The Philosophy of Rick and Morty

This is the main board for discussing philosophy - formal, informal and in between.

Re: The Philosophy of Rick and Morty

Postby gib » Sat May 06, 2017 3:03 am

This will be a very brief (brief as I can make it) take on episode 1 of season 3--The Rickshank Rickdemption.

I have to say, it was sheer genius--way more than I was expecting--and the way Rick got out of prison--well, I could never have imagined that in my wildest dreams. I always thought that somehow someone would have to rescue him... but I should have known--Rick always gets himself out.

So here's the customary disclaimer: spoiler alert!!!

Here's how he gets out. The gromflomites make the fatal mistake of trying to get intel out of him by plugging him into the Series 9000 Brainalizer--a machine that allows people to temporarily transplant their "soul" into another person's brain. One of the gromflomites is visiting Rick in a simulation of Shoney's inside his cerebellum (which, by the way, isn't at all the thinking part of the brain, has to do with hand/eye coordination and learned behaviors). He's trying to get Rick's secret formula for interdimensional travel. After going for a trip down memory lane (in Rick's brain), Rick ends up divulging the secret formula. The gromflomite signals his companions outside the brainalizer and they enter Rick's formula into their computers. That's when Rick informs the gromflomite that it wasn't his formula after all, but a virus giving Rick full control of the system.

Rick transfers over to the gromflomites brain, then begins to hop from one brain to another until he finds a suitable Rick body (not in prison) to settle in. The series goes: Rick C-137 --> Gromflomite --> Rick D-99 --> Commander and Chief Rick --> Quantum Rick (more on Quantum Rick later; suffice it to say, there is discontinuity between Commander and Chief Rick and Quantum Rick). He ends up at the Citadel of Ricks where he finds his way into the teleportation room (a control center responsible for teleporting the entire Citadel to some other place in space, perhaps across dimensions). He teleports the Citadel directly to the location of the prison he just escaped from, effectively blowing it up (well, partially). After killing two birds with one stone (i.e. destroying the two space stations he hates the most), he makes his way to level 9 of the prison.

Earlier, while possessing the Gromflomite's body, Rick is asked by the commanding officer Gromflomite why Rick would turn himself in, to which he responds: "Well, I'm just a dumb as bug, but it's possible Rick knew he'd be interogated at this facility where we not only keep our most wanted but our most sensitive data. Anyone here with level 9 access could-*burp*-I don't know, collapse the government." After rescuing Summer and Morty from a trial run by the Council of Ricks, Rick (the last one he migrates to) leads them into a (now bashed open) level 9, and says: "And that is how you get level 9 access without a password."

Then, making his way into a level 9 control center, he gets on the computer and topples the entire galactic government by converting the value of their currency to zero. Brilliant! And it works. The galactic federation leaves Earth like abandoning a spiralling stock on a crashing market.

All in one foul swoop!

Now, one point I want to dwell on is whether Rick (as the gromflomite) was actually telling the truth when he said: "Well, I'm just a dumb as bug, but it's possible Rick knew he'd be interogated at this facility where we not only keep our most wanted but our most sensitive data. Anyone here with level 9 access could-*burp*-I don't know, collapse the government." <-- It's not that I doubt that Rick had this in mind, but it's a question in my mind whether Rick had this in mind from the beginning. We can recall from the season 2 finally that the incident which prompted Rick to give himself in to the gromflomite government was Morty's speech that he (and at least his sister and mother) love Rick unconditionally (i.e. despite the fact that he brings nothing to their lives but destruction and trauma). In other words, it seemed pretty clear that Rick's motive at the end of season 2 was to do what he painfully came to grips with as the morally right thing to do, not to topple the government. So which is it? To allow his family to "have a normal life" in his words, or to topple the galactic government? But then again, maybe Rick is, yet again, killing two birds with one stone. My theory is that even if Rick knew he could do this all along, he never bothered because of his (well established) nihilistic outlook. We know that he is a self-loathing nihilist and doesn't care about what happens to himself or others. So who cares, from his perspective, whether the gromflomite government survives or is toppled. But I think Morty's words at the end of season 2 gave him a reason to put the plan into effect--not just for himself personally, but for his family. Yes, this theory takes a bit of the altruist wind out of Rick's sale, but killing two birds with one stone is not only typical of Rick but can still redeem his virtue if at least one of those birds is done in the name of his family--that is, a reason to care. In other words, Rick's wish for his family to "live a normal life" was not only sincere, but temporary. As altruistic as this may seem, he had bigger plans. He planned, during the interim, for his family to lead a normal life, but ultimately to free them of the gromflomite government all together, in which case it's a win/win (that is, for Rick and his family, obviously not for the gromflomites). All he needed was a reason to care, and Morty gave that to him.

But all the action and the genius of this episode weren't the only things that impressed me. I was also impressed at how well Roiland and Harmon recapitulated some of the most complex themes and lines of development throughout the series so far. They wrapped them up in a few simple speeches that Morty gives to Summer. They even revisit Cronenberg world in an attempt on Morty's part to show Summer some of the aweful things that Rick does.

Frantically determined to rescue Rick, Summer gets the bright idea to dig up his grave. This is prompted by Morty who delivers a little speech:

"He [Rick] bails on everybody! He bailed on mom when she was a kid! H-he bailed on Tiny Planet! [tying this into the season 2 finally] And in case I never made this clear to you, Summer, he bailed on you! He left you to rot in a world that he ruined! Because he doesn't care! Because nobody's special to him, Summer! Not even himself! So if you really want your grandpa back, grab a shovel. The one who won't let you down is burried in your back yard!"

^ A good way to sum up Rick, not to mention a reminder of the fact that Morty is an imposter in a reality in which he and Rick (the one's who actually belong here) are dead.

Burried with Rick is his portal gun--quite ingenius on Summer's part, I must say. Morty tries to persuade Summer to put it back. She says: "Fine, stay here! I'll rescue grandpa myself." Morty: "And how you gonna do that?" Summer: "I don't know yet. I'll make it up as I go. That's what grandpa Rick does. That's what heroes do." <-- A peek at Rick's personality from a different angle.

In an attempt to convince Summer that Rick is not worth worshiping as a hero, he uses the portal gun to bring her to Cronenberg world where they find Morty's original family, now turned barbaric and, in Summer's words, feral.

A group of Ricks from the Citadel of Ricks pop in for a visit, detecting the portal gun activity. They freeze all but Morty and Summer C-137 (still not sure if this Summer is C-137, or even if this Morty's C-137)--in any case, the Morty and Summer we're following. Morty stops them by announcing that he's C-137. Summer then goes on a speil about how their Rick's been captured by the federation, and out of concern that Citadel secrets might fall into the federations hands, the Ricks decide to dispatch seal team Ricks into the federation to assassinate Rick C-137 (that's how C-137 managed to migrate his mind into Rick D-99).

Morty and Summer are, of course, taken prisoner and put before a trial--the Council of Ricks--where Morty gives Summer this speech:

"I wanted you to have a normal life. That's something you can't have when Rick shows up. Everything real turns fake. Everything right is wrong. All you know is that you know nothing and he knows everything. And, well... well, he's not a villan, Summer, but he shouldn't be your hero. He's more like a demon or a super fucked up god."

^ That's Rick in a nut shell.

And on the way to the trial, Summer is taken aback by the very existence of, in her words, "a city of grandpas". Morty explains to her what the Citadel of Ricks is:

"It's the Citadel of Ricks. All the different Ricks from all the different realities got together to hide here from the government. [Summer: But if every Rick hates the government, why would they hate grandpa?] Because Ricks hate themselves the most, and our Rick is the most... himself."

These few quotes of Morty's do a bang up job of summarizing two whole seasons of Rick.

Then there's the end scene--a.k.a. the szechuan sauce scene / the 97 years scene--which is patently similar to the scene at the end of the Pilot. What is the meaning of this scene? What does the szechuan sauce symbolize?

I have a few ideas of what the szechuan sauce symbolizes, but for the sake of brevity, I'd rather talk about my theory of the imposter Rick. Why does Rick come across as so menacing to Morty in this scene--effectively telling him he doesn't give a shit about him, that the only reason he brought him and Summer back was because Beth wouldn't accept him as the de facto patriarch of the family (and Morty's universe), as he puts it, now that Jerry's out of the picture (well, at least he seems to respect Beth). My theory is that this isn't Rick C-137, not even mentally. When Rick went mind hopping from one body to another, there is a break in the continuity of scenes between Chief and Commander Rick and Quantum Rick (the Rick on the Council with the afro). After Chief and Commander Rick goes to take a shit, the scene cuts outside the Citadel/prison hybrid where a great space war is going on. The next time we see a Rick masquarading as C-137, it's Quantum Rick. He un-ruffles his hair to get the spiky doo that we're all familiar with. This *could* be Rick C-137 occupying the body of Quantum Rick, or it could really be Quantum Rick masquarading as C-137 in an attempt to acquire Morty and Summer for himself (or it could be any arbitrary Rick masquarading as Quantum Rick, then masquarading as C-137).

Point is, we're not given a scene in which C-137 uses the Brainalizer to transfer his mind from Chief and Commander Rick to any other Rick, so we don't actually know if this one is really C-137. But this is the one who ends up bringing Summer and Morty back to the Smith's household and posing as C-137. He even says in the stand-off with Riq IV: "That's not even my original Summer." <-- Now, the stand-off scene is actually quite complex. Rick could be telling the truth here or just bluffing. When Morty points the gun at Rick, Rick says to him: "I wasn't gonna let her die, you fucking moron!" <-- This too is ambiguous. Is he telling the truth or trying to rile Morty up by making him feel stupid, thereby giving him an excuse to really dig into him, which of course compells Morty to shoot him, which is what he wanted all along.

The punchline of the theory is that the reason Rick seems so "dark" (in Morty's words) during the szechuan sauce scene is because this Rick has just now reunited with Beth (at least a different version of Beth) and has not yet had the chance to bond with Morty and Summer. The real Rick C-137 has spent two seasons going on adventures with Morty, bonding with him, feeling like this is his real grandson. But this Rick, at this moment, doesn't give a shit about Morty. His whole modus operandi, the szechuan sauce he's after, that all Ricks are after, is to get his daughter back.

I'll bet episode 2 begins with the real Rick C-137 (albeit in some other Rick's body) showing up through a portal and shooting the imposter Rick.

On this note, it should be addressed that from here on in, not only will we have to deal with doubts that the Rick we're follow in any given episode is really C-137, but even if it is, it will never be Rick C-137's body. Rick C-137's original body got a hole blasted in its head by Rick D-99--presumably never to be resurrected again.

Now speaking of the szechuan sauce, how much truth was revealed in the fabricated origin story that Rick fed to the gromflomite invading his brain? It's true that what we're given in the script is that the origin story was fabricated by Rick (and by this, all that's meant is: Rick felt comfortable--that is, in control--when delivering it to the gromflomite--for it seems clear that "emotionally speaking...Shoney's is [Rick's] home," meaning that so long as he's in his comfort zone, in control of the situation, which he would easily be in contriving some bullshit origin story to a dumb ass bug, or pretty much anybody, he can fabricate anything he wants--hence: "We never left the Shoney's!")--but even fabrications often involve elements of truth. For example, the fact that in the fabricated origin story, Rick has a daughter named Beth is, obviously, true. In fact, I'd be hard pressed to encounter some bullshit story that some con artist makes up in which he didn't borrow elements of truth; the point is, Rick can make up whatever he wants so long as he still feels comfortable, still feels in control. <-- That's the key.

(It's interesting, by the way, that what appears to be "comfortable" to Rick is not just sitting at Shoney's with a cup of coffee, but spending that time with his family, even Jerry <-- This is ultimately where he'd prefer to be).

What I think is true of the (quasi) fabricated origin story is that, somehow, in some way, Rick's original Beth died (or at the very least, he somehow lost her). This is what I think the szechuan sauce represents: Beth. <-- Beth is Rick's "one armed man". Rick's original Beth is lost forever. The best he can do is appropriate some other Rick's Beth--like he did in Rick Potion #9--and even though, like Morty getting used to the reality he and Rick hijacked at the end of episode 6 of season 1, Rick can slip into the pretend roll of being Beth's real father, deep down it doesn't really satisfy--like enjoying only the memory of some delicious szechuan sauce; Rick is always going to be haunt by the (supposed) loss of his daughter. <-- The origin story that Rick feeds the gromflomite may have been fabricated, but I predict at least this much is true.

(After all, it was the gromflomite who drew Rick's attention to his memory of Beth: "Is that your memory of her out there? Between where you were on 9-11 and your favorite sports blooper?" <-- Obviously, he did uncover something in Rick's memory, something tragic, of what happened to Beth.)

Now this theory does deserve some attention drawn to its logical ramifications: strickly speaking, this theory says that the imposter Rick has, as his modus operandi, his szechaun sauce, to get his daughter back and that he's willing to accept a substitute Beth in her place. Is this true of Rick C-137? Is it true of all Rick's? Well, the first logical ramification of this theory is that it can't be true of all Ricks. Beth is alive and well in at least two realities--the Cronenberg reality and the "substitute" reality that Rick dragged Morty into in Rick Potion #9 (nothing comes to mind when I think about season 1 and season 2 that would mandate that Beth is alive in any other reality). In the "substitute" reality, we know that the Rick of that reality died. What we don't know is whether that Rick was Beth's real father (i.e. whether the Rick who died is genetically connected to that Beth) or he too hijacked that reality, on an earlier occasion, in order to acquire a substitute Beth. But in either case, some Rick must have donated his sperm to some woman (presumably some version of Dianne) in order to produce that Beth. Maybe it was the Rick who died in the explosion, maybe not. Point being that at least some Ricks had Beth's who did not die.

Now there is also the logical possibility that some Ricks died leaving their Beth's behind. Obviously, the Rick who C-137 replaced in Rick Potion #9 is a case in point. After all, if all Ricks whose Beth died, and therefore are compell to find a replacement Beth in some other reality, actually succeed, that means there are some Beths who survived and whose Ricks are out of the picture (either dead or exiled or some such). That means that while some Ricks lost their Beth, some Beths lost their Ricks. This also implies the logical possibility that some Ricks and their Beths never lost each other at all! Doesn't mean that other Ricks didn't kill them (or exile them, or drive them out in some way), but it does mean, as in the case of Rick C-137 taking over the reality of the alternate Rick in Rick Potion #9, that Ricks don't have to kill or drive out other Ricks in order to pose as the original Ricks of the reality they hijack. They can just seek out a reality in which the Rick of that reality died or disappeared or some such by way of other causes.

Given the facts of the story, according to the script so far, we are to presume that Rick C-137 was absent from the Smith family for some odd 15 to 20 years. <-- This too is an element that has implications for the logical ramification of this theory (the imposter Rick theory), namely that if all (or some) Ricks are just trying to find substitute Beths, why would Rick C-137 enter into this Beth's life after 20 years (or 15, depending)?

One possibility as that Rick C-137 actually did acquire a Beth at the young age at which she died, but then lost her again at her current age (30, 40, or whatever age she happens to be), and so just repeated his previous "fix". After all, Rick did say at the end of Rick Potion #9: "It's not like we can do this every week anyways, we get, like, 3 or 4 of these tops!" <-- Suggesting that he's done this before. Another logical possibilities is that Rick C-137 at least waits for the Rick of a particular reality he's targeting to die on his own accord (i.e. naturally, from some freak accident, gets murdered, whatever) and it happened that in the reality he was targeting, its Rick died when Beth was at the age of 30 or 40 or whatever, and for the 15 to 20 years before that, he was "predisposed" (i.e. abandoned the family for selfish reasons, got captured by the gromflomites, was trying to protect his family from all his enemies by staying as far away from them as possible, etc.). <-- The only question that arises for this logical possibility is: why would Rick wait so long if there would most likely be so many other realities in which that reality's Rick dies (or moves out of the picture) much earlier? The answer is: because Rick C-137 wants a Beth who comes closest to his original Beth... and if that requires waiting 30 or 40 years, maybe to C-137 it's worth it.

In any case, can't wait to see what season 3 has in store. I'm not even done my analysis on season 2, and I doubt I'll complete it even after season 3 has been fully aired on Adult Swim several months from now (at least at the current pace). This will unquestionably taint my analysis of what's left of season two (at least from the point at which season 3 begins to be aired) and it will be interesting to see whether I'm compelled to go back on some of my past analysis to add certain "updated" insights and to see what comes of all this. As you probably know by now, I have no reservations about spoiling! (Though I'm cautious enough to respect my "spoiler alerts" duties that are unambiguously due). So I'll not only continue to deliver my thoughts on any given episode but let you all know, straight up, when I'm borrowing insights from season 3 and to let you know in detail where those insights come from (again, with all due spoiler alerts). I don't think, however, that I'll ever pursue this (frankly unhealthy) obsession beyond season 2, so once I'm done my analysis on season 2, that's it for me. Not that anyone cares, but if you want a breakdown of season 3 in terms of philosophical messages and character analysis, well... do it yourself.
My thoughts | My art | My music | My poetry

In fact, the idea that there's more differences between groups than there is between individuals is actually the fundamental racist idea.
- Jordan Peterson

right outta high school i tried to get a job as a proctologist but i couldn't find an opening.
- promethean75

Ahh... gib, zombie universes are so last year! I’m doing hyper dimensional mirror realities now.
- Ecmandu
User avatar
resident exorcist
Posts: 8929
Joined: Sat May 27, 2006 10:25 pm
Location: in your mom

Re: The Philosophy of Rick and Morty

Postby gib » Tue May 09, 2017 3:26 am

A couple questions:

1) What reality does the Citadel of Ricks reside in? At the end of season 2, when they were on Tiny Planet, Rick and the Smiths were, presumably, in their home reality (C-137 <-- Assuming Rick took on the identity of C-137 at the end of Rick Potion #9.) Then Rick surrendered himself to the galactic federation and was taken to the giant space prison. The opening of The Rickshank Rickdemption has him in the brainalizer 9000 at the prison--so still in reality C-137--then seal team Ricks break in, Rick C-137 zaps himself into D-99's brain, then makes his way across the galaxy to the Citadel of Ricks. There is no indication in the script that he passed through a portal on the way here, so we must conclude that the Citadel of Ricks is in reality C-137 at the time of Rick's Brainalizer interrogation. This also means we have no right to assume the teleportation feature of the Citadel can actually hop dimensions (but I think it's fair to say it can, being based on Rick technology and all), so for all we know, the Citadel always resided in reality C-137. If it can hop dimensions, then what was it currently doing in reality C-137? Either way, are we to presume this is just amazing coincidence? Are are to presume that there are multiple Citadels, perhaps one for every Rick who's a member? But then which Citadel does the Council of Ricks occupy at any given moment. If there are more than one Citadel, it means Rick C-137 hasn't seen the end of the other Ricks.

(Just as an aside, I wonder if the Citadel of Ricks was what the alternate Rick in his "fabricated memory" was talking about: "Dude, you have yourself, your infinite selves. It's a non-stop party where the only guests are the only person we like." Rick C-137's rejection of it is why they ended up calling him "The Rogue").

2) I'm second guessing Rick's motives about turning himself into the galactic federation. Now I'm thinking he toppled the government and the Citadel of Ricks for his family. In other words, Rick's choice to perform a selfless move at the end of season 2 was genuine, except that it wasn't what it looked like. It seemed like a move to turn himself in so that his family could be safe, but it was really a move to topple the government and the Citadel of Ricks so that his family, and the rest of the galaxy, could be safe. <-- That nicely ties together the seeming contradiction between the end of season two and the beginning of season 3. There's still the question of why Rick only did it after Morty's speech. Maybe it's because all this time, Rick held onto some doubts about joining the Citadel. He was torn, in other words, between finding connection with his other selves or with his family. So rather than risk his life trying to topple the government from inside a prison, having to somehow escape the Brainalizer, he could just find refuge at the Citadel completely risk free. But Morty's speech about loving Rick unconditionally, and that unconditional love expects nothing back in return, convinced Rick that his chances of finding connection with his family far out weighed his chances of finding connection at the Citadel. <-- So that made the decision for him--topple both the government for the sake of his family, and the Citadel.
My thoughts | My art | My music | My poetry

In fact, the idea that there's more differences between groups than there is between individuals is actually the fundamental racist idea.
- Jordan Peterson

right outta high school i tried to get a job as a proctologist but i couldn't find an opening.
- promethean75

Ahh... gib, zombie universes are so last year! I’m doing hyper dimensional mirror realities now.
- Ecmandu
User avatar
resident exorcist
Posts: 8929
Joined: Sat May 27, 2006 10:25 pm
Location: in your mom

Re: The Philosophy of Rick and Morty

Postby gib » Tue Jul 04, 2017 5:28 am

Rick and Morty - S2E3 - Auto Erotic Assimilation

Sorry folks, I tried. I tried putting this all together in one post, but alas... this part 1 of a 2 part analysis.

This episode touches on a brand new sphere of philosophy, and Rick's life--that of love and lust. It also explores the opposite extreme in how the secondary plot line plays out, the plot line featuring Jerry and Beth really digging into each other, really at each other's throats--you would never think love and lust subsists between these two in this episode. And when it comes to Jerry in particular, he really hits the nail on the head--he delivers a blow of harsh truth to Beth that really hits home--he calls her on her daddy issues, going so far as to say: "Your relationship with your father is psychotic!" <-- I wouldn't exactly call this "manning up" though--more like reaching a breaking point and just saying what he really thinks.

But even in the main plot line--the one featuring Rick rekindling a lost love, a passionate, romantic affair with a girl--there is a sort of third plot line--one featuring Morty and Summer getting wrap up in some precarious affairs that touch on issues of race and prejudice, and here especially, in comparison to most other episodes, we see the folly of the liberal mindset, embodied in Summer and her liberal ideals. Morty, on the other hand, though of course still being somewhat on the liberal side of things, shows how he's been "cultured", or "nurtured" so to speak, by Rick's leveling influence--he kind of stands back and watches, knowingly, Summer's idealistic naivety.

The episode begins with Rick, Morty, and Summer flying through the ring of a planet, like dust, singing "Love!... Connection!... Experience!" <-- Yes, even Rick can let loose when their lives aren't in jeopardy.

Then the distress beacon goes off. It's the S.S. Independence. Rick seems unusually happy about it. Morty questions this. Rick responds:

"The first rule of space travel, kids, is always check out distress beacons. 9 of out 10 times is a ship full of dead aliens and a bunch of free shiiit... [turns directions abruptly]... 1 out of 10 times it's a deadly trap, but I'm willing to roll those dice!"

They arrive at the abandoned space ship--the S.S. Independence--and start exploring its dingy, cobweb covered halls (I guess spiders live on other planets). Rick spray paints the symbol of the Korblocks on the wall:

Rick: "This will makes the cops write it up as a looting by the Korblocks. [Summer: That's horrible.] I hear ya, man. Cops are racist."

Then the crew of the S.S. Independence show up. They look quit similar to humans except for their blue skin and three stubby antennae at the top of their head, looking like three small light bulbs.


They explain their situation of distress: "Can you help us? Our planet was taken over by some kind of... entity. It absorbed the minds of our people." Another one says: "We didn't notice it until it was too late. The people it takes over, they, they look like your friends, your family, your leaders, but they're not... 'themselves' anymore. They're part of... 'it'."

Rick: "And... how do you know it didn't get on the ship with you? Those two ding dongs seem pretty calm about the whole thing."

The two ding dongs point to Rick and let out a deafening screech not unlike that of the victims in Invasion of the Body Snatchers. They grab the other members of the crew and start puking neon green/yellow goop into their mouths. Rick pulls out a gun and says, "Hold it." The now completely assimilated crew turns to Rick with a smug look on their faces and says: "Hello Rick, long time no see."

"Unity?!" Rick says.

Summer: "Grandpa?" Morty: "Rick?"

Rick: "Oh boy, uh, these are my grand kids, Summer and Morty. Summer, Morty, this is, uh, Unity. We sort of used to, uh... date."

The next scene pans through another world, the world of the blue light bulb heads, showing scenes of a kind of utopian society. It looks clean, advanced, peaceful, a paradise on Earth (or whatever planet they're on). Music in the background plays not unlike that in the opening scene of Back to the Future III when Marty brings a passed out Emit Brown to his home. We see blue light bulb head fathers pushing their children on swings in a park. We see people watering their lawns in a peaceful neighborhood. We see citizens having lunch in the sun, sitting around tables in the open air, just outside cafes.

They land the SS Independence--now a joke of a name--and Unity (re)introduces herself to Rick--except this time in the body of a mega-hot bombshell of a super voluptuous woman--can't be much older than 30--and note that Unity is not just the one woman, although she is, of course, possessing this woman. Unity gets to choose who she gets to engage with Rick as. And she knows Rick. She knows that Rick just wouldn't have it any other way unless he gets to engage with Unity as a hot brunette with voluptuous curves and huge boobies. At the same time, also note that she engages with Rick as an intellectual, dressed like an aggressive business woman or politician. The glasses say it all: sexy but smart. It's the only way Rick is going to be interested.

She does, however, diversify herself, speaking to Rick through other beings close by. This bombshell of a gorgeous brunette is accompanied by what looks like secret service agents--men in black, so to speak--and they too engage with Rick: "Then I found this world, [switching to another agent:] where I was better able to focus on my passion for unification." <-- So obviously, Unity didn't start as a blue light bulb head (and there's no indication in the episode of what Unity did start out as).

Summer: "You mean stealing people's bodies?"

Rick: "[slapping his forehead] Summer... rude." <-- Wow, Rick standing up for someone other than himself, not to mention Summer having no qualms about being rude, not unlike Rick himself--although it becomes obvious as the episode unfold that Summer is saying this out of moral principles, unlike Rick who would say such a thing out of callous disregard.

Rick sends Morty and Summer off with Unity, while he and Unity do some catching up--that is, a few blue light bulb heads escort Morty and Summer off the scene. But not without some resistance on Morty's part: "Wait, Rick, aren't these people gonna barf into our mouths and absorb us?!" Unity: "You're guests here on my planet. You're free to be yourselves." <-- Oh wow, what a privilege--but it does speak of Unity's respect for Rick.

Beth: "Jerry, what're, what're you doing in here?" She catches him snooping for something in the garage.

Jerry: "Trying to find our weed wacker, 'cause our weeds are wack, yo."

^ This sets the stage for the "lover's quarrel" that Jerry and Beth are going to get into throughout the rest of the secondary plot line. And it's interesting how it starts out: Beth notices Jerry looking for something in the garage--the most mundane, innocuous thing a man can do in his own house--and yet, she reacts with alarm, as though he is trespassing on forbidden grounds. Jerry confirms the innocence of what he's doing by explaining, quite honestly, that he's looking for the weed wacker--the kind of thing you would expect a man to do when he is focused on tending to his property. The idea that this constitutes "trespassing" or something worth being suspicious over, as Beth seems to be, is a little bit off to say the least.

And as an aside, I'm not sure what game Roiland and Harmon were playing by making Jerry speak in what Beth calls "that hip-hop dialect"--and he does lay it on pretty thick in this early scene--not sure what it's supposed to imply--maybe that Jerry has to switch to this "hip-hop" mindset in order to call it as it is, to hit Beth with the harsh truth:

Now, in Beth's defense, Jerry is acting as the "man of the house"--even though, next to Rick, he rightfully should be--but next to Beth, perhaps he shouldn't be--if in this day and age, both man and woman are supposed to share their assets, including the house, including the garage, then Beth's say in this affair counts as equally relevant to Jerry's. Nonetheless, if there was only one person in this lover's tiff who was right and the other wrong, it would have to be Jerry. It is patently clear, at this point in the series, that Beth is obviously speaking from daddy issues whereas Jerry is peaking more from common sense. Jerry has much to learn about empathizing with his wife's point of view, but even if he were to do so, he's still be right.

But all that is interrupted by a strange alien-like gurgling screech. Jerry pushes away a rug to uncover a hatch (not one of Rick's most brilliant moves, I have to say--it's like hiding incriminating evidence under the bed).

Jerry: "Your father put a hatch in my garage!"

Beth: "You don't know it was him!"

Rick stops by a news paper stand--the headline reads: "world peace achieved"--so simple for a borg like collective, hinting that maybe unifying, against their will, what were once individuals, is on the whole a good thing.

We see the news paper guy accept a few coins from a customer in exchange for a news paper, showing that even though Unity has joined an entire planet in one collective consciousness, she still has to make sure everything runs according to the ordinary agendas of the day, the economic pattern that was in place even before she took over; one might not think this is necessary, one might think that, once unified, what need would there be to exchange cash for goods and services, for a monitory or even a barter system at all. But it makes one think: how would the world run if not through an economic system, a system of give and take, of exchanges of this good or service for that good or service? Couldn't a whole civilization make the world run just out of the sheer appreciation that work has to be done--if not only for others, then at least for the returns that come to one's self? Couldn't Unity provide some good or some service to herself (as another person) simply out of appreciation for the fact that, that person as Unity herself, wants--needs--that good or service just in order to survive, just in order to keep the world--again, as Unity herself--going? To preserve an economic system in this case would be like paying one's self some amount of cash in order to provide to one's self that which one's self wants in the first place. Why?

But perhaps this is the point Rick was making--as sort of self-mockery on the part of Roiland and Harmon--when he said: "Little weird to publish a paper about it for yourself, but hey." <-- Maybe narcissism is something Rick and Unity have in common.

From there, Unity explains to Rick, through a series of different blue light bulb heads, what her ambitions are: she has aspirations to join the galactic federation; she claims that "after I become a 'type 1' civilization, this world will be invited into the galactic federation." From there, she claims, she will have access to countless worlds, world she can unify, thereby becoming, in her words, a god. <-- Here we see one of the features which contrasts Rick and Unity: Unity aspires to become a god, Rick thinks he's already a god (and skipping ahead to episode 1 of season 3, we see this may not be far off from the truth). This theme will tie in to the end scene.

Rick asks where they can get a drink. Unity informs him that she phased out recreational substances. She reasons: "There's no need for escape from the self when your world is one." <-- This is one thing the Citadel of Ricks lacks: even though we see in episode 1 of season 3 that the Ricks seek out the same thing with themselves as Unity seeks out by assimilating herself with other beings (i.e. "Dude, you have yourself, your infinite selves, it's a non-stop party where the only guests are the only person we like. You think it's cool being the smartest man on Earth, but once we give you this technology, you become the smartest thing in every conceivable universe, the infinite Rick, a god.") Obviously, this is not enough to compel Rick to kick his substance abuse problem, and according to Unity, it's because the Ricks can't psychically connect with each other to become a collective. <-- I'm not entirely convinced this logic makes sense, however, unless what Unity means is that the main point of doing alcohol and drugs is to escape from other people who are not part of one's self, or perhaps in order to join others who are not one's self, as in the way alcohol can help a person bond with others, lowering his self-masking inhibitions (but I wouldn't exactly call the drive to bond with others a drive to escape the self). But what Unity has established is a whole planet of beings who are psychically connected right down to the core of their being--there's no hiding here--the catch being that it's not genuine bonding with truly "other" people--for what Unity has done, after all, is replace others with herself.

Rick makes a dumb comment about how Unity used to be more wild. Unity responds that as she's gathered more beings into her collective, she's changed*, she's grown. Rick tries to convince her that he's grown too because he's reconnected with his family. "Why is that, I wonder," says Unity. "Maybe it's part of getting old," Rick says, "Maybe I just miss being with [grabs her hand] a collective." Then he kisses her. He keeps on kissing her. Other blue light bulb heads surrounding them and chant: "Yes, Rick, yes... yes."

