Are you interested in watching Adventure Time, but intimidated by the thought of watching 252 episodes? Have you watched the series before, but want to watch again without any filler episodes (unless it’s Bubbline, of course)? This is for you!

After seeing a request in the ATimers tag, I have compiled a list of all the Adventure Time episodes that contain major plot, important backstory, major characterization, and/or Bubbline moments. I have also included optional episodes that I think will increase your understanding/enjoyment of the show (I put the reason next to it; if it says something about being an arc, backstory, characterization, etc., be warned that not watching may make the major plot points of the show a bit more confusing for you). 

I condensed the show down to 128 of the 10-minute episodes (69 episodes if you don’t watch any of the optional episodes). Optional episodes are in italics. Episodes with Bubbline moments, characterization of Marcy/Princess Bubblegum (PB), or major backstory/plot related to Marcy/PB are in bold. Anything with a an asterisk (*) can be watched at any time (order doesn’t matter, though you may still want to watch it in the same season). 

I hope this helps someone out since I spent three hours putting it together! Without further ado… 

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The Adventure Time Timeline

so i made a list of adventure time episodes that you should watch in case you haven’t seen the whole show/ones that are relevant to the storyline with the help of this post

S01 EP05 | “The Enchiridion” {finn and jake find the enchiridion)
S01 EP25 | “His Hero” {finn meets billy)
S02 EP18 | “Susan Strong ” (finn and jake meets susan and the humans)

S02 EP25 | “Mortal Folly” (the lich escapes)
S02 EP26 | “Mortal Recoil” (bubblegum is possessed by the lich)
S03 EP05 | “Too Young ” (meets lemongrab, PB is normal)

S03 EP07 | “Still ” (finn meets his comet spirit)
S03 EP14 | “Beautopia” (finn helps susan strong)
S03 EP18 | “The New Frontier” (cosmic owl appears in jake’s dream)
S03 EP19 | “Holly Jolly Secrets” (simon petrikov’s video logs)
S03 EP20 | “Holly Jolly Secrets” (simon petrikov’s video logs)
S03 EP25 | “Dads Dungeon” (joshua’s past)
S04 EP15 | “Son of Mars” (magic man’s past)
S04 EP25 | “I Remember You” (marceline and ice king reconnect)

S04 EP07 | “In Your Footsteps” (a bear finds the enchiridion)
S04 EP18 | “King Worm” (finn dreams of the future)
S04 EP26 | “The Lich” (the lich kills billy and makes a wish)
S05 EP01 | “Finn the Human” (finn wishes for a different reality)
S05 EP02 | “Jake the Dog” (jake wishes to correct the mistakes)

S05 EP34 | “The Vault” (shoko and bubblegum meet)
S05 EP45 | “Blade of Grass” (finn gets a new sword)
S05 EP48 | “Betty” (betty returns)

S05 EP52 | “Billy’s Bucket List” (finn finishes billy’s bucket list)
S06 EP01 | “Wake Up” (the lich returns once again)
S06 EP02 | “Escape From the Citidel” (finn meets his father)
S06 EP04 | “The Tower” (finn tries to steal martin’s arm)
S05 EP06 | “Breezy” (finn gets a new arm)

S06 EP16 | “Joshua and Margaret Investigations (jake and jermaine’s story)
S06 EP19 | "Is That You?” (prismo is revived)
S06 EP20 | “Jake the Brick” (jake livestreams his experience as a brick)
S06 EP24 | “Evergreen” (the origin of the ice crown)
S06 EP33 | “Jermaine” (finn and jake visit jermaine)
S06 EP35 | “Graybles 1000+” (the future of ooo)
S06 EP38 | “You Forgot Your Floaties” (betty becomes magic woman)

