Rick and Mondays – S3E10 “The Rickchurian Mortydate”

Rick and Morty get bored working for the President and start a small war while Beth goes through an existential crisis.

SUMMARY

The President of the United States (Keith David) calls Rick and Morty (Justin Roiland) to the White House to deal with a monster in the tunnels under the building. Rick and Morty arrive and shoot the very small alien, which runs away, but the two decline to chase it, preferring instead to go home and play Minecraft. Unfortunately, the President catches them lying about still being at work and yells at them. They end up severing their relationship with the President after he points out that he constantly overlooks all the laws they break in exchange for saving the world and Rick points out that the US Government couldn’t stop him anyway, so he doesn’t need them to overlook anything. 

S3EA - 1Alien
It’s basically a Komodo dragon, which is scary, but not “Rick and Morty” level.

Meanwhile, Beth (Sarah Chalke) is concerned that she is actually a clone, given Rick’s offer to her in the last episode. It doesn’t help that, in her mind, choosing to stay has made her happier, so her behavior towards Summer (Spencer Grammer) has been noticeably friendlier. Beth calls Rick to ask if she’s a clone, but no answer he gives can convince her and he also doesn’t try very hard. However, she becomes paranoid that if she is the clone and is self-aware, Rick has to kill her.

S3EA - 2Summer.jpg
Ironically, Summer doesn’t know what Dukes of Hazzard is.

A miniature nuclear-capable civilization is discovered in the Brazilian rainforest. Rick and Morty go to investigate, but the President arrives claiming jurisdiction… over Brazil. The President attempts to capture Rick and Morty and goes on to shrink himself and head towards the civilization, but Rick quickly escapes. When the President arrives at the small civilization, dubbed Megagargantuans, he finds that Rick and Morty already made it there and negotiated a peace treaty with their Presidentress (Tara Strong, I think?). He declares war on Rick and Morty, who respond by creating peace in the Middle East and giving the credit to the President. The President finds Rick and Morty in the Oval Office insisting on a selfie with him and orders the Secret Service to arrest them, resulting in Rick indirectly or directly killing almost all of the Agents. He and the President then engage in a sci-fi battle through the White House, destroying huge amounts of property. 

S3EA - 3PresidentButt
Also, the President shrinks naked, so that’s a thing.

Beth goes to see Jerry (Chris Parnell) in order to get him to confirm that she’s the real Beth. He ends up kissing her, she recognizes his unconditional love as something she needs, and they reconcile. 

S3EA - 4Volcano
Also, Jerry remembers the movie Volcano way too well.

While Rick and the President are fighting, Morty leaves and takes Rick’s portal gun, intent on hiding his family now that they’re back together. Rick concedes defeat to the President and asks for his help teleporting to the Smiths’ hiding place. Beth tries to reason with Rick to leave them alone and not kill her for being a clone, but Rick claims she’s the real Beth and ultimately comes back to the family despite Jerry returning. Rick considers leaving for another dimension, but Summer demonstrates she can now fart on cue, something that apparently convinces him to try again. He pretends to leave and arrive as a new version of himself in a fly-fishing hat in order to mend his relationship with the President. At home, Beth rejoices that the family has a new, better start, unless she’s a clone (something Rick doesn’t laugh at). 

END SUMMARY

This wasn’t a great season finale. It’s a solid episode of the show, but for what was supposed to be the “darkest season,” it really goes out on a fairly unimpressive note. I do have to acknowledge that it probably was due to Cartoon Network ordering the season to be cut down from Dan Harmon’s original desired length, something that forced them to adapt a quick end to the plot threads.  Still, it’s just only okay as an episode by Rick and Morty standards. 

S2EA - 3Prison
Compare: This is how we ended the last season.

The highlight of the episode is definitely the fight between Rick and the President, because it just keeps escalating in all the funniest ways. It’s basically a Bugs Bunny vs. Elmer Fudd cartoon on a small amount of acid and that is damned entertaining. It’s made even better by the fact that, in this episode, Rick overall has helped the President massively, something that annoys him even more than outright antagonism, much like when Bugs Bunny would kiss Elmer to spite him. Here’s the total of what Rick does to/for the President: Refuses to deal with what is essentially a rodent problem, lies about working, negotiates a peace treaty, negotiates another peace treaty, makes the President the most popular figure on the globe, asks for a selfie. The President responds by declaring war on them, on the grounds that there cannot be a god that doesn’t bend to the will of the US, something that is insane on so many levels but also true on several others. In the same vein, all of the escalations in this episode are simultaneously ridiculous and also believable.

S3EA - 5Aiming
What do you say to someone who fixes his assassins’ aim?

The B-Plot of Beth is… well, covered below in the theory, so I’ll just leave it there, but it really just seemed rushed. 

