incredibly timid and afraid of anyone not named Bonnibel, preferring to live in the comfort of the Candy Roots. Is it any wonder that any scenes of Neddy crying will make fans cry as well.
  • In "Varmints", Bubblegum breaks down and cries over how she has lost everything. From major things like her kingdom to minor things like her trucker hat, it's all just evidence to her of how far she has fallen from her former glory.
  • "Cherry Cream Soda" is one of the most depressing episodes in the entire show. The titular character still hasn't gotten over her husband's death in "Something Big". And when he comes back from the dead, she doesn't know what to do because she remarried.
    • She also has a profound realization of existential sadness and bit of nostalgia over their origins. She realizes she doesn't really know her husband since they were created by Bubblegum and simply declared married on the spot, this being in an era when her control was absolute, and she was basically a benevolent dictator.
  • From Stakes, we have a rendition of the Mr. Belvedere theme that has oddly fitting lyrics to the situation, "According to our new arrival, life is more than mere survival."
    • It turns out that Marceline only started vampire hunting (and thus becoming a vampire) is because she missed Simon and wanted to protect humans like him.
    • We actually get to see the moment when Simon left Marcy - previous episodes somewhat implied that he just left unannounced (and wrote a goodbye letter she didn't get to read for almost a thousand years). Instead, we now see that in one of his last moments of fading lucidity, he packed up his things and left, formally saying "goodbye", and tried to explain to Marcy that he had to leave because he feared that if he stayed and ultimately went totally crazy, he'd end up hurting her. This did not soften the blow at all for Marceline. Also, years apparently passed after this in which she was totally alone, as in the next scene when she sees other people for the first time, she's a teenager.
      • We get a moment during their parting where Marcy's trying to chase after him, while Simon's clinging on to the sleigh with a pained expression on his face. This was not an easy choice for him.
    • Marceline's mother composed "Everything Stays" as a song of reassurance for her daughter, shortly before the Mushroom Wars began.
    • Bit of a fridge moment, but in the present day, past seasons have shown that Marceline has the habit of calling out names for her attacks, like "Vampire Kick!", etc., and this is played purely for comedy. In "Stakes", we see Marceline befriend a group of surviving humans soon after the Mushroom War. The little girl in the group often enjoys playing with her by pretending to be a vampire and shouting "Vampire Attack!" - ...Marceline must have picked up the habit of calling out names for her attacks from this little boy: it's how she remembers a dear friend who has been dead for centuries.
  • Moe's death prior to the events of "The More You Moe, the Moe You Know".
    • BMO has a bit of an existential crisis throughout the episode. First, on the way to the factory, BMO has a conversation with Air from "BMO Lost" about his fears that growing up means changing who you are in ways he and the ones he loves might not like. Then, after getting stuck in the trash compactor, he wonders if being an adult means not knowing if things are going well or going badly. Then, after having to kill AMO in self-defense, he has a conversation with himself where he worries he'll turn out like his selfish "brother".
  • We only see his head shake, but Finn cries when he sees his other self reunite with his parents in "Cross Over".
  • In "King's Ransom", Ice King comes this close to remembering Betty's name.
  • In "Don't Look", Finn temporarily gets magic eyes which allows him to turn anyone he sees into what he perceives them as. Highlights include turning The Ice King into Simon Petrikov, turning NEPTR into a non-sentient microwave (effectively killing him), and after that, turning himself into a monster that bears a resemblance to his father.
  • "I Am A Sword", hoo boy, where to start...
    • First, Finn loses his Finn Sword, made from an alternate timeline him.
    • Then, Finn Sword ends up in the hands of Bandit Princess, who intends to use him for acts of evil and greed until he doesn't remember being a hero.
    • And then, at the end of the episode the crystal housing the Finn Sword's Finn gets impaled by the grass sword, and Finn the Human faints.
    • A more minor example, but it's strongly implied that Bandit Princess killed Box Prince after attacking the Box Kingdom.
  • A small one in "Five Short Tables"—Butterscotch Maid lists off Gumball's dreams, ambitions, regrets and fears to him. The latter two are mild tearjerkers; under "regrets" we see Marshall Lee scowling angrily at Gumball while "fears" shows Gumball's tombstone saying "Here lies Gumball, he died alone".

    Season 8 
  • The Islands special event delves into perhaps the most deep, depressing and heartbreaking territory that Adventure Time has ever crossed. It has been compared to Black Mirror, since its underlying narrative is about the good, bad and occasionally extremely disturbing sides of technology.
