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The worst thing that has ever happened to Morty on Rick and Morty

You would think that being the grandson of a mad scientist who may be the smartest man in the universe would come with some perks. You would be wrong.

On the Adult Swim animated series Rick and Morty, Rick Sanchez (voiced by co-creator Justin Roiland) is a reckless narcissist with an enemies list a light year long, and he's willing to pull anyone around him into his high-concept sci-fi drama. Rick's adolescent grandson Morty (also voiced by Roiland) is almost always the beneficiary of Rick's propensity to ruin all the lives around him. Maybe it's because Rick kind of loves his grandson. Maybe it's because Morty's fun. Maybe it's because Morty's mind acts as a cloaking device, canceling out the traceable signal from Rick's genius brainwaves. No matter which explanation you prefer, it all adds up to a lot of bad news for Morty.

Rick is more or less an expert when it comes to traumatizing his immediate family. He's been directly involved in the majority of the terrible things that have happened to his daughter, Beth (voiced by Sarah Chalke) and her husband, the idiot Jerry Smith (voiced by Chris Parnell). But you can't blame Rick for everything.

As is the case with so many of the flawed characters on Rick and Morty, Rick is merely the facilitator of Morty's misery. Many of Morty's most traumatic moments on the show so far have stemmed from some ill-fated attempt to twist his grandfather's genius into an amusing teenage diversion. Any time Morty asks Rick to make him something special, you can be just about certain it's going to end in tragedy — for Morty, never Rick. The ability to talk to animals? A sci-fi detox retreat? A love potion to deploy against his high school crush? It all sounds good in theory, but in practice? Not so much. Be careful what you wish for, Morty Smith.

Morty realized that Rick had been altering his memories

Imagine discovering that your entire life had been bowdlerized by your grandfather, edited with a hacksaw to strip out all the controversial bits.

"Morty's Mind Blowers" was the season 3 replacement for Interdimensional Cable, a "clip show featuring clips that never happened." Through the framing device of Morty exploring a bunker filled with memories that Rick had previously excised from his brain, viewers were treated to a set of short stories and brief scenes of both traumatic Morty moments and incidents embarrassing to Rick. At first, Rick explains to his grandson that he only uses his memory-editing powers to relieve Morty of any life-changing trauma experienced as a result of their adventures. In the course of reliving the missing memories, however, it becomes clear that — shocker — Rick has actually been a bit more heavy-handed with this ability than he originally let on.

It would be alarming to find out that the sum of your conscious experience has actually been curated to the benefit of another person. It would be even more unfortunate if that person noodling around inside your noggin was actually your grandfather. Morty is predictably upset by this revelation, and it results in a tussle that ultimately wipes both Rick and Morty's memories. In the end, they have to be saved by Morty's sister Summer (Spencer Grammer) of all people. An upsetting episode, for sure, but not the absolute worst thing that's ever happened to Morty. From here on out, it gets darker.

Everyone fell in love with Morty

Morty's unrequited love for his redheaded classmate, Jessica (Kari Wahlgren), is a major pain point in his angst-ridden teenage existence. On the season 1 episode "Rick Potion #9," Morty asks Rick to create a love potion to help him woo the unattainable Jessica. Rick does his grandson the solid, but the potion he creates works a little too well. Rick's love potion merges with an influenza virus, becoming aggressive and communicable. In the very socially un-distant environment of a high school dance, the "love bug" spreads like wildfire. Pretty soon, the entire town is caught in a violent, all-against-all war for the prize of Morty's affection.

Unfortunately, the story doesn't stop there. Rick's attempt at an antidote has the unintended effect of transforming the infected population into hideous Cronenberg monsters. The damage is so severe that Rick and Morty have to pack up their things and move to an entirely different universe. They use Rick's portal gun to hop one reality over and kill their native counterparts so they can seamlessly slide into the nuclear family.

You can see the horror in Morty's eyes as he buries the murdered Rick and Morty that he and his grandpa have chosen to replace. To the music of Mazzy Star, Morty silently processes what he's done. To make matters worse, we learn in the post-credits scene that Morty's original family are the only survivors left in the Cronenberg universe. How's that for repercussions?

Sadly, this won't be the last time Morty costs him and Rick an entire universe, and it isn't the worst thing that's happened to him, either.

Morty messed with squirrels, and the squirrels messed back

In one of the lost memories explored during "Morty's Mind Blowers," it's revealed that that Rick once created a device that allowed Morty to communicate with animals. Rick seems to think the whole endeavor is dumb from the get-go, but Morty can hardly contain his excitement to try it out.

It starts innocently enough. Morty eavesdrops on a parade of ants carrying food back to their queen, then moves on to a hummingbird incessantly narrating its erratic flight pattern. He continues skipping merrily through the neighborhood until he stumbles upon a couple of squirrels. That's when this peculiar episode takes a turn.

The squirrels don't sound like the other animals. Morty overhears the two bushy-tailed tree rats casually discussing elaborate plans for world domination. The intelligent squirrels quickly realize that Morty's staring at them like he can hear them. With a "potential Doolittle" on their paws, the diabolical squirrels follow Morty down the street and attempt to lure him back with promises of wishes and candy.

Morty sprints home to the safety of Rick's garage, but by the time he gets there, he has an entire army of squirrels on his tail. Rick knocks the squirrels out — though only long enough for him and his grandson to abandon that reality altogether. Apparently, once Morty put himself on the squirrels' radar, that entire universe was spoiled indefinitely.  Losing an entire reality for the second time is a pretty bad outcome – especially since Rick warned Morty they could only switch universes one or two more times.

It's possible that something worse will happen once season 4 returns later this year, but for now, it's the worst thing that's happened to Morty on Rick and Morty.