Rick and Morty is one of the best science fiction shows ever. While a lot of that is because of its dark, nihilistic, humour, it’s also because it has surprising emotional depths.
This article celebrates the scenes that packed the biggest emotional punch.
A New Home
Perhaps the moment Rick and Morty truly revealed its dark heart.
Rick and Morty, well mainly Rick, have turned their Earth into a nightmare filled with Cronenberg monsters. After running out of ways to fix the problem, Rick and Morty are left with no recourse but to move into another universe where they both recently died. Leading to Rick and Morty having to bury themselves and to this awesome scene:
Most cartoons, or any tv shows, would have ret-conned the ending of this episode out or simply not have had it at all.
Think about the emotional consequences of this moment. Rick and Morty have abandoned their family to a hellish existence on a hellish earth. They then move into a house where their bodies are buried in the garden. They must live with the consequences of their actions for the rest of their lives. As well as the certain knowledge that their actions are essentially meaningless in the face of an infinite multiverse.
Finding out what “Wubba lubba dub-dub” means
This is the moment we found that Rick is in more pain than we realised, and that he’s hiding his pain in plain sight. It’s Birdperson who tells us that wubba lubba dub-dub actually means ‘I am in great pain, please help me’.
Perhaps it’s Birdperson’s monotone delivery, but there’s something devastating about learning that wubba lubba dub-dub isn’t the cool catch phrase of a party loving grandpa but the anguished cry of a tortured soul.
Rick hooks up with an ex-girlfriend, a body-jacking hive mind called Unity, for a few days of debauchery. After they’ve had some fun, Unity leaves Rick with this message:
“Rick, forgive me for doing this in notes; I’m not strong enough to do it in persons.
I realize now that I’m attracted to you for the same reason I can’t be with you: you can’t change.
And I have no problem with that, but it clearly means I have a problem with myself.
I’m sure there’s no perfect version of me. I’m sure I’ll just unify species after species and never really be complete.
But I know how it goes with us. I lose who I am and become part of you. Because in a strange way, you’re better at what I do without even trying.”
It’s fair to say that Rick takes it badly. He goes home to his family not able even to muster the energy to be mean to Jerry. He then walks into his garage and seemingly attempts to kill himself with an overly complicated device.
The heartbreaking element is the reason for Rick’s reaction. He’s not just upset about the ending of a relationship, it’s Unity’s message that has caused him to break down. A hive minded being that takes complete control of species has accused him of being manipulative and of being incapable of change or growth. And Rick knows she’s right. He will use people and use people, but ultimately he will end up alone with his pain. It’s this that causes him to want to escape.
Keep Summer Safe
Rick has tasked his ship to ‘keep Summer safe’ and his ship is not playing. After slicing and dicing one threat (an angry passer by) Summer instructs the ship not to kill anyone.
So the ship moves onto inflicting psychological paralysis on those who would harm Summer, in this case a policeman. The ship brings this poor guy’s son back to life, only to them take him away again. Meaning this man has had a moment thinking his son has been returned to him, only to have to relive the pain of his loss all over again. The ship then threatens the others with the line:
“You all have loved ones…all can be returned…all can be taken back”.
Seeing a man completely broken in just a few seconds is heart breaking, and that ship’s threat adds an extra layer of darkness.
Rick sacrifices himself
After fracturing space time Rick finds himself plummeting through the void, trying to reach the falling Morty. When he gets to Morty he gives him the last working time-stabiliser collar, apparently dooming Rick to allow Morty to live.
For all Rick’s pain and self-loathing, this moment shows that without a doubt Rick is capable of love and sacrifice. He is, in short, a better man than he thinks he is.
He then realises he can save himself, and utters the immortal line “Fuck you, God! Not today, bitch!”
Jerry and Beth were in love
Jerry and Beth are watching alternative universe version of themselves, versions that didn’t have Summer. And those versions seem much happier. Jerry is Johnny Depp’s cocaine buddy and a world famous actor and Beth is a proper surgeon.
Then we see the alternate universe Jerry riding down a highway on a rascal, wearing only underwear and a syringe sticking out of his chest. At first we assume it’s just another excuse to show Jerry is an idiot. But then we realise he’s trying to find Beth, because he still loves her and he’d give all of his fame up to be back with her.
For all Jerry gets made fun of on the show, and for all their marriage is shown as a sick joke, it’s touching that at one time and on some level they did love each other.
Rick turns himself in
Following the events of Bird Person’s wedding, Rick and his family are hiding out on a comically small planet. When Rick realises how much he’s asked of his family, and how his actions and failures have led to his family being stranded on a rubbish planet, he decides to turn himself in.
In doing so he looks less like the brilliant godlike man who can do anything and more like an old man trying to come to terms with his own limitations. What makes this scene so heart-rending is the music: Hurt by Nine Inch Nails. Itself a brutally honest song in which a man is left to face up to his own shortcomings and accept that he is the cause of the pain all around him.
If you liked this article, you may want to take a look at our look at our Favourite Rick and Morty Quotes or just our Favourite Mr Meeseeks Quotes.
You may also want to check out our favourite Rick and Morty gifts or our top ten Rick and Morty T-Shirts.