Saddest Adventure Time Moments

Adventure Time is a show that is filled with hilarious scenes due to its zany setting and characters. However, the show demonstrated in its eight years on the air that they could handle drama as well. Here are ten tear-jerking moments from the legendary cartoon series.

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The Top Ten
1 "Remember You" (I Remember You)

Marceline and Ice King found each other when they were both alone and fighting just to live. They had to leave each other so they could keep fighting. This song highlights that.

Both Ice King and Marceline have lived very tragic lives. Ice King was once a regular human named Simon who slowly lost his mind after putting on a crown that allowed him to take control of the ice and snow. Marceline was born to a demon father and a human mother and was left without anybody to care for her once the Great Mushroom War began.

By Adventure Time's fourth season, those who followed the show knew about both of these characters' backstories. However, no one was prepared for the emotional sucker punch that the classic episode "I Remember You" was preparing to deliver. The episode includes the first on-screen interaction between these two characters, and it's immediately evident that they have had history together.

Ice King naively pesters Marceline to help him write a song to attract princesses while she generally seems depressed and frustrated by his presence. The awkwardness of the episode reaches a climax when Marcy notices an old picture of herself with a poem written by Simon on the back. He had written the poem for her, apologizing for his insane outbursts due to his crown's influence, explaining how he has been losing his grasp on reality more and more, and asking her for forgiveness when he eventually forgets who she is.

All the while, Marceline sings the poem while a tear runs down her face, feeling sorrow for her former friend who still exists right next to her. While the two harmonize, the episode cuts back in time during the war's aftermath as we see a young Marceline weeping. Simon, now undergone much of the effects of the crown's curse, comforts her by giving her a stuffed bear who she would eventually name Hambo.

This episode is just so well-crafted, and it all culminates with Rebecca Sugar's beautiful and heart-wrenching song. You can really feel the pain in Marceline as all she wants is her best friend and father-figure back in her life, even though he is too far gone to ever come back. The episode is just a... more

2 Finn's Backstory (Min and Marty)

Throughout the show's history, fans had always wondered about Finn's backstory. They asked questions like: "Is Finn really the last human in Ooo?" "Who are Finn's human parents, and where are they if they're still alive?" "What happened to all the humans?" "How did Finn wind up in the Land of Ooo?"

For about seven years, fans created theories attempting to answer all of these questions until Adventure Time finally decided to delve into the main character's past with the Season 8 miniseries "Islands." I have been on record saying that I believe the "Islands" miniseries to be the greatest thing that Adventure Time has ever done.

While it starts off a bit standard with the main characters traveling to strange locations (which is par for the course for Adventure Time), the miniseries truly delivers in its second half of episodes, which are the greatest stretch of episodes in the show's history, in my opinion.

The episode "Min and Marty" is an enormous classic in the show's catalog. The entire episode is dedicated to the romance between Finn's biological human parents, Martin Mertens and Minerva Campbell. Martin was a con artist who scammed "hiders" (people who attempted to leave the human island) and turned them over to the authorities known as "seekers." Minerva was a "helper" who acted as a doctor and helped everyone she could on the island.

One day, these two people's lives collided, and they ended up falling in love with one another. Over the course of presumably one-and-a-half years, the two began a relationship, bought a house, and had a son together whom they named Finn, presumably due to Minerva's Irish ancestry.

On one fateful night, however, people whom Martin had wronged in the past tracked him down with the intention of killing him and his newborn son. After laying low on a raft, Martin and Finn were swept away by the island's defense mechanism, never to be seen again, leaving Minerva utterly heartbroken over the loss of... more

3 Ice King's Final Tape (Holly Jolly Secrets Part II)

Prior to the show's first holiday special in 2011, Ice King was seen as an antagonist in Adventure Time. But even then, he wasn't threatening or intimidating like the main antagonist, the Lich. He was just seen as a minor annoyance that would always be defeated easily. He was just as goofy as everyone else, and you could tell deep down that he wasn't actually evil and that he just wanted companionship from other people.

"Holly Jolly Secrets" is a two-parter that mostly consists of Finn and Jake watching Ice King's secret videotapes in order to potentially discover his evil secrets. And boy, did they discover a HUGE secret. We learn that long ago, Ice King was once a kind-hearted human named Simon Petrikov who lost his mind once he put on a magical crown that gave him his ice powers.

It's so heartbreaking learning how Simon lost everything in his life, how terrified he was of what he was becoming, and how he apologized for anything he would eventually do once he completely lost his mind and memories of who he once was. "Holly Jolly Secrets" is one of the episodes of Adventure Time that changed the show forever.

