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. 

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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 – S4E4 “Claw and Hoarder: Special Ricktim’s Morty”

Rick gets drunk with a dragon and also dragons are real and kinda creepy.

SUMMARY

Morty (Justin Roiland) goes with Rick (Roiland) on an adventure, only for it to be revealed that Morty had only agreed if he got a dragon. Rick, eventually giving in, gives Morty a dragon that he contracts with a Wizard to obtain. Morty rides the dragon, named Balthromaw (Liam Cunningham), but quickly realizes that the dragon doesn’t like him. When Balthromaw starts accidentally wrecking the house, Rick goes to get rid of him, but finds that the beast’s hoard is filled with things that he treasures. Upon talking to the dragon, the two start getting along and partying together, leading to them both ignoring Morty. After a particularly revelatory evening, Rick and Balthromaw end up soul bonding just as Morty revokes his contract. The Wizard returns to collect the dragon, but it turns out that Rick now feels any pain that Balthromaw does. Since Balthromaw is going to be killed for being a “slut” dragon, Rick, Morty, and Summer (Spencer Grammer) follow the Wizard back to his dimension, only for the Wizard to easily defeat Rick. 

S4E4 - 1Dragon.png
The dragons did not win the treaty negotiations with the wizards.

At the same time, Jerry (Chris Parnell) has been dealing with a talking cat (Matthew Broderick) that convinces him to fly to Florida. The cat constantly comments on the fact that he won’t explain why he can talk. Jerry and the cat have a good time until the cat blames Jerry for pooping on the beach, getting Jerry ostracized. The cat then tries to party with some college kids, but ends up pissing them off by questioning their games. The cat gets kicked off of a party boat and reunites with Jerry, asking for a ride home.

S4E4 - 2Cat.png
I love that the cat does not really show many natural reactions. 

It turns out that Rick’s science doesn’t work in the realm of magic. Morty saves Rick with a magic spell, then Rick manages to build a “magic-punk” gun that allows him to turn Summer into a magic archer and devastate the forces of the Wizard… right up until Summer screws up and the Wizard retakes the upper hand. Morty frees Balthromaw and the group flees to a cave filled with other “slut dragons.” The slut dragons are revealed to be, in fact, extremely sexual, which unnerves Morty until the elder dragon forces everyone to soul-bond and create a soul dragon that destroys the Wizard and frees all of the dragons. Balthromaw follows the group back to Earth, but everyone just wants to be done with him, declaring it the “worst adventure ever.” 

S4E4 - 3Dragon.png
This looks cool, but is, in fact, totally messed up.

Rick goes to pick up Jerry and the cat, but ends up scanning the cat’s brain to figure out why it can talk. While undisclosed, the cat’s mind horrifies Rick and makes Jerry nauseous to the extreme. Rick is about to kill himself, only to instead wipe Jerry’s memory and get rid of the cat. It eventually meets up with Balthromaw and asks to go back to Florida.

END SUMMARY

So, this definitely was not one of my favorite episodes, but the more I thought about it while writing this review, the more I think that maybe it’s not as bad as I initially thought. I mean, it was never “bad,” because Rick and Morty is just naturally a bit more creative in storytelling than other shows, but I thought it was a little bit of a low point. 

S4E4 - 4AnatomyPark.png
Not the lowest, though.

A big part of what I think is missing in this episode is the traditional A-plot and B-plot interplay that the show does so well (AND I WILL NEVER STOP TALKING ABOUT IT UNTIL OTHER SHOWS GET IT RIGHT), but here the two don’t seem to really have any thematic connections on the surface and the B-Plot is extremely short. However, both of them are actually about dissecting two different sides of the fantasy genre. The traditional Lord of the Rings or Game of Thrones high fantasy subgenre is shown to consist of a repressive wizard who captures and enslaves dragons for profit and dragons which are revealed to be very aggressively sexual, bordering on rapey. The cat, meanwhile, is a representation of magical realism subgenre. It’s just a cat that shows up, talks, and offers adventure to a poor schlub… but it turns out that the cat’s just kind of an a**hole (like most cats), the adventure is just a beach party that the cat ruins, and that the reason why the cat talks, which in most magical realism will be a major revelation, is never revealed and we’re apparently better for that. While it’s not the best subversion in the series, or even the season, it’s a little better upon realizing that both plots are at least hitting the same genre.

