Rick and Mondays – S4E10 “Star Mort Rickturn of the Jerri”

Rick and Morty do a Star Wars episode and there’s an invisible truck.

SUMMARY

Beth Smith (Sarah Chalke) is the leader of the rebellion against the Galactic Federation, which has apparently rebuilt itself after Rick destroyed their currency. Rebel Beth learns that she has a bomb in her neck and, realizing she’s a clone, returns to Earth to kill Rick (Justin Roiland). Rebel Beth confronts Rick, who reveals that the other Beth also has a bomb in her neck, and doesn’t say which is the original. The Federation follows Rebel Beth to Earth, with Tammy (Cassie Steele) leading the attack on the Smith/Sanchez family at Dr. Wong’s office (Susan Sarandon) after thinking that regular Beth was her. Rick saves Beth and Jerry (Chris Parnell), but when they meet Rebel Beth, both Beths are pissed at him. Rick gets bailed out by an attacking Tammy, who captures both of the Beths and tries to kill Rick. 

Even Rebel Beth loves Shoney’s.

At the same time, Morty (Justin Roiland) and Summer (Spencer Grammer) have been fighting over the use of Rick’s invisibility belt. Summer finally gets it just as the Federation arrives, but Morty convinces them that he has psychic powers and steals their ship. They arrive in time to save Rick, who then kills Tammy. They all go to rescue the Beths from the Federation. Summer and Morty destroy the planet-busting laser as Rick battles Phoenixperson (Dan Harmon). The Beths attempt to save Rick (so that they can kill him), but are defeated. Jerry arrives, using the invisibility belt and Tammy’s corpse to distract Phoenix Person, giving Rebel Beth an opening to stop Phoenix Person. Back on Earth, Rick reveals that he doesn’t know which of the two Beths is the original, but literally no one cares anymore. Rick then plays out the memory, which reveals to him that Beth asked Rick to decide if he wanted Beth to be part of his life. In response, Rick cloned Beth… then had a computer randomize the two so that he never knew which was which. He sadly mentions that he’s a terrible father, tries to talk to a still-angry Birdperson, and then sits, alone, in the garage. Jerry then drives an invisible garbage truck, which is marketed as a “new franchise” until he runs out of gas.

END SUMMARY

At no point would I have predicted this as the finale of this season, and I almost think that the show deserves credit for keeping the audience on their toes. Rather than being a mostly self-contained episode like the entire rest of this season, which, aside from “Never Ricking Morty,” seemed to go out of its way to avoid continuity, this episode went ahead and resolved a handful of different lingering plotlines. As of now, there’s pretty much just Evil Morty and the Citadel left outstanding as far as prominent canon threads go. 

Tammy did live longer than most bureaucrats against Rick.

It’s probably all the more fitting that the episode that decides to try and continue/resolve a bunch of canon threads contains a bunch of references to Star Wars, a franchise famous for A) having a ton of plot threads that carry through generations of stories, B) having a ton of fan theories that get shot down by the actual canon later, and C) having a notoriously toxic fanbase. Aside from the title, the episode also has nods to Star Wars’ policy of having absurd but memorable names (by mocking Beth’s common name), the Death Star’s weak point (by having a planet remover that advertises no fatal design flaws), the presence of “fight chambers” where action sequences have space to happen, and, of course, having a close friend being brought back as a cyborg to fight an old man to the death.  Rick even says that the entire ordeal feels a little Star Wars-ish, where good and bad are fairly unambiguous and cliches abound. 

It was foreshadowed just a month ago that Tammy would be in the Star Wars one.

This episode felt a lot more like a “classic” Rick and Morty episode, and a big part of that is that this episode didn’t seem to try and be so meta about the fanbase or the future of the show or dealing with the realities of having to keep commercial viability alive. This episode just focuses on telling a story that has great jokes and a suggestion of much deeper workings behind the scenes. In particular, I thought the episode did a great job of doing the kind of fast, multi-level jokes that add to the rewatchability of the series. For example, when Morty spies on Summer using infra-red goggles to see her while she’s invisible, he says “to catch a predator,” which references both the show about catching perverts and also the movie Predator (since Predator sees in infra-red), but the show moves on before you really think about it. There’s also Rick’s line when he’s almost killed by PhoenixPerson where he says “I never thought this was how I’d die. We’re nowhere near Venice and you’re not a dwarf in a raincoat.” The line is funny, but it’s also a reference to the movie Don’t Look Now, which famously ends with Donald Sutherland stabbed to death by a serial killer in a raincoat. The joke here is that the movie’s theme is that preoccupation with death and loss leads to death and loss, which is the opposite of Rick’s policy of just moving on from everything. Also, there was a Pokemon battle involving a clown lion and I don’t think that was given enough screen time.

Clown-lion-Unicorn should have a fun name, like Purrliacci.

I also love that there is still a running meta-commentary about character arcs throughout this episode, particularly with the Beths and Morty talking about it. Every character completes an arc throughout the episode, ranging from Beth (and Rebel Beth) finally not needing Rick’s approval, to Morty and Summer resolving their differences to work together, and even Jerry’s puppeteering managing to save the day. Rick, on the other hand, doesn’t seem to have completed an arc, but finally begun one when he actually recognizes that he’s a bad father. He’s said that he’s terrible before, but this time he seems to actually have bonded with Beth enough to realize that what he’s done is beyond the pale. 

Rick flinched, because now he’s in a vulnerable position. Fun times.

Overall, a really solid episode that still leaves me wanting more Rick and Morty. I also really appreciate that the episode ends on a sad, somber image of Rick, alone, drinking. Except for the pitch for Jerry and the invisible garbage truck which is amazing.

Wow, I forgot how emotionally devastating this show could be.