Every episode after it, you can visibly see how Finn and Jake react differently to the Ice King and how they pity him a lot more. The introduction of this plotline allowed the show to transition into much heavier and serious topics in the later seasons, and it proved that the show was much more than a simple adventure/comedy. Ice King's backstory will go down as one of the most tragic backstories in TV history, and all of it is revealed with this chilling look at his past life.

4 Princess Cookie's Suicide Attempt (Princess Cookie)

"Princess Cookie" is truly one of Adventure Time's more underrated episodes, and Princess Cookie is one of my favorite one-off characters in the show. In this singular episode, we get the story of one troubled member of the Candy Kingdom and how his dreams of becoming a princess were crushed at a young age, leading him to a life of crime.

Princess Cookie starts off the episode as a typical villain that our heroes must defeat, but as time goes on, he becomes a very sympathetic character as it is revealed that he grew up with practically nothing and just wanted to achieve happiness in his own unique way by becoming a princess, just like Princess Bubblegum. While Finn and PB put the safety of his hostages as their top priority, Jake identifies with his struggles and agrees to help him out.

While Princess Cookie and Jake make their escape from the guards, Cookie realizes that all his running and crimes will never get him any closer to achieving his dreams. With tears in his eyes, he thanks Jake for helping him feel special and fulfilled for once and hurls himself off a cliff in an attempt to end his life with a calm smile on his face. Fortunately, he survives and is put into a mental rehabilitation center where Jake makes him a princess crown so he can finally feel happy.

I'm still shocked that Cartoon Network allowed Adventure Time to show a legitimate suicide attempt on screen, but I'm glad they allowed such a heavy and emotional moment to play out. Adventure Time also handled the situation with the utmost respect and seriousness. That moment on the cliff is both a depressing and beautiful moment at the same time with vibrant colors, somber music, and phenomenal voice acting from both John DiMaggio and Donald Faison, whose performance as Princess Cookie is one of the best guest performances in a cartoon that I have ever heard.

5 Finn Loses His Arm (The First Time) (Escape from the Citadel)

Losing one's wife and son can do a lot to somebody. As we saw in the future "Islands" miniseries, Martin Mertens was a con artist who attempted to become a more honest and genuine person by settling down with his girlfriend Minerva and having a son who he could become better for. Once those two things were violently ripped away from him, he reverted to his duplicitous nature because that was the only thing he had left. Martin is truly a tragic story.

We see how scummy he is and view him as a deadbeat dad who seemed to never care about his son except for when personal gain came out of it, but then realized how he was a misunderstood person who was turning his life around only for it to be ruined by demons from his past. When we first meet him, he is truly a terrible person who does not seem to care about his son at all. When Finn makes a last-ditch effort to keep him in his life, his arm gets ripped off and he is left emotionally and physically scarred.

This moment left a mark on Finn that would haunt him for the rest of the entire show. It was a brutal reminder of the pain his father inflicted on him and would forever change who he physically was... for about four episodes. Then "Breezy" came and effectively erased this powerful and devastating moment, giving a giant middle finger to the fans in the process. Thank God they actually had Finn lose his arm a second time.

6 Princess Bubblegum Breaks Down (Varmints)

Princess Bubblegum is a misunderstood character both by many people in the show and by a large portion of Adventure Time's fan base. If you were to look at the "Worst Adventure Time Characters" list on this website, she sits comfortably at the top. I never really understood that.

Sure, she was a tad bland as Finn's love interest during the show's earlier years, and she came off as a little bit too controlling, but I always liked her and found her engaging. "Varmints" is the episode that made me love PB as a character. This episode pairs her up with her friend/crush Marceline, and it is everything awesome that an episode featuring these two characters as the leads promises. It's funny, action-packed, and exhilarating, and it also includes the one moment that properly showcases how strong of a character PB is and redeems every questionable decision she might have made in the past.

After years of watching her be on top of things and firmly in control of every situation she finds herself in, it's quite a stunning moment to watch her allow all her emotions and pain to roll out in such a compelling scene. In a rare moment of vulnerability, she breaks down in tears, lamenting how focusing on running her kingdom only managed to push everyone she loved away, and that she is very regretful of the decisions that have hurt other people in the past. It really is a heartfelt scene that not only showcases how strong the relationship between Marceline and Princess Bubblegum is but how it finally got people to realize how sympathetic, complex, and compelling a character Bonnie is.

7 Princess Bubblegum Goes Back to Being 18 (Too Young)

I have to be honest here. I hate using the word "shipping," but I totally practiced that term in describing the relationship between Finn and 13-year-old PB after the events of "Mortal Folly" when her age was reverted. I was 12 at that time and was beginning to go through puberty, was getting into girls, and I related a lot to Finn because he was going through the same stuff that I was going through at the time.

