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The Most Terrible Things Rick & Morty Have Ever Done

The alcoholic, dimension-hopping mad scientist Rick Sanchez could be called a lot of things. "Compassionate," "friendly," and "possessing of basic human decency" are not among them. Over three seasons of Adult Swim's Rick and Morty, he's dragged his ever-fretting 14-year old grandson Morty—and sometimes, his granddaughter Summer, daughter Beth and son-in-law Jerry—into more terrifyingly surreal and dangerous situations than your average space marine, all while dodging his seemingly endless interdimensional enemies.

But Morty doesn't get off the hook. After all, it's not like there's a gun to his head (well, not usually), and maybe it's his obvious moral center that makes it all the more disturbing when he allows himself to fly off the rails while on one of Rick's "adventures." Between them, their actions have ranged from irresponsible to inhumane to... well, genocidal. Here's some of the worst decisions made by the duo.

Murder a bunch of bureaucrats

Rick's brazen disregard for most everything is established in the pilot, as an exhausted Morty is shown to already have missed most of a semester of school being Rick's sidekick as the series opens. He's dragged out of class once again for an expedition to Dimension 35C, where Mega Trees grow, so Rick can secure some vaguely powerful Mega Seeds for undisclosed research. Morty almost immediately tumbles down a cliff and breaks both legs, so Rick uses his dimension-jumping portal gun to travel to a timeline where they have "broken leg serum." It works, but the portal gun is out of juice, forcing them to return through inter-dimensional customs—with Morty smuggling the gigantic seeds "way up inside (his) butthole."

Of course, customs has a new machine that detects things way up in people's butts, so Rick has to commandeer a portal home while Morty engages in a shootout with robot bug monsters. At least that's what Rick says they are, but after the first one is taken down, it bleeds agonizingly to death while his hysterical partner screams to call his wife and children. Morty reluctantly keeps shooting, mowing down several more of what Rick later admits were just bureaucrats.

Blow up the Zigerions

In the first season's fourth episode, an alien race of scammers called Zigerions covet Rick's recipe for Concentrated Dark Matter, so they trap him—and Jerry, due to an interdepartmental mixup—inside a simulation of their world to try to get him to reveal it. Rick figures it out immediately and escapes, but the simulation is inside another simulation, which is inside another simulation, and the aliens are eventually able to maneuver Rick into a situation where he gives up the recipe... or so they think.

After rubbing their victory in Rick's face for way too long, they allow him and Jerry to leave on a shuttle. But of course, Rick reveals to Jerry that he knew all along about the multiple simulations, and that the recipe he surrendered (two parts plutonic quarks, one part cesium, and a bottle of water) was for a deadly explosive that destroys the Zigerion ship and kills everyone aboard. If only they'd asked nicely... they still wouldn't have gotten the recipe, but they also wouldn't have gotten blown up.

Give the family the Meeseeks box

When the family needs help with their everyday problems, Rick usually couldn't care less. When he does help, he tends to do it in the most personally convenient and recklessly irresponsible way possible. Case in point: the Meeseeks box, which he casually gifts the family with in the fifth episode of season one. The box generates semi-intelligent creatures whose only purpose is to grant specific requests, after which they pop out of existence. It seems like an ill-advised gift for such a self-centered family, but it's not Summer's request to be more popular or Beth's desire to be a more complete woman that get them in trouble—it's Jerry's "simple" wish to improve his golf swing. 

When Jerry's Meeseeks gets frustrated with Jerry's inability to take coaching, he conjures another Meeseeks to help. That one conjures another one, and so on and so on, until a crowd of angry Meeseeks are arguing—and eventually rioting—among themselves over the best course of action. They catch up with Jerry and Beth at dinner, and the whole thing devolves into a hostage situation in the restaurant's kitchen, with the Meeseeks throng demanding that Jerry put an end to their agonizing existence by choking up and following through. Jerry finally demonstrates proper technique with a length of pipe and a tomato, putting the Meeseeks out of their misery and narrowly avoiding Rick-induced catastrophe. 

