Rick and Morty end up on a planet in the middle of a Purge night. Hilarity ensues.
Rick and Morty (Justin Roiland, both) get hit by an interstellar insect in space, but it turns out Rick’s out of wiper fluid, so the insect just gets smeared over the windshield. They stop at a nearby planet to purchase cleaner, but it’s revealed that the society there is about to undergo its annual “festival” during which the citizens are encouraged to murder each other, similar to the movie The Purge and its sequels. Rick decides to stay and check it out, but a few minutes of witnessing the actual carnage end up disgusting Rick. He’s about to leave when Morty spots a girl named Arthricia (Chelsea Kane) who is being attacked and demands that Rick rescue her. Rick and Morty save her, but then Arthricia convinces Rick to save her Grandmother.
Rick goes to save Arthricia’s grandmother, but Arthricia steals his gun, shoots him, and takes the car, abandoning Rick and Morty to the purgers. Rick manages to kill one using a one-shot weapon and intimidates the others into dropping their weapons, but more approach. Rick calls Summer (Spencer Grammer), who is fighting with Jerry (Chris Parnell) over Jerry’s new place in the family, on a space phone and has her send a package to Rick and Morty. The duo head towards a lighthouse so that Rick can assemble a beacon, and the lighthouse keeper (Ryan Ridley) agrees in exchange for Morty listening to his screenplay. Morty listens while eating a candy bar.
After the keeper finishes the story, Morty, upon being compelled by the keeper, gives a mild criticism, which the keeper treats as an attack upon his art and uses to justify kicking them out. In response, Morty points out that the script was actually crap and shoves him down the stairs, killing him. Rick and Morty head outside where the package sent by Summer arrives, revealed to be two sets of sophisticated armor that enable Rick, and later Morty, to go on a killing spree. Morty completely loses control and, after they track down Arthricia, Rick ends up having to knock him out. Arthricia begs for mercy, saying she only wanted Rick’s ship to end the “Festival” by killing the rich people that use it to manipulate the poor. Rick agrees to help her.
Rick and Arthricia break into the headquarters of the planet’s wealthy and they both murder them while listening to “Feels Good” by Tony! Toni! Tone!. After the massacre, Rick tries to give the society ideas about how to rebuild while Arthricia tells Morty that she has a boyfriend. As they leave, it’s revealed that the society almost immediately decides to continue the “festival.”
Back on Earth, Jerry begs Summer for money, but she leaves, letting him believe he’s now hit rock bottom. It’s revealed that Jerry has been spending money on “Dial-a-friend” services, leading Beth (Sarah Chalke) to tell him to get a job.
This episode was created in less than 24 hours by Dan Harmon as a last-ditch effort to make up for scheduling issues that were arising from the 2-part season finale, “The Wedding Squanchers.” Despite the fact that this was written as a quick filler episode, it doesn’t suffer from a large drop in quality. I’ll acknowledge that this episode isn’t as ambitious as many other episodes of Rick and Morty, lacks the usual great interplay between the A- and B-Stories, and contains way more filler than we usually see in the series, but it’s still a well-crafted narrative that has the traditional nihilistic ending that is expected from the show. Also, it’s got some great laughs in it.
The main narrative is, explicitly, a parody of The Purge, but taking place in a pre-industrial society. It also contains elements of Philip Jose Farmer’s Venus on the Half-Shell, a story that Farmer expanded from a short excerpt by Kurt Vonnegut that ended up serving as the inspiration for elements of the book The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. It’s the kind of pop-culture mash-up that this show loves. At the end of the episode, the purge elements are deconstructed, with the narrative pointing out that the “Festival” is not solely an act of the elite upon the poor, as Arthricia thinks, but is actually the fault of the society, which is why they immediately go back to it rather than fixing their problems.
One of the best elements of the episode is the progression of Morty’s attitude towards killing. In the beginning, Morty tells Rick that he doesn’t wish to even witness the Festival, but when confronted by the irrational response of the lighthouse keeper, we see Morty react with violence. Then, when the other purgers attack him, we finally see Morty completely snap and kill everyone, to the point that he’s eventually “shooting corpses.” Rick tries to play it off at the end to justify that Morty’s character really hasn’t changed, he’s just been drugged, only for the episode to reveal… well, let’s just go to…
JOKER’S THEORY CORNER
So, does Rick know that Morty isn’t actually under the influence of Purgenol? Well, I actually think this is one of the rare occasions where Rick makes a mistake. What’s the basis for that? Well, it’s actually the premiere for Season 3, “The Rickshank Rickdemption.” In that episode, our Rick comes up with a plan to have Morty shoot him in the head in order to fool one of the other Ricks from the Citadel of Ricks in order to get Summer free. In that scene, both Ricks are arguing until Rick C-137, Riq IV, and Summer are all calling Morty stupid for pointing a gun at Rick and ruining Rick’s bluff. At that point, Morty shoots Rick, shouting “Who’s stupid now, b*tch?” This is revealed to have been part of the plan by Rick who kills Riq and shows Summer that he had written a note on the gun telling Morty to shoot him in the standoff. Morty then reveals to the audience that he didn’t actually see the note… the anger at being called stupid ACTUALLY MADE HIM TRY TO KILL RICK.
If Rick had known that Morty hadn’t been under the influence of Purgenol, Rick would have taken that into account in his plan and not bothered with the note. Also, Rick probably would have been more careful about ever allowing Morty to have a weapon in the first place. So why does Rick know about Purgenol, but doesn’t know that the candy Morty had was Purgenol free? Well, that’s because their presence on the Purge Planet wasn’t an accident. Think about it, Rick Sanchez, a guy who can make interstellar travel out of spare parts, a guy who powers his car with a smaller universe, somehow needs to stop at a planet composed of pseudo-Mennonite Cat People to clean his windshield? Bull. Rick already knew about the Festival (I imagine there’s probably a database of “planets that are purging” for tourism purposes) and found an excuse to go to the planet in order to watch it, then decided that was a mistake when he faced the realities of the gruesome event. That’s why he knew about Purgenol being used on the populace, but, relying on that information, didn’t notice that the candy bar Morty ate was Purgenol-free.
LEAVING THE CORNER
Great episode, considering it was written in 24 hours as filler. It’s not the most memorable Rick and Morty episode, but it’s a solid half-hour of television. Impressive, Dan Harmon. Next week, the Season 2 Finale!
Overall, I give this episode a
on the Rick and Morty scale.
Wubba-Lubba-Dub-Dub, I need a drink. See you in two weeks.
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