If you haven’t watched Rick and Morty, what is it? A comic, adult themed, sometimes gross Science Fiction romp through space, time alternate realities and dimensions, peppered with the suburban frailties of Morty’s family. Morty is Rick’s grandson and the rest of the family are Summer, Morty’s sister and parents: Beth (a horse surgeon and Rick’s daughter) & Jerry (unemployed). Rick moved in with them two years ago and has since taken Morty on many adventures, turning his life upside down. Okay Rick’s an asshole of the highest (inter-dimensional) order… but he does know what’s going, on the other hand Morty is an unsure, self-conscious pubescent 14 year old. Mental note: just how does Rick know a crisis is brewing before he hooks Morty out of class?
Friends bugged me about Rick and Morty for years; I said I’d check it out when the time was ripe. That time eventually came and at the beginning of November 2018. I binge watched Netflix over a Sunday / Monday / Tuesday evening, letting it soak in.
So let’s begin at the end: The last episode sees a new, more assertive Morty, a kind of seen it all, know what’s coming Morty who’s gonna make decisions that’ll last to the end of the series. And as the current series is series 3 and as this episode is the last in series 3, this new self-confident Morty is actually the wrap up tidyism just in case there’s no series 4.
Will this new, maturer Morty make the transition to the adventures being brewed up by Vanity Card?¹ Could do. No reason why nor. On the other hand an age 14, unsure teenage sidekick means more tension / chance for goofy, sidekick misunderstandings / panic attacks / fear of not doing the right thing / embarrassed viewer amusement at younger self.
In short episode 10, season 3 is no series wrap-up, it’s a send-off to be unpicked later at leisure.
Inter-dimensional synchronicity might mean all Mortys leave Rick and for all Ricks to accept this, and Morty may be relying on it. It’s a pipe dream – there’s no happy ever after, just a fight to survive and be top-dog in a vengeance driven multiverse. Has to mean the final cabin scene in s3 e10 is a staging post.
Rick rarely let’s on how he’s so clued up on the next mission – sure he’s got a Garage-Lab / Secure Facility / Wiped Memories of Morty Room (just how much does Summer know?) / Other sub-basement areas that probably dwarf Beth & Jerry’s house, this is a gigantic Rick control centre but the follow through still has to be: who gets a crisis message to Rick and how does it arrive?
Then there’s the question of just how long Rick and Morty have been bunking off on adventures. That’s a pretty full room of wiped memories. I could snap piccies of the room and do the math but hey! let’s leave something for others to do. Okay I estimate at least 640 –now compare that to the length of time Rick has been in Beth [and Jerry’s] house.
My guess is there’ll be a variety of methods of clueing up on the next adventure / mission: pan-dimensional post / dramatic notes / a catastrophic event-tremor chart…
Morty never grows. Continuity isn’t King in the show despite the story-arcs, and although a continuation of adolescence would logically lead to Big Morty (which would deliver laughs) these would be different. Big Morty might want to be a hero (all those self-assertive body changes kicking in) and end up a clumsy lummox. That’d work and it’d take down the small, recently (that’s the final s3 episode) self-confident Morty – do clumsy things = set pride for a fall – but there’s tons of small Morty stuff to do – Has Rick really been back two years in Beth & Jerry’s house because there’s surely a whole load of wiped Morty memory vials. Maybe Rick made grandfatherly visits before he moved back in.
So Continuity isn’t King because comedy doesn’t need it, it’s a drag, yet we see it creeping in. Something to do with huge Sci-Fi (always hated that halfway acronym) concepts. Once you get a universe to play in, you’re not just God, you also get to do some exploring, then you things in their proper place and you start to organise. The stories begin to fit because there’s an ultimate plot thread – a prize. Is it something Rick wants, but he’s too anarchic so it’s more like something he wants to prevent – or something he can’t predict, from left field.
Loose plot threads – there’s tons of them. What do I like? Hmm-mmm.