JOKER’S THEORY CORNER

First off, I’m going to go ahead and call myself out. I was totally wrong on how they resolved the clone thing. I thought that Rick wouldn’t allow a clone to remember the choice being offered to Beth at all in order to prevent some kind of Blade Runner scenario, but instead Rick picked a third option: Not knowing which one is the clone. I assumed that Rick would want to avoid giving the non-clone an existential crisis, but it turns out that Rick just didn’t care. Instead, it turns out that Beth asked Rick to make a decision about what he wanted with their relationship, meaning that rather than being about Beth finally living out her potential, this entire clone saga was about Rick deciding if it was better to have a daughter who’s fulfilled in her life or one who is in his life. In true Rick fashion, he just cheated and said “Both.” Then, he not only declined to find out which one would be the “real” Beth, but apparently wiped his memory of making the clone in the first place. So, if even Rick didn’t know which one is real, what were the two devices in the necks for? After all, if the plan was just to keep Rebel Beth from coming back and revealing the whole thing or to kill off Beth so Rebel Beth could take her place, you’d only need one device. 

Hey, at least he didn’t use it to get out of therapy.

Well, there are three possibilities: 

The first is that they’re just a backup. If one of the Beths was killed, then the memories go to the other Beth and now the surviving Beth gets to know that she lived out the other one’s life and now knows which life is better and thus would get to choose which one to continue.

The second is that it was just a warning to Rick. If the device had stayed in Rebel Beth’s neck, then when they got too close, it would alert Rick so that he could figure out a way to resolve the whole situation.

The last, and sadly most likely, is that it really is a bomb. It was set to go off whenever Rebel Beth came back and would kill one of the Beths so that Rick’s actions wouldn’t be uncovered. If Beth dies, Rick doesn’t have to explain to Rebel Beth what happened, because she thinks the home Beth was just a clone she could replace. If Rebel Beth died, then Beth would never need to know she’d even existed. Basically, either one could die and Rick would be fine. The problem is, how would Rick decide which one could live? Well, the bomb probably was just set to kill the one that Rick would like the most. 

Overall, I give this episode a

A

on the Rick and Morty scale.

Wubba-Lubba-Dub-Dub, I need a drink. See you whenever the show starts again.

PREVIOUS – 40: Childrick of Mort

NEXT – 42: Why Do Ricks Suddenly Appear?

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Rick and Mondays – S4E9 “Childrick of Mort”

Rick screws an entire world. Yes, in that way, too.

SUMMARY

The Smith/Sanchez family are going camping, much to the delight of Jerry (Chris Parnell). Summer (Spencer Grammer) and Morty (Justin Roiland) are upset because they’re missing out on drugs and video games, and it’s revealed that Rick (Roiland) only came because he’s ghosting a former lover. Summer steals his phone and it’s revealed that Rick’s ex says she’s pregnant. Beth (Sarah Chalke) forces Rick to go raise his kids, which are revealed to be the children of Gaia (Kari Wahlgren), a sentient planet. Rick denies that the kids are his, but when they come out looking kind of like him, Beth demands that he raise them. Rick and Beth work together to build a society, literally engineering it, for the clay people. 

S4E9 - 1Car
I love that they’re driving a car that’s clearly from the 70s. 

Meanwhile, Jerry tries to convince the kids to go camping on Gaia, but Summer tells him off because he doesn’t want to camp, he just wants to feel useful. Jerry wanders off, only to be sucked into Rick’s and Beth’s new city, where he is summarily kicked back out with the other “unproductives.” After showing the rejected clay people how to camp, he becomes their leader. The kids discover they have NO survival skills and almost die, until they find a crashed spaceship. They believe that the spaceship’s panels resemble a video game controller and Summer starts inhaling a drug which she believes is the collected knowledge of the dead aliens. The pair vow to show their parents what “video games and partying” can do.

S4E9 - 2SummerMorty
That’s right, just inhale random alien glowing substances. 

After Rick and Beth manage to get the clay civilization to space travel, it’s revealed that the kids are not Rick’s, but instead the offspring of a Zeus (an alien species, apparently) named Reggie. Reggie ends up giving Jerry and the unproductives divine power to revolt against Rick’s city, so Beth and Jerry fight while Rick goes to fight Reggie in space. Rick is about to lose the fight when Morty and Summer activate their ship, revealing that they were completely wrong about everything they thought they knew about it, and crash it into Reggie’s brain. Reggie’s giant corpse drops onto the city, which leads Gaia to erupt and kill most of her offspring. Jerry saves Beth from dying and Rick and the family head home. 

END SUMMARY

This episode seemed a lot like those clay creatures that formed the basis for the plot: Not quite done baking. Parts of it are amazing, other parts of it just feel like filler that no one could figure out a joke for. While they do a great job with the A-B-C-Plot interplay that I respect this show for, there’s not much to say when the C-plot (Morty and Summer) is really just a set-up for a deus ex machina later. 

S4E9 - 3Trampoline
Fortunately, the fandom will trampoline it into being amazing by blind devotion.

The A-Plot about Rick and Beth starting a civilization around Rick’s presumed offspring is definitely the best part of the episode and, honestly, I wish they’d spent a little more time on it. Some of the lines about how they’re trying to manipulate society through emotional engineering, like diverting teachers into playwrights by just spanking them more, are freaking hilarious. Although, as a lawyer, I should object to the line about bypassing the ethics tube, I have also been a lawyer long enough to know that this joke has been earned by other members of my profession. I also thought the “pachinko” style sorting to determine if the people believe in flat Earth, round Earth, or Middle Earth to be random and amazing.

S4E9 - 4Earths
Lucky Middle-Earth believing crowd.