(* It's interesting that she ends this speech with "Sorry to disappoint you, I've grown" when just a few minutes earlier, she says to Morty and Summer: "I've never been any good at disappointing Rick." As the episode unfolds, we see that what she means by the latter is that she knows how to sink to Rick's level. Growing, in other words, is what's disappointing to Rick, particularly in this scene where the conversation revolves around growing beyond drugs and alcohol.)

I find the hopping from one body to another throughout this scene very interesting. It really adds a sense of jarring contrast between the romantic reconnection that Rick and Unity are going through and who exactly Unity is, who Rick understands himself to be reconnecting to. This entire conversation starts with Unity as the hot babe she introduced herself as when they landed, and after the scene with Beth and Jerry discovering the hatch in the garage floor, we find Rick talking about achieving world peace with Unity as a newspaper salesman (literally a man), then the customer who buys a newspaper, then a young black woman (who is blue), then an old lady, then a mailman, then a greasy looking homeless man, and finally a sexy looking police officer. <-- This is the one he kisses. What would happen if Unity ended with the homeless man? Would Rick have made the suave move that lead to the kiss? Makes you wonder who's in control.

In any case, this scene raises the larger question: who is Unity really? On a first impression, we get to know her as the hot bombshell we saw near the beginning (when Rick, Morty, and Summer dismounted from the ship), and the writers intend for us to continue with this impress as this woman fills in as the "default" representative of Unity, but really she could just as easily be represented as the old woman who explained how all drugs and alcohol were phased out. It's questionable whether we even have the right to assume Unity is female. I mean, Rick and Unity did have a love affair some time in the past but in Unity's words: "Rick, when we met, I was a young hive mind at the time, with the population of a small town." It's not even clear from this whether Unity had assimilated blue light bulb heads or some other species (probably some other species given that it took so long for Rick to recognize her at the beginning). Either way, Unity was (most likely) a mix of men and women when they first met. What was Unity's original sex? Male or female? Does Rick know? Does the fact that she's sexually attracted to Rick indicate that she was female? Or does she simply become attracted to Rick in virtue of occupying female bodies from time to time (or if she was originally male, was she gay? Would Rick have been informed of this?). Or perhaps she was originally from an asexual species or some kind of asexual life form. In any case, it's a mystery, and it's unclear how much Rick knows about the original Unity.

(For that matter, why would her parents have named her 'Unity'? Did they expect that she was destined to assimilate whole civilizations? Was she born of a species for whom psychic assimilation was perfectly natural, and in that case, why 'Unity'? That would be like naming your newborn baby 'human'.)

Rick's words: "Maybe I just miss being with a collective," needs to be interpreted subtly. At first, it sounds like it echoes Rick's longing to belong to a family again, or just to a community of some kind. But why did Rick say with a collective rather than part of a collective? He wants to be among friends and family, among lovers, among a community, but without being assimilated like a mindless borg. He wants to be accepted but still an individual.

Then Rick breaks from the kissing and says to Unity: "Wait, wait, stop. Ho-hold it. Not like this. We need a hang glider, and a crotchless uncle Sam costume, and I want the entire field of your largest stadium covered end to end with naked redheads, and I want the stands packed with every man who remotely resembles my father." <-- The ultimate pornography. It's interesting that having his father watch him bang a bunch of redheads is important to Rick. What does this say about him? Could it be a glimpse into his past, of his upbringing? What was his father like? How did he treat him? (If the theory that Rick is really an old man version of Morty, then Rick's father is Jerry.) I wonder if Rick's father shamed Rick when he was a kid. Maybe Rick was a nerdy little kid only interested in science, too shy to talk to girls, too awkward for girls to take an interest in him, and maybe his father shamed him for sticking his nose too much into science and not enough into going out and chasing girls. Maybe this is Rick's way of making himself feel redeemed in his father's eyes. Maybe daddy issues run in the family.

Meanwhile, a bunch of blue light bulb heads are carving out a mountain in the image of Morty and Summer, much like Mount Rushmore, while Morty and Summer sit back eating hamburgers, watching the whole thing unfold in a matter of seconds.


Morty is (as usual) quite impressed. Seeing that Summer still looks miffed, he says:

"What's your problem? They're making you into a Mount Rushmore. They made burgers."

Summer: [Sits up as a blue light bulb head fans her with a giant leaf] "Morty, open your eyes. There is no 'they'. These poor people's bodies are being used. They're a planet of puppets."

The man fanning Summer says: "I can hear you."

Morty: "Well, it seems like everybody here's cool with it... except for all those redheads. They seem like they're in a hurry to be somewhere else."

Then the sex scene happens:

Now Rick did say he wanted a crotchless uncle Sam costume, and if you pause the scene right at this shot here, you can see a little something:


One can only imagine how he landed.

I also take the Uncle Sam outfit to be a sign of right-wing conservatism.

Cutting back to Beth and Jerry, they've somehow managed to open the hatch. They hear gargling, like from an alien creature writhing in pain. Jerry says he's going down there:

"Beth, this is my house, which makes this my garage, my secret hatch, my subterranean lair, and my faceless gargler. Now, are you gonna keep hatin' this player, or are you gonna jack my steez?" Beth responds: "Okay, you're just making stuff up now."

^ Still not sure what this urban dialect is supposed to insinuate.

Rick steps out of the stadium in a yellow house coat (same one he wore in S3E1 in his memory of where he was on 9-11) looking rather exhausted. He leans up against a lamp post and chugs his water. Unity comes out as 3 young redheads also in house coats (and high heels) plus 4 men in white button up shirts and ties who are presumably Sanchez Senior look-a-likes? If this really is what they represent, then we at least get an idea of what Rick's father looked like... except for the one with the goatee--he looks a little off from the others--but Rick did say "every man who remotely resembles my father"--that covers pretty much anyone.


The lead redhead says:

"Oh Rick, that was so bad."

Rick responds: "What's this 'was' stuff. I just need to rehydrate, then we're doing that again."

Now we all know that Rick excels at everything, but usually that's because of his higher intelligence. Now we see him excelling at sex, able to satisfy a whole stadium of redheads and ready to do it again. Did his intelligence help him here? Did he invent a gadget to give him more stamina, a bigger erection, extra appendages? Maybe intelligence isn't his only virtue.

Then 6 ships land in their vicinity. "Oh damn," says Unity. Rick: "Listen, if this is an invasion, I gotta sit this one out, but I'll-I'll be back to have sex with the survivors." Unity: "It's a neighboring hive mind species, beta-7. Our planets maintain a practical alliance for exchange of vital resources... [whispers] so be nice."

Beta-7 definitely isn't a hot sexy bombshell. In fact, his hive seems more assimilated than Unity--at least the bodies that Unity takes over are all different in appearance--all beta-7's bodies look identical--a race of pale white, sickly, somewhat chubby, cyborg men:


Unity introduces Rick, calling him her "single minded friend". Beta-7 responds that Unity has spoken of him. Jokingly, Rick says in a pompous tone "All bad I hope," and slaps the lead Beta-7 on the shoulder, eliciting the same loud, screechy, Invasion of the Body Snatchers reaction. Rick reacts: "Woaw, Jesus Christ!" Unit gives Beta-7 shit. Beta-7 responds in the manner of what Trixie calls a cuck: "When Beta-7 expresses concern, i-it's only b-because..."

Rick interrupts: "Oh snap! Powdered neutronium?! Amphetetron?! You know what I can make with this stuff?" Unity hesitates, but Rick twists her very rubbery arm, and she gives in--effectively ending years of complete drug abstinence (or however long it was). They walk off together giggling and being flirtatious. Beta-7 walks off looking rather dejected, even a bit miffed. "You know, I think," says Rick before belching, "Beta-7 over there's hoping your alliance can be more than practical." They both laugh it up as Beta-7 leaves.

So Rick almost abandons Unity on the pretense of an impending invasion and says he'll return to have sex with the survivors, while Beta-7 expresses concern for Unity on the pretense that Rick might be a threat to her, and guess who gets the girl. Not the nice guy, that's for sure. Furthermore, one might think that Beta-7, a hive mind like Unity, having assimilated a whole planet like Unity, might be the better match for her. Rick is just a single mind. Yet Unity is far more attracted to Rick than to Beta-7. In fact, it's kind of telling that her reaction to seeing Beta-7's ship landing is: "Oh damn."

Beth and Jerry make their way down into the subterranean lair, which turns out to be a high tech control center of some kind. They discover the faceless gurgler chained to the wall:


Jerry is not the least bit impressed and starts digging into Beth.

Cutting back to Summer and Morty, Summer is standing atop a box of some kind, shouting into a mega phone to all the blue light bulb heads walking passed: "Wake up people! You have to fight it! You're under the spell of an evil monster!" Meanwhile, Morty is kinda just standing by watching Summer do her thing. One blue light bulb head, Steven Phillips, stops in front of Summer (odd that a member of an alien species would have the name Steven). He tells her: "I can hear you." Unity explains to Summer that the man she is currently engaging Summer with used to be a sex offender before she took over. Unity approaches Summer with a woman's body: "This woman was a drug addict on the verge of suicide, and now she's a marine biologist."

^ This hints at a bit of the liberal vs. conservative controversy, Summer acting as the typical liberal who fights on moral principles but only on the whims of a knee jerk reaction, not really thinking about the alternate possibility in which setting these people free from the hive mind may not be the best course of action after all. Unity nicely explains the other side of the coin, but to no avail. Summer isn't listening. On the other hand, Summer would have an equally powerful point if she had pointed out that real marine biologists and other well-to-dos are also assimilated, and while Unity most likely didn't make their lives worse off (at least on the surface), she cannot use the same excuse for everyone on this planet.

Morty: Listen Unity, I don't think my sister's trying to say that life would be perfect without you, I think she's just saying life would be, you know, life.

A different man approaches them: "I have transformed life here into a paradise. Prostitutes are now scientists, the homeless are now phisosophers." The man tries a few times to pronounce "philosophers" properly, and then ends up puking up that yellowish/green neon goop we saw at the beginning. He passes out on the ground, followed by every other blue light bulb head end-to-end--like a line of dominoes. Obviously something's up. Unity's effect is wearing off.


Because she's getting drunk with Rick:

This is going inside the massive phallic symbol of a building:


Yes, Unity and Rick are getting drunk and high together, essentially throwing a wild party involving Rick, Unity, and... more Unity. <-- This is Rick's corrupting influence. For years (we are to presume) Unity has done away with all drugs and alcohol, a measure taken to improve life on this planet.

Several things are packed together in this brief scene. Starting with a coked up (or something) Unity saying to Rick: "D'you know what I love about you, Rick? You're the only single mind I've met that really sees the big picture." <-- That's what she likes about Rick? His vision? His intelligence? Well, I'll admit, it probably is an attractive feature to most women (or whatever Unity is), but he's the only one? Well, I guess that depends on what the "big picture" ultimately is. Maybe it's something that can only be understood after years of reality hopping (of which, as far as we know, Rick is the only one to have discovered the technology and to have used extensively). Or, I suppose, being a collective. <-- Would that mean Beta-7 also sees the big picture? I doubt it. Maybe Unity's statement is just a glorified consensus--as in: "I like you because you agree with me."

An ego-stroked Rick responds: "You got that right... but baby, listen, y-y-you're talkin' about taking over plants, and galaxies, you gotta, you gotta just remember to let go sometimes."

^ Uncannily similar to the speech he gave to Morty at the house party back in S1E11.

"I can let go," says a desperate-to-impress Unity hopping off the table, motioning towards the window and watches, with Rick by her side, as a nuclear warhead completely obliterates a nearby town. <-- This is Unity not wanting Rick to think of her as "uptight"--as if that were a problem--and even after Rick understands that no one was hurt, I still don't think that's exactly what he meant. It seems Unity is trying to be wild and crazy in order not to disappoint Rick--breaking her vow to abstain from all drugs and alcohol being a prime example--and now, when Rick hints that maybe he is a bit disappointed in *something* (not what she thinks it is), she hikes it up a notch, goes above and beyond wild and crazy, up to bat-shit insane. I think what Rick meant by "let go" is exactly what he does when he "let's go"--essentially, stops caring, following through with the ultimate nihilism--whereas Unity seems to think of it as "letting go of pursuing her goal," which involves being serious about improving life on this planet, doing business with the galactic federation, as opposed to more spontaneous, chaotic behavior.

And of course, we get another glimpse of Rick's softer side--worried about his grand kids--then dismisses it by asking for a refill on his drink; it's also interesting to see, not only that he cares for his grand kids but for life in general: his reaction, "Woaw! That's not what I meant!" shows that he has enough moral sensibility to at least recognize what counts as crossing the line.

(On a practical note, how did Unity get the town's people to safety so fast?... unless this was planned in advance... or perhaps they were all out on an excursion for some other purpose, and Unity just recognized the opportunity.)

Cutting back to Morty and Summer, they're running around trying to stay safe. A barf-o-rama is going on around them, neon yellow/green puke is being hurled from the mouths of almost every blue light bulb head in the region. They can't really control themselves and seem like they're in a kind of delirious frenzy. Cars run into each other, spaceships crash, and a man controlling a towering crane loses control and drops tons of steel bars onto a port-o-potty just as another blue light bulb head leaves it. It also just barely misses Summer and Morty as they run by. The blue light bulb head who just came out of the port-o-potty happens to be the sex offender whom Unity spoke through earlier informing Summer and Morty of just that fact. He is now free of Unity's influence and asks to take a picture of Morty and Summer's feet.
My thoughts | My art | My music | My poetry

In fact, the idea that there's more differences between groups than there is between individuals is actually the fundamental racist idea.
- Jordan Peterson

right outta high school i tried to get a job as a proctologist but i couldn't find an opening.
- promethean75

Ahh... gib, zombie universes are so last year! I’m doing hyper dimensional mirror realities now.
- Ecmandu
User avatar
resident exorcist
Posts: 8929
Joined: Sat May 27, 2006 10:25 pm
Location: in your mom

Re: The Philosophy of Rick and Morty

Postby gib » Tue Jul 04, 2017 5:35 am

Part 2

Summer says to the crowd after they've finished purging: "Do all of you remember who you are?"

"Yeah, uh," says one blue light bulb head in particular, "My name is Ron Benson [typical name for a blue light bulb head, I'm sure], I'm an electrical engineer, father of two, and as you can see from my flat concentric nipple rings, I'm a member of this planet's top race!" He rips open his shirt to reveal ringed nipples:


This is followed by: "I'm Darryl Jefferson [a Jefferson no less!], I'm a landscaper, and I'll be damned if that ripple nipple bitch's race is superior! [Rips off shirt] The cone nipple people will rule this world!"


Then an all out race war breaks out: ring nipples beating the crap out of cone nipples, and visa-versa. Summer looks around at all the mayhem and shouts: "Why are you fighting?! Can't you see you're all the same?"

Morty: "Oh Summer, ha, ha, first race war, huh?"

^ While Summer is panicking at this completely unexpected turn of events, Morty is kind of just laying back and laughing at it all, laughing at Summer even for goofing up and inadvertently starting a race war. And this again brings us back to the recurring theme we've seen more than once in the series about liberal naivety. Summer, in trying to incite a revolt on the part of innocent, victimized blue light bulb heads against the evil mind-enslaving Unity, ends up making the situation worse by inciting instead a race war. Maybe Unity was right, maybe assimilating the blue light bulb heads was for the better after all. But the liberal mindset, encapsulated in Summer in this scene, doesn't think beyond the assumptions that are ingrained in the psyche by social conditioning and elicited by knee jerk reactions.

^ It kind of reminds me of the naivety of Morty's moral determination in the last episode. Now it's Summer's turn.

This time around, Morty is taking it rather calmly, as if Rick is rubbing off on him; he takes in the whole situation through the same nihilistic, nothing-matters visors that Rick is apt to wearing. And his comment to Summer--"First race war, huh?"--hints at a kind of haughtiness that betrays a bit of experience, like he's watching a novice from the point of view of someone who's been there, done that--and he has been there, done that--he's seen many things, gone through many disturbing trials as Rick's side-kick for the last season and a bit--so it's no surprise that he would take this nonchalant attitude next to Summer who's learning some harsh lessons about irony for the first time.

The race war carries on all day and into the night. There are flipped cars, fires ablaze, broken windows, and the blue light bulb heads are still at it. Morty and Summer hide behind a vehicle (a ship?) watching in fear as the violence unfolds.

Morty: "Way to go Summer, you started a race war."

Summer: "I didn't start it, they're the racists. I-I merely empowered them to follow their apparently misguided dreams." <-- Apparently not quite having learned the lesson.

Morty: "Okay, thanks for clarifying. I'll have a super accurate headstone now." <-- Kind of a Rick comment if you ask me.

Then they're discovered. A blue light bulb points to them and asks what race they are. Morty lifts up his shirt to show they're neither. The blue light bulb head says: "Hey, these two freaks have no race!" and starts chasing them, the crowd following. Nothing like a common enemy to bring people together.

As an aside, it seems the animators got a bit lazy in this scene. Watch the crowd in the background:

Also, who knew they had Sikhs on other planets?


Summer and Morty are backed into a corner as the angry mob encroach on them. Suddenly, ropes drop. Heavily armed law enforcement officers come down the ropes, protecting Morty and Summer. They get reeled back up to a low flying hover-copter, bringing Morty and Summer with them. They take off.

Officer #1: "Hello, Summer. Hello, Morty."

Officer #2: "It's OK, you're safe now."

Morty: "U-U-Unity?"

Unity confirms that it's her. They breathe a sigh of relief. Summer apologizes to Unity for ever questioning her: "Unity, I am so sorry. I didn't know that freedom meant people doing stuff that sucks. I was thinking more of a choose your own cell phone carrier thing." <-- Maybe she has learned her lesson after all. If Summer really means this--that she believes now that freedom means people doing stuff that sucks--she, like Morty, has grown one step closer to being Rick-like. And I think this is more than a statement about Summer's character on the part of the writers, more than a development in her growth as a character, but a statement about the nature of political freedom itself. History, especially the history of free nations, has shown that giving people freedom is one thing, watching what they do with that freedom is quite another. If things like racism, violence, civil war, mob mentality, is what comes out of people acting freely in a world that allows them such freedom, then the problems of the world cannot be solely blamed on tyrants and totalitarian governments; it's within human nature itself. And this raises the question of whether freedom is always a virtue worth fighting for, of whether sometimes a strong central ruling power that preserves law and order, and peace amongst a people, is better than freedom.

Officer #2 continues: "Ah, Summer, you did nothing wrong. I'm having fun with your grandpa. Lost a little control. Probably shouldn't be piloting a hover-copter, nor should I be running 200,000 pediatric hospitals and 12,000,000 deep fryers, but hey, it's not like this planet can take its business elsewhere." Morty suggests stopping somewhere to get Unity a coffee or splash water on her face. Officer #2 continues: "No, no, if I wanted to be sober, I wouldn't have gotten drunk." <-- Well, at least she owns her decisions.

We get a lot of insight from this scene into the nature of how Unity's mind control works. If this officer, having not touched a single drop of booze that night, is drunk flying the hover-copter, then it says Unity's influence over the minds of the assimilated does indeed stem from a central point of control, namely the bombshell blue light bulb head whose brain actually is doused in alcohol. It seems Unity--the voluptuous woman Rick is in love with--is at the top of a hierarchy--as opposed to being diversified equally among each individual blue light bulb head. If the latter were the case, there would be no need to pass on the intoxicating influence from Unity the bombshell to Unity the law enforcement officer. This is not to say carbon copies of Unity for each blue light bulb head would isolate each one off from each other--there can still be a psychic network that connects each of them instantly to any other of them; furthermore, as we don't quite know for certain what Unity is really, it could still have been hierarchical, only that Unity as the top level node in the hierarchy wouldn't be one of the blue light bulb heads but maybe an immaterial force or bodiless intelligence ruling over this planet. But since the alcohol chemicals in the brain of Unity the bombshell are having these kinds of catastrophic effects, we can say for certain that Unity the bombshell is indeed at the top of some hierarchy (not necessarily the top of the entire hierarchy, but for sure over enough blue light bulb heads to cover 200,000 pediatric hospitals and 12,000,000 deep fryers). Damn, can this girl multitask!

Furthermore, what does Unity's devil may care attitude about the whole thing say about her motives in taking over the minds of an entire planet of blue light bulb heads? People are dying because of her careless choices, getting seriously injure, and at the very least being put at great risk. It would seem that to Unity, the life of one blue light bulb head is peanuts. They're a dime a dozen to her. As they fly away from a burning town in the background, we get the idea that a whole town of people have come to ruin. And while taking full accountability for this outcome, she still reasserts her decision to get drunk and have fun with the kids' grandpa. Obviously, losing a few blue light bulb heads is like shedding a few cells from one's body--no big loss. It's ironic then that this becomes patently obvious right after Summer offers Unity a heartfelt apology for doubting her. Maybe Summer was right after all.

This scene also reinforces the point that even though Unity has assimilated an entire planet, business as usual must go on. Pediatric hospitals must still run, restaurants utilizing deep fryers must still run, law enforcement must still run. Her statement that "it's not like this planet can take its business elsewhere" implies that business must happen somewhere. It's still a bit of a mystery why all this would be necessary, but I'm forming an idea of why this is: it's all for show. She intends to join the galactic federation; this will be quite a challenge if she just introduced herself as Unity--as she does with Rick--for then the federation would probably see her as a threat; better to keep her real identity under raps and present herself merely as a representative of a whole planet of blue light bulb heads going about their daily business, just as any other planet hosting intelligent life with advanced civilizations.

Back at the Smith's house, Jerry is livid about finding the Korblock in his subterranean lair. He says: "Oh man, I cannot wait. I cannot wait to hear Rick explain his way around this. He is gone!" Beth pleads with him: "Jerry, stop, please, ok? We weren't even supposed to be down here. If we confront him about this..." "Oh my GOD!!!" replies Jerry, "I love this! I love that this is how far you would go for him. You wanna go upstairs, and cut carrots, and watch a lifetime original about the f$%@ing alien dungeon! Your relationship with your father is psychotic!" <-- Not sure what Jerry means by "watch a lifetime original about the f$%@ing alien dungeon"--I suppose he means Beth wants to treat this whole thing like some kind of fantasy, like she was just watching it on TV.

An even bigger point is that even though Jerry is bang on about Beth's daddy issues and that she's off in la-la-land about how she wants to deal with this, he's not quite listening to her. At the utterance "He is gone!" Beth's expression becomes one of dread:


She switches gears at this point; she stops bickering and starts pleading. That Rick leaves again is one of her deepest fears. But this flies right passed Jerry. He still sees this as a confrontation, and reacts in quite the opposite way of what might otherwise have lead to a quasi-reconciliation.

The fighting continues:

Beth tells Jerry to step out of his ego. On this score, she might be right (given what I said above), but she too is missing the point: that Jerry ought to consider that maybe Rick has the Korblock chained up in order to protect the planet is not what Jerry ought to be focusing on here. This is just Beth feeding herself another dose of her own self-denial.

In any case, they have officially passed the point of no return in their bickering. They are on a course of shouting right passed each other and any opportunity to talk seriously or to truly listen is now gone. Also, I don't recall in any passed episode Jerry calling it as it is as directly and loudly as he does here. This seems to be a breaking point for Jerry.

The next scene opens with another animator goof:


They really dropped the ball in this episode... anyway, Morty and Summer are ushered to Unity, who's half passed out on a desk.

Summer: "Unity, this place is a mess."

Unity: "Oh, it's cool. The part of me that's the cleaning lady is coming on Friday. [Looks at her watch] *GASP!* Oh my God, I have a meeting at the galactic federation in an hour. [Rests boobs on desk] Oh, I'll never make it. I'll push it to next week."

^ I would think that one doesn't just push a meeting with the galactic federation, the purpose of which is to join, to next week, especially on such short notice. If she cancels this meeting, what are the chances that the galactic federation would take her seriously enough to grant her another one? Rick really proved himself a bad influence on Unity here, and Unity an absolute push over for Rick, all too eager to please.

When the kids ask to see Rick, Unity reacts with a bit of haste: "He's... unavailable... he's--" "Having sex with you, we get it, gross, get him out here now!" replies Summer. They begin shouting for him. He comes out stumbling drunk, a bottle in his hand, dressed like a drunken Mexican:


^ With a name like Sanchez, maybe Rick is living out his ancestry.

"Grandpa, we need to go home, now!" demands Summer. "Fine! Sheesh!" says Rick before picking up the portal gun and shooting it at the wall. "See ya," he dismisses them. When the kids insist that Rick come with them, he scoffs them off:

Rick: "You guys, I get it, you're afraid the big bad hive mind's gonna steel your grandpa away."

Summer: "Actually, no! I think Unity's great and you're a horrible influence on it! [...] You and Unity are like... like leggings and mid-calf boots. You think you're great together, but you're just bringing out the worst in each other." <-- Acute observation on Summer's part.

Rick: "Oh, gee! Boy, Summer, well put. Uh, why don't we see what Unity thinks. Unity?"

Unity [as man]: "I'm jus' takin' a lil' break from stuff... you know? I need to relax."

Rick: "Oh hey... what's this on the news, guys? Le-le-lemme turn it up."

Rick turns up the volume on a remote. Reporters on a TV speak on behalf of Unity:

Todd: "In the news today, this looks a lot worse than it is. We're really just having a good time. Karen?"

Karen: "Thanks Todd. Up next: are you a concerned grandchild or just a buzz kill. We'll tell you how you can know for sure."


Rick: "I think you too are a little out numbered."

Summer: "Okay, well, what if you did it for me? What if you came with us as a favor to us? Cause you love us?"

Rick: "What? Dumb! Bye!"

Morty: "But Rick, Summer's just say--"

Rick: "Summer's just a hyper-emotional needy little... what's the word I'm looking for here? Uh, human. It runs in the family. I can tolerate it but I can't give a crap about it. Take a hike."

Even Unity looks a little shocked at these words. Summer tells Unity to take care of herself and then leaves through the portal with Morty. Neither Unity nor Rick see things from Summer and Morty's point of view, but Unity seems a bit in denial about how far she's digressed under Rick's corrupting influence. She too partook in the mockery of Rick's grandkids as, for example, when she called them a "buzz kill" on the news. We know that this is just Rick--he doesn't need denial to be an asshole or to not care how badly things have fallen apart--but I don't think Unity fully appreciates the gravity of what she has succumb to--part of this is being drunk, of course, but also how much she longs to impress Rick. Given the look on her face, however, the way Rick spoke about Summer in this scene seems to mark a breaking point for Unity, possibly snapping her out of her denial.

Back at the Smith's household, Jerry and Beth are in the heat of a screaming match, neither one listening to the other:

Jerry: "You don't support this family! All you care about is yourself! You've got two children being dragged across the cosmos by your dangerously ill father! And you force me to watch it happen because you'd rather lose them and lose me than lose him?! Why?! Because you're the child, Beth! You, not me! You!"

Beth [at the same time]: "It's not about supporting the family, it's about supporting you emotionally, but you're unsupportable because it's never enough, Jerry! There will never be enough support to satisfy you! And you don't even know what it's like to be afraid of losing anything because you cling and you cling and you cling!"

I wonder if there's any truth to Beth's rant. She nailed it by calling Jerry "clingy", and maybe this incessant clinging to the things he's afraid of losing is what's holding him back from "growing up" (or "manning up")--maybe if he were forced to lose something, something precious to him, he'd grow out of his child-like naivety and become more cynical and dark, like Beth, like Rick (maybe even like the "orphaned" Jerries at the Jerryboree).

Anyway, the Korblock breaks free, slithers like a slug right passed Jerry and Beth, leaving a slimy trail, breaks the glass door on one of Rick's highly sophisticated closets, grabs what looks like a gun, points it at Jerry and Beth, then sticks it in his own neck and begins to speak. The device pressed into his neck is (apparently) a translator. He speaks in his native tongue and the device translates. He says:

"Um... first of all, hello... um, my name is Blim Blam the Korblock. Second of all, cards on the table, I'm a murderer that eats babies, and I came to this planet to eat babies [Jerry gives Beth the I-told-you-so-look]... however, I am also carrying a highly infectious disease that I suppose you *could* call space aids, as you put it, and Rick did chain me up so that he could attempt to cure it. [Beth returns the look] At the same time, Rick's motivation to cure my disease was not to save my life or anyone else's, but to patent and sell the cure for billions of blemflarks. [Jerry repeats the look] But you know the reason why I ripped the chains out of the wall? And do you know why I'm never coming back to this planet? Because the two of you are the [email protected]#$ing worst! You both hate yourselves and each other, and the idea that it has anything to do with Rick is laughable! I'd laugh, but I'm biologically incapable! That's how alien I am! And even I'm sitting here listening to the two of you, being like 'What the f%&k!!!' So, good luck with your shitty marriage, and tell Rick I'm sorry he has to deal with either of you. Blim Blam out!

I'm not sure what a blemflark will buy you, but Rick's motive for curing Blim Blam's space aids seems counter to what we learned of Rick in Something Ricked, namely that he doesn't seem the least bit interested in making money. Maybe blemflarks aren't money.

Rick is sitting on a couch with three instances of Unity--a middle aged scruffy looking blue light bulb head with a bear gut and wearing a bra and looks to be sleeping, another middle-aged blue light bulb head (a redhead with big knockers) looking a bit aged and worn out and hanging over the couch from the back, and the gorgeous bombshell we all know and love. She's sitting, legs curled up on the couch, next to Rick who's smoking a bong. (If the one blue light bulb head is sleeping, what does that say about the unification of Unity's consciousness with others on this planet? They all certainly seemed to have to be unified when she was drunk, all sharing in the same intoxication. But then again, maybe Unity chooses to "release" some blue light bulb heads when needed--as in when they need to sleep.) Rick is watching a program on TV which Unity is, in that very moment, putting on for him. She sits on the couch looking at him rather unimpressed.

"Ok, ok," Rick says, "Now make him cry--but happy cry. Now make them all make fun of the blond one. Now make them all do it on the table. Can't believe you created a whole show for me. Now cancel it! Okay, now put it back on! Ha! Ha!.. all right, I'm bored."

Unity: "Rick, is there a way for you to call Summer and Morty? I feel bad that they--"

Rick brushes her off. It's questionable whether this sentiment for Morty and Summer on the part of Unity betrays a conscience. I think it goes without saying that Unity is more "feeling" than Rick, more caring, but this has to be considered in contrast to the total disregard she seems to have for the people she has taken over. It may be true that, in a sense, she made life on this planet into a paradise, but we have also seen that she thinks of the people whose bodies she's taken over as expendable and usable like tools. To her, losing a small town of racists is like a drop in the bucket when considered on the scale of a whole planet, and making them into puppets for Rick's entertainment is harmless when seen from a nihilist's point of view--the "big picture" so to speak--in that no one is getting hurt. But of course, her feelings of guilt over how they treated Morty and Summer are highly dependent on the fact that she respects them for Rick's sake, and maybe when standing in Rick's light, then things matter to her morally speaking.

The look she gives Rick when he smokes up and watches mindless television also speaks volumes. It's almost as if she's having a "wake up" moment, realizing this man's not all he's cracked up to be, that far from disappointing Rick (who seems to be quite impressed with the TV show), she's finding that she's disappointed in him.

