Rick and Mondays – S3E9 “The ABCs of Beth”

Rick and Beth journey into an imaginary land while Jerry and the kids discover that Jerry’s rebound is a little too serious.

SUMMARY

Beth (Sarah Chalke) learns that the father of her childhood friend, Tommy Lipkip (Thomas Middleditch), is set to be executed for killing and eating Tommy. Beth remarks that she used to think that Tommy disappeared in “Froopyland,” the imaginary land that she used to play in as a child. She mentions that it was a stupid name, which offends Rick (Justin Roiland), who reveals that Froopyland was actually a real pocket universe that he created for her to play in as a child. Beth realizes this means that Tommy might actually be lost in Froopyland, proving his father’s innocence. She forces Rick to take her into the pocket universe, which she points out was just Rick’s way of avoiding spending time with her. He counters that he spent a lot of time making it safe and magical, before a mutated imaginary creature attacks him and he is almost fed to its offspring, losing his arm and being forced to replace it with a metal prosthetic.

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It’s got a breathable rainbow river. Admittedly, that’s cool.

Meanwhile, Rick sends Morty (Justin Roiland) and Summer (Spencer Grammer) over to visit Jerry (Chris Parnell) who appears to be doing much better than earlier in the season. He seems more confident and more capable, which is revealed to be because he is dating Kiara (Jennifer Hale), an triple-breasted alien from Krootabulon. Kiara has come to Earth to hunt other aliens called the Varrix, but, upon meeting Jerry through a dating site, quickly soul-bonded with him, something that both Morty and Spencer view as taking a rebound too far. They soon break Jerry down and get him to admit that he doesn’t really like her and that he’s a beta-male sexist, a closet racist, and selfish. They tell Jerry that he now is able to clean up his own mess.

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Also, soul-bonding gives Jerry telekinesis, which is impressive.

Beth and Rick realize that the Froopyland creatures cannot harm anyone or be harmed by humans, meaning the creature that attacked Rick had to have foreign DNA, which they realize is human DNA. They quickly arrive at the conclusion that Tommy must have had sex with a Froopyland creature and eaten the offspring, so he likely has been procreating with the creatures and eating the offspring, keeping some of them aside to worship him as a god. This is almost immediately verified when they are captured by Froopy-human hybrids and presented to Tommy. However, Tommy puts on a play about his past in Froopyland which says that Beth is actually the one that trapped Tommy in the land out of jealousy for his father spending time with him. Rick grabs Beth and leaves Froopyland, quitting the adventure. Beth points out Rick’s failures as a parent, which he immediately agrees with, before pointing out that Beth was actually a monster as a child, constantly doing things that were disturbing. Froopyland wasn’t just to keep her away from Rick, but to keep her from hurting others, like she did with Tommy. She rejects this, tells Rick that if she did trap Tommy it was only because he never spent time with her, and resolves to save Tommy.

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We also find out Rick made Beth some awesome stuff as a kid… disturbing, but awesome.

Morty and Summer return to school and are attacked by Kiara, who reveals that Jerry didn’t tell her the truth, instead telling her that they were the reason why he had to break up with her. She chases after them, and eventually Jerry, who flees until they find a cave full of the Varrix, the same aliens which Kiara was hunting. She comes in and Jerry finally mans up and breaks up with her in an honest way. She starts to respond with disdain until it’s revealed that her ex-boyfriend is also hunting Varrix on Earth and she was just using Jerry to get around the territorial issue. Jerry starts to get indignant, but the kids drag him away.

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Fun fact, he has a bifurcated loincloth for a reason.

Beth heads back into Froopyland and confronts Tommy, telling him he has to come back or his father will be killed. Tommy agrees to go if she apologizes to him, but she can’t bring herself to do it. Tommy’s minions swarm her and Beth starts murdering all of them in self-defense. Eventually, she returns with Tommy’s finger and she and Rick clone a new Tommy to show up at his dad’s execution and save him. Realizing she’s too much like her dad, she asks him what she should do and he gives her two options: She can stay with her family or he can make a perfect clone of her to stay while she goes off on adventures who she can replace if she wants to come back. He points out that in either case, he’ll be better off because at least now she’s choosing her life. Her decision is not shown, but A Beth is still at the house.

END SUMMARY

This episode again showcases the A-B plot interplay that Dan Harmon and Justin Roiland very clearly have mastered to an unbelievable level. Even more than the great dialogue and characterization, I think this is what really sets this show apart. It’s even heightened in this episode by having Rick and Beth actually predict the big twist of the episode and then literally shortcutting the viewers to the conclusion after checking in on the B-Plot. 

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It also saves us from seeing what Beth does to this crowd.

This episode really gives us a lot of development of Beth who, prior to this, had mostly only been developed in her role as a parent or a wife. In this, she’s advanced as a daughter and also as a person. It’s difficult to reconcile this development, in some ways, because she keeps saying that she’s just like Rick, but she doesn’t seem to show his recklessness or creativity. I understand that she also probably doesn’t quite have his genius, but given that she appeared to be able to keep up with Rick on the adventure, take on a small army of Froopy-Hybrids with little damage, and seemed to be able to at least comprehend cloning a full-grown Tommy, I think she’s probably leagues above the average person. I assume the cost and time-requirements of med school are the only reasons she’s not a real brain surgeon, or I would if another episode hadn’t explicitly told us that. At the end of the episode, we finally see Beth address the elephant in the room and stop just being a miserable sufferer blaming her family, though we probably will never truly know what her decision was unless another Beth shows up. Yes, I know Rick says she isn’t a clone in the next episode, but it’s Rick and he lies a lot.

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He can’t even tell her for sure why he offers her the choice.

The A-plot with Froopyland is basically the quintessential Rick and Morty plot, literally taking a wonderful fantasy setting that resembles Rainbow Brite or the Care Bears and having it corrupted by incest and cannibalism. It’s destroying everything that was pure and good in the funniest way possible. Darkest year, indeed.

The B-Plot with Jerry shows off how much Morty and Summer have grown during the show, because they immediately call their father on his crap and his weakness. They no longer have the tolerance for his antics that they previously did. Jerry, however, proves how little he’s grown when he still wimps out on telling Kiara the truth. He does eventually, when pressed, actually do the right thing, but then he gets indignant when he finds out about her hypocrisy, so he still hasn’t really grown as much as everyone wants him to. 

This is just a genuinely great episode of this show. I really hope that they follow up on it more directly in future seasons, but even if they don’t, it still holds up as a hilarious and well-crafted half-hour of television.

JOKER’S THEORY CORNER

I don’t usually try to jump on theories that I know are already out there, but here’s my theory on this episode: Beth didn’t intentionally push Tommy into Froopyland. 

I know that Tommy says she did and that Beth doesn’t exactly deny it in a convincing way (even saying “Fake News” which… I’m avoiding any comments about), but I actually think that she might not have done it on purpose. It’s mostly the way that Beth first responds to the news about Tommy’s dad. She seems to completely have forgotten about Froopyland, suppressing all of her time there and choosing to remember it as an imaginary place from her childhood. Later, when confronted by Rick about pushing Tommy in, she says that “if she did it” then it might have been because Rick was a lousy father. She doesn’t treat this like something that she regrets or feels guilty about or even remembers well. The thing is, if Beth had actually pushed him, I don’t think she would have been able to suppress it to the extent of actually believing that Tommy’s dad ate him. 

