By Aristophanes and Hermes
Today’s discussion of Rick and Morty contains spoilers through Season 3, Episode 8: “Morty’s Mind Blowers.” Reader discretion is advised.
Editor’s Note: The following transcript has been lightly edited for clarity, grammar and style.
Aristophanes (Ari): This week’s episode featured a montage of independent stories, memories that Rick had previously erased from Morty’s mind but kept stored in an underground vault. The structure was in the vein of two previous episodes: “Rixty Minutes” from Season 1 and its follow-up, “Interdimensional Cable 2: Tempting Fate” from Season 2.
But, honestly, I found this rendition a bit underwhelming. I didn’t think the quick, flash-cut stories were as creative as those from the two Interdimensional Cable episodes.
Hermes (Herm): I definitely think this was not as big of a hit as “Rixty Minutes,” but arguably better than “Interdimensional Cable 2.” Again, I am not really surprised as the writers have been trying different things with the show so they don’t fall into the same trap as The Simpsons, a show that used to be stellar but has now gone stale, or Family Guy, which was originally witty and full of pop culture references, but has since devolved into a string of terrible jokes.
(The creative laziness of Family Guy is especially apparent during the episodes that revolve around the family watching TV. The writers want the show to stay relevant, but they try to accomplish this by often “jumping the shark,” killing off a beloved character only to bring him or her back a few episodes later. Brian has become a much worse character; he is now a caricature of creator Seth MacFarlane rather than merely being based upon him.)
Long story short: The writers of Rick and Morty have seen how other adult-oriented cartoons have failed, and are clearly working to ensure their show avoids the same pitfalls. This is why Season 3 has, so far, been my favorite season yet. The creators are willing to try new things, many of which have worked quite well.
With this episode, specifically, they ditched the improvisational tone, a development for the better. While I enjoyed the individual TV gags of “Interdimensional Cable 2,” such as “Li’l Bits” and the competing Michael/Pichael shows, I think this episode told a story more relevant to the plot. Also, Rick’s breaking the fourth wall in that episode made it seem like they phoned it in a little. “Rixty Minutes,” on the other hand, had a B-plot that moved the narrative forward; that’s why the original Interdimensional Cable plotline worked, but the sequel did not.
Ari: I agree that this episode seemed to tie into the overall narrative of the show more nicely. We saw more character growth. Morty takes charge during the episode after both he and Rick had their minds completely wiped. Near the end, Summer takes charge as well, staying cool and confident to help Rick and Morty regain their memories. It fits with what I’ve been seeing more of in these later seasons: The non-Rick characters are just as important, and often just as resourceful and confident, as Rick has always been since the very beginning.
Herm: Summer has clearly developed the most among the cast of characters in Rick and Morty this year, and I think bringing in more women to help write the show has really been a huge help in doing that. Portions of the fanbase (i.e., the crazy alt-right part) have criticized the move, but this show would not be doing as well as it is now without the new additions. Summer used to just be a basic white girl/valley girl stereotype, and while she is still a basic white girl, she has very much evolved into her own, unique character. I think Summer is the most Rick-like character aside from the Ricks themselves, even though Morty is also developing in that direction.
Ari: I’m currently in the process of rewatching Season 1, and yes, I totally agree that Summer has evolved the most. After watching the first several episodes, I never believed I would love her character as much as I do now. And I appreciate how she is still the stereotypical teenage girl character in some aspects, but totally badass and confident in other ways; it makes her character more believable, relatable and comedic.
In general, this is something that I love about Rick and Morty, something that not every show would’ve done: Each family member gets his or her moments, and the focus isn’t always on just Rick and Morty. Beth, Jerry and Summer are fully realized characters, and, by now, we know what makes each of them tick.
Herm: I agree with you there. If Summer does something weird, such as pee her pants, or is a basic white girl and wants to throw a party, she doesn’t care if it’s “lame” or whatever.
Ari: What was your favorite Morty memory from the episode?
Herm: Well, I want to know way more about Mr. Poopybutthole proposing to Morty, and Morty literally in tears over it. Also, that’s just hilarious in general. Ooh-wee!