The B-Plot of Jerry being the leader of the unproductives is a joke that practically writes itself. In the Season 3 premiere, Jerry is only successful in the new alien-dominated Earth because it was dependent upon bureaucracy so redundant that Jerry doesn’t even know what he does. He even gets into the situation because he tries to skip a rock and hits himself. Then, once he has power, he refuses to allow anything to evolve because any progress is a threat to him. It’s a reminder that while Jerry is mostly a character that exists to be humiliated by Rick, he would be just as much of a dick as Rick is if he had any of Rick’s intellect or drive. I particularly love that, as Rick points out, when Jerry gets a literal staff of divine power, he only conjures up plagues from The Ten Commandments. He doesn’t even try to create clothing for himself, he just rips off the Bible… or, let’s be honest, he rips off a movie. Rick would probably have used it to power a bong capable of smoking a planet. 

S4E9 - 5Jerry
Jerry, destroying progress, like usual.

Summer’s and Morty’s plot is really only funny in the sense that they’re so dumb that they think partying and video games can help them pilot a spaceship. But, it’s like Abraham Maslow said: “[I]t is tempting, if the only tool you have is a hammer, to treat everything as if it were a nail.” I do also like the fact that they literally ex a deus with a machina, which is f*cking funny. Aside from that, though, the time spent on their adventure feels like a waste.

S4E9 - 6ZeusDead
The Titans would have won if they had spaceships. 

The highlight of the episode, though, has to be Rick literally challenging a god to a fistfight. Rather than do a ton of elaborate special effects or smite-and-countersmite, it just turns into an old-school slugfest, which is an amazing subversion. While it feels a little similar to the same thing from “The Ricks Must Be Crazy,” I think this one works better because Rick is also defending his kids from a bad father, meaning Rick is actually in the right, for once.

S4E9 - 7ZeusFight
WHY ARE YOU JUMPING? HOW ARE YOU JUMPING?

Overall, not the best episode, but not the worst. I will say that I laughed my butt off at “Planets Only.” 

JOKER’S THEORY CORNER

This season is not making these easy. Okay, so, why would Rick agree to go and raise these kids in the first place? Yeah, sure, Beth was going to yell at him, but what else is new? However, I think he realized that, as the show has gone on, he actually does care about what Beth thinks of him and knows that going to Gaia will give him a chance to bond with her. The evidence for this, aside from him being uncharacteristically complimentary of her during this endeavor, is that when the Zeus shows up, Rick doesn’t just take it as an opportunity to bail. Instead, Rick asserts that at least he stepped up and therefore all of the kids, and their civilization, is part of his family. This means Rick is trying to actually be a good dad for once, something that Beth will appreciate. It’s part of the payoff from “The ABCs of Beth,” where Rick tells Beth “[m]aybe you matter so little that I like you. Or maybe it makes you matter. Maybe I love you….” Rick isn’t quite as cold and dead inside towards Beth as he wants people to think, so spending an episode to make her feel happy isn’t a stretch. That’s probably why, when she’s mad at him at the end of the episode, Rick quickly lashes out by throwing her parenting under the bus.

Overall, I give this episode a

B

on the Rick and Morty scale.

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

PREVIOUS – 39: The Vat of Acid Episode

NEXT – 41: Star Mort Rickturn of the Jerri

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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 – S4E8 “The Vat of Acid Episode” 

Rick decides to take Morty down a notch.

SUMMARY

Rick and Morty (Justin Roiland) go to a shady criminal exchange and, when it goes awry, Rick tells Morty to jump into a fake vat of acid which has air hoses and fake bones. Unfortunately, the gangsters end up standing around talking for a long time, finally annoying Morty so much that he kills them out of frustration. Rick gets angry at Morty for criticizing his idea about the vat of acid and Morty gets angry at Rick for never taking his ideas seriously, specifically an idea for a “save point” which allows someone to reload reality from the last save point. Rick ends up building the device, which Morty proceeds to use to wreak havoc and live out every urge he has without consequences. However, he ends up meeting a beautiful young woman with whom he has a great relationship… until Jerry deletes the whole thing by accident and Morty ends up ruining the next attempt. 

S4E8 - 1Vat
I’m surprised that the Mountain Dew isn’t burning their eyes.

Morty apologizes to Rick and says that he learned a lesson about living without consequences. Rick then reveals that there WERE consequences. Rather than using time travel (the thing Rick hates), Rick’s device worked by shunting Morty to parallel universes… after murdering the Mortys that already occupied them. Morty, horrified at his suicidal genocide, asks Rick to fix it, so Rick offers to collapse it so that there is a universe where Morty did everything that was undone by the save point, but that means that everyone he wronged will be there. Morty agrees, and finds an angry mob hunting for him. Rick gives him an out in the form of the exact same vat of acid that he used at the beginning. Morty ends up faking his death with the acid and Rick takes them back to their original universe (having put the mob in another one so that he wouldn’t have to move). 

END SUMMARY

This episode seems a little out of place because it is the eighth episode of a season, but isn’t this season’s anthology episode. I dunno if the order change was part of the message of the sixth episode that Rick and Morty is going to keep changing and trying new things or if the network reordered them a bit or if the fact that the anthology was the eighth episode of the other seasons was just coincidence. However, we do get the montage of Morty using the “save point” in hilarious ways, which satisfies my rapid-fire joke requirement. 

S4E8 - 2Chair
Including having a bar called “Pour Decisions.” 

The fact that the “save point” montage is so long (clocking in at a solid 7 minutes or ⅓ of the episode) is impressive because it tells two completely separate narratives in two different, but overlapping, styles and never feels either rushed or slow. For comparison, the two snake montages in “Rattlestar Ricklactica” combined are shorter and, if I’m being honest, they start to wear thin by the end of the second time-travel one. It’s interesting that the montage is a combination of the typical Groundhog Day “living it up” sequence (and later a multiple suicide sequence), an Up-esque “falling in love” sequence, and an Alive-style survival sequence, somehow linked together flawlessly. It should be tonally jarring, but thanks in large part to a masterful use of non-verbal storytelling and music cues, it works. 