While an exact timeline is never given, we know that Tommy and Beth are playing in Froopyland after Tommy hits puberty, because Rick indicates that Tommy couldn’t eat the Froopy creatures unless he had already hybridized with them. Barring some extraordinary circumstances, puberty in Males in the US tends to start between age 12 and age 14, so Tommy almost certainly had to be above 12. We know that he and Beth are the same age, so Beth would also have to be about 12. That’s an age that most people can remember things from, particularly things that they feel guilty about, and yet Beth acts as if she has no idea what really happened to Tommy. If she’d intentionally pushed him in and felt guilty enough to suppress it, she could just have gone back in and gotten him, and if she didn’t feel guilty, which is completely possible, she wouldn’t have a reason to suppress it. I think it’s more likely that she did it accidentally and didn’t want to admit it, thus giving her motive to try to shift the blame onto someone else. 

Either way, she probably kills him in the end, though, so… therapy works?

Overall, I give this episode an

A+

on the Rick and Morty scale.

Wubba-Lubba-Dub-Dub, I need a drink. See you in two weeks.

PREVIOUS – 29: Morty’s Mind-Blowers

NEXT – 31: The Rickhurian Mortydate

If you want to check out some more by the Joker on the Sofa, check out the 100 Greatest TV Episodes of All TimeCollection of TV EpisodesCollection of Movie Reviews, or the Joker on the Sofa Reviews.

If you enjoy these, please, like, share, tell your friends, like the Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/JokerOnTheSofa/), follow on Twitter @JokerOnTheSofa, and just generally give me a little bump. I’m not getting paid, but I like to get feedback.

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Rick and Mondays – S3E8 “Morty’s Mind Blowers”

Interdimensional Cable gets skipped this season in order to show us a clip show of all of the adventures Rick and Morty don’t want us to know about.

SUMMARY

Rick and Morty (Justin Roiland) are escaping from a dream-like dimension populated by a figure who very much resembles Dream from Neil Gaiman’s Sandman. Rick warns Morty not to look at their prize, the Truth Tortoise, in the eyes, but Morty reveals that he already did before dropping the Truth Tortoise. A few days later, Morty is being tortured by his inability to forget all of the information which the Truth Tortoise put in his head (apparently it’s “everything”) and Rick offers to erase the memories from his mind before revealing that he’s done this many, many times, even having a secret room filled with stolen memories, which Rick calls “Morty’s Mind Blowers.”

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He says “I’m a Beatle, Paul is Dead” backwards. Because that’s all the truth you need.

Rick then proceeds to play a series of highlights from the stored memories for Morty, including “Moonspiracy,” where Morty ends up accidentally driving a man to suicide. There are a ton of other shorts and it quickly becomes apparent that, despite claiming otherwise, Rick organizes the memories by who blew Morty’s mind, which each correspond to a different color (Blue is himself, purple is the family, red is Rick, and green and yellow are undefined). Morty becomes angry at finding out that Rick has been erasing memories without him asking in order to avoid embarrassment and attacks him. Rick tries to erase his memory, but both of them end up getting their memories erased.

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We also get confirmation of an alien afterlife.

The pair don’t remember their own identities or each other, but Rick deduces that they’re in a room of stored memories and tells Morty to try them out. Morty starts uploading as many memories as possible, finding out horrible things that have happened to him. Eventually, Morty is overwhelmed and decides to kill himself. Rick, believing in Morty’s conviction, puts a gun to his head. They’re both about to pull the trigger when Summer (Spencer Grammer) arrives. She reveals that this has happened before and activates “scenario 4” protocol. She tranquilizes the pair, restores their memories, and puts them on the couch in front of the TV. They yell at her and leave, with her telling them “no wonder you’re constantly fighting with each other and behind schedule.” At the end of the episode, we see a “Jerry’s (Chris Parnell) Mind Blower” in which Jerry screws up an E.T.-esque plan and kills an alien.

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Summer screws up by not leaving the room at the end and gets yelled at. 

END SUMMARY

This episode addresses the idea of “are we us if we don’t remember being us?” and combines it with “are other people them if we don’t remember them being them?” The concept of how much memory, or the lack thereof, shapes our existence has been done in a ton of shows, with characters changing after they lose their memories, but this is a rare occasion in which another character completely has control over the amnesia. Moreover, that person is Rick Sanchez, which naturally leads to hilarity ensuing. Rick appears to not only have no moral qualms over wiping Morty’s mind, but it’s revealed that he actually does it to maintain the image of superiority.

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There are a LOT of red ones in there, meaning Rick screws up frequently.

I think one of the best parts of the episode is the revelation that Morty is basically being treated like an audience surrogate. Thanks to Rick, he’s only party to a fraction of his own life that’s being curated both to keep him from remembering things which are two traumatic for him, but also to eliminate memories which would change his relationships with Rick and with his family. Much as how Morty’s views of Beth and Summer are changed by the revelation that Beth picked Summer over Morty or his respect for Rick wanes when he learns that Rick used the phrase “taken for granite,” so too do we gain new insight into them. If this were reality instead of fiction, these things very well could happen all the time when we’re not watching (and apparently they do), but one natural aspect of fiction is that we are only interacting with a selected fraction of the world and that fraction is how we derive our images of the characters. When we are given more material that shows the characters acting differently, then we have to reshape it. Look at how people felt betrayed by Atticus Finch when Go Set a Watchman came out, because it displayed an aspect of the character (racism) that we previously hadn’t seen.

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Granted, watching Morty vomit up an alien worm while the family mocks him is normal.

Aside from that, we have the typical amnesia question of “is Morty better off not knowing?” After all, it’s not that any of these things didn’t happen, it’s that he isn’t able to remember them and therefore is incapable of learning from them. From a meta-narrative standpoint, it’s that he’s not allowed to grow or change from anything which the audience didn’t witness. It’d be crazy if we were watching a character recover from a trauma or grow from a challenge that happened entirely offscreen. From an in-universe standpoint, this probably is less for Morty’s benefit and more so that Rick can control what Morty has within his mind, which probably makes him easier to manipulate.

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He probably is better without this, though.

Mostly, though, this episode was another way to do an Interdimensional Cable episode without having to actually do Interdimensional Cable. Many of the vignettes in this are entirely visual, which apparently was because Dan Harmon and Justin Roiland wanted to give some of the animators the opportunity to express themselves more on the show. It also naturally saved Roiland from having to improvise more material, because this episode did not appear to be spontaneous like those episodes. Still, it works.

JOKER’S THEORY CORNER

Back in “Close Rick-Counters of the Rick Kind,” we see Rick’s memories, one of which famously sparked a number of wild and idiotic theories (including mine). Namely, when we see Rick looking at a young Morty, despite it being established in the series that Rick had disappeared decades prior. Well, this episode gives us a way that Rick can see Morty as a child and Beth also think he’s been gone for decades: He just erased everyone else’s memory. We know that he’s at least erased Jerry’s memory for Jerry’s own benefit (likely on Beth’s request), so it stands to reason that he’s willing to erase memories aside from Morty’s.

S3E8 - 7BabyMorty
Baby Morty, you haunt my dreams.

Why would Rick do that? Well, it probably would be a lot easier for him. We know in the past that Rick could be tracked by certain parties when he didn’t have Morty’s brainwaves, which meant he was usually on the run. However, he still would have to have monitored Morty’s development in order to know when Morty would start to actually be useful as a human shield. So, whenever he interacted with the Smith family, he just erased their memory, that way no one could interrogate them for information about his whereabouts.