  • In "Whipple the Magic Dragon", when Jake tries to call it quits after the boat is destroyed and is nearly led to a death trap by the jellyfishes, Finn tells him the main reason why he wated to make thetrip is that he barely knew anything about his own people, and if he gave up, that void would haunt him for the rest of his days.
    Jake: Finn, I wanna turn back.
    Finn: What? We can't!
    Jake: An annoying dragon wrecked our boat, I got poisoned by jellyfish and saw our dead parents. I don't see things de-escalating.
    Finn: It's just a small bump... a-a bunch of small bumps.
    Jake: No dumb island can be worth the risk!
    Finn: Maybe not, but I can't turn back!
    BMO: This trip means a lot to you, huh?
    Finn: Yeah...
    Jake: Yeah, but why? Do you want to find some humans and ditch us?
    Finn: No! It's just... ugh... Ok... Look, I'm really happy in Ooo. I love our Mom and Dad, but I don't know squat about humans. If I don't see this through, part of me will always be stuck to that boom-boom leaf where Mom found me, still alone.
    • After Finn and Susan punch the jellyfishes off and one of them latches on her head, Susan sees Frieda, but is unable to remember her at the time.
  • In "Mysterious Islands", Alva's videos. First they showed happy children and adults bending the weather to their will by hi-tech. After that, nature got out of control and people were shown to die because of thunderstorm, twisters and wild animals. Given that Alva was quite young in the montage and she lives alone by now, it is implied that she has outlived every other human she knows.
  • Kara and Frieda's story.
    • When Kara decides to help Frieda leave the island, Frieda attempts to convince Kara to go with her. However, before Kara can decide, Dr. Gross appears and activates the implant in Kara's head, forcing her to destroy Frieda's boat. Dr. Gross then has Kara (still under mind control) carry off a devastated Frieda to re-education.
  • Minerva's despair over finding Martin and Finn disappeared, especially when she thinks that her husband tricked her and escaped with his son from the island on purpose.
    • The revelation that Martin was a genuinely loving husband and father that did his best to protect his son, even going against the unstoppable Guardian. Neither Finn nor Minerva will ever know the lengths that Martin went to for his child, both believing him to be nothing but a self-serving Jerkass to his final moments.
      • It's quite likely that Martin wound up like he did when Finn met him as a result of injuries he received from fighting the Guardian, as promo art for the episode shows him with severe bleeding from a piece of shrapnel that landed in his head.
      • The last words that Martin says to Finn before they're separated:
        Martin: Finn... I'll be back for you.
    • Worse still, he winks when he says this. When he loses Finn and is thus unable to keep his promise, he believes he lied to his son and from that point onward only ever winks when he is lying, because that's what he associates the gesture with in his mind. To sum it up, losing Finn broke Martin, irreparably.
  • While Finn does finally get to meet his mother, it takes a turn for the sadder after it's revealed that she only exists as a consciousness inside a computer and an army of helper robots in her likeness. She even has to tell one of the bots to hug Finn, not being able to physically touch him...
  • Susan/Kara is finally reunited with Frieda, only to find that she's completely given up on her dreams of adventuring (possibly due to the "re-education" she was put through). Even Kara reminding Frieda that she was the one who ruined her chances of leaving barely gets a response. Thankfully, Frieda snaps out of it after hearing Finn's pep talk.
    • Minerva has clearly suffered Sanity Slippage, wanting to keep Finn with her by forcibly performing the same Brain Uploading procedure on him that she went through. But it's clear that this is rooted in an incredibly real fear of losing him again if she lets him return to Ooo.
  • The last minutes of the special, when we see Finn saying goodbye to his mom, and crying when her signal can't reach him anymore.

    Season 9 
  • Elements Part 5 shows Jake being assimilated into Slime Princess and evaporating into nothingness. Finn believes he's gone for good and when he meets up with Lady Rainicorn in Part 6 to try to tell her, he's horrified to find her corrupted to the point of not caring about her boyfriend anymore.
  • Lumpy Space Princess's Heroic BSoD after finally realising that nobody is the person they used to be is fairly distressing in its own right. Everyone in the land of Ooo has basically become either a sad, lazy, angry or sweet shadow of their former selves except for LSP and three others, and she bemoans her ineptitude and inability to save anyone all on her own when even Finn falls to the influence of the elements. Of course the fact that her immunity is the key to saving Ooo is what ultimately makes her heroic action at the end of Elements so heartwarming.