S06 EP25 | “Astral Plane” (finn has an out of body experience)
S06 EP26 | “Gold Stars” (sweet p has his first vision)
S06 EP27 | “The Visitor” (martin returns to ooo)
S03 EP36 | “Hoots” (orgalorg reawakens)
S06 EP39 | “Be Sweet” (sweet p has his second vision)
S06 EP40 | “Orgalorg” (the sotry of orgalorg)
S06 EP41 | “On the Lam” (martin’s space adventures)
S06 EP42 | “Hot Diggity Doom (orgalorg initiates his plan)
S06 EP43 | "The Comet” (finn fights orgalorg)

S07EP6-13 | “Stakes” (marceline miniseries)

Season 2 Promo Pieces

“It Came from the Nightosphere” by Rebecca Sugar

“Power Animal” by Rebecca Sugar

“The Other Tarts” by Tom Herpich

“Chamber of Frozen Blades” by Rebecca Sugar

“Her Parents” by Tom Herpich

“The Silent King” by Jesse Moynihan

“The Real You” by Rebecca Sugar

“Guardians of the Sunshine” by Tom Herpich

“Death in Bloom” by Jesse Moynihan

“Susan Strong” by Rebecca Sugar

“Mystery Train” by Kent Osborne

“Go With Me” by Tom Herpich

“Belly of the Beast” by Kent Osborne

“The Limit” by Jesse Moynihan

“Video Makers” by David Smith

“Heat Signature” by Tom Herpich

“Mortal Folly”/Mortal Recoil” by Rebecca Sugar & Jesse Moynihan


Live Blog the Adventure reviews “Mortal Folly.”

The Bubbline guide

UPDATE: Time Sandwhich has been added to the list, as suggested by yellowdartvoice

So all this hype made you want to watch Adventure Time, but just for the cute couple gal pals? (Or you just want to watch the show itself, in which case another guide is coming soon.) Yet you’re intimidated by the 226 episodes that have aired so far? Fear not, here’s your guide to Bubbline that includes their shared episodes as well as those that help you understand them as individual characters. I know you could just go to wikia and see what episode features both Marceline (the punk-rock vampire one) and Princess Bubblegum (the scientific pink one), but come on, you want to understand their story, don’t you? Which is why I made this guide (and it’s not procrastinating, not at all).

The episodes themselves are gonna be under the cut because, well, out of 226 I listed 71 of them. I know, I know, I was supposed to narrow it down, but most of these are optional ones that only feature one or neither of them. If you watch all of these 71 episodes then cool, you have a general understanding of Adventure Time’s most important plot points and know pretty much everything there is to know about Marceline and Bubblegum. If you don’t want to and are only here for the real action, you can find the ones to watch on this list.

Overall, there are 13 core episodes (including all of Stakes), 21 recommended and 37 optional ones (tho some are more important than others). Watching just the core episodes is not that recommended, since you will be confused during later episodes and I don’t think one can appreciate, say, Varmints, as much, but hey, you can of course just watch these.

These 13 episodes are:

  • s2ep20: Go With Me
  • s3ep10: What Was Missing
  • s5ep29: Sky Witch
  • s7ep2: Varmints
  • s7ep6-13: all 8 episodes of Stakes (srsly, watch them all)
  • s7ep27: Broke His Crown

Okay, so Go With Me is more like a prologue for Bubbline and Stakes centers around Marceline, but I’m not willing to cut these out of the core. Now, if you’re also interested in their individual character development, I have more episodes for you, some highly recommended, some entirely optional. I really do hope that even without most of the optional ones you’ll get the overall picture of this show, these characters and their relationship. The 71 episodes are the following:

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Episode Review: ‘Whispers‘ (S09E13)
  • Airdate: July 20, 2017
  • Story by: Ashly Burch, Adam Muto, Kent Osborne, Jack Pendarvis, Julia Pott
  • Storyboarded by: Sam Alden & Polly Guo
  • Directed by: Cole Sanchez (supervising), Sandra Lee (art)

Thanks to Cartoon Network’s needless meddling, we are officially in the middle of season 9. However, when “Whispers” was being boarded it was planned to be the penultimate episode of season 8. With this in mind, a viewer can sense that the series is ramping up towards something big in the following episode, “Three Buckets”.