LEAVING THE CORNER

It’s a fun episode, but it has a lot of great meta-narrative that makes it more fun.

Overall, I give this episode a

B+

on the Rick and Morty scale.

Wubba-Lubba-Dub-Dub, I need a drink. See you in two weeks.

PREVIOUS – 28: Tales from the Citadel/The Ricklantis Mixup

NEXT – 30: The ABCs of Beth

If you want to check out some more by the Joker on the Sofa, check out the 100 Greatest TV Episodes of All Time or the Joker on the Sofa Reviews.

If you enjoy these, please, like, share, tell your friends, like the Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/JokerOnTheSofa/), follow on Twitter @JokerOnTheSofa, and just generally give me a little bump. I’m not getting paid, but I like to get feedback.

Rick and Mondays – S3E7 “The Ricklantis Mixup / Tales from the Citadel”

Rick and Morty gives us one of the greatest pranks in the history of television by pulling a bait-and-switch and presenting an amazing anthology.

SUMMARY

Rick (Justin Roiland) and Morty (Justin Roiland) prepare to go to Atlantis, when another Rick (Justin Roiland) and Morty (Justin Roiland) arrive in order to solicit donations to fix the Citadel of Ricks, which Rick C-137 blew up. The C-137 pair decline and leave, with Morty wondering what happens at the Citadel.

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Morty hatin’ on Morty. Sad.

The episode then shifts to the Citadel of Ricks which is now essentially a society populated by Ricks (Justin Roilahyougetitalready) and Mortys where there are 4 primary interwoven narratives.

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It’s more Tales from the City than from the Crypt, sadly.

First, a new Rick joins the Citadel police. Cop Rick is surprised to find that he’s being partnered with a veteran Cop Morty. He’s even more surprised that the Cop Morty possesses strong anti-Morty attitudes. Granted, it’s not so close that it feels like it’s anything more than a thematic reference, which is the absolute best way to do this kind of thing. Cop Rick and Cop Morty go investigating a robbery in Mortytown, a ghetto where solo Mortys roam the streets. Cop Morty tries to blend in and talk to some of the Mortys around the area, but ends up threatening to kill one of the Mortys in order to find out that the Mortytown Lobos, a local gang, committed the robberies. Cop Rick points out that’s illegal, but Cop Morty doesn’t care. They arrive at the Lobos’ hideout and raid the place, but Cop Rick is suckered by a supposed innocent Morty who stabs him before Cop Rick kills him. Cop Rick goes out to treat his wounds while Cop Morty blows up the building. They then go to a strip-ish club and meet with Big Morty, a local crime boss. Cop Rick resists the bribe, resulting in a shootout that has Cop Morty shoot Big Morty and Cop Rick shoot Cop Morty.

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When the Rick looks concerned and the Morty looks uncaring, we’ve hit trouble.

Second, at a “School for Mortys,” four Mortys (Lizard Morty, Slick Morty, Fat Morty, and Glasses Morty) are set to graduate and they decide to find the legendary Wishing Portal located on the citadel. Along the way, they try to steal some mega fruit from Farmer Rick and are chased off, then camp out in the woods. They discuss their ideas about the Wishing Portal, and Slick Morty expresses his opinion that it’s just a place where broken dreams are dumped. When asked why he’s such a downer, he reveals that he was implanted with a trauma chip. Glasses Morty tells him that’s not all he is, and the four continue on their journey. They finally reach the portal and each of them throws in an object precious to them while making a wish, until finally Slick Morty wishes that the Citadel would change and jumps in, sacrificing himself for his wish. It’s then revealed that the wishing portal is just the citadel dump.

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Not the most dignified sacrifice, I admit.

A factory in the Citadel produces “Simple Rick’s” wafers, a wafer coated in the psychic resonance of a Rick who continually sees images of his loving daughter. A worker at that factory named Rick J-22 is incensed after being passed up for a promotion in favor of Cool Rick, a Rick that is just very very cool but has not worked at all for the company. He snaps and kills the Regional Manager Rick and runs into the room holding Simple Rick whom he holds hostage, becoming the TerroRick. Swat Team Rick arrives and tries to negotiate, but TerroRick refuses, pointing out that the entire society is based around destroying individuality and suppressing the masses. He asks for a portal gun, but when he tries to send Simple Rick home, it kills him. TerroRick prepares to go down fighting, but is bailed out by the factory owner Rick D. Sanchez III, who takes his side and escorts him out of the factory, only to shoot him in the back and put him in the place of Simple Rick. The wafers are now flavored with “shattering the grand illusion” and sold as the taste of Freedom and Rebellion.

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Pay for that wonderful feeling of rebelling against the factory that makes cookies.

The last segment reveals that, following the deaths of the entire Council of Ricks during the series premiere, the Citadel has decided to allow democratic elections for a new leader. There are a ton of Ricks running, but also a single Morty, Candidate Morty, who is polling terribly due to him being a Morty. His campaign manager, Campaign Manager Morty, advises him to drop out, but then Candidate Morty attends a much-publicized debate and delivers an absolutely devastating speech about how there is not a divide between the Ricks and Mortys, but rather a divide of class arising from the people who are manipulating the “race” division for their own benefit. He then fires Campaign Manager Morty. Campaign Manager Morty goes to a bar to drink his pain away and is shown some secret documents by Investigator Rick, who tells him that he needs to be afraid of Candidate Morty. Candidate Morty continues to play up his image as a hero of the common man, when suddenly Campaign Manager Morty shows up to a rally and shoots him.

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Yes, clearly a happy Morty.

It’s revealed that Candidate Morty survived and won the election. He immediately is told by all of the Ricks that run the Shadow Council that he is nothing more than a puppet. He has them executed, including Rick D. Sanchez, III. President Morty quickly has all of the Police Departments and Schools redone, leading Cop Rick to keep his job and the three Stand By Mortys are sent to work on the farms along with Rick rather than being assigned to them. All of his enemies are shot out into space, with documents in Campaign Manager Morty’s body floating out to reveal that President Morty is actually Evil Morty from “Close Rick-Counters of the Rick Kind.

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Or is he Rick in a Morty Body? No, that’d be shitty.

END SUMMARY

This is a strong candidate not just for the best episode of Rick and Morty, but for one of the best episodes of television. It’s an amazingly well-crafted and densely packed narrative for 22 minutes. Not a second is wasted, putting it up there with “Meeseeks and Destroy” in terms of narrative efficiency.

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So many clever Rick alternates, too.

Cop Rick’s story is basically Training Day. It’s a parable about police and racism, except instead of black and white it’s Rick and Morty. It’s not particularly subtle, either. Mortytown is portrayed as being a ghetto and Cop Morty calls Mortys “animals” and “yellow shirts,” a reference to racial slurs and racially coded language. This shocks Cop Rick, who expected Cop Morty to be more sympathetic to his own people. Later, we see the Cop Morty even “code switch” from speaking like an officer to speaking like a Morty, using an exaggerated number of “Aww Geez” lines in his speech. Cop Morty then becomes enraged when told he just “look[s] like a sidekick,” which is clearly a serious slur among Mortys. Cop Morty, much like Denzel Washington’s Alonzo Harris, often tries to simultaneously separate himself from his race by looking down on others and also to use it to his advantage when convenient. We even see him use to to justify his murder of the Mortytown Lobos, telling Cop Rick “same old story, Mortys killing Mortys,” a reference to the supposed practice of officers blaming officer shootings on gang violence. Whenever Cop Rick tries to confront him over his abuse of power, Cop Morty simply tells him nobody cares about police brutality on Mortys. Even Cop Rick, who acted with integrity throughout the entire storyline, is forced to kill a fellow officer and is effectively now working for Evil Morty, a reflection that even good intentions can be ineffective against a corrupt system. He’s even told that his abuses of power and violations will no longer be against the codes.

