TL;DR – One of the most Meta episodes of the show I have ever seen, and given that this is Rick and Morty that is saying something
Score – 4 out of 5 stars
Well, today we dive back into the world of Rick and Morty, a show that I have loved (see my review for Season Three) but it is also a show that I have developed an odd relationship with. This is because (and I am sorry but I am about to drop the D-word) a lot of the discourse around the show and a certain vocal minority of fans have created an unpleasant environment at times. The first part of Season Four kind of came and went for me, but now we are getting the second half of the season weekly, I thought it would be a good time to give it another go.
So to set the scene, we open in as a weary traveller hops on a train and gets his tickets stamped. He pulls up to the bar to get a drink, but all he gets is a story about how someone wants to kill Rick Sanchez (Justin Roiland). Suffering from one vignette to the next he escapes only to run into another traveller with the same problem and that is when things get weird (which for this show is saying something). Now from here, we will be looking at the episode as a whole, so there will be some [SPOILERS] ahead.
Today’s episode is this seasons version of Interdimensional Cable, where we get a lot of non-connected stories linked together with some kind of overarching narrative. Now in the past, that overarching narrative has been the barest bones needed to get Rick and Morty (Justin Roiland) to the couch to sit down and watch, but this time the overarching narrative might be one of the densest stories to date, or at least when you try to wrap your head around it.
This show has always been known for breaking the 4th wall and delving into more Meta commentary. However, this episode takes it to a completely new level by tearing apart the actual writing process for Rick and Morty and turning that into the story with the villain Story Lord (Paul Giamatti). In that end sequence, after they take a swipe at the shallow interpretations of Bechdel test, and before they take a swing at Christianity depictions in modern media (showing they’ll hit at both sides) is really something. It shows sequences that fans have been clamouring to see resolves like what happened to Tammy (Cassie Steele) and Phoenixperson (Dan Harmon), the return of Abrodolph Lincoler (Maurice LaMarche) all while decrying that none of this is canon … or is this? It walks a real fine line between giving the fans exactly what they want and also being a little condescending towards them, at it somehow manages not to slip off on either side.
In the end, Rick and Morty: Never Ricking Morty? Well, this is the most Rick and Morty episode of Rick and Morty that I have seen in a while. So if you like Rick and Morty then this is an episode for you. Or if you like the Meta deconstruction of narrative devices like The Hero’s Tale, then this might tickle your fancy. But if you are a bit lukewarm about the whole thing, I think you’ll bounce off this episode hard.
By Brian MacNamara: You can follow Brian on Twitter Here, when he’s not chatting about Movies and TV, he’ll be talking about International Relations, or the Solar System.
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Credits – All images were created by the cast, crew, and production companies of Rick and Morty
Directed by – Erica Hayes
Written by – Jeff Loveness
Created by – Justin Roiland & Dan Harmon
Production/Distribution Companies – Justin Roiland’s Solo Vanity Card Productions, Harmonious Claptrap, Green Portal Productions, Williams Street, Adult Swim & Netflix
Starring in Season 3 – Justin Roiland, Chris Parnell, Spencer Grammer & Sarah Chalke with Paul Giamatti, Christopher Meloni, Clancy Brown, Dan Harmon, Echo Kellum, Maurice LaMarche, Vanessa Marshall, Nolan North, Chris Romano, Cassie Steele, Tara Strong & Kari Wahlgren