The final resolution of resetting everything to Season 1 feels slightly rushed, mostly because Beth, a character who had just spent an episode discovering her identity and potential independence ended up just choosing to go back to her previous life. I understand that the logic is that this time she actually chose it, rather than feeling forced into it by getting pregnant with Summer, but it still felt like they just had to hit the “wrap it up” button on the season. 

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Glad you’re laughing, guys.

I did like the stinger with Mr. Poopybutthole (Roiland), particularly the fact that he takes a blatant shot at most of the audience by showing that he is perpetually moving on with his life, even if he’s not in the show proper. As someone whose life frequently stagnates, I thought that was appropriate.

JOKER’S THEORY CORNER

The plotline about Beth potentially being a clone continues in this episode and seemingly resolves, but, given that Rick lies about anything that would make his life more difficult, we could still find out that he’s lying. So, despite my normal reticence to do theories that I know are popular amongst the fandom, I submit the following:

Beth’s not a clone.

What is my justification? Well, it’s admittedly rather light, but the key is in Rick’s statements about the clone in the last episode. He stated that the clone would not be able to “go Blade Runner” on her. If you haven’t seen Blade Runner and don’t get the reference, the Cliff’s Notes version is that it means that the clone won’t develop a knowledge of its own nature leading it to rebel against its creator. Why would Rick then even allow a clone of Beth to consider the possibility that she’s a clone? We know that Rick can pretty easily manipulate memories; there’s an entire episode about it. There’s absolutely no reason why Rick should even have allowed the clone to remember the choice being given to Beth. One could argue that he wanted to give the clone the knowledge of the choice and therefore make it happier the way that Beth is within the episode, but Rick should understand that this was quickly going to result in an existential crisis. It’s actually odd that Beth, who in the last episode was shown making a series of complicated logical deductions, didn’t arrive at the same conclusion, but I guess we needed her and Jerry to get back together for plot reasons. 

LEAVING THE CORNER

Like I said, this isn’t the best episode of the show and it isn’t a good season finale, but it isn’t the worst episode either. 

Overall, I give this episode a

C+

on the Rick and Morty scale.

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

PREVIOUS – 30: The ABCs of Beth

NEXT – 32: The Rick-diculous Six

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 – 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.

S3E9 - 2Kiara.png
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.

S3E9 - 3Doll.png
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.

S3E9 - 4Boyfriend.png
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. 

S3E9 - 5Bat.png
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.

S3E9 - 6BethLean.png
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.

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.”

S3E8 - 1Tortoise.png
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.

S3E8 - 2FloopFloopian.png
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.

S3E8 - 3Card
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.

S3E8 - 4Vials.png
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.

S3E8 - 5Worm.png
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.

S3E8 - 6Santa.png
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.

S3E7 - 3TrainingDay
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.

S3E7 - 4Jump
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.

S3E7 - 5SimpleRick
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.

S3E7 - 6Speech
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.

S3E7 - 7EvilMorty.png
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.

S3E7 - 8FarmerRick
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.

S3E7 - 9MortysKillingMortys
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.

S3E7 - AHug
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.

File:S3e7 morty with drink.png
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.

File:S3e7 getting a hair cut.png
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.

File:S3e7 debate hall.png
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 – S2E5 “The Whirly Dirly Conspiracy”

It’s a Rick and Jerry episode! Let’s see a murder plot!

SUMMARY

Rick (Justin Roiland) breaks into Jerry’s (Chris Parnell) apartment and abducts him to go on an adventure. Rick explains that Morty (Roiland) told him to take Jerry on an adventure in order to keep Jerry from killing himself. They arrive at a resort in space which is contained in an immortality field, so even if Jerry wanted to kill himself, he couldn’t die. Jerry is soon abducted by Risotto Groupon (Clancy Brown), a native to the planet who was enslaved after Rick sold weapons to their enemies. Risotto tells Jerry that he can help him kill Rick on a roller coaster called the Whirly Dirly. Jerry declines, but after Rick admits that he worked to end Jerry’s marriage, Jerry decides to help with the plan.

S3E5 - 1Abduct.png
This could only have led to a murder attempt.

Meanwhile, Beth (Sarah Chalke) is trying to cope with her divorce stress by building structures out of horse hooves. Summer (Spencer Grammer) approaches and asks her mom if she’s hot, but Beth responds that her looks shouldn’t matter. It’s revealed that her boyfriend Ethan (Daniel Benson) broke up with her for Tricia Lange (Cassie Steele), a girl with big breasts. Summer tries to use Rick’s Morphizer-XE to make her boobs bigger, but accidentally makes herself a giant blob. Beth tries to use the Morphizer to turn her back, despite knowing nothing about how it works, which Morty scolds her for. Eventually, she makes Summer bigger and turns her inside out.