At the start of this episode, Finn and Fern are fishing when the latter has a breakdown and bemoans the fact that he cannot seem to do anything right. Finn calms his grassy doppelganger down, but suddenly Sweet P burst on the scene, screaming and crying. Finn and Fern eventually manage to calm him down, and learn that he has been having recurring nightmares about the Lich, and the poor child claims that at night, he keeps seeming something in his room.

Night falls, and so Finn and Fern keep an eye on Sweet P. Suddenly, in the middle of the night, Sweet P’s fears are validating when Finn sees the severed hand of the Famrworld Lich (last seen in “Crossover”) attempting to summon the hibernating Ooo Lich from within Sweet P. For a moment, this nefarious plot works: Sweet P’s eyes glaze over and the power of the Lich takes over. However, the effect wears off, and Finn gives chase to the hand, which leads him to the ruins of the Lich’s lair, an abandoned subway station last seen in “Mortal Folly”. Finn is nearly bested, before Sweet P shows up, affirms that he is never going to be a bad person, and stabs the Lich-hand with Finn’s sword, presumably killing it.

In the final scene of the episode, Fern expresses his dissatisfaction at always coming in second to Finn… setting the stage for some dark developments in the following episode.

The Sweet P/Lich plot has always been one of my favorites, because it does great things with the good/evil dichotomy, and always manages to keep me on the edge of my seat. But it has been a while since the show touched on the Lich, and an even longer time since we’ve really seen Sweet P (excepting cameos and minor appearances, like in Elements). The show is slowing building to some sort of Lich endgame, that much seems clear, but the way that the endgame is being approached is so subtle that the terror keeps ramping up with each new entry that explores the arc.

Sweet P seems rather resilient to the Lich, which is a good sign: I have long feared that the Essence of Pure Evil will overcome him and possibly kill him, and that would be just horrifying. Perhaps Sweet P can manage to stand up what he believes is right. But this does not mean that Sweet P is out of the woods just yet. The Lich still seems to be able to control him at times, and while the Farmworld Lich hand was slayed in this episode, there are still an infinite(!) number of Lich hands out there in the multiverse. That seems problematic, to say the least.

Sam Alden wrote on his personal website that this was one of his favorite episodes to work on, and it’s not hard to see why. For one thing, much of the show’s lore is on display. We get further clarification about the Lich’s mission (more on that in a bit), as well as his powers (now that he is both a disembodied hand and trapped in the body of a baby). And we also continue the Finn/Fern plot (that really kicked off at the end of “Do No Harm” and is further explored in “Three Buckets”).

But the episode also manages to recall the glory of the season two episode “Mortal Folly” by having Finn once again travel to the Lich’s evil abode. And because Ghostshrimp’s lovely designs are once again on display, this entire episode exudes a sort of “season two energy”.

I would like to end with a bit of speculation. The Lich tells Finn in this episode that he is the “final scholar of GOLB”. For long-time fans of the show like myself, this is a big deal. GOLB was the demonic entity that nearly swallowed Finn in “Puhoy” and that also wiped Margles from existence (as revealed in “You Forgot Your Floaties”). Why is the Lich the last scholar? I’m not sure. Perhaps the Lich is heralding GOLB’s second return (which Magic Man seemed to foresee). Or perhaps the Lich has learned everything he knows from this most terrifying cosmic being. Either way, I predict that GOLB will play a (possibly major) role in the series’ denouement. We’ll see.

Mushroom War Evidence: The creek Fern and Finn are fishing from is surrounded by a bunch of skeletons and crumbling ruins. The swamp that Fern, Finn, and Sweet P meander into is full of refuse, and we even see debris and artifacts buried in the mud. We revisit the Lich’s lair, which was once a subway station.

Final Grade: