Rick and Morty is one of the deepest and most intricate cartoons ever made. Where many other cartoons opt for a more episodic approach, Rick and Morty episodes are infused with themes that can be followed throughout the series. A viewer won’t be lost if they watch only one episode, but Rick and Morty rewards continuing viewers with plots that can only be understood when the show is watched in sequence.
Through the hilarious episodes of Rick and Morty, the viewer realizes that Justin Roiland and Dan Harmon (the show’s creators) have a morbid sense of humor. Some of the darkest moments on television are presented to the Rick and Morty audience, who will laugh hysterically at every one.
The dark humor is usually a result of the subversion of expectations that Rick and Morty is so adept at; it will lead you down a path only to drop you off a cliff onto a bed of broken glass. You never know what’s going to happen in an episode of Rick and Morty, and as soon as you think you know they drop an anvil on the whole thing. Rick and Morty thrives on its dark humor, which is one of the reasons the show is so successful. It pulls hilarity out of some of the darkest content imaginable.
Here are 15 Times Rick And Morty Was Extremely Dark.
15. Titanic 2
The episode “Ricksy Business” was the season finale of the first season of Rick and Morty. In the episode, Rick throws a party while Beth and Jerry are away experiencing a Titanic recreation. Rick and Morty gets into some serious darkness, including Abradolf Lincler dying to obtain crystals that Rick just crushes and snorts, but the real dark material comes from Jerry’s experiences.
Beth is sick of all the Titanic stuff, and leaves Jerry with a cleaning lady on the cruise named Lucy. The two of them see the Titanic sights together, but things take a turn when Lucy pulls a gun on Jerry and tries to force him to have sex with her in the iconic car from the film. Beth saves the day by throwing her book at Lucy, but Jerry was moments away from being forced into sex.
To make things even darker, when Beth and Jerry were heading home near the end of the episode, Lucy can be seen hanging onto the bottom of their car. She proclaims that she’s “going to do like from Cape Fear,” only to be run over by the Smiths’ car and left paralyzed in the parking lot.
14. “They’re Just Robots, Morty”
The pilot episode of Rick and Morty threw us right into the deep-end in terms of dark material. Our heroes are faced with making it through galactic customs with contraband, and when the authorities catch on to them they have to run and eventually fight back.
Multiple alien beings are killed during the course of their escape, but not much thought is ever given to them. At one point, Rick even tells Morty not to think about it as they run by some strange entity they seem to have killed.
The dark humor really starts once Rick starts trying to open a portal home. He gives Morty a gun, telling him the insects are just robots. Morty shoots one in the leg, only to hear him cry out in pain. Another insect comes over and cries with him, telling someone to call Glen’s wife and children before he bleeds to death.
13. Morty’s Adventure
In the episode entitled “Meeseeks and Destroy,” Morty takes control of the adventure for once. He takes Rick to a fantasy town, where the world is being plagued by evil giants. Rick and Morty climb a bean stock to try to solve the town’s problem. Rick and Morty arrive at the giants house, and while Dale the Giant is looking for them, he slips and cracks his head on the corner of the table– and dies.
Dale’s wife enters with his son, revealing that this barbaric giant actually had a family of his own. Dale’s wife captures Rick and Morty, and they’re made to stand trial for their crimes. They’re set free, but this scene shows that even traditional fantasy themes like slaying a giant are made as dark as possible on Rick and Morty.
The darkness of Morty’s adventure doesn’t end there, as Morty is accosted by Mr. Jellybean in the men’s room of a bar the two visit after they get out of court. The jellybean makes sexual advances on Morty, and Morty is forced to beat him to the verge of death. Mr. Jellybean is later revealed to be the king of the town they just saved.
12. Murderous MeeSeeks
The entirety of the “Meeseeks and Destroy” episode is pretty dark, as the Smith family’s subplot mirrors the adventure Rick and Morty embark on. To help his family resolve their problems, Rick gives them a Meeseeks box. The Meeseeks are generic blue beings, who serve one purpose and then cease to exist.
Beth, Summer, and Jerry all call their Meeseeks to help solve their problems. The former two have more complex and intricate problems, while Jerry only asks that his Meeseeks help him get two strokes off his golf game. The show, as always, subverts our expectations, here by presenting Jerry’s problem as the hardest to deal with.