I found it so cool that even in this wild and crazy fantasy world, there was still a main character that was maturing at the same time that I was, and I was so happy that he could potentially have a girlfriend who was the same age as him. It just felt so... right. Throughout the entirety of "Too Young," Finn and Princess Bubblegum are so damn adorable together.

So when PB had to make the difficult decision to sacrifice her youth and romance with Finn for the sake of protecting her people from the tyranny of Lemongrab, it broke my heart just as much as it broke Finn's. I anticipated that PB would just remain Finn's age for the rest of the show and would grow up alongside Finn, but when "Too Young" threw that left hook, I was emotionally unprepared, and it hit me square in my tween gut. I just wanted Finn to be happy, and I loved the new dynamic of Finn and PB's relationship so much that seeing it end so abruptly legitimately messed me up inside.

I'm not kidding when I say that I was legitimately heartbroken for the span of about two months after this episode aired. I'm very glad to say that I got past that and I now see the episode as the simultaneously heartfelt and hilarious classic that it is.

8 Fern Dies (Come Along with Me)

Fern was a character introduced in the later seasons of the show. He was both an interesting character and an interesting concept. He was essentially a clone of Finn, made of grass. He had all the memories of Finn and essentially the same personality, only with a slightly different voice and much more internal darkness due to not knowing what he was supposed to be.

Finn really grew to care about Fern and viewed him like the biological brother he never had. However, jealousy of Finn and hatred of himself led Fern down a bad path, eventually trying to kill Finn and aligning himself with Princess Bubblegum's Uncle Gumbald. At the end of the show's finale, he and Finn finally reconcile before Fern's life is stripped away from him as he blows away in the wind.

This is a very significant moment, as he is the only important character in the show that actually dies on screen.

9 Finn Says Goodbye to His Mother (The Light Cloud)

Ever since we met Martin, speculations rose in Adventure Time's fan base over who Finn's mother was. Were everyone's predictions about Susan being Finn's mom correct or was there someone else out there? And even if there was, would she even be alive?

"Islands" answered all those questions in such a beautiful and heartbreaking manner. Finn is finally able to meet his biological mother, Minerva Campbell (the resemblance is very palpable), where he learns that she had uploaded her mind into the computers of the human society in order to save her species at the price of her own life. As a result, she does not want Finn to leave Founder's Island because she knows how dangerous it is out there.

After reasoning with his mother, she finally allows him to leave before sending him into her virtual house where they share a hug. After all these years, it was so satisfying to actually see Finn's mother, and it was such a beautiful moment as the two once again were temporarily forced to say goodbye to one another before her virtual likeness fades away. The shot of Finn with tears running down his face while somberly saying "goodbye" is particularly compelling and ended the "Islands" miniseries on such an enormous high note.

I'm just so glad that she and her people decided to take the trip to Ooo in the series finale. It's a very comforting feeling knowing that Finn's mother is now back in his life as the series concluded.

10 Simon Leaves Marceline Behind (Everything Stays)

Simon Petrikov loved Marceline so much and was very protective of her. So when he could feel himself losing his sanity more and more, he had a very difficult decision to make. He could either stay by Marceline's side as his mind was being warped by the crown, potentially putting her in physical and mental danger, or leave her behind. Never seeing her again as himself, but ensuring she would be much safer without him.

In the end, he chose the second option. When Marceline was about 10-12, Simon was almost entirely the Ice King with only a fragment of his original identity left. He decided to leave Marceline behind with the intention of getting her father Hunson to come back and actually take care of his biological daughter.

In a beautifully tragic moment, he attempts to console a crying Marcy by wiping a tear from her eye, only for it to freeze and cut her skin. The very instance of causing her any amount of pain was too much for Simon and threw him into a panic. He leaves her behind in the snow with her crying out his name in despair, never to see her again as his true self for over a thousand years.

After watching the beautiful "Simon & Marcy" episode, this moment is even more saddening because we know how much these two truly loved one another. Simon was a great man who paid for one terrible decision and was forced to leave behind the only person left in the world who brought him any happiness because he was afraid of what he would do to her once he forgot who she was and who he was.

The Contenders
11 Princess Bubblegum’s Lemonhope Song (Lemonhope Part II)
12 The Tree House Gets Destroyed (Come Along with Me)
13 Finn Tries to Fix His Depression with Love (Breezy)
14 BMO Forgets Finn's Name (Distant Lands)
15 Marceline Hears Her Mom's Voice Message (Obsidian)
16 Marceline's Backstory (Stakes Part 2: Everything Stays)
17 Finn and Jake Reincarnate Together (Together Again Distant Lands)

I think it's beautiful that they spent their life together and were able to find each other even after death, spending another life together.

18 Finn Betrays Princess Flame (Frost and Fire)
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