S3E5 - 2SummerMutates.png
To be fair, she DID increase her bust.

Rick and Jerry get on the Whirly Dirly, but Jerry changes his mind and saves Rick, destroying the immortality field in the process and stranding them in a jungle. Rick lets Jerry get eaten by a snake, telling Jerry that Jerry is a predator because he’s so pitiful that others feel a need to do things for him. Rick flat-out tells Jerry that Beth had options before getting knocked up by Jerry and that he ruined her potential life. Rick then uses Jerry as bait to get them back to the resort and a spaceport. At customs, Rick’s implants trigger security, so Rick is given a synaptic dampener, making him a harmless idiot. Jerry, now the more intelligent one for once, mocks Rick, but Risotto reveals he’s onboard. He plans to kill Rick, but let’s Jerry go, deeming him too pathetic to kill, even when Jerry tries to attack him. Jerry does finally manage to make Risotto shoot a panel on the ship right before the ship jumps through a wormhole, resulting in Risotto, Jerry, and Rick taking a journey through spacetime, curing Rick’s synapses and allowing him to kill Risotto.

S3E5 - 3Risotto.png
Contemplating living a thousand lifetimes in a moment is boring. More shooting.

Beth tries to call for “technical support” on the Morphizer, but gets nowhere, with Morty and Beth fighting until Morty points out that her obsession with being like Rick will do nothing for her relationship with Rick, but will ruin her other relationships. They then notice that Summer disappeared. Realizing that she’s going to see Ethan, Beth and Morty follow, and Summer is stopped by Beth, who makes herself giant and inverted. Morty then morphs Ethan as vengeance for breaking his sister’s heart. They return in time to meet Rick and Jerry, who Rick abandons outside of the house.

S3E5 - 4BethVerted.png
This is a touching scene that no one would ever want to touch.

END SUMMARY

This episode is great character work. So much of the characters’ relationships and inner thoughts are revealed through this episode, mostly because it has a lot of intense and frank dialogue, though the comedy is still top-notch. It’s mostly that the exploration is now focused on the dynamics of everyone now that Jerry and Beth are divorced, but everything has somewhat normalized compared to “Rickmancing the Stone” or “Pickle Rick.

S3E3 - 6RickWong
As opposed to Rick being schooled for not normalizing.

Rick and Jerry’s plotline actually surprised me, because Rick is actually more open with Jerry than most of the other characters, owing in large part to the fact that Rick never considers him a threat. This will end up biting Rick in the ass big time later in the season, but in this episode it’s almost proven to be fair since even after Rick tells Jerry that he intentionally sabotaged his marriage, Jerry can’t bring himself to help kill Rick.

S3E5 - 5RollerCoast.png
Even though Rick does have it coming for a lot of reasons.

The concept of Jerry as a predator is something that I hadn’t considered prior to this episode. Jerry is so pathetic that people inherently feel responsible for him, which he uses to prey upon their kindness. This isn’t an insane concept, either. Studies from Stanford’s Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education have shown that people tend to naturally try to care for people who are completely harmless and pathetic, because we don’t see them as any potential threat. In other television, there’s an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation called “Samaritan Snare” which introduces the Pakleds, a species who prey upon other, more advanced, species by seeming so pathetic that other races want to help them. In Doctor Who, there are the Tivolians, a race that loves to be conquered and appears pathetic in order to facilitate more invasions, because the conquerors tend to be merciful that way. The only difference with Jerry is that Jerry doesn’t know that he’s doing it, apparently, something that only makes him more pathetic.

S3E5 - 6Panda.jpg
Like how Red Panda pups are so cute other species adopt them.

We also see a rare moment of Rick actually showing some concern about family members when Rick states that Jerry ruined Beth’s life, indicating that Rick really thought Beth had potential that all went away. However, this does conflict with the fact that, prior to that, Rick had often apparently been gone from Beth due to his divorce. Still, it’s a revelation that Rick did at least think that Beth was worth investing in before she got pregnant.

In the B-Plot, Morty finally confronts Beth over her worship of Rick when he points out that Beth’s attempts to adopt Rick’s cold, logical attitude has just driven Summer away because, rather than actually try to hear Summer’s concerns, Beth just told her that what she wanted was stupid. However, unlike Rick, Beth actually realizes that Morty is right, and she ends up choosing to resolve everything by emotionally connecting with Summer.

S3E5 - 7Smore.png
Also, MORTY IS SCARY AS HELL.

Overall, this is a great episode, but in a different way than episodes like “Meeseeks and Destroy” or “Pickle Rick,” because it’s mostly about character development over plot.

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 – 25: Vindicators 3: The Return of Worldender

NEXT – 27: Rest and Ricklaxation

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.