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8 Best and Smartest Episodes of "Rick and Morty"

Robert is a Graduate of Columbia University's MFA program. He writes short stories, poetry, and critical essays. He is also a drummer.

Rick and Morty is one of the smartest shows on TV. The show's philosophical, complex plots question the structure of our society and the limits of human understanding while, simultaneously, exploring the depths of human psychology. Here are eight of the best episodes with explanations for why they are so innovative.

Best & Smartest Episodes of "Rick and Morty"

  1. "The Ricklantis Mixup"
  2. "Rest and Ricklaxation"
  3. "The Rickshank Rickdemption"
  4. "Total Rickall"
  5. "The Ricks Must Be Crazy"
  6. "The Wedding Squanchers"
  7. "Lawnmower Dog"
  8. "Meeseeks and Destroy"

1. "The Ricklantis Mixup"

Directed by: Dominic Polcino, Wesley Archer

Written by: Dan Guterman, Ryan Ridley

Season: 3

What Makes "The Ricklantis Mixup" Such a Great Episode:

  • The Citadel of Rick's explores how the same person could have sightly different personalities based on having lived in multiple universes.
  • Demonstrates how a person can be at odds with all the different versions of his/herself. We are often our own worst enemies.
  • Explores how police brutality is as much a psychological problem as much as it is a social problem.

Best Lines From "The Ricklantis Mixup"

QuoteCharacter

The division I see is between the Ricks and Mortys that like the Citadel divided and the rest of us. I see it everywhere I go. I see it in our schools, where they teach Mortys that we're all the same because they're threatened by what makes us unique. I see it in our streets, where they give guns to Mortys, so we are too busy fighting each other to fight real injustice. I see it in our factories, where Ricks work for a fraction of their bosses salary even though they are identical and have the same IQ. The Citadel's problem isn't homeless Mortys or outraged Ricks. The Citadel's problem is the Ricks and Mortys feeding on the Citadel's death. But I've got a message for them from the Ricks and Mortys keeping it alive, a message from the Ricks and Mortys that believe in this Citadel and the Ricks and Mortys that don't: you're outnumbered!

Evil Morty

Well you can keep wondering that as we go on a fresh, self-contained adventure to the lost city of Atlantis. Anyone continuing to explore the Citadel is either stupid or one of the unfortunate millions held hostage by their terrible ideas.

Rick Sanchez C-137

We run it on a loop through Simple Rick's mind. And the chemical it makes his brain secrete goes into every Simple Rick's Simple Wafer's Wafer Cookie. Come home to the impossible flavor of your own completion. Come home to Simple Rick's.

Simple Rick's Narrator

Your life is a lie, man. All your lives are lives! Don't you get it? They told we were special because we were Rick's, but they stripped us of everything that made us unique!

Assembly-Line Rick Sanchez

2. "Rest and Ricklaxation"

Directed by: Anthony Chun, Wesley Archer

Written by: Tom Kauffman

Season: 3

What Makes "Rest and Ricklaxation" Such a Great Episode:

  • The toxic versions of themselves once again shows how people are complex and their personalities are split by their best and worst desires.
  • The desire to rid ourselves of our worst elements is strong, but the episode questions whether or not it's a good thing to get rid of your darkness.
  • Offers the suggestion that we are "all responsible for our toxins" and must work to better ourselves for others.

Best Lines From "Rest and Ricklaxation"

QuoteCharacter

Guess who just discovered a new element! Think you could do that Morty? You think anyonne but me could do it ever in a billion years? Do you think if God existed he could do it? The answer is no. If God exists its f—ing me!

Rick

You miss the old me. You miss someone that loved you so much you never had to love 'em back.

Morty

How many of these are just horrible mistakes I made? I mean, maybe I'd stop making so many if I let myself learn from them.

Morty

Don't break your back creating a lesson, Morty. It's a free-form anthology. I'm getting annoyed you're not hearing that.

Rick

3. "The Rickshank Rickdemption"

Directed by: Juan Jose Meza-Leon (as Juan Meza-León), Wesley Archer

Written by: Mike McMahan

Season: 3

What Makes "The Rickshank Rickdemption" Such a Great Episode:

  • Explores the idea that future prisons might be psychological prisons.
  • Begs the question: What does home mean when you can pack up and move to another universe whenever you want.
  • Shows how Beth's fear of losing her father ruins her other relationships.

Best Lines From "The Rickshank Rickdemption"

QuoteCharacter

Oh, it gets darker, Morty. Welcome to the darkest year of our adventures. First thing that's different - no more Dad, Morty.

Rick

That's my one-armed man! I'm not driven by avenging my dead family, Morty! That was fake. I-I-I'm driven by finding that McNugget sauce.

Rick

That's what's gonna take us all the way to the end, Morty. Season - Nine more seasons, Morty. Nine more seasons until I get that dipping Szechuan sauce. What is that? For 97 more years, Morty! I want that McNugget sauce, Morty.

