The long-running Cartoon Network show Adventure Time was supposed to be just for kids.
It was so good that it grew into a fandom that even celebrities show love to. The mix of drama, fantasy, and even romance captured all of our imaginations.
It's almost impossible to rank the best episodes of this hugely popular show. Still, it's worth trying to.
Some episodes stand out for their on-the-nose humor. Others are full of emotion, or expand and explain the Adventure Time universe like no other.
Whether you're a long-time fan or a new viewer, you're bound to find one you like on this list. Keep reading for the seven best Adventure Time episodes of all time.
1. The Vault: Season 5, Episode 34
"The Vault" is featured on most lists of top episodes. Some viewers even call it the best episode of Adventure Time ever.
The entire Adventure Time universe is shown in a new dimension. The relationship between Finn and Princess Bubblegum is also explored. We get to tap into Finn's repressed memories to see a completely new side of the princess.
Bubblegum's influence on the Candy Kingdom is revealed. It's shown that the kingdom was very different in the past.
Before this episode, the princess is portrayed as a crazy dictator. This is one of the best episodes ever because it shows the princess in a completely different light.
2. It Came From the Nightosphere: Season 2, Episode 1
If you're a fan of Marceline the vampire, this might rank as your best Adventure Time episode.
The source of her daddy issues is revealed in the form of her father Hunson Abadeer. Visually, his creepy and matter-of-fact character is one of the best ever featured on the show.
Best of all, the episode ends on a fart joke.
3. Jake The Brick: Season 5, Episode 20
Adventure Time isn't all fart jokes, as "Jake the Brick" shows. It's one of the most trippy Adventure Time episodes. It's also one of the most heartwarming. For most of the episode, we see Jake living as a brick in a wall.
At the same time, he narrates the tale of a bunny who's trying to weather a storm. The narration is broadcast live on radio by Finn. The entire land of Ooo becomes fascinated by the bunny's story.
The poetic nature of the episode is a direct contrast to the show's grosser, more in-your-face jokes. It shows yet again how Adventure Time switches things up and tells a great story.
4. I Remember You: Season 4, Episode 25
Another episode with Marceline, the sad story of the Ice King features in "I Remember You". Like with Princess Bubblegum, a former one-dimensional character's backstory is explained.
The two characters spend most of the episode together. Still, the Ice King does not remember his former life as Simon, her guardian. His inability to recognize Marceline is heart-wrenching.
The episode also reveals the tragic choice that he had to make as Simon. He decided to protect Marceline in a ruined post-war world. To do this he had to don the crown that drove him insane. This caused him to forget her and himself.
The grief that Marceline feels is clear. It's brought home even more by the flashbacks of the two having fun together. After Marceline shows him a note he wrote as Simon, the Ice King asks for her forgiveness.
5. The Lich: Season 4, Episode 26
The mythology of Adventure Time is covered in this episode. It dives deeper into evil than any other episode before.
Part of the reason it feels so dark is that it features the threat of a scary Lich wearing Finn's hero Billy. Literally, like a suit. Our heroes Finn and Jake also end up being a part of the Lich's evil plan.
"The Lich" starts off as one of the trippiest Adventure Time episodes. Finn is having a strange dream featuring the villain. It ends in an attack on Billy, so Finn and Jake decide it's best to warn him.
At Billy's house, they are told that they have to snatch the gems from the crowns of power. This leads them on a quest where they encounter many of the lesser know Adventure Time princesses.
The episode ends with a cliffhanger involving Finn's mother.
6. Escape From the Citadel: Season 6, Episode 2
The Lich also features in another of the best episodes of Adventure Time, the Escape From the Citadel. This is one episode definitely lives up to the "adventure" in the show's name.
The story actually starts in the previous episode, "Wake Up", where the cliffhanger was the revelation that Finn's father was alive.
In this episode, there's a cosmic party going on in Prismo's room at the center of the multiverse. Prismo sacrificing himself so Finn can meet his father gives an emotional depth to the journey.
When Finn's father proves to be less than great, we feel for Finn in a way that's authentic to the character. Yet it never feels like the show is stepping out of its normal tone.
7. Gotcha!: Season 4, Episode 12
There are plenty of popular main characters, but the best supporting character? It's got to be Lumpy Space Princess.
"Gotcha!" shows her going undercover to get Finn interested. It's all to support her tell-all book about how to attract men.
Of course, it doesn't go to plan. The princess learns some lessons about herself instead. Finn lets her know that her "lumps" aren't what will attract him. Instead, he teaches her that what's on the inside is what counts.
If nothing else, Lump Space Princess always brings the comedy. This episode is great because it dives deeper into who she is and how she thinks.
Enjoy the Best Adventure Time Episodes!
Hopefully, this list inspired you to check out or rewatch the best Adventure Time episodes ever made. Everyone has their favorites, and with almost 200 to choose from, you're bound to find yours.
Want to show off your love for Adventure Time? Check out our graphic tee collection for both men and women based on the show.