S4E4 - 5SailorMoon.png
Talking cats can start entire cultural movements, man…

Rick being a dragon is a neat parallel to draw. Rick, like a dragon, is destructive, old, and also brilliant. Rick and Balthromaw end up bonding over his hoard, because while Balthromaw hoards valuables, Rick hoards his technology from anyone else. They both thrive on keeping stuff from others to make themselves superior. Unfortunately, they don’t really leave it up to the viewer, instead having both Balthromaw and Rick himself say that Rick is a dragon.

S4E4 - 6Zoo.png
I also love that they both agree on releasing captive animals and getting high.

One thing that I both like and dislike about the episode is that the show couldn’t let Rick be powerless. When Rick is shown to have no technology in the wizarding world (sue me, Rowling) and Morty quickly starts to recite spells from the book, it seems like we’re looking at a rare role-reversal with Morty taking the lead. This quickly gets undone by Rick managing to create a new version of technology using magic that puts him back in charge. When I first watched the episode, that kind of annoyed me because it rendered Morty’s use of the spellbook as mostly pointless, but in retrospect it just shows us that Rick’s mind is so amazing that he can adapt to new laws of nature. Magic is just a sufficiently advanced technology and vice-versa. Still, I kind of want to see Morty have the upper hand more often and this was a good opportunity. 

S4E4 - 7Cannon.png
Rick having a magic cannon was pretty fun, though.

I also kind of liked the idea of the villain being a slut-shamer, except that the dragons he was shaming ended up being creepily sexual, so… really a plus and minus there as well.

Oh, and Rick interrupts the Wizard masturbating, which is funny.

S4E4 - 9Wizard.png
Enter a caption

JOKER’S THEORY CORNER

There aren’t a ton of floating theories here since there is no indication that Rick planned all this nor is there anything about the situation that would give him a motive to. So, instead, I’m going to take a stab at the big unknown: 

WHY DOES THE CAT TALK?

First, what do we know? The cat was not born able to talk, because that would be his explanation. Instead, he somehow gained the ability from something which he is extremely ashamed of. It’s also something that is horrifying not only to Jerry, but, more impressively, to Rick freaking Sanchez. Rick is about to kill himself out of pure disgust, as opposed to his usual depression, so he’s seeing something worse than the stuff he does which means worse than enslaving a planet or a lot of genocide. While we don’t see what it is, we hear a few things. We hear what appears to be boots marching in sync, explosions, and babies crying. HUMAN babies. We also get the implication from Jerry that no one else would remember the events, which is why Rick chooses to remember them. 

S4E4 - 8Suicide.png
I mean… dang.

Second, what is the cat a reference to? Well, several things, but most prominently the 1978 Disney movie The Cat from Outer Space, which the episode even directly references. In that movie, there’s a cat that talks telepathically and, like the cat in this episode, hardly ever seems to stop doing cat things while talking (because it was a real cat in the movie and cats are a**holes). However, none of the events of that film really lend themselves to a backstory like that… unless you consider that at the end of that film, Jake, the titular cat, has a girlfriend, superior technology, and a pending litter. While Jake can’t really talk or use his powers without a collar, it’s stated in the film that the telepathy powers are only AMPLIFIED by the collar. They are innate to Jake’s species, unlike the telekinesis which the collar provides. So, what happens when Jake’s offspring learn what happens to common cats like their mother, like being locked up in the pound or put down? Well, they might end up very, very upset at humanity for how they treat cats… and that their dad can call down an armada. 

My proposal, therefore, is that the cat in this episode is the son of the cat from outer space. He ended up using his species’ superior technology to eradicate humanity on another Earth, but humanity ended up taking the cats out with it, since this is the only survivor. Since one of the collars in the film was ultimately given to the humans as a token of goodwill and the other would be with his father who likely would oppose his plan, in order to destroy humanity, the cat had to focus and develop his powers to be able to talk without a collar. Him learning to speak ultimately destroyed both sides of his family. So why does that look worse than Rick’s usual murder sprees? Well, because this is presumably an army of cats clawing people, including children and infants, to death, ensuring total genocide of both species. That’s going to be a very, very, graphic image, even for Rick.  

Or maybe the cat’s Cthulhu, but I’m going with the reference here. 