S4E8 - 3Montage
I feel like this is a South Park reference, but maybe that’s a stretch.

Similar to many of this season’s episodes, there is an underlying theme of being slightly concerned for the future of Rick and Morty and through them the show itself. Morty is shown slowly growing less amused and less impressed by Rick’s antics and inventions, starting with the self-parking car and extending to the vat of fake acid. This is similar to how, over a long enough show, the audience can start to be less interested in a character’s development, particularly if a seemingly intelligent character, like Rick, makes a seemingly stupid decision… like a fake acid vat. He defends it by saying that there are no bad ideas, but Morty, as the fan surrogate, basically says that they should use one of his ideas. So, in response to Morty’s attitude, Rick creates an extremely enjoyable adventure that ends with a major existential crisis and somehow makes the seemingly dumb idea not just relevant but brilliant. This seems like the show telling us that even though we might seem to see problems showing up in Rick and Morty, we need to give them the benefit of the doubt and trust that it’s going somewhere good in the end. I also like that, as Rick said to Morty, “the world [knew] when [he tried] to hurt [him],” a reminder that you do NOT mess with Rick Sanchez.

S4E8 - 4Gun
This isn’t even his good gun. This is just the ladle gun. 

Honestly, a solid episode of the show. I’m feeling more confident about this show’s future as the season goes on.

JOKER’S THEORY CORNER

I realize that a lot of theories in this show boil down to “Rick’s lying,” but that’s what’s happening in this episode as well. Rick is lying to Morty about how the “save point” works. Rick states that every time that Morty resets the world, a Morty who was doing the same thing at the same time would die and then Morty would take over their timeline. However, there are a few things that indicate that it probably does NOT work like that and that Rick actually just resorted to either time travel or, more likely, just reorganizing the universe back to an earlier state, because Rick is basically a god when motivated. 

S4E8 - 5Merged
Behold the One True Morty. Wait, we did that already.

First, Rick kills Morty before announcing that the device worked and brought Morty back to life by operating the device himself. If this device worked as intended, then Rick would have shifted himself into another dimension where he didn’t kill Morty in order to reset the save point (as the operator), meaning that Rick would have had to kill another Rick and take his place. Given that THAT Rick would also have just built a “save point,” it seems inconceivable that Rick wouldn’t have something in place that would prevent him from being murdered by an alternate timeline as part of building the device. Otherwise, half of the Ricks would be dying in order to be replaced by another Rick at that time. Second, if Rick really was just killing a mass number of Mortys the entire time, then a bunch of OTHER Ricks were likely to show up and be pissed at him. If there are an infinite number of Ricks and Mortys that are playing out multiple timelines and Rick is ultimately combining all of them into one reality, then all of the Ricks from those timelines would either have combined (which we didn’t see) or they’d be showing up trying to claim the Morty. Third, you can’t collapse all of the Mortys, because a LOT of them died. If you collapse those into Morty, then, well, a lot of people should be confused as to how Morty did anything or is still standing. Lastly, Rick tells Morty “let’s go home,” but he just told Morty that he wasn’t that Morty’s original Rick before the collapse, saying that it doesn’t matter because “every Rick has a vat.” If this Rick and this Morty weren’t from the same universe, then Rick wouldn’t have needed to take Morty to another universe before wrecking it, he would just have let Morty wreck his original world and then Rick would go back to HIS original world. Instead, Rick picked another Earth.

S4E8 - 6Vat
Also, what did he do 

Given the fact that Rick is lying about the save point, it seems more likely that, rather than having the device do alternate timeline jumps and collapsing them back into one, which would require merging many, many universes, Rick just had the device monitor all of the shitty stuff Morty did, then reshape that Earth so that it was in a state identical to if Morty had done it. In other words, Rick comes up with an elaborate escape scenario to fool Morty… just like the vat of acid was supposed to work in the beginning. God, I love this show.

Overall, I give this episode an

A-

on the Rick and Morty scale.

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

PREVIOUS – 38: Promortyus

NEXT – 40: Childrick of Mort

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 (-ish) – S4E7 “Promortyus”

Rick and Morty deal with facehuggers and genocide.

SUMMARY

Rick and Morty (Justin Roiland) suddenly regain consciousness on an alien planet where they have facehuggers attached to their heads. They kill the facehuggers, finding out that they are the Glorzo, and then discover that they’re attempting to use Rick’s ship for some master plan. Rick and Morty instead use the ship to fight their way off of the planet, committing a number of mass-casualty attacks, including an intentional Pearl Harbor reference (although avoiding replicating 9/11). They get home, but then realize they left Summer (Spencer Grammer) back on the planet. They go back to rescue her, only to find out that she’s now the new goddess of the planet and does not have a Glorzo on her face. 

S4E7 - 1Facehuggers
Ridley Scott has declined to comment. 

Summer fills in what happened to the pair, explaining that they fell under the control of the Glorzo, but she was spared because she had a toothpick in her mouth. She convinced the Glorzo to stop their cycle of latching onto people’s faces and then dying after 30 minutes as they lay eggs, instead developing a peaceful civilization. It turns out that most of the stuff Rick and Morty destroyed were dedicated to spreading peace throughout the galaxy. The Glorzo capture Rick and Morty, but Summer tries to save them, resulting in all three being captured. Rick has Morty play a tune on his harmonica which forces all Glorzo to lay an egg, killing them and destroying their entire civilization. Upon returning home, Rick and Morty both think they’re going to lay eggs, but instead crap their pants in front of Beth (Sarah Chalke). Meanwhile, Jerry (Chris Parnell) takes up beekeeping, something that makes Summer’s friend Tricia (Cassie Steele) want to bang him.

