The writers of Rick and Morty really know how to hit their viewers in the feels. It has made its name as one of the most emotionally torturous shows on the air. It’s also really funny and plays around with sci-fi concepts in a unique and interesting way.
But you come for the jokes and the sci-fi concepts and stay for the emotional ruin. With an alcoholic nihilist for a lead character, Rick and Morty has delivered more than a few moments that brought fans to the brink of tears. So, here are Rick And Morty’s 10 Saddest Moments, Ranked.
10 Rick sacrifices himself to save Morty
In the season 2 premiere, “A Rickle in Time,” Rick and Morty find themselves tumbling through an empty void between the many timelines they created. Rick has designed collars to get them back into their own time, but Morty’s is broken, so Rick makes the difficult decision to sacrifice himself to save Morty almost instantly.
He gives Morty his collar and then prepares himself for death. But then he finds Morty’s collar and manages to fix it in time. The moment before Rick realizes he’s going to be okay is really sad, but it also proves once and for all that Rick does, in fact, care about Morty.
9 Morty buries his own corpse
Season 1’s “Rick Potion No. 9” might have been the first truly great episode of Rick and Morty. At the end, Rick realizes that the mess he and Morty have made is irreparable.
They’ve filled the world with “Cronenbergs” and they have to leave their reality behind, find one where they died, and take their place in that reality. It’s a funny twist at first, but it leads to a really harrowing and heartbreaking moment as Morty has to bury his own corpse in the backyard and then go on living with the knowledge that his life is a lie.
8 Sleepy Gary’s death
In “Total Rickall,” we get a Rick and Morty clip show in the most Rick and Morty way possible: the clips were never actually on the show, they’re just memories being implanted in everyone’s heads by parasites.
The premise leads to some great gags, like a talking pencil named Pencilvester, but it also leads to some really tragic moments, like the death of Jerry’s best friend, Sleepy Gary. Jerry is devastated to not only watch his best friend die, but also discover that he never actually existed in the first place, and we feel his anguish. It’s a metaphysical nightmare.
7 Rick turns himself in to the intergalactic feds
The season 2 finale of Rick and Morty, “The Wedding Squanchers,” ended with a tremendous cliffhanger that fans weren’t expecting. Although Rick and the family had gone on the run and found a new little planet to live on, they had no quality of life, so Rick decided to turn himself in to protect them.
As Rick is taken to an intergalactic prison and locked up with hundreds of other inmates, the sounds of “Hurt” by Nine Inch Nails help the gravity of the situation set in. Of course, Rick would be back out with the family within one episode in season 3, but it felt like a huge, momentous, irrevocable crisis when season 2 first aired.
6 Beth shoots Mr. Poopybutthole
“Total Rickall” is all about parasites that have implanted memories of themselves in the family’s heads. They kill all the characters they have no negative memories of, because they realize that every parasitic memory is positive.
When Beth thinks Mr. Poopybutthole might be a parasite – and bear in mind that we also assume him to be a parasite, because we’ve never seen him before – she shoots him. But to her surprise, and ours, he’s not a parasite and the family is devastated as he lies in a pool of his own blood. Shaking, Beth chugs wine. It’s a dark moment, and as confusing as it is, it’s also very sad.
5 Birdperson reveals the tragic meaning behind “Wubba-lubba-dub-dub!”
Catchphrases are considered to be lazy and tacky, but Rick and Morty has revolutionized the idea of a catchphrase, firstly by satirizing it with the wacky, random, ostensibly meaningless phrase “Wubba-lubba-dub-dub!” and secondly by giving it an entirely new context.
At their big party during the season 1 finale “Ricksy Business,” Birdperson tells Morty that, in his language, the seemingly nonsensical phrase translates as: “I am in great pain. Please help me.” Rick isn’t very open about his emotions, because he doesn’t believe in therapy and deals with his pain by bottling it up, but it sometimes comes out in interesting ways like this.
4 Rick’s car conjures up a cop’s dead son
This one is a real head-spinner. As Rick and Morty go inside the car battery to get the inhabitants of the microverse to continue pumping power into it, Summer is left in the car, with Rick instructing the car’s internal A.I. to “keep Summer safe.” After killing a guy and then paralyzing another, Summer makes the car promise not to hurt anyone.
So, when the police show up, the car takes more of a psychological approach to keeping Summer safe. It scans the news, sees that an officer’s son recently drowned, and creates a clone of the son that melts in the heartbroken cop’s arms.
3 The final room in the Vindicators’ trap was designed for Noob-Noob
For the most part, season 3’s “Vindicators 3: The Return of Worldender” is a spot-on parody of MCU movies. While heavily intoxicated, Rick sets up an elaborate Saw-style trap for the superhero team that ends with a final room in which the one person Rick actually cares about is supposed to sit in a little carriage and go through an amusement park ride.
Morty thinks it’s him and he’s the right size and weight to activate the ride. However, as he goes through the ride, he realizes that it was actually designed for Noob-Noob, the janitor who always laughed at Rick’s jokes.
2 Morty tells Summer that nothing matters
Towards the end of the first interdimensional cable episode, season 1’s “Rixty Minutes,” Summer is upset that she only exists in alternate timelines where her parents are miserable. So, Morty goes up to her room to tell her that he’s buried in the backyard. He and Rick screwed up their own universe and had to come to this one, bury themselves, and somehow carry on living.
Morty tells his sister, “Nobody exists on purpose. Nobody belongs anywhere. Everybody’s gonna die. Come watch TV.” His point is that nothing matters, so you shouldn’t get too hung up on anything. It’s existential, but in a very depressing way.
1 Rick tries to kill himself
In season 2’s “Auto Erotic Assimilation,” Rick falls for a hive mind, has a great time with her, and then gets dumped. Like most sitcom episodes, everything seems to be back to normal by the end of the show as Rick and Morty return home and Rick retreats to his garage.
However, unlike most sitcom episodes, Rick is shown to be deeply affected by losing his love. He sets up a little gadget to blow his brains out, but he passes out drunk right before it can annihilate his head. This is easily the most shocking and gut-wrenching moment in the show’s history.