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Same old story, but with more science.

The Stand By Me Mortys are a reflection of the hopelessness and cynicism of the youth. The four Mortys are told that their futures will consist solely of being appointed to serve as the sidekicks of Ricks, effectively removing any of their agency after their childhood. The four Mortys try to make the most of the remainder of their freedom, but when confronted with the object of their desire, the Wishing Portal, three of their wishes are mostly small and selfish, with only Slick Morty wishing for something substantive: Change. That change, in their eyes, is powered by Slick’s sacrifice, but we are shown the truth: The change happened through manipulation of the masses by Evil Morty. While the four get what they were really wanting, an opportunity to express agency aside from just being Rick’s sidekick, they are still supporting a system that was established through lies and murder and appears to be set-up to serve a monster’s whims. Fun times.

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Also, one of these kids grows up to marry Rebecca Romijn.

The story of Rick J-22 in the factory is a reflection of the dissatisfaction between the laborers and the managers in most industries. Rick J-22 is stuck in the same job for 15 years, despite, as Evil Morty points out, having the same IQ and being the same person as his manager. There is no real reason that one has to suffer taking unpleasant public transit while the other is shown to be eating sardines and drinking champagne in a flying car, except that one is stuck in a system controlled by the other. The Ricks running the Shadow Council are not smarter, wiser, or more ethical than the Ricks that are working in the Citadel, they’re just the ones who were there first. Even more disheartening, when we see Rick J-22 finally rebel, his rebellion is literally eaten by the system, with his feeling of “shattering the grand illusion” now flavoring cookies. The movie Network dealt with a similar theme, when it featured a group of Communists given air time on a network eventually being reduced to yelling about not getting their merchandising rights for selling shirts that say “down with capitalism.” The beauty and horror of the capitalist system is that it can turn the rebellion into part of the system. After all, the t-shirt company doesn’t care if you’re buying a shirt dedicated to Adam Smith or Karl Marx, as long as you’re buying the shirt. However, we actually see the thing that can somewhat break this wheel at the end, and it’s something far worse. Which brings me to…

S3E7 - BDemands

The campaign of Evil Morty is the traditional campaign of Change. Morty is effectively a minority candidate, coming from a class of people who didn’t have any authority to choose their own leadership or even most basic rights. Something brought down their previous system (in this case Rick, in most real cases economics or war), and a populist leader is trying to seize power in the vacuum left from it. The parallels to historical rises are basically innumerable, some arguably good, but most evil. However, the main thing to note is that unhappy people want change more than they want change in a positive direction. My counterpart even wrote a series about it. That’s what Evil Morty is preying upon. He doesn’t even state what his policies are going to be, unlike Juggling Rick or Retired General Rick, he just says that he’s going to bring something new and some statements about bringing down the powerful. Instead, he just makes himself powerful.

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He also gives a speech about not giving speeches, so… monologuing fail? 

Ultimately, this is an episode about all of the ways in which systems can be manipulated such that even the good people within the system can be made to support evil. The biggest decision made by any character in the episode would be who to vote for, because that gives Evil Morty control of the citadel by a narrow margin, but everyone is focused more on their own personal struggles than that of the society. Everything is crap kids, and even the good things you do don’t mean anything in the long run compared to civic activism. Time for whisky? Time for whisky.

JOKER’S THEORY CORNER

As I mentioned during the theory for “Close Rick-Counters of the Rick Kind,” I believe that Evil Morty created the Morty Shield used in that episode specifically to increase the Morty to Rick ratio in the citadel. At the time, the Citadel was run by the Council of Ricks and Mortys had no authority or legal rights, meaning that it’s extremely unlikely that this was part of a plan to become a populist candidate. However, this episode does give us a few clues about how he had actually planned to seize power prior to Rick giving him a helping hand when he destroyed the citadel.

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Though, apparently he didn’t kill the “real” council. 

The biggest clues are that Evil Morty is running as the “Morty Party” candidate, but still appears to have at least enough funding to qualify as a legitimate, if dark horse, candidate and that after his election, on the day of, in fact, he has loyal Rick soldiers willing to kill fellow Ricks at his command. See, while the “Morty Party” is definitely a real party, it’s clearly effectively a joke. One reason for this is, potentially, that Mortys can’t actually vote. While this is never said for sure, the fact that he only barely wins the election among six candidates despite Mortys being the majority of the citadel suggests that they can’t. Also, they’re minors and treated as second class citizens, so it kind of makes sense that they wouldn’t get the vote from the Ricks. Despite that, and the fact that most of the Mortys are stated to be unemployed (and unassigned), Evil Morty has enough backing to at least be allowed in the Debate. It’s possible that he was only allowed in as a joke, but that seems unlikely, given the number of candidates already needing time.

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Something Something Democratic Primary Something Something

If Evil Morty couldn’t get any actual effective help from Mortys, that means that he was getting help from other Ricks. Most Ricks would likely be hesitant to be under a Morty, naturally, but it is clear that he has at least some extremely loyal Ricks by the time of his inauguration. So how did he get their loyalty? Well, we know that, based on the increased activity of Seal Team Ricks in the Season 3 Premier, that the Council had become more directly interventionist recently, likely in response to the events of “Close Rick-Counters of the Rick Kind.” This would likely not sit well with many of the Ricks who weren’t on the Council, making them prime targets for Evil Morty to convert to his cause. Essentially, he set up a problem, allowed the government to react to it, then played upon the fears of the populus based upon the government response. I’m sure there’s no historical precedent for this.

LEAVING THE CORNER

Like I said, this is one of the best bait-and-switches, one of the best twist endings, and one of the best interwoven narratives I’ve ever seen. This episode’s a masterpiece.

Overall, I give this episode a

A+

on the Rick and Morty scale.

Wubba-Lubba-Dub-Dub, I need a drink. See you in two weeks.

PREVIOUS – 27: Rest and RickLaxation

NEXT – 29: Morty’s Mind Blowers

If you want to check out some more by the Joker on the Sofa, check out the 100 Greatest TV Episodes of All Time or the Joker on the Sofa Reviews.

If you enjoy these, please, like, share, tell your friends, like the Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/JokerOnTheSofa/), follow on Twitter @JokerOnTheSofa, and just generally give me a little bump. I’m not getting paid, but I like to get feedback.

Rick and Mondays – S2E6 “Rest and Ricklaxation”

Rick and Morty take a spa day and almost destroy the world with their toxicity.

SUMMARY

Rick (Justin Roiland) picks Morty (Roiland) up from school for what he claims will be a short adventure, but it ends up taking days and almost killing both of them. The two are so stressed they both almost have mental breakdowns, resulting in Rick saying they deserve a vacation. The two go to an alien spa and have a full round of relaxing treatments, including going into a final machine which is supposed to “completely remove” their toxins. The pair quickly find themselves in a toxic, gooey world filled with monsters. They believe that the machine exploded and took the spa with it, but they discover the truth: They’re not the real Rick and Morty. They’re the toxic parts that were separated from Rick and Morty, who are currently headed home. Toxic Rick starts to plot a way out of the horror world.

S3E6 - 1Eyes.png
PULSE-POUNDING ACTION!!!!!