LEAVING THE CORNER

This was still one of the weaker episodes of Rick and Morty, but I still had an okay time with it. Plus, it referenced The Cat from Outer Space, which I love.

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 – 34: One Crew Over the Crewcoo’s Morty

NEXT – 36: Rattlestar Ricklactica

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. 

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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 – S4E2 “The Old Man and the Seat”

Rick tracks down a crappy thief, Jerry develops an app, Morty tries to save the Earth from Jerry, Summer tries to find love, and Beth tries to parent Summer.

SUMMARY

Rick (Justin Roiland) has a new intern named Glootie (Taika “What We Do In Ragnarok” Waititi) who is obsessed with developing an app. To keep people from agreeing to help him, Rick has actually tattooed “do not develop my app” on his face.  Despite this, when Rick goes to use his private toilet, Jerry (Chris Parnell) agrees to help Glootie. The rest is split by plotline.

S4E2 - 1Glootie.png
Somehow only Taika Waititi’s voice would make sense here.

Rick arrives on his private planet dedicated to his private toilet, only to find out that someone else broke in and pooped on it. Rick goes to elaborate lengths, including single-handedly winning a war, to find the culprit, a man named Tony (Jeffrey Wright). Rick threatens to kill Tony, but ultimately chooses to just shove a portable farting, pooping butt in his office. Tony then comes back to poop again, so Rick puts him in a Matrix-like simulation of paradise which he ends up rejecting. Rick declines again to kill him, which Tony takes as a sign of friendship, though Rick denies this. Finally, Rick comes to give Tony permission to use his toilet, only to find out that Tony died from trying to live life to the fullest, having been empowered by using Rick’s crapper. Rick, seemingly sad about this, still denies being Tony’s friend, then goes and sits on his toilet, revealing that he’d booby-trapped it to mock Tony mercilessly. Rick sits in the rain being mocked by his own voice about how pathetic and lonely he is. 

S4E2 - 3Tony.png
He even proves that Tony is an asshole in multiple universes, which is brutal.

Jerry develops his app with Glootie, revealed to be a dating app which Jerry names Lovefinderrz. Morty (Roiland), upon finding out about it, realizes that the app has to be dangerous because of Rick’s precautions. He orders Glootie to take it down, but Glootie says he can’t, because the server’s on the mothership. Morty and Jerry then threaten their way onto the mothership and meet Glootie’s leader (Sam Neill) and his wife (Kathleen Turner). It turns out that Glootie’s people have used up all their water and are using the app to drive everyone into a frenzy to help lower Earth’s defenses. Presumably everyone will either be too distracted to notice the water theft, or will be too exhausted from loving to stop it. Rick and Jerry escape and try to destroy the server, but are recaptured due to Jerry’s idiocy. When Glootie is sent to kill them, Jerry points out that, despite his species’ claim to have perfected relationships, Glootie is alone. The app has failed him. Glootie frees them and destroys the app by adding a paywall.

S4E2 - 4GlootieEmperor.png
I love that it takes 3 people to find a gun at an app developer that has an army on board.

Summer (Spencer Grammer) downloads the app and starts a sequence of intense flings. Beth (Sarah Chalke) keeps tracking her down, trying to stop her. Eventually, with Summer on her fourth “soul mate,” Beth manages to confront her, telling her that she’s going to parent her no matter what. Summer fights back, but Beth is winning the fight until the app goes down, and everything goes back to normal. 

S4E2 - 5Wedding.png
Fortunately, she’s single at the end.

END SUMMARY

Okay, cards on the table, I didn’t think this was a spectacular episode of Rick and Morty. Not that it was bad, but I honestly think they pitched this as “I bet we can make an entire episode of poop jokes lead to a poignant moment of revelation.” The problem is that most of the jokes in the Rick plotline just didn’t land for me. I mean, there are some that are funny, but they’re not as funny as I would usually expect from the show. Maybe it’s just a personal preference thing. I will say that a lot of the other jokes in the other plotlines worked for me, even the ones that were kind of repeats or predictable. For example, when Morty tells Jerry “I started today disgusted and embarrassed to be your son. Then, later, I thought we were gonna die because you’re a loser,” the obvious joke there is that Morty doesn’t follow it up with a “but.” However, Jerry, now somewhat genre-savvier, predicts it, leading Morty to just say “quit f*cking up.” It’s pretty great that this is like a 3rd-level subversion of a tired joke. Eventually, the humorous thing may be to play it straight again. Then there’s the Fly mob boss who just lampshades the fact that Rick is asking about a sandwich, something that does nothing to explore the boss’s potential backstory. That’s such an unexpected and hilarious joke, because it basically tells the audience that they came up with this character completely for a throw-away gag. So, there were decent jokes, but there weren’t as many bust-a-gut moments as I’m used to. 

