With three seasons under their belt and likely at least 3 more to go, Dan Harmon and Justin Roiland have created a pop culture phenomenon that seems to have absolutely taken over. With only 31 episodes released, Rick And Morty makes for a near-perfect binge over the course of a weekend -- or a day, whichever. But should you find yourself lacking in time and in need to have the core of the Rick And Morty experience carefully distilled into just 10 episodes, well, then you’re in for a real squanchin’ treat, pal. So grab your portal guns and whatever KLAX you can find, and let’s get riggity-riggity-right to it.
10 The Ricks Must Be Crazy
If the first season of Rick And Morty hadn’t already convinced you that Rick is basically a god, then “The Ricks Must Be Crazy” went right out and said it. Not only has Rick spawned a plethora of micro-verses, but he’s done so simply to create a free and endless source of fuel. Ouch. Somehow, even without the power provided to it by the miniverses, Rick’s ship still manages to traumatize Summer and everyone that it comes in contact with. Meanwhile, in the teeny-verse, er -- micro-verse, whatever -- Rick struggles to reestablish the status quo with micro and teeny versions of himself. Makes you wonder what exactly Rick thinks he’s returning to when finally gets back to his own multiverse.
9 The Rickshank Redemption
This is the episode that, for better or worse, established Rick And Morty as a pop culture phenomenon. Yes, my friends, when you have the kind of pull to force McDonald’s hand into bringing back that delicious, zesty, Mulan-inspired, Szechuan sauce, you've truly reached the upper echelons of pop culture.
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There’s so much going on in this episode; from the possible hints at Rick’s past to killer concepts like “Seal Team Ricks”, all wrapped up with the neat little bow that is the devastating collapse of an intergalactic government and a return to the status quo for Rick and the Smith family. Probably the best April fools prank that was ever played.
8 Meseeks and Destroy
“Meseeks and Destroy” is the perfect example of something small can snowball into a devastating avalanche of hostage situations, a deadly game of mini putt-putt, and fantasy worlds are filled with knights, giants, and corrupt jellybeans aching for the touch of a young and impressionable boy like Morty. It’s also one of the best episodes to introduce anyone that still hasn’t seen Rick And Morty to their ludicrous misadventures. It perfectly exemplified the essence of the series; Rick causing shenanigans to distract the Smith family and go off on an adventure with Morty. What could be better than a man adventuring through the multiverse with his grandson?
7 Rick Potion #9
Not only is “Rick Potion #9” one of the greatest episodes of the entire series, but it’s also one of the darkest, which, is perhaps, why it’s great. It’s also one of the first times Morty (along with the audience) sees Rick fail, which is interesting going forward throughout the series.
This is the episode that tells the audience that Rick And Morty isn’t going to be just another hilarious cartoon to kick back and relax with. Much like the audience, Morty reaches a major turning point in this episode and the bigger picture of what type of story the creators are telling becomes much more clear.
6 Mortynight Run
There’s so much great about this episode that it’s hard to know where to begin. There’s one of the greatest guest star appearances by the acoustically audacious Jermaine Clement of Flight Of The Conchords. This episode also brings us the amazing Roy: The Game and a daycare center for all the Jerrys of the multiverse. While Jerry enjoys his special fun time at Jerryboree, Morty spends his time-saving Fart, the gaseous, charismatic, singing telepath bent on the destruction of all carbon-based lifeforms. Sometimes it’s better to just stay at Blips and Chitz with the boys playing Roy.
5 Rixty Minutes
While most people look back on this episode and remember all the silly improvised bits we see on interdimensional cable, there’s some real gold in the subplots involving Summer and her parents. Antsinmyeyes Johnson, Real Fake Doors, and the most adorable little detective you’ve ever seen, Baby Legs, are just a few examples of the some of the absurd offerings the multiversal cable box has in store for Rick and Morty. Meanwhile, Beth and Jerry learn what life would have looked like apart and gain new respect and love for one another. But the crux of this episode comes from Morty as he describes to Summer the aftermath of “Rick Potion #9”. Everyone dies. Nobody’s here on purpose. Let’s just go watch tv. Solid advice.
4 Auto Erotic Assimilation
If you’ve ever been curious about the type of women it takes to (somewhat) handle Rick, well, the answer is somehow both surprising and really the only answer that makes sense. Morty and Summer get a chance to meet grandpa Rick’s ex-girlfriend Unity, a hivemind entity who apparently has her hands around the dank empty pit where Rick’s heart belongs. Meanwhile, once again, Beth and Jerry seem to be having some marital problems before stumbling onto a captive alien locked below Rick’s garage.
This episode does a great job of emphasizing the effect that Rick has on the people around him, not just Morty but all of the people that come in contact with him. In a way, his suicide attempt can be read as an attempt to heal what he’s broken in his loved ones and repent, so to speak, for how he’s loved them. A devastating blow by a man who often acts like the multiverse has robbed him of emotions.
3 The Ricklantis Mixup
There’s just so much to say about this episode. We finally get another peek into the mind of the Evil Morty and his plans for Rick and the Citadel. This episode is packed with amazing references from a Training Day inspired ride along with senior Citadel officer Cop Morty and his rookie partner Rick to the adventure with stand by Mortys, a Stand By Me inspired adventure following a group of Morty’s making their way to a wishing portal. We’ll likely end up waiting a bit longer before hearing from Evil Morty again, but until then we’ve got plenty to theorize about before season 4 comes out.
2 Total Rickall
How can an episode that introduced the fan-favorite character, Mr. Poopybutthole, along with many other new and absurd characters for fans to adore? Who could forget Ghost in a Jar, Cousin Nicky, or Pensylvester! Oh, Pensylvester. He was the best of us. This is another one of those episodes that perfectly encapsulated what fans love about the show. It’s weird, chaotic, crazy, and absolutely hilarious. While it may end in a bit of a downer for Mr. Poopybutthole, it’s exactly the type of wacky misadventure that fans of the series clamor for.
1 Pickle Rick
There are plenty of reasons why “Pickle Rick” makes it here to the top of the list, the least of which being just how incredibly complex and entertaining the episode is. Dan Harmon himself says the idea came up rather organically, and once it had they just ran with it. Why would Rick do this thing to himself? The idea was essentially to take this iconic character, Rick, and strip him of everything to find out what really makes him tick. Much like they do with Walter White and the broken down RV in the desert in Breaking Bad. The results are as heartbreaking and painful to watch as they are bloody and impressive. Who knew someone could do that much damage as a pickle?