Morty discovers that the detox has removed all of his insecurities, making him confident and popular. He even manages to get a date with Jessica (Kari Wahlgren), his crush, but the date goes terribly due to Morty’s sociopathic overconfidence. He proceeds to rebound with a girl named Stacy (Tara Strong), but when he takes her back to the house, he finds that Rick has been receiving messages from the Toxic World and is preparing to re-merge himself and Morty with their toxic counterparts. Morty believes Toxic Rick could be lying and gets Stacy to save him, which turns out to be the right move as Toxic Rick was planning on just taking their place and not re-merging. Rick and Toxic Rick fight, with both evenly matched, until Toxic Rick decides it’d be easier to make the whole world toxic like him.

S3E6 - 2ToxicReal
This is what happens when a Rick gets eaten by a slime.

Rick at first refuses to stop Toxic Rick, saying that he can’t assert his own beliefs on what gets destroyed or saved, but Morty slaps him and Rick suddenly realizes something: The toxic parts were removed based on the user’s definition of toxicity. Toxic Rick uses two miniverse batteries and a moonlight tower to turn the world toxic, making everyone terrible. Rick arrives and reveals that the Toxic version got one thing Rick defines as toxic: Irrational attachments to people. He then shoots Toxic Morty, threatening to kill him if they don’t voluntarily re-merge. Toxic Rick agrees, but then Morty flees, not wanting his weaknesses back. Toxic Morty dies, but Rick preserves his essence.

S3E6 - 3Shooting.png
I was an adventurer until I took a bullet to the knee.

Weeks later, Morty is a top salesman at a New York brokerage firm. He’s living with an attractive woman in an expensive apartment, but receives a call from Jessica asking him to come back. He knows it’s a trap, but he fails to hang up the phone and Rick and Jessica find him and turn him into his former self. He later sees Jessica at school and she says it’s good to have him back.

S3E6 - 4Drones.png
Also, Rick finds him with drones that form a mini-Voltron. AWESOME.

END SUMMARY

This episode has an interesting take on the traditional Jekyll and Hyde story. Rather than being split into “good” and “evil,” this is actually closer to the aim of the original story by having the two halves separated by what urges the original wants to suppress. Jekyll wants his violent tendencies gone, Rick wants his arrogance and his irrationality gone. Morty, on the other hand, wants all of his weaknesses gone, something that makes him much more traditionally evil than he was before, resulting in him being what appears to be Jordan Belfort from The Wolf of Wall Street. It’s basically what happens when you apply moral relativism into the trope.

S3E6 - 5Hasselhoff
Whereas catastrophe is what happens when you add Hasselhoff to it.

Interestingly, when we see “toxic world,” it actually appears to be less based around emphasizing the traits that the people are trying to suppress and instead to be based more around bringing out everyone’s id, making them all mindlessly aggressive, hypersexual, and cruel. One particularly notable remark is made by Father Bob (William Holmes) when he becomes toxic: “God is a lie. We made him up for money!” Even if that is what Bob actually believes, it’s unlikely that he believes the part of him that would admit God is a scam would be the “toxic” part of him. Also, a bunch of children go cannibalistic, and I don’t think that’s something kids would define as toxic, because children would kill you if they were bigger than you and they like thinking about it. NEVER TRUST CHILDREN.

S3E6 - 6Kids.png
NEVER. TRUST. THE. CHILDREN.

A few fun things from this episode:

One is that Toxic Rick uses Miniverse Batteries from the Microverse in “The Ricks Must Be Crazy” rather than Rick’s typical Microverse Battery to power his invention, which suggests that one of Rick’s toxic traits is his desire not to use other people’s work. Apparently Rick had more respect for Zeep Zanflorp’s design than he thought. Also, Toxic Rick is a monster because he apparently burns out both of those universes when he makes the world toxic, meaning he just committed omnicide twice over.

 

S3E6 - 7Batteries
Note that here, they’re alive. In the earlier picture, they’re dead.

Another thing is what I am convinced is the most obscure joke this show has done, when Morty asks Rick if he’s familiar with “Ben Wa” technology. First, this is a reference to Ben Wa balls, which are small balls (or smooth oval objects) which are used for sexual stimulation of the vagina. Since Morty’s clearly with a kinky girl when he asks the question, that makes sense. However, I believe that the way he asks it is also a reference to Hubert Benoit, the French Psychotherapist whose work foreshadowed integral psychology and integral spirituality, both of which involve using both of the good and bad traits within an individual to address the whole of a person. Considering that’s what most of this episode is about, that would be pretty much a perfect in-joke. Or maybe it really is just about shoving balls inside someone and I’m overthinking it. There’s a sentence I don’t think gets written enough.

The fight between Rick and Toxic Rick is hilarious to me and I think there are some solid lines from the overconfident American Psycho Morty. This is a pretty good episode.

JOKER’S THEORY CORNER

Okay, so, this is actually more of a rebuttal to a complaint that people repeatedly made about this episode: That Rick reveals that he doesn’t have any of his irrational attachments and yet he still acts like he loves Morty even more than usual. I must have heard a half-dozen reviewers complain about it like it’s a glaring flaw in the episode and I’m here to say that no, it’s not, it’s just weird and complicated.

S3E6 - 8Seatbelt
This is also only the second time Rick’s worn a seatbelt.

Here’s the thing: When Rick first realizes that the machine separated out the things that HE decided were toxic, he’s surprised to realize that he doesn’t have any irrational attachments to Morty anymore. Despite that, earlier in the episode Rick says that he’s proud to be Morty’s grandfather. How is it possible that Rick can feel pride in Morty but not have an irrational attachment?

When Rick lists to Toxic Rick what has gone over in the transfer, he says that Toxic Rick has his entitlement, narcissism, crippling loneliness, and his irrational attachments. The thing is that an “irrational” attachment is something that would lead Rick to put the welfare of Morty so high that he would not be able to continue to make rational decisions. That’s not to say that Rick doesn’t value Morty’s welfare, but it’s only to the extent that Morty’s welfare provides a rational benefit to Rick. Similarly, we see Morty tell Rick he loves him, despite getting rid of most of his insecurities and emotional weaknesses. That’s because Morty only got rid of his vulnerabilities, which is to say that he got rid of his ability to love Rick so much that he allows Rick to convince him to do things against his self interest. He can still love Rick, but it’s not in a way that would ever be consider selfless.

LEAVING THE CORNER

So, most of you probably have heard that Season 4 has been announced. Some of you might also have realized that this blog ends the week before the first episode of the new season airs. That’s because Dan Harmon actually asked me to start this blog and has been providing me with these theories as part of a guerrilla marketing scheme.

Kidding, I’m just psyched for Season 4 and the scheduling kinda worked out. I look forward to reviewing it. Take it easy, kids.

Overall, I give this episode a

B+

on the Rick and Morty scale.

Wubba-Lubba-Dub-Dub, I need a drink. See you in two weeks.

PREVIOUS – 26: The Whirly Dirly Conspiracy

NEXT – 28: Tales from the Citadel

If you want to check out some more by the Joker on the Sofa, check out the 100 Greatest TV Episodes of All Time or the Joker on the Sofa Reviews.

If you enjoy these, please, like, share, tell your friends, like the Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/JokerOnTheSofa/), follow on Twitter @JokerOnTheSofa, and just generally give me a little bump. I’m not getting paid, but I like to get feedback.

