With “Rick and Morty” season three over, there’s no telling how long we’ll have to wait until the next season. In between binge-watching the past three seasons and waiting in line at the Willimantic McDonald’s for an unreasonable amount of time for that Mulan Szechuan sauce, we decided to throw together some of our favorite episodes to hold ourselves over.
1. The Wedding Squanchers
“The Wedding Squanchers” is the most action-packed and emotional episode of the show. We find out that Tammy’s part of the Galactic Federation, we watched the death of Birdperson and the Smith family are forced off their home planet. We see a rare human moment from Rick, when he turns himself in to allow his family to go back to Earth. While he later reveals he did it just to get back at Jerry, it seemed like a caring gesture at the time. Heartstrings were tugged on when Nine Inch Nails’ “Hurt” rang out from our TV speakers.
2. Meeseeks and Destroy
One of the best dual-storylines in the show, Jerry, Beth and Summer seek to improve their lives through the alternative means of Mr. Meeseeks, while Morty insists he gets to cash in a “Morty adventure” that leads to him and Rick being accused of killing a giant. The Mr. Jellybean scene is a classic zero to 100, wait-I-was-laughing-a-second-ago-but-this-kinda-isn’t-funny, totally shocking “Rick and Morty” moment. Not to mention, the Mr. Meeseeks’ going-postal scenes are horrifyingly hilarious.
3. Rest and Ricklaxation
For a show that’s already pretty grim, this is one of the darker episodes. When our two main characters return from a journey so traumatizing they both have full-blown mental breakdowns, and they decide to go to a spa and get the toxicity removed from them. The only problem: their toxic selves still exist, leaving Rick’s narcissism and Morty’s self-hatred in full display. Eventually, the two realize there’s no good without the bad and accept their toxic selves back into their picture-perfect lives, leaving them the same as before, and us a little more aware of our “toxic selves.”
4. Pickle Rick
Anyone who doesn’t watch “Rick and Morty” was probably wondering for a few weeks why people were screaming to someone named Morty that “I turned myself into a pickklleee!” Pickle Rick quickly became an iconic aspect of the show. Rick’s refusal to attend family therapy led him on a murderous journey. As a pickle. We also get a glimpse of Beth’s undying devotion to Rick after she agrees to ditch family therapy for him, while Morty and Summer express a desire to continue going.
5. Get Schwifty
On one of their many journeys to save the planet, Rick and Morty create a hit song that pleases the “giant head in the sky.” Under the threat of Earth being destroyed in some twisted intergalactic version of “American Idol,” of course. Others believe the giant head is a god to be worshipped, leading Summer, Principal Vagina and others in the town to do everything they can to please it, which is an absurd and comical look at religion.
Honorable mentions: Mortynight Run, Big Trouble in Little Sanchez, Vindicators 3: The Return of Worldender, Auto Erotic Assimilation
1. The Ricklantis Mixup
Though it features almost none of the show’s main characters, this episode is a masterclass in storytelling and packed with pop culture references. While Rick and Morty go off on an adventure in Atlantis, we get see the Citadel of Ricks rebuild itself after it was destroyed by Rick C-137 in “The Rickshank Redemption.” Four separate storylines, playing off popular TV shows like The Wire, Breaking Bad and The West Wing, are effortlessly woven together, culminating in the dramatic return of Evil Morty.
2. Rick Potion #9
Rick screws up in this one. Bad. After creating a love potion that accidentally turns the world into hideous “Cronenberg” monsters, Rick and Morty are forced to abandon their family and relocate to another dimension that they haven’t destroyed. This is the first (but not the last) time the pair has to move dimensions, and viewers can certainly relate to Morty’s thousand-yard stare after he buries his own bloodied corpse in the back yard. Meanwhile, original Beth and Jerry are, for the first time, living happily together in Cronenberg world.
3. Big Trouble in Little Sanchez
Rick transfers his mind into a teenage body in order to kill a vampire at Morty and Summer’s high school. Classic. But things go south when Rick’s irrational teenage mind decides it doesn’t want to go back into his gross old man body. The kicker in this episode comes when Summer and Morty force Tiny Rick to listen to Elliot Smith’s “Between the Bars” in order to relieve his teenage angst. “How can someone so talented die so young?” Tiny Rick sobs as Morty pins him to the ground. Good question, Rick.
4. Vindicators 3: The Return of Worldender
In this sendup of the Saw franchise, Rick is forced to confront the only enemy that could possibly defeat him: his blackout drunk self. As Rick, Morty and an Avengers-style troupe of superheroes solve deadly puzzles (often with gruesome results), Morty reveals that Rick regularly pulls these kinds of shenanigans when he’s hammered. The episode nearly ends with a touching moment between Rick and Morty, until we learn that Rick’s real love is not Morty but Noob Noob—the lamest member of the Vindicators.
5. Auto Erotic Assimilation
Even by Rick and Morty standards, this episode is bizarre. Most of the episode revolves around Rick having sex with a whole planet—or, rather, his ex-girlfriend Unity who has co-opted the minds of an entire planet. Rick, to no surprise, is a terrible influence on Unity and she, Summer and Morty all abandon him after his drug-fueled partying gets out of hand. The episode ends as one of the darkest in the series when Rick tries to kill himself only to be saved, ironically, by his drinking.
Honorable mentions: Rixty Minutes, The ABCs of Beth, Total Rickall, Meeseeks and Destroy