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. 

S3EA - 6Laughing
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.

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Rick and Mondays – S2 E5 “Get Schwifty”

Rick and Morty try to save the world through the power of their music.

SUMMARY

A giant floating head (Dan Harmon) appears in the sky above Earth and starts exclaiming “Show me what you got!” Rick (Justin Roiland) immediately recognizes the threat as a Cromulon and takes Morty (Roiland) to the Pentagon to inform the President (Keith “f*cking” David). It turns out that the Cromulons travel to planets seeking a live performance of a catchy new song. Unfortunately, the Cromulon’s arrival created an earthquake which killed all of Earth’s famous musicians except for Ice-T, who won’t make it in time to save the planet.  Desperate, the President asks Rick and Morty to perform. Rick proceeds to spontaneously compose the song “Get Schwifty” which, as the President says, is a jam. The head is pleased by this and teleports Earth to another galaxy filled with giant heads for another performance.

S2E5 - 1Bulldops.png
This is the face of a true artist.

Meanwhile, Beth (Sarah Chalke), Jerry (Chris Parnell), and Summer (Spencer Grammer) evacuate to the local church where Principal Gene Vagina (Phil Hendrie) decides to go outside and pray to the head. By coincidence, the head tells Rick and Morty “I like what you got” at the same moment that Vagina is praying, so the people believe that Vagina’s prayer pleased the head. After the head moves Earth to a head-filled area, Vagina convinces everyone he can speak to the heads and turns the neighborhood into a cult under his rule.

S2E5 - 2Vagina.png
This is the face of a man who talks directly to God.

Rick is joined by Ice-T (Dan Harmon) to compose a new song. Morty wants to run away with his family, but Rick claims to not have enough charge in the portal gun. This is proven false when Rick shortly forgets his lie and grabs snacks for Ice-T. Morty, angry, steals the portal gun and ends up with Birdperson (Dan Harmon) who advises Morty indirectly to put his faith in Rick. Ice-T reveals himself to be an alien from Alphabetrium whose true form is that of Water T. He was punished for his lack of empathy by being frozen and banished, so he doesn’t care about what happens to Earth.

S2E5 - 3ICET.png
This is the face of a frozen elemental who gives zero f**ks.

Beth and Jerry are pleased with how Summer is behaving now that they are part of a cult, but when offered positions within the cult, they refuse, believing that using the Cult as a substitute for parenting doesn’t work. They’re summarily set to be launched into the sky by balloons.

S2E5 - 4Balloons.png
This is the face of a teen who is about to murder her parents.

Rick begins to play his improvised song, but it is poorly received. Morty returns to find out that Earth is up, however, a rogue General, General Nathan (Kurtwood Smith), launches nukes at the Cromulons over the President’s objection. This disqualifies Earth and the Cromulons try to disintegrate it, but Ice-T blocks the shot and advocates that Rick and Morty should get a shot. They, along with the President, perform “Head Bend Over,” which wins the contest. At the same time, all of the Cromulons’ reactions to Rick and Morty are interpreted as being against Principal Vagina’s claims of being chosen by the heads, resulting in him being launched into the sky, temporarily.

S2E5 - 5Heads.png
This is the face of a face. Are you still reading these?

END SUMMARY

This episode marks the first time (aside from the temporary Giant Santa in “Anatomy Park”) that Rick and Morty face a public, global threat. It’s also the first time that we see them interacting with the President, who will later become the focus of the Season 3 Finale. Between these two episodes, it’s implied that the President will call on Rick and Morty to address a number of off-screen threats, but never allows Morty to take any pictures. Interestingly, the President doesn’t attempt to threaten Rick himself, which probably suggests that he believes that Rick won’t tell anyone or that telling Rick not to do something is the only way to guarantee that he does it. Justin Roiland says that he believes that Rick and the President were best friends in the past, but Rick’s intro in this episode suggests that they haven’t met before.

S2E5 - 6Bros.png
Of course, they’re bros by the end.

Rick and Morty’s arc is ostensibly about whether or not Rick actually cares about anything. While Birdperson seems to agree with Morty’s assertion that Rick doesn’t care about anything other than himself and never thinks about the consequences, Rick’s conversation with Ice-T makes it clear that he does actually care about stuff, even though he has spent a lot of his life trying to avoid it. It also confirms that Rick has a history of being a musician, something that he will spend more time doing after this episode. It’s implied that Rick basically comes up with two songs spontaneously, something that I imagine is extremely difficult, even if they have very repetitive lyrics.

S2E5 - 8FleshCurtains.png
Also, the Flesh Curtains is a great band name.

JOKER’S THEORY CORNER

I don’t have much in this episode, but I have one theory about Ice-T. When we see Ice-T leave from Rick, his last words to Rick are a dismissive statement that he’s just going to wander around the universe, but then he reappears spontaneously to say, in an unconvincing manner, that suddenly he cares more. It seems like a complete 180 of his character combined with a deus ex machina of him saving the planet from the Cromulons. So, what actually caused the change of heart?

S2E5 - 9TSacrifice.png
Vanilla was not the Ice for the Job.

Morty.

S2E5 - 7Morty.png
Even he thinks it’s unlikely.

Ice-T didn’t learn to care from Rick, he learned that you can give people another chance from Morty coming back. It stands to reason that, although Ice-T had left the planet, he still wanted to see the results of the contest, if only to know if he could return to the planet and resume his life of luxury and not giving a f*ck. That means he’s watching when Morty returns, despite having given up on Rick previously, and sees how happy Rick is to see him. We now know that Magma-Q, Ice-T’s father, is the one that banished him. This is likely the one thing Ice-T relates to and realizes that his father will be happy to see him, even if he won’t admit it. So, he decides to do the one thing that might reunite them: Pretend to care. That’s why he doesn’t sound convincing, because he’s not actually caring much about Rick and Morty, he just knows that’s the only way to see his father again. Of course, this still means he has realized he cares, just not about Rick and Morty.

LEAVING THE CORNER

This is a pretty solid episode, but it’s still less sophisticated and the storytelling is a lot less efficient than other stories. On the other hand, Mr. Bulldops would have been my profile name if it hadn’t been taken.

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 – 15: Total Rickall

NEXT – 17: The Ricks Must Be Crazy

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.