Rick and Morty is a pop culture icon. It has a devoted fanbase, for good and for ill (who can forget the Szechuan Sauce Incident). The impact has been so great that many adult animated shows have tried to copy Rick and Morty’s visual style and humor and writers like Mike McMahan and Michael Waldron have gone to work as showrunners on Star Trek: Lower Decks and Loki respectively.
However, Season 5 has been the most divisive in Rick and Morty’s run, so far. It was a season that produced some of the best Rick and Morty has had to offer, and some of the worst episodes in the show’s history. This wide range in quality means that the episodes of Season 5 can be ranked.
10. Rickdependence Spray
Three words: ‘Giant Incest Baby.’ That sums up “Rickdependence Spray,” an episode that has gathered the reputation as one of the worst episodes Rick and Morty has produced.
“Rickdependence Spray” was just a long gross-out gag that involved giant sperm monsters, sex jokes, and an underground race of cannibal horse people. It was like the writers shouted out random words and tried to fit them into an episode. This episode took the worst aspects of Family Guy and South Park’s styles. The claim that someone needs a high IQ to understand Rick and Morty will be debunked with this episode.
To show how bad “Rickdependence Spray” was just view the behind-the-scenes video. The production staff seemed like they were shocked and embarrassed by what they made.
9. Gotron Jerrysis Rickvangelion
“Rickdependence Spray” was a terrible episode and yet the showrunners thought it was a good idea to double down on it. “Gotron Jerryis Rickvangelion” saw the return of the giant incest baby who played a prominent role in the second half of the episode.
Besides the giant incest baby, “Gotron Jerryis Rickvangelion” was a parody of mecha anime, like Voltron, and had a narrative like a Martin Scorsese gangster film. It chronicles the rise and fall of the Smiths becoming mecha pilots and battling monsters from other dimensions. It was an episode that was more focused on parodying genre tropes and relied too much on it. It was not like previous episodes that could parody pop culture and still be funny in their own right.
8. Amortycan Grickitti
“Amortycan Grickitti” was the episode that followed “Rickdependence Spray” and it was a massive improvement on its predecessor. But as a standalone episode “Amortycan Grickitti” was a weak offering from the series.
“Amortycan Grickitti” was split into two stories. The A-Story involved Rick and Jerry hanging out with some Hellraiser-style demons, leading to Jerry getting taken to Hell. The B-Story was about Morty and Summer taking Rick’s car on a joyride around the galaxy.
The A-Story was the stronger story since it was a lot funnier, but it suffered from a major issue. When the episode went to Hell it felt like a repeat of the rescue mission in “Claw and Hoarder: Special Ricktim’s Morty.”
The B-Story was much more reliant on pop culture references, particularly American Graffiti, Transformers, and Marvel Comics.
7. Rick & Morty’s Thanksploitation Spectacular
“Rick & Morty’s Thanksploitation Spectacular” was the sixth episode of Season 5 and it was the first episode in the season where Rick and Morty went on an adventure together. This episode saw Morty accidentally releasing the hidden robot in the Statue of Liberty, leading to Rick and Morty going on an elaborate mission to get their yearly Presidential Pardon.
Rick and Morty must disguise themselves as turkeys so they can get the Presidential Pardon. However, the President was prepared for them and sent out a team of special forces soldiers to stop them. A mishap involving a turkey getting infused with the President’s DNA leads to an unholy alliance between the scientist, the boy, and the politician.
“Rick & Morty’s Thanksploitation Spectacular” was a funny episode with the idea that Rick and the President played this game every year. The jokes involving Congress enabling a Presidential doppelganger, and Rick and the President verbal sparring were particularly funny. The comedic high point was the parody country song ‘Turnin’ Turkey.’
The episode fell apart in the third act because it pulled out a solution from its ass. It involved a group of alien pilgrims and Native Americans being found hidden under Washington D.C. and teaming up with Rick, Morty, and the President to defeat mutant turkeys who have taken over the American capital.
6. A Rickconvenient Mort
“A Rickconvenient Mort” was an episode of two halves, one being a great A-plot and a weak B-plot. This episode sees Morty fall in love with Planetina, an environmental superhero, and sees the teen enter into a serious relationship with the green-haired woman. In the B-Plot Rick and Summer go on an apocalypse party tour by going to three planets that are about to be destroyed.
“A Rickconvenient Mort” was a more emotional episode because Morty falls in love and had the emotional highs and lows and heartbreak a teenager would experience. Alison Brie was an excellent guest star as the Captain Planet-esque character who was wholesome at the start of the episode before exploring her dark side as the episode progressed. The breakup scene was sadly tragic, and Brie excelled with her delivery.
The scene when the song ‘Flowers’ played was a high point of the episode. It showed the highs of Morty and Planetina’s budding relationship before Planetina shows her dark side by taking more extreme action to save the environment.