S4E2 - 6Fly.png
I mean, this is pretty funny. As is the fact that the frogs only say “ribbit.”

As usual, the team behind the show remind us that they are masters at structuring the episode around A, B, and even C plots. The events of this episode take place over the course of roughly a week, which makes sense, but by cutting between them, it feels like a much tighter story. The storylines in this episode all seem to be based around demonstrating how the characters have changed since the first season. The Rick story is about Rick demonstrating how much he wants to isolate himself from others, to the point of pooping on his own planet, before realizing that he is just avoiding being close to others. He also realizes that one of the only people who tried to understand him on a deeper level is now dead, meaning Rick is even more alone than before. In the B-Plot, Morty is starting to be more assertive and honest with Jerry, while Jerry actually goes along with Morty on an adventure without being a coward. In the C-Plot, Beth actually tries to be a functioning parent to Summer, while Summer… well, Summer hasn’t changed that much, except that she’s moved from crushes to active sexual relationships, I guess. I just think it’s interesting that there’s an episode that basically shows off the character growth. 

S4E2 - 7Parenting.png
Beth’s still getting the hang of dealing with Summer in an emotionally active way.

This episode also seems to suggest that there are two competing themes for this season. The first, which the last episode pointed out directly, is that this season is about balance and compromise in the storytelling. Sometimes they’ll be experimental, like the way the shots accompany Rick pooping are vast and beautiful landscapes, and sometimes they’ll be more traditional, like having a story-arc based around Jerry screwing up and Morty having to bail him out. However, the second theme appears to be that of human connection. In the first episode, the only thing that saves Rick and Morty is Wasp Rick having empathy towards Rick’s situation, something that’s abnormal for Ricks. Morty’s obsession with Jessica, similarly, causes him to distance himself from others, including a skinny-dipping Jessica. In this episode, we see Rick constantly reject connection only for him to realize at the end that it’s the reason he’s so alone and sad. We see Jerry and Morty only being saved by Jerry making an emotional connection with Glootie. We see Summer only being kept repeatedly from making a terrible mistake because Beth cares enough for her to keep trying to stop her. We also see that the form of connection that Glootie’s people seem to think is “optimized” is in fact completely false, as even their leaders end up getting divorced at the end of the episode. The thing is that Glootie’s people seem to value shallow notions like “soul mates” or empty platitudes more than actual work on relationships or empathy towards each other. I know two episodes don’t show a pattern, but I’m interested to see how this plays out.

S4E2 - 2Toiler.png
Also, I’m down for all this heavily-detailed art. This is exactly where I want to poop.

JOKER’S THEORY CORNER

So, I didn’t have a big theory, so here are three mini-theories.

First, why does Rick have Glootie? I think originally Rick got it him because he knew that Jerry would agree to help him create a dating app which would likely lead Beth to find someone better. However, after the last season finale, Rick appears to have realized that he can’t get rid of Jerry, and therefore went ahead and tattooed a warning for Jerry on Glootie’s forehead. Sure, it’s not the biggest precaution, but Rick wanted the free labor and he still doesn’t care for Jerry THAT much.

S4E2 - 8Jerry.png
And Jerry ALMOST avoids screwing up.

Second, how does the dating app work? Well, it’s pretty straightforward: The minute you’re no longer interested in the person you have, it finds you a new one. It’s based entirely around infatuation, but once you have anything about your partner that you don’t want or someone better is nearby, then it just supplies you a new infatuation, apparently making you unnaturally attracted to someone else. This doesn’t really optimize relationships, only hookups and flings.

S4E2 - 9Turner.png
I mean, one fight and she’s telling him to screw off.