Rick goes on about Summer and Morty: "Don't waste your brain on those weirdos Unity. They're no different from any of the aimless chumps that you occupy. They just put you at the center of their lives because you're powerful and then because they put you there, they want you to be less powerful."

It's hard to say what to make of this little speech. Do Summer and Morty really put Rick at the center of their lives? Or is it just as it seems? Rick is the one dragging Morty along on all his adventures? If that's the case, then this is just ego talking. Rick tells himself that the reason they end up on all these crazy, chaotic adventures is because Morty wants to go along with him, but then complains when Rick gets them into a mess. The irony is, we've seen some truth to this. The moments are rare, but we do get glimpses of Morty relishing the idea of being Rick's sidekick (in Close Rickcounters for example). And we know that Summer can sometimes be jealous of Morty and all the attention he gets from Rick. Certainly Beth puts him at the center of her life, but she never complains, and maybe should complain more (which is what the secondary plot line is getting at). But I think the reality is more that Rick simply takes control of their lives, which does make him powerful, but also gives them more of a right to complain and to demand he relinquish some of his power. In the end, I think this little speech is more fiction than truth, more his own self-talk in order to slough off responsibility as he's in the habit of doing--not like Unity who simply allows herself to feel a bit guilty.

It's also interesting how he seems to think Unity should completely understand. Summer and Morty are "no different from any of the aimless chumps" that she occupies. In Unity's case, we definitely get a glaring contrast between Rick's words and the reality. The reality is that the blue light bulb heads certainly did not put Unity at the center of their lives (regardless of whether or not it was because she was powerful); Unity, or so we're lead to assume, simply took over, like Rick taking over the family.

Rick goes to the bathroom to freshen up. Looking at himself in the mirror as he washes his hands, he says to himself: "Best weekend ever, Rick. I agree Rick. Let's see how long we can go." <-- I'm surprised how much energy Rick seems to have. Presumably, he's been up all night partying, getting drunk and high. Unity definitely seems worn out at this point, but Rick's like the energizer bunny. He can keep going 'til the cows come home. It's true that he was probably doing a lot of drugs, and many of those were probably stimulants, but if we are to presume this about Rick, we ought to presume it about Unity as well (we did see her snort something off the table). So why isn't she full of energy too?

Rick walks out of the bathroom to find Unity has left--and by Unity I mean everyone, the entire planet (or so it seems). He walks out to the empty room to find notes strewn all over the place, notes to him. He reads one:

"Rick, forgive me for doing this in notes. I'm not strong enough to do it in persons. [outside, Rick picks up another note, in the voice of a man] I realize now that I'm attracted to you for the same reason I can't be with you. You can't change. [grabs a note taped to a wall] And I have no problem with that, but it clearly means, I have a problem with myself. I'm sure there's no perfect version of me. [reads a note taped to the newspaper stand from earlier] I'm sure I'll just unify species after species and never really be complete. [sitting on the steps reading another note, in a woman's voice] I know how it goes with us. I lose who I am and become part of you. Because in a strange way, you're better at what I do without even trying. Yours, and nobody else. Unity."

^ A very gentle way of being let down.

What Unity has come to realize here is that she's grown beyond Rick. Rick stays the same because, out of all people we've come across in the series, he's best at being himself. People change, the message would seem to be, because they are unsatisfied or feel incomplete with who they are. Unity admits in these letters that she is chasing something that she fears she will never attain. Earlier in the episode, we heard her express her ambitions to be a god. It seems Rick attains god-hood (in his mind at least) just by accepting himself as he is now. However, Unity's letter does seem like a rosy euphamistic way of saying what could otherwise come across as a harsh blow. She's essentially saying that she's grown whereas Rick has not, and now that she realizes this, she must move beyond him. Rick tried to plea a case for his own personal growth by stating that "I've reconnected with my family," but the display he exhibited in front of Unity when he called Summer a "hyper-emotional, needy little [...] human," is what set off doubts in her mind, eventually culminating in that look of disappointment on her face as she put on a television show for him. <-- It was at that point when she realized he hasn't changed at all, and that she's grown beyond him.

Yet there is a strange allure to Rick's personality that not only draws Unity in, but Morty and Summer too as evinced by their occasional longing to be his sidekick. And us too, I might say. We know that Rick is an insensitive prick who puts his own family at great risk, and can be extremely insulting at times, yet we find ourselves liking him for some strange reason, wanting to be like him (I go into detail about this phenomenon, which can be seen in other fictional characters in film and literature, here). What's being suggested here is that Rick's seeming security in being himself (openly, without shame) is what draws people in, and makes them want to sink to his level, abandoning whatever growth they've achieve up to that point. Why? Is it because we too would like to feel secure in being ourselves? Take a break from all this self-improvement we strive for, or wish we could strive for? To feel complete, if only vicariously? Unity, in her letters, expresses that she knows this is true of herself, and that while the enchanting allure that Rick exudes makes her feel free, she realizes this is, on the whole, not good, and constitutes a step back for her. Missing the appointment with the galactic federation wasn't just letting go, it may have cost her her deepest ambition--to become a god over countless planets. Rick, of course, was trying to get her to realize this was the whole point anyway--"you're talking about taking over planets and galaxies--you gotta, you gotta just remember to let go sometimes, you know"--but we know from her reaction that she missed the point. No, Unity has come too far, worked too hard, to let that go.

And that Rick does what she does better than she can without even trying, that in his presence, she becomes a part of him rather than the other way around. Does this hint at why she never bothered to assimilate him? That he's the only person she's met whom she would rather become a part of rather than make a part of her? And is the message: one can assimilate others best if one just doesn't try--that is, if one simply exudes confidence in being one's self--whereas trying, if obvious, puts people off, thereby requiring, in Unity's case, forced assimilation.

Maybe the greater message here is that while we may remain satisfied in who we are at any given point in our lives--thereby relinquishing the need to care about anything else, or anyone--growth only happens by connecting with others. One reaches beyond one's self and tries to connect with the experiences, personalities, desires and needs of others. This not only fosters change through learning from others, but adds to one's self--to one's experiences, personality, desires and needs--by acquiring a sort of "extension" of one's self--not just different but more--which is just what growth is.

In effect, if this is indeed the central message of this episode, then I think we can read between the lines and infer that Unity's notes were more of a blow to Rick than to Unity herself. "I have a problem with myself," was most likely a gentle way of saying "you're bad for me." <-- It's not you, it's me.

Rick gets back to the Smith's household where everyone's watching TV in the living room. Everyone's got a look of concern on their face except Jerry. Rick enters the room. Beth stands up to confront him:

Beth: "Dad... [*cough*]... I--um--Jerry and I were looking for our weed wacker and found your subterranean lair, and your alien prisoner, and he got away. And I know I sound like mom but I can't sacrifice this whole family's safety just because I'm afraid you'll leave again... so... [steps closer and puts on a look of sternness] no more alien prisoners and no more subterranean excavation without consulting us."

It appears Beth was listening and took Jerry's words seriously, not to mention courageous enough to confront Rick despite her fears. I wonder how much of Beth's words sunk in with Jerry. Tying this in with the theme of growth, could we say that Beth here demonstrates her ability to grow whereas Jerry does not?

But to Beth's utter surprise, Rick answers: "Ok."

Beth: "Ok? eh, uh, er, Ok like you're gonna quietly teleport somewhere and never come back?"

Rick: "No, it's your house."

Summer: "Grandpa Rick, what happened with Unity?"

Rick: "Who? Oh, Unity. Yeah, well... I mean, honestly, we're talking about an entity that thrives on enslavement, you know. It's not cool. Fun's fun, but who needs it. I'll be in the garage."

A complete 180, taking Summer's point of view only now that it suits him.

Then this happens:

When I watched this for the first time, I thought Rick chickened out in the end, that he dropped his head on purpose 'cause he didn't really want to kill himself. Then someone else online suggested that Rick was too drunk to keep his head up and inadvertently passed out before the device could nuke him. <-- Not sure which is more accurate.

I'm not sure what was with Rick downing that vat of yellow chemicals (did he need that for his device to work on him?), but I see some symbolism in the poor creature he vaporizes: he hurts the ones he loves. I think that's why the creators had him gently stroking the creature he gave life to, as if soothing the creature before submitting it to a grim fate--he seems to genuinely feel for the creature--just a little maybe--enough to say: I'm not doing this to hurt you. Rick, in this scene, is playing out what he probably knows quite painfully: that he brought harm to Unity, and that he continues to bring harm to his family.

Was Rick really in love? He was certainly depressed about being dumped, but this can happen even with infatuation or lust (as people call it). If he was in love, it means his nihilistic outlook which is usually the basis for refusal to care about anything was never quite complete--not when he knew Unity was out there--for then he had a reason to live. But without her, it seems like he has no reason to live.

This is also an example of a loss much like Beth's fears. It's even ironic that he would attempt to commit suicide just after telling Beth he wasn't going to leave her for standing up to him.

Unity may not have been able to assimilate Rick, but she certainly captured his heart. Which leads one to wonder: was that intentional? I mean, who knows if there was an initial attempt on Unity's part to assimilate Rick (the attempt would first and foremost require barfing into his mouth, which means a failure would amount to Rick merely overpowering Unity physically, but even if she managed to get passed that step, how would Rick have resisted assimilation? We saw in the last episode that he managed to block Fart out of his mind in that one scene--maybe he's got a knack for fighting psychic control), but permitting Rick the independence of his mind may not have been free. It may have come at the cost of a surreptitious and cunning ploy on Unity's part to assimilate his heart. It is often assumed by young women that if she is able to win a man's heart, she will be able to change him; in extreme cases, to control him, making him into a slave who will do whatever her will desires. Unity's realization, then, that Rick will never change constitutes her coming to grips with the fact that Rick cannot be assimilated at all, thus she gives up on him.

We all know why Rick fell for Unity--what heterosexual man wouldn't fall for a hot brunette with huge boobies and a smooth, curvy body--and it's understandable why any woman would fall for Rick--he has that "take charge" personality, that "asshole" attitude that makes him the polar opposite of the "nice guy"--but that Unity is a woman is a question that hasn't been settled. The party scene in which the booze in Unity's brain (the hot bombshell) cause everyone else on the planet to get drunk suggests that the hot bombshell is at the top of a hierarchy, a node in the psychic network from which control is issued out to other blue light bulb heads, making the bombshell more "Unity" than the others in a certain sense. But we've also seen that this couldn't have been the original Unity. The opening scene in which Unity and Rick reunite suggests that Unity didn't start out as a blue light bulb head. It takes Rick a while to recognize that the escapees on the SS Independence are Unity. If Rick remembers Unity as a blue light bulb head, surely all their talk about an entity that "absorbed the minds of [their] people," and "the people it takes over, they, they look like your friends, your family, your leaders, but they're not... 'themselves' anymore," coupled with the fact that Rick obviously sees that they're blue light bulb heads, would mostly likely tip him off that it's Unity they're talking about. But it's only when the members of the SS Independence get re-assimilated by Unity and when Unity turns to look at Rick in that seductive way, saying "Hello Rick, long time no see," that he realizes it's Unity. This obviously means that when they first met, when Unity was a "young hive mind with a population of a small town," she was a different species, which means that this Unity, the hot bombshell, is unlikely to be at the top of the entire hierarchy (maybe the planet, but not all of Unity). Which returns us to the question: who is Unity really? Male? Female? Something else? And her interest in Rick, is this really love? Sexual passion? Or is the real Unity interested in Rick for the same reason as she's interested in all her victims--assimilation pure and simple, a stepping stone on the way to god-hood--and the hot bombshell is just the means by which to attract Rick? If her first attempt to assimilate him through the usual means failed (assuming there was a first attempt), then perhaps appealing to his libido was a second attempt.


* Race and prejudice: While Summer was definitely depicted as the naive liberal type, I think, in the end, there was a bit of an anti-racist sentiment written into the script. The fact that these blue light bulb heads are going to war with each other over the shape of their nipples is a parody. Roiland and Harmon are saying differences in outward appearance are a silly thing to fight over, exactly the message that Summer was trying to convey--a clever move on the writer's part as it allows them to poke fun at liberal naivety and at the same time distance themselves from convservative prejudice and bigotry.

* Love and lust: Was Rick really in love? Or was it just lust? What's the difference? While these questions could be asked of Unity as well, Rick is an easier (simpler) target. The passionate, romantic frenzy that overtakes one in moments of intimate connection with another is what most people call "falling in love". Others would like to distinguish this from "true love", saying that the former is only infatuation and the latter is dispassionate. They say that the former is selfish, that you want to possess the person like a prized object, whereas the latter is selfless, treating the other like a human being, putting their needs ahead of your own. I'm not so sure this thing we call "falling in love" isn't a form of love. In all my experiences with it, I know I would have done anything for the girl, sacrificed a great deal of what's in my self-interest. True, I lust after that feeling, and I need the girl in my life in order to get it, and for her to feel the same way (<-- that's important), but these selfless acts I want to perform for her are driven by the emotion. You could say it's a form of "automatic" love, whereas what they call dispassionate "true" love, maybe Platonic love, is driven by something else--maybe moral principles, maybe impartial compassion, maybe guilt--it's more "deliberate," hard work. But when it comes to Rick, there isn't much in the way of giving or selflessness. "I gotta sit this one out, but I'll be back to have sex with the survivors," doesn't sound like love. Rick may be so cut off from love that all he can feel for Unity is lust. Wanting to be "with" a collective, not "part of," is Rick's way of having his cake and eating it too, to be accepted and integrated with others without having to pay the price of a bit of selflessness, without having to love. Rick doesn't even have to sacrifice promiscuity with Unity, he doesn't even have to care who Unity really is so long as she engages with him through hot bombshells. In fact, Rick doesn't even seem to care that Unity has cleaned herself up (at least this planet) as he deliberately drags her down to his level and convinces her to splurge on drugs and alcohol. The fact that being dumped lead him to attempt suicide might be construed as the kind of loss one feels when one loses a prized possession, like a car that gets stolen or a house that burns down. Or it might be construed as losing the comfort and security of being loved, despite that he never had to give it. Or if Rick really did feel something for Unity over and above lust but repressed so far down that not even he could feel it, could it be that he was depressed that he lost the chance to tell Unity that he loved her, or maybe that he lost the chance to give something of himself to Unity, the only act that truly satisfies love?

* The economy and human connected: This episode of Rick and Morty does parody the idea of a world economy continuing to turn even though Unity has assimilated the entire planet. "Little weird to publish a paper about it for yourself, but hey," Rick says. And we know that Unity has ambitions to join the federation, which means it's in her best interest to keep the planet running as if everyone were disconnected and dependent on an economy in order to live. But this raises the question: what would happen if we were all connected? It seems one would be hard pressed to imagine why an economy would be needed at all if we were all psychically connected, the way Unity is, but one can imagine even lesser situations in which an economy--a exchange of goods and services--doesn't seem necessary. For example, in a family, or a Hutterite community. <-- These are examples in which the people are so close together, so connected, that they all pitch in to get things done for the sake of the whole. They don't need to be motivated by money, by promises of something in return. They don't ask "what's in it for me"? Though not joined through a psychic connection, they do seem driven to take care of the greater community because of the feeling of belonging to it, the feeling of love that subsists between its members.

I guess the question this leaves us is: how connected would humans have to be with each other to no longer need an economy for subsistence?

* Personal growth: How does one grow beyond one's current state? Growth connotes more than just change, it connotes becoming more, becoming better, than one is currently. In that sense, it wouldn't seem that growth requires sacrificing much of one's self, except perhaps for bad habits and character flaws. But then how does one acquire additional gifts, virtues, character strength, etc. without changing? This episode seems to suggest: by connecting with others. Not just connecting with others but allowing others to become a part of you. Then you, figuratively speaking, absorb them into yourself, acquire all their gifts, virtues, and strengths. As a part of you, it become natural to love others. This was Rick's Achilles heel--he's closed off to love, and so doesn't want others to become a part of himself--he wants to remain independent, he wants to remain himself; consequently the connection he seeks results more in others absorbing aspects of him into themselves, none of it going the other way. <-- This is Rick's strategy for becoming a God. Those around him end up growing while he remains the same--Morty for sure as we've seen how being Rick's sidekick has definitely lead to growth through the series, particularly in the way Rick's personality rubs off on Morty. To a lesser degree, Summer too (especially the way she "makes it up as she goes" in episode 1 of season 3, how she thinks "that's what heroes do"); Unity certainly went through a learning experience in this episode, thus growing a bit more in the end.

* Badass vs. nice guy: What kind of guy do girls really like? Does a guy have to be more like Rick or more like Beta-7? I mean, imagine Beta-7 as a single minded heart throb, not the cyborg he's depicted as in this episode. Something like this:


Imagine this is Beta-7. He's still a nice guy. He'd still express concern for Unity, almost in a desperate pleading way, willing to do anything but displease her. Would Unity still reject him? I think so. There's no way Unity would go for a guy like that when she could have Rick. But what about women in general? Is Unity a good representative of women in general, at least with respect to her taste in men? Would the average woman reject the young heart throb in the picture if he were a "nice guy"? They say women like a jerk (Ecmandu says a woman would fuck a guy in a parking lot if that's where she saw him massacre another man into a bloody pulp). They say this is an evolutionary inheritance, that women, on an instinctual level, know that assholes make better protectors and providers because they display their ability to dominate over others and destroy enemies. Not to mention that she wants her offspring (again, on an instinctual level acquired through evolution) to have the best genes, and the asshole, again, displays this by his ability to dominate and destroy. Some even say this goes so far as to attract women to men who abuse them. Is the average woman so attracted to big strong alpha genes that she would sacrifice her own well-being if only to get some of those genes for her offspring? Mothers would do a lot for their children.

In my personal opinion, which is informed by what women tell me, women like assertive men, take charge men, which is subtly different from assholes. Being an asshole is often correlated with assertiveness and a take charge personality, and so it probably seems a lot of the time like women like assholes, but I think more often than not, the asshole aspect is something women are sometimes willing to tolerate rather than the primary aspect they're attracted to. Everyone's different, of course, and I have no doubt women exist who actually like the asshole aspect for its own sake (I think what social groups one hangs out with has a huge effect on this), but I don't think this is the norm. In my personal opinion (again), I think the ideal man for the typical woman is a take charge kind of guy, but not one who takes his aggressions out on her, not one who abuses her, but one who takes control of the situation (which might involve aggression against others) for her sake, or for the family's sake. But when he's alone with her in the bedroom, he's gentle and compassionate (he can still be take charge in this situation, but not insensitive to her needs and desires).

A girl once told me that I'm too nice, and that I should be more assertive. <-- The assertive part makes sense, but I can't imagine a girl being turned off by a guy who goes out of his way to perform incredible acts of kindness, like taking care of a wounded bird, or feeding the homeless, or calling paramedics if he sees an old woman having a heart attack. That's not to say I go around doing things like this on a daily basis, just that I don't think being "nice" is necessarily incompatible with assertiveness. A guy can certainly do all these things assertively. He can decide to do it for principles he believes in, not because he was told to, or thinks he's supposed to. Not just to impress her. Would women seriously get turned off by this?

It's interesting that the post-credit scene involves Rick in his spaceship just outside Beta-7's space station thingy trying to get Unity on the line. He only gets Beta-7 who tells him Unity's not interested in talking to him and that he's classified as a hostile entity. On the surface, this makes Beta-7 out to be the fall back guy, the "on deck, in the wings, shoulder to cry on," in Rick's words. But if you think of this in the context of the lesson Unity learned at the end of the episode, it makes perfect sense that Unity would turn to Beta-7. Unlike Rick, being a hive mind might mean Beta-7 is capable of growth, maybe even beyond Rick's level. When Beta-7 reacted with hostility to Rick when they first met, and when he told Unity he was only expressing concern for Unity, Unity may have realized near the end that Beta-7 saw in Rick what she only saw much later--that Rick was a threat to her, at least in the sense that he brings her down. It's the same thing Summer and Morty saw in Rick, that he's a bad influence on her. If this is the case, it means that Unity is taking Beta-7 seriously, that she's really giving him a chance, and that she now thinks Beta-7 knows what's good for her and what's bad for her before she does herself--a real protector and provider. Maybe. Possibly. But I still think it couldn't last. Even if Beta-7 is better for her than Rick, even if she knows that now, they're not right for each other. She'll eventually want more.

And of course, it's always possible that Unity was using both. Seducing Rick with her sexual charms so as to keep him around for the opportunity to assimilate him and Beta-7 too as an on deck, in the wings, shoulder to cry on. The games women play sometimes are all about that--keeping the guy interested enough to stay close, but never enough to seal the deal--there when she needs him, but free enough from him to switch to others when she doesn't need him.

* The ethics of mind control and slavery: Is Unity evil? Is what she is doing to whole planets--taking over bodies and obliterating people's individuality--a monstrous violation of her victim's rights? On the one hand, she does seem to improve life on blue light bulb head planet, but whose life? The individuals each blue light bulb head used to enjoy being are gone, wiped away, and so it's not easy to say life's been improved for them. Only Unity herself can reap the benefits of her work. Then again, is being wiped away, if done painlessly and harmlessly, necessarily a bad thing? Is there something intrinsically valuable about a being's freedom to be an individual? To have a choice? We see at the beginning that the crew of the SS Independence are, to put it mildly, disconcerted with what Unity is doing to their species. Is that perspective, even if it disappears from their minds once assimilated, still valid in and of itself? And suppose that there is nothing wrong with this ethically speaking--does Unity still have the moral obligation to treat her victims as though each individual mattered? We saw how all the destruction and mayhem that was caused to the small town in which the race war broke out, caused by Unity's drunken shenanigans, was really no biggy to Unity--presumably because a small town of blue light bulb heads is like pennies to a billionaire. If this fills us with outrage, would we be okay with it if Unity took more care to treat each individual as sacrosanct? That is, if she continued to occupy their bodies despite their prior resistance and lack of consent but took better care of them like they were her precious children? Would this be the same question as: is slavery ok so long as the slave is treated with respect? Slavery might not be the best comparison to make because the slave still has to suffer the indignity and fear of being a slave whereas Unity's victims (presumably) aren't even there to feel anything. But this may be a moot point if the question is: is it ever morally permissible to take away a man's freedom and his individuality?

* Drugs: escape from the self? Is the point of doing rugs really to escape the self as Unity says? Is it a way of connecting with others, as alcohol can help us with? Is it merely a mode of entertainment, a means to pass the time when the alternative would be boring and dull? I still don't think it makes much sense to say "there's no need for escape from the self when your world is one," as Unity says, but I think it does makes sense to do away with drugs and alcohol if one feels they are standing in the way of self-improvement. And that seems to be the kick Unity is on. She seemed to do away with all drugs and alcohol as a step towards improving life on blue light bulb head planet, maybe even as something positive to put on her resume when applying to the galactic federation. It's just that unifying the whole planet makes the decision incredibly easy. Rick, on the other hand, is not on a path of self-improvement. Rather, he sticks with his nihilistic outlook on life, an outlook that underscores apathy and "letting go" as he puts it--it doesn't matter, in other words, whether you do drugs or not, so might as well do what your cravings call for.

But why does Rick crave the drugs? Is he trying to escape himself? It seems silly to me to dismiss the reinforcing effects of drugs, the urge for effortless and immediate pleasure that drugs can provide, so that has to be counted as one reason, maybe the primary reason. But I think most people who look for other reasons, like escaping from the self, are questioning why one would do such things if one knows how destructive it can be. Sure, it brings effortless and immediate pleasure, but surely one would care enough about one's self to recognize the long-term harm that drugs and alcohol can do, and to do something about it. <-- That I think is where most anti-drug proponents are coming from. What would they say about Rick? Is the cravings for effortless and immediate pleasure coupled with the conviction that nothing matters the only thing driving Rick? Or does he mean it when he says he wants connection? And drugs and alcohol are one way to find that connection? So it may not be so much an escape from the self, but an escape from being only the self.


The sexy blue light bulb head girl on the SS Independence:


Rick got to ride with her all the way back to blue light bulb head planet. She'd already revealed to Rick at this point that she was Unity, so what do you think they did all the way home?

The screech that Beta-7 emits (and Rick freaks out over) is the same screech emitted by Unity at the beginning when the two "ding dongs," as Rick puts it, re-assimilate the crew of the SS Independence. Which goes to show she's a lot more alien than she lets on to Rick, bringing into question, once again, what her motives are when selecting Rick or Beta-7 as lovers.

About the blue light bulb heads passed out in this scene here:


Why were they aligned perfectly in a circle? Okay, so they were all gathering around Summer and Morty, but perfectly aligned so as to topple over like dominoes? Moreover, they're almost perfectly aligned with the circle sketched on the ground. And why the domino effect? If this is Unity losing control of a certain branch of blue light bulb heads, why wouldn't they pass out in a more random fashion? And what does it say that Unity can say "I'm fine," while the bodies she occupies are passed out?

Being at the center of attention: this may not be Summer and Morty's motive in filling the role of Rick's sidekick, but does it describe Unity's? She definitely puts Rick at the center of her universe, and probably because he's powerful (intelligence-wise), but then expects Rick to grow, which, as the message of this episode seems to be, amounts to connecting with others, thereby causing one to lose one's self in others and have less control. Could Rick have inadvertently insulted Unity, at least indirectly? Is this the final straw that compelled Unity to leave, as in it made her realize that's exactly what she's doing?

And where did Unity go after Rick came out of the bathroom? I mean, we don't see how long Rick was in there for, but I would think it takes time to write out a thoughtful letter and post on stuff, then abruptly disappear without leaving a trace. We can surmise that she went to Beta-7 but to evacuate the planet in what would have to be legions of spaceships before Rick even had the chance to spot them in the distant sky?

Anyway, one last thought: the theory of Jerry's "urban batoi". Yes, I actually think I know what the writers were doing with this. This isn't the original Jerry. We're actually following the Jerry that got swapped at the Jerry day care in the last episode. <-- That's the way he ALWAYS talks. I still wonder if this "urban batoi" allows Jerry to call it like it is, as he so harshly did to Beth. Or maybe this Jerry is just used to it, as in they've had plenty of yelling matches like this in his original reality. Maybe.

Oh, and what nipple shape is Unity the bombshell? Ring or Cone?
My thoughts | My art | My music | My poetry

In fact, the idea that there's more differences between groups than there is between individuals is actually the fundamental racist idea.
- Jordan Peterson

right outta high school i tried to get a job as a proctologist but i couldn't find an opening.
- promethean75

Ahh... gib, zombie universes are so last year! I’m doing hyper dimensional mirror realities now.
- Ecmandu
User avatar
resident exorcist
Posts: 8929
Joined: Sat May 27, 2006 10:25 pm
Location: in your mom

Re: The Philosophy of Rick and Morty

Postby gib » Wed Jul 05, 2017 6:23 am

One more thought: is Rick a rapist?

There's no doubt that Unity was more than willing to have sex with Rick, but we have to remember, she had to use bodies which weren't rightfully hers. If Unity is guilty of enslavement, would that make Rick culpable of rape?

I'm reminded of the scene featuring Rick gliding down to the stadium in his hang glider. I said "one can only imagine how he landed." One way I've imagined it, and it's pretty horrid, is that one redhead in particular had her ass in the air in the middle of the stadium, and Rick landed his cock right into her. Now thinking about that for a second, that would not only hurt, it would split you in two. What if that's what happened? Would Unity have done that for Rick? Remember, she treats her victims as expendable, and one redhead split in two by Rick's cock might feel, on a planetary scale, like a gentle bite on the neck in the heat of passion. If that's how it would feel to Unity, why not let Rick fulfill some of his sickest fantasies?
My thoughts | My art | My music | My poetry

In fact, the idea that there's more differences between groups than there is between individuals is actually the fundamental racist idea.
- Jordan Peterson

right outta high school i tried to get a job as a proctologist but i couldn't find an opening.
- promethean75

Ahh... gib, zombie universes are so last year! I’m doing hyper dimensional mirror realities now.
- Ecmandu
User avatar
resident exorcist
Posts: 8929
Joined: Sat May 27, 2006 10:25 pm
Location: in your mom

Re: The Philosophy of Rick and Morty

Postby gib » Sat Aug 05, 2017 7:54 pm

Rick and Morty - S2E4 - Total Rickall

Again, went over in this one. I might as well accept it: each episode is *probably* going to be split into 2 parts from here on it. (How'd I ever get this obsessed?)

This is part 1.

This episode of Rick and Morty is, TBH, somewhat dry of juicy philosophical content (IMHO), and in rich character development. In fact, at least in the latter half of the episode, it's more like a shoot 'em up, gory slasher flick that anything else. That's not to say it doesn't make you think. In this episode, we'll see the Smith family get lost in false memories, memories implanted in their heads by what Rick calls "alien parasites". These are creatures that infect one's world like a bacteria. They start by planting false memories in your head of an old time family friend, or a lover, or a close acquaintance, and then slip into your life disguised as that friend, lover, or acquaintance--in reality they are an alien parasite whom you accept in your life because you are under the impression that you've always known them. Now if you're like the Smith family--lucky enough to have a patriarch who not only knows about these parasites, but knows they've infested the household--this can lead to a lot of confusion and paranoia. In this episode, we'll see how well the Smith family can hold it together and tease truth apart from deception.

It begins with the Smith family (sans Rick) gathered around the dinner table having a meal. Jerry's brother Steve is with them. Jerry, on his iPad, gets a strange email hinting that Steve bought the family airline tickets. When asked about this, he says he wanted it to be a surprise, and that it was a gesture of thanks for letting him live with them "all this time" <-- however long that is.

Rick comes in and dumps green glowing rocks in the garbage. When he asks who the hell this new guy is, Jerry responds:

Jerry: "My goofy brother Steve? [chuckle] He's been living here almost a year now? Are you losing your mind?"

Steve: "Hey, someone's been spending too much time around glowing rocks, am I right?"

Rick pulls out a gun and shoots Steve's brains out. The blood is pink, not red. Rick calms the family down from their panic: "Everybody just relax for a second. There's no such thing as an 'uncle Steve'. That is an alien parasite." Uncle Steve suddenly transforms into a parasite right in Jerry's arms:


"But I've known him my whole life," says Jerry. "No, you haven't, Jerry," Rick explains, "These telepathic little bastards, they embed themselves in memories, and t-t-then they use those to multiply and spread out and take over planets. It's-it's-it's disgusting... this is a big one. Somebody probably tracked it in last week on the bottom of their shoe or on a piece of alien fruit." "Someone?" Summer questions skeptically. "Get off the high road, Summer," Rick continues, "We all got pink eye because you won't stop texting on the toilet."