Cronenberg the world

In the following episode, Rick takes his flagrant negligence to stunning new heights—and then somehow manages to surpass them. Morty has the hots for classmate Jessica, and asks Rick for a love potion. This has never once been a good idea, but Rick whips one up—and fails to warn Morty of a serious side effect if the target happens to have a contagious illness, which of course Jessica does. This results in virtually the entire population of Earth except for blood relatives falling hopelessly in love with Morty, which causes obvious problems—but Rick's "solution" makes things so, so much worse. 

He sprays the population with a serum based on praying mantis DNA, which turns everyone into horrifying bug-monsters; then, his second attempt at a serum mutates the entire populace into misshapen, lurching, Cronenberg-ian horrors. Admitting that he's "in a pretty deep hole here," Rick turns to an elegant if somewhat insane emergency solution: he and Morty abandon their home reality for one in which Rick found a proper cure, and in which they both die in a lab accident immediately afterwards. Telling Morty they have "three or four more of these, tops," he has the poor kid help him bury their dead alternate selves in the backyard. When Morty asks about the reality they left behind, Rick answers: "What about the reality where Hitler cured cancer, Morty? The answer is, don't think about it."

Create Abradolf Lincler

When Beth and Jerry go out of town in the first season's final episode, Rick throws a party with a bizarre interdimensional guest list that includes the regal Birdperson, the single-minded Gearhead and Squanchy, a vaguely cat-looking thing with a Smurf-esque vocal tic. The party is crashed by Abradolf Lincler, a mutant creation of Rick's with the combined DNA of... you get the idea. The profoundly conflicted being swears vengeance on Rick for creating him, but gets beaten up by a partygoer for inadvertently making a racist remark.

When Morty accidentally transports the entire house to another dimension, Lincler is sent along with Morty and Summer's friend Nancy on a dangerous errand for Kalaxian crystals, which Morty believes will help get them home. Lincler sacrifices himself to save Morty and Nancy from a two-headed beast, asking Morty to tell Rick that he loves him like a father, and hopes his final act will redeem him in Rick's eyes. When Morty relays the message, Rick replies, "Well, at least he didn't die in vain. He got these crystals." He then proceeds to crush the crystals up, snort them, and perform a dance/rap routine. 

Abandon multiple versions of Jerry forever

In the second episode of season two, Rick takes Morty out for a flying lesson in his car, and is shocked to discover that Jerry has stowed away (by sitting in plain sight right behind them.) Since "Jerrys don't last five minutes off-Earth," Rick drops him off at a facility created by another version of himself that basically amounts to a giant daycare for Jerrys. Dozens of versions of Jerry wander around in various states of confusion and distraction, and the main Jerry proves Rick's point by escaping to wander the alien outside world, only to sheepishly return in short order. 

Along the way, he's shown a disturbing sight by a more experienced Jerry—a drab room off to the side populated by all of the Jerrys whose Ricks and Mortys never came back for them. "They live here now," other-Jerry says ominously, and Jerry—and we—are left to wonder how many of these Jerrys' Ricks and Mortys were killed... and how many left them there on purpose. At the end of the episode, Morty loses their claim ticket, raising the distinct possibility that the Jerry they leave with isn't the same one they dropped off.

Create and enslave a universe to power Rick's car battery

In the second season's sixth episode, Morty goes on a tour of Rick's car's power source—a "microverse" populated by billions of sentient beings who revere Rick as an advanced alien being. He long ago gave them the "gift" of electricity by introducing them to a simple, footpower-based electric generator which all the citizens use to power their entire society... and Rick's car. And charge his phone, and stuff.

Rick dismisses Morty's assessment of this as slavery, until his microverse develops a smart enough scientist to have the same idea. The brilliantly-named Zeep Xanflorp creates his own microverse with a society based on a slightly modified generator, freeing his own people and threatening Rick's power source. Rick sanctimoniously gives his own version of Morty's "this is slavery" speech, which Zeep duly ignores. This leads to Zeep's microverse developing its own "tiny-verse," which Rick, Morty and Zeep inevitably end up trapped in.

After an extremely convoluted series of events, Rick and Morty escape to the main universe to find Rick's car battery working perfectly. Rick explains: "(Zeep) knew that once I got back to my car, one of two things would happen. Either I'd toss a broken battery, or the battery wouldn't be broken." The citizens of the microverse are shown grimly stomping away on their generators, now aware that they're slaves... and unable to do a damn thing about it.