Poopy Butt Hole – prime suspect – butt maybbe nott as behind the fake memory implant is a device to extrude a new but been there all the time show character. So maybe, just maybe Mr Poopybutthole is the voice of the writers given form and the episode is his introduction to the big time. Interestingly Poopybutthole makes his debut just as Rick zaps the false cousin… random thought time: maybe Rick also gets pleasure from zapping things Jerry likes. Fake pleasant memory implant! Parasite! Naw…
Digging into the plot, Beth obsesses on whether she is human and even if she is, whether Rick is even her dad Rick. Rick hails from Earth C-137 and though we never learn which Earth the post Cronenberg episodes occur, it’s not outside the framework of the show for his origin to be tallied against the Earth she’s actually on. So for the sake of argument: the show Rick is Earth C 137, Cronenberg Earth C 140 (it could be C 137 but as it’s never stated, let’s be creative) and Beth’s Earth could be C135. Confusing? No not really it’s just waiting to be spelled out (at ease guys this isn’t a demand). All Beth needs to do to get the truth is get Rick to prove it to her – not that this is something he’s gonna do.
Let’s home in on Ultimate Plot Thread. This kicks off when evil Morty conceals himself in the mass Morty rescue in S1 E10 Close Encounters of the Rick Kind. A heck of a lot of Mortys are recued so a good deal of Ricks must have been terminated. Evil Morty has had plenty of time to plan and hasn’t put all the eggs in one basket. We see a couple of wires dangling from his eye socket – if this doesn’t creep out your conspiracy receptors, where’ve you been living? This is great – we don’t have to expect more because the show is
Comedy (use a tired, world-weary voice – also see earlier)
but it’s great… and made greater when Evil Morty makes his pitch in S3 E7 The Ricklantis Mixup.
So let’s switch back to Close Encounters. Normally a trailing plot thread diminishes to the point of de minimus (always wanted to use that) in comedy. Why? Because it’s a joke – duh. In The Ricklantis Mixup it gets a huge refurbish… a face-lift… a bit of polish… whatever – and with a twist of chutzpah, the whole Rick metaverse folds into a new and nastier shape.
So: there are lots of Rickless Earths – maybe these Rickless Earths have fake Ricks, or maybe they just get along. C-137 Rick might have been on the run from evil Morty’s minions – what if evil Morty is Rick C-137’s true Morty? That means Earth C-137 has almost certainly never featured on the show.
Scenario: Rick is on the run – evil Morty will track him down instantly if he pops up on C-137. The Council of Ricks probably blame him for training an evil Morty as well as random other misdemeanours threatening all Ricks. They banded together to protect each other from assassination or they could be just jealous. The Council of Ricks was used to take out the Galactic Federation in our (his) dimension. There’ll be Galactic Federations in other dimensions but not too many Councils of Rick. In the chaos, evil Morty furthers his plan.
Why does Rick and Morty work? Blame Rick. He’s got attitude. He offers an always smart and snappy response plus instant take-downs that, not unsurprisingly, find relevance in this always live, challenging world we’ve created for our offspring. In this shit day and age of zero hours minimum wage where the salary sector has been stripped out and pimped abroad, where a crap present is guaranteed to morph into dire future – guaranteed – Rick metaphors to a slap in the face of the very few who benefit at the expense of the many in our real, non-cartoon Earth. It’s a switch-off from the crap that we’re forced to eat. It works. At a deep, philosophical level, this is coping – it’s not managing, it’s just coping.
So Rick’s cynical but is he totally disengaged? Rick’s life might revolve around Morty but in Rick Potion #9 – he leaves family behind on heavily mutated Earth – Cronenberg Earth. He needs Morty as camouflage from the Council of Ricks (and maybe evil Morty).
I get the feeling we’ll be remembering innocent, carefree murder and mayhem of the first three series with a certain childish nostalgia.
Keep it coming guys
Rick and Morty – Netflix in the UK, Adult Swim in the US
¹ Vanity Card – shorthand for Justin Roiland’s Solo Vanity Card Productions
Rating 4 out of 5.