Summer's suspicions that Rick is the guilty party are most likely truer than you might think. There is a subtle hint that Rick did it right when he walks in the room:


These rocks, with those pink worms, are uncannily similar to the rocks Rick was loading up into his ship at the end of Mortynight Run:


In fact, it's no coincidence that episode two ended with this and the current episode begins with it. Many on the internet speculate that this ties into the theory of the alternate Rick and Morty that we were following in episode two. As you might recall, the theory is that in episode two, we weren't following Rick and Morty C-137, but a Rick and Morty from a different timeline. The only appearance of the C-137's is at the beginning when Rick fills out the Jerryboree form, writing "C-137" in the dimension field, and Morty takes the ticket marked "#5126", and at the end when, picking up their Jerries at the Jerryboree, Rick C-137 asks the Rick we were following: "Hey, wait, uh, do you have 5126?" <-- Indicating that the Rick asking the question wasn't the one we were following. And now, with Rick coming into the kitchen with glowing rocks and some (possibly) parasites, it's as if Harmon and Roiland are saying: we now pick up exactly where we left of episode 2. It's convenient that Urban Batoi Jerry was featured in the last episode, for if my theory is right that this is the Jerry they swapped at the end of episode 2, it means we were getting a glimpse of what happened in timeline C-137 after episode 2, and now we're getting a glimpse of what happened in the timeline of the other Rick and Morty after episode 2--almost as if episode 3 and 4 happen in parallel. In this timeline, we don't get to hear any more urban batoi from Jerry, indicating that this Jerry actually is a C-137.

In any case, Rick continues his explanations in response to Morty protesting that "uncle Steve taught me how to ride a bike." He says: "No, 'Steve' put that memory in your brain so he could live in your house, eat your food, and multiply. We could be infested with these things. *burp* So, we gotta keep an eye out for any zany, wacky characters that pop up." That's when Mr. Poopy Butthole shows up:


"Oo-wee," he says, "Whatever you want Rick. We're here to help."

Rick: "Thanks Mr. Poopy Butthole, I always could count on you."

I have to apologize for the name--Mr. Poopy Butthole--when I try to argue that the Rick and Morty series is above juvenile potty humor, this doesn't help.

Obviously, we're being setup to expect that Mr. Poopy Butthole is one of these "zany, wacky characters" that Rick warned about, and Rick's acceptance of him, betraying long held memories of how he could always count on Mr. Poopy Butthole, indicates that Rick himself has already been infected. Despite that this is exactly how the zany wacky characters of this episode will show up, don't assume too quickly that Mr. Poopy Butthole is one of them. The reason for this will be made clear at the end of this episode. In fact, the opening credits that follow this scene feature Mr. Poopy Butthole tagging along with Rick and Morty on their misadventures, unlike in all the other episode opening credits. This has been taken by some on the internet to mean that we are indeed following a different Rick and Morty in this episode than the C-137's, the same Rick and Morty from episode two if the theory of the parasite infested glowing rocks is right. Even though there was no mention of Mr. Poopy Butthole in episode two, it implies that the Rick and Morty of that episode did have memories of Mr. Poopy Butthole.

(A drawback to this theory is that it would seem to imply that Mr. Poopy Butthole should also have been in the opening credits of episode two, but he wasn't.)

The Smith family, and Mr. Poopy Butthole, are in the living room searching for parasites under couches, in bookshelves, in the carpet, all except for Rick who is writing the number 6 in big bold font on a sheet of paper. "All right," he says, "There's 6 of us and that's it. [tapes it to the wall] Me, Morty, Jerry, Beth, Mr. Poopy Butthole, and Summer." He then presses a button on his watch which activates the blast shields around the house--highly sophisticated shields that come down on all sides of the house on the outside, like an extra layer of armor worn by the house.

Then the first parasite attack hits (after Steve, that is). It hits Mr. Poopy Butthole right in the memory:

This is typically the way these characters will be introduced. Someone goes on a flashback, inciting everyone to reflect with him or her, and when they come out of it, the zany, wacky character they were reminiscing is suddenly there in the room.

We know Steve, Mr. Poopy Butthole, and now cousin Nicky. I feel like laying out a list like I did for the characters in Ricksy Business or the TV shows in Rixty Minutes. It wouldn't be feasible to list them all as there are way too many. In fact, this was one of motives on the part of the creators--to swamp the Smith family. Instead, I'll compile a list of what I take to be the most significant characters, at least enough to give the impress of what a wacky bunch of zany characters they indeed are.


Mr. Beauregard: the family butler. Always there for the Smith family, getting them out of trouble, rescuing them from nazis, freeing Jerry's head from the stair railing with marmalade, having pillow fights with Summer, subbing as Morty's date to the high school dance (dressed like a girl), and so on. What would the Smith family do without Mr. Beauregard?


Frankenstein's Monster: Not much background to this guy (except that he and Rick spent some time in Nam). Maybe a family friend?


Sleepy Gary: Beth's husband. Yes, Jerry is still married to her, but this parasite has them both convinced that Beth married Sleepy Gary and that Jerry and him are best friends. Except for the PJs, there really isn't anything "sleepy" about him.


Photography Raptor: Likes to take picture.


Pencilvestyr: A close friend of Rick's. Always there to help Rick erase his mistakes. He and Rick are so close, in fact, that Rick can't bring himself to shoot him near the end, and has Morty do it instead.


Tinkles: Tinkles is a "magic ballerina lamb," in Frank's words, who visits Summer in the middle of the night, coming through her window leaving a trail of rainbow behind her. She wakes Summer and whisks her away to "Never Past Bedtime Land"--a magical place full of colors, happiness, sunshine, and rainbows.


Hamurai and Amish Cyborg: Hamurai is a Samurai warrior who wears ham for armor. Amish Cyborg is an Amish man who is also a cyborg. These two are instrumental in getting Rick to remember a fake barbecue.


Ghost in a Jar: Not much to this guy. Kind of a weird form for a parasite to take.


Reverse Giraffe: In his words, "I have a short neck and legs," but an extremely long body. Leads the group (the parasites and the Smiths) in a revolt against Rick, casting him as the real parasite.


Baby Wizard and Big Rubber Ducky: The only role these two play are to hold Rick down in the garage while Morty interrogates him at gun point.


Mrs. Refrigerator: a "perfect companion" to Beth all her life, the first to get shot when the alien blood bath begins.

Although the list seems long, it's not even half the parasites that end up swamping the Smith family. And that's not to mention the collection of flashbacks I could post videos of, or the counter-flashbacks we'll see near the end.

Getting back to the plot line, Rick does a quick count and finds there are 7 people. He shoots cousin Nicky in the shoulder. Cousin Nicky morphs into the form of a parasite and dies agonizingly on the couch. Not sure why he died given Rick's rationale behind shooting people in the shoulder--when asked by Beth how he knew it was cousin Nicky, Rick says: "I guessed. That's why I aimed for his shoulder." I guess parasites die no matter where you shoot them.

Next: Mr. Beauregard. Beth is responsible for this one. She flashes back to a time when the Smith family, plus cousin Nicky, were trapped in an old submarine by a Nazi intent on destroying America with the staff of rah-gubaba. In perfect timing, Mr. Beauregard appears out of nowhere and knocks the Nazi out with his umbrella. "After due consideration," he says, "I have decided not to retire." Next thing you know, he's walking around the living room offering hors d'oeuvres to the family, no one being the wiser.

Now, I may be missing something here, but didn't Beth say this flashback featured cousin Nicky? And didn't cousin Nicky die just before the flashback, revealing his true parasite form? So Beth knows he's a parasite, yet she seems to believe in a memory with him in it. To be fair, however, the flashback is preceded by Beth questioning its authenticity precisely because it featured cousin Nicky, but then she comes out of it, along with Mr. Beauregard who says "Perhaps I'm biased, but if that story never happened, I wouldn't still be the family butler," and everyone, including Beth, seems to go along with it. So the evidence that it was a false memory seems to get put by the way side.

Then more flashbacks of Mr. Beauregard--he gets Jerry's head unstuck from the stair rails with marmalade, he has a pillow fight with Summer and Rick, and he even dresses up as a female because Morty has no one to take to the school dance, Morty all too willingly accepting the offer. In these flashbacks, three other parasites surreptitiously sneak in. Just after freeing Jerry's head with marmalade, Frankenstein's Monster (whom I'll just call Franky from here on in) comes in the room making a dumb comment about British cuisine. When Rick, Summer, and Mr. Beauregard have a pillow fight in Summer's room, sleepy Gary barges in saying "We're trying to sleep!" And right before Morty takes Mr. Beauregard to the dance, Photography Raptor takes their picture. After the flashbacks are over, all four parasites are in the room: Mr. Beauregard, Franky, Sleepy Gary, and Photography Raptor--everyone having a good laugh.

One question I have at this point is: whose memories are these? Beth seemed to spur the flashback of being trapped on the submarine, so we're lead to presume that this was at least Beth's memory. And then Summer was the one who seemed to spur the other flashbacks of Mr. Beauregard, so we're lead to presume these are at least Summer's. But in all cases, everyone seems to laugh fondly at these memories once they come out of their flashback. Are they all having the same flashbacks together? Do they have different flashbacks all featuring the same parasite? After all, the one with the pillow fight didn't feature Beth, Jerry, or Morty. How could they remember something in which they weren't even there? They may have been reminiscing over their own memories of Mr. Beauregard or Sleepy Gary while Summer was reminiscing over this one. However, there is evidence that not everyone partakes in the memories as they're happening, not even different versions of them. Rick had no memories of uncle Steve. He walks in the room and says: "Who the fuck are you?" Uncle Steve the parasite may not have known about Rick's existence, so didn't think to implant a memory in his brain. But whatever the case, it isn't a hard and fast rule that everyone gets the same memory or even different versions of the same memory.

Another point to bring up: notice that the memories get more and more absurd. Starting with uncle Steve, the Smith family reports a life time of memories of him. And what would be so strange about that? Even we as the audience are taken by it until Rick blasts a hole through his head and he turns to a parasite. Uncle Steve is a perfectly normal persona. Then comes cousin Nicky--a little more wacky, a little more zany, but still somewhat believable. Then Mr. Beauregard--nothing incredibly outlandish about this character, but things start to take a turn at this point--things start seeming unrealistic. Would the Smith family really have a butler working for them? Could they afford it? Are they the type to have a butler? Does it not seem kinda strange to the Smiths that they were somehow trapped on a submarine by a vicious Nazi wielding the magical staff of rah-gubaba? How on Earth would they get into such a situation (mind you, I probably shouldn't be saying this in a cartoon series featuring Rick and Morty getting into way more bizarre situations than that.) It gets worse in the last flashback. Mr. Beauregard dresses up like a girl so that Morty would have someone to go to the high school dance with. Is that something that a grown man would do? Is that something Morty would accept? This is all not to mention the other parasites that enter the picture during these flashbacks. Franky is patently the Frankenstein monster! Photography Raptor is, well, a raptor! But no one, not even Rick, question these things. They just go along with the memories.

The fact that the memories get progressively weirder as the episode unfolds, peeking with Tinkles whisking Summer off to Never Past Bedtime Land, is intentional, I think. It is Harmon and Roiland making a commentary about how easily people would be swayed by false memories, or any form of psychological suggestion, no matter how bizarre or absurd. Even Rick has great difficulty in this episode teasing apart fact from fiction.

This also makes me wonder how the parasites decide on a form. The parasite who posed as uncle Steve seemed to know what he was doing. Why would anyone be suspicious of old uncle Steve? But then what was Photography Raptor thinking? I suppose that given what we just said--that the Smiths will believe anything no matter how absurd--the parasites probably know that form doesn't matter so long as the memories are securely implanted. Though it might be that the parasites gradually learned how easy it is to fool the Smiths after the first few tries, and eventually threw caution to the wind with characters like Pencilvestyr or Tinkles.

Again, Rick is onto them--counting 10 people but with 6 written on the sheet of paper--but still without being able to tell the parasites from the real people. He tries to bring everyone's feet back down to the ground:

Rick: Everyone stop remembering! The parasites are like bedbugs and every flashback is another mattress! Look! [rips off sheet with 6 on it] There's only supposed to be 6 people in this house!

Beth: But there's always been 10.

Rick: NO!!! Er, uh, the fact that I wrote this number down means that there are four parasites.

Franky: Are you sure about that, Rick?

Mr. Beauregard: Begging your pardon, master Rick, but I seem to recall a great deal of confusion surrounding that number.

^ The parasites will do this from time to time, play on people's confusions and uncertainty. Exploiting everyone's inability to tell parasite from real person, the parasites are eventually able to overpower Rick in terms of persuasion and winning the Smith's over, ultimately culminating in everyone turning on Rick, holding him suspect as the real parasite. But that's later in the episode.

For now, the Smiths along with the parasites give the living room a one over, once again looking under couches, behind pictures, in the bookshelf, before Rick says:

"All right, that's six of us-*burp*-and that's it. Me, Morty, Jerry, Beth, Mr. Poopy Butthole, Frankenstein, Sleepy Gary, Photography Raptor, Mr. Beauregard, and Summer."

Beth: Uh, dad, that's like 10 people.

Rick: Six, ten, what's the difference?! I just love the number six for no reason! Where's my pencil at!

^ Is this Rick going crazy?

Pencilvestyr: Right here, Rick. Use me! [jumps into Rick's hand.]

Rick: Aw, thanks Pencilvestyr! [writes 6 with Pencilvestyr] Yeah, I-I-I gu-I guess that is what happened, but I-I-I don't get why I would do that."

^ We see here how persuasive a memory can be, even a false one. Even Rick is more convinced that the 10 people present in the living room (plus Pencilvestyr) are real than he is that he wrote 6 for an actual reason. <-- His own methodology failed. He nevertheless writes 6 anyway (as if unconsciously he knows 6 is right). He even does it with Pencilvestyr, especially ironic since he's the eleventh character to show up right after Rick establishes that there are 10 people, using his little pencil friend to record 6 as though establishing the fact. Now, whether that "established fact" is that there are 6 real people or 10 real people, both of which are wrong thanks to Pencilvestyr's appearance, has me intrigued. I really wonder what kind of insanity Rick seemed to briefly go through in his response to Beth: "Six, ten, what's the difference?! I just love the number six for no reason!" <-- So unscientific of Rick. It's almost as if he couldn't bring himself to get into a heated argument with his daughter (he was getting frustrated with her), much like he does with Summer and Morty, for that would be too cruel (yes, he does have a glimmer of a conscience, at least with Beth). So instead he (unconsciously) fakes insanity. That way, he can get away with whatever he wants--sans rationality--and what he wants in this moment is simply to write the number 6 down, because unconsciously (or maybe consciously) he knows that's the right number.

Yet, at the close of this sequence, Rick hints at one of the few means by which they should all be making calculated guesses as to who's a parasite and who isn't: questioning why he would write a number down even though it doesn't match the number of people in the house. He'll do this again later in the episode, question why he remembers doing something he'd never do. Morty could have done this upon reminiscing over going to the high school dance with Mr. Beauregard as his date: why would I do that, he should be asking. Beth could have done this when she and the rest of the family posed for one of Photography Raptor's pictures: why would we have a raptor taking professional photographs as a family friend? But only Rick comes somewhat close to using this method.

Beth, on the other hand, comes up with her own clever method: photos. She looks through her iPhone and says: "You're not in any of my photos, Mr. Poopy Butthole." Mr. Poopy Butthole responds: "Well, whadya know about this. You're not in any of mine." A bit of tension flares up between them. I don't mind dropping the occasional spoiler alert, and at this point, I think it's no secret that Mr. Poopy Butthole is indeed real. Nonetheless, for a viewer seeing this episode for the first time, it would be natural to back Beth on this one (this is incidentally why I skipped Mr. Poopy Butthole in the sequence from most normal to most outrageous; he's definitely quite outrageous from the very start).

But Summer quickly reveals the flaws in this method: "All I have are pictures of me and my friends from school... What? What teenage girl has pictures of her family? It's not like we're Mormon or dying." <-- She's got a point. Maybe pictures aren't the best method.

Then Franky ushers in the memory of Tinkles: "I will admit it's suspicious that Summer's only friend is a magic ballerina lamb that we've never seen."

Summer has no problem fully believing this happened to her.

So far, Frank and Mr. Poopy Butthole play a move in this game that constitutes a typical strategy on the part of the parasites--to turn the suspicions onto the real people, hinting that maybe they are the real parasites. We'll have to forgive Mr. Poopy Butthole since technically he's not a parasite, but he does contribute to this turning of tables in pointing out to Beth that she's not in any of his photos.

However, I should point out that this scene in particular--starting with Franky casting suspicion upon Summer and ending with Frankly apologizing with "I was on the wrong side of the pitchfork on this one"--is not an example of casting suspicion, though it looks like it on the surface. This is Franky using suspicion casting as a mechanism to usher in Tinkles. Once Tinkles shows up, he admits to being wrong. <-- Why would he do this if he knew the introduction of Tinkles would mean having to apologize, and in fact bolster everyone's trust in Summer. Nonetheless, casting suspicion is in general an obviously well practiced method with the parasites.

Before Tinkles shows up, however, Rick says something quite revealing: "That is-*burp*-suspicious. We're always hearing about this Tinkles character but we never get to--" "Hi everybody!" Tinkles suddenly says popping out from behind the couch. I find this interesting because it seems to be one of the few exceptions to the rule about shared memories. Whereas with every other character, the Smiths reflect on shared, or at least closely related, memories of that character, in Tinkles' case, it's the opposite. Only Summer gets to reminisce over her adventures to Never Past Bedtime Land with Tinkles, while the rest get to reminisce over Summer's hearsay about Tinkles but no actual memory of the magic ballerina lamb herself--OTW, everyone but Summer inherit memories of a lack of Tinkles. <-- Just thought that was curious.

I'm also puzzled by the way Summer snapped out of her little "trip" to Never Past Bedtime Land. She ends up bouncing on her bed, eyes closed, flailing her arms in the air with flash lights in her hands, shouting "Hoo! Hoo! Hoo!" when Beth and Sleepy Gary come in and sternly say "We're trying to sleep!" "It was Tinkles!" she snaps back, pointing out the window with one of the flash lights. "Tinkles?" she finally questions. <-- But this is still part of the memory. Why did the parasite implant that? This would only make Summer doubt her own memory, prompting her to wonder whether it was just a dream and she happened to be "dream dancing" (or something like that). One would think the most plausible memory to lay down (well, as plausible as you can make a memory about being whisked away by a magic ballerina lamb to Never Past Bedtime Land) would be for Tinkles to fly Summer back to her room after the party's over and tuck her into bed, perhaps kissing her good night on the forehead before disappearing out the window. Then at least Summer can be at her most certain about the reality of Tinkles. Well, maybe that's the whole catch of Never Past Bedtime Land--no one ever has to go to bed, it's a non-stop party. Or more likely: Harmon and Roiland just wanted not only a memory of Tinkles but a memory of Summer claiming it was Tinkles without anyone believing her. But as far as the parasites are concerned, not a very good strategy.

Then Jerry adds his two cents: "Ok, look, we shouldn't need evidence or logic to know who's family and who isn't. I know who the Smiths are. [puts hands on Beth's shoulders] I've known Beth since high school. And her husband [pulls Sleepy Gary into the scene], Sleepy Gary, is hands down my best friend." <-- The irony being, of course, that he's got it completely wrong. Jerry betrays here a common expectation of most simple minded people: that tricks of the mind--hallucinations, delusions, false memories--will feel "fake" whereas real experiences can be taken at face value. Jerry thinks that if his memories of Beth and Sleepy Gary feel certain and real, he can trust them; that if they weren't trustworthy, they would somehow feel untrustworthy. Jerry doesn't get it. He doesn't get that you can't distinguish the real memories from the false based on how they feel subjectively. They are designed to fool you, to feel as real as any other memory.

Rick dismisses Jerry's comment: "Look, I'm not used to being this unsure for so long. I'm just gonna aim for shoulders starting with the weird girl [Summer]." He fires at her and hits the TV behind her. Sleepy Gary jumps between her and Rick: "Rick, that is my daughter!" He tries to reason with Rick, tries to convince him this is insane given that these are friends and family. He tries to stir sentimental feelings by urging on memories of "the barbecue". He is joined by Hamurai and Amish Cyborg who also urge him to remember the barbecue. Then everyone joins in: "Remember the barbecue... Remember the barbecue... Remember the barbecue..." Even the Smiths are caught up in the rally. <-- Why would the Smiths want Rick to remember the barbecue, unless they've got the memory already implanted, and for sentimental reasons, want Rick to be convinced that these are family and friends.

It would be a bit complicated to describe the barbecue flashback; suffice it to say, this is what happened once Rick came out of it:


Sleepy Gary and Pencilvestyr try to urge Rick to take down the blast shields. Pencilvestyr argues that keeping them up is an overreaction and suggests that he's had a tendency to overreact in the past. This brings on a memory of Rick going nuts over a sale on Nintendo 3ds systems at Walmart for $149.99, cracking open a safe on the wall filled with stacks of money. When he comes to, he says "Ok, yes, I definitely remember doing that, but also I would never do that." <-- Again, the approach of questioning whether one would do the things one remembers doing. Rick seems to be the only one to recognize this as a sign of a false memory.

Jerry requests a private moment with Sleepy Gary. They go into the hallway. Jerry opens up to Sleepy Gary, expressing a near existential crisis: "How do we know I'm real?" he questions, tears welling up in his eyes. <-- This is going beyond suspicions of false memories and parasites. Doubting one's own existence is definitely a different matter than doubting the authenticity of a character in the room whom you have fond memories of, the reality of which is in question. The parasites may be able to pull off disguising themselves as some wacked out character and implanting false memories in your brain, but to trick you into think you exist when you really don't is just paradoxical.

But Sleepy Gary consoles Jerry by spurring on memories of a homoerotic love affair they had on a yacht while on vacation somewhere:

"You and I," reassures Sleepy Gary, "are going to survive this." "Ok," says Jerry before Sleepy Gary leans in for a kiss. Jerry pushes him away and says "Hey, we agreed: never in the house."

^ Seems like the parasites aren't the only ones who can fabricate false memories. This inability to question the rationality of these memories now has Jerry convinced that he's gay. What's more, as this scene shows, is that the implanting of false memories does a lot more than convince the victim that the memories in fact happened, but ties them together with feelings and sentimental attachments. Think of the trauma the Smith family had to deal with over the death of uncle Steve, trauma they still had to suffer through even when they were shown that uncle Steve was a parasite and didn't have a history with the Smith family. Think of Rick and his inability to kill Pencilvestyr even when he knows he's a parasite. Jerry may not be gay, and he may have no history or prior feelings for Sleepy Gary, but now that the memory is implanted, he's wrapped up in a love affair that means the world to him (as we'll see near the end).

I also question why the parasite Sleepy Gary chose this memory. Was it just to fortify a stronger bond between himself and Jerry? So that Jerry would be aligned with him more than with Rick or the rest of the Smith family? The parasite himself isn't gay, is he? It certainly doesn't seem to address Jerry's existential crisis, providing no better reason for Jerry to believe that he's real.

I also wonder if the parasites have the ability to erase memories. Otherwise, how would Jerry reconcile the fact that he has two conflicting sets of memories: one set featuring not only his romantic love affair with Sleepy Gary but the fact that Sleepy Gary married Beth, and the other set featuring him and Beth meeting in high school, knocking Beth up with Summer, getting married to her, and living with her under this roof raising both Summer and Morty for years. Did the false memories of Sleepy Gary push the authentic memories out? Or is Jerry going along with this despite different memories not making sense with respect to each other?

For that matter, what about the memories just prior to each character showing up? When the parasites plant their memories, they would have to not only plant the specific flashback we see in the episode, but at least a few memories of why they're there in the room. I mean, if I flashed back to a time I had with my aunt, and then all of a sudden, she was here in my living room, I'd still be take aback my it--unless in addition to the flashback, I also had a memory of my aunt saying she'd be over for dinner (or something), a memory of her ringing the door bell and me answering it, a memory of her being there in the living room just before I flashed back, etc. It would be impractical for the writers to overtly reflect each and every memory the parasites would have to plant in order to be convincing, so I think we're supposed to assume the memories are more than just the one we see in the flashback. But if the parasites are planting memories of how each one got there in the room, do those memories conflict with the real memories of the parasite not being in the room before the flashback? And if so, are the Smiths ignoring it? Confused about it? Fabricating some kind of rationnel?

Back in the living room, Frank is checking out Rick's watch. "Trying to figure out how to lower the blast shields, huh?" says Rick. Frank accuses him of being paranoid: "You've been paranoid since 'nam," leading him into another flashback. Rick snaps himself out of it (much like he did with Fart) at the same moment when Frank tries to grab the gun from him. They wrestle for it. The crowd eggs on the fight. They roll across the table and onto the floor. Frank wins. He gets the gun from Rick leaving him with a nice shiner. Two parasites (a big robot and the sun) grab Rick by the arms and throw him into a chair. Then he gets interrogated by Reverse Giraffe:

"You know me. I'm Reverse Giraffe. I have a short neck and legs. I went to college with Hamurai. [Hamurai: Hai!] I saved Ghost in a Jar's life in Vietnam. [Ghost in a Jar: Hurrah!] And Beth, how many times have I been a shoulder for you to cry on? [Beth: *sigh* Too many.] Ok, so maybe, we're just all fake. [crowd murmurs] Or maybe, there's only one deceiver here, the person who keeps telling us the path to salvation is being held prisoner and mistrusting each other... I know we all have beloved memories of Rick, but are we really supposed to believe that a mad scientist inventor with a flying car just showed up on our door step after being gone for years?"

Morty concurs with this: "Yeah, you know, he does have a lot of really weird, made up sounding catch phrases."

If this scene seems out of place, it's probably because Roiland and Harmon were looking for a place to insert it. My guess is they wanted a montage of scenes that made the audience question their own memories. For my own part, I remember watching each scene fly by and wondering: did I see that before in a previous episode? Or is it fake? Are Roiland and Harmon playing with my memory, making me feel confused about whether my sense of deja vu is real or artificially induced? Although it does seem out of place with respect to catch phrases, it fits perfectly well with respect to the suspicions Reverse Giraffe is trying to raise--namely, that Rick is the real parasite and any memories the Smith family has of him since he moved in after years of absence are fake. The uncertainty we feel about our memories during this montage are what the Smiths are supposed to feel upon reflecting on their own memories of Rick over the last year or so, and Reverse Giraffe spurs this on.

In fact, Beth is the first to bite:

Beth: "And don't forget his incredibly vague back story."

Rick: "Beth, I'm your father!"

Beth: "Oh, are you dad? Are you?"

Morty steps between them and beckons Rick to lower the blast shield. After being called an "implausible naive pubescent boy with an old Jewish comedy writer's name," Morty takes the gun from Frank and, getting Big Rubber Ducky and Baby Wizard to help him, drags Rick off to the garage:

Putting aside Rick's umpteenth display of total disinterest in his own life, I really think Morty's "take charge" display comes through here, and it is no doubt thanks to Rick's influence. Despite the obvious signs of anxiety (the sweat, the shaking hands), Morty here is acting very Rick-like. "All right, you listen to me you son of a bitch parasite scum. We could either do this the easy way or the hard way," is exactly something Rick would say. No doubt, a lot of it is motivated by Morty's repressed anger towards Rick, but it's still quite a display of Rick-like control over the situation.

Rick's response: "Well, I remember you as a winy piece of shit, Morty... I've got about a thousand memories of your dumb little ass and about six of them are pleasant. The rest is annoying garbage..." gets Morty thinking. He suddenly realizes who the real parasites are: Big Rubber Ducky and Baby Wizard. He shoots them both, guessing correctly on both accounts. He explains to Rick: "The parasites can only create pleasant memories! I know you're real because I have a ton of bad memories of you!" A montage follows of bad times Morty's supposedly had with Rick (again, none of them from previous episodes).

^ Morty's quick thinking in this scene, to see through the immediate distractions straight to the solution, is again very Rick-like--showing that not only is Rick's take charge propensity rubbing off on Morty, but his genius too (though I wonder how much of that has "rubbed off" and how much is innate--Rick is Morty's grandpa, after all). In fact, Rick himself seems quite impress: "Holy crap, Morty, you're right!"

Rick then proceeds to the washer and dryer against the back wall, turns the nob on the washer (or dryer?), and suddenly the washer and dryer lower into the ground on mechanical platform while a sliding door on the wall opens to reveal a rack full of hi-tech gun (if all it takes is turning the nob on the washer, I wonder how Beth never discovered this--actually, she probably did and just excused Rick).

"Now let's go, Morty," Rick says, "We've got a lot of friends and family to exterminate."

Rick and Morty storm into the house shooting their guns in the air. "We need to kill everyone that we can only remember fondly," says Rick, "Who's got a bad memory about Mrs. Refrigerator?" In a panic, Mrs. Refrigerator conjures up the memory of her and Beth on a roller-coaster. "Oo-hoo-hoo, man, we couldn't stop screamin'," she says with her hand on Beth's shoulder. Beth removes her hand and says: "Uh, roller-coasters aren't bad Mrs. Refrigerator, they're thrilling. And you've been a perfect companion to me my entire my life." That's when Mrs. Refrigerator starts to panic and runs around the room. She ends at the patio door, breaking the glass, and tries to get by the blast shield when Rick shoots her. She transforms back into parasite form and dies.

Rick next targets Summer: "What about Summer?" Morty ponders over a bad memory: while watering the lawn, drinking a soda, Morty gets canned from behind by Summer. "Never go in my room again," she says. "I didn't!" says a squirming on the ground in the fetal position Morty. He snaps out of it and says: "She's real. She's my bitch of a sister," and throws her a gun.

Each member of the Smith family goes through a brief moment of recollecting bad memories of each other, each one in a moment when they're about to shoot the other, then realizes they're not a parasite (these are the "counter-flashbacks" I mentioned earlier).

Summer vs. Beth: Summer remembers having to wake her drunk mother because she wasn't sure whether she was driving her to school for picture day. Bottle of wine still in hand, Beth swings around and accidentally hits Summer in the eye with it, giving her a nice shiner. While Beth puts a half-ass job into masking the bruise with makeup, Summer cries "I want the police to take me!"

^ A bit of commentary on Beth's alcoholism is in order but there will be a more appropriate time for that near the end.

Summer vs. Morty: She remembers catching Morty jerking off in the kitchen. They were all out at a consert but returned because they forgot the tickets. Neither expected that.

Beth vs. Jerry: Beth remembers being chased by a homeless guy while Jerry hides in the car leaving her to fend for herself. It begins with Jerry, carrying a dozen eggs, running past Beth, carrying two heavy loads of groceries, because a crazy homeless person is chasing them ready to use a broken bottle as a weapon. Jerry gets in the car and locks it. "Look out for that homeless guy!" he yells through the closed window. That's when Beth notices. She runs to the car. Jerry won't open the door, claiming "There isn't time! Just run!" She drops the groceries and fends the homeless guy off with a shopping cart. "Get out here and help me!" she beckons. "They say you shouldn't do that!" Jerry excuses himself, "Just run!"

^ So like Jerry to follow the rules, and for all the wrong reasons. So like the rule makers to make up a dumb rule like that. It's like they say: if you see someone injured, possibly bleeding to death, for heaven's sake, don't help them. Call 911 and wait for the professionals to get there. Meanwhile, as they take their time getting there, the man dies because you did nothing. <-- Sorry, pet peeve.

