Steven Universe is one of the most exciting animated shows of the last many years, but I probably don't need to tell you that, because you almost certainly watch it. It's great for kids, it has an extremely diverse cast, there's queer representation, and it consistently delivers messages about the importance of compassion and positivity in the face of conflict and despair. It may be exactly the show the world needs right now, so thank the cartoon gods that we have it. In order to celebrate the show, we've picked out the ten very best episodes from the more-than 120 episodes that have aired so far!

It was hard to pick just ten episode of this show, because I love almost every episode so much. You probably know that too, if you've been reading our recaps. I tried to balance the episodes that feel significant with those that have the most impact emotionally. But it might be hard to tell the difference, because one of the things I quickly realized is that the most emotional episodes are also frequently the most important ones. And most of these episodes are admittedly pretty sad, because Steven Universe is often at its best when it's dealing with heavy emotions.

I wish there were more episodes on the list about Peridot and Amethyst, two of my favorite Gems. But I realized in researching that their emotional arcs are stretched between episodes, which makes it harder to choose just one to showcase them.

For example, Amethyst's issues first become a big deal in On the Run, and continue through Reformed, Too Far, and several other episodes, before culminating in the one-two punch of Beta and Earthlings. Similarly, Peridot's evolution from enemy to friend begins with a two-parter — Catch and Release and When It Rains — and continues throughout the rest of Season 2 and all of Season 3.

Pearl and Garnet and Steven, on the other hand, tend to have whole stand-alone episodes about their emotional breakthroughs, which is why several of those episodes made the list. Especially Pearl's, who tends to star in the show's biggest tearjerkers.