  • Betty's frustration with Simon reaches a breaking point where she tries to recreate a restaurant they used to go to to jog his memory, but of course, it doesn't work. She suffers a breakdown and confides to Tiny Manticore about it before coming to the realization that Simon may just not exist anymore, and that she should try to accept Ice King as he is. She tries, and the two begin to get along just fine throughout Elements. Despite it all, she just cannot accept Ice King, and leaves Finn to be corrupted by the Candy Kingdom while she steals their only chance of fixing Ooo in an attempt to go back in time and stop Simon from ever getting the crown.
    Betty: When I look at you... I just see what my life used to be like through a fun house mirror!! (laughs brokenly and sheds a Single Tear) It's driving me mad!
  • In "Three Buckets", Finn ends up accidentally murdering Fern after the Emissary From Beyond makes him try to imprison Finn. Just the look on Finn's face afterwards, and his silent return to the tree house is enough to make anyone weep.
    • Their fight is tragic in more ways than one. It all goes to hell once Fern goes berserk and tries to kill Finn with the Grass Sword.
      Finn: What do you think you're doing?!
      Fern: You've been Finn long enough. It's MY turn!
      Finn: Fern! Smarten up!
      Fern: Nuh-uh!
      Finn: What are you?
    • The end of the fight is quite tragic. Finn doesn't want to kill Fern and tries to talk him down, but his words accidentally trigger his arm and it tears Fern apart, his grass raining on top of a horrified Finn.
      Fern: Hahahahahaha...
      Finn: Fern, if things are going down the way I think they're going down, please, tell Jake I love him.
      Fern: That doesn't matter, I love him.
      Finn: I know you do, Fern. Listen, we can stop this and just go home together! All this lying and fighting, It... doesn't have to end like this. Today doesn't have to have this kind of... finality!
      Finn's Arm: Fatality! [Finn's arm tears through Fern's chest and blows him apart]
    • Finn's return to the Treefort is painful. Jake and BMO immediately realize something went horribly wrong when they see Finn's Thousand-Yard Stare and console him after what happened.
      Jake: Hey, boys! You'll have fun out there? [sees Finn's face] Wait, what happened?
      BMO: I know the look. You just killed someone.
    • Made even worse in the very next episode, when it turns out that Finn feels so much guilt over what he had to do that he can't attack the green monster that's killing the Banana Guards... he just sees Fern's face when he tries to stab Grumbo. And given what Jake and Huntress Wizard said, it's not the first time this happened.
      Hallucinated Fern: Don't kill me, Finn.
      Finn: Um... you're a go. Mathematical!
      Jake: Finn, are you doing the thing?
      Hallucinated Fern: I'm your friend. I'm you.
      Finn: Jake, maybe... you should slay this guy?
      Jake: Aw, dude, you ARE doing the thing again!
      Hallucinated Fern: I'm youuuuuuuu!
      Jake: SLAY HIIIIIM!!
    • When Grumbo flees and Finn chases after it, he's once again struck by Fern's hallucination, which brings so much pain to Finn that he's unable to drive his rapier through its head. Grumbo knocks him off and nearly hits him with its scalding hot fudge.
      Finn: No mercy this time, banana boy! I don't care why you're doing this or if you... [Fern's face appears on top of Grumbo's head] ...have a-a tragic past? I DON'T CARE! I'm hard like that... [tries to stab Grumbo through the Fern face's forehead, his hands shaking]
      Hallucinatited Fern: Don't kill me, Finn.
      Finn: Ugh... No!
      [Grumbo notices Finn, roars at him and tries to bite him]
      Finn: OH, GROSS!!
      [Grumbo headbutts Finn, sending him flying towards a bush]
      Finn: What the heck is my problem?!
    • Earlier that morning, just before finding the Banana Guard peels, Finn and PB had a talk about Fern. Although he's been trying to distract himself over the last month, the tragic way Fern and Finn's friendship ended still haunts the latter.
      Princess Bubblegum: Thanks again for coming out to coach. The Jamboree is always a big morale boost for the troops.
      Finn: Yeah, it's a... it's a nice distraction.
      PB: Hmmm. So, how are you holding up after all the Fern stuff?
      Finn: It's been a rough month, PB. I know Fern was an angry guy who tried to kill me, but, I still feel awful about the way he went. It's really messing with me.
