“You know what? Not my table!”
If Rick and Morty did one thing correctly and consistently, it was the lampooning of sci-fi. So far throughout these three seasons, we’ve seen so many instances. From ‘Fantastic Voyage’ to the body horror of David Cronenberg, it doesn’t shy away from reference humour and still manages to stand up on its own two feet with a story of its own. The characters have subtle, realistic nuances and by now we’ve seen every character undergo their best dreams and worst nightmares.
Certainly, this episode was no exception to that rule.
There’s an old episode of Star Trek out there called The Enemy Within. Without going into too much detail, it splits the captain into two parts. Consisting of a good and evil half, the difference is only prevalent in their personalities. The good Kirk is not necessarily the hero either. He is timid and frightened, lacking stern judgement needed of a captain. His twin isn’t exactly an evil dictator that wishes to rule the galaxy. He is an animal that relies on base instincts, caring only for himself and his own desires. Both can’t live without each other and here we find an echo of this in Rick and Morty
Once again we see poor insecure Morty at the crossroads of destiny. Overhearing that Jessica is now single, he makes the bold move of asking her out but, perhaps inevitably, comes off as pathetic. Before Jessica and her friends can impale the poor guy with a rejection, Rick comes to save the day. Morty protests how he needs a normal teenage life but Rick doesn’t care for that, insisting this will be a twenty-minute adventure.
Cut to six days later being pursued by a nameless race of aliens and venturing into to heart of a Lovecraftian nightmare. And they survive by the skin of their teeth with a ragged and harrowed look on their faces. Rick confesses to not being in control of the situation, for once and so announces they need a vacation. Cue the titles!
So an alien day spa is the order of the day for the guys. After the guys are swallowed whole and expelled from what I can only assume is the mouth of a creature, they are offered a complimentary detoxification. And perhaps inevitably it doesn’t go according to plan, or perhaps this is exactly what was meant to happen. I’ll put money on the latter.
Anyway, our duo has their darker personas removed by force and are contained within a pocket dimension of the detoxification device. Rick’s narcissism and cruelty and Morty’s insecurity and fear are left behind, initially unaware of the transition that’s taken place and assume they’ve been trapped here.
Out in the real world, Rick is a shadow of his former self. While Morty is transformed into almost a completely different person, having left his self-doubt and worries far behind. Upon making the discovery of how they left their alter-egos behind, Morty is in no rush to return to his former life, urging Rick to let go of his other side.
But Rick feels responsible for leaving this part of him behind, fearful that he’ll eventually be accountable to his own toxic self. Yet Morty cares not for the reunification of his former self and instead goes for a change of pace, for better or worse. Though mostly for the better in terms of success and admiration.
What follows is an arduous quest for Rick to reunite himself and Morty with their toxic alter egos. However, the ‘good’ Rick is the only one concerned about getting everyone back together and, inevitably, a messy fight breaks out. Both Ricks are killed and reborn multiple times until Beth arrives home, leaving toxic Rick and Morty to escape and engage Plan B. Their goal is to make the entire world toxic, getting revenge on the good Rick for abandoning them in their toxic realm
Throughout we see the guys explore darker parts of themselves, but these are an integral part of them. Rick needs his carefree and destructive crazy self, while Morty isn’t himself if he’s not second guessing or making mistakes. Though it is nice to see Morty making an unimaginable success of his life, albeit for a moment. And quite frankly I enjoyed ‘evil’ Ricks attempt and subsequent success on ruining the world for five minutes. I had to rewind when people left a salad place and immediately rushed next door for the fast food. Those already inside the fast food joint made a beeline for the dumpster outside and that tickled me.
Season three came out swinging and it isn’t showing signs of slowing down anytime soon. It dares to touch on the delicate nature of humanity without being overly melodramatic. And on the flip side, it doesn’t hold back in its insanity. The humour is on form as ever, found either in crude or subtle forms throughout. And no trope is safe from its creative clutches. It starts strong, doesn’t meander too much in the middle and ends with a loud bang of resolve.
5 out of 5