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The Absolute Worst Thing Rick Has Ever Done On Rick And Morty

We are living in the age of the antihero. Over the past decade, flawed protagonists have dominated the television landscape. From Tony Soprano to Don Draper to Walter White, people can't seem to get enough of rooting for bad guys. But there's one TV main character who crosses the line from antihero to straight-up cartoon supervillain — and that's because, well, he is a cartoon supervillain. 

We're talking, of course, about diabolical genius Rick Sanchez from Rick and Morty. Rick is one bad dude, and over the course of the show's first three seasons, he's done a lot of atrocious things. However, one act stands out as the worst thing Rick has ever done on Rick and Morty.

Before getting to Rick's crowning achievement of awfulness, we should first go over some of his runner-ups. And there are a lot of them. 

Rick has done horrible things to pretty much everyone he's ever encountered, ranging from relatively minor personal transgressions — like turning himself into a pickle to avoid a family therapy session — to galaxy-spanning apocalyptic events. Among his large-scale offenses are, in no particular order: slaughtering hordes of primitive and innocent aliens in the episode "Look Who's Purging Now," creating a whole micro-universe and enslaving its population to power his flying car's battery in "The Ricks Must Be Crazy," tricking an entire alien race into destroying themselves in "M. Night Shaym-Aliens!," and enlisting Morty to murder aliens by telling him they're robots, which happens in the show's pilot.

Rick has also done a number of terrible things to each of the show's other main characters, who happen to be his family members. And while these acts aren't as destructive as his multiple alien murder sprees, they are more personal because they ostensibly involve his loved ones. Rick purposely caused the separation of his daughter Beth and her husband Jerry, which he admitted to in the season 3 premiere, simply because he wished to be the dominant male influence in the household. He created a fantasy world for his daughter Beth when she was young, and after her friend became trapped in the world, Rick sat idly by as the kid's father was falsely accused of cannibalizing his own son. Then there's Jerry, Rick's son-in-law, who has had it particularly rough considering that Rick hates him. Nearly every interaction Rick has ever had with Jerry has been malicious, but the worst was arguably the reveal that there exists an intergalactic daycare for Jerrys where Ricks from multiple realities have brought their own Jerrys to be abandoned forever. 

Despite how much Rick hates Jerry, the person to whom he has actually caused the most trauma is his grandson Morty. Morty is probably Rick's favorite person, but that hasn't stopped him from treating him horribly and ruining his life on numerous occasions. Morty has no shot at having a normal upbringing thanks to the various messed-up adventures his grandfather has taken him on, and the poor kid has consequently been turned into a murderer, a molestation victim, and — in at least one alternate reality — a ruthless despot. He has also had his memory wiped by Rick on countless occasions, consistently had his adolescent love life upended, and been told repeatedly how unimportant and unintelligent he is compared to Rick.

The worst thing Rick Sanchez has ever done combines all of the above elements. It involves a planet-wide disaster, a horrible act committed against his own family, and the greatest traumatization to Morty of all. The event in question takes place in the season 1 episode, "Rick Potion No. 9." In the episode, Morty asks Rick to make him a love potion so he can get a date with the girl he likes. Though Rick initially refuses, he soon relents and gives Morty the potion — but neglects to tell him about its risks. The potion ends up working a bit too well, and soon infects nearly everyone in the world, making them all fall madly in love with Morty. To fix the problem, Rick creates an antidote using praying mantis DNA. It works, but it also causes everyone to turn into horrible praying mantis monsters. Rick creates a new antidote by mixing the DNA of a number of different plants and animals, and that formula turns the majority of the human population into horribly deformed monsters that Rick names "Cronenbergs" after famed body horror director David Cronenberg.

Rather than continuing to try to fix the mess he's made, Rick decides to jump ship. He finds an alternate dimension where he and Morty managed to fix the Cronenberg problem and then died shortly thereafter. Without telling his grandson what they're doing, Rick and Morty travel to this reality — abandoning Beth, Jerry, and Summer in the Cronenberg world — just after their alternate selves have died. Morty is horrified when Rick informs him that they will live in this reality from now on, taking on the identities of their alternate selves and pretending that this alternate family is their real family. If that wasn't bad enough, he also makes Morty bury his own dead body in the backyard. The pair have continued to live in this alternate reality with their fake family ever since, and Morty has never gotten over it. 

In one fell swoop, Rick managed to effectively wreck the planet, abandon his family, and completely destroy Morty's life beyond repair. That's why his actions in "Rick Potion No. 9" amount to the worst thing Rick has ever done on Rick and Morty.