Rick and Mondays – S3 E4 “Vindicators 3: The Return of Worldender”

Morty forces Rick to go along on an adventure with the Vindicators, a superhero team whose name is definitely not derivative of anything.

SUMMARY

Rick and Morty (Justin Roiland) receive a call from the Vindicators, a superhero team that they had previously assisted. Rick refuses, but Morty uses his right to choose every tenth adventure from winning the bet in “Meeseeks and Destroy” to force Rick to do it. They join the Vindicators on their spaceship base and are informed that a villain named Worldender is out to take over the galaxy. Rick wastes no time in being hostile towards all of the Vindicators: literal starchild Supernova (Gillian Jacobs), cyborg reptile Crocubot (Maurice LaMarche), conductor of a ghost train Alan Rails (Lance Reddick), hive-minded ant colony Million Ants (Tom Kenny), and renegade starsoldier Vance Maximus (Christian Slater). The only one he gets along with is the janitor Noob-Noob (Roiland).

Morty believes this is the second time that the Vindicators have assembled and is dismayed to be told that it is actually the third. Rick and Morty weren’t invited to the last one due to Rick’s horrible personality. Rick is amused that the Vindicators hate him so much and points out that he routinely beats much more powerful enemies than the Vindicators face, but is then hurt when Morty says that the Vindicators are heroes, unlike Rick.

The next morning, Rick is found on the conference table passed out in his own feces. Morty and the Vindicators head towards Worldender’s lair with the unconscious Rick in tow. They manage to make it through multiple defenses, but then are stymied by turrets. They wake Rick up, who stops the turrets. Once they’re inside, they find all of Worldender’s minions dead and Worldender himself impaled and dying. It’s revealed that he was killed by none other than Rick, while Rick was blackout drunk. Drunk Rick has set up a series of death traps designed to torment the Vindicators. Vance is killed quickly trying to escape while Morty solves the first death-trap.

In the next room, Drunk Rick challenges the Vindicators to tell where they would never be found. Crocubot is killed after he reveals that the Vindicators killed an entire planet during Vindicators 2 due to not being able to track down a shapeshifter named Doom-nomitron, who Rick could easily have located. It turns out that Rick was talking about Israel, which Rick defends as just being “complicated,” but not “anti-Semitic.” After that, Drunk Rick tells them to make a series of three-pointers, which they do easily, however, Alan Rails ends up accusing Million Ants of sleeping with Supernova while she was married to Alan. Rick and Morty fight over Rick’s behavior, until they witness Million Ants and Supernova kill Alan violently.

The last room contains a puzzle where Drunk Rick tells the Vindicators to show the one thing he values. Morty reasons this is nothing, but Rick says the answer might be Morty. Morty gets taken on a ride by the deathtrap where Rick appears to be getting emotional, only to reveal that the actual answer was Noob-Noob. The trap still accepts the answer, though, and the room starts ascending to the surface. Along the way, Supernova starts trying to kill Rick and Morty. Million Ants tells her not to, but she kills him. Rick and Morty are nearly dead when they hit the surface, which has been turned into a party organized by Drunk Rick. Supernova flees the crowd and Rick and Morty join the party.

END SUMMARY

This episode is a shot at the superhero film genre and it’s one of the funnier ones to date. There are a lot of levels of criticism in this episode, so let’s go through a few.

First, Rick points out that superheroes are fairly generic. In his first trap room, he tells the Vindicators to match several traits (Don’t play well with others, tragic origin, never give up, superpower is a burden, and using power responsibly) to each of their pictures. Morty quickly points out that all five of the traits apply to all of the Vindicators because they’re just variations on the same general themes. He even tells them that he’s more complex than they are.

Rick also tells the Vindicators that he believes he can knock out what they do in a year in a few hours, a reference to how superhero film arcs take an entire film or even multiple movies, whereas Rick and Morty generally gets through both an A and B plot in 22 minutes. This is a statement on the tighter storytelling that Rick and Morty uses compared to the more spectacle-based superhero films.

The show also uses their typical nihilist satire to deconstruct the idea that superheroes even exist by having them slowly display all of their worst traits when faced with something more complicated than a normal, punchable villain. Vance reveals that behind his charm and wit he’s actually a coward, Alan attacks Million Ants out of anger, Crocubot makes an illogical decision, and Supernova just goes straight villain. However, as Supernova says, the reality of the heroes is irrelevant, because it’s the belief in them that actually matters. In other words, heroes don’t actually have to be all they claim to be, they just have to appear that way. Rick, meanwhile, is always honest about being a shithead, which is somewhat more moral in its own way.

This is one of the best episodes which doesn’t have a B-Plot. The focus is unerringly on Rick and Morty, but it still works well. 

JOKER’S THEORY CORNER

Look, this one’s pretty straightforward, so I’ll give you two mini-theories.

First, Rick chooses Israel because he’s sick of being confused with Rick Sanchez, the former CNN, now Fox News commentator who got into trouble for anti-Semitic comments. Rick apparently has complicated feelings regarding Israel, but I think he goes out of his way to draw attention to his support of Israel in an attempt to separate himself from the other Rick Sanchez.

Second, why do Rick’s neutrino bombs have such a high fail rate? Well, it’s because he’s building them out of neutrinos, which have a high rate of passing through regular matter undetected due to only interacting with gravity and the weak nuclear force.

Overall, I give this episode an

B+

on the Rick and Morty scale.

Wubba-Lubba-Dub-Dub, I need a drink. See you in two weeks.

PREVIOUS – 24: Pickle Rick

NEXT – 26: The Whirly Dirly Conspiracy

If you want to check out some more by the Joker on the Sofa, check out the 100 Greatest TV Episodes of All Time or the Joker on the Sofa Reviews.

If you enjoy these, please, like, share, tell your friends, like the Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/JokerOnTheSofa/), follow on Twitter @JokerOnTheSofa, and just generally give me a little bump. I’m not getting paid, but I like to get feedback.

Rick and Mondays – S3E3 “Pickle Rick”

An insane concept somehow becomes not just a great episode, but one of the most fun episodes of the series.

SUMMARY

Rick (Justin Roiland) turns himself into a pickle in order to avoid going to therapy with Beth (Sarah Chalke), Morty (Roiland), and Summer (Spencer Grammer). It turns out that Summer has been huffing enamel and Morty has wet himself in class, so the school has mandated they attend some form of treatment. Rick claims just to have forgotten about therapy and changed himself into a pickle in order to prove he could, but Morty quickly spots a syringe rigged to turn Rick back to normal after the family leaves. Rick says that it’s nothing, so Beth takes the syringe and leaves. A cat knocks Pickle Rick off the table and onto the outside sidewalk where he almost dies until it starts to rain and washes him into the sewer. He manages to kill a cockroach with his mouth, the only part of his body he can move, then uses his tongue to manipulate its corpse.

S3E3 - 1PickleRick.jpg
To be fair, he drank enough to pickle himself already.

At counseling, the Smiths meet Dr. Wong (Susan Sarandon), who, rather than listen to Beth’s attempts to make the session about Morty’s pants-wetting and Summer’s enamel-huffing, immediately makes the session about Rick’s impact on Beth and the family. Beth perpetually attempts to defend Rick as a genius and that he didn’t try to avoid counselling, but Dr. Wong and the kids both keep rebutting her. Dr. Wong eventually points out that Beth’s relationship with Rick leads her to punish vulnerability and emotional connections, something that wrecked her marriage and may be hurting her children. Beth just responds with “F*ck you.”

S3E3 - 2DrWong.png
This is actually a grown up Janet Weiss.