    • Hell, just Fern's story in general. Way back in "Two Swords" he was confused and thought he was Finn, because he was Finn. From his perspective he simply woke up one day to find another person wearing his face, only to find out that that person was him and he was the copy made out of plant matter. Suddenly, even his own brother shies away from him, and all of his friends and people he used to know treat him like another person, when to him he was just Finn. To top that off he's now made of grass, leaving him unable to perform his favorite hobbies or even enjoy food, and he's faced with a series of dramatic failures as a hero that cause him to develop an intense inferiority complex to Finn. Is it any wonder he broke down?
    • No matter what Fern does, Finn still cares deeply about him, which it why it hurts him to see Fern so obsessed with beating him.
  • "Come Along With Me": It's the Grand Finale of the entire series, what did you expect?
    • Time Adventure, a song written by Rebecca Sugar that will play in this episode. Just for an idea of how sad it is, John DiMaggio (Jake's actor) cried and was unable to read his part for almost one hour.
      • When Sugar played it at the show's final ComicCon panel, she dedicated it to Adam Muto, showrunner and Sugar's old storyboarding partner, who visibly teared up during the performance, as did DiMaggio and Olivia Olsen (Marceline).
    • The poor Gumball Guardians took on GOLB's demon, and ended up apologizing and pleading for their mother to help them, one dying and one becoming corrupted into a monster before PB's helpless eyes.
    • As Marceline begs PB not to go forward with the Gum War, there is a brief flashback to her as a child standing amid the flaming ruins of a city in the aftermath of the Mushroom War. It's made abundantly clear that Marceline knows the horrors of war firsthand.
    • Both Finn and Jake are at their lowest points emotionally as they find themselves helpless against the presence of GOLB.
      • Jake in a particular way is far beyond broken: still upset at seeing Finn devoured by GOLB, he gets to see one the Treehouse destroyed with BMO inside, possibly killing the last living member of his extended family/gang and every single memento of their lives in one swoop. Jake is left literally speechless, then curls into a sobbing ball as he becomes increasingly smaller.
        Jake: OK, buddy... there's no reason to freak out just because the treehouse is GOOOONE!!
      • The worst part of it? When BMO shows up, alive but with a cracked faceplate, Jake keeps berating himself because, from his point of view, he just let Finn die, the treehouse was crushed into oblivion, and BMO is hurt. BMO's reaction? He hugs the now smaller Jake singing him Time Adventure as a final lullaby to let him sleep one last time before the possible end.
        Jake: Gah... BMO?
        [BMO's alive, but his face is cracked]
        Jake: Oh no, man. Your little face... [BMO grabs Jake]
        BMO: Shhhh... It's OK, Jake. You always try to protect me and Finn. But sometimes, we are going to get hurt. How about today, you let me be the papa?
    • As Finn, Simon and Betty are being slowly crushed to death inside GOLB, Finn tries desperately to use the Ice Crown to break out of the room they are held in only to finally collapse from exhaustion as the walls slowly close around them. All Simon can do is put a hand on Finn's shoulder to console him as they await the end.
      Finn: I always figured I'd go out saving somebody...
      Simon: Hey, nobody gets to choose how it happens. The only important thing is that we're here together.
    • Betty's Heroic Sacrifice, letting herself get absorbed by GOLB as she uses the wishing crown to keep Simon safe. She ends up taking over GOLB's consciousness, leaving and saving Ooo. As she leaves, Simon breaks into tears as he begs his "princess" to come back.
      • King Man is horrified when he recognizes what Betty/GOLB have done. His actions have cost the life of another person he cared about, and All for Nothing.
      • A brief, but heartbreaking moment during the ending montage shows that Simon travelled all the way to Prismo's time room to wish Betty back... only to end up with a trash can on the floor.
      • Before Betty leaves, she disintegrates both of GOLB's monsters. Except said creatures were actually corrupted candy people, who were still alive and sentient while unable to control their bodies.
      • Arguably, you could apply "Time Adventure" to Simon and Betty. The time they had together always came with some sort of catch, and now, Betty has saved her love and everyone at the cost of ever seeing them again, and she will never be able to join Simon in death. All they have now is their memories and love of each other. They could never return to the old times they had before the Mushroom War.
    • Finn and Jake's treehouse getting destroyed.
    • Due to Finn killing the Grass Demon, Fern slowly begins to disintegrate (in a similar fashion to a certain other sad ending) until he dies shortly after Betty-GOLB leaves, finally at peace with himself. His last request is that Finn and Jake plant his remains at the now ruined treehouse.
