Here’s how Rick And Morty season 1 episode 6 “Rick Potion #9” proved the show wasn’t afraid to get seriously dark. The basic premise behind Rick And Morty makes it sound like a kid’s show, where a boy named Morty goes on colorful, universe-spanning adventures with his genius grandfather Rick. The series is anything but kid friendly, however, with Rick being an alcoholic narcissist who constantly puts himself, his grandson and family in danger, in addition to inflicting severe emotional trauma on them.

The show mixes some genuinely interesting sci-fi concepts with black comedy and gory action. What grounds Rick And Morty are the great characters, including the title duo and the rest of the family, including strained husband and wife Jerry and Beth, and older sister Summer. The stories often get outlandish and crazy, but there’s something recognizably human and flawed about the family that makes them strangely likable.

Rick And Morty’s first season quickly set up the characters and comedy formula, but the only thing predictable about the show is how unpredictable it could get. Case in point would be Rick And Morty season 1 episode 6 “Rick Potion #9,” where Rick gives Morty a potion that will make a girl from his school called Jessica fall in love with him. Naturally, this backfires spectacularly.

The potion reacts with Jessica’s flu, so not only does she fall in love with Morty, her flu germs create a virus that causes the entire planet to fall obsessively in love with him. Rick’s attempt to fix this results in the creation of a race of mantis people and his final attempt creates grotesque, fleshy blobs dubbed “Cronenbergs,” in honor of the famed director of body horror films like Videodrome and The Fly. This apocalyptic event has the side benefit of uniting Beth and Jerry, with the latter manning up to save his wife by blasting away the creatures.

Rick And Morty season 1 episode 6 is a funny, fast-paced episode, but the final scenes proved how pitch black the show could get. Rick mentions he has a way to fix the seemingly hopeless mess he’s made, cutting to a scene where everyone is back to normal and Morty compliments Rick’s solution. Suddenly, the two are killed in a horrible accident, only for Rick and Morty to portal through from the Cronenberg world. Rick explains he transported them to an alternate reality where another version of themselves solved the problem but died, so they can just take their place.

This means that not only did Rick abandon the original version of his family, he’s also forcing Morty to bury an alternate version of himself and take his place. It’s an existential nightmare, but the show softens it just enough that it doesn’t overwhelm the humor. The final scenes add a touch of irony with the alternate universe version of Beth and Jerry still fighting, while the versions trapped in the Cronenberg universe are blissfully happy. Beth even admits she’s glad Rick and Morty are gone.

“Rick Potion #9” also proved - if there was ever any doubt - that Rick really is something of a monster. Later seasons would explore this in depth, with season 3 even briefly revisiting Cronenberg world to see how the survivors are faring. Rick And Morty season 1 episode 6 also felt like an episode where the show was really finding its voice and starting to test just how bleak it could get.

Next: Rick And Morty Season 3 Episode 9: Did Beth Clone Herself?