There’s a reason why Rick and Morty is already such a beloved series so early into its run on television. When you look at all of the items on the list of things that make a great Sci-Fi comedy (wacky characters, ridiculous premises, and absurdly clever writing), Rick and Morty manages to pass all of these requirements with flying colors. However, another crucial thing that can’t be overlooked when it comes to creating a good science fiction show would be its use of crazy gadgets and imaginative technology.
Imagine Doctor Who without the TARDIS, or Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy without Marvin the Paranoid Android, or even Star Wars without the lightsaber; it’s interesting and creative inventions like these that help the worlds in which these works take place really stand out from one another. Thankfully, Rick has his own eclectic range of inventions that are more than enough to make Rick and Morty a fresh and entertaining take on the Sci-Fi Adventure genre.
One interesting aspect that makes the series feel unique is that it not only focuses on Rick’s successful experiments and inventions, but also his scientific mistakes as well. In fact, Rick has such a diverse range of inventions in his collection, that we’ve decided to make a list that covers the entire spectrum. Here are Rick’s 10 Best (And 5 Worst) Inventions.
15. Best – Freeze Ray
When you’re an adventuring mad scientist who often spends his time hopping between many different alien worlds and dimensions chock full of dangerous creatures, then it’s in your best interest to be well-equipped. Luckily for Rick Sanchez, he has plenty of weapons to defend himself from whatever intergalactic enemies he may encounter, including of course, a fully functional Freeze Ray.
This device is pretty much self-explanatory: a ray which freezes whatever it makes contact with. It’s first seen all the way back in the pilot to the series, when Rick uses it to neutralize school bully Frank Palicky, who at the time was in the middle of threatening his grandson Morty with a knife. While Rick assured Morty that Frank would be fine, this would prove to be false, as soon after, the frozen bully would end up falling over and shattering into pieces. Yeah, you don’t mess with Rick’s grandkids.
14. Best – Space Cruiser
Since it’s already been established that Rick spends much of his time traveling throughout space, it would only make sense that he’d have a proper vehicle in which to do so. That’s where his Space Cruiser comes in. While at first glance, the UFO-shaped spaceship would seem to be almost haphazardly thrown together — complete with garbage can engines — it’s proven to be just as reliable as any of the other famous spaceships in sci-fi history.
Not only is Rick’s space cruiser dependable, but it also has an artificially intelligent defense system which makes it harder to break into than Fort Knox. Summer gets to experience this firsthand when Rick tasks the ship with keeping her safe while he and Morty are away. After this, the cruiser shows off a wide array of tools designed to do just that, not excluding deadly lasers, and even surprisingly successful negotiation skills.
13. Worst – Butter Robot
The Butter Robot has to be one of the most simple and niche inventions that Rick has ever made: a smaller butter-passing robot that sits on the kitchen table, and waits to pass butter on command. So, what’s the problem? Why is a small robot that does nothing but pass butter considered to be one of Rick’s worst inventions? Well, what would you do if you found out your sole purpose in life was to simply pass butter?
Whether Rick chose to do so on purpose, or just by sheer coincidence, the butter-passing robot happens to have a certain level of self-awareness, leading to some problems. This causes the robot’s simple question of “What is my purpose?” and the lackluster answer of “You pass butter” to trigger an existential crisis in the poor little invention. “Oh my God” indeed.
12. Best – Dream Inceptor
Sure, the idea of jumping into someone’s dream isn’t exactly the most original idea, with the episode even blatantly admitting to being inspired by the Christopher Nolan film Inception (which was in turn inspired by Satoshi Kon’s Paprika). Even so, there’s no denying that the ability to enter into anyone’s dream while they are sleeping would be awesome, making Rick’s Dream Inceptor a highly desirable invention.
Rick’s primary use for the device in the episode “Lawnmower Dog” is to enter the dreams of Morty’s math teacher Mr. Goldenfold, in order to trick him into giving his grandson a passing grade. While the pair run into some trouble at first, they eventually befriend a dream-hopping monster named Scary Terry who helps them accomplish their mission, and later on, Rick even uses the inceptor to prevent dogs from taking over the world. Nothing better than an invention that’s both fun and practical!
11. Best – Shrink/Growth Rays
Checking off some of the more stereotypical items from the list of commonly seen Sci-Fi inventions, we have Rick’s Shrink and Growth Rays. While the initial usage of these devices may seem limited, there’s actually a lot that can be done with them. Using the growth ray on crops and food could easily solve world hunger, while the shrink ray could be used to clear any excess garbage taking up precious space. Rick, however, finds a very different use for these powerful inventions: an amusement park.