Third, at the end of the episode we see Jerry drink the Globaflyn and hallucinate a dream of being a water delivery man that makes him so happy he tries to lick up the rest of the substance. Why is that what Jerry fantasizes about? Well, earlier Rick says that Globaflyn connects the what-you-have part of your brain with the what-you-want part of your brain. It’s why we see Tony fantasize about an eternity with his wife (what he wants) based around sitting on a toilet (what he has when Rick knocks him out). Jerry has just dealt with a conflict over water, meaning he knows that he has it. What Jerry wants is to be important and loved. Therefore, he is shown using water, what he has, to get respect and admiration, what he wants. 

S4E2 - ADeliveryman.png
Also, the logo is designed by him. You can tell because it’s bad.

LEAVING THE CORNER

Still a pretty good episode of television, even if it’s not top-tier Rick and Morty.

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

NEXT – 34: One Crew Over the Crewcoo’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 – S4E1 “Edge of Tomorty: Rick Die Rickpeat”

Rick and Morty find out that living and dying is a lot different on the multiversal scale.

SUMMARY

At Breakfast, Rick (Justin Roiland) tries to ignore the family and then drag Morty (Roiland) onto an adventure, only for it to be revealed that the new family rules require him to actually ask Morty politely to join him on adventures. Rick is extremely angry about it, but Morty does still agree when asked. Rick goes to collect “Death Crystals,” rocks that show you how you’re going to die. Rick uses them to avoid dying by finding out all of the ways in which he’s about to die and avoiding them. Morty takes one and tries to use it to find out how he gets to die old and married to Jessica (Kari Wahlgren), his perpetual crush. Morty ends up crashing the car, killing Rick, only for a hologram Rick to appear and try to convince Morty to revive Rick. It turns out that Morty doesn’t want to clone him, because that sends him to a different death, so he gets harangued by a horde of Holo-Ricks.

S4E1 - 1Crystals.png
Finally, a geode that serves a non-decorative purpose.

Meanwhile, Rick, having closed down his automated revival system in “Big Trouble in Little Sanchez,” finds that his equipment has instead shunted his consciousness to a different universe. He gets revived in a universe run by fascists until he ends up dying. He gets revived yet again in a shrimp universe, which turns out to ALSO be fascist, as does the care bear universe he ends up in next. He finally finds a universe of wasps that help him get home.

S4E1 - 2Teddy.png
Teddy Rick is big into racial purity.

Morty ends up trying to follow the flow of the death crystal, but ends up pissing off a bully who creates a lot of futures where he kills Morty. Morty then ends up following the crystal until it leads him to kill the bully, as well as other bullies, then the cops and eventually the army. He surrenders and is tried, but by following the crystal avoids any consequences. He ends up becoming an Akira-esque monster at the heart of a giant nanotech tree. Rick and Wasp Rick arrive and remove the crystal from Morty. The Holo-Rick then takes the nanotech to become a physical being and then a physical god, but Wasp Rick kills him. Jerry and Beth (Chris Parnell and Sarah Chalke) then try to lecture Rick about endangering Morty, but Morty insists that it was all his own doing.

S4E1 - 6Morty.png
Turns out Morty can be a one-man army when he wants to be.

At the end of the Episode, Rick and Morty both speak over each other about the fact that the new Rick and Morty can do “a little of this and a little of that,” meaning they can do some classic Rick and Morty stuff while sometimes being experimental and creative. 100 years of Rick and Morty pushing it to the limit, but also not pushing it at all. Summer  (Spencer Grammer) then comes out and mocks them, ruining the Season 4 premiere speech, much to their anger.

S4E1 - 7Summer.jpg
She goes to some weird places. 

At the end, it’s revealed that the future Morty was chasing was not a happy one at all, but merely a future in which Jessica lies to people as they’re dying alone and unloved, breaking Morty’s heart.

END SUMMARY

Rick and Morty is back and… trying to convey the impossible situation that they’re in. They have to be loyal to their old formulas so as to not alienate their fanbase but also try to be innovative at the same time. In this episode, their compromise is that one of the plotlines, Rick’s, is similar to a classic episode, while Morty’s plotline contains innovative storytelling and animation, including directly referencing Akira in several transformation sequences. Interspersed throughout the episode are a number of callbacks, including the return of Mr. Meeseeks, along with a number of new elements. Then, in traditional Rick and Morty fashion, they proceed to lampshade the hell out of the plotlines at the end saying that as long as the series keeps going, they are just going to “split the difference.”

