The third season of Rick and Morty has come to an end. Fans waited for two years for this season, and they were pleased (except for a vocal minority). However, the quality of the episodes in the third season ranged from tremendous and inventive to merely good. Now fans properly have another long wait for the fourth seasons so to tide us over let us look at the third season episodes from worst to best (the term worst being used in the loosest way possible).
10. Vindicators 3: The Return of Worldender
Kicking off this list is the fourth episode of the season “Vindicators 3: The Return of Worldender”. Even the showrunner Dan Harmon thinks it’s the worst Rick and Morty episode. While it is a funny episode, it paled in comparison to the rest of the series and did not quite live up to its potential. It had a great premise that could have allowed for a parodying the superhero genre, particularly The Avengers, Guardians of the Galaxy and the Justice League yet does not make full use of the material and the use of ultra-violence and scatological humor was more akin to South Park than Rick and Morty. The episode is not without its charms: blackout drunk Rick (or as I like to call him Shitfaced Rick) was hilarious, there is a parody of the series’ emotional moments and references that Morty can pick one in every ten adventures.
9. Rest and Ricklaxation
“Rest and Ricklaxation” had two great elements – the opening that parodied Star Wars which showed Rick and Morty and the creation of Toxic Rick, a foul-mouth, unfiltered version of Rick who has all of Rick’s negative aspects. However, it was the stuff involving the Healthy versions of Rick and Morty that was lacking, particularly the Healthy Morty who came off as self-absorbed douche. Some of the highlights of the episode were when Healthy Rick and Toxic Rick were having a destructive fight in the Smith house and when Toxic Rick was able to turn the world toxic – allowing for some hilarious social commentary.
8. The ABC’s of Beth
“The ABC’s of Beth” marks the first time Beth goes on an adventure with her father and the strength episode was exploring the relationship between father and daughter. Beth has rarely been used as a character in the series and Sarah Chalke underutilized as a voice actress. “The ABC’s of Beth” is the emotional episode of series and mixes it with the show’s nihilistic themes – offering the closest the series has come to the “Nobody exists on purpose” scene. The episode also shows off the series ability to cross bright, colorful visuals and an ancient cannibal incest cult. The pink sentient switchblade was a great one-off character, but Jerry showed how low he could go as an individual.
7. Morty’s Mind Blowers
Instead of Interdimensional Cable this season Rick and Morty made “Morty’s Mind Blowers,” or as Rick described it as a ‘clip show based on clips, you haven’t seen before’ as the duo look at some of Morty’s erased memories. The framing device was nothing to write home about, – yet there was a funny joke when Rick and Morty accidentally erase their own memories. The meat of the episode was Morty’s memories which were mini-stories, and that made it better than the random skits that make up the Interdimensional Cable episodes. The episode was able to mix the series’ love for movie parodies, and existentialism and some of the best memories of the episode were the Contact parody and Morty finding out who runs the world.
6. The Rickchurian Mortydate
“The Rickchurian Mortydate” was a hilarious episode in its own right, but as the season finale, it underwhelms. “The Rickchurian Mortydate” sees the famous duo enter into a feud with The President of the United States after Rick and Morty refused to follow his orders. To leads to what Rick does best and puts all his efforts into one-upping the president, including securing peace in the Middle East and making contact with a mini-race in the Amazon Rainforest. The episode has one of the best fights in the show’s history, and Keith David gives a funny performance as he trades insults with Rick and Morty. However, the episode tries to wrap up the season’s storylines too quickly as Beth and Jerry rekindle their relationship and shoehorn in Rick’s nihilistic beliefs.
5. Rickmancing the Stone
“Rickmancing the Stone” was the obvious movie parody in the third season – being a riff of the Mad Max films. This episode saw Rick, Morty and Summer go to a post-apocalyptic world as the Smith family struggle with Beth and Jerry’s divorce with Summer being the most hard-hitting. The episode has been criticized a vocal minority because shock-horror it developed a female character and some even declared it feminist propaganda. These viewpoints can be ignored because “Rickmancing the Stone” was an entertaining episode showing Summer’s dark side, had a surprising emotional subplot involving Morty and his genetically enhanced arm and played on the show’s existentialist themes with Robot Morty.
4. Pickle Rick
When the promotional material featured Pickle Rick fans quickly became enamored by him: he even appeared on T-Shirts before the episode was broadcast. “Pickle Rick” did not quite live up to the expectations but it was entertaining and a more grounded episode (by Rick and Morty standards). Rick is tested to his limit when he transforms himself as a pickle and gets washed into the sewers to avoid going to family therapy and ends up battling an embassy full of Eastern European secret agents. It surprisingly turned into a parody of films like Taken and John Wick and one scene has even been edited by a fan into a quick Duracell commercial. The episode also continues and odd tread in Rick and Morty of having jokes about coprophagy.
3. The Whirly Dirly Conspiracy
“The Whirly Dirly Conspiracy” is a first in Rick and Morty‘s history: it was a Rick and Jerry adventure. Starring with Rick pulling a naked depressed Jerry out of bed to go to outer space the extent of the Rick and Jerry relationship and even develop a grudging respect for each other. They were plenty of dark jokes, some surreal imaginary, and there were scenes that will launch a thousand slash-fics. The episode also shows more of what makes Beth tick, sharing her father’s arrogance and stubbornness as well proving that Morty is smarter than people think. Morty even shows off his dark side when confronting Ethan after the senior upset Summer.
2. The Ricklantis Mixup
“The Ricklantis Mixup” is the most unique episode in Rick and Morty‘s run showing alternative versions of the titular character in the Citadel. This episode was the equivalent of The Simpsons episode “22 Short Films About Springfield” – made up of a collection of loosely connected stories. This included four Mortys trying to find a fabled wishing portal, a rookie Rick cop partnering with a corrupt Morty cop, and a showing of a Morty having a surprise run to become the President. It was an episode filled with movie parody big and small, from Stand by Me to Training Day to Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory and it was filled with political and social commentary. It was one of the most ambitious and intelligent episodes in the series and adds to the long-running story of the show.
1. The Rickshank Rickdemption
Topping this list is the first episode of the season “The Rickshank Rickdemption.” Originally broadcast on April 1, 2017 “The Rickshank Rickdemption” was worth the wait for long-suffering fans. Picking up where the Season 2 finale left off Rick was arrested by the Galactic Federation after taking over Earth. It was a love letter to fans as the episode built on previous plot ideas and used its continuity – such as picking up on where the episode “Rick Potion #9” left off. Rick ended up acting like the Doctor in the episode as he plays the long game, acts like an unstoppable force of nature, and has an ingenious way of bringing down the government which added plenty of satire on modern economics. The episode also had emotional moments featuring Morty and Summer – lots of jokes (my favorite being Lawyer Morty) and plenty of sci-fi action. The episode was also responsible for McDonald reintroducing their Szechuan sauce in limited numbers.