Rick and Mondays – S3E10 “The Rickchurian Mortydate”

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

SUMMARY

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

END SUMMARY

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

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

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

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

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

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

S3EA - 6Laughing
Glad you’re laughing, guys.

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

JOKER’S THEORY CORNER

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

Beth’s not a clone.

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

LEAVING THE CORNER

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

Overall, I give this episode a

C+

on the Rick and Morty scale.

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

PREVIOUS – 30: The ABCs of Beth

NEXT – 32: The Rick-diculous Six

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

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.

Advertisements

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

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

SUMMARY

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

S3E8 - 1Tortoise.png
He says “I’m a Beatle, Paul is Dead” backwards. Because that’s all the truth you need.

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

S3E8 - 2FloopFloopian.png
We also get confirmation of an alien afterlife.

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

S3E8 - 3Card
Summer screws up by not leaving the room at the end and gets yelled at.

END SUMMARY

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

S3E8 - 4Vials.png
There are a LOT of red ones in there, meaning Rick screws up frequently.

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

S3E8 - 5Worm.png
Granted, watching Morty vomit up an alien worm while the family mocks him is normal.

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

S3E8 - 6Santa.png
He probably is better without this, though.

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

JOKER’S THEORY CORNER

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

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

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

LEAVING THE CORNER

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

Overall, I give this episode a

B+

on the Rick and Morty scale.

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

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

NEXT – 30: The ABCs of Beth

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

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

Rick and Mondays – S2E6 “Rest and Ricklaxation”

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

SUMMARY

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

END SUMMARY

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

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

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

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

A few fun things from this episode:

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

 

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

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

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

JOKER’S THEORY CORNER

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

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

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

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

LEAVING THE CORNER

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

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

Overall, I give this episode a

B+

on the Rick and Morty scale.

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

PREVIOUS – 26: The Whirly Dirly Conspiracy

NEXT – 28: Tales from the Citadel

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

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

Rick and Mondays – S2E5 “The Whirly Dirly Conspiracy”

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

SUMMARY

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

END SUMMARY

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Overall, I give this episode an

A-

on the Rick and Morty scale.

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

PREVIOUS – 25: Vindicators 3: The Return of Worldender

NEXT – 27: Rest and Ricklaxation

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

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

Rick and Mondays – S3E3 “Pickle Rick”

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

SUMMARY

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Each of us gets to choose.

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

END SUMMARY

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

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

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

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

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

S3E3 - 7Suicide
Yeah, remember this?

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

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

PickleRickFigurine.jpg
Also, I won a Pickle Rick.

Joker’s Theory Corner

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

S3E3 - 8GoldenFold
Awkward level: 9001

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

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

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

LEAVING THE CORNER

Overall, I give this episode an

A

on the Rick and Morty scale.

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

PREVIOUS – 23: RickMancing the Stone

NEXT – 25: Vindicators 3: The Return of Worldender

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

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

Rick and Mondays – S3E2 “Rickmancing the Stone”

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

SUMMARY

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

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

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

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

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

S3E2 - 3Armothy.png
Super Smash Mortys.

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

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

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

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

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

END SUMMARY

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

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

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

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

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

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

JOKER’S THEORY CORNER

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

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

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

LEAVING THE CORNER

Overall, I give this episode an

A

on the Rick and Morty scale.

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

PREVIOUS – 22: The Rickshank Rickdemption

NEXT – 24: Pickle Rick

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

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 – S3E1 “The RickShank RickDemption”

Season 3 kicks off with a game-changing bang… that tells us the game isn’t changing.

SUMMARY

It’s been a few months since the Second Season Finale and Rick (Justin Roiland)  is being interrogated by the Galactic Federation’s top agent Cornvelious Daniel (Nathan “Firefly Was A Masterpiece” Fillion) inside of a fake reality that exists in Rick’s brain. Rick quickly sees through the ruse and reveals that he is actually capable of making alterations to the interrogation scenario when he changes Cornvelious Daniel’s coffee into a farting butt. Despite that, Cornvelious Daniel tries to convince Rick to show him the secret to interdimensional portal technology by giving him the chance to relive his last memory of his wife. Rick agrees to take him there, but they stop for McDonald’s Mulan Szechuan McNugget Sauce along the way, because it only exists in his memory.