S4E1 - 8Meeseeks.jpg
Turns out Mr. Meeseeks is pretty brutal.

Both plotlines, however, still deal with the infinite possibilities of the multiverse and how that relates to mortality. The crystals that are the, essentially magical, applied phlebotinum for the episode show a myriad of possibilities to anyone holding them, essentially showing all of the possible universes that can spawn from this moment. Rick claims that their only real use is to figure out when the other guy in a shoot-out is reloading. Morty, in a surprising moment of genre-savviness, realizes that this means he can use it to determine what courses of action to take, including figuring out what words to say and what weapons will be useful against future opponents. However, he never considers the, eventually true, possibility that what he’s seeing is not what he thinks it is. Since Morty has an unbelievably strong crush on Jessica, that rings true. 

S4E1 - 5Jessica.jpg
Morty stalking Jessica? Classic. Morty overlooking that she took this photo? Also classic.

Morty’s plotline showing that each action just creates a multitude of different ways to die is a variation on the idea of Quantum Immortality: Namely that you can’t ever really die because there’s always a possibility that you’re alive in another multiverse and if there are an infinite number of universes, then the possibility is always above 0. So, you would never know that you’re dead, because there’s just another you existing out there that branched off from your current line. In this episode, Morty just gets to pick which of the paths he’s consciously following, edging out the parallel version of himself that normally would be following it. He’s not traveling between universes so much as just staying in the right one as it’s made.

S4E1 - 9Death.jpg
Great job on the visual Easter eggs, btw.

Rick’s plotline embraces the more traditional Rick and Morty version of the multiverse, with Rick waking up over and over again in universes that clearly diverged a long time ago, and with them being increasingly more distinct from the original as time goes on. Interestingly, though, a running gag is that Rick keeps running into fascist universes, to the point that he complains that it is now the default in the multiverse. When he finally finds a non-fascist universe, it’s occupied by humanoid wasps that specifically developed empathy to deal with the horrible nature of what they do naturally. I’m not sure if this is a joke about the fact that the word “fascist” gets thrown around a lot more lately, or if it was just because someone wanted to write the words “Care Bear Hitler” down really badly. Honestly, I can’t blame them if it’s the latter. 

JOKER’S THEORY CORNER

I admit that it’s tough to come up with a theory based only on the first episode of the season, but here goes: I think the reason why Rick ends up in fascist universes is actually because most of the Ricks outside of them destroyed their clones the way that Rick did back in “Big Trouble in Little Sanchez.”

s2e7 - 3stakes
Plus, it apparently didn’t work great on younger bodies. 

In the past, we have seen that most Ricks, even if they are of different species or constructions, still tend to take the same general actions throughout their lives unless the divergence is a specific part of their backstory. So, it stands to reason that a lot of Ricks who built the cloning devices that are a part of “Operation Phoenix” probably also went through a time of trying to use it and arriving at the conclusion that aging is a part of life. So, who wouldn’t go through that experience in that way? Well, one would be wasps, because an insect’s life cycle is in distinct stages, so they probably wouldn’t ever clone “younger” versions that were larvae or pupae as they’d be useless. Another would be people who are too afraid of death to learn that lesson, and there are few people more cowardly than fascists. 

S4E1 - 3Wasp
Ironically, as an Atheist and possibly part Hispanic, Rick isn’t a WASP.

I mean, think about it, what do fascist systems almost always use to acquire power? Fear of outsiders and traitorous insiders trying to secretly threaten the citizenry. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to being manipulated. Being manipulated leads to wearing a ton of matching outfits and executing minorities. Since most fear is derived from the fact that one day we’re going to die and we have no idea what happens after that, and that Rick is subject to this as we’ve seen in the past, it makes sense that the fascist Ricks would be the ones most afraid of dying and most willing to keep their resurrection systems active. So, it’s not that fascism is the “default” now, it’s just that fascists were the ones most likely to still have the machinery.

NOW LEAVING THE CORNER

Overall, this was a pretty solid episode of Rick and Morty, even if it seems pretty standalone at this point. 

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 – 31: The Rickchurian Mortydate

NEXT – 33: The Old Man and the Seat

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 – 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.

S3E9 - 1RainbowRiver.png
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.

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