Ari: I was struck by how happy they looked. I wonder what happened?
Herm: Clearly Rick was not a fan of the relationship.
Ari: My favorite was definitely the squirrels memory. And we got a reference to “Rick Potion #9” when Rick mentioned they had to find a new reality to inhabit, a trick they can only pull a few times, tops.
Herm: I think Rick can actually pull that trick more frequently than he lets on; a small percentage of infinity is still a very large number. But I still enjoyed that as well.
Ari: Wait, are there really infinite alternate worlds in this series?
Herm: Yes, there are. However, what Rick means is there are only so many worlds in the central finite curve, as in, the ones that are virtually the same except that Rick and Morty died, left, etc.
Ari: OK, let me get this straight: There are an infinite number of worlds, but there are only a finite number of worlds with Rick and Morty in them?
Herm: There are an infinite number of worlds, but only a finite number of worlds that are exactly like the one they were previously in minus a small detail, usually regarding them.
For example, it would be weird if Rick and Morty went to live in a Cronenberg’d world when they are humans. Or if they went to a lizard alien world. Or if they went to a world where Beth and Jerry were in a loving marriage.
Ari: I just want to point out, mathematically that doesn’t quite make sense. If the number of worlds is truly infinite, there can’t be a finite set of a sub-condition of those worlds — there would be an infinite number of identical copies of each world. That’s because there are only a finite number of ways to rearrange atomic structures, so to have an infinite number of worlds requires having infinite copies of each world.
Herm: Exactly. Rick must be full of it.
Ari: I never even considered that Rick might be lying. Why would he lie, though? What’s the benefit?
Herm: Probably because he doesn’t want to have to move around a lot. It’s just laziness.
Ari: Or maybe it actually bothers him, emotionally, more than he wants to admit.
Herm: The answer is don’t think about it!
Ari: Exactly! Regardless, I did also want to mention my second favorite Morty memory: Beth choosing to save Summer over Morty. And without even thinking about it, too.
Herm: Yeah, that was beyond messed up.
Ari: It was messed up in a very Rick and Morty-type way. It reminded me a bit of the clown gag from Episode 6, and the brother who killed his sister in Episode 5. It just sticks in your mind.
Herm: The dark humor is part of the fun! It is obvious from the get-go their parents think Summer has more potential than Morty.
Ari: Maybe they’re right.
Herm: I think they both have high potential considering Summer’s role in Episode 2 and Morty’s storyline in last week’s episode.
Ari: Episode 2 was a very good Summer episode. But last week’s episode? Are you referring to how Evil Morty pretty much took over the Citadel of Ricks?
Ari: I’d also add Episode 6, where the detoxified Morty becomes a super successful Wall Street broker.
Herm: Very true!
Ari: So we have two episodes left in the season. What do you think we’ll see?
Herm: Well, going off the Rick and Morty Wikia page, I see we have two episodes left: “The ABCs of Beth” and “The Rickchurian Mortydate.”
Ari: So a Beth-centric episode and then something parodying The Manchurian Candidate?
Herm: For the former, Rick has built some sort of alternate world for Beth, and she doesn’t like it, no matter how hard Rick tried to make it good.
For the latter, the description reads: “Rick goes on a confrontation with the president.”
I think our Rick will be forced back into the Citadel of Ricks for some reason and likely try to kill Evil Morty. After all, political assassination is a large part of The Manchurian Candidate, and we’ve seen it on the show before with the Season 2 finale, “The Wedding Squanchers.”
It’s been pretty obvious our Morty has gotten increasingly cynical and negative. He might turn on Rick.
Ari: It’s interesting you think we’ll return to the Citadel in the season finale. I had just assumed the “president” mentioned in the episode description was the same president from Season 2’s “Get Schwifty.” But I hope I’m wrong; I’d love to see a confrontation between Rick C-137, aka our Rick, and Evil Morty. Bring on the political intrigue! ■
Rick and Morty airs Sundays at 11:30/10:30 CDT on Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim. The next episode is scheduled for September 24.
Rick and Morty Chats