Store deadly bacteria in a pint of Cherry Garcia

Rick's callous disregard quickly snowballs into a penis-threatening event for Jerry in season two's eighth episode. It opens with Jerry in an alien hospital, projectile-spewing toxic vomit ("it'll stain if it gets on your clothes, and it'll send you into a murderous rage if it gets into your eyes and mouth") while Beth berates Rick for storing mutant bacteria in a pint of Cherry Garcia ice cream. Rick protests that technically, the second drawer is his, but it's safe to say he usually knows what he's doing. 

While separated from his family, alien doctors convince the supremely pliable Jerry that he can save the life of Shrimply Pibbles, the galaxy's most famous civil rights leader, if they give him a heart transplant using Jerry's "human penis." Jerry, terrified of offending anyone, agrees (and even Beth comes around after viewing the prosthetic penis selection that will be available), but publicly appears reluctant after discovering that Pibbles is a "heroin addict." Of course, assembled reporters point out that Pibbles' native atmosphere is 10% heroin, Jerry looks like a coward, and he immediately becomes the most reviled man in the galaxy—all because Rick couldn't be bothered to think of a slightly less dangerous place to store mutant bacteria.

Slaughter a bunch of innocent aliens

In season two's penultimate episode, Rick and Morty stop for windshield wiper fluid on a planet which is about to commence "The Festival," which Rick enthusiastically recognizes as being exactly like the Purge. After picking up the wiper fluid and some candy bars (which will come into play later,) Rick convinces an extremely reluctant Morty—who is disgusted by the whole concept—to stick around and watch the Purge. This backfires when Morty convinces him to rescue an innocent-looking girl, who turns on them and steals Rick's car, leaving them stranded in the middle of the mayhem.

Rick is able to get Summer to send them a pair of powered battle suits, which arrive just in time to save them from a throng of Purgers, whom they summarily slaughter. But on the way back to Rick's car, he turns to see that Morty has stayed behind and is just going absolutely bananas on a crowd of screaming, fleeing citizens, having to be dragged away as he continues to pump bolts of energy into their lifeless corpses. After tracking down the girl who betrayed them, she tells them she was only trying to bring down the Purge by killing the corrupt noble class—so they help her to slaughter all of them, too. 

Afterwards, Rick comforts a despondent Morty by telling him that the candy bars ("that we got in the first act") contain a rage-enhancing chemical—but they are shown to be "Purgenol-Free."

Plot to take over the family

In the final episode of season two, Earth is taken over by the Galactic Federation. Rick has himself arrested after going on the run with the family, after he hears Jerry suggest that they turn him in to save themselves. It appears to be the noblest thing he's ever done—until the premiere of season three's first episode, which dropped unannounced on April 1, 2017.

Summer and Morty are captured by the Council of Ricks, the heads of a secret government of Ricks, in an aborted attempt to rescue their Rick, who meanwhile escapes by transferring his consciousness between multiple other Ricks. He manages to free Morty and Summer, and before transporting them back, he uses a Federation computer to crash the entire society's economy, freeing Earth from its grip. When they arrive home, Jerry is incensed and finally puts his foot down, telling Beth it's "him or me." Beth subsequently tells the family that Jerry "will be spending some time... divorced," and when Rick and Morty are left alone, Rick drops the bombshell—it was all part of his plan. 

"He crossed me... no more Dad, Morty. He threatened to turn me into the government, so I made him and the government go away... I just took over the family, Morty! And if you tell your Mom and sister any of this I'll deny it... and now you're gonna have to do whatever I say, Morty... forever!"

Damn, Rick. Just...damn.

Slaughter an intergalactic superhero team

In the third season's fourth episode, Rick and Morty are called to action by intergalactic superhero team the Vindicators, which consists of an assortment of inspired characters: the Star-Lord-esque Vance Maximus ("Renegade Star Soldier"), Crocubot (half crocodile, half robot), Supernova (with the power of a dying star), Alan Rails (who has the ability to summon ghost trains), and One Million Ants (who is literally one million ants in humanoid form). Morty refers to the adventure as "Vindicators 2," with the first installment apparently having taken place between episodes, but it's later revealed that the team had assembled the previous summer — they just hadn't invited Rick and Morty due to "personality conflicts" (i.e. they all hate Rick).

