Rick and Morty has become one of the most surprising and entertaining cartoons running today. Each adventure the Smith family goes on throughout the multiverse is an uproarious and mind-boggling tale guaranteed to make viewers laugh, gasp, and even cry.
While not every episode can be perfect, there are still some that have been overlooked by fans or deserve a reappraisal. Now that the saga involving Rick Prime and Evil Morty seems to have come to a close, it’s a good time to look back at the most underrated adventures that have come out of the show so far.
Essentially Jurassic Park meets Fantastic Voyage, this episode sees Rick shrink Morty down to microscopic size to investigate a theme park the former constructed inside a diseased homeless man with the help of Dr. Xenon Bloom (played by the ever-hilarious John Oliver).
At the same time, Jerry tries to host Christmas dinner with his family, only to learn his parents have entered a polyamorous relationship with another man. While the B-plot may be awkward and not that exciting, not enough people give this episode credit for its wild and wacky premise.
In this Jerry-heavy episode, he and Morty get taken to Pluto when the insecure Jerry insists it is a planet, making him popular among the Plutonians. At the same time, Summer gets a job working for the Devil, who sells ironically cursed artifacts as Mr. Needful, and Rick uses his tech to ruin Satan’s business out of spite.
Jerry might not be everyone’s favorite character, but his time on Pluto makes for a ridiculous, but funny spoof on cthe limate change discourse. Also, Alfred Molina shines as Mr. Needful, and the way Rick and Summer come together at the end establishes the bond that grows between them in future episodes.
Just as he turned himself into a pickle to get out of therapy, Rick turns himself and Morty into turkeys in a convoluted and ill-conceived attempt to get pardoned by President Curtis. However, the latter proves himself to be just as arrogant and shortsighted as Rick, as he sends a team of Black Ops turkeys to stop Rick instead of just not pardoning a turkey.
Naturally, all this foolishness leads to an actual turkey usurping Curtis as the U.S. president, leading to an all-out war between mutant turkeys and the alien pilgrims. Oh, and apparently, the Statue of Liberty is a killer robot, and FDR was turned into a giant spider. In classic Rick and Morty fashion, this episode goes off the rails and takes its story in a spectacular and hysterical directions, all while examining the toxic, callous mindsets of two strongmen who can’t stand each other. It’s impossible not to love an episode with Keith David playing the president.
Following their parents’ divorce, Morty and Summer try to cope with the change by accompanying Rick to a Mad Max-style version of Earth and immersing themselves in a world of Death Stalkers and blood domes. With Summer and Morty growing more violent in their new environment, this episode explores the isolating and destructive effect that grief can have on people.
It also displays the same with modern technology, showing how Rick’s resources change the Death Stalkers’ society. At least with the blood dome, there was a sense of community.
After getting fed up with fighting multiple comic book-style adversaries, Rick finally attends a solo therapy session and decides to take a break. Meanwhile, Jerry becomes a superhero after defeating and humiliating a crassly named supervillain.
But when said villain commits suicide, a sympathetic Rick decides to redeem his image by making him look like a hero. Despite the episode’s reliance on toilet humor, the story provides a thoughtful glimpse into Rick’s need to be a hero, and his character displays a surprising amount of growth by the end.
In this season 4 finale, audiences see Beth leading a Defiance against the “new and improved” Galactic Federation, revealing that Rick did clone his daughter in the previous season. However, Space Beth learns that Rick put a bomb in her neck, and she goes to confront him and the other Beth.
As a result, Tammy and the Federation return to Earth to face the Smiths once again. This culminates in a spectacular and inventive battle between Rick and his brainwashed friend, Phoenixperson. It also explores Rick’s need for control and attention, as the Federation sees him as non-threatening when he’s alone and his family finally realizes they don’t need anything from him.
On their way to Boob World, Rick, Morty, and Summer discover a Gotron Ferret, and Rick gets addicted to fighting alien kaiju with his family. However, Summer feeds his obsession by setting up a multiversal mafia with all versions of their family to get more and more Gotrons.
By paying homage to both mecha anime and crime films, the show once again defies expectations with a unique and hilarious premise. It actually harks back to how Dan Harmon used chicken fingers to parody mafia movies in Community. It also makes fun of the controversial “giant incest baby” storyline while having it pay off in the story’s terrific climax.
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