Welcome to Thunderclone!
After doing a heavy clone plot last season that pulled from the season before, I thought Rick and Morty might be done with the idea of duplicates, if only because they’d played it out. I was incorrect. This episode pulls off the concept in a way that was not only different, but in a way that allowed for a brilliant narrative structure.
We start off with Rick and Morty (Justin Roiland) planning to kill the Christian God, only for the two, Summer (Spencer Grammer), Jerry (Chris Parnell), and Beth (Sarah Chalke) to be murdered by squid-like aliens. It turns out these were a decoy family and their deaths alert Rick that someone is trying to kill him. While fleeing, Rick and the family are killed, which sets off yet another Rick’s decoy alarm. It turns out that this Rick built decoys, but built such a good decoy Rick that he, in turn, built decoys. This means that there could be hundreds or thousands of Smith-Sanchez families out there. This leads one Rick to decide to disguise the family as squids to take down the aliens, only to discover that the aliens are, in fact, just other decoys. Eventually, it’s revealed that each generation of decoys is just a little worse than the one before it, resulting in things like a nightmare looking Rick and a set of wooden people. The wooden Beth tries to start a civilization of decoys, but is quickly destroyed by squids, who are now firmly identified as other decoys. Finally, a Rick summons all the Ricks to a battle royale. Another Rick, observing this, has a breakthrough about how much he cares for his family. That Rick then kills the surviving Rick, only to be killed by a throw-away gag from the beginning of the episode. This triggers a decoy alert on the real Rick, who has been off-planet the entire time.
This episode’s brilliance partially comes from the fact that we never quite know when we’re supposed to follow the “real” Rick and Morty. Or, rather, that we never know who is supposed to end up being the protagonist for our narrative. Each time we watch some character try to break the cycle of dying, they ultimately just end up dying in a completely new way. When we finally see the “last” Rick defeat another Rick, declaring that he is a god and that the other is only made in his image, that seems like it has to be the real Rick. This is immediately hinted to be wrong because this Rick proceeds to admit that he loves his family and wants to change for the better. Naturally, this means he has to die so that we can continue with the miserable bastard we know and love. The theme for the episode was pretty blatantly stated in the beginning with Rick and Morty planning on killing God, because the rest of the episode is about various creations rising up against their creators. Appropriately, none of them ever kill the real creator, because he was up in the heavens the whole time.
JOKER’S THEORY CORNER
How do we know the final Rick is actually the “real” Rick? Well, the episode makes it clear that each Rick decoy is slightly less intelligent or less “Rick” than its predecessor. They even use the metaphor of doing a “copy of a copy.” This same idea of clone degradation was even brought up in the film Multiplicity, the source of the episode’s title. When a Rick manages to challenge and kill all of the other Ricks on Earth at the time aside from, apparently, one, that Rick even recognizes that the surviving Rick is the “Rickest” and therefore might even be the real Rick. This is based on the plausible notion that the closer you are to the original Rick, the smarter and better you are. When the other Rick manages to destroy him, that means that this is apparently the Rickest Rick on Earth. However, when he is killed, he sets off the final decoy alert for the Rick in space, meaning that Rick is the one who created the Rickest Rick, and therefore is the Rick. The word Rick has now lost all meaning.
Overall, I give this episode an
on the Rick and Morty scale.
Wubba-Lubba-Dub-Dub, I need a drink. See you next week.
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