      • Even worse: Fern isn't aware of the ruination of the treehouse, and his first request is being able to see it one more time before dying. As Finn rushes to reassure him he will help, Jake looks at both of them shivering and horrified, unable to break them the news. Only when Fern tells them that's too late, and he'd rather get the last seed of himself planted near the treehouse, Jake calms down.
    • Even after the happy ending, an apparently calm and accepting Jake is able to see and interact with the Music Hole. If you remember the lore, the Music Hole can be seen only by people with childlike innocence, like Finn and BMO, or with great loss in their heart, like the Ice King, could see her. Jake will never let the loss of Fern and the treehouse go, no matter how much time will pass.
    • The peek forward in time showing even BMO isn't immune to The Fog of Ages. He remembers the story, but has forgotten Finn's name after so many centuries.
      • In the intro, we briefly see fallen, eroded statues of Finn and possibly Jake. A nearby sign says that these statues are of "Finn and Jer—", implying something happened to Jake that caused Jermaine to take his place. And the fact the Finn statue depicts him as young can either mean two things: that was considered his prime, and/or Finn died young.
      • The Ice Thing is suddenly a sadder figure after the ending montage shows why he may be acting that way. His left eye gem was on Turtle Princess's wedding ring that he proposed to her with. A thousand years later, Gibbon has it, Turtle Princess's fate is unknown, and the Ice Thing is a maniacal animal-like creature that seems to constantly attack Gibbon and the Pup Kingdom so he can have his gem back.
      • All There in the Manual revealing that Beth is a fugitive from her own kingdom, and Gibbon is a tyrant that strips away his fellow pups' powers at birth all because he lost his own power. It's sad to see that this is what has become of Jake and Lady Rainicorn's Legacy.
      • All There in the Manual revealing that Gibbon misses his mother, Charlie.
    • Instead of "The Island Song" playing in the credits, we get a brand new song to close out the series, entitled "Waving to You"; as you can see from the title and the bittersweet and melancholy tone of the song it's almost as if Finn, Jake and the rest of the gang (as well as the entire show) is waving goodbye to us. an absolutely beautiful and nostalgic way to wrap up the show that kicked off a brand new era of animation as a whole.

  • 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.
  • The ending of the Fionna and Cake comics reveal the Ice Queen's origin. It's just as heartbreaking as Ice King's. She used to be a kindly water nymph who became friends with the young Cake. She was fatally wounded one day and to save her, Cake gave her a magic gem she found. It turned out to be part of Ice Queen's tiara and it turned her into the Ice Queen, just like the Ice King's crown did, with the same Alzheimer's-like effects and everything. As if that isn't sad enough, the issue ends with Ice Queen melting herself as she explains that she did everything she did because she thought it would bring her warmth. There's an implication that Ice Queen has been actively suicidal for many years now...
    • Then remember that Ice King wrote these.
      • After losing the love of his life, as well as who knows how many other loved ones, surviving the apocalypse, slowly going insane with no way to help himself, having to abandon a child in fear that he might hurt her and ending up as a pathetic shell of his former self, Simon Petrikov JUST. WANTS. TO. DIE.
  • The Lich's Lotus-Eater Machine. It's basically Yank the Dog's Chain times a thousand.
  • The Ice King doesn't even remember why he's fighting off the crown anymore. Remember all that stuff from the entry above where he JUST WANTS TO DIE? Yeah, remember the crown wants EVERYBODY to die.
  • What happened to the first Ghost Princess after the events of "Ghost Princess". Turns out Clarence really was a donkus.
  • The fact that Root Beer Guy is starring in the Banana Guard Academy mini-series, considering he recently died in the line of duty in "Something Big".

    Video Games 
  • In the otherwise uninspired licensed game, Explore The Dungeon Because I Don't Know, a horrifying bit of light is shed on just how far Princess Bubblegum is willing to go in the name of science. The game revealed that after the events of "You Made Me," Princess Bubblegum lured both Flame Princess and the Lemongrabs into a secret lair so she could experiment on them. When the earls recount their horrifying tale to the dumb-founded Finn and Jake, they mostly seem confused and uninterested in the earl's plight. Finn and Jake proceed to fight them, the Lemongrabs lose, and then they ask for candy. No wonder they wanted Finn to give them candy after that horrible ordeal... poor things...