Oh geez, man. What a season. I will lead off this article by saying that there is not a wrong way to rank season 3 episodes. That’s what makes Rick and Morty so great; people enjoy different aspects of the show. Just take a moment to appreciate the fact that the much-anticipated season did not disappoint. In fact, I think that’s the only wrong opinion on the season. If you didn’t like the season, you are definitely the Jerry of your friend group.
Anyway, let’s get to the good stuff, my season 3 episodic rankings:
10) E06 – Rest and Ricklaxation
Coming in last in my rankings, “Rest and Ricklaxation” left me wanting more after the initial viewing. Sure, it was an interesting concept for an episode where Rick and Morty battle the toxic versions of themselves, but it just lacked substance that other episodes in this season had. This was my least favorite episode of the season, and maybe of the whole series. For me, it lacked the humor of other episodes and the writers did not go deep in what I thought could have been a really solid premise.
Best moment: We get a classic Justin Roiland song in “Terryfold” which plays in the spaceship, and again at the end of the episode. If you want to hear it, here’s a link: https://open.spotify.com/album/4JKaecqkR2ERMQxlxM4B1D
9) E05 – The Whirly Dirly Conspiracy
Oh, Jerry. A Jerry-centered episode can’t be better than 9 on any list. I’m kidding, of course. But compared to some of the episodes later on this list, this episode is 9th for a reason. It does move Jerry’s character arc forward and shows he has grown up, but this episode was just lacking something. I was excited when it was announced that there would be a Rick and Jerry episode (by Rick himself in the opening teaser). I thought Jerry plotting to kill Rick was a concept that could really work. I was satisfied with this episode, as it was full of humor and a cool concept of an immortality field.
Best moment: Jerry, talking to a heavily sedated Rick: “That’s what I thought, bitch. You little punk ass.”
8) E10 – The Rickchurian Mortydate
This was a fine way to end a great season. For me, it just did not live up to the season finales of both seasons 1 and 2. That being said, it was a very entertaining episode where Rick and Morty battle with the fictional President for 22 minutes, with there not being enough room in the multiverses for both Rick and the President’s egos. The chaos and destruction of their battles is a delight to watch.
Best moment: The return of Mr. Poopybutthole! And he has a family!
7) E03 – Pickle Rick
I know. Too low on my rankings, right? While delivering the #1 quotable of the season (the title of the episode), I thought this episode was great. One complaint: I got bored with Rick battling rats in the sewer as a pickle, which sounds impossible to get bored of, I know, but it just did not feel like a Rick and Morty episode. However, I loved the way the A and B plots worked together by the end, with the pickle concept intertwining great with the Smith family therapy session.
Best moment: The fact that Rick turned himself into a pickle just to avoid therapy is hilarious in-of itself.
6) E04 – Vindicators 3: The Return of Worldender
This is about the point in my rankings where the order gets incredibly difficult. Vindicators 3 is a play on all of the current trends in super hero movies like the Avengers and Guardians of the Galaxy. Rick and Morty are called to action by the Vindicators to battle Worldender, but end up battling a black-out drunk Rick in a Saw-style episode where Rick’s sociopathic nature puts the Vindicators through a series of fatal tests. I loved the character designs in this episode, especially Million Ants and Noob Noob (This guy gets it). This episode was more reminiscent of seasons 1 and 2 as it is just an enjoyable ride to go along for.
Best moment: The big reveal that drunk Rick cares so much about a certain character, which is lead-on to be Morty, but turns out to be Noob Noob, whom Rick just met. Morty’s reaction is hilarious.
5) E02 – Rickmancing the Stone
Following up the masterpiece that is “The Rickshank Redemption” (more on that later) is not an easy accomplishment, but Rick and Morty did not disappoint. This episode was set in a Mad Max-esque universe, so it was quite visually appealing. It is a classic Rick and Morty episode in the fact that they just go on an adventure for the sake of adventure, or Rick just wanted to steal a prized jewel, whatever you prefer. This premise provides relief for Morty and Summer, who are coping with their parents’ pending divorce, which makes the Morty gladiator cage scenes that much funnier and revealing of Morty’s feelings on the divorce.
Best moment: Morty’s injected muscle arm takes him on a revenge spree that finds and strangles a slavemaster who wronged the former arm owner’s family. As revenge normally is, this is a joy to watch.
4) E08 – Morty’s Mind Blowers
While seasons 1 and 2 produced fan favorites with both “Interdimensional Cable” episodes, the writers decided to change things up with a compilation episode for season 3. Basically, Rick has absolute control over what he and members of the Smith family remember as memories. The episode plays many of these short memories, which leaves the audience with some hilarious revelations about things that happened in the past. Since they don’t remember these memories, the characters are seeing them for the first time as well, so their reactions are interesting.
Best moment: When Morty asks Rick for the ability to hear animals, Rick delivers with a special device but it is more than Morty asks for when he runs into trouble with neighborhood squirrels.
3) E09 – The ABCs of Beth
This season of Rick and Morty was great because we got an in-depth look at every member of the Smith family at some point during the season. This time, it was Beth’s time to shine. Rick reveals to Beth that he created a magical world for her as a girl to play in, which Beth is mad about because she thinks Rick just stowed her away by herself. In reality, Beth was a sociopathic child who asked Rick to build her all types of evil things for a little girl to have. This episode offered new insight on their relationship, and proved that “the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.”
Best moment: Beth refuses to apologize to Tommy, a boy she trapped in the imaginary world that has been stuck for 30 years, even though she clearly wronged him. Total Rick move.
2) E01 – The Rickshank Redemption
The episode that brought Rick and Morty back on the map! After nearly two years since season 2, the creators released this surprise episode on April Fool’s day. Rick escapes the space prison that he got himself in at the end of season 2, and destroys the galactic federation while he does it. It is top shelf Rick and Morty, with all the humor and Sci-fi you could ask for. Rick reveals to Morty his intentions on kicking Jerry out of the family because Jerry crossed him in the season 2 finale.
Best moment: The highlight of the episode is, no surprise, when Rick rants about Szechuan sauce to Morty and reveals that is his character arc, whether it takes 9 more seasons. Mcdonald’s is bringing this sauce back this winter, all because of Rick and Morty’s crazy fandom.
- E07 – The Ricklantis Mixup
What. An. Episode – er, I think film would be more accurate. While this episode barely deals with our C137 versions of Rick and Morty, we instead are shown different short stories in the citadel, a city with only Rick and Mortys. This episode tackles short stories of social injustice, political corruption, and crooked cops, all of which are wrapped up cleanly by the end of the episode. There has never been an episode like this, and there probably will never be another one. Not having the main characters of the show in an episode, and delivering an all-time great, is a testament to how strong the writing is for Rick and Morty.
Best moment: Simple Rick’s wafers was one of the season’s highlights, and reminiscent of interdimensional cable, as the viewer is not expecting the scene to be a commercial for a cookie that gets its flavor from sucking the happiness out of a tied-down Rick. That is just one of the many great moments of the episode.