- Giles' heartbreak when he finds out that the man from the pie shop is not only straight but also homophobic and racist. What makes it worse is that this was a very common experience for LGBT people during that time period.
- This is followed by a heartbreaking speech where he tells Elisa he has no one except her, and that's why he's agreeing to help her save the Asset.
- Elisa, sitting with the weakening Asset and knowing that their time together is limited, drifts into an Imagine Spot where she sings "You'll Never Know." This turns into a black-and-white, Golden Age of cinema number, with she and the Asset joyfully dancing together. It slowly fades back to the real world, the rain, Elisa signing her heart out, and the last, bittersweet line of the song.You went away and my heart went with youI speak your name in my every prayerIf there is some other way to prove that I love youI swear, I don't know howYou'll never know if you don't know now
- The death of Dr. Hoffstetler, aka Dmitri. He's betrayed by his fellow Russians, shot in the stomach and through his cheek, only to be saved at the last minute by Strickland, who then tortures him by pressing into his bullet holes and electrocuting him with a cattle prod to find out who took the Asset. Doubles as Nightmare Fuel.
- The Assets expression when he signs to Elisa their shared You. Me. Together. to try and get her to come with him into the ocean. Its obvious he doesnt want to leave her behind, but she shakes her head and tearfully signs that he has to go alone, she cant come with him. His response is a mixture of sadness, some pain and betrayal, but mostly defeat and acceptanceand its a fish face that all this is readable on, mind you. Elisas tears make it that much more heart-wrenching.
- Giles' resigned sadness when he finds the Asset has gruesomely killed and eaten one of his pet cats, his only companions — he can't even bring himself to be angry with the Asset, who is after all only doing what animals do, but he's understandably shocked and heartbroken. The Asset for his part clearly realizes he's done something seriously wrong, cautiously reaching out to the surviving cats and approaching Giles to apologize in his own nonverbal way.
- Elisa pleading her absolutely furious case to Giles when he condescendingly brushes off her pleas to help her free the Asset. Practically shaking, she tells him how the Asset is the saddest thing she's ever seen and the only one to ever see her for who she is, rather than what she lacks. When he still refuses, she slams on the wall one last time to get his attention, then tells him that if they do nothing, their friendship is nothing. He simply leaves her alone in the hallway. And then comes back later in the day to offer whatever help she needs.
- Compare and contrast: A cleaning woman with an other-worldly creature who eventually get over language barrier and understand one another, to national top-secret teams of specialists from America against its Soviet counterpart who go "we don't know what the Asset can do, but destroy it anyway just so that the Americans/Soviets don't know about it." Not even realizing that their rival is just as blind and is carrying out the exact same orders. The "monster" in the beginning narration does not refer to the Asset, its us humans who can be so damn needlessly destructive even though we know so little about the world, let alone the person next to ourselves.
- There is much to be said as well about how the story displays and examines the level of isolation and sadness of the characters, even when they seems to be surrounded by people (who, actually, don't understand each other). It's a feeling many of us have felt at least once and can relate to.
Tear Jerker / The Shape of Water