END SUMMARY

Sorry for the delay, hopefully the next release will get to me on time.

This episode is basically the opposite of what the last one was. Rather than a dense, complicated, experimental, and medium-challenging episode, this was just a fun, fairly straightforward (albeit mildly non-linear) episode about Rick and Morty just reacting to a situation. The only “twist” is that Summer had technically already solved the problem before they actually got there, meaning that their mass destruction of the Glorzo civilization was, in fact, pointless slaughter. Apparently the writer of the episode described Rick and Morty as the villains of the entire saga because of this.

S4E7 - 2Armor
They do at least start doing it in a fun way.

The core of this episode is the moral issue of what a species is permitted to do in order to survive and how that shifts as the species “evolves” both culturally and literally. The Glorzo originally believe that they cannot live longer than thirty minutes, forcing them to constantly kill new hosts in order to perpetuate their life cycle, but once Summer points out that they don’t HAVE to do that, they immediately try to move towards a more peaceful species. Unfortunately, Rick and Morty end up taking inadvertent advantage of this, which allows them to escape being controlled and then murder the majority of the planet. This leads to one of the Glorzo to remark “this is what we get for evolving?” 

S4E7 - 3Summer
Of course, Summer only did it as part of a long con to save Rick and Morty…

The question, though, is whether or not the Glorzo were actually the bad guys to begin with. After all, they HAVE to take over hosts in order to exist. They have to kill those hosts in order to reproduce. Even after Summer reforms them, that hasn’t really changed, they just do it at a slower pace. The episode kind of side-steps it, but eventually the species would have to still kill their presumably still-aging hosts eventually and spawn the next generation. But are humans any different? We cannot really survive without killing something, at least a plant, for either food or shelter, so are we immoral? Well, from the point of view of the tree that’s getting cut down to build a gazebo, hell yes, but from our point of view, it’s more complicated. 

S4E7 - 4Sentience
Albeit, we seem to finally agree that doing ti to sentient creatures is bad.

However, the show takes it a step further with Glorzo Rick’s Plandemic-esque insane rant about how it is only natural for the species to kill their host pitted against Summer’s plans to try and progress the Glorzo beyond their natural biological needs. This is the kind of debate that humanity has engaged in for centuries, about whether we are okay with upsetting the “natural order” of things in the name of building a civilization that doesn’t necessarily agree with our Darwinian origins. After all, we don’t need the biggest and the strongest to hunt for us anymore, since the smartest and the most innovative can come up with solutions that don’t require hunting. In a fun mirror of many advocates of the more Spartan or “natural” lifestyles on YouTube and other media, Glorzo Rick is revealed to mostly be a total hypocrite, as he himself is not willing to actually just lay the egg and die like he advocates. 

S4E7 - 5Rick
And yet I still prefer him to multiple actual pundits.

This isn’t the best Rick and Morty episode, but it is never boring and it does have some actual interesting points to it.

JOKER’S THEORY CORNER

Since the Rick and Morty plotline doesn’t have a ton that seems to be unexplained or lingering, my theory this week actually concerns Jerry. Why is Jerry taking up beekeeping? Well, three reasons: First, so that he can make a statement about how he has a right to exist and that he has dreams that would blend in with the theme of the other plotline. Also, bees have lives that are driven almost entirely by biology while still creating elaborate structures that can become extremely complex “societies.” Even if the subplot only has a few lines in the whole episode, this show’s still good about at least making sure there’s a cosmetic or thematic relationship between the plots. Second, it means that the B-plot is a literal Bee Plot, humor that is just the right kind of terrible and hilarious. Third, beekeepers are supposed to be extremely long-lived. This rumor started as far back as ancient Greece, but was further supported by Fred Hale, Sr., the world’s oldest man (until he died over a decade ago). I think that Jerry believes that one of the only ways that Jerry thinks he can get rid of Rick is to outlive him. Which, let’s be fair, is probably true. 

S4E7 - 6Jerry
Or because it lets you relive American Beauty, which REALLY does not age well.

Overall, I give this episode a

B

on the Rick and Morty scale.

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

PREVIOUS – 37: The Never Ricking Morty

NEXT – 39: The Vat of Acid Episode

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 – S4E6 “The Never Ricking Morty”

A Rick and Morty Meta-episode goes off of the rails… or does it?

SUMMARY (Spoilers)

This episode is almost impossible to accurately summarize because the story is revealed to be an anthology crafted by a meta-character that is trapped within a larger meta-narrative that is trapped within a storytelling device that is contained within a commercial. Still, here we go:

S4E6 - 1Joker
Another fourth-wall breaker, at least in the comics.

Rick and Morty (Justin Roiland) are on a train with no memory of how they got there, but everyone on the train is telling stories which are related to Rick. Rick finds Morty and ends up discovering that the train is a giant circle, never going anywhere, because it’s just a storytelling device. Rick detonates a container of continuity so that they can move around the train after killing the ticket taker. They manage to survive using meta-fictional awareness and eventually arrive at the lead car, where they find the Story Lord (Paul Giamatti). The Story Lord beats the crap out of the pair, often so hard that they leave canon, before draining them of their narrative potential. Eventually, he shows them how the story of Rick and Morty ends, but Rick destroys the narrative by bringing in Jesus (Chris Meloni), allowing him to trap the Story Lord inside of the broken terrible story. Rick tries to stop the train, but it’s revealed that the train is actually a toy that the real Morty bought at the citadel of Ricks. Inside the Story Lord’s domain, he explains the meta-story to Jesus, who then uses his powers to derail the toy train.

S4E6 - 2StoryLord
Story Lord is jacked, because it makes the narrative more interesting.

END SUMMARY

Welcome back Rick and Morty and thank you for deciding to try and break every boundary that exists in narrative structure. 