As it turns out, Rick's not too fond of them, either. After Morty declares the Vindicators to be his heroes, a drunken Rick blacks out, kills the team's arch-nemesis Worldender, and constructs an elaborate series of deadly games ("like in Saw") which results in the entire team save for Supernova being wiped out. To add insult to death, blackout Rick (who appears via video monitors) appears to be about to break down and express his love for Morty at the game's end — only to instead declare his undying affection for Noob Noob, the Vindicators' janitor. The episode ends with a huge intergalactic party organized by blackout Rick to celebrate the team's victory, with everyone having too good of a time to notice or care that they're all dead.

Afflict a teenager with a horrible deformity

Morty's dark side usually only comes out under duress, but it becomes apparent at times during season three that all of his adventures with Rick have taken a considerable toll on his moral center. In that season's fifth episode, disaster befalls Summer while Rick is away on a "pity adventure" to a cosmic theme park with Jerry. Enraged that her boyfriend Ethan broke up with her in favor of a larger-breasted girl, she commandeers one of Rick's devices — the "Morphizer-XE" — in an attempt to enlarge her own breasts. Things go predictably awry (very awry), and Summer ends up setting out to look for her wayward ex as a fleshy, inside-out monster the size of a house.

Beth rather ingeniously calms her daughter down by afflicting herself with the same condition in order to sympathize with Summer, potentially sparing Ethan from a terrible fate — which doesn't seem to sit well with Morty. Taking a seat by the campfire with Summer's ex, Morty goes full dark, telling the boy, "You made my sister cry, Ethan. You messed with her body image," before interrupting his meek protests with "Shhh... careful, Ethan. Your s'more is burning," and ominously patting the Morphizer. We then cut to a different scene, but during the episode's post-credits segment, we see that Ethan has been Cronenberg-ed up good at Morty's hands — a pretty steep price to pay just for being kind of a jerk. 

Steal half of Morty's memories

The third season's eighth episode opens at the obvious conclusion of an intense adventure during which Morty accidentally looks into the eyes of the "Truth Tortoise," which profoundly messes with his head. Rick suggests that he can make the memory go away, then proceeds to lead Morty to a secret vault full of vials which contain memories — or, as Rick calls them, "Morty's Mind Blowers." Morty quickly comes to learn that the vials are color-coded, however; blue ones are memories Morty asked to be removed, but red ones are memories Rick erased without Morty's permission, most of which are just times when Rick did or said something stupid.

Scrambling Morty's brain is bad enough, but through the deleted memories, it's revealed that the pair have made far more morally questionable decisions than we, the audience, have been privy to. Morty drives an innocent man to suicide by insisting he's a villain who lives on the moon, when it was really just a smudge on his telescope lens (as Summer had suggested it might be); the pair escape from an alien zoo-like habitat by luring a pair of Earth scientists there to take their place; a simple mistake by Morty leads to the deaths of ten people Rick is keeping in suspended animation for some reason, and so on. The episode ends with Summer rescuing the pair after they accidentally wipe both their memories, only to have them berate her for letting them fall asleep during Interdimensional Cable. 

Trap a young boy in an imaginary world

The third season's penultimate episode (awesomely titled "The ABC's of Beth") opens with Beth waxing nostalgic about Froopyland, the imaginary wonderland of her youth. Of course, it turns out that Froopyland wasn't imaginary at all, but a virtual, child-safe world created by Rick. A horrified Beth realizes that as a child, she abandoned her friend Tommy there — and that all these years later, the boy's father is about to be executed for eating him. Rick and Beth return to Froopyland to discover that the previously benign creatures that inhabit the place have mutated and turned deadly, and they both quickly deduce the reason.

After his abandonment, Tommy — who is now fully grown — survived by... well, mating with the creatures and then eating some of the offspring. The mutated horrors revere Tommy as a god, and things are about to get ugly when Rick portals them out of there — but Beth insists on going back to rescue Tommy. She does go back, but she doesn't so much rescue Tommy as slaughter him and all the rest of Froopyland's creatures, bringing back a finger so that Rick can simply clone up a new Tommy. Shockingly, Rick admits to Beth that he created Froopyland not to get rid of her, but to protect the neighborhood — and any "less-than-polite boy or gullible animal which might cross [her] socio-path," because he's a "nutcase, and the acorn plopped straight down, baby." Yeesh.