One day, Rick decided he wanted to build an anatomy-based theme park inside of an actual living person. One willing and elderly homeless person later, and Anatomy Park was born! While it may not be as noble a cause as solving one of the world’s many crises, there’s no doubt that Rick came up with a creative use for his size rays. Now let’s just hope the tickets don’t cost an arm and a leg.
10. Worst – Abradolf Lincler
Oh man, if you thought that the Butter Bot from earlier was something to feel pity for, just wait until you meet Abradolf Lincler. As his crazy hodgepodge of a name may suggest, Lincler was Rick’s misguided attempt at creating a morally neutral super-leader, by combining the DNA of both Abraham Lincoln and Adolf Hitler. Yeah, we’re guessing that Rick was probably drunk when he decided that would be a good idea.
As it turns out, this combination would result into a confused and tortured soul, and what Rick himself would describe as being a “crazed maniac”. While he does seem violent at first, seeking to take revenge on Rick for creating him in the first place, he actually seems to be a misunderstood and generally nice person. He ends up seemingly sacrificing his own life to save a number of people and make peace with his creator Rick, but it’s soon shown that this heroic act was entirely pointless. Ouch.
9. Best – Cognition Amplifier
Whether it’s because your dog is barking at you at two in the morning for apparently no reason, or you’re unsure if your cat is in the mood to eat or not, there’s always been one time or another where pet owners would just love to know what their furry companions are thinking. Rick has a solution to this problem, with his handy-dandy Cognition Amplifier. With this little helmet, your pets will finally be smart enough to communicate with you.
Originally used on Morty’s dog Snuffles to — as Jerry would say — make him less stupid, the amplifier works perfectly. Well, that is until Snuffles figures out a way to increase the helmet’s effectiveness, making him smart enough to command a legion of hyper-intelligent dogs bent on taking over the world. Still, the dogs ended up making peace by leaving for their own universe, and the helmet did serve its purpose as intended. Just think twice about which pet you decide to use it on (snakes might be a no-g0).
8. Best – Combat Suit
Imagine you’re stranded on an alien planet where all of its old-timey citizens are on a rage-filled frenzy to kill as many people as possible before sunrise, à la The Purge films — sounds like a nightmare situation doesn’t it? Well it would be, that is unless you happen to be the grandchild of Rick Sanchez. Rick turns a horrible situation into an amazingly-gory way to blow off some steam, all thanks to the Combat Suit.
19th century-style weapons are no match for a full-bodied metallic suit of armor, fully equipped with explosive missiles, machine-gun bullets, and rocket boots. While it may not be something that you could (or should) use for every situation, it’s perfect for when you find yourself surrounded by a violent mob. Best of all, you can even call the suit to your location, regardless of what planet you’re on.
7. Worst – Operation Phoenix
This is one of those inventions that seems like it would be really great on paper, but eventually suffers due to some unforeseen complications. We first see Rick use this when he transfers his mind to a younger clone of himself, accurately named “Tiny Rick”. We later see that Rick has several clones of varying ages below his lab kept in preservation tanks, revealing that Operation Phoenix is actually an attempt at extended, or even indefinite, life.
With Rick’s mind successfully transferred into his younger clone, Operation Phoenix at first seems to be a success — but unfortunately, immortality just isn’t that simple. Unfortunately, the original Rick’s mind begins to slowly be overridden by Tiny Rick’s angsty teen brain and emotions, threatening to erase the older Rick altogether. After being sent back to his original body, Rick would go on to gruesomely destroy the various clones of himself, and scrap the project altogether, calling it a failure.
6. Best – Microverse Battery
There is possibly no other scientific achievement that has been more sought out than the ability to produce free power. With free power, everybody would be able to run their homes, factories, and electronic devices completely cost-free, saving an immeasurable amount of money and labor. Rick however, decides to invent free power for the sole purpose of running his Space Cruiser. Hey, whatever works.
While the Microverse Battery may indeed provide Rick’s space ship with an infinite supply of battery, it isn’t really creating the energy for “free’. The device actually contains a microscopic universe with many sentient beings living inside of it. Rick introduces these beings with crude physical ways to create energy, thus supplying both their populous and (unbeknownst to them) Rick’s battery, with power. While creating an entirely new universe just to run your vehicle may seem a little drastic, who wouldn’t want to drive without having to pay for gas?
