Rick and Morty plan one of the most pointlessly complicated heists of all time.
Rick (Justin Roiland) and Morty (Roiland) go to raid a tomb only to find out that it’s been raided already by master criminal Miles Knightly (Justin Theroux). Rick goes to Knightly’s HeistCon, only to find out that he can’t enter without a “crew.” Rick assembles a crew, only to ditch them the minute they get inside. Knightly challenges Rick to a Heist-Off, revealing that he planned for Rick to assemble a team that he himself used, only for Rick to reveal that he planned on Knightly planning for that and winning the contest using his heist-planning robot “Heist-o-Tron.” Upon winning, Rick has Heist-o-Tron hypnotize everyone at the convention into being on his team and tells them all to loot the convention while Morty writes a heist film screenplay. Miles is killed by the looters.
Heist-o-Tron then double-crosses Rick and decides to attack him. Rick escapes and resolves to field his own new team, consisting of Mr. Poopybutthole (Roiland), puppet archer Ventriloquiver (Claudia Black), the god Hephaestus, and Elon Tusk (Elon Musk, because he needs the PR). He uses Heist-o-Tron’s opposite entity Rand-o-Tron, a random plot generator, to craft this new counter-heist. Heist-o-Tron steals the Earth, but Rick confronts him on his ship and manages to destroy it… only for Rand-o-Tron to be revealed as the real Heist-o-Tron… only for Rick to destroy it by arguing about who had the bigger counter-plan for 2 hours. Heist-o-Tron dies saying that the only perfect heist is one that can’t be written.
Morty reveals that his script got him a pitch at Netflix for a film. Morty pretty much pitches the episode, only to run out of interest partway through, despite Netflix wanting to buy. Rick reveals to the audience that, in fact, Rick had set everything in this up because he was annoyed at Morty writing screenplays, but was forbidden by Beth (Sarah Chalke) from stopping him.
So, this episode basically takes a satire of heist films and drives it into the ground, shoves it to the molten core of the Earth, watches it dissolve outside of the train from The Core, and uses the slag that remains to spell out “this was satire.” It takes it to the extreme, is what I’m saying. On some level, I have to respect the amount of effort it takes to absolutely commit to an ad nauseam repetition of an idea to illustrate how formulaic it is, but also I would understand that dedicating an entire episode to mostly sh*tting on a genre might not be everyone’s cup of tea. I mean, having several dozen characters use the “you son of a bitch, I’m in” line might grate the nerves. However, even if you don’t like the premise, I have to say that this episode had some of the best one-liners I’ve heard since… well, the last episode of Rick and Morty. What can I say? The show makes me laugh.
This episode reminded me of “Vindicators 3: The Return of Worldender” because it puts Rick and Morty at the center of a genre with the intent of deconstructing how mimetic films can be. Here, we actually see the show incorporating the point into the plot, by having Rick do everything in order to convince Morty that since heist movies are so generic there’s really no art in writing one. Now, Morty does say that he can’t quite put his finger on why he now believes the films to be dumb, but since this is a show run by Dan Harmon and Justin Roiland, I think it’s likely because heists are dependent on twists and writers will always hate them for that. When you have a massive twist at the end that recontextualizes everything, sure, that can be a great tool to shock or impress the audience, but it also means that a lot of the things that we saw in the film were a lie. Also, by having characters with dual motivation throughout the film, the writers have to justify why people acted the way they did, which almost always falls apart under scrutiny. I’m not willing to sit through 18 minutes for it, but I’m sure that the Cinemasins guys mention repeatedly in their video for Ocean’s Eleven that many of the shots in the movie that are designed to fool the audience make no sense in retrospect after the reveal. If you’re a stickler for internal motivation matching actions, and Harmon usually is, then these films must drive you mad. Personally, I like a good heist film, but I admit they get derivative.
Like I said, the humor in this episode really does save it in a lot of ways. The opening parody of Raiders of the Lost Ark where Rick basically renders all of the efforts of that film pointless with his “anti-booby” suits is hilarious. So is the fact that he’s spiting Morty (which is a sign that Rick is actually really frustrated with him) by eating Arby’s and using a floating chair while Morty climbs. The glorious return of Mr. Poopybutthole, or Professor Poopybutthole, rather, was everything that I wanted it to be, including the martial arts fight. Having Heist-o-Tron become Braniac from Superman and then die from a WarGames realization was inspired. Even if the premise runs thin, you’ll be laughing enough to ignore it.
JOKER’S THEORY CORNER
I don’t really have a good one for this episode because the episode itself is a giant conspiracy already. While most of my theories are justifications for how Rick managed to plan for everything in a given episode, in this one Rick explicitly did just that. In fact, the only thing that I don’t believe he planned was that Miles Knightly would be dismembered by the people at Heist Con. While Rick is a genius, and could very well have used Heist-o-Tron to set-up such a long and elaborate heist, it still seems unlikely that he would have killed one of the people assisting him with it on purpose. It’s possible that Miles Knightly (possibly a reference to The Saint’s Simon Templar) was a normal enemy of Rick, but this is now season 4 and we’re seeing more and more often that Morty has familiarized himself with most of the recurring problems in Rick’s life and he’s never heard of this person. The fact that Morty didn’t recognize the name makes me think that perhaps Rick just made him up for this scheme and that the person portraying him was killed due to Rick miscalculating how people would interpret the instruction to steal every inch of the Con. His panic seems genuine, lending some credence to the idea. Counterpoint, of course, is that several trillion people die as a result of Heist-o-Tron, making Rick even more of a total sociopath for planning this.
LEAVING THE CORNER
Overall, not the best, but I still had fun.
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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NEXT – 35: Claw and Hoarder: Special Ricktim’s Morty
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