S4E6 - 4Deadpool
Deadpool is jealous right now.

First, I want to give the show credit for not backing away on anthology episodes. Since the first one, “Rixty Minutes,” was one of the best episodes of the show, and of television in general, fans of the show have taken shots at their two follow-ups “Interdimensional Cable 2” and “Morty’s Mind Blowers.” I thought those episodes were actually pretty good, but I acknowledge that they weren’t at the level of “Rixty Minutes.” This episode doesn’t quite reach the original’s heights, but it manages to reach an almost unheard of level of deconstruction of narrative theory, and that’s nothing to sneeze at. 

S4E6 - 5Lasers
Or fire crotch lasers at.

I once said that the “Three Stories” episode of House was one of the best examples of a pataphysical narrative that was actually understandable, even though people can’t even agree on what constitutes “pataphysics.” I am not sure what definition currently dominates, but I am positive that this episode meets it, because this is metaphysics on metaphysics on metaphysics. This episode has more nested levels of narrative than there were dream levels in their Inception parody in “Lawnmower Dog” and the nested levels of the story can actually interact with each other, because why not? Perhaps the most insane example is the part where the ticket taker from the story is killed, but then wakes up in a “Blips and Chitz” VR simulator a la “Mortynight Run,” has an existential crisis, then it’s revealed that he’s just dying in the train reality… only for the camera to go back and focus on another character inside the “Blips and Chitz” reality who believes that his virginity keeps the universe going because they live in the ticket taker’s mind… only for that reality to die when Rick mercy kills it, which the kid in the sub-reality thinks is because of him. Or maybe it’s when the Jesus that Rick prayed for inside of Story Lord’s fake ending to Rick and Morty the series that managed to derail the fake narrative inside of the train uses his powers to derail a train inside of the “real” world. THAT SENTENCE WAS JUST WRITTEN AND IT HURTS MY BRAIN BUT I LOVE IT. 

S4E6 - 6Train
Here’s them literally going outside of the narrative to complete the narrative.

It would take me days to sort through all of the references and meta-references in this episode, but there are two that I want to bring up now. One is that the map of the train is actually the story wheel that Dan Harmon repeatedly has brought up as the backbone of his storytelling. Rick even points out that the episode has to follow the same beats in order for them to get to the climax allowing them to get out. I mentioned Wisecrack’s dissection of it in my review for “The Ricks Must Be Crazy.” The second is that, in order to break the usual narrative, Rick has Morty tell a story that passes the Bechdel test, something that Rick and Morty almost never passes, according to its critics. However, critics of the Bechdel Test point out that trying to match an artificial standard often leads people to sacrifice appropriate storytelling, particularly when the writer is not naturally progressive, exemplified when Morty cannot tell an unforced story that passes it. I just think both of these are strong commentaries by the show on its own storytelling limitations.

S4E6 - 3Circle
Dammit, Dan, your brilliance is only matched by how much you’re an a-hole.

Overall, honestly an amazing episode and I may spend more time going through it in the future. It’s got so many shots at the fandom and at critics alike as well as at the show itself it’s amazing.

JOKER’S THEORY CORNER

How could I even come up with a theory in an episode in which basically no events actually happen, and the ones that do are part of a fake commercial and commentary on capitalism? Well, actually the fake commercial is the theory.  I’m sure that several of you immediately tried to search for whether or not the Story-Train website was real, only to be slightly confused when, rather than a fake page (or even a real one), the page simply didn’t exist. Why would Cartoon Network go to the effort of buying the domain but then not at least put SOMETHING on the page (aside from just trying to avoid someone stealing it for a scam)? Because Rick doesn’t want other people selling his crap in this dimension, where he’s fictional and can’t collect royalties. How can a fictional character impact the real world? Well, in the episode, Jesus manages to derail the real train even though he’s a fictional idea within a fictional setting, so the idea might be that Rick can do the same. As to why it doesn’t have a message from Rick, he probably can’t do that much, only delete the page. Is this ridiculous? Yes, but I don’t have time to come up with anything else if I want this posted before Monday is over.

S4E6 - 7Train
TRAIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIINNNNNNNNNNNNN!!!!!!!!!!

Overall, I give this episode an

A

on the Rick and Morty scale.

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

PREVIOUS – 36: Rattlestar Ricklactica

NEXT – 38: Promortyus

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 – S4E5 “Rattlestar Ricklactica”

Morty won’t stay in the car and suddenly snakes from the future are destroying the universe.

SUMMARY

It’s Christmas time. A time for family. In that spirit, Rick (Justin Roiland) helps Jerry (Chris Parnell) hang Christmas lights by making him slightly lighter than air and his shoes slightly heavier, allowing him to jump higher. Okay, well, it’s less “in the spirit of family” and more “so that Morty (Roiland) can go on an adventure with him because Beth (Sarah Chalke) told Morty to make sure Jerry doesn’t die.” Jerry, naturally, immediately tries to show off this power and ends up floating to his doom. He refuses to accept help from Rick or Beth, insisting that he can take care of it.

S4E5 - 1Jerry.png
He looks so happy, you’d almost forget he’s one shoe from dying.

Meanwhile, on their adventure, Rick and Morty hit something and Rick goes out of the car to fix the spaceship. Morty follows, against Rick’s orders, and gets bitten by a space snake, which he then kills. Rick and Morty go to the snake’s planet, a planet filled with racist snakes (racist against other colors of snake), and Rick finds the antivenom and cures Morty. Morty, however, feels guilty and buys another snake which he drops on the planet in the spacesuit. The snake planet ends up realizing that this is a snake from another world, leading somehow to the snakes creating time travel and killer robots, resulting in an army of snakes attacking the Smith/Sanchez household to either kill or save the family. 