Rick, in the sewers, manages to kill enough cockroaches to build a primitive exoskeleton which he uses to build a number of complex mechanisms that give him a techno-organic body composed mostly of rat parts. He kills a number of rats and then escapes the sewers through a toilet which is revealed to be inside of a Russian facility, likely a spy agency posing as an embassy. The agents attack Rick, who starts to kill them off despite being a pickle using rat limbs. The Director (Peter Serafinowicz) discovers that his forces are not able to stop “Solen’ya,” a pickle-man figure from Russian mythology that Rick resembles, and recruits captive freedom-fighter Jaguar (Danny Trejo) to do the job.

S3E3 - 3Director
Why he has a British Accent is unclear.

At therapy, Dr. Wong and Beth continue being at odds, with Beth claiming that Dr. Wong is trying to just avoid addressing the divorce and the kids. Ultimately, Beth does talk a little bit about Rick after some manipulation by Dr. Wong, admitting she admires Rick for not needing anyone.

Rick is confronted by Jaguar, who is apparently fighting because the Director has his daughter hostage. The two fight, sustaining brutal damage, until Rick appears to win. The Director offers Rick a fortune and reveals that Jaguar’s daughter is dead. Rick refuses and the Director kills the other employees before trying to flee, only to find Rick and Jaguar waiting for him. Rick blows the building up, killing him, as Jaguar takes him to the therapy session. Along the way, Jaguar tells Rick to tell Beth he loves her, but Rick responds that they don’t really do that and admits he even abandoned his original Beth.

S3E3 - 4Jaguar.png
These two are both insane.

Rick arrives at therapy and admits that the syringe Beth took is an anti-pickle serum and he lied. Dr. Wong asks why he did it and Rick asserts that he doesn’t think therapy matters and that it’s counterproductive to his lifestyle, basically trying to own Dr. Wong with his intellect. Dr. Wong proceeds to deliver a blow far more devastating than Jaguar ever could have, saying:

Rick, the only connection between your unquestionable intelligence and the sickness destroying your family is that everyone in your family, you included, use intelligence to justify sickness.

You seem to alternate between viewing your own mind as an unstoppable force and as an inescapable curse. And I think it’s because the only truly unapproachable concept for you is that it’s your mind within your control. You chose to come here, you chose to talk -to belittle my vocation- just as you chose to become a pickle.

You are the master of your universe, and yet you are dripping with rat blood and feces. Your enormous mind literally vegetating by your own hand.

I have no doubt that you would be bored senseless by therapy, the same way I’m bored when I brush my teeth and wipe my ass. Because the thing about repairing, maintaining, and cleaning is it’s not an adventure. There’s no way to do it so wrong you might die. It’s just work. And the bottom line is, some people are okay going to work, and some people well, some people would rather die.

Each of us gets to choose.

The family then leaves, with Beth and Rick trying to play down what just happened and make a small amount of amends to each other and Morty and Summer asking about going back, seeming to think that it actually WAS helping. However, ultimately Beth and Rick decide to grab a drink rather than contemplate what Dr. Wong said.

END SUMMARY

There’s an episode of Doctor Who where River Song (Alex Kingston) describes an event as the moment that the Doctor rises higher than ever before and then falls so much further. This is Rick’s version of that. Throughout the episode, we are shown exactly how amazing Rick is. He turns himself into a pickle, something that is impossible on a hundred different levels, then manages, as a pickle, to survive being in the sewers, moving his way rapidly up both the technological and literal food chain, until finally he takes out a building full of mercenaries while still being a combination of pickle and rat parts. This whole sequence is, to an audience, absolutely amazing. He even says “I love myself” after murdering a giant rat in single combat.

S3E3 - 5Rat.gif
This is Rick celebrating his killing of a group of rats that were not really a threat to him.

That’s why it’s so amazing when Dr. Wong just flat-out tells him that everything he has just done is all a sign of his illness and his reckless desire to live on the edge rather than just be happy or healthy. Rick tells her that he’s a scientist and that when he doesn’t like something, he doesn’t learn to accept it, he just changes it, and he compares people who accept things to cattle, but Wong counters that the thing Rick refuses to change is actually himself.

S3E3 - 6RickWong
People worship the pickle-rat man but not the woman who destroys him.

This is something that the show really does appear to be trying to convey to everyone, particularly fans of Rick: Rick’s not healthy, Rick’s not happy, Rick’s not a good person, and even if he does appear to be a bad-ass at times, the only reason he does anything is because he’s trying to avoid dealing with himself. Despite his claims of being superior and intellectually dominating, even trying to belittle Dr. Wong, Rick is constantly on the edge of dying just because he can’t handle the simple act of talking about his feelings. Rick even points out that he abandoned his daughter and replaced her with another version without really caring about it. He’s a miserable asshole.

S3E3 - 7Suicide
Yeah, remember this?

In terms of story structure, this episode is nearly perfect. We get to watch Beth’s futile attempts to fight back against Dr. Wong’s psychoanalysis intercut with Rick’s progressive victories over the rats and the agents gives both more emphasis. We finally see her start to make a little growth when she forces Rick to tell him what’s in the syringe, just as he starts his decline at the hands of Dr. Wong. However, as part of the “darkest season,” the episode ends with Rick and Beth both choosing to learn nothing from what just happens and instead go get drunk. It’s the same kind of wonderful rejection of traditional character progression that the show does so well.

Frankly, this is one of the best episodes of this show. Its only major drawback is that it leads so many people to shout “Pickle Riiiick” to the point that you want to smash their face in with a sledgehammer.

PickleRickFigurine.jpg
Also, I won a Pickle Rick. 

Joker’s Theory Corner

Dr. Wong specializes in Family Counseling and Coprophagia Recovery. The episode could have just made this a background joke, but instead repeatedly informs us of what this means: Eating sh*t. Dr. Wong is helping people stop eating sh*t. We even have Mr. Goldenfold (Brandon Johnson) asking the Smiths how long they’ve been eating poop.

S3E3 - 8GoldenFold
Awkward level: 9001

Two things are notable about this gag. First, while Dr. Wong is technically helping Mr. Goldenfold and others like him stop eating literal crap, she’s also trying to help Beth stop taking sh*t from Rick, metaphorically. Beth is constantly manipulated by Rick and, more tragically, she is completely aware of it but chooses to ignore it out of fear that he’ll leave again if she doesn’t. She’s metaphorically eating shit and liking it because she doesn’t want to admit she could do better. This doesn’t really have a theory attached, I just love the analogy.

Second, Dr. Wong has enough patients with coprophagia to merit a specialization, a book of coprophagics, and even a different motivational poster for her lobby. Normally, coprophagia almost exclusively affects people with Pica or Schizophrenia, and even then only a relatively small percentage of those groups, so how many patients could she possibly be seeing? Well, note that I said “normally.” See, there’s one potential circumstance that could drive a number of people to coprophagia… being forced to live in the sewers during an alien invasion that lasted months.

In the season premiere, we see Goldenfold lead a group of people to try to reclaim the surface from the aliens by rising from the sewers. Presumably, these people might have been living in the sewers for a long time… sewers that were full of poop. Yes, it’s disgusting, but I think that a number of people in the city probably were forced to survive on alien dung and developed coprophagia. Enough to give Dr. Wong a second specialty.

LEAVING THE CORNER

Overall, I give this episode an

A

on the Rick and Morty scale.

Wubba-Lubba-Dub-Dub, I need a drink. See you in two weeks.