The Meeseeks helping Jerry eventually calls another Meeseeks to help the original, and it spirals out of control until the Smith’s entire living room is filled with Meeseeks. They eventually grow agitated at their prolonged existence and become murderous; holding a restaurant patrons hostage until Jerry fixes his golf swing. Jerry does fix his swing, but not until the Meeseeks terrorize a restaurant and traumatize its staff.
11. Clone Killing
“Big Trouble in Little Sanchez” has quite a few dark elements, including Jerry and Beth’s Mythologs combining forces to wreak havoc on their couples counselling institution. There are some violent deaths on that side of the plot, but the real brutality comes in the form of Tiny Rick.
Tiny Rick is trapped in his tiny body, and his forced positivity inhibits him from asking for help. In the end, when he finally escapes from his clone body, the adult Rick goes on a rampage, killing all of the Rick clones in his garage.
This is sneakily the darkest moment in the entire episode. Rick runs around naked, brutally murdering forms of himself with an ax in front of his grandchildren, who are in complete dismay the entire time.
10. Morty Torture Chamber
The episode “Close Rick-counters of the Rick Kind” is the subject of a fair amount of speculation from the Rick and Morty fandom, as it gave birth to a subplot fans expect to be developed in the coming season. The episode revolves around C-137 Rick trying to clear his name for the murder of Ricks on other timelines.
When C-137 Rick and Morty find Evil Rick’s lair, the entire outside is covered in Mortys who are all attached to individual torture devices. Rick admits that he thought of something similar before, though he’d never put it into practice.
The general idea that this scene and episode present is that Mortys are completely expendable; they only serve as a mirroring system for Rick, and without that benefit, Ricks have no feelings for them. C-137 Rick is presented as different for having feelings for his Morty, but the general consensus is that Mortys don’t matter. In fact, we even see a Morty insurance salesman near the beginning of the episode. Mortys are nothing more than tools for the Ricks.
9. Morty’s Killer Conscious
The episode “Mortynight Run” positions Morty’s conscience as one of the most dangerous elements in the universe. Morty is bothered by the fact that Rick is selling a gun to an assassin (Krombopulos Michael), and takes it upon himself to save the target.
The target ends up being a gaseous organism with a delightful singing voice. While the duo make their escape, the death toll skyrockets. It seems that every character that gets in the way of Rick and Morty are maimed or killed, including the assassin Krombopulos Michael.
In the end, we find out that it was all for nothing, as the gaseous entity Morty’s trying to save has the end-goal of exterminating all carbon-based life in the universe. Morty is forced to shoot the organism, proving that all the death and destruction that occurred in this episode was for nothing.
8. Anatomy Park
The entire concept of Anatomy Park is as dark as can be. Rick takes a homeless man with nothing to live for, and creates an entire theme park inside the man’s body. The diseases that the homeless man has proves too much to overcome, and results in the death of multiple characters, including the man whose body serves as host for the park.
There are some brutal deaths in the “Anatomy Park” episode, and it features more than one person begging for their life. At one point, Morty even tells a man he’s not going to die, only to see him swept away when the homeless man coughs. The audience is treated to the sight of this man’s clothes and skin being torn away before his lifeless bones splatter on Rick’s forehead.
7. Morty’s Purge
“Look Who’s Purging Now” is a dark episode by nature, as it takes place on a planet that adheres to the rules outlined in the Purge films. Morty is initially disgusted by the planet’s violent behavior, but eventually comes around to their way of thinking.
Morty’s purge begins after he listens to an old man’s movie script. He sits through the whole thing, but when it comes time to give notes the author is displeased. He tries to kick Rick and Morty out of his house, but Morty responds by pushing the old man down a flight of stairs, killing him with no remorse.
Morty goes on to take the purge to heart, killing everyone in sight. Even those who are hiding from the violence – people Morty initially sympathized with – are not safe from the slaughter. Rick eventually has to step in as Morty is annihilating the corpses of his victims.
6. Rick Destroys the World
The episode “Cronenbergs” is arguably one of the most hilarious episodes of Rick and Morty due to its ability to subvert the expectations of its viewers. Few people saw the ending of the episode coming, as it leaves us with one of the darkest themes the series explores.
Rick is usually able to navigate his way out of any sticky situation, and he does that in “Cronenbergs”– just not the way we may have thought. Rick ends up, essentially, destroying Earth. Instead of fixing his mess, Rick brings Morty to another dimension where Rick did save the day, only to die moments after doing so.
The audience is shocked when they see Rick and Morty explode, and break out in laughter after it’s revealed that our Rick and Morty will be taking their place. The episode ends with an extremely disturbed Morty, who just went through the existential crisis of having to bury his own dead body.