Rick

He's a spy. Blow him up. I'm gonna go take a shit.

Citadel Commander-in-Chief

4. "Total Rickall"

Directed by: Juan Jose Meza-Leon (as Juan Meza-León), Pete Michels

Written by: Mike McMahan

Season: 2

What Makes "Total Rickall" Such a Great Episode:

  • The family battles a parasite that implants fake memories. They question what is real to the point of near-insanity.
  • Show how implanted memories can cause people to act outside their normal patterns (e.g. Jerry's secret homoerotic relationship).
  • Introduces the character Mr. Poopybutthole.

Best Lines From "Total Rickall"

QuoteCharacter

Wubba-lubba-dub-dub!

Rick

We've got a lot of friends and family to exterminate.

Rick

Thanks, Mr. Poopybutthole. I always could count on you.

Rick

All I have are pictures are of me and my friends from school. What? What teenage girl has pictures of her family? It's not like we're Mormon or dying.

Summer

5. "The Ricks Must Be Crazy"

Directed by: Dominic Polcino, Pete Michels

Written by: Dan Guterman

Season: 2

What Makes "The Ricks Must Be Crazy" Such a Great Episode:

  • Explores the desire of the powerful to behave like gods... a mistake for which Rick punishes them.
  • Explores the idea of micro-universes within larger universes.
  • Explores the idea that people can be treated as slaves without even realizing it.

Best Lines From "The Ricks Must Be Crazy"

QuoteCharacter

If you're talking about the melting ghost babies, yes, please, no more of that.

Summer

My function is to "keep Summer safe", not "keep Summer being, like, totally stoked about, like, the general vibe, and stuff". That's you, that's how you talk.

Rick's Computer

Quantum carburetor? Jesus Morty, you can't just add a sci-fi word to a car word and hope it means something. Looks like something's wrong with the micro-verse battery.

Rick

We did it Morty! Now, lets get out of here and destroy this whole universe!

Rick

6. "The Wedding Squanchers"

Directed by: Wesley Archer (as Wes Archer), Pete Michels

Written by: Tom Kauffman

Season: 2

What Makes "The Wedding Squanchers" Such a Great Episode:

  • Explores how the loss of Rick's marriage has changed him, causing him to be bitter.
  • Rick's own trauma causes him to judge his friend's decisions poorly and take a cruel position, which, of course, turns out to be correct.
  • Explores how government can squash intelligence in to "protect" everyone.

Best Lines From "The Wedding Squanchers"

QuoteCharacter

Listen, I'm not the nicest guy in the universe, because I'm the smartest, and being nice is something stupid people do to hedge their bets.

Rick

The road your father and I walked together is soaked deeply with the blood of both friends and enemies.

Birdperson

Squanch this, mofo.

Jerry

Weddings are basically just funerals with cake.

Rick

7. "Lawnmower Dog"

Directed by: John Rice, Pete Michels

Written by: Ryan Ridley

Season: 1

What Makes "Lawnmower Dog" Such a Great Episode:

  • Explores how humans use pets in order to avoid harsh truths, placing themselves into their animals, treating them like babies, disrespecting the individuality of a member of a different species.
  • Explores how human insecurities are projected on their pets.
  • Explores the social structure of canines.

Best Lines From "Lawnmower Dog"

QuoteCharacter

Do not call me that! Snuffles was my slave name. You shall now call me Snowball, because my fur is pretty and white.

Snuffles/Snowball

I thought the whole point of having a dog was to feel superior Jerry. If I were you I wouldn't pull that thread.

Rick

Sexual hang-ups in the pleasure chamber are punishable by death!

Centaur

Tell me, Summer, if a human was born with stumpy legs, would they breed it with another deformed human and put their children on display like the Dachshund?

Snuffles

8. "Meeseeks and Destroy"

Directed by: Bryan Newton, Pete Michels

Written by: Ryan Ridley

Season: 1

What Makes "Meeseeks and Destroy" Such a Great Episode:

  • Explores how identifying as a servant and perfectionist can lead to madness.
  • Explores how having everything done for you can actually leave you feeling vacant.
  • While Rick is miserable because he refuses help, everyone else becomes miserable having constant help. The episode asks: How much help should someone be willing to accept?

Best Lines From "Meeseeks and Destroy"

QuoteCharacter

Have you ever tried to relax? It's a paradox.

Jerry

Morty, I already told you it’s not your family! They’re clones from an alternate reality, possessed by demonic alien spirits from another dimension’s future! Do you need a mnemonic device or something? Just hit the button, already!

Rick

Everybody sto-o-o-p! Look at me! My brothers, nothing will be accomplished by shedding meeseeks blood. None of us can die until our job is done.

Mr. Meeseeks

What? It just has a mop and some floor wax in it. Wubba lubba dub dubs! Yeah! That’s my new thing! I’m kind of like what’s his name Ar-Arsenio. Isn’t that-it’s what Arsenio used to say on his show. Wobble gobba lop bops! right? See you next week, everybody.

Rick