PREVIOUS – 23: RickMancing the Stone

NEXT – 25: Vindicators 3: The Return of Worldender

If you want to check out some more by the Joker on the Sofa, check out the 100 Greatest TV Episodes of All Time or the Joker on the Sofa Reviews.

If you enjoy these, please, like, share, tell your friends, like the Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/JokerOnTheSofa/), follow on Twitter @JokerOnTheSofa, and just generally give me a little bump. I’m not getting paid, but I like to get feedback.

Rick and Mondays – S3E2 “Rickmancing the Stone”

Rick and Morty meets Mad Max in this deconstruction of the post-apocalypse.

SUMMARY

The episode begins with Rick (Justin Roiland), Morty (Justin Roiland), and Summer (Spencer Grammer) returning from an adventure and greeting a newly-divorced Jerry (Chris Parnell). Morty seems disappointed with his dad’s behavior and Summer chooses to ask Rick for an adventure in order to avoid talking to Jerry. Rick obliges and Morty follows, leaving Jerry to be called a loser by the wind.

S3E2 - 1Wind
Any way the wind blows, doesn’t really matter… because nihilism.

In another dimension, Rick, Morty, and Summer are driving away from a huge army of Mad Max: Fury Road-esque wasteland scavengers in vehicles because Rick seeks to steal a small shard of Isotope 322, a glowing green rock. While Rick is ready to leave after acquiring the shard, Summer stops running to murder the leader of the marauders. The other marauders, revealed to be the Deathstalkers, offer to let the trio join them. Rick’s going to say no, but then sees that they have a huge chunk of Isotope 322, and tells the kids to join the scavengers. Summer, showing gross indifference to life lately, agrees, worrying Morty that Summer isn’t handling the divorce well.

S3E2 - 2Shooting
This Joe’s not so “Immortan.”

In the Deathstalker camp, Rick tells Morty his plan to steal the rock, part of which involves injecting Morty with the “muscle memory” of a disembodied barbarian arm, which ends up being sentient. Morty names it “Armothy.” Morty and Armothy quickly enter the Blood Dome (which is just a Thunderdome but without the trademark issues) and devastate all comers. Morty also starts to say things during the fights that indicate that he is angry at how his father is acting about the divorce.

S3E2 - 3Armothy.png
Super Smash Mortys.

Meanwhile, Summer goes hunting with a Deathstalker named Hemorrhage (Joel McHale) and starts to bond with him over his nihilistic and violent outlook. However, Rick steals the green rock and Hemorrhage orders his death. Rick tries to tell them to leave, but when Summer and Morty resist going, he leaves them and goes home. When Beth (Sarah Chalke) asks where the kids are, he builds duplicates of them to fool her. Back in the wasteland, Morty is now the champion of the Blood Dome, but Armothy starts killing people who murdered his original owner and family. Hemorrhage and Summer get closer and then start to get intimate after she indicates that she has no fear of death or consequence, becoming a couple. Morty and Armothy track down the Slaver that ordered the death of Armothy’s family and then drown him, with Armothy disappearing after believing the Slaver is dead. Rick comes back and the Slaver is revealed to be alive, but Rick helps Morty finish him off.

S3E2 - 4MakingOut
This is why you make sure your gimp rope doesn’t reach the door, people.

Rick and Morty meet up with Summer and Hemorrhage and shows them that Isotope 322 creates near infinite electrical power. Hemorrhage asks Rick to teach them more. Three weeks later, most of the Deathstalker village now resembles modern suburbs, with Summer’s neighbors more concerned about sorting recyclables than nihilism. Hemorrhage now mostly sits around watching television, driving Summer insane. She breaks up with him and leaves with Rick after he steals the Isotope 322 back.

S3E2 - 5Neighborhood
It bugs me that the houses aren’t on a grid system.

Back at home, the robotic Rick, Morty, and Summer are playing games with Beth, but Rick sends out the signal for them to go to the garage. The Robot Morty tries to resist, claiming to have developed emotion, but ultimately gets overridden. Summer goes to visit Jerry and tells him not to look back. Later, a dog mugs Jerry for his unemployment check and the wind calls him a loser again.

END SUMMARY

At the end of the previous episode, Rick promised that Season 3 was going to be the darkest season of Rick and Morty. Then, they made us wait 4 months to see what that meant and this episode promptly delivered on that promise. The core of this episode is how everyone in the show is dealing with the fallout from the season 3 premiere.

S3E1 - 6Rant
EVERYTHING IS AWFUL, MORTY!!!!

Summer’s character in this episode goes from “stereotypical disaffected teenager” to “murdering nihilist.” Morty continues the theme of his rage issues from the last few episodes, but now they’re focused at his dad. Rick, while he tries to continue his nihilistic and hedonistic outlook, is clearly suffering from some emotional baggage over plotting to wreck his daughter’s marriage. Beth is uncertain whether she has done the right thing and Jerry is basically drifting aimlessly. Everyone is now basically a little more broken because of the end of Beth and Jerry’s marriage and, sadly, that makes for really good television.

S3E2 - 6Divorce
They even have Summer duplicate Beth’s lines about divorce.

Obviously, this episode is a parody of the Mad Max films and other such post-apocalyptic films like The Omega Man. However, in traditional Rick and Morty style it over-exaggerates the traits of the typical brutish survivors until they seem to constantly espouse nihilism and angst like teenagers at a Hot Topic, only to subvert that by revealing that they would immediately give it up for escapism and conformity if given half of a chance. Basically, their claim that everything is bullsh*t is itself bullsh*t. The short timeline of only three weeks makes it funnier, though it also reminds us how impressive Rick is by showing that he can create an advanced level of infrastructure for a society (they have televised sports and electric cars) in under a month.

Overall, this was a great episode and a great way to really establish that this season was going to feature some dark elements.

JOKER’S THEORY CORNER

Beth and Jerry are divorced as of this episode, exactly how Rick planned in the last one, but we immediately get a little bit of foreshadowing that it’s not going to last. When Rick and Beth meet in the garage, she quickly starts to become concerned about what the divorce is doing to the kids and questions whether it was the right decision. The key is that it’s prompted by Rick leaving the kids in the other dimension and escaping. In other words, Beth starts to realize that maybe she doesn’t want to be divorced because Rick did something wrong and failed to deal with it properly, just like he later does at the end of the season, resulting in Beth and Jerry getting back together.

S3E2 - 7Beth
That flask is bigger on the inside.

If Rick planned everything to get Beth and Jerry to divorce, why is his plan failing? Well, it’s for the same reason that Rick accidentally destroyed Earth C-137 by turning everyone into Cronenbergs: Rick cannot properly comprehend love. Rick thinks that Beth is just something to be fixed and that giving her an optimal pair of children to show that everything is objectively going fine will somehow make her not feel insecure or irrationally still emotionally attached to Jerry. Sure, having a Summer and Morty that are perfectly supportive and attentive helps to slow the rising tide of doubt, but it can’t stop it, because Rick is trying to calculate something that, for him, is incalculable: The human heart.

LEAVING THE CORNER

Overall, I give this episode an

A

on the Rick and Morty scale.

Wubba-Lubba-Dub-Dub, I need a drink. See you in two weeks.

PREVIOUS – 22: The Rickshank Rickdemption

NEXT – 24: Pickle Rick

If you want to check out some more by the Joker on the Sofa, check out the 100 Greatest TV Episodes of All Time or the Joker on the Sofa Reviews.

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