S3E1 - 1Delicious.png
The image that launched a thousand a-holes to later go to McDonalds.

Meanwhile, Summer (Spencer Grammer) is rebelling against the family’s new life under Galactic Federation rule. Beth (Sarah Chalke) is unemployed because alien tech makes horses immortal, while Jerry (Chris Parnell) is thriving, because his new bosses are such bureaucrats that people who are completely clueless are more successful under them. Morty (Roiland) tries to talk Summer out of saving Rick, but ends up telling her that the dead Rick from “Rick Potion #9” has a working portal gun. She robs the grave, but the pair are caught by the family’s robot Conroy (Tom “Ice King” Kenny). They escape through a portal to Morty’s original universe and are saved by Jerry C-137 and Summer C-137. The now near-feral Smiths destroy the portal gun and try to exile Summer, but are stopped by a group of Ricks from the Citadel of Ricks who detected the portal gun’s destruction. Summer tells the Ricks that Rick C-137 has been captured, but is dismayed when they tell her that means he’ll have to be killed by Seal Team Ricks.

S3E1 - 2TwoSummers.png
The image that launched a thousand fanfiction.net nightmares.

Back in Rick’s head, he shows Cornvelious Daniel the story of figuring out interdimensional travel: While he was just a scientist in his garage trying to invent in-universe teleportation, another Rick came to him and informed him that teleportation is not an accomplishment, but interdimensional travel is. Rick, however, realized that this would make him miserable and alone, so he refused, infuriating the other Rick, who left. Rick C-137’s wife, Diane (Kari Wahlgren), comes out to check on him and Rick says that he’s giving up on science, so they should go for ice cream. He gets in the car, but when Diane and Beth come out, someone blows up the garage. Rick then writes out the mathematics behind interdimensional portal technology, something that the modern Rick says made him an “unfeeling ghost.” Cornvelious Daniel, thrilled at having achieved his message, uploads the equations… only to find out that they actually give control of the “brainalyzer” to Rick, who puts his brain into Daniel’s body and leaves him to die. The entire backstory was a lie. As Rick, now in Cornvelious Daniel’s body, tries to use his access to shut down the Federation, he’s interrupted by Seal Team Ricks, who kill everyone, but Rick manages to put his brain into one of the other Rick’s heads and kill the rest of the team, escaping from the Federation. He contacts the Citadel of Ricks and transfers his consciousness into the body of a high-ranking Rick.

S3E1 - 3Diane.png
Probably not even close to Rick’s actual (likely redheaded) ex-wife.

Summer and Morty are being put on trial by the Council of Ricks, to whom Morty admits that he still is loyal to Rick. The trial is interrupted by Rick C-137 teleporting the citadel into the middle of the Galactic Federation Prison. Chaos ensues, with prisoners and the Ricks and Mortys fighting each other. The Council of Ricks take Morty and Summer hostage, but most of them are killed by Rick C-137. The remaining Council Rick (Riq IV) holds Summer hostage, but Rick C-137 fakes being shot by Morty (who didn’t know about it), giving him an opening to kill Riq IV. Rick, Morty, and Summer then break into the highest-level room of the Prison, giving Rick access to the top of the Federation’s computer system. Rick then changes the value of their currency to 0, collapsing the Federation economy and leading them to evacuate the Earth. Rick then returns home, where Jerry tells Beth to pick between Rick and him. She picks Rick and divorces Jerry. Being left alone with Morty, Rick proceeds to tell him that he did all of this to get rid of Jerry and the Federation, because he wants more Mulan McNugget Sauce.

END SUMMARY

I can’t even begin to cover this episode without mentioning the fact that it was part of one of the greatest April Fools Day pranks in history. Without warning anyone, this episode began to play on a continuous loop on Adult Swim. I was at a party at the time, and I didn’t believe it, thinking it was just a prank. But then we bothered to check the site and, to our amazement, here was a new episode of the show, almost exactly a year and a half after the last one, just like Mr. Poopybutthole said. Absolutely amazing.

