12. Season 5 Episode 8: Rickternal Friendshine of the Spotless Mort
This season 5 episode gives us a rare look into Rick’s past and his relationship with Birdperson (Dan Harmon) as Rick tries to undo the brainwashing that turned his friend into a vengeful weapon of the Galactic Federation. In order to bring his friend back, Rick has to enter Birdperson’s mind and memories Inception-style. While there, Rick is confronted with literal visions of his past and how Birdperson remembers their time together (not all of it flattering). Once he finally fights his way to Birdperson’s true essence, it’s the reveal of a child he unknowingly had with Tammy (Cassie Steele) that brings his consciousness back. What starts as another ploy from Rick to avoid family therapy turns into a surprisingly emotional journey that reminds us that Rick still has a heart underneath his condescending and often uncaring facade.
11. Season 5 Episode 3: A Rickconvenient Mort
In this episode, we see Morty once again try, and fail, to find love. This time, he falls for the superhero Planetina (Allison Brie), who can only be summoned with the power of four elemental rings. Unfortunately for Morty, the rings start off in the possession of greedy adults who not only want to sell merchandise, but also Planetina herself to the highest bidder. But as we all know well by season 5, Morty is willing to do almost anything for a woman. He kills her former owners and future buyer, obtaining the rings for himself and freeing Planetina from their grasp. What Morty doesn’t realize, however, is that he also frees Planetina to go on a murderous rampage in the name of protecting the planet. As we’ve established, there are a lot of things that Morty will do for love, but murdering a bunch of coal miners isn’t one of them.
Meanwhile, Summer and Rick attempt some family bonding by traveling to dying planets and joining their end-of-the-world parties and escaping before the apocalypse hits. As weird as it may seem for this never-ending debauchery to be their bonding event of choice between a grandfather and granddaughter, their fun doesn’t last long. What is supposed to be a fun time free of responsibilities and attachments changes after Rick saves Daphne (Jennifer Coolidge) from her dying planet because she professes her love for him. In a classic Rick move of pettiness, Summer ends their fun by saving one of the dying planets and proving that Daphne was just interested in Rick to save her own life.
10. Season 1 Episode 3: Anatomy Park
Desperate to celebrate a normal human holiday, Jerry spends a lot of this episode trying to create the perfect Christmas celebration with his family. However, as with most things in the Sanchez-Smith family, this Christmas is far from normal.
We finally meet Jerry’s parents, their “friend” Jacob, and learn details of their intimate relationship. But as hilarious as it is to see Jerry’s clear discomfort at his parents’ fluid sex life, it is far from the best part of this episode. While Jerry is doing his best to salvage the holiday, Rick sends Morty into the body of Reuben, a homeless man inside whom Rick has built an amusement park. Reuben’s various illnesses have threatened the structural integrity of Anatomy Park, and Morty, along with other employees of the park, have to fight for survival after Reuben dies and monstrous forms of different diseases grow closer.
This episode includes Jurassic Park references, Morty trying way too hard to capture a girl’s attention, and a giant naked Santa floating and eventually exploding over the U.S. Why would you want to spend the holidays any other way?