Anyway, getting back to where we left off, the duo is now a trio--Rick, Morty, and Summer. Next: Beth. That's when Summer reflects on the shiner incident. "Morty, give a gun to the lady who got pregnant with me way to earlier and constantly makes it our problem." Morty throws her a gun. She catches it and says in such an appreciative tone: "Thank you, sweety." She turns around and aims the gun at "Disco Bear" (for lack of a better name). "I thought it was too good to be true that we'd have compatible kidneys," she says before shooting him. She steps back and joins the other three in a classic Rick and Morty pose:

My thoughts | My art | My music | My poetry

In fact, the idea that there's more differences between groups than there is between individuals is actually the fundamental racist idea.
- Jordan Peterson

right outta high school i tried to get a job as a proctologist but i couldn't find an opening.
- promethean75

Ahh... gib, zombie universes are so last year! I’m doing hyper dimensional mirror realities now.
- Ecmandu
User avatar
resident exorcist
Posts: 8929
Joined: Sat May 27, 2006 10:25 pm
Location: in your mom

Re: The Philosophy of Rick and Morty

Postby gib » Sat Aug 05, 2017 7:59 pm

Part 2


^ Jerry's not in there for a reason. And it's more than just because he's too much of a coward to pick up a gun, or because he lacks the ability to think outside the box that is his naive impressionable simple mind (naive enough to be totally convinced by false but perfectly happy memories despite knowing now that such happiness means they're false). There's a symbolic reason as well which I'l explain later.

The blood path begins! The Smiths start shooting the place up. Parasites are getting holes blasted through them left and right. The only thing sealing their doom is the blast shields. If any of them had convinced Rick to open the blast shields, they could run outside for safety, and from there, escape and infect the world. But they're trapped in the house and the Smiths have the guns.

It's always struck me as unrealistic that the Smiths could just start shooting at the parasites in a shoot-em-up video game style while they'd always pause to think for a bit, search their memories banks, when confronted with actual Smiths. It's like they already know who's a parasite and who isn't. Oh well, you can't always make sense during actions scenes in an adult cartoon, but "life is made of little concessions" as Rick put it. The one exception to this is Pencilvestyr. Rick pauses here: "Come on, man, haven't we ever had an uncomfortable silence or an awkward fart on a road trip? Come on, Pencilvestyr, give me anything." But Pencilvestyr comes up short. All he can say for himself is: "Rick, I'm Pencilvestyr! Listen to that name! You can't kill me!" to which Rick responds: "You're right," then, with tears in his eyes, to Morty standing beside: "Kill Pencilvestyr." Morty blasts him without hesitation.

^ I find this scene interesting because it's one of the few occasions when Rick doesn't seem ashamed to show his true feelings. He wells up with tears right in front of Morty, almost sobbing, and yet walks away from the deed he knows must be done. We can compare this with the scene from Close Rickcounters when he wells up with tears over the memories flashing before his eyes on the screen (Ha! look at that! Both involving memories!). In that case, he tried to deny his emotionality (with the rather pathetic excuse: I'm allergic to dip shits) whereas in this case, he seems fine with being up front about it. Mind you, in Close Rickcounters, he was dealing with an enemy, an enemy against whom he had to keep up his defenses. It wasn't a moment to show weakness. But in the present case, showing his true feelings is more or less harmless as long as the job gets done. Sure the parasites are enemies, but they're at the mercy of the Smiths in this case. The point is, it's a mistake to think Rick isn't in touch with his feelings. He knows how he feels, when he feels it, and if the environment is non-threatening enough, he will express it. There are multiple examples of this throughout the series. One for example, is in The Wedding Squanchers when he says: "To my greatest adventure yet: opening myself up to others." Or in episode 1 of season 3: "That's the three lines of math that separates my life as a man from my life as an unfeeling ghost." And now that S3E2 is out, we get the very revealing line: "My daughter's going through a divorce and I am not dealing with it in a health way at all." Rick may mask his feelings at times, but he's not in denial about himself.

This scene also shows that Rick is willing to do some horrible things if it's necessary, and not just horrible to someone else. The experience is literally that of exterminating friends and family, as Rick puts it, but Rick is able to keep his better judgement and follow through with some extremely hard decisions (well, vicariously through Morty, in this case). It *sort of* vindicates his actions from earlier--shooting uncle Steve--in the sense that as insensitive as it may have seemed at the time (what with the rest of the Smith family suddenly undergoing the experience of seeing a close relative getting his brains shot out, Jerry in particular), he proves in this scene that he's willing to undergo the same.

Summer kills Tinkles and all her friends. "Summer, I've always loved you!" Tinkles says desperately. "Yep." says Summer smugly before shoot her.

(^ Personally, I would have Summer say: "That's the problem.")

^ It's funny how sometimes the killing of these parasites is the hardest thing they can do, while other times it seems so simple. For example, Mr. Beauregard, keeping low to the ground, tries to crawl towards his escape only to be blocked by Rick's feet. He looks up and says: "Ah, master Rick, remember when you weren't going to shoot me?" Rick shoots him then and there, and says "I guess I did the butler! Ha! Ha!" <-- So welling up over the idea of shooting Pencilvestyr but cracking a bad joke after unreluctantly shooting Mr. Beauregard. I guess it all depends on the quality of the memory. Pencilvestyr obviously implant extremely fond memories of the times he and Rick spent together, but Mr. Beauregard was just the family butler. It doesn't necessarily follow that they were close. But then again, why would a parasite ever not implant fond memories? Wouldn't they want to do everything they could to ensure that the people who's lives they infest want to keep them around? But Rick behaves here as if he had absolutely no ties, not even false ones, to Mr Beauregard.

But probably the biggest example of having to sever the bonds of strong family connection and love comes in the scene when Beth kills Sleepy Gary right when he and Jerry are holding each other close while the blood bath is going on around them. It had to be Beth to shoot Sleepy Gary because there'd be no way Jerry could do it himself (he can't even convince himself that Sleepy Gary is a parasite). "You gotta hide me, Sleepy Gary!" Jerry pleads trembling in fear. "Don't worry," says Sleepy Gary, "I have a plan. If we can get to my boat, there's a--" and then gets shot my Beth. Jerry grabs Beth's gun and points it to his head. "Send me to Gary. I wanna be with Gary," he says with tears in his eyes. That's when Beth recalls the time when he left her to fend for herself against a crazed homeless man.

Beth: "*Eugh* Sorry Jerry, we're real. [helps him to his feet]"

Jerry: "[sobbing] I'm a parasite."

Beth: "Yeah, but your real. [Jerry leans in for a kiss, now apparently remembering that she's his wife] Ah, ah, I need time... to forget about Sleepy Gary." Beth backs off.

Jerry: "Me too."

^ This is the symbolism I was talking about. Beth's response that Jerry is a parasite obviously isn't meant to be taken literally but it sure as hell can be taken metaphorically. Jerry is a leach. He depends on everyone around him for emotional support and approval, only able to feel good about himself when everyone lambastes his attention starved ego with praise and affection. His very act of cowardice when in the arms of Sleepy Gary--"You gotta hide me, Sleepy Gary"--shows that his nature is to leach off others--in this case, asking a (supposed) loved one to put himself in harms way in order to save his hide. Like Rick, Jerry brings very little to the Smith family, not much in the way of contributing something positive, or something that can help them grow, but instead drains those around him of patience and love. In fact, in the episode Looks Who's Purging Now--Jerry, still unemployed, literally begs Summer for money. This is why he was excluded from the Smith family pose (with the guns looking all bad ass). He's one of the parasites (metaphorically).

And while we're on the topic, Sleepy Gary stands in contrast to Jerry as the least parasitic of the parasites. Despite the gay love affair, he represents the husband Beth should have had. He stands between Rick's gun and Summer, standing up to him with the words "Rick, that is my daughter." <-- Really playing the part well for someone who's intention is to leach off Summer and the rest of the Smith family. Would it really be worth risking your life, provoking Rick to pull the trigger, if you were only there to exploit them? Probably not, but that's what makes Sleepy Gary stand out. While Jerry is guaranteed to find a closet to cower in, Sleepy Gary defends a daughter who isn't even his. Then when Jerry begs him to hide him, Sleepy Gary displays that take charge attitude, devising a plan for how to get them both to safety. He allows himself to be leached rather than to leach. What would Sleepy Gary have done in the case of the crazed homeless man? For a moment, Beth had it made. She had a man who had all Jerry's strength and none of his weaknesses (again, notwithstanding the gay love affair, but Jerry had to have the experience of a perfect relationship too).

Now this symbolism works perfectly in a near symmetrical symbolism on the side of Rick. Rick too could be construed as a parasite. What does he do but crash rent free at the Smith's house, eating them out of house and home, and doing nothing in return but bringing them hardship and trauma (and parasites). Of course, this isn't reflected very well in the family pose. If Jerry is excluded because he's a parasite, why isn't Rick? And all I can think of is that Rick is the parasite who defends the Smith family against all other parasites. And this echoes a common theme in the series that we've pointed out before. Rick is both the man who gets the Smiths into hot water and the man who gets them out. He may have brought the parasite infestation into the Smith's house but he's also the one who gets them out (to be fair, Morty's the one who figured out the parasites' secret, but Rick quickly took over--right about when he gave a succinct one-line explanation of what Morty said would "take some explaining"; not to mention the fact that Rick is the reason the Smiths kept up their suspicions throughout the entire episode, suspicions without which the parasites would have had them in the palms of their hands from the get-go). This is pretty typical of almost every one of their adventures--Rick is the one to get them into trouble but also the one to swoop in to save the day when they need some way out. In the moment of the pose, Rick is swooping in.

The more general point, however, is that, once again, Rick and Jerry can be juxtaposed against each other as mirror images of polar opposites. Ego and alter-ego. Both parasites but in completely opposite ways.

In fact, if we stick with this symbolism one step further, we might question whether it can be taken as more than a symbol. The question does arise--in fact, it spills from Beth's lips--is Rick a parasite? Beth mentions how odd it is that Rick suddenly shows up on their doorstep after a vague back story about where he's been all these years. In fact, there's a whole list of things about Rick that are characteristic of parasites:

  • Crashing rent free, eating their food: in Rick's words, "'Steve' put that memory in your brain so he could live in your house, eat your food, and multiply" <-- With the exception of multiplying, Rick fits the profile.
  • Wacky, zany character: I'd say Rick is a pretty wacky zany character. Wears a lab coat at all times, is a mad scientist constantly making new inventions, travels to strange alien worlds with a portal gun, gets the Smiths caught in all sorts of crazy sci-fi adventures. He fits right among all the other parasites.
  • Is extremely intelligent: the parasites definitely seem intelligent, just as you would expect an alien species who takes over other planets. Most likely part of an advanced civilization in which most of Rick's gadgets would seem commonplace.
  • Knows how to space travel and hop to different dimensions: again, alien species that takes over other planets, would know how to space travel, *maybe* even dimension hop.
  • Shows complete disregard for his family: with the occasional exception of showing feelings, 90% of the time, Rick makes no secret of the fact that he doesn't give a damn about anyone, not even his family. This would make total sense if he were really a parasite intent on sucking the life out of the Smiths as a small stepping stone towards taking over the planet.

We might even speculate upon the exact moment when Rick showed up in their lives. It wasn't when he showed up at their doorstep after being gone for so many years--that's just the back story, the false memory--it was at the very beginning, in the Pilot. When Rick stumbles into Morty's room drunk, it's not unthinkable that he planted a memory in Morty's brain during a dream... then showed up. As with all the other false memory implants, similar memories were probably induced in the other Smiths' brains (probably while they were asleep too) and so the next morning, Beth makes eggs for her father as if he's been here for a while now.

That is, if it weren't for the one snag in this theory: everyone's got tons of bad memories of Rick... except for Beth, which is why I went with this theory for a good while. I questioned this tendency of the parasites--to only plant happy memories--and I asked myself: did Morty say they can't plant unhappy memories or just that they don't. Well, turns out he said they "can't", but before verifying this, I thought it was pretty reasonable to assume the implantation of pleasant memories was just a sales tactic. If you wanted to invade someone's home, live there rent free, eat their food, invite all your friends, why would you ever give them a single bad experience? So it wasn't so much that the parasites couldn't create bad memories, just that it would be stupid to do so. I thought maybe this allows for the possibility of Rick doing so. Why? Well, my thought was that when he stumbled upon Beth, scanning her memories and learning that she'd do anything to get her father back, he realized this was a golden opportunity: here's a person who makes the sale for him. He can do anything, take her son out of school to go one precariously dangerous adventures to get drugs (I mean, seeds) that he forces Morty to shove up his ass and try to get through galactic federal customs, and think of it as "grandpa/grandson bonding time". He could implant the worst memory imaginable and rely on Beth to turn it into sunshine and rainbows. She does all the work for him. What better gig could a salesman get than one in which the customer makes the sale for him? But alas, that theory false through the cracks. Upon watching the scene with Mrs. Refrigerator, I realized the parasite literally can't form negative memories: she tries her damnedest and only comes up with a thrilling roller-coaster ride. <-- That pretty much settled it for. Rick can't be a parasite (in the literal sense) since parasites can't create bad memories, and Rick is an overflowing fountain of bad memories just waiting to be laid.

(This is not to mention the fact that Rick is against all the other parasite, and partakes with the Smith family in obliterating them in the end; how would that be explained if he were one of them; but it's easy to come up with all manner of explanation; maybe Rick is trying to hide here on Earth from the "Parasite Federation" as it might be called, and uncle Steve is a spy who discovers him--it would certainly explain why Rick had no memory of uncle Steve; once Rick killed him, that signaled to the others that Rick was found and they came flooding in; or another explanation might be that Rick simply doesn't want to share the Smith family with the others; all others don't seem to mind sharing with each other, but maybe Rick is the selfish one; but none of that matters because I don't think the Rick-is-a-parasite theory holds.)

Anyway, the blood bath ends, and they're all sitting around the dining room table. Pink blood is still splattered all over the walls, laser blast holes are everywhere and the damage to the house can't be missed.

"This is depressing," says Jerry, "We killed every good person in the house. We're what's left? What a family."

Rick puts a different spin on it: "At least we're really, Jerry, we're real! Ricky Ticky Tavy!!!"

^ This *might* be the theme of the episode: better the have a flawed reality than a perfect fantasy. <-- This definitely belongs in the philosophical questions I'll pose at the end, but I'd like to focus on Jerry's comment. To say "this is depressing," is quite the understatement. It's not just that they didn't get to keep all the pleasant people in their lives around, it's that they had to undergo the excruciating experience of killing tons of their family and loved ones. I think to myself: what if I learned my daughter was a parasite? How could I kill her? How can you just do that and then sit down at the dinner table to enjoy a nice stake with mashed potatoes and peas? This is like a genocidal massacre. If uncle Steve was a traumatizing experience, imagine what the blood bath they just went through must be like. It's not unlike Rick to be so insensitive, pulling out the silver line from a dark somber experience, but it's completely unlike anyone to simply "brewed" over the situation, hoping to get over it in a few days; you'd be more likely to be rocking back and forth in a dark corner crying your eye balls out. But I've never been in that psychological situation before--killing people that, though you have fond memories of and feel a strong attachment too, nevertheless know they are parasites and need to die. <-- Maybe knowing that makes it not so bad.

But this isn't quite the thing Jerry finds depressing. He isn't depressed about the sheer number of virtual loved ones who they had to killed but the people who are still alive. He's depressed because real people are flawed. So in this sense, maybe Rick's sentiment is appropriate. Despite how out of place his comment about being real is, it does carry an interesting point philosophically speaking: knowing that a person has character flaws, and being able to recollect a series of bad memories of that person, definitely reminds us that they aren't faking it around us. We know people are real when they don't hide their flaws. It's always the fake ones who give off a veneer of perfection. Ironically, this can convince us to appreciate the former type of person more than the latter--that is, if we can get by the superficial sweetness of the latter, which, as the Smiths have experienced first hand, can be spell binding.

Mr. Poopy Butthole comes to the table. Beth eyes him stuffing his face with a pork chop, a look of suspicion on her face. "Is something wrong Beth?" She pulls out a gun and shoots him. He gets propelled against the wall, red blood splattering against it. He falls to the ground with red blood pouring from the gun shot wound. He doesn't transform into a parasite.

So Beth mistakenly assumes Mr. Poopy Butthole is a parasite and finds out the hard way that he is not. She used the same old tactic (as we'll see in the post-credit scene) of trying to think of any negative memories she's had of Mr. Poopy Butthole but comes up short. So naturally, she concludes that he must be a parasite and shoots him. <-- Obviously not a hard and fast rule, more like a rule of thumb.

I made the video clip above because I want to close this analysis on Beth's growing alcoholism. We saw it once before in Rixty Minutes and now we see it twice in this episode: once in Summer's memory of getting welted in the eye, and again here. Just look at Beth poor that wine into the glass, how she shakes, how she spills wine everywhere, and how she chugs it down. On both previous occasions, it could be excused on the same account that we all get drunk sometimes--we sometimes decide to drink for bad reasons, sometimes for acceptable reason but we take it too far, sometimes just for a bit of fun--but in this scene she chugs it like shooting up morphine to kill some unbearable pain. Definitely using it as an escape. And of course, going down the same path as her father.

Anyway, yes, Mr. Poopy Butthole is real and has (apparently) been a long time family friend of the Smiths. Like I pointed out near the beginning, this is a dimension featuring Mr. Poopy Butthole, as his presence in the opening credits symbolizes, and we are to presume that whenever an episode of Rick and Morty takes place in this dimension (however that would be determined), Mr. Poopy Butthole is somewhere about, somewhere hanging around this universe. He won't necessarily be featured in the episode, but we are to presume he exists and that Rick and Morty carry fond memories of him wherever they go.

The post-credit scene has the Smith family watching Mr. Poopy Butthole through a hospital window as he learns to walk again with the aid of a nurse and some support bars. Rick's pocketing random pills he find, some of which he downs right then and there. Beth is carrying a bouquet of yellow roses.

Rick: "Listen, Beth, don't torture yourself. I made a similar mistake years ago but, you know, on a planetary scale." <-- Rick trying to console his daughter. Unless you're listening to Rick say something like this for the first time, it really does pull on the ol' heart strings.

Beth: "Is, um, is he mad at me?"

Rick: "He's not pressing charges. I mean, that's gotta be the you-shot-me equivalent of not being mad."

The nurse comes out. Beth asks if Mr. Poopy Butthole can have visitors. The nurse says: "He'd like to be alone. He told me to tell you... he's sorry you didn't have bad memories of him... If you love him, you should leave." Beth just drops the flower and covers her eyes. The family walks away (Rick uttering one of his stupid catch phrases: and that's the waaay the news goes <-- Yeah, one of the one's in the montage.)

I guess Beth now does have a bad memory of Mr. Poopy Butthole, as Mr. Poopy Butthole does of Beth. Real life! <-- Could this be used to reconcile their differences? Dunno. Nothing more to do with this incident is explored in season 2. We see Mr. Poopy Butthole once again in the post-credit scene of the season 2 finally, but it's in such a removed context that it's questionable whether there is a Beth for Mr. Poopy Butthole to make amends with (you'll see when we get there).


* Reality and perception: In this case, "perception" refers more to memory than to the senses, but the defining mark between it and reality remains the same--it's the feature of reliability? Can we rely on our experiences? Can we trust them? This one goes back to Descartes (or the Greeks if you want to go back that far). Descartes, in my opinion, lays down the definitive case for radical skepticism, going so far as to (like Jerry) question his own existence. By "definitive", I mean a skepticism so thorough that there is no way out of it. When you argue, like Descartes did, that anything you perceive or believe, or experience in any way, could, in principle, be a dream, tricks of an evil demon, or raw insanity--questioning even the tenets of basic geometry (like all circles being round)--then there is nothing that is exempt from doubt. In practice, however, the Smiths cleverly figure out a few methods by which to tease apart fact from fiction: recording the number of real people in the room, questioning whether they would do the things they remember doing, looking through photos, trying to recall bad memories, and so on. The Smiths *could* have employed a few other approaches--questioning the absurdity of the characters themselves (a magic ballerina lamb), or juxtaposing contradictory memories (Beth recalling both that she's married to Sleepy Gary and to Jerry)--and probably other approaches that I've failed to mention, but whether the Smiths employed these approaches or not, they represent means by which to distinguish reality from mere perception. In practice, these are very practical approaches, but the reason Descartes' skepticism holds in principle, as far as I'm concerned, is that in order to use these approaches, or any approach to sifting fact from fiction, one must depend on rationality--that is, we trust these approaches because they seem to entail, logically, that anything that passes the test must be real and anything that fails the test must be fake--but that is to take logic and rationality, things which are just as mental as perceptions and memories, at face value. What test is there to test the validity of one's own logic? More logic? If the illusions and tricks of perception are embedded in our logic, as opposed to our perceptions or memories, then any approach one devises to tease apart fact from fiction is useless, and Descartes' radical skepticism seems inescapable. One might as well go with the flow, trusting any perception or experience one is given. <-- This, in my opinion, is a problem that will plague epistemological philosophy forever.

* The power of suggestion: Are human beings really as gullible as the Smiths? If a character like Amish Cyborg was hanging out in your living room, would you just accept him because you have fond memories of him? For most of us, the scary answer might just be yes. But why would we be that gullible, especially given the patent absurdity of characters like Amish Cyborg or Big Rubber Dukcy? The answer is that because the memories that would be planted in our brains, like those planted in the Smiths' brains, would have bypassed the normal psychological processes by which we normally scrutinize our experiences and the things we are told. In other words, the instances during which we question our experiences or the information we get is before such experiences or information are established. When we are told information from a source we don't fully trust, or have experiences which we don't know we can simply take at face value, we question its authenticity before we secure it in our minds to be relied upon going forward. But if such information or experiences are established in memory directly, or by other means, they are established in a place or state in the mind that is taken for granted as trustworthy. It's like the difference between showing a passport to security in an airport vs. applying for a passport through the usual channels. It's only in the latter case that one's authenticity and credibility is scrutinized. But if one presents a legitimate looking passport to airport security, they will most likely take it at face value (not that they won't do any scrutinizing but they will hardly take the time to go into such depth in their scrutiny as to thoroughly investigate your identity and trace your passport to the sources which validated it). Airport security will usually assume that, upon a quick inspection, the passport, if it looks valid, has already gone through the necessary scrutiny for legitimizing it, and can therefore be, to an extent, taken for granted. When one reflects on one's memories, IOW, one is reflecting on an element in one's own mind which is, by default, taken to be legitimate, to have already passed all necessary tests for authenticity. The mind simply isn't conditioned to scrutinize one's own memories for any absurdities or inconsistencies--the mind is conditioned to scrutinize only during the stage when such memories are being laid down (i.e. before they become memories proper). This isn't to say the mind can't scrutinize its memories for signs of inauthenticity, just that it doesn't come naturally. I think this is true for any form of psychological suggestion. During hypnosis, when the hypnotist brainwashes his subject to believe he is a famous rock star, for example, he is establishing ideas or memories through psychological channels other than the ones through which such ideas or memories ordinarily pass through; he bypasses the usual screening process and implants those ideas or memories directly at a spot in the mind that is conditioned to be taken for granted as holding legitimate ideas or memories. Now, this explanation comes from a slightly different angle than that of criticizing human stupidity. Not that this is what Roiland and Harmon were necessarily getting at (the fact that Rick fell for false memories almost as much as the rest of the Smith family suggests this is not what they were getting at), but it is often raised as a point for philosophical consideration. There's no shortage of posters here at ILP who love to bitch and moan about the stupidity of the "sheeple" who believe everything they are told and conform to everything their peers do. And the events in this episode could be brought in as perfect examples of this human tendency. While I don't think this is quite what Roiland and Harmon were getting at, the instances in this episode of succumbing to suggestion count as overlapping examples of the "sheeple" statement that some no doubt will glean from this episode and the "bypassing scrutinity" statement that I'm gleaning (and which I think is closer to what Harmon and Roiland were getting at). In either case, it requires extraordinary intelligence and critical thinking (thinking against one's natural instincts, going against the flow) to avoid being fooled, something people don't usually do on an regular basis. This is why suggestion works so well--it bypasses the usual psychological channels through which incoming information is scrutinized and questioned, thereby establishes itself with a "get in free" card.

* Flawed reality vs. perfect fantasy: reality is flawed. It's a fact. The expression "too good to be true," is not just pessimism but realism. It's the wisedom to recognize that if there are no flaws, it's highly unlikely to be real. But is there really anything wrong with living in a fantasy if it means being truly happy? The most intuitive answer to this question is that even the most pleasant of fantasies can only last so long, after which one will inevitably crash into reality or seriously harm one's self. It would be much like taking drugs--sure the initial experience is pleasant, sometimes even enough to create a whole new world for one's self, but one can only do this for so long before one begins to crash or incur serious harm. The pains an adversities of reality can at least be dealt with in such a way as to resolve them or overcome them, unlike the case of escaping into fantasy which is just to put the pains and adversities of reality aside only to have to face them later on (usually exacerbating their unpleasant effects). But then again, one can question this: are the pains in life always inevitable? Is there no such thing as a fantasy that can endure through the entirety of one's life? Taking tylonal to get rid of a headache, for example, doesn't typically bring the headache on with more intensity later on. It just works! If the parasites are intent on living with the Smith family, or on living amongst Earthlings at large, why would they ever make the experience of Earthlings unpleasant? Not only would we be living in a temporarily pleasant fantasy but, through the efforts of the parasites, most likely a permanent one (I'm assuming, of course, that the pleasant memories and the likability of the parasite characters is not just an initial measure, after which point their numbers on Earth would allow them to take over militarily or by force, but an ongoing effort that the parasites have to keep up just to keep living on Earth). What would be so terribly wrong, in that case, with living in a fantasy despite how wrong it might be? Take religion, for example--the opiate of the people in Marx's words--short of expecting miracles and divine intervention, as some do, religion is often useful for easing the pains of life and giving hope to what would otherwise be a surrendering to a depressing nihilism. Religion need not be the superstitious expectation that with enough prayer or diligent practicing of ritual, one can walk on water or overcome things like cancer, but simply furnishing the heart with hope of reconciliation in the afterlife or with the peace of mind that there is a God out there who loves you and will be there with you through all your trials and tribulations. Religion can serve, in others words, as a way of making the troubles and the pains of life a little easier, and therefore equip one with the ability to handle such troubles and pains more effectively--this despite the fact that the beliefs of such religions might be nothing more than unfounded fantasy. Given these two perspectives--that at least a flawed reality forces one to deal with the adversity and hardship of life more effectively than escaping that adversity and hardship through fantasy, and that, on the other hand, a fantasy that helps one cope with life can actually make the handling of the adversity and hardship of life more effective--a third perspective emerges: that of the value of real life itself, worts and all, is better than that of fantasy for its own sake--that is to say, we can ask the question: is real life inherently more valuable than fantasy despite all the hardship and adversity that it comes with, despite that given the opportunity to overcome such hardship and adversity, we may not always succeed? In other words, is real life more valuable than fantasy just because it's real life? This, in my opinion, is the morality of the gods. Human beings, being mere animals at the end of the day, are stuck with instincts and intuitions to view pain and adversity as bad, with a hardwired perspective that leads to a morality based on pleasure and happiness (if not for one's self, then at least for others). Consequently, there are things in life to be attained and there are things in life to be avoided. But the gods are above such base depravity as blind animal instincts. Being free from the hardwiring of biological nature, the gods are free to see the value in existence itself, and to appreciate that the ultimate evil is just pure nothingness. In this sense, even the most horrible atrocities, the most cruel inflictions at the hands of tyrants and psychopaths, are seen as better than no atrocities at all, no inflictions of cruelty whatsoever. To the gods, the most benevolent and the most sadistic of treatments are on equal footing. What matters is not that benevolence and happiness reign over cruelty and suffering, but just that there is something, no matter what its character, rather than nothing. If this is at the heart of Rick's sentiment--"at least we're real, Jerry, we're real!"--and it just might given that, as we see in episode 1 of season 3, Rick aspires to be a god, and in a twisted way, may already see himself as a god--then it means the Smith family, even Jerry, is worth more, morally speaking, than the parasites, for the Smiths are real and never once, at least not in this episode, took the path of falsehood and deception whereas the parasites never veered from that path.

* Killing loved ones--easier when you know they're fake? I brought up the question earlier of whether I'd be able to bring myself to kill my daughter if I knew she was really a parasite? I even feel horrible just for asking the question in a merely hypothetical conext. This episode touches on the philosophical and psychological implication of not only having to deal with false memories, but of how those memories tie into and stir deeply emotional and sentimental affections for those featured in the memories. So even though Rick knows that Pencilvestyr is a parasite, he still can't bring himself to shoot him. And I think this would be true in real life. Knowing that a loved one is fake--that is, not really the loved one you took him or her to be--won't always be enough to overcome any resistance to killing them, or harming them in any way, or even just severing one's ties with them. But the question still remains: would it help? Suppose that instead of having to kill Pencilvestyr because he's really a parasite, Rick was forced to kill him because Pencilvestyr was in a temporary state of insanity and was about to kill Rick (or better yet, Beth). Would Rick, in that case, even be able to muster the courage to ask Morty to kill him? Mind you, this might not be the best example, because having your life threatened as a motive for killing a loved one might just substitute for the motive of knowing that loved one is fake, but at least in this case, Rick might have hope that Pencilvestyr will eventually snap out of his state of insanity, and therefore might be tempted to find ways of non-violently defending himself against Pencilvestyr rather than kill him outright. Considerations like this shed light on the question of how much knowing loved ones are fake really helps us in killing them (or in general, going against them in some way)? Then again, we can imagine cases in which it would be incredibly easy. How many of us have experienced being betrayed by a lover--someone who cheated on us, or turned out to be using us in some way, or one day sprung the news on us that they never loved us? In those cases, we are often filled with so much rage that we actually want to kill them. Not that we would kill them, but it certainly doesn't feel hard to act upon desires for revenge. The love they expressed for us is suddenly seen as fake, and therefore the love we gave them in return seems groundless. It not only becomes easier to withhold that love, but is replaced by an insatiable rage. We want to get back at the person, we want to harm them. Not that we wouldn't grieve or fall into a prolonged depression over the loss of love and the feeling of betrayal, but this is usually more about the hurt the person caused us rather than the void left behind after a false love fanishes like a chimera. Experiences like this suggest that not only would it help knowing the person was fake, or didn't really feel towards us the way they said or acted, but it might skew our feelings in exactly the opposite direction. Would this be true in all such cases? Maybe there would be a distinction between cases in which we feel betrayed by lies and cheating versus cases in which the person turned out to be fake but not necessarily in a way that made us feel betrayed or hurt. For example, perhaps someone who, in virtue of being part of the witness protection program, was legally bound to not reveal their true identity or their past. Maybe only after a long time of gaining your trust could they feel comfortable in revealing the truth about themselves. In that case, would you feel so betrayed by such lies and deception as to have your love for the person replaced by rage and the desire for revenge? Probably not. Mind you, it wouldn't be a case of having to kill the person, but you could imagine that hearing the news about being in the witness protection program might entail having to sever all ties with the person. If, for example, the whole reason the person was in the witness protection program was they testified against a notorious and powerful mafia boss, a mafia boss who, though he went to jail, is tightly connected with a whole network of other mafia members who would seek out and take revenge on not only this person but anyone whom he is associated with, including you. For the safety of your own life, in other words, you might have to sever your ties with the person, and in this case, knowing the person you thought they were is really fake doesn't seem to help in the slightest. In any case, it seems that there are many scenarios we can consider, the outcomes of which have very different implications on how easy it would be to kill, or harm, or in some way go against, former loved ones or close friends whom you now see as fake or bertayers of your trust.


I have to remind myself that we're living in the Rick and Morty universe(s): the strangeness of the characters maybe ought not to raise any alarms in the Smiths' heads. After all, it's established that this is a reality in which Mr. Poopy Butthole is a real character. Who's to say that the Smiths we're following in this episode don't live in a universe filled with odd and strange characters like Mr. Poopy Butthole. Maybe this is a reality in which raptors and talking pencils are commonplacer. <-- That's one of the central tenets in the whole Rick and Morty series--that there is such a reality out there. That one nearly slipped by me.

