A return node is a small gate that resembles The Seven Gates within The Medium. Rather than advancing the player in the game, it seems to return them to their starting location, or at least to their house. when John is instructed by Terezi Pyrope to use one on the Land of Wind and Shade. John jumps into it and returns to his bedroom. Jade enters another one much later in the story and emerges in the Grand Foyer of her house.
Terezi implies that the node John uses is one of many. It is unknown if all return nodes send a person to the same place or not. The node itself resembles a spirograph pattern that appears as a reoccurring image, although it differs slightly from the other depictions, possibly to distinguish it from a gate.