S4E5 - 2Terminsnaker.png
Termisnaker 2: Judgement Fang

Rick, realizing what Morty did, travels to the Snake planet in the present, only to be greeted by a future version of themselves that are pissed off at them. Rick and Morty end up traveling back in time to an earlier point in the Snake World history and give the snakes a book telling them how to develop time travel. This leads to even more rampant time-traveling until finally the Time Police notice and destroy the first intelligent ancestor of the snakes. This destroys the entire snake population. Jerry manages to save himself from floating to his doom, finishes the lights, and then breaks his leg on the way down from the roof. Rick and Morty are about to celebrate, only to run into future versions of themselves that force them to re-enact the other half of the events in order to avoid a paradox. Rick punches Morty for leaving the car.

END SUMMARY

Rick and Morty has mostly avoided doing a time travel episode and I guess they decided to do all of them at once to compensate, then avert the hell out of most of them. In another strange decision, they made snakes, a typical symbol of evil or Satan, into the focal point of a Christmas episode. The episode doesn’t shy away from making anti-Xmas statements, either. Rick claims his superiority to Jesus by saying that he wasn’t “born into the God business,” instead he earned it. Jerry, upon agreeing to sacrifice himself to spite Rick or look good for Beth, declares himself “the Jesus Christ of Christmas.” It’s like they looked back at their earlier Christmas episode in “Anatomy Park,” said “that was too sincere,” and decided that this one should have some less-than-subtle blasphemy. 

S4E5 - 3JerryChrist.png
I mean, he’s surrounded by Christmas Trees, so it’s a bold proclamation.

The snake world was one of the best parts of the episode for me. First, any sequence in which we have to figure out what’s happening solely through visual storytelling is amazing. Second, the sequence in which they bring in a linguist snake to interpret the speech of the Earth snake Slippy that Morty used to replace the space snake is hilarious. It’s a combination of references to A Beautiful Mind, Stargate, and Nell, the last one from the fact that the linguist snake realizes if he slows down the speech, the other snake is hissing just like they are. If you haven’t seen Nell, there’s a big part of the movie involving someone speaking English in a way that is perceived as a different language, and I’m pretty sure that’s what the snake is doing during that scene. 

S4E5 - 4SnakeLinguist.png
So is the Rod of Asclepius on that planet two humans wound around a stick?

The time travel elements contain a ton of fun and funny references. When we meet the first time traveling snakes, they’re clearly all a ton of variations on the Terminator franchise, with robots, robot protectors, cyborg protectors, etc. each showing up to thwart the previous one. It really drives home the absurdity of those kind of movies and reminds me of the Great Time War from Doctor Who, where after every battle, each side would go back in time and change the outcome to make their side win until eventually the battle didn’t occur in the first place. We see that taken to the extreme… with snakes. We also see the traditional plotlines of trying to save Lincoln and kill Hitler, with saving Lincoln ironically resulting in the US becoming Nazis. I feel like this is an allusion to Abradolf Lincler, albeit indirect and serpentine. At the end of the episode, when the Time Police eradicate all of the snakes, they bite their tails and transform into Ouroboros, a symbol of infinite that often represents the ending of a temporal paradox (because the causal loop is closed). 

JOKER’S THEORY CORNER

So, why are Rick and Morty so pissed at themselves? I mean, while they technically have to say whatever they heard themselves saying earlier in order to avoid violating causality, it’s clear by the end that they really are resenting their past/future selves, even though they know that they are bound in the same loop and forced to go through the same motions. Well, that’s exactly why.

S4E5 - 5Paradox.png
Very festive time travelers.

Rick and Morty telling themselves how to finish the adventure, particularly using a journal containing the secrets to time-travel, resembles the plot of the famously internally consistent time-travel story “By His Bootstraps” by Robert Heinlein. Of course, since this is Rick and Morty, the pair are massively pissed off at being dragged into a causality loop, requiring that they fulfill the actions that they already did in order to not get caught by the Time Police themselves. In other words, Rick and Morty, two characters who are usually allowed to do whatever the hell they want with no thought towards the consequences, are now unable to alter the course of their behavior in any way. That makes it feel less like an adventure and more like a chore. 

LEAVING THE CORNER

Overall, this episode was pretty funny, but I still expect more from the show. I am still anxiously waiting for the next half of the season when it comes back.

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 – 34: Claw and Hoarder: Special Rick-tim’s Morty

NEXT – 37: Hell if I Know

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 – S4E3 “One Crew Over the Crewcoo’s Morty”

Rick and Morty plan one of the most pointlessly complicated heists of all time.

SUMMARY

Rick (Justin Roiland) and Morty (Roiland) go to raid a tomb only to find out that it’s been raided already by master criminal Miles Knightly (Justin Theroux). Rick goes to Knightly’s HeistCon, only to find out that he can’t enter without a “crew.” Rick assembles a crew, only to ditch them the minute they get inside. Knightly challenges Rick to a Heist-Off, revealing that he planned for Rick to assemble a team that he himself used, only for Rick to reveal that he planned on Knightly planning for that and winning the contest using his heist-planning robot “Heist-o-Tron.” Upon winning, Rick has Heist-o-Tron hypnotize everyone at the convention into being on his team and tells them all to loot the convention while Morty writes a heist film screenplay. Miles is killed by the looters. 

S4E3 - 1SanchezFive.png
Heists only work if everyone walks in a V pattern, like geese.

Heist-o-Tron then double-crosses Rick and decides to attack him. Rick escapes and resolves to field his own new team, consisting of Mr. Poopybutthole (Roiland), puppet archer Ventriloquiver (Claudia Black), the god Hephaestus, and Elon Tusk (Elon Musk, because he needs the PR). He uses Heist-o-Tron’s opposite entity Rand-o-Tron, a random plot generator, to craft this new counter-heist. Heist-o-Tron steals the Earth, but Rick confronts him on his ship and manages to destroy it… only for Rand-o-Tron to be revealed as the real Heist-o-Tron… only for Rick to destroy it by arguing about who had the bigger counter-plan for 2 hours. Heist-o-Tron dies saying that the only perfect heist is one that can’t be written. 