^ If this is true, it adds to our knowledge of the universe the "alternate" Rick and Morty are living in--the one we were following in episode 2--it's really a weird universe.

Uncle Steve buying plane tickets: not a bad price to pay for allowing a parasite to live at your place rent free eating all your food. Where uncle Steve got the money to pay for a vacation to Paris is beyond me, but if this is typical of all parasites, it's more like a symbiotic relation rather than one in which the parasites leach off the humans.

A small theory on how Jerry came to the conclusion he may not exist: Jerry wonders if he's a parasite. He thinks, well that just can't be. If I were a parasite, I would know I'm a parasite... unless, I implanted a false memory in my own head convincing me that I was always human.
My thoughts | My art | My music | My poetry

In fact, the idea that there's more differences between groups than there is between individuals is actually the fundamental racist idea.
- Jordan Peterson

right outta high school i tried to get a job as a proctologist but i couldn't find an opening.
- promethean75

Ahh... gib, zombie universes are so last year! I’m doing hyper dimensional mirror realities now.
- Ecmandu
User avatar
resident exorcist
Posts: 8929
Joined: Sat May 27, 2006 10:25 pm
Location: in your mom

Re: The Philosophy of Rick and Morty

Postby gib » Sun Sep 24, 2017 2:41 am

Man, there's been way too much excitement over at youtube on the Rick and Morty front. I can't keep up with all the new stuff that keeps coming out (which is probably a good thing). Everyone's theories and interpretations and plot summaries on not only the Rick and Morty series, but season 3 in particular as it continues to blow fans like myself away, are all over youtube. I'm going to deliberately try not to get caught up in all the hype, largely for the sake of my own sanity, as this Rick and Morty obsession of mine is probably already gone way too far off the deep end.

But I did come across this video which I absolutely had to post:

If you want some decent epitomized coverage of season 3 and how it's going, I recommend: GameSpot Universe.

Still working on Get Schwifty... stay tuned.
My thoughts | My art | My music | My poetry

In fact, the idea that there's more differences between groups than there is between individuals is actually the fundamental racist idea.
- Jordan Peterson

right outta high school i tried to get a job as a proctologist but i couldn't find an opening.
- promethean75

Ahh... gib, zombie universes are so last year! I’m doing hyper dimensional mirror realities now.
- Ecmandu
User avatar
resident exorcist
Posts: 8929
Joined: Sat May 27, 2006 10:25 pm
Location: in your mom

Re: The Philosophy of Rick and Morty

Postby gib » Mon Oct 09, 2017 11:17 pm

My thoughts | My art | My music | My poetry

In fact, the idea that there's more differences between groups than there is between individuals is actually the fundamental racist idea.
- Jordan Peterson

right outta high school i tried to get a job as a proctologist but i couldn't find an opening.
- promethean75

Ahh... gib, zombie universes are so last year! I’m doing hyper dimensional mirror realities now.
- Ecmandu
User avatar
resident exorcist
Posts: 8929
Joined: Sat May 27, 2006 10:25 pm
Location: in your mom

Re: The Philosophy of Rick and Morty

Postby gib » Sun Oct 22, 2017 7:07 am

Rick and Morty - S2E5 - Get Schwifty

Out of all episodes in the Rick and Morty series, I think this is my least favorite. Not sure why. I guess because it seems the most "stupid"--like Roiland and Harmon had a heavy night of drinking and wrote this one the next morning while trying to get over a couple hangovers. No offense to these genius writers--they've proven over and over again that they can easily blow fans away with their creativity, humor, and philosophical intelligence--just not so much in this case (at least that's my opinion).

That's not to say there isn't a fair share of philosophical material to sieve through--we touch on religion, superstition, the ethics of an alien species, and we even get some further insight into the nature of Rick and Morty's relationship--but this all seems to constitute either the secondary plot line only or is subsidiary to the central theme or the climax of this episode--namely, a song called "Get Schwifty" about shitting on the floor and somehow being deemed brilliant enough to win a game show competition against other song writing alien species. It's like all the decently intelligent and creative material in this episode is eclipsed by something incredibly juvenile and retarded (I mean, really retarded--Get Schwifty isn't even funny).

So the episode begins with a ginormous orange head careening through the cosmos and arriving at Earth:


It comes within the vicinity of Earth and causes great fires and hurricanes and earthquakes (all triggered by the head's massive gravitational influence). The head can be seen in the background of a news report. The report captures the head's thunderous utterance: "Show me what you got!!!" Watching the report from the comfort of the living room sofa is Rick and Morty. Rick takes it upon himself (and Morty) to save the day: "Oh boy, time to go Morty." When asked where, Rick responds after putting on some shades: "The Pentagon... I mean, not the Pentagon--*burp*--the lame one, here on Earth." <-- Then the opening credits roll.

^ A typical Roiland and Harmon style intro--not that it happens for every episode, but there's more than just a few that begin with an almost blatant statement going along the lines of: okay, so in this episode, the theme of the adventure is X--in this case, giant head invades Earth's personal space, causing whole lota disasters and chaos, demanding that Earth "show it what it's got," and Rick and Morty have to save the day--all wrapped up in a nice little bow--oh, and something new this time: the US government will be involved, Rick of course being their only hope. <-- That about sums up the intro.

Beth, Jerry, and Summer are standing outside their home looking up into the night sky at the giant head while winds and rain hit with great force. Summer asks if the giant head is God. Beth responds in the negative while Jerry defends Summer's right to think it's God (which Beth wasn't really violating, just answering Summer's question--which, by the way, seems rather groundless--if not God, what would you say of a giant head in the sky causing hurricanes and Earthquakes?).

Rick and Morty pull out of the garage in their spaceship. They tell the rest of the Smiths they're going to look into it before flying away. Then Mr. Goldenfold pulls up in his moped and invites the Smiths to the local church where they'll pray. "How is praying going to help?" Beth asks. "Ma'am," says Goldenfold, "a giant head in the sky's controlling the weather. Did you wanna play checkers? Let's be rational." On any other day, a staunch atheism like that which Beth is now displaying would seem the most rational position to take, but on this day, Goldenfold makes a really good point: a giant head in the sky is controlling the weather. <-- In this case, praying to God doesn't seem that irrational. This is going to be pitted against Beth throughout this episode--Beth will be the doubting Thomas going against the grain while everyone else, including Jerry, will go along with the herd.

At the Pentagon: a bunch of high officials, including the President of the United States (who happens to look a lot like Barack Obama, but a bit stockier), are sitting around a pentagon shaped table. One official (Simon) stands up and announces that broadcasters all around the world are attempting to show the giant head what humanity's got--everything from string theory to world history to the human genome. Another official, a military general, stands up and says "What America's got is 70 thousand megatons of ka-boom-boom."

Amidst all the commotion that this stirs, Rick and Morty enter the room through a portal. Rick removes the shades (why he put them on in the first place goes unexplained). In reaction to the security guards who surround Rick and Morty pointing guns at them, Rick threatens to use his snake converting watch on them (a watch that turns people into snakes). The military general nods his head to the guards, signaling to open fire, which provokes Rick into transforming the security guards into snakes. He then introduces himself and Morty to the group (taking a swig from his flask). "I've seen enough of the galaxy," Rick continues, "to know what we've got here is a Cromulon from the Cygnus-5 expanse. So you can forget about nukes and you can forget about math. This head won't go away until--*burp*--Earth's shows them it's got... a hit song."

Talk about telling the US government where it's at. Rick here introduces himself to the President of the United States as the only man for the job, the expert in matters of giant heads from space disrupting Earth's environment and demanding that Earth "show it what it's got." The hit song he speaks of must be new, Rick explains, so classics like Vivaldi won't cut it. The President laps up this sales pitch wholeheartedly, investing all his trust in Rick and Morty. You can't get any more VIP than that.

The President orders his staff to get America's top musical talents: Pharrell, Randy Newman, Billy Corgan, and The Dream. Unfortunately, as reported by one official after getting off the phone, all mentioned musical artists, plus "all the famous ones," died in a horrible Earthquake at the Grammies. Pretty convenient for Rick and Morty--guess who that leaves us--that's right: Rick and Morty. The same man who reported the death of all the famous musicians updates everyone with the news that Ice-T survived and is on an inbound flight due to arrive in 2 hours. So it's gonna be Rick, Morty, and Ice-T. But this trio is not sealed together until after the President asks Rick before he jumps back through the portal: "Sanchez, are you a musician?" Rick responds: "I've dabbled, Mr. President." The President orders a black hawk to take Rick and his grandson to area 51 where a giant stage with giant speakers is setup--now they, with Ice-T, are officially part of the band.

Cutting back to the secondary plot line: everyone's gathered in the church. They're all in a bit of a panic. The preacher tries to encourage them to calm down, to have faith. Then principle Vagina from Morty and Summer's school gets up and addresses the crowd:

"Hi, Principal Vagina. The name’s real, possibly Scandinavian. I’m just gonna come out and make this pitch. The old gods are dead. Fuck all previous existing religions. All hail the one true god, the giant head in the sky. [crowd and preacher start rabbling] De-de-de-de, Bob, Bob [the preacher], I get it. But unless this [pulls out a cross on a necklace] can beat that [points outside], what have you done for me lately? [Throws necklace to Bob; people start surrounding him.] So if you wanna excuse me, I’m going out on the sidewalk and dropping to my knees and pledging my eternal soul to the thing that literally controls the fucking weather!"

^ A bit of seeing-is-believing. All's well in faith and belief, but when an awesome force of nature (or supernature, as it were) hits you like a sledge hammer, the latter always wins out over the former. That's why the scientific revolution so easily overthrew the old religious institutions of Europe and North America over the last few centuries. I suppose it's also a statement about our true motives in worshiping this or that deity over another: it's not about piety or doing good or self-improvement, it's about survival and personal gain; in this scene, principle Vagina makes no secret about that; he abandons the Christian God whom he presumably remained faithful to up until now in order to save his own ass--or rather that of his eternal soul--and the decision is made so easily: based on the sheer demonstration of which god has the greater power and might.

And Bob's reaction: carrying on with business as usual--getting sally to pass the tip basket in order to repair the organ--is a testament to what faith in a provident God does--it makes you ignore the real problem as if it isn't there, as if you just can carry on with business as usual, because (you believe) God will take care of all your problems. At least principle Vagina was thinking practically (as terrible at logic as he is).

Back in the black hawk, Rick and Morty are being transported to area 51. Morty expresses his doubts that he's got any musical talent. Rick responds: "Yeah, not with that attitude." <-- Morty's attitude about his musical talents will receive a lot of development in this episode, tying into themes of relaxation and going with the flow. <-- This is an idea Rick will try more than once to hammer into Morty, and Bird Person will hammer home (yes, Bird Person appears in this episode)--that one can only perform at their best when they relax and go with the flow--a real challenge to a worry wort like Morty. And we'll even see how difficult this challenge is for Rick when he doesn't have his trusty sidekick by his side, almost as if to say Morty is the source of Rick's confidence. But I'll let that unfold as the episode carries on.

They cling to ropes as they are lowered from the chopper to the sound stage. Morty bitches that they don't yet have a hit song as the jump master yells to them "Go! Go! Go!" Morty follows Rick out of the chopper to the ground. This scene is intercut with principle Vagina praying outside the church to the giant head in the sky, even asking forgiveness for ignoring the amber alerts he gets on his phone (is this a real thing with you Americans?). Rick with Morty, on stage in the middle of the desert, dust blowing in the wind all around them, the big head in the sky watching in anticipation, grabs the mic and, with a big grin on his face, utters into it "All right Morty, let's give-let's do it. Why don't you, uh, find a button on one of those keyboards and lay down some kind of beat." Morty reacts in his usual panicky way, grabbing Rick's lab coat instead of the keyboard: "Rick! I think we need to cut our losses--w-we get our family and then portal out of here!" "Morty!" Rick responds, "Good music comes from people who are relaxed! Just hit a button, Morty, give me a beat!"

^ This is odd coming from Rick--Morty just gave him the perfect excuse to bail, an excuse that Rick himself has used time and time again--just open a portal and escape. This was the same excuse Rick used in Potion #9--he bailed on the Cronenburg reality and hijacked another--now it's Morty urging Rick to use the same escape tactic, letting the world be blown to smithereens in their absence. So why does Rick reject this option? It makes you think: Rick doesn't just bail on the first sign of trouble--his response that good music comes from people who relax indicates that he's a seasoned veteran--to the point at which he doesn't panic as easily as Morty does--he's gotten to the point where he feels more confident with his ability to resolve the situation as it stands than with bailing on the situation for one that doesn't involve the precarious situation they're in. He trusts in his abilities way more than Morty does, which allows him to invest more concern for the reality he finds himself in than Morty at this point. Despite the precarious situation they find themselves in, he's still willing to give his talents and his genius a shot, even if he could very easily save his own and Morty's asses just by portaling out of there.

Morty obliges Rick--he hits a key on the keyboard which starts a hip hop beat, and then Rick starts "rapping" (if you can call it that):

So yeah, this is supposed to be Earth's "best effort"--a rap song whose lyrics go: "take a shit on the floor"--but I gotta say, after watching this in depth and trying extremely hard to find meaning or something insightful, I did find this: I think the message here is that even though the song sucks, it really does come through to the giant heads in the sky as sheer brilliance. Why? Because, taking a page right out of Rick's philosophy, he and Morty are relax (as relaxed as they can be). We will see later in the episode that all the other planets in the universe who have undergone the same ordeal have been put under equal pressure, equal stress, and for the most part, this is their undoing. High stress degrades performance. This gives Rick and Morty a certain leverage--that is, so long as they understand that the key is to relax, thereby giving themselves an edge over their competition--thus, even though their musical talent sucks, being the most relaxed out of their competition lands them in a winning spot in the eyes of the giant heads. <-- As I say, I think this *might* be why Roiland and Harmon deliberately invented the most base and shitty lyrics, sung to the most awful tune, they could imagine. It was to put forward the message: even if you suck, you will perform at your best, and therefore stand the greatest chances of success, if you just relax and have some fun with it. <-- Maybe. (It's just... you know... even I could do better than that).

And just to note: Rick says "Mr. Bulldops" not "Mr. Bulldog." My guess is Roiland, adlibing as he probably does most of the time, originally said "Mr. Bulldog," but some no name rap star probably owns the rights to that name so Roiland was forced to dub that over with "Mr. Bulldops." <-- Just a guess.

You might also note that in this scene, the giant head withdraws the floods and the earthquake induced crevices and the storms, and that Summer was the first to notice this in Church, and that principle Vagina is still on his knees in prayer outside the Church when this happens. It doesn't take much to guess what Vagina, Summer, and the rest of the congregation are going to conclude from this... but we'll touch on this when the time comes.

After Get Schwifty wraps up, principle Vagina, still on his knees outside the Church, wraps up his prayer with: "Please be kind to us for we are but tiny things with entire bodies stuck to your ground." <-- Might be interesting to note (or it may not) that Vagina is appealing to humbleness, sympathy, and truth... I could think of worse things.

Before leaving, the giant head response: "I LIKE WHAT YOU GOT!!! GOOD JOB!!!" Rick and Morty hi-five each other, the area 51 control center, including Nathan (the trigger happy general) and the President, unanimously cheer, and cutting over to the Church, so does the congregation, lifting principle Vagina up on their shoulders like a hero sent from the gods. Summer is quite center stage in this scene, clearly in focus from the camera's point of view. Beth, meanwhile is standing quite a ways back, a few feet outside the open doors of the Church, but several feet away from the crowd hoisting principle Vagina upon their shoulders (I looked but I don't see Jerry at all in this scene).

Beth, at the risk of sounding like a party pooper, serves as the voice of reason: "Now, hold on a second, let's be rational about this... [crowd looks at her as if she just blasphemed]... no, I'm, I'm just saying we don't know there's a cause/effect relationship-" but before she can even finish her sentence, she's knock onto her ass on the Church steps by an Earth tremor (making her look bad in the eyes of the cause inferrers). They feel it in area 51 too--both Rick and Morty and the control center. Next scene: the Earth pops out of existence and teleports to an entirely different region in space (not clear whether they teleported to a different dimension, but if it's not explicitly mentioned or hinted, I think it's safe to assume it's in the same universe). It's a region in space with a huge multicolored planet looking like a disco ball, and several smaller looking planets, some with rings, some without, some gaseous looking, some Earthy looking, and with giant heads, each a different color, floating about everywhere.


Out of the frying pan, into the fire.

Principle Vagina: "The head has left and sent its children."

Beth: "Holy crap!!!" [drops to her knees along with everyone else.]

[Jerry is now in the scene.]

Summer: "Oh dear giant head, we apologize for that discussion. It will never happen again."

The crowd murmurs in prayer. So again, they form causal connections where it is only a correlation. Beth is of course right, but because of an unfortunate series of coincidental events, she is made out to be a trouble maker and Summer voices her repentance on her mother's behalf. It's funny how even Beth drops to her knees in this scene with a look of serious self-doubt on her face, as if even she is questioning her own skepticism (I guess that's why she bellowed out "Holy crap!!!"). Correlation may not imply causation, but when the coincidences are this undeniable, the idea of causation is hard to ignore.

Back at the area 51 control center, they decrypt a signal coming from the giant heads which turns out to be the intro to a presumably popular alien reality show called "Planet Music":

First up to bat are the Greebybobes from planet Parblesnops, a froggy looking bunch who appear to live on giant lily pads. The lead singer of the band says this: "Hold it, hold it, stop! Music isn’t about competition or captivity! If you love music, you love freedom. Let these worlds be free, please!!!" <-- Sounding almost like a modern day Bob Marley (and I'm thinking the same voice as that who did Mr. President).

"DISQUALIFIED!!!" announced the Cromulon giant head in the sky, before Parblesnops gets blown to smithereens.

Next is the planet Arbolez Meterosos, featuring some pink amoeba looking creatures with four arms, two legs, and one eye: they proceed with a rather pathetic but soothingly catchy techno-sounding tune. They all look petrified as they play their simple song (one actually feels really sorry for them).

The scene cuts abruptly, opening the next scene with Rick, Morty--and Ice-T--tuning their instruments in something like a recording studio. We're not shown the fate of the Meterosians throughout the episode, but we can presume they get blown to smithereens at the end of the competition (I don't think it's much of a spoiler to say Earth wins). Rick is tuning an electric guitar while Morty is tuning a keyboard. Ice-T looks to be checking his text messages.

One of the military personnel (the guy who reported that all the famous musician died) comes into the room. He comes in to inform the group that their time has just been shortened to six hours (however much time they had before notwithstanding, six hours is quite a bit considering there's only two acts that could possibly be ahead of them after the Meterosians; Cromulonian commercial breaks must be terribly long). Morty, frustrated from the pressure they're already under, flips a bowl of peanuts at the officer shouting "Like we’re not already under enough pressure!" The officer leaves the room as Rick and Ice-T laugh at Morty's antics. "Geez, Morty. The guy’s just doing his job. Take it easy," Rick says. <-- This seems to be a kind of contrast between Morty's high stress approach to the situation and the more relaxed/go-with-the-flow attitude that Rick and Ice-T seem to exhibit. Really, Morty's outburst at the military officer does no good but to potentially worsen relations, whereas Rick's observation that he's "just doing his job" is not only more accurate but highlights the fact that the officer is, if anything, helping them with their situation by keeping them informed. Again, being relaxed allows for better performance. Rick and Ice-T are even relaxed enough to laugh the whole incident off, thereby reinforcing (as best they can) a relaxed atmosphere.

Morty: "Rick! Ice-T! Could you guys take it less easy?! We’ve got six hours to come up with a song!"

Rick: "Genius happens in the moment, Morty." [hits a few notes on the keyboard.]

Morty: "Well, can we at least go get our family? You know, so we can take them with-with-with us if we lose?" <-- Again, Morty is seriously contemplating a Cronenberg style escape from the world (or its destruction). But still, at least he's still thinking about his family (which again, if you recall, isn't actually his family considering the real Cronenberg bail they performed back in episode 6 of season 1).

Rick: "That’s planning for failure, Morty. Even dumber than regular planning."

^ I'm not sure how significant this line of Rick's is. I've never thought of him as an optimist, thinking of success, thinking of the best possible outcome at all times, but I have to admit, he does think in terms of having control over the situation more often than not, and may have an ego sizable enough to think he can never lose, so I wouldn't put it past him to say this, but like I said: don't know if this is something worth dwelling over. The most we can say, I think, is that if this is his ego talking, it's only because he's relaxed in this situation.

His comment that "genius happens in the moment," however, is a bit more revealing. It suggests that Rick's extremely nonchalant, devil may care, nihilist attitude towards everything is at least one of the reasons why he is such a genius. Apparently, according to Rick, one can only be a genius if such genius is allowed to arise in the moment, and it can only arise in the moment when one is relaxed. This point isn't overwhelmingly emphasized in this episode, but it does tie into the major themes of this episode, so it's worth keeping in mind.

Morty goes for Rick's portal gun. Rick stops him: "Morty, Morty, stop. Listen. There’s only so much charge left in this thing. If we portal home from here and back, we’re not gonna have enough charge left to get off-world. Get it?" Morty questions this: "What?!" Rick: "Yeah-*burp*-you see, I try to shelter you from certain realities-*burp*-Morty. Cause if I let you make me nervous, then we can’t get schwifty [does a little dance move with his hands]." <-- So apparently, Morty's nervousness, his high sensitivity to stress, is contagious, at least to Rick. But what reality is Rick hiding from Morty? At first it seems like he's saying that the reason he never informed Morty about the low charge on the portal gun is because that would make Morty too nervous, but we're gonna see that Rick is hiding something else from Morty in this moment.

Mr. President and general Nathan are watching the group behind a one-way mirror. General Nathan expresses his lack of confidence: "I’ve seen enough. These guys are one hit wonders." Mr. President counters that with his own confidence in the group: "And what’s your plan, General?" General Nathan pushes for his idea of nuclear warheads, targeting each Cromulon head in the sector. "Our planet’s held captive on a live game show," replies Mr. President, "and your solution is to shoot the audience?" <-- It sounds like the voice of reason against the voice of madness. It also sounds like a counterpart duo to that of Rick and Morty. General Nathan is the "stressed out" or "uptight" character here who, like Morty, focuses on the negative, whereas Mr. President is the "calm and collected" or "in control" character who, like Rick, focuses on the positive--at least, it's being made out to seem that way.

(Just a note: as Mr. President and General Nathan are having their quarrel, you can hear Rick saying to a bitchy Morty: "Everything is music, Morty, everything is music.")

Cutting back to principle Vagina and the rest of the Church congregation, they are all gathered out in a park or a field of some sort--an open grassy space--in which principle Vagina, now dressed like a Church bishop, with a funny hat with giant eyes presumably meant to mimic the giant Cromulon heads in the sky, is "communing" with the gods (the Cromulons) with a make-shift radio dish on a stick, looking like a grade 5 science project made of tape and paper mache, and a set of attached headphones plugged into his ears, and translating what he's receiving from them to his "flock". Of course, it seems obvious from his tone that he's making up complete bullshit but nonetheless has the crowd convinced that he's the medium between man and the gods, and therefore can be trusted as the authority in this context. We should expect nothing less from a pragmatic opportunist like principle Vagina--if he had no sense of community loyalty back in the Church when the giant heads caused so much disruption in terms of the weather and the Earthquakes and such, abandoning father Bob and the rest of the congregation at the first sign of trouble, why should we trust that he's going to have any loyalty to the community now just because (or especially because) he's in a position of authority in their eyes? We should keep this in mind: while principle Vagina might have been a faithful believer in the beginning, drawing a connection (falsely) between his praying in the wind and rain outside the Church and the clearing of the storm as a sign of the giant head's appeasement, he is now exploiting the faith of his newly converted followers for the sake of his own power and authority.

"He says he's proud of what we're doing," reports principle Vagina, "and hopes we have a great Ascension Festival! Happy Ascension!" The crowd echoes back, "Happy Ascension!"--all except Beth who says to Jerry eating a triple layer ice cream in a cone: "We should pack up and leave town... now."

Jerry: "I think it's inspiring that our community is coping with fear in a way that involves a festival and homemade ice cream. If you'd stop being such an evangelical atheist, you might start enjoying yourself." <-- Good old Jerry, always following the herd. The contrast between Jerry and Beth in this scene as that of an unthinking follower and that of a critical thinker. It's important to stress here that Jerry's "go with the flow" attitude is an unthinking go with the flow attitude--not like Rick's nihilistic go with the flow--Jerry only goes with the flow because he is too lazy or incapable of thinking critically beforehand, whereas Rick goes with the flow because he has thought beforehand, and experienced extensively, the nihilistic ramifications of going with vs. resisting the flow.

Summer shows up with head hats--the same as that worn by principle Vagina, the one that makes him look like a bishop--she is wearing one and holding two more. Jerry looks impressed. Beth just rubs her eyes, looking annoyed.

Jerry: "Woa-hoaw! Look at you! [to Summer] You’re wearing the hat and everything!"

Summer: "Here's yours! [Puts hat on Jerry) Mom, do you mind if I cook dinner tonight?"

Beth: "Yeah, sure [in exhausted tone]. Wait, what?"

Summer: "I love you guys. You gave me life. And it's the will of the many heads that all children honor their parents." <-- Summer is really soaking this up.

Beth: "Dinner sounds nice." <-- Suddenly not so annoyed.

Then Ethan, Summer's boyfriend, shows up and asks Summer if she's coming to the Ascension. She asks her parents' permission. They decide to all go (Jerry questioning what the Ascension is only as an afterthought <-- thus reinforcing my take on Jerry's style of go-with-the-flow vs. Rick's).

The Ascension turns out to be Headism's (the name of their new religion) equivalent of a crucifixion, or a trial, or a gladiator spectacle--a public gathering around which some kind of justice is served to a person or small group of people for some kind of crime or wrongful act. Three such people are on display on this occasion--looking very much like Jesus on the cross with the two thieves on each side. They are being held down by ropes tied to steaks in the ground while balloons tied to their arms and backs pull them above the ground. Hanging from their necks are signs that say: "THiEF," "GOTH," and "MOVIE TALKER." The one in the middle is patently goth, and the "THiEF" looks remarkably similar to Justin Roiland:


^ Shows you where their principles lie.

The idea is, as principle Vagina makes clear, that as soon as he snips the chord anchoring them to the ground, they will rise up to be "inhaled by the many heads" and then sneezed out as "better babies". He goes through each one and, like a doctor, cuts their chords and utters: "Headward, free now to rise."

^ It's an interesting look at the way religion can work wonders at reconciling our need as a social species to rid ourselves of criminals and those who just don't fit in without disturbing the tranquility of our conscience. I've explained this concept before here on ILP thus: it doesn't matter what our religious convictions are--our brains will always find a way to allow us to behave according to our biology's demands--with our basic needs for food, shelter, sex, freedom from harm, etc.--without feeling any cognitive dissonance or guilt over the prospect that we are going against our religious convictions. For example, in Christianity, it is preached that we ought to turn the other cheek, that we ought to lay down our lives for those who would harm us--yet in the middle ages, there is no question that the religious authorities sanctioned the use of torture and punishment upon those who would defy the law and all that was sacred (i.e. those who would harm us). How is this possible? How is it that a religious people could go from one extreme--the sanctification of martyrdom for one's enemies and the forgiveness of their sins--to the polar opposite--the torture and persecution of those whose crime was no less innocent than doubting? The answer is: the brain is just that capable. It is capable of staying fully committed to certain moral principles and belief while allowing one's behavior to go in the exact opposite direction. How? Simply by forming excuses--that is, reasons that, in principle, conform to one's beliefs and values, while in practice permit those actions and practical consequences that allow for one's basic biological needs (in this case, to deter and remove criminal and socially harmful behaviors) to be fulfilled. So long as such excuses make sense in one's mind, one can allow one's self to engage in any behavior regardless of one's principles, beliefs, and values. In this episode of Rick and Morty, we see the cult of Headism finding a way to removing "troublemakers" from their community without having to consider it actual "removal"--they've convinced themselves that they are actually doing these criminals a favor--much like the torture, persecution, and killing of heretics in the middle ages was seen as a vindication of their sins in the eyes of God, thereby balancing their "check book" of sins and righteousness so as to give them the opportunity to get into Heaven. In Headism, letting an identified criminal to float away under the levitating force of a few hundred balloons (thereby getting rid of him) is seen as giving them the privileged opportunity to be reborn as "better babies" once the heads "inhale" them. <-- Aren't they just a bunch of saints?!

The Smiths watch as each one of them rise into the air. Summer, with jubilant vigor bellows out: "Oh yes, yes, rise to the giant head! You are free to be free!" while Beth and Jerry stare in stupefaction, Jerry's ice cream falling off the cone--so much for Jerry's going with the flow (<-- ice cream is often a motif in the Rick and Morty series; here it seems obvious what it represents: the creature comforts of pleasant falsehoods, for as soon as Jerry's comfortable illusion of going-with-the-flow shatters before his eyes, the ice cream drops).

Back at the recording studio, Ice-T and Rick are cracking each other up with stories about lobsters and squeegees. Ice-T notices they're out of fig newtons. "I should get going anyway," he says. Rick encourages him to stay by temporarily portaling into another dimension and then returning with loads of snack (including fig newtons). "Daaamn," says Ice-T, "You didn't tell me you fucked around with portals and shit."

This pisses Morty off. How can Rick, in one instance, insist that he and Morty preserve the already-low charge on his portal gun so as to give them the best chances of portaling out of there when the need arises, and in another instance, so recklessly use up charge portaling into a different dimension just to get snacks and encourage Ice-T to stay. It seems the gig is up. Morty grabs the portal gun. Morty calls Rick on his bluff. There was plenty of charge left after all. Rick essentially lied to Morty.

Morty begins to act rashly. Rick tries, speaking calmly and rationally, to encourage Morty to put the portal gun down: "You don't know what you're doing," he warns. Whether Rick is in the right or wrong here, he's at least right about that. But Morty isn't having any of it. He opens a portal and before jumping through, yells: "I'm going to go find mom and dad." Then it closes, leaving Rick and Ice-T behind... and no portal gun.

This begins a sort of quasi-mini-adventure on Morty's part as he jumps in and out of worlds he's completely unfamiliar with and hasn't the faintest idea how to make heads or tails of:

Morty clearly had no clue what he was doing.

Cutting back to the rest of the Smiths, the residential streets have been transformed to a potato farm. Principle Vagina rides down the street on his bike and announces into a megaphone: "Hi folks, head priest Vagina. Thanks for farming all those potatoes. It's 6:00 PM so if you're a parent, you're now entitled to adoration from your children." Summer, a little too eager, offers to make dinner. Beth and Jerry are more than happy to let her do this. They agree that Summer's recent happiness, attributed to the influence of headism on her, is a healthy thing. "She's aced every test in potato class," says Jerry, "and look how important potatoes have become."

^ Beth is being won over to headism, the selling point being Summer's happiness. And just to drive the point home, another man hanging from balloons floats by asking for help. Beth says: "That's not our business as long as Summer's thriving." So whereas before, Beth and Jerry were shocked at witnessing the ascension, prompting them to question the appropriateness of headism, now they simply ignore it so long as it is helping their daughter.