5. Best – Curse Remover
We’ve all seen this scenario before: you come across a mysterious old antique shop full of strange items, the store’s suspicious-looking owner offers you a product which is guaranteed to grant your greatest desire, and a day later, you’re dealing with a haunted trinket. If you’ve ever watched the Twilight Zone, then you know to be wary about wish-granting objects. More often than not, they come with an awful curse attached. That is unless you’re Rick.
As it turns out, the dubious shop-keep that Rick ends up running into turns out to be the Devil himself, with cursed items just as disturbing as anything penned by Rod Serling. Various members of Rick and Morty’s community begin suffering with the negative effects of the cursed items, so out of spite, Rick creates his own shop down the street, complete with a Curse Remover, leaving the objects with only their good attributes intact. Apparently, science beats the Devil — who knew?
4. Worst – Ionic Defibulizer
While most inventions have a thorough explanation about what they’re used for, and why they either fail or succeed in fulfilling this purpose, the Ionic Defibulizer is a bit less straightforward. This is thanks to the fact that Rick never actually gets to complete this invention, at least not entirely. So, if the device never actually gets completed and used, then why is it one of Rick’s worst inventions? Well, that’s simple: it kills Rick and Morty.
Yes, just as Rick tightens the last screw to the Ionic Defibulizer, it explodes, killing both Rick and his hapless grandson. Thankfully, these two were actually the Rick and Morty of a different dimension than the ones that the show focuses around (C-137, to be exact). The main Rick never ends up finishing the device, since Morty fails to hand him a screwdriver, so not only do they survive any possible explosion, but we never actually get to figure out what the Ionic Defibulizer is supposed to do.
3. Best – Time Stopper
Another staple of science fiction is the ability to stop time. The power to simply freeze time in its tracks while being free to do whatever you wish is such an easily abused and overpowered ability, that virtually every single time it shows up in Sci-Fi media, it ends up backfiring on the character using it, in order to teach them some kind of lesson. So did Rick end up being punished for inventing and using his very own Time Stopper? Nope.
Rick’s time halting device actually works just as it’s supposed to, though it isn’t really used for a particularly selfish or momentous reason — he and his grandkids simply needed more time to clean their house up, before their parents returned to see the mess left behind after a giant party. It’s nice to see an instance where there’s a device that can stop and restart time with no catch whatsoever. Great work, Rick!
2. Best – Portal Gun
If you’ve watched Rick and Morty, then it really shouldn’t be too surprising to see which of Rick’s inventions is arguably the best of all. When you first hear the word “portal gun”, the first thought is that it can merely transport someone or something from one position to another (much like a certain game franchise). But Rick’s Portal Gun has a significant extra feature, and that’s its ability to transport someone between any of the infinite number of parallel universes. Yeah, there’s a reason Rick never leaves home without it.
Another reason that the Portal Gun is so special is that Rick (and most of his interdimensional brethren) is the only person in the universe that seems to have possession of this technology. The Galactic Federation, a cosmic organization bent on controlling as much of the universe as possible, has a similar type of portal technology, but it is suggested to be far inferior to Rick’s, as one of their main goals is to gain the code to his Portal Gun. It’s been hinted that Rick may have not conceived the Portal Gun entirely on his own, but as of now, the device’s specific origin is still a mystery.
1. Worst – Love Potion/Antidote
Just like Yin and Yang, it’s only natural that Rick’s very worst invention would be just as impressive as his greatest. While initially, a Love Potion may not seem like it has the potential to be that devastating of a creation, Rick and Morty was quick to prove that just isn’t the case. All it was supposed to do was make Morty’s crush Jessica fall in love with him, but of course, everything would go haywire when the potion’s effects begin spreading like a disease, causing the whole town to become obsessed with him.
If that wasn’t bad enough, Rick’s “Antidote” would exacerbate the situation, first transforming all of the fanatical citizens into praying mantis-human hybrids, and then grotesque humanoid blobs that can only be described as “Cronenbergs”. Before long, the entire world is infected, and Rick and Morty have no choice but to abandon their home-dimension altogether (ironically, with Rick’s greatest invention). When something you’ve created ends up forcing you to ditch your entire universe, then it makes any other failures you’ve suffered through look great by comparison.
With all of the crazy gadgets and experiments that Rick has created during the past 22 episodes, there’s no telling what’s to come in the upcoming season! Did any of your favorite inventions fail to make the list? Let us know in the comments!
Season 3 of Rick and Morty premieres July 30th, on Adult Swim.
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