Man, I love Rick and Morty. Dan Harmon and Justin Roiland’s hit animated sci-fi dark comedy recently returned for its fifth season on Adult Swim (and also Netflix) So, with Season 5 out and the horrible looking live action film on the horizon, what better time is there to revisit and rank the best episodes of Rick and Morty? So before we get schwifty in the list properly here is some history about the show.
Rick and Morty first debuted on Adult Swim in December 2013 and as mentioned above is currently at 5 series (and counting) Each season has 10 episodes (except the first season which has 11 counting the pilot) The show follows Rick Sanchez, a genius alcoholic scientist, and his grandson Morty, the slightly less intelligent moral compass, as they venture across the cosmos (and terrorize their family) Often the show dives into some very interesting sci-fi concepts like the multiverse and the concept of breaking time. I’m quickly going to put this here, SPOILER alert ahead. So grab your portal gun and join me in the best Rick and Morty episodes.
10: Meeseeks and Destroy (S1, E5)
Kicking off the list of the best Rick and Morty episodes is Meeseeks and Destroy aka an episode of two tones. To get the darker side of this episode out of the way, Morty chooses the adventure which ends up with a scene of Morty and a predatory jellybean. Note, this isn’t played for laughs. Now even the lighter tone has dark moments due to the Meeseeks Box. What is a Meeseeks Box? A box that produces single-use humanoid genies called Meeseeks. What starts out as reasonably harmless turns violent due to Jerry’s (Morty’s Dad) inability to improve his golf swing. Oh, Rick also utters his catchphrase for the first time in this episode: ‘Wubba Lubba Dub-Dub’
9: Rixty Minutes (S1, E8)
What’s better than normal TV channels? Interdimensional TV channels of course. While Rick and Morty has gone back to this well several times you can’t beat the original. Maybe that’s due to co-creator Justin Roiland’s improvisational tone or maybe it’s just a really funny episode. Besides the whole interdimensional TV thing, this episode pays off the ending from an episode later on in this list with Summer’s (Morty’s sister) hilarious and nihilistic pick-me-up: ‘Nobody exists on purpose, nobody belongs anywhere, everybody is going to die… Come watch TV?’ Excellent yet disturbing there.
8: Auto Erotic Assimilation (S2, E3)
Now Rick and Morty occasionally gets very weird and this episode is no different. I mean just look at the title…. So to give a quick overview of this episode: Rick is in a ‘relationship’ with a hive entity called Unity. While this starts off harmless soon Rick brings Unity down to his level with disastrous consequences for Morty and Summer. Basically, Summer and Morty get caught in a race war because of Rick and Unity. In the end, Unity breaks it off with Rick in one of the first examples of someone having an emotional impact on Rick. Actually quite sweet under the circumstances.
7: Morty’s Mind Blowers (S3, E8)
Given the amount of adventures Rick and Morty go on there were always going to be bad memories. So, what does Rick do? He erases Morty’s memory of those adventures as well as any examples of him being a terrible person. Because why would Rick ever do something out of the good of his heart? This episode gets a lot of mileage out of the fake clip element used for the memories. Also, as many as six writers were credited properly due to the sheer amount of ‘mind blowers’ used which is at least over a hundred. Good lord no wonder they needed that many writers.
6: Wedding Squanchers (S2, E10)
Wedding Squanchers like most Rick and Morty episodes really shouldn’t work but through sheer humour and an emotional core, it works really well. So, what happens in this episode? The wedding of Rick’s friend, Birdperson, to one of Summer’s best friends, Tammy. However, shock twist alert! The entire wedding was a stitch-up by the Galactic Federation to finally catch Rick. Honestly, the looks of shock around the wedding reception after the reveal make this episode even better. Also, Rick’s speech is really sweet and emotive despite everything his character represents.
5: Rick Potion #9 (S1, E6)
At the halfway point in the best Rick and Morty episodes is Rick Potion #9. But what happened to the other 8? Well, this episode answers that terrible joke. It all starts when Morty asks Rick to make him a love potion so that Jessica (his crush) will fall in love with him. Unfortunately, things go seriously wrong when the potions effects spread to the whole town. If that wasn’t bad enough, the world soon transforms into a nightmare full of Cronenbergs. So, Rick decides to jump reality, kill the Rick and Morty of that universe and take their place. Pretty dark for a series which recently debuted ‘Wubba Lubba Dub-Dub’ the previous episode.
4: Total Rickall (S2, E4)
Narrowly missing out on the top three best Rick and Morty episodes is Total Rickall. A+ for the pun title of a great film. This episode sees alien parasites manifest in the Sanchez Family’s memories as ridiculous side characters who have ‘been’ there the whole time. To quote Rick ‘Look at all these zany, wacky characters’ Also this episode manages to fit a joke about Buffy the Vampire Slayer in via Mr Poopybutthole. After murdering all the parasites it seems obvious that Mr Poopybutthole isn’t real. So, when Beth (Morty’s mum) shoots him and he bleeds it is genuinely a brilliant joke.
3: The Ricklantis Mixup (S3, E7)
Do you want to see Rick and Morty go to Atlantis to meet mermaids? Well, unfortunately due to a mixup this episode is actually about police brutality and corruption in the Citadel of Ricks after the fall of the Council of Ricks. This episode is also notable for charting the rise of Evil Morty as he cons his way up the Citadel’s government. Not only is this episode still having consequences to this day but it stands as Justin Roiland’s most impressive vocal performance to date. Why? Because bar two characters he voices EVERYONE else. Massively entertaining and impressive. Shame about missing Atlantis though…..
2: Lawnmower Dog (S1, E2)
Now, yes I understand why this episode maybe shouldn’t be second place but hear me out. This episode is kind of a better entry point to the series given the insanity of later episodes. So, this episode sees Rick give the family dog, Snuffles, a helmet that allows him to communicate with the family. Seems harmless until Snuffles builds a mech and tries to enslave humanity. Somehow the A-plot is just as mad with an Inception meets Nightmare on Elm Street plot. Mad yet utterly compelling.
1: Pickle Rick (S3, S3)
And the best Rick and Morty episode is….. Pickle Rick because of what else could it be? What starts out as Rick turning himself into a Pickle to avoid family therapy soon turns into Pickle Rick doing a brutal John Wick parody. The sight of Pickle Rick murdering security guards with a rat exo-skeleton after emerging from the toilet is so stupid yet so funny. Yet when Rick finally makes it to therapy it only confirms his self centred worldview and only strengthens his bond with Beth at the expense of Morty and Summer. Not a bad episode considering it’s about an anthropomorphic pickle.
What are your thoughts about the best Rick and Morty episodes? Let me know in the comments!