Summer makes tacos. Jerry expresses his appreciation and also that Summer doesn't have to do this, to which she replies: "Of course I do, silly!" <-- Then she goes on a major guilt trip apologizing profusely for calling her dad "silly," and falls to her knees in prayer begging the heads for forgiveness: "Heavenly head and cranial creator, forgive my transgressions against family and community! May my chores complete me as I complete them!" She then scurries up stairs as Beth and Jerry watch in stupefaction. <-- What at first appeared to be good for their daughter suddenly appears to be terrible.

Morty finally emerges into Bird Person's reality. We don't know this at first, only that there appear to be tree dwellings in the distance, something an aviational creature might appreciate. Morty looks badly beaten, weak and exhausted. He flops to the ground immediately after coming through the portal. A shadow of a winged figure falls over him. He pokes Morty with a stick, then flips him over. Then we see that it's Bird Person. "You appear to be dying," says Bird Person, "I will make efforts to prevent this, but can promise nothing."

(It can't just be coincidence that Morty happened to stumble into Bird Person's world (even if there are multiple versions of Bird Person), which leads me to believe that Rick's portal gun has certain "pre-set" realities programmed into it--like how there's typically 6 slots on a car stereo to which you can set specific stations--and Morty probably happened to hit the "Bird Person world" setting.)

Back at the studio, Rick is slapping together a mediocre song on the keyboard. Ice-T is sitting in the corner texting. Rick turns around to ask his opinion. "A bad song's a bad song," he says. Rick asks for some help. Ice-T responds: "Ah, hell no man, you do your thing, but I can't afford to get my pride wrapped up in your shame, you know what I'm saying?" Rick responds: "Ice, I don't want to be a negative Nelly or anything, but-*burp*-if Morty doesn't come back with my portal gun and I eat it out there, it's, uh, kinda your problem too." Ice-T expresses that he doesn't care about the Earth getting blown up. When asked why, he says: "Yo, this is why," and then transforms into this:

This almost seems to hint at a parallel between Rick and Ice-T, like Ice-T represents an earlier version of Rick, aimlessly travelling through the cosmos not caring about anything. Rick even seems to speak from personal experience when he says: "Take it from me, Ice, y-*burp*-ou can't just-*burp*-float around space not caring about stuff forever." Like he's been there, done that. <-- Perhaps he hearkens back to the days before he reunited with the Smith family.

I'm also unsure why Ice-T's ice form lacks arms. In the post-credit scene, where we get to see him transformed back into his true water form (he's really Water-T), he at least had arms which formed the horizontal line at the top of the T. So along with being turned to ice, he apparently lost his arms.

Still dedicated to helping Rick "get schwifty", the president expresses his intention to get Rick everything he needs. This is the last straw for Nathan, an aggravated general, as he pulls out a gun and points it at the president. He expresses his intention to launch nuclear missiles at the heads one minute into Rick's performance, and then knocks the president out by wacking his gun into his head.

Bird Person places a bowl of little bits and crumbs on the table in front of Morty who digs into it with a spoon. Bird Person, sitting beside him on the couch with the portal gun, says: "I believe I can access the history of Rick’s gun and help you get back to him." Morty asks him if he can help him get back to his family. Bird Person questions this: "Is your intention to abandon Rick using his own portal gun? In bird culture, this is considered a dick move," to which Morty snaps back: "All of Rick's moves are dick moves!" He then questions what he's eating. Bird Person answers: "It is random debris. I found it in my carpet. I don’t know what humans eat." Then Tammy comes in wearing a robe and says: "You know what this person eats," and then whispers to Morty: "Bird dick."

Brushing aside Tammy's lewd comment, Morty digs into Bird Person for standing up for Rick: "Bird Person, you always stick up for Rick, but he doesn't care about anyone but himself. He doesn't think about the consequences of anything he does," to which Bird Person responds: "And as a result, he has the power to save or destroy entire worlds. And he is the reason you and I know each other. And the reason I'm alive at all." Bird Person points to the wall where Morty sees a series of pictures featuring Rick and Bird Person. There's one with a younger version of Rick putting his arm across Bird Person's shoulders with what looks like one of Da Vinci's airplane models behind them (not sure what the gag is here: the irony of Bird Person inventing a flying machine?). Another has Bird Person, Rick (again much younger, blond hair), and Squanchy rocking out in a band called "The Flesh Curtains". And then there's one with Rick holding what looks like a baby Morty about to cry as he looks at his grandpa (almost as if looking into his future and seeing the horror).

I suppose Bird Person's point is that one ought not to think of a person who doesn't care about anything or think about the consequences as guaranteed to bring nothing but disaster and hardship to those around him. A person who truly doesn't care can be expected to make much more random decisions, just as likely to bring good to the world as bad (I now think about season 3 episode 6: Rest and Ricklaxation; Rick is healthiest, at his most likable, and has the most positive influence over those around him when he utterly doesn't care about anything). A person who doesn't care wouldn't care what consequences he brings to the world. And this certainly seems to play out in the theme of performing at one's best when completely relaxed. Rick is relaxed because he doesn't care, and because this allows him to perform at his best, he is in the best state possible to save the world from the Cromulon's death ray. Morty's insistence that Rick care more (to the point of stressing out) is therefore ironic since it would potentially bring about their destruction.

"What's that? Who's that baby?" Morty asks. Dismissing the question, Bird Person drives his point home: "Morty, suppose you could retrieve your family from Earth but had to abandon Rick. I could give your loved ones shelter on Bird World, even jobs, possibly as worm ranchers. How often do you think you might look up at the stars and wonder what might have been had you just put your faith in Rick?" Morty thinks for moment.

^ Adding to his previous point, Bird Person seems to be saying that though it may not make sense to Morty why Rick is so relaxed, that doesn't mean Morty is right. Faith is what we must fall back on when we don't have reason. Bird Person seems to be saying that perhaps Morty needs a bit of faith in Rick. Given that, in the past, Rick has always gotten himself and Morty out of every sticky situation they've gotten themselves into (though it's usually Rick who gets them into those situations), and given that Rick is a super-genius, Morty doesn't have to understand the methods behind Rick's madness in order to keep faith that Rick will save the day in the end... and if Rick seems relaxed about the whole thing, maybe that means Morty can relax too. Up until this point, Morty has been fighting Rick, mistaking his relaxed attitude for not caring enough to try, and therefore approaching the problem as if he's the only one who can do anything about it. Morty, lacking faith in his musical talents, is stoked to bail on the situation, preferring instead to get to his family and portal out of there. But there is a lesson he hasn't learned yet: Rick always saves the day, all the more smoothly the more Morty just goes along with it.

Tammy has the TV tuned into Planet Music. Earth is next up. Despite Bird Person's recent lesson, Morty panics: "We're up?!?!"

Principle Vagina, in a church with others in the "priestly cast" are commending Jerry and Beth on being upstanding examples of good headists. Vagina informs them that they want to make headism a world religion, and would like Jerry to be the head of advertising, and Beth, head of medicine. Beth jumps up: "That's my dream!!! That's my dream."

Before they even have a chance to respond, the priestly cast are shaking each other's hands. Then Jerry and Beth drop the bomb: they reject the offer. Beth explains that even though they are thrilled that Summer is thriving because of headism, they would rather see her thrive as the person she really is, not what headism has made her into. Summer's display of being overwhelmed with guilt over calling her father "silly" obviously made an impression on Beth and Jerry. Though happy to see Summer doing so well, they don't want it at the cost of her psychological well-being. This is especially admirable on Beth's part given that she is giving up what she just admitted was her dream. And though he didn't say it, I think the same would go for Jerry as well--I mean, if winning an award for Hungry for Apples made him feel complete, imagine what being promoted to head of advertising would mean to him (incidentally, the way the priestly cast shake each others' hands reminds me of the way the simulated suits shake each others' hands after listening to Jerry's Hungry for Apples pitch; I wonder if this is one purpose). But they both give up their dreams for Summer's sake. Maybe there's hope for them as parents after all.

To top it off, Jerry then turns to Beth and says: "I'm sick of pretending that we're together because of the kids in the first place. I married you because you’re the love of my life!" Beth responds: "And I'm lucky to have you and I never tell you that! You know, we will come out of this stronger as a family!" <-- As touching as this moment is, I wonder what the connection is between it and their rejection of the headists' offer. Jerry does tell them right before expressing his undying love for Beth: "We'll take our chances raising her without fancy new jobs outside of a potato-based religion." <-- It's almost as if they are relocating their faith. If at first, they placed their faith in headism, then after renouncing headism (which I suppose is what their rejection of the headists' offer amounts to), they must place their faith in something else: each other. <-- If this is the case, it makes me wonder if Jerry's words are actually true, or he just all of a sudden feels this way about Beth because he just put his faith into her (and Beth him).

^ And on this point, is it just coincidence that the topic of faith comes up again? We didn't have to search for any hidden meaning in Bird Person's speech to Morty in order to understand it was all about faith--where Morty places his--and there is no question that the secondary plot line centers around faith--religious faith in this case. Maybe this is really what this episode is all about.

But the next scene has Beth and Jerry tied to balloons about to ascend to the many heads. Beth pleads with Summer to do something as Summer fills another balloon with helium. Summer's faith in headism still runs strong as she reassures her parents, and seems to fully believe, that they will come back as babies. She is completely okay with this, not seeing any potential harm that could come of this at all (reinforcing the point I made earlier: that the mind always finds a way to be okay with doing what our biology compels us to do as a means to survive). Jerry cries out: "I am a baby! I'm a baby now!!!" <-- Anything to get out of a sticky situation.

Morty portals back into the studio. He finds the president on the floor with his arms and legs tied and a rag around his mouth. Morty sets the president free. The president informs Morty of the general's plan to nuke the giant heads mid-way through Rick's performance. Morty asks him if he can fly a black hawk. The president responds: "Can the pope's dick fit through a donut?" Morty says: "Uh... I'm not sure?" "Exactly!" says the president.

Rick's on. All the heads are watching him. The head head utters his signature line: "Show me what you got!!!" Rick, with a huge pair of shades on, starts playing something pathetically amateurish (worse than the Meterosians). The look his face betrays a lack of confidence. He starts chanting some meaningless garbage: "Uh... Labu, labu, labu, nups. Labu, labu, labu, dups."

^ It's obvious that Rick is not comfortable, as if to say that he needs Morty by his side to feel confident. We might glean from this that Rick's talent and his genius depend to a certain degree on Morty. Or it might just mean that Rick is nervous because he knows that without his portal gun, he can't just bail on the situation should the Cromulons disapprove of his performance. Or perhaps Rick just feels compelled to act dumb because without Morty by his side, there's nothing to shield his brain waves from being detected by his enemies (why he would risk his own life and that of the Earth just so as not to be detected is not entirely explained, but perhaps he figures that if his brain waves are discovered, he's dead anyway). In any case, it's obvious that without Morty by his side, his performance suffers.

While this is happening, Vagina is about the cut the chord on Beth and Jerry: "Free now to rise," he says. Mr. Goldenfold interrupts: "Hey! Look at the heads! Looks like the heads are gettin' angry!" <-- They still seem to be drawing causal connections where it is only a correlation. The angry look upon the heads are obviously in response to Rick's poor performance. But it is nonetheless a fortuitous connection as it suggests that the heads disapprove of what they are about to do to Jerry and Beth, which will lead to their salvation from floating away.

Meanwhile, the president is flying a chopper (badly) to Area 51. Morty is in the passenger seat. "I'm really bad at this, Morty," says the president, "There are way too many buttons in this thing." "Mr. President," says Morty with a fed up expression on his face, "if I've learned one thing today, it's that sometimes, you have to not give a fuck!" <-- Imagine that, Morty telling the president of the United States where it's at.

Back to principle Vagina: he counters Goldenfold's statement with "I'm sure that has… that has nothing to do with this." <-- Only now that it inconveniences him does Vagina refrain from making a causal connection. And this is so true of human thinking in general. We only think rationally when it serves our purpose. When it doesn't, what's the point of using logic and rationality? Vagina snips the rope. The heads start booing. Summer, having an ulterior motive to just getting rid of Jerry and Beth, takes the causal connection more seriously. "The heads are displeased!" she yells, and tries to pull her parents back down by clinging to their legs and hanging on. Ethan, Summer's boyfriend, helps.

Then Rick looks up to see the black hawk hover over the stage. Morty and the president slide down on ropes and onto the stage. The heads stop booing and start cheering "Hooray!!!" The headists take this as a sign that the heads approve of Summer and Ethan pulling Jerry and Beth back to the ground. Goldenfold exclaims: "The heads love this! They love it when we don't kill the Smith family!" "No! Stop that!" counters Vagina, "You're not allowed to interpret the will of the heads!" <-- Again, motive is everything: Vagina is losing credibility here, and thus his authority and power too.

Despite the president speaking into the microphone and the cameras, saying "Call off the nuclear strike! This is the President! Stop the nuclear missile launch!" Nathan personally overrides the order and launches a couple missiles. The missiles hit the main head on the chin, making only a fart noise, hardly causing a dent. (Though the point is obviously to show how meager the damage done to the giant head, these are supposed to be nuclear missiles; at least the explosion should have been colossal, but that wouldn't have had the cinematic effect Roiland and Harmon intended.) So short of destroying the heads, thereby saving Earth, Nathan did nothing but piss the heads off, thereby endangering the Earth.

The heads start booing again. Back to principle Vagina, who attempts to assert his authority with "I'm the only one that speaks to the heads!" the main head moves closer to the Earth and utters: "Disqualified!!!" The headists, of course, interpret this to mean principle Vagina's authority has just been revoked. The group storms Vagina and takes him down to the ground.

The heads repeats: "Disqualified!!! Disqualified!!!" as Rick, Morty, and the president watch. The giant planet destroying gun turns to the Earth and starts charging up. Just as it fires a giant laser, Ice-T, still in ice form, intercepts the laser. The laser is effectively blocked, Ice-T's ice body taking the impact, cracking and breaking apart. "That's right," he says, "it's me, Ice-T! I care now! You made me care more! With all due respect [to the giant heads], I'd like to hear what Rick and Morty have to play." <-- He must be made of an amazingly solid block of ice given that the laser is meant to destroy entire planets within milliseconds!

Morty with all his faith in Rick, and Rick with his confidence restored, suddenly get their second wind. They begin to play "Head Bent Over":

^ You'll note in that scene that the headists place principle Vagina in the position of being raised by balloons. Also that, whether due to Rick and Morty's stellar performance or because it was pre-planned, the Cromulons decide that Earth is the final winner after 988 seasons, after which point Planet Music will be discontinued. Earth is teleported back to the solar system.

Overhearing the announcement about Planet Music the reality TV show, Mr. Goldenfold asks "Did he just say... musical reality show?" "Yeah," Jerry replies, "It's possible that we may have been correlating some things that weren't actually related... at all." <-- So that's it, they become disillusioned and Headism falls.

Back at the stage, the president is thanking Morty for saving the world: "I hope I can call on you and Rick again if I need you, Morty." "Sure thing," says Morty pulling out his phone, "And I was kinda hoping that I could get a selfie with you." "Actually," says the president ushering in a few of his men-in-black, "if you try to tell anyone what happened here, we'll deny it and probably worse." The men in black take Morty's phone and break it. <-- Now, it isn't obvious unless you've seen the season 3 finally, but the president's request to call on Rick and Morty again, plus the selfie Morty wants, will come up again and be a pivotal mechanism in The Rickchurian Mortydate, the last episode of season 3.

Then, like a mad man, Nathan comes charging in with a gun screaming. Before he does any damage, Rick zaps him with his snake transforming watch. We don't immediately see a snake though, just a puff of clouds and Nathan's gone. When the president questions why Nathan didn't turn into a snake, Rick says: "Trade secret, Mr. President: Particle beam in a wrist watch, snake holster on the leg." He lifts his pant leg up to reveal a holster from which a snake (previously Nathan) slips out and slithers away. The president laughs a hardy laugh, hugs Rick, and shouts out: "I love this man!!!"

Credits roll and then we get the post-credit scene:

Ice-T is reuniting with his own kind. He is greeted in a giant hall by Magnesium-J, Hydrogen-F, and Fire-Q. Ice-T greets Fire-Q as his father. News of his nearly self-sacrificial act back on Earth has arrived here. They declare his exile terminated and transform him back into water, both his arms fully restored, allow him to take the form of a capital T. Then the "Numericons" attack. Pieces of the hall begin to fall from the ceiling. Fire-Q, his father, gets crushed by one. In a brave act to avenge his father, Water-T pulls out a couple guns, one in each hand, and moves towards the door. When told there are too many of the Numericons, he simply says "Then I'd better crunch the numbers."

He steps out the door, yelling and firing his guns in both directions, get a few numerals. <-- The scene freezes and that's the end.


WOW!!! All in one post! Well, except for the PHILOSOPHICAL THOUGHTS and FINAL THOUGHTS, but still, that's saying something. I guess it's because this episode, save for the rich religious material it dishes up, is rather dry of philosophical insight. Maybe there's a reason for that: maybe Harmon and Roiland weren't even trying for a reason. They wanted Get Schwifty to suck so bad they couldn't fill it with anything worth writing about. Shitting on the floor will do. If there's a moral to this episode, it might be that even if you suck, so long as you're relaxed in your suckhood, everyone else around you will suck even worse. <-- And this remains true for me: even though this is *probably* my least favorite episode, it still blows its competition out of the water (ex. Family Guy).
My thoughts | My art | My music | My poetry

In fact, the idea that there's more differences between groups than there is between individuals is actually the fundamental racist idea.
- Jordan Peterson

right outta high school i tried to get a job as a proctologist but i couldn't find an opening.
- promethean75

Ahh... gib, zombie universes are so last year! I’m doing hyper dimensional mirror realities now.
- Ecmandu
User avatar
resident exorcist
Posts: 8929
Joined: Sat May 27, 2006 10:25 pm
Location: in your mom

Re: The Philosophy of Rick and Morty

Postby gib » Sun Oct 22, 2017 7:08 am


* The Paradox of Trying: Like in other episodes of Rick and Morty, the irony of trying reveals itself again in this episode--that irony being the counter-intuitive backfiring effect--the harder you try, the less you succeed. Trying too hard only results in too much tension and stress, and too much stress degrades performance. This is why Rick knew that the key to winning Planet Music was to relax. He knew that he and Morty were most likely up against some amazing musical talent, but that in a game show in which the stakes were death and the destruction of the contestant's own planet, everyone would be under pressure. Rick knew, in other words, that the stress levels were going to be too high for anyone to perform well, and thus the secret to winning was to just not stress. That's why, despite that the lack of trying on Rick and Morty's part resulting in possibly the shittiest song ever produced in the history of the universe, it was still better than all the other contestants'. This is why Rick wasn't nearly as eager as Morty to portal out of there--effectively pulling a Cronenberg on their reality--he knew he had it in the bag, the only challenge being to convince Morty of that. So it's not only a question of whether trying too hard degrades performance, but also of whether not trying can ever be an advantage when you know that everyone else is so nervous or stressed out that for sure they're going to perform poorly, and so the simple trick to coming out on top is to just no worry. How true is this philosophy? When does it apply? How do we know when to apply it and when not to? And to what extent do we apply it? Is it all or nothing--either stress out over it or don't care at all, or maybe stress out a little (so you don't get completely lazy) but not as much as everyone else? To know the answers to these question would be an incredible advantage in a competitive struggle to, not only come out on top, but to survive.

* Religion: Mistaking Correlation for Causation: Is this all religion really is? In ancient times, it could be said that this fallacy of logic--confusing correlation for causation--was really the overriding principle that determined all religious convictions and practices. You prayed to a certain god, your crops got rain, you drew the conclusion that this god was the one to pay homage to. You're on the brink of war, you sacrifice to some deity, you win the war. The conclusion naturally is that the deity you sacrificed to is the one to worship going forward. It wasn't typical for the average person in ancient times to take seriously the possibility that these connections are just coincidence. Shamans and medicine men in tribal societies would perform healing rituals to cure the sick and debilitated. There is a well-known psychological effect whereby the recovery of the patient from such sickness or debilitation is always attributed to the healing ritual, not so much because a causal connection was identified, but simply because the shaman or medicine man performed the ritual persistently and relentlessly until natural causes, like the patients immune system, brought about a recovery. The members of the tribe naturally assume the patient recovered because of the persistence and relentlessness of the shaman or medicine man, thus attributing a cause to what is really only a correlation. Yet it can get more complicated. There is a tendency to attribute causation when only correlation is established only when it suits our needs, but when it doesn't, we suddenly become very much aware that only a correlation has been established, and that to attribute causation would be to go beyond what we have grounds to conclude. Principle Vagina, for example, has no problem attributing causation to the connection between his praying on the sidewalk and the cessation of rain and earthquakes and such, but the minute the heads become angry at the prospect of releasing Beth and Jerry from the rope anchoring them to the ground while balloons lift them into the air, he is sure to point out that "I'm sure that has nothing to do with this," as if all of a sudden gaining a keen sense of when a causal connection has been established and when it can be doubted. Given that if a causal connection can be established at all, it means that we are dealing with phenomena within the purview of science (Humean skepticism over causation notwithstanding), then anything else--namely metaphysics, spirituality, and religion--must be a case of confusing correlation for causation. Can it really be said, then, that all religion is based on this fundamental mistake of logic? That religion is really the consequence of drawing causal connections between things that are only correlated? If not, then it seems true that this common fallacy counts at least as a major pillar uphold almost all religious convictions and practices.

* Relative Ethics: This philosophy wasn't highlighted so much in this episode, but it sure could be. The Cromulons are responsible for orchestrating a form of entertainment that involves blowing up entire life sustaining planets, and they obviously have not a single qualm about it. Now, I think ethical concerns can be brought up for almost any reality show--the way Simon Cowell completely destroys contestants on American Idol when he thinks they suck could easily be seen as a form of abuse--crushing people who are already highly insecure and quite possibly might commit suicide in reaction to such harsh judgements--all because of how entertaining it is to the fans. But what the Cromulons are doing is on a whole other level of ethical concern--destroying entire planets, entire species, entire civilization, rather than just crushing an individual's dreams and self-esteem, which one can (though wouldn't be forced to) get over. The contestants perform, not because they're ok with it, but because they have to. Can we bring in moral relativism here? If we want to accuse the Cromulons of unethical behavior, do we have to look at our own behavior in the same light? For example, stepping on ants? And when it comes to moral relativism, do we always have to defend the morals of the other person? The person doing what appears to be, from our perspective, a horrible atrocity? Why can't we stick with out own perspective--that what the Cromulons are doing is evil? Why would moral relativism preclude our own morality?


* Why snakes? If Rick's snake transforming watching is supposed to neutralize a threat, why not bunny rabbits or white doves?

* Rick acting like he's not confident at the last performance: genuine or just an act to hide his intelligence now that Morty can't shield him. We brought this up already, but since then I wanted to bring up this supporting point: we can recall the scene at Bird Person's house where Morty is looking at all the photos of Rick that Bird Person has on the wall. One of them is of Rick, Bird Person, and Squanchy in a rock band together. Now, it seems hard to believe that a former rock star would have that much difficulty coming up with a decent song, so I think we can place our bets on the fact that Rick was faking it. And don't let his pleading to Ice-T to help him fool you: he had to act dumb even then as well. But why would he risk his life, allowing the Earth to be blown up, because of a shitty performance? Most likely because to reveal his genius brain waves is sure to get him killed whereas despite a shitty performance he still stands a small chance of winning the competition (remember, everyone sucks in this performance; while Rick may not be able to relax anymore, or perform above the grade, being reduced to the equal of everyone else is not a guaranteed loss).

* This episode reminds me of M. Night Shaym-aliens: having to perform in a concert. <-- There's something about Roiland and Harmon wanting to make Rick "cool"--maybe trying to live out a missed experience from their adolescence through a fictional character they invented?

* The point about correlation vs. causation that this episode emphasizes is not even about that: it's more like coincidence vs. causation. Correlation at least implies some causal connection--it's just confused which is the cause and which is the effect. In any statistically established correlation, the causal connection may be that variable 1 causes effects in variable 2, or that variable 2 causes effects in variable 1, or there is a third extraneous variable causing effects in both variable 1 and variable 2. But all this still assumes a relatively consistent correlation. In the case of the giant heads, however, we don't even have that. That the head appears to be angered by the ascension of Beth and Jerry isn't a pattern per se--it's not like the heads are angered every time an ascension happens--just this once. Yet the headists connect Beth and Jerry's ascension with the anger of the heads as a causal relation. This is not confusing correlation with causation, but rather coincidence with causation. This seems to go with pretty much all such false connections in this episode. <-- Just thought I'd point that out.
My thoughts | My art | My music | My poetry

In fact, the idea that there's more differences between groups than there is between individuals is actually the fundamental racist idea.
- Jordan Peterson

right outta high school i tried to get a job as a proctologist but i couldn't find an opening.
- promethean75

Ahh... gib, zombie universes are so last year! I’m doing hyper dimensional mirror realities now.
- Ecmandu
User avatar
resident exorcist
Posts: 8929
Joined: Sat May 27, 2006 10:25 pm
Location: in your mom

Re: The Philosophy of Rick and Morty

Postby WW_III_ANGRY » Wed Jan 10, 2018 10:05 pm

I like Rick and Morty too. But not this much.
User avatar
Posts: 3482
Joined: Tue Nov 18, 2008 1:52 am

Re: The Philosophy of Rick and Morty

Postby gib » Thu Jan 11, 2018 3:30 pm

WW_III_ANGRY wrote:I like Rick and Morty too. But not this much.

It is an obsession, I admit.
My thoughts | My art | My music | My poetry

In fact, the idea that there's more differences between groups than there is between individuals is actually the fundamental racist idea.
- Jordan Peterson

right outta high school i tried to get a job as a proctologist but i couldn't find an opening.
- promethean75

Ahh... gib, zombie universes are so last year! I’m doing hyper dimensional mirror realities now.
- Ecmandu
User avatar
resident exorcist
Posts: 8929
Joined: Sat May 27, 2006 10:25 pm
Location: in your mom

Re: The Philosophy of Rick and Morty

Postby WW_III_ANGRY » Thu Jan 11, 2018 9:24 pm

Favorite Episode?
User avatar
Posts: 3482
Joined: Tue Nov 18, 2008 1:52 am

Re: The Philosophy of Rick and Morty

Postby gib » Fri Jan 12, 2018 2:55 am

WW_III_ANGRY wrote:Favorite Episode?

Season 1: Close Rick-counters of the Rick Kind

Season 2: Auto Erotic Assimilation

Season 3: The Whirly Dirly Conspiracy
Last edited by gib on Fri Jan 12, 2018 4:13 am, edited 1 time in total.
My thoughts | My art | My music | My poetry

In fact, the idea that there's more differences between groups than there is between individuals is actually the fundamental racist idea.
- Jordan Peterson

right outta high school i tried to get a job as a proctologist but i couldn't find an opening.
- promethean75

Ahh... gib, zombie universes are so last year! I’m doing hyper dimensional mirror realities now.
- Ecmandu
User avatar
resident exorcist
Posts: 8929
Joined: Sat May 27, 2006 10:25 pm
Location: in your mom

Re: The Ricks Must be Crazy (Part 1)

Postby gib » Sat Jan 27, 2018 11:02 am

Rick and Morty - S2E6 - The Ricks Must be Crazy (Part I)

This episode starts out with a bit of a heart warming scenario. Instead of going on one of Rick's life threatening adventures and traumatizing poor Morty, they (including Summer) are just coming out of a movie theater after having a chill family-bonding quality-time experience at Ball Fondlers the Movie. It's night time, their ship is parked in the parking lot, a poster for 3 Brothers starring Ice-T as the 3rd brother hangs on the theater wall. They're surrounded by a sort of strip mall with shops and bakeries and fast food outlets all around them. Turns out they're in a different timeline. "Fun facts about this one," Rick explains to Morty after expressing how jealous he is, "It's got giant telepathic spiders, eleven 9/11's, aaand the best ice cream in the multiverse!!!" <-- Reminds me of: "An entire afternoon at Blips and Chiiitz!!!"

^ I don't know how true Rick's statement is--that this timeline literally features the best ice cream in the multiverse (after all, if there are an infinity of timelines, how could Rick possibly know that)--but I think the point is, Rick is just capitalizing on one of the rare opportunities he has to enjoy some quality time with his grand kids. And again, ice cream comes up as one of the main motifs in the Rick and Morty series, symbolizing comfort within a (potentially) false reality. Not sure yet how that comfort fits into this episode, but perhaps we need not dig too deeply on this one--perhaps it just symbolizes what's happening now--a bit of family fun between a grandfather and his grandchildren.

Rick's point about the "fun facts" about this reality counts as a minor lesson he attempts to teach Morty: don't always assume the grass is greener on the other side. Just because in this reality, Ball Fondlers is PG-13 doesn't mean it doesn't have its flaws. Rick tells him: "There's pros and cons to *burp* every alternate timeline." <-- It's not clear how deeply Roiland and Harmon would take this philosophy, but it sounds like they're inclined to say that there is no timeline that's better than any other--that the only difference between the timelines is how their pros and cons are arranged, but that on net value, they're all pretty much the same. <-- This might further say something on the futility of trying to escape one reality for another. Rick may be used to bailing on one reality for another, but it's more accurately depicted as bailing on a bad situation for a good situation. Given that the reality into which he bails has just as many flaws as the one he bails from, however, he is almost guaranteed to run into a situation in the new reality which is just as bad if not worse than the one he escaped from. <-- But that's a digression.

They get into the ship only to find it won't start. "Oh great," Rick says. He gets out of the car, Morty following, and opens the "hood".

"Oh boy," says Morty, "W-what's wrong, Rick? Is it the quantum carburetor or something?"

"Quantum carburetor?" says Rick, "Jesus, Morty. You can't just add a s-*burps*-sci-fi word to a car word and hope it means something. Huh, looks like something's wrong with the microverse battery. [picks up a box plugged into the ship by cables with some kind of pink plasma inside.] We're gonna have to go inside."

"Um, go inside what?" asks Morty.

"The battery, Morty" answers Rick, "Be right back, Summer [who's still in the ship]. Stay put, don't touch any buttons, and ignore all random thoughts that feel... spidery."

"Wait!" Summer pleads, "You can't leave me here!"

"You'll be fine," Rick reassures, "Ship, keep Summer safe!"

The ship speaks: "Keep Summer safe."

Then Rick presses a button attached to a controller device, which in turn is attached to the ship by a cable. He and Morty flash into a brief dazzle of lights and disappear (presumably into the battery).

Just a quick note on the batteries in Rick's ship. There seem to be at least four of them:


The one that Rick plays with is the pink one, and although it's not explicitly said that the other three are indeed batteries, the pink "microverse" one that Rick picks up seems to be positioned next to the others to give off the impression that they are all the same kind of thing. <-- But in saying this, one must wonder why just one battery going out means the car won't start at all. Wouldn't there still be sufficient power from the other three to start the ship (Rick could just have a warning light on the dashboard indicating that one of the batteries needs tending to)? Either they're all out (which would be odd to say the least) or the other three aren't batteries (but then, what the hell are they?). Or perhaps the pink microverse simply powers the ship while the others power something else. Or maybe... maybe... they're spare batteries, or batteries charging up. Who knows.

