Rick and Mondays – S4E5 “Rattlestar Ricklactica”

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

SUMMARY

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

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

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

S4E5 - 2Terminsnaker.png
Termisnaker 2: Judgement Fang

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

END SUMMARY

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

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

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

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

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

JOKER’S THEORY CORNER

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

S4E5 - 5Paradox.png
Very festive time travelers.

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

LEAVING THE CORNER

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

Overall, I give this episode a

B

on the Rick and Morty scale.

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

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

NEXT – 37: Hell if I Know

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

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

Rick and Mondays – 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 – 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 – 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.