The B-Plot was a one-note joke where Rick and Summer’s hedonistic partying gets derailed when Rick brings along an alien shagging buddy. The third apocalypse party gave us a warning of things to come because it had an incest joke.
5. Forgetting Sarick Mortshall
“Forgetting Sarick Mortshall” was the penultimate episode of Season 5 and it was a more balanced and consistent episode. In this episode Rick replaces Morty with two crows after Morty’s unauthorized use of the portal gun. Rick attempted to show how dispensable Morty was, but he ended up getting too close with his aviation companions who dared to have compassion. Morty teams up with Nick, a man who has a portal on his thigh and was locked in a psychiatric faculty.
“Forgetting Sarick Mortshall” was an exploration of Rick and Morty’s relationship and this focus made the episode more potent than other episodes. The episode had a theme, and it was a character-driven episode, especially for Morty who finds out Nick had been used by Rick. However, there was a reason why Rick cut Nick loose.
“Forgetting Sarick Mortshall” did have a strong end where Morty was able to stand up to Nick, and Rick and Morty were willing to part ways. However, the ending was undercut when they reteamed again in the following episode.
4. Mort Dinner Rick Andre
“Mort Dinner Rick Andre” was the opening episode of Season Five and it was a strong start. In this episode Rick must negotiate with his nemesis, Mr. Nimbus, king of the ocean after Rick and Morty crash into the ocean. The night of negotiations just happened to coincide with Morty’s date night with Jessica. Even worse for Morty, he gets into a conflict with a race of dog people from a pocket dimension.
“Mort Dinner Rick Andre” was classic Rick and Morty action because Morty’s libido and acts of kindness from characters (i.e. Hoovy) results in an escalating situation. Morty ends up in a war with an increasingly advancing people. It was an episode that had a cynical viewpoint that Rick and Morty has become known for.
The issue with “Mort Dinner Rick Andre” was it felt similar to the Season 4 opener, “Edge of Tomorty: Live. Die. Rickpeat:” because that episode also saw Morty go on a rampage so he can ensure a future relationship with Jessica.
“Mortyplicity” was the mindfuck episode of Season 5. In this episode it was revealed that Rick had made robot duplicates of the Smith family and placed them around the United States. The aim was to use the robots as decoys to protect the Smiths. However, the robots come to the realization that they may be duplicates and go out to hunt each other.
“Mortyplicity” was a battle royale of an episode. It was carnage as the duplicates kill each other in hilarious and violent ways. It was an episode that showed the duplicates react in extraordinary ways to their situation, from disguising themselves as squid aliens to one version of Smiths capturing duplicates so they can harvest their skin.
The episode openly stated it was a parody of Highlander because the duplicates conclude that there can only be one. The use of the song ‘Who Wants to Live Forever’ was a great topper for the episode.
It was the most insane and chaotic episode of the season and was full of surprises.
2. Rickmurai Jack
“Rickmurai Jack” was the final episode of Season 5 and was an all-important lore episode. This episode saw Rick and Morty having to go to the Citadel for the first time since the events of “The Rickshank Rickdemption.” Rick takes Morty to the Citadel so he could be de-aged back to his real age. However, they get captured by Evil Morty and the character reveals his big plans.
“Rickmurai Jack” was a game-changing episode. It was an episode that solved a lot of mysteries the show has set up. Evil Morty revealed the dark secret of the Citadel where the Ricks had closed themselves from the rest of the multiverse and engineered an endless supply of Mortys. Evil Morty aimed to break this system and destroy the Citadel. It had the biggest cliffhanger the series has had, so far.
The episode had strong jokes in the beginning, like a spot-on parody of anime shows, and everything involving 40-year-old Morty and his de-aging was funny. There was a terrific montage that showed what Rick did when he was trying to hunt for a rogue Rick and became more dejected as time went on.
1. Rickternal Friendshine of the Spotless Mort
Topping the list was the eighth episode of the season, “Rickternal Friendshine of the Spotless Mort.” When the Smith family goes away for a short break Rick uses his alone time to try and resurrect his friend Birdperson. But to do this Rick has to go into Birdperson’s mind so his friend can face his trauma, and forces Rick to face some of his own.
As the title suggests “Rickternal Friendshine of the Spotless Mort” was a reference to the 2004 film Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Like that film, the episode was an exploration of the mindscape, and the relationship between two characters. It was one of the most dramatic and character-driven episodes in the series. It also showed more of Rick’s backstory and gave audiences a shocking reveal, a reveal that was followed up on in the season finale.
“Rickternal Friendshine of the Spotless Mort” was a more serious and dramatic episode from the series and showed when Rick and Morty do character-driven episodes it does them brilliantly.