5. Cosmic Pessimism
The cosmic pessimism displayed in Rick and Morty is present throughout the series. Rick proves that being the smartest person in the universe comes with an inherent pessimism that mirrors that of the Rick and Morty creators. The essential theme of Rick and Morty is that our existences are meaningless, and Rick takes this to its logic extreme in nearly every episode.
The best articulation of our place in the universe comes in the form of Morty’s quote to Summer in “Rixty Minutes.” Summer is fed-up with her parents, and is packing to leave because it becomes obvious that she is the only reason Beth and Jerry got married. Morty comes in and tells her to stay, revealing that he is actually the Morty from another reality, and that his dead body is rotting in the back yard.
4. Strawberry Smiggles
The Strawberry Smiggles commercial was one of many shorts from the inter-dimensional cable box Rick installs during the “Rixty Minutes” episode. There’s quite a bit of hilariously disturbing footage in the episode, but Strawberry Smiggles takes the cake.
The commercial shows Tophat Jones, a parody of the Lucky Charms and Trix mascots. He parades his Strawberry Smiggles in front of the camera, saying he’s the only one that can have them because they will all be in his stomach. He eats the Strawberry Smiggles and begins to dance, but that’s where things take a turn for the sadistic.
Two dead-eyed children enter the frame with a knife and a roll of tape. They proceed to strap Tophat Jones to a stump, cut open his stomach and eat the Strawberry Smiggles out of his entrails. The whole time Tophat Jones is begging for his life, and eventually the relief of death.
3. Leave the Girl Alone
The plot of the episode “The Ricks Must Be Crazy” is mainly focused on Rick and Morty’s travels inside the battery of Rick’s spaceship, but Summer’s experience inside the ship results in one of the most hilariously dark moments in all of the series.
Rick’s ship is tasked with protecting summer, and chooses to do so by killing anyone who comes close. When Summer tells the ship not to kill anyone, it responds by paralyzing the next man to approach.
Once police arrive, Summer instructs the ship not to use physical force. The ship decides to use psychological warfare in place of violence, and provides one of the darkest scenes in Rick and Morty.
The ship produces a recreated image of one of the cops’ dead son. The boy comes out in a tube, and the policeman rushes forward with tears in his eyes. The boy only speaks four words to his father, “Leave the girl alone,” before disintegrating into pink goop in his hands, leaving him hysterically grasping for another moment with his deceased son.
2. Szechuan Sauce
The surprise airing of the first episode of season three was the best April Fools gift anyone could have asked for. It delivered on the high expectations that were set for Rick and Morty, and provided fans with a mind-boggling glimpse of Rick’s true intentions.
The maddening Szechuan sauce rant at the end of the episode mirrored the crazed monologue Rick delivered in the pilot episode, only this time it had darker implication. Rick basically revealed that he only let himself get captured in order to destroy the Galactic Federation and his daughter’s marriage to Jerry.
Rick states that the only reason he even saved Morty and Summer was so that he could return as a hero and be welcomed back by Beth. He says that his only motivation is to find the elusive Szechuan sauce; essentially saying that everything leading up to this point is meaningless. This is Rick’s general cosmic view, and shouldn’t come as much of a shock from the twisted, pessimistic minds of Justin Roiland and Dan Harmon.
1. Mr. Poopybutthole Shooting
The shooting of Mr. Poopybutthole at the end of “Total Rickall” is another excellent example of how Rick and Morty subverts the expectations of its viewers.
The parasites in “Total Rickall” are presented as only being able to implant positive memories in their subjects. Mr. Poopybutthole, a character the audience assumes is a parasite, is the last one standing after the Smiths rid the house of them. The family sits down for dinner, and Beth can be seen thinking before she shoots Mr. Poopybutthole in the chest.
Instead of dying like the rest of the parasites, Mr. Poopybutthole reacts as if he’s a real person. He sits in the corner, bleeding out and begging for life as Beth runs to the kitchen and shakily pours herself a tall glass of wine.
As is the case with most everything, Rick and Morty takes this theme further as the post-credit sequence shows Mr. Poopybutthole in a rehab facility. He sees Beth through the glass and whispers something to his therapist. The therapist then comes out, and tells Beth that Mr. Poopybutthole said he’s sorry Beth didn’t have any bad memories of him.
What dark moment in Rick and Morty made you laugh the most? Let us know in the comments!