5 Best Rick and Morty Episodes
After what feels like forever, Rick and Morty is finally back. Other than the premiere episode of Season 3 (released with no fanfare on April Fools’ Day), it’s been nearly two years since the alcoholic scientist and his nervous grandson last appeared on our screens, getting into all number of convoluted, impossibly clever sci-fi scenarios. Like Futurama before it, Rick and Morty is written by genuinely smart, genuinely nerdy comedy writers who take basic sci-fi scenarios and twist them as far as they can go, resulting in some of the funniest, darkest animation in years.
Picking just five of the best episodes is difficult, as I’ve had to leave off a few I really love, but in order of release date, here are the best episodes of Rick and Morty:
1. Meeseeks and Destroy (Season 1, Episode 5)
Every Rick and Morty episode takes a familiar sci-fi trope and makes it as dark as possible. When Rick introduces the titular creatures to Jerry, Beth and Summer, informing them that any wish they have will be granted, it seems relatively straightforward. However, Jerry’s failure to improve his golf game soon sends the extremely friendly Meeseeks into a murderous frenzy. As well as being one of the funniest episodes of the series (“I’m Mr. Meeseeks! Look at me!”), Meeseeks and Destroy shows how creators Dan Harmon and Justin Roiland can take any conventional story and infuse it with their own twisted sense of humour.
2. Rick Potion #9 (Season 1, Episode 6)
While it won’t go down as the funniest episode, Rick Potion #9 is notable for ending on a bleak note which showed the audience Rick and Morty could go beyond a simple comedy. After accidentally turning the entire world into Cronenberg monsters, Rick tries the only solution possible; leaving for an alternate dimension in which the world was saved just before an alternate Rick and Morty died. The final scene, in which a visibly-traumatized Morty buried an alternate version of himself, was genuinely disturbing and hinted at even darker things to come.
3. Rixty Minutes (Season 1, Episode 8)
Perhaps the strangest, loosest comedy episode in recent years, Rixty Minutes is essentially thirty minutes of a very drunk Justin Roiland improvising in the recording booth. Set around the thin plot thread of Rick and Morty watching cable TV from across multiple dimensions, the result is hilarious in how utterly insane and ridiculous Roiland’s fake TV shows, commercials, and film trailers are. His performance as salesman Ants In My Eyes Johnson is absolutely magical.
4. Total Rickall (Season 2, Episode 4)
Above all else, Total Rickall is probably the best episode of Rick and Morty to date. The concept is ingenious (the duo battle a parasite that implants false memories, leading to more and more new characters being introduced), the escalation is increasingly funny (Jerry becomes convinced he must be fake), and the surprise twist ending, in which Beth shoots the very-much release star of the episode Mr. Poopy Butthole, is beautifully dark.
5. Wedding Squanchers (Season 2, Episode 10)
Rick and Morty is never afraid to go big, whether killing off characters, changing dimensions, or destroying the world. In season finale Wedding Squanchers, the wedding of fan favourite Birdperson ends in chaos as Birdperson’s new bride Tammy betrays and kills him, while Rick is chased by the Galactic Federation across universes for his assorted crimes (“What are you for?” “Everything”).
The family go from planet to planet looking for a new home, leading to brilliant jokes about inhospitable planets (including a tiny Earth and a world where the Sun screams constantly), but Rick eventually does the honourable thing and allows himself to be locked up in a maximum security prison. It’s an incredibly brutal end to Season 2, and a reminder that Rick and Morty can make you laugh while hitting you right in the gut. Here’s hoping the rest of Season 3 is as quotable, clever, and thought-provoking as the first two.
By Harry J. Ford
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