The possibilities for the science-fiction genre are seemingly endless, and yet so many sci-fi stories cover the same ground. It’s why Justin Roiland and Dan Harmon’s Adult Swim series Rick and Morty has been such a breath of fresh air since it debut in 2013. The show is genuine hard sci-fi, with well thought-out premises and situations that aren’t simply forgotten or discarded after one episode. Roiland and Harmon double down on these stories, while adhering to the rules of the universe they’ve created. But Rick and Morty is also sharply, sometimes darkly funny, offering up a variety of ridiculous, crude, and hilarious situations and moments.
The show endures, however, because of its heart. You may not immediately think of compassion when it comes to Rick and Morty, but it’s there. The love that Roiland and Harmon have for these characters permeates, and they’re not afraid to approach difficult situations and subject matter with real, sometimes tough emotions. That is what makes Rick and Morty far more than a raunchy cartoon or strange sci-fi series.
With that in mind, I went back and revisited all the Rick and Morty episodes from the first three seasons and ranked them from worst to best, in an effort to further dive into what makes this show special episode by episode. Truth be told, there’s really not a single worthless episode of Rick and Morty—there’s good to be found in even the least memorable of the bunch, so think of this as a way of appreciating each episode of the show rather than an episode-by-episode judgment.
Without further ado, let’s get started…