S3E1 - 4Shoney's.png
Few images have made me happier than seeing this that day.

This episode stands for a complete rejection of character development, something that helps set this show apart in comparison with similar series, while simultaneously playing with the notion of what constitutes such development. At the end of the second season, we believe that Rick has finally decided to do something for his family rather than himself, but this episode reveals that everything was actually just Rick getting revenge on all of his enemies through an elaborate gambit. Morty, who threatens to never forgive Rick for leaving in the last episode, reveals that his feelings towards Rick haven’t changed. Beth, who finally seems to have gotten past her fear of her father leaving, immediately takes him back. The only one who seems to really change is Summer, who is now somewhat idolizing Rick. At the end of the episode, Rick takes it a step further by revealing that his new motivation is now just to get more McDonald’s Mulan Szechuan McNuggets sauce. Not to avenge his family or to fight for justice or anything else that usually motivates protagonists, no, just the sauce.  And that’s one of the best jokes a show can make: Rick’s motivation is completely unimportant to us, so why shouldn’t it be something absurd?

S3E1 - 5PhoenixPerson.png
Also, a reference to Angel from X-men becoming Archangel, another pointless change.

We even think that we’re getting Rick’s secret backstory to explain why he is the way he is, only for it to be revealed to be completely made up. It’s similar to how a lot of writers have treated the Joker in comics and film: Even when we’re given a backstory, it’s best to think that it could be a complete lie. After all, if we found out that Rick really is just driven by some catastrophic event or concrete motivation, wouldn’t that kind of ruin what makes him awesome? He’s just a force of chaos and that’s what works for him.

S3E1 - 6Rant.png
This tells us nothing and everything at the same time.

Overall, this episode was the perfect continuation of the last season’s cliffhanger. It had references to things that had happened throughout the series, but it also just re-established the setting for the true Rick and Morty formula: Rick and Morty doing random crazy stuff because Rick’s a selfish prick.

JOKER’S THEORY CORNER

Alright, so I just pointed out that this episode ultimately removes any real selfless element of Rick’s sacrifice from the season 2 finale, but I actually don’t think that’s completely true. Let’s break down how Rick’s plan worked:

  1. Get captured.
  2. Get put in a brainalyzer with an agent who wants the formula for interdimensional transportation.
  3. Determine what brainalyzer you’re in by seeing how many times Jerry can fold himself.
  4. Use that information to determine what virus will give you control of the machine.
  5. Put your brain in the agent’s body.
  6. Get Level 9 access.
  7. Wreck Federation Economy.
S3E1 - 7Currency.png
… So, they don’t have English, but they use Arabic numbers? Also, this would not work.

Ultimately, this didn’t end up working out beyond step 5, because of Seal Team Ricks, but at the end of the plan, there didn’t seem to be any steps that would actually get his family back. His last conversation with Morty was that Morty would never forgive him for leaving. Without Morty and Summer being captured by the citadel, who incidentally become victims of Rick’s original plan, Rick might not have been able to get back into the family. Sure, Morty later said that he hadn’t ever really renounced Rick, but Rick isn’t exactly perfect at guessing Morty’s motivations (see: Morty shooting him in the head). Now, he was aware that everyone but Jerry was on his side before leaving, but that’s still a huge risk that he’s never going to see them again, which means that on some level he was at least trying to do something to make his family’s lives better at his own peril.

If you’re saying that he knew his plan to collapse the Federation would work, I counter with: Then why had he waited to do it? Rick has been against the Federation since the pilot, but it’s not until he has nothing left to lose that he finally does it. He’s willing to take the risk now because if he fails, his family is still better off.

So, yeah, the show snuck a little bit of character development into an episode against it. Well done.

LEAVING THE CORNER

Overall, I give this episode an

A

on the Rick and Morty scale.

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

PREVIOUS – 21: The Wedding Squanchers

NEXT – 23: Rickmancing the Stone

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

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