S4E3 - 2ElonTusk.png
Elon Tusk is definitely a thing

Morty reveals that his script got him a pitch at Netflix for a film. Morty pretty much pitches the episode, only to run out of interest partway through, despite Netflix wanting to buy. Rick reveals to the audience that, in fact, Rick had set everything in this up because he was annoyed at Morty writing screenplays, but was forbidden by Beth (Sarah Chalke) from stopping him.

END SUMMARY

So, this episode basically takes a satire of heist films and drives it into the ground, shoves it to the molten core of the Earth, watches it dissolve outside of the train from The Core, and uses the slag that remains to spell out “this was satire.” It takes it to the extreme, is what I’m saying. On some level, I have to respect the amount of effort it takes to absolutely commit to an ad nauseam repetition of an idea to illustrate how formulaic it is, but also I would understand that dedicating an entire episode to mostly sh*tting on a genre might not be everyone’s cup of tea. I mean, having several dozen characters use the “you son of a bitch, I’m in” line might grate the nerves. However, even if you don’t like the premise, I have to say that this episode had some of the best one-liners I’ve heard since… well, the last episode of Rick and Morty. What can I say? The show makes me laugh. 

S4E3 - 4PlanetsAgain.png
Ya’ll have no idea how hard this was to screenshot, but worth it for Fran Dreshlicar.

This episode reminded me of “Vindicators 3: The Return of Worldender” because it puts Rick and Morty at the center of a genre with the intent of deconstructing how mimetic films can be. Here, we actually see the show incorporating the point into the plot, by having Rick do everything in order to convince Morty that since heist movies are so generic there’s really no art in writing one. Now, Morty does say that he can’t quite put his finger on why he now believes the films to be dumb, but since this is a show run by Dan Harmon and Justin Roiland, I think it’s likely because heists are dependent on twists and writers will always hate them for that. When you have a massive twist at the end that recontextualizes everything, sure, that can be a great tool to shock or impress the audience, but it also means that a lot of the things that we saw in the film were a lie. Also, by having characters with dual motivation throughout the film, the writers have to justify why people acted the way they did, which almost always falls apart under scrutiny. I’m not willing to sit through 18 minutes for it, but I’m sure that the Cinemasins guys mention repeatedly in their video for Ocean’s Eleven that many of the shots in the movie that are designed to fool the audience make no sense in retrospect after the reveal. If you’re a stickler for internal motivation matching actions, and Harmon usually is, then these films must drive you mad. Personally, I like a good heist film, but I admit they get derivative. 

S4E3 - 5Yell.png
This is not significantly different than the ending of Ocean’s Twelve

Like I said, the humor in this episode really does save it in a lot of ways. The opening parody of Raiders of the Lost Ark where Rick basically renders all of the efforts of that film pointless with his “anti-booby” suits is hilarious. So is the fact that he’s spiting Morty (which is a sign that Rick is actually really frustrated with him) by eating Arby’s and using a floating chair while Morty climbs. The glorious return of Mr. Poopybutthole, or Professor Poopybutthole, rather, was everything that I wanted it to be, including the martial arts fight. Having Heist-o-Tron become Braniac from Superman and then die from a WarGames realization was inspired. Even if the premise runs thin, you’ll be laughing enough to ignore it. 

JOKER’S THEORY CORNER

I don’t really have a good one for this episode because the episode itself is a giant conspiracy already. While most of my theories are justifications for how Rick managed to plan for everything in a given episode, in this one Rick explicitly did just that. In fact, the only thing that I don’t believe he planned was that Miles Knightly would be dismembered by the people at Heist Con. While Rick is a genius, and could very well have used Heist-o-Tron to set-up such a long and elaborate heist, it still seems unlikely that he would have killed one of the people assisting him with it on purpose. It’s possible that Miles Knightly (possibly a reference to The Saint’s Simon Templar) was a normal enemy of Rick, but this is now season 4 and we’re seeing more and more often that Morty has familiarized himself with most of the recurring problems in Rick’s life and he’s never heard of this person. The fact that Morty didn’t recognize the name makes me think that perhaps Rick just made him up for this scheme and that the person portraying him was killed due to Rick miscalculating how people would interpret the instruction to steal every inch of the Con. His panic seems genuine, lending some credence to the idea. Counterpoint, of course, is that several trillion people die as a result of Heist-o-Tron, making Rick even more of a total sociopath for planning this.

S4E3 - 6Camera.png
Still fewer casualties than when Ocean’s Eleven knocked out the power to Vegas.

LEAVING THE CORNER

Overall, not the best, but I still had 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 – 33: The Old Man and the Seat

NEXT – 35: Claw and Hoarder: Special Ricktim’s Morty

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 – Until Season 4

So, as many of you are probably aware, Season 4 of Rick and Morty isn’t coming out until November. In the interim, Rick and Mondays will be replaced by another entry in the Grouch on the Couch’s ABCs entitled –

C is for Captain America and Cannibalism – On the Pardon

If you’re wondering what happened to the entry for B, when asked about it, the Grouch pulled a .45 and mentioned that if I asked again, the B would stand for Bullet. Based on the advice of a doctor, I believe that getting shot is not conducive to a successful blog, so I let him skip to C. However, as a compromise, I did also convince him to watch the Hellboy reboot and review it, so expect that tomorrow. Unrelated – if anyone could warn the producers of that film that if a fat, angry man wearing red and black wants to “speak” with them, they should probably call security. Thanks.

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: Edge of Tomorty: Rick, Die, Rick-peat

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 – 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.

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