TL;DR – Rick and Morty ends its fourth season on an interesting if odd note.
Score – 4 out of 5 stars
This has been a really interesting season with some stand out episodes like The Vat of Acid Episode and those that didn’t quite land like Childrick of Mort. However, now that we have reached the end of the season I wanted to take a moment to look back at both the final episode of the season with a title that you are sure a number of trademark lawyers were engaged to make sure they could use it, and also the season in general.
So to set the scene, back season three (goodness 2017 feels like a lifetime ago) in The ABC’s of Beth, Rick (Justin Roiland) and Beth’s (Sarah Chalke) relationship hit rock bottom and reached a point of no return. Rick offered Beth a choice where he could make a clone of her to live her life here while letting her go off on space adventures guilt free. Well fast forward to today and we discover that Rick did send Beth out on adventures and left a clone on Earth … maybe. Well that clone/or real Beth, it’s complicated, we’ll call her Space Beth to keep it simple, has been upsetting the New Galactic Federation. Which is about the time Space Beth discovered Rick put a bomb in her neck. So Space Beth comes back to Earth for some revenge, and maybe brings the whole Federation army with her. Now we will be looking at the episode/series as a whole and as such there will be some [SPOILERS] ahead.
There are many ways you could have closed out the season, but I am glad that they took the time to have an episode that revolved around the family coming together and being stronger because of it. This was the episode where everyone got an arc, and because it is Rick and Morty they took the time to let everyone know that everyone had an arc. Summer (Spencer Grammer) and Morty (Justin Roiland) started off warning with each other, but then when the world started to end they teamed up and slayed it in opposition to what they did in Childrick of Mort. Earth Beth and Space Beth had to come to grips really for the first time, just who their farther really is, and they both came out stronger in the end. Heck, even Jerry (Chris Parnell) got an arc about his puppetry skills, which might be the most Jerry thing ever.
While this was a relatively straight forward episode, compared to some of the others this season like One Crew over the Crewcoo’s Morty, it did still leave time to really dig into the weeds. There was an entire sub-plot involving product placement and the role it has in society that at first had me wondering if I had heard something correctly before really paying it off in the climax. There was also probably one of the series strongest fight sequences so far. We got a hint about it at the start when Rick and Space Beth duelled. It then reached a crescendo when Rick discovered himself in a ‘giant fight chamber’ and stumbled across an old friend/enemy in Phoenix-Person (Dan Harmon). This might be the first even battle Rick has been in.
This normally would have been a really cool episode to end on, it has some great one liners, interesting action scenes, and strong arcs for each of the characters. However, it can’t but help feeling a little odd given Never Ricking Morty which opened the season. This was an episode that didn’t just break the fourth wall it obliterated it and took the fifth, sixth, and seventh wall out with it. One of the plots revolved around giving fans (well some fans) what they wanted, with teases to multiple plot points that the series has left hanging over the years, while then immediately dismissing them. It felt like a conversation about when the show wants to be and what some people wants it to be. So lo and behold, I really didn’t expect them to four episodes later come back and actually answer some of those dangling plot threads.
Overall, this did feel like a very fractured season to me, though that might be more from it being cut up into two chunks (of which the first chunk got aired here in Australia much later than the rest of the world). This meant that nothing quite gelled together because it didn’t quite works as a group of episodes, or as a united story. I think this will change a bit when I get the chance to watch them again from start to finish as one whole group but I am not sure. I think this was helped by their being a big range between those episodes that slapped and those that didn’t click. It was also interesting to see that the end of Season Four mirrored the end of Season Three with the family continuing to have less need to Rick in their lives. This was something I thought would be explored a bit more this season given how Season Three ended, but we didn’t really see much of it before the season finale. The family dynamic is core to the show, and they feel like they want to shift it up but can’t seem to find a way to stop it from rebounding back.
In the end, do we recommend Star Mort Rick Turn of the Jerri & Season Four? Well, when it comes to the final episode I would say yes, yes we do. It was a strong closing episode with good character moments, with some of the best action in the show so far. With the season as a whole, I would still say yes, even though it did not land as well for me as last season. The question then becomes where do we go from here and I hope the answer is that I have no clue, because that is where there series always shines.
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 – Anne Lane
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 Susan Sarandon, Lauren Culjak, Dan Harmon, Tom Kenny, Maurice Lamarche, Nolan North, Nick Reczynski, Cassie Steele, Kari Wahlgren