Summer, with typical teenage mannerisms, leans back, crosses her arms, sighs and says sarcastically "Wonderful," before pulling out her phone and starts texting (who she knows in this reality is beyond me). Then this happens:

Usually, Morty's the one being abandoned by Rick in a precarious situation, but now it's Summer's turn. Yet, whether this is bad (grand-)parenting on Rick's part depends on how effective his ship really is at protecting Summer. She may be safer than an infant in a nursery. On the other hand, the ship certainly seems to be doing a piss poor job at making Summer feel safe--while chopping a shady looking creep into a hundred cubes may keep Summer physically safe, reclining the chair and playing soothing elevator music definitely doesn't protect her from psychological trauma. And yet, Summer has full control. When Summer implores the ship not to kill, the ship obeys her command, paralyzing the dude from the waste down instead. Yet this doesn't seem to make her feel any better.

Then there's the question of whether Rick had any choice. The battery is dead. He has to fix it. But that doesn't mean he has to leave Summer behind. For some reason, he thought it appropriate to bring Morty along. Why not Summer?

Who knows.

In any case, they end up inside the battery, which at first looks like a kind of high tech control center, not unlike the underground secret lair Rick has under the Smith's garage:


Rick notices something's wrong: "Huh, this isn't right. This pipe's supposed to be sending 20 terawatts of juice up to the engine, Morty. Instead we've got [looks at display attached to pipe] zero? Now what are these people doing?"

"People?" Morty questions.

Now just to put this into perspective, I looked up how much power 20 terawatts is... and it's a fucking lot. This website, for example, tells us that:

Terawatts (TW) are millions of megawatts, and this is a helpful unit when you’re talking about the rate at which humans are using energy worldwide. In 2008, for example, humans used energy (this includes all types of energy, not just electricity) at an average rate of about 16.5 TW of power — the U.S. consumed about one fifth of that, at 3.3 TW.

So Rick's car battery produces more energy than the entire fucking world produced through the entire year of 2008, and more than 6 times the amount of the US alone. All that to power his car. Daaamn!!!

Mind you, this must be taken to scale. 20 terawatts of energy may be the equivalent of what the entire world consumed in 2008, but that's still just a blip on the radar of Rick's ship. Rick's ship looks to be about 50 times larger than Rick's entire microverse, so even though 20 terawatts is a lot compared to the "greenies" (whom we will soon meet), it's not a whole lot compared to Rick, Morty, and Summer.

Anyway, Rick decides it's time to pay a visit to the "people." He kicks the room they're in into gear and they start ascending as if in an elevator. Morty can see out the window that they are moving upward through some kind of tunnel. They come out of a volcano. They appear to be traveling in some kind of box. The mountain has pipes running out of it, presumably carrying power to the main pipe Rick was inspecting when they first beamed down into the battery. Which, by now, we realize isn't just the control center, the room they initially beamed down into, the box they are now flying, but the entire world they are now immersed in, including the volcano. Rick did say after all that it was a microverse--an entire world (reminds me of Anatomy Park--the theme of hopping to different worlds played out in terms of levels of scale). The box they are traveling in is merely a transportation unit (that happens to be the main hub for transferring energy from this world to his ship?).


They fly over the cityscape of a modern day looking urban metropolis. Morty looks out the window in wonder as Rick explains how he invented this world:

You heard it right: Rick's microverse battery is a "spatially tessellated void inside a modified temporal field" <-- Not unlike the "quantum carburetor" Morty was asking about.

And yes, again we have something smaller than an atom producing more power than the entire world produced in 2008... and if this is a microverse, it is the equivalent of everyone on Earth riding stair masters to power something larger than the universes. Even a supernova is an infinitesimal blip on cosmic scale. A bit more fiction than science, but oh well.

You might also notice the statue of Rick standing all glorified in the middle of the town. Rick, as we will soon see, is regarded as a god here--and rightfully so--he is the creator of this universe--hence the title of this episode: "The Ricks Must be Crazy" <-- Perhaps also a subtle allusion to Rick's "madness".

Then in response to a bit of reactionary criticism from Morty: "You have a whole planet sitting around making your power for you? That's slavery!" Rick expressing one of the central philosophies of this episode:

Rick: "It's society! They work for each other, Morty. They pay each other. They buy houses. They get married and make children that replace them when they get too old to make power."

Morty: "That just sounds like slavery with extra steps!"

Is this true? Is what Rick is doing slave driving with extra steps? Well, I think we can say for sure that Rick is lying to these people, deceiving and manipulating them in order to get something out of them for his own personal gain. Sounds a lot like government. In fact, the "waste power" that Rick sells them on reminds me a lot of "income tax". We toil and slave away in order to earn a wage, and a huge chunk of that is ripped from us to go to the government. It would be one thing if they used that to pay for public services, improve life for the people, but most of it goes to pay for their lavish vacations and expensive yachts. <-- Not sure what exactly Roiland and Harmon had in mind with this little speech, but I wouldn't be surprised if this was it.

It's also true that we work for each other in the work industry, and we usually think of it as a choice. We don't typically think the government is making us. One wonders, therefore, how much that would change if the government was honest with the people about its intentions (or if there were no government). Do we believe we have to work to make a living because of certain lies and forms of manipulation the government is feeding us?

Presumably this means that a huge chunk of the power these people generate goes to power their own world, and only the remaining chunk goes to power Rick's car (so the 20 terawatts of juice being pumped through the main tube is only a portion of the total power being generated). Rick must have really wowed them with the wonders of electricity in order to trust that they will continually produce it with the technology he provided to them. He must be pretty confident that they would never stray from this mode of energy production to feel at ease driving his ship all the time. But of course, that's the rub of this episode. They stopped because they found another way.


But before getting to that, let me just take a moment to analyze the situation here. Rick has these guys stepping on a couple pads like exercising on a stair master. The leg power alone for a single individual would not even come close to heating a stove top element to cook dinner. Therefore, I surmise that this unit--the stair master looking thingy that Rick calls "Gooble Box Technology" (I wonder if this is a play on the British reality show Googlebox)--doesn't generate power simply from the energy of exerting one's leg muscles, but from some other source built into the unit which is merely triggered by the exertion of leg muscles--like turning a crank on a machine in order to generate nuclear power. In fact, it must generate so much power that it's enough to feed this entire planet indefinitely--why else would these greenies (that's what I'll call them from here on in) be so gung ho to continue to use Rick's technology. But here's the catch: even though it's a ton of power, they have no idea how much power it really is, for what proportion do you think would amount to the energy required to power a planet compared to the energy required to power something surrounding their entire universe? It would have to be an infinitesimal amount compared to a virtually infinite amount. Rick tells them that the excess power is "dangerous waste power" that needs to be disposed of by sending it to a "special disposal volcano"--which means this excess power can freely flow to his ship without anyone being the wiser.

Before they land, Rick convinces Morty to put on a pair of antenna--a hair band attached with a pair of goofy looking antennae sticking out--like a gimmick that a cheep parent bought for their kid for Halloween:


He tells Morty, "There's nothing dishonest about what we're doing. Now slap on these antennae. These people need to think we're aliens," the irony being, not only that slapping on the antennae is dishonest, but that they'd look like aliens to these people anyway.

They land in front of a cheering crowd of greenies--music being played by a marching band. Rick halts Morty from stepping out: "Wait for the ramp, Morty. They love the slow ramp. Really gets their dicks hard when they see this ramp just slooowly extending down." Indeed, the ramp from the ship extends down like an obvious phallic symbol.

"Greetings!" Rick announces before flipping them the bird, "Morty, y'gotta flip them off. I told them it means peace among worlds. How hilarious is that?"

Morty, with reluctance and obviously not impressed, flips the crowd off.

They descend the ramp and are greeted by "Mr. President"--the leader of the Greenies. The President welcomes Rick as their "alien friend," indicating that they don't regard Rick as a god as such, but nevertheless, they obviously regard him as a provider and overseer of their world, much like a god.

Rick: "Uh, Mr. President, um, couldn't help but notice that you were having problems generating power."

The President: "We've evolved. Our most brilliant scientist, Zeep Xanflorp, has developed a source of energy that makes gooble boxes obsolete."

Rick: "[Masking obvious irritation] I would love to see it."

The President: "Fuck you."

Rick: "[Grabs his collar] What did you say to me?!"

The President: "F-f-fuck you. Y-you told me it means 'much obliged'."

Rick: "[Lets go.] Oh. Right. Uh, b-b-blow me."

The President: "No, no, no. Blow me."

The President escorts Rick and Morty to Zeep Tower. He introduces them to Zeep. Zeep, in the middle of a phone conversation, begins with "I said 12 quantum stabilizers, not 11. Fix it or it's your ass." Zeep addresses the President as Chris (typical alien name). When Chris introduces "Rick the alien" to Zeep, Zeep withdraws into thought, trying to jog his memory: "Rick the alien... Rick the alien..." <-- The point of this is to show that Zeep is not only on par with Rick in terms of intelligence but in terms of arrogance and being a dick-head. In fact, the conversation continues thus:

Rick: "Really? You're gonna pull that move? I guided your entire civilization. Your people have a holiday named Ricksgiving. They teach kids about me in school."

Zeep: "I dropped out of school. It's not a place for smart people." <-- Echoing almost exactly what Rick said in the pilot.

Rick and Zeep are being played off each other in this scene as mirror reflections of each other. Though we will see later in the episode that they aren't exactly the same, the similarities they share are obviously intentional. Zeep is the greenie's leading scientist, too smart for his own britches, too smart for it to be worth his energy showing respect or follow the rules.

At Chris's behest, Zeep shows them the new energy source he's working on:

Zeep: "[With an impatient tone] It's hard for people to grasp, but inside that container is an infinite universe with a planet capable of generating massive amounts of power. I call it a miniverse."


Rick: "*coughs* Dumb *coughs* name."

Zeep: "Excuse me?"

Rick: "Nothing. [patronizing]I mean, it's hard for us to comprehend all this. Would it be possible for us to get some kind of tour of your miniverse from the inside?[/patronizing]"

Zeep: "This isn't a fucking chocolate factory! I don't have time!" <-- I guess the greenies know of Willy Wonka.

Mr. President: "Didn't you say time goes more slowly in the miniverse relative to the real world?"

Zeep: "Yes, Chris. [sarcasm]Thanks for reminding me of that. Great president.[/sarcasm] All right, let's go."

And they zap into Zeep's miniverse in exactly the way Rick and Morty zapped into the microverse.

A question at this point arises: should Rick have predicted this? I mean, I think the idea Roiland and Harmon are trying to get across here is that if Rick's microverse really is a miniature universe, and if the greenies really did evolve in the same way human beings did, then isn't it just a logical consequence of this that one such greenie would eventually evolve who happened to be on par with Rick in terms of his genius and invent the exact same technology that Rick did? Again, it seems like the Frankenstein's Monster theme rears its ugly head: Rick invents a creature that not only does he fail to take full responsibility for (like a reckless God) but ends up being something he can't fully contain. Just as Frankenstein failed to foresee the very human qualities of his monster (having needs, being in emotional pain), human qualities which should have been obvious to him given that that's exactly what he was trying to re-create, so too does Rick fail to predict the very obvious implications of inventing a universe in which life and intelligence evolve. Rick stops at thinking of it as a car battery when it is so much more than that.

Rick and Morty get almost the exact same tour of Zeep's miniverse as Rick gave to Morty of his microverse. Once again, they take off in a box, this time out of a waterfall:


Surprisingly, Rick, staring out the window, looks just as mesmerized as Morty, and Morty looks just as mesmerized as he did the first time around. Zeep gives them an almost identical speech as well... about a whole civilization generating power for him (this time with a device he calls the "flooble crank"). As an ironic turn of events, Rick this time thinks it's unethical:

Rick: "I got to tell you, Zeep, with no disrespect, I really think what you're doing here is unethical. It's not cool."

Morty: "What?!?!"

Rick: "Y-y-you got the people on this world slaving away *burps* making your power. I mean, that's what I call slavery."

Zeep: "No, no, no, they work for each other in exchange for money, which they then--"

Rick: "Well, that just sounds like slavery with extra steps."

Morty pulls Rick aside to try to gauge Rick's awareness of his own hypocrisy. To be sure, it seems Rick is at least aware that what just happened is exactly the same thing that happened between him and Morty earlier as is made clear by his statement: "Eek barba dirkle? That's a pretty fucked up ooh-la-la." <-- Showing not only that the conversations are more or less identical but that he can pin each specific utterance in the conversation to their corresponding utterances in the other. When Morty asks, "Do you not see the hypocrisy here?" it dons on Rick that hypocrisy is his weapon of choice:

"Holy crap. You're right, Morty. Hypocrisy! Somewhere on this planet, there's got to be an arrogant scientist prick on the verge of microverse technology, which would threaten to make Zeep's flooble cranks obsolete, forcing Zeep to say microverses are bad, at which point he'll realize what a hypocrite he's being! His people will go back to stomping on their gooble boxes, and you and I will be on ice cream street, baby! Eating that mother fucking ice cream! [mimics eating an ice cream] Slurpin, slurpin, slurpin it up."

^ A few things to point out about this little speech: 1) It's blatantly obvious that Rick is patently aware of his own hypocrisy... and he just doesn't care. 2) He assumes that Zeep would care. 3) Ice cream! The theme of ice cream figures in: again, symbolizing the desire to return to the comforts of a false reality. I mean, in the literal sense, Rick's only desire is to return to an alternate reality, which is nevertheless literally real, but there is also a false reality he's trying to return to: that is, the reality of nihilism where hypocrisy and ethics don't matter. In this speech, he is trying to ignore the ethical realities of the responsibilities he has to this one of his many Frankenstein monsters. What matters to him is the ice cream, not learning from his hypocrisy. And he doesn't even need to be in denial about it--denying one's hypocrisy is only necessarily if one felt that he or she would have to do something about it if made aware of it. But according to Rick's nihilistic outlook, morality and ethics are, like Summer's God in the pilot, a bandage that ought to be ripped off sooner than later. And this ties into the second point above--namely, that Rick assumes Zeep will want to do something about his hypocrisy as soon as he can make Zeep aware of it. Although Rick and Zeep are being played off each other as almost identical characters that happened to evolve in some universe, there exists from the beginning this subtle hint that there are key differences. For one example, Rick invented his microverse in order to power his ship--a completely selfish move--whereas Zeep invented his miniverse in order to serve the common good of his world. He is one of the top scientists working for greenie society. Rick works for nobody, and never steps out of his way to do anything for anybody. True, both are arrogant pricks because of their higher intelligence, neither one having the tolerance for stupidity, and no doubt Zeep must understand many of the profound implications of nihilism that Rick understands, but we get a sense in this scene that Zeep still holds onto a small spark of conscience--enough to be leveraged by Rick in his attempt to show him what a hypocrite he is (at this point in the series, it seems obvious that Rick's blatant disregard for ethics is based not only on his nihilism, but that his nihilism is understood so much more profoundly because of his experiences with dimension hopping, a technology that, as far as we know, Zeep has not invented or used (though he does hop between his own world and that of the miniverse)).

Then Zeep interrupts them all dressed up in an alien outfit:


...again, demonstrating one of the differences between him and Rick. Whereas Rick puts in minimal effort to dress up like an alien, Zeep goes all out. Not exactly sure what this insinuates... maybe that Zeep takes his work too seriously? Rick only invented his microverse to power his ship whereas Zeep has higher stakes involved. His entire career and the fate of his people are riding on his work, so he must put in a much greater effort in everything he does with respect to it, including trying to convince the "whities" (we might as well call them) that he really is an alien (again, the irony).

A whity:


^ You can tell the artists got a bit lazy here... or pressed for time.

They land their box amongst the whities in the same ceremonial fashion as Rick and Morty did amongst the greenies.

Back at Rick's ship, law enforcement has been deployed to take care of the threat (which has somehow been reported, presumably by the guy who was paralyzed). The cops converge on Summer's location and surround the ship. The ship draws all its weapons. Summer instructs her to not hurt anybody. She confirms and says: "Confirm custom defense protocol: keep Summer safe. No physical force."

This scene marks a subtle but crucial turning point in Summer's development. Whereas in the earlier scene at the beginning, Summer simply curled up into a ball and sobbed under the stress and fear of the situation, here she is taking control. She is telling the ship not to use physical force without a single tear being shed, and the ship obeys.

The cops exit their vehicles, pointing their guns at the ship, the lead saying, "Come out of the vehicle with your hands in the air!" The ship says, "Scanning assailants," and brings up on the windshield a scan of four or five of the officers, with their profiles and other information. Then she settles on one in particular (the lead) and brings up, on the windshield, a newspaper article with a picture of him crying over his dead son and a heading that reads: "OFFICER'S SON DROWNS, CITY RESPONDS... SEVEN year old drowns in pool."


"Psychological option detected," says the ship, "Gestating."

"Gestating?" Summer questions.

Then a metallic capsule rolls out the bottom of the ship. It looks like a highly sophisticated piece of technology. "Incoming!" yells the lead officer. The capsule comes to a stop, opens up, and a naked little boy pops his head out and says "Daddy?"


The lead officer drops his gun. "H-h-hunter?... Jesus Christ! Cease fire! Stay back!" He then runs to (the imitation of) his son, kneels before him and embraces him, crying "Oh, my dear, sweet God, Hunter. Oh, my boy. My boy. I'm sorry. I'm sorry. It was all my fault. I'm sorry."

Still sobbing with tears rolling down his face, the officer holds his son's cheeks as his son says, "Daddy, leave the car alone." "W-w-what?" the officer says. His son repeats: "Leave the car alooone," as he melts like a wax statue through his father's fingers:


"Stay here Hunter! No!!!" yells the officer as he tries to collect the oozing plasma melting away before his eyes. The ship speaks: "All of you have loved ones. All can be returned. All can be taken away. Please step away from the vehicle." The police officers drop their guns and step back. "Keep Summer safe."

^ This is Rick technology for you--not so much that Rick planned to have an incubation chamber designed to gestate lost loved ones for the purpose of waging psychological warfare against those who might harm a person the ship was instructed to protect, but that he invented a form of artificial intelligence smart enough to figure out how to do that on its own. The gestation chamber itself is, of course, another of his ingenious technologies, but still not invented for this particular purpose (AFAIK). Nonetheless, for a "flying vehicle he built out of stuff he found in the garage," it has amazing capabilities.

Also, even though Summer can no doubt trust that the ship has more than enough ability and intelligence to keep her safe, it seems like she'd rather be anywhere but here (perhaps tagging along with Rick and Morty on their adventure instead). <-- Is this a statement about the consequences of trading freedom for security?

As Zeep, on a stage before a crowd of whities, gives an inspiring speech about the virtues of turning their flooble cranks, Rick, who with Morty is standing behind Zeep on the stage, questions one whitie standing beside him (the president) about any new technologies their top scientists are working on. When the whitie answers that all their scientists are working on new technologies, Rick follows up: "Anyone working on, say, a little universe in a box?" The whitie pulls him aside rather aggressively and asks, "How do you know about that?" Upon wrapping up his speech by telling the whities they're not doing a good enough job (with all due humor and inspiration), he gives them the peace sign, then turns to Morty and says, "I told them this means peace among worlds. How hilarious is that?"

^ Makes me wonder: there's no doubt one of the things that feeds both Rick's and Zeep's arrogance is their superior intelligence, but is the god-complex that comes with being master over a universe they created another?

Then Rick informs Zeep about the top secret "universe in a box" that the whitie president confesses to:


"It's not much now," says their whitie tour guide while they fly in a box over snowy mountain peeks, "but once I learn to accelerate the temporal field, I'll be able to interact with any sentient life that evolves and introduce them to the wonders of electricity via a pulley-based device I call a blooble yank." <-- Indicating that this world has not yet evolved the intelligence to invent yet another miniature universe in a box (so it's the end of the line). I also wonder: if this whitie needs to accelerate the temporal field to interact with the intelligent beings who will one day produce electricity for him, then how much time passed between the spawning of this universe and now. As we shall see, there are already tribal societies on this planet, which, at least in our world, took billions of years to evolve. Compare that to less than a hundred thousand years for human tribal societies to evolve into the advanced industrial society we are today, and you'd think that would be just a blip on the time scale of the whities.

Zeep looks just as stunned as Morty did when Rick gave him a tour of his microverse. Rick, having habituated to this kind of experience, looks rather smug as he watched the look of stupefaction on Zeep's face. Morty looks just as stunned as he did the first and second time.

They land on the side of a cliff, still within the mountain range but with a much warmer climate, green trees and free flowing streams surrounding them. They disembark as Zeep proceeds to preach to 'Kyle' (the whitie) about the unethical ramification of his teenyverse technology:

"You do realize this will make the flooble crank obsolete. This is wrong, Kyle. What you're doing is wrong. You're basically... [Rick begins mouthing Zeep's exact words] This is slavery. You're talking about creating a planet of slaves."

Rick: "*burp* Told ya, Zeep."

Kyle: "Oh, they won't be slaves. They'll work for each other and pay each other money."

Zeep: "That just sounds like slavery with ex... tra... steps. [looks at Rick]"

Rick: "What?"

Zeep: "Wait a minute. [grabs Rick by the lab coat] Did you create my universe!? Is my universe a miniverse!?"

Rick: "Microverse!"

Kyle: "Uh, teenyverse."

^ It seems Rick underestimated Zeep's intelligence. If Zeep all of a sudden realized his hypocrisy, he also shot right passed that insight and realized his own universe is a microverse. <-- Rick wasn't expecting that.

The first thing Zeep does is tear off Rick's fake antennae, symbolizing his disillusionment of Rick's alien status (again, even though he's still an alien). Rick rips Zeep's mask off. They proceed to brawl on the ground, bitching about each other's pathetic universe as they punch each other in the face.

Now, I can see what just happened--and on a superficial level, it makes sense--Kyle is suddenly hit with the painful realization that not only is his entire life meaningless, but that he sacrificed so much--like being at his father's funeral--for a cause that he now understands to be utterly insignificant--so realizing now how much of a waste his life has been, he decides to waste not a minute more, and ends it. But I gotta say, this is not how human psychology works (yes, I know he's not human). If one doesn't go into denial, one at least hesitates on the thought of throwing one's entire life away at the first glimpse of a bleak nihilism; one hesitates because the instinct is to give it some thought before acting upon rash impulses, and the fear of death remains rooted in one's nature despite how meaningless life suddenly seems. Nonetheless, Kyle's suicide serves as a perfect device to move the episode onto the next phase in the plot--the phase where Rick, Zeep, and Morty have to figure out a way out of Kyle's teenyverse.

I also want to say that Kyle breaks the pattern somewhat. While he, like Rick and Zeep, is a genius scientist on the leading edge of his world's most advanced technology, he doesn't seem like a prick. He actually seems like a nice, and maybe quite gentle, guy. We can see the difference between his reaction to suddenly realizing he's part of a battery universe and Zeep's. While Zeep's reaction is to get into a brawl with Rick, Kyle just commits suicide. I wonder if this is tied to the difference in personalities.

Cut to several days later (or however many days it takes for Rick to grow a six o'clock shadow and for everyone's clothes to be torn and stained). There are two caves dug out of the side of two cliffs facing each other, like a canyon only a few yards wide. The caves are directly across from each other, like two little rooms. Rick and Morty are in one and Zeep is in the other. They overlook a lush forest at the base of the canyon. Ladders built out of wood cling to each cliff and lead up from the forest to each cave, at least the one on Rick and Morty's side. Zeep's ladder seems destroyed except for the top couple yards.


I'm not sure why they decided to set themselves up this way. Sure, a cave on the side of a cliff is as safe a haven as any other (I suppose), and building a ladder up to it is a relatively safe way to allow one's self passage to and from the cave while at the same time keeping most predatorial animals out (at least it would be on Earth), but why Rick and Zeep, who are currently at each other's throats, would camp out right next to each other rather than try to find shelter as far away from each other as possible is not explained. In fact, they are currently at war. Despite being away from their respective labs and all that modern technology has to offer, they've each setup their caves as a kind of crude laboratory, with wooden contraptions, mechanisms made with leaves and twigs, tools made from stone, and other gadgets made out of components gathered from nature... ever the scientists.

Just to give an example, Zeep crafts a miniature hand-held catapult and launches a rock at Rick and Morty. Then, in retaliation, Rick fires wooden arrows from his makeshift gun:


This comes after a threat from Rick that once he gets back to his ship, he's going to destroy Zeep's universe. Morty, trying to bring some rationality back into the picture, shouts to Zeep: "Uh, he's not gonna destroy your universe! You know, we-we need it to start our car!" "That's what you use my universe for?!?!" replies Zeep from across the chasm, "To run your car?!?!"

Out of frustration, Morty decides he's had enough: "All right! That's it! I'm out! I-I'm gonna go into the wilderness, and I'm gonna make a new life for myself among the tree people. I-I-It can't be worse than this!" <-- We'll see who the tree people are later.

Back at the ship, law enforcement comes back with reinforcements. Choppers fly overhead, soldiers come in on foot, tanks and police cares surround the area. "Oh my god, oh god," says
Summer inside the ship as she clutches her legs in the fetal position and rocks back and forth, "What are we gonna do now?"

The ship responds: "I am unable to destroy this army... To clarify, I am quite able to destroy this army, but you will not permit it."

Summer: "Correct." <-- Summer obviously feeling much more secure than before.

The ship: "You also refuse to authorize emotional countermeasures."

Summer: "If you're talking about the melting ghost babies, yes, please, no more of that."

The ship: "Confirmed. I am currently constructing a security measure in compliance with your parameters. But I do want to say you are not making this easy."

Summer: "You know you're kind of a dick, right?"

The ship: "My function is to keep Summer safe, not keep Summer being, like, totally stoked about, like, the general vibe and stuff. That's you. That's how you talk."

^ Bit of comedy relief, just something to keep us up to speed on what's going on with Summer. Not much in the way of philosophical insight or thick plot development.

Back inside the teenyverse, Rick and Zeep are now fully engaged in war with each other. They're back on the ground attacking each other, driving two of what looks like the power loader from Aliens 2, except all natural:


Zeep: "I hope your God is as big a dick as you!"

Rick: "My God's the biggest dick that's never existed. Why do you think I'm even here?"

Rick releases a snake from a trap door on the power loader's left foot (what's with Rick and snakes?). Zeep counters that by pulling a rope which releases an eagle from his power loader's abdomen. The eagle swoops down and snatches the snake, and then flies away. These two geniuses certainly thought of everything.

Zeep: "You're here because you created someone smarter than you."

Rick and Zeep make some interesting points in this brief exchange. Rick's point is that he's the top god. The proof is that for every god that invents a miniature universe (microverse/miniverse/teenyverse), that god is visited by a higher god who comes to put a stop to it. Since no such god has yet done that to Rick, Rick's god must be non-existent, making him the top god. On the other hand, Zeeps point is that the only reason Rick had to intervene is because Zeep outsmarted Rick. Rick surprisingly didn't have the foresight to predict that the greenies would continue to evolve past gooble boxes, just as soon as a genius greenie showed up to take them there. In other words, Zeep could foresee a future for the greenies that Rick could not. The snake and the eagle are even symbolic of this. While Rick thinks he's pretty clever to equip his power loader with a snake (not sure how he expected that to work--would the snake slither up inside Zeep's power loader and bite him?), Zeep is one step ahead of him, equipping his power loader with an eagle ready to defend him against snakes with just the pull of a rope. He has a certain foresight that Rick does not. (On the other hand, I think this is more symbolic of their conversation, specifically what Zeeps say about himself, rather than the actual truth. There is no indication in this episode that Zeep is smarter than Rick. In fact, Zeep is just as stupefied by Kyle and his invention of the teenyverse as Rick was Zeep's miniverse.)

Zeep destroys Rick's power loader by releasing a collection of rocks from under his own power loader. The rocks roll under Rick's power loader causing it to slip and fall, and break into pieces. Rick grabs what's left of the arm of his power loader and fires a rope which wraps around the left leg of Zeep's power loader. Rick pulls the rope causing Zeep's power loader to fall and break apart.

Then the "tree people" show up and surround Rick and Zeep with spears. A short one wearing a mask moves into the middle of the group. "Kalo kada shala!" he utters before removing the mask to reveal it's really Morty. "Holy shit! Morty!? I haven't seen you in months! You're leading the tree people? Huh, that's a step up."


I want to take a second here to talk about the significance of this. In a sense, Morty has taken over the role of god here. In time, the tree people would have evolved. They would have evolved to the point of becoming intellectually and technologically sophisticate--enough so that Kyle would finally be able to "introduce them to the wonders of electricity." Since Kyle died prematurely, it left a void where the tree people's leader would have been. Morty slipped into that void quite nicely.

Morty, in the tone of a wise old sage, says to Rick and Zeep: "You two call yourselves geniuses, but you have spent this time learning nothing! Come with me into the... forest. There is something I wish to teach you."

Morty leads them quite a ways into the forest. It's night by the time they get to "ku'ala," a sacred spirit tree. Morty explains: "This is ku'ala, the spirit tree. For generations, it has guided the--" He looks back at the tree people. They don't seem to be paying attention. Morty then seizes the opportunity. He grabs Rick's lab coat: "You have to get us the fuck outa here! These people are backwards savages! They eat every third baby because they think it makes fruit grow bigger! Everyone's gross and they all smell like piss all the time! I m--I m--I miss my family! I miss my laptop! I masturbated to an extra curvy piece of driftwood the other day! Look, I-I-I don't care what it takes! You two are putting aside your bullshit, and you're working together to get us back home."

There is sort of a mixed lesson to be learned here: while Rick continues his habit of underestimating people's intelligence, Morty continues his habit of thinking he doesn't need Rick. Like failing to predict that some among the greenies would be intelligent enough to invent another miniature universe, Rick also fails to predict that Morty would be intelligent enough to lead the tree people. Before Morty left the cave, Rick warned him: "Just be back before sundown or the tree people will eat you." Far from being eaten, Morty not only survives the tree people but manages to gain complete control over them (just how much control we will soon see). But of course, this desperate speech of Morty's about getting them the fuck out of there shows that, once again, Morty underestimates how much he depends on Rick to save the day. He thought he could hack it on his own, and while he may have proven his ability to survive among the tree people, this speech of his constitutes his crawling back to Rick.

Rick and Zeep refuse to cooperate with Morty's demands. In response, Morty commands the tree people: "Ro ro danoga!" The tree people surround Rick and Zeep with their spears. Morty walks away, his last words to them being: "You're smart! You'll figure it out!"

Morty means business. It's funny how being in a desperate situation compels people to take control. And Morty certainly has control here. Being master over the tree people gives him a special weapon with which to coerce Rick and Zeep. He may not be as smart as Rick or Zeep, but he's not hindered by stubborn grudges, and he's able to use whatever intelligence he has to force Rick and Zeep to get over their differences and work together.

Quick cameo back to Summer. A soldier outside the ship yells into a megaphone: "You have 10 seconds to get out of the ship!" then starts counting down.

Back to Rick and Zeep: they're finally working together. They've got an entire outdoor laboratory setup where they collaborate together to figure out a way out of the teenyverse. Not sure how they came to terms with the need to work together--did they just simmer down allowing their better judgement to return, or could they seriously not think of a way to escape the tree people and therefore felt forced to work together? We know that both are incredibly stubborn and taking the high road is like a foreign concept to them. For one to approach the other for a truce is therefore unthinkable. On the other hand, I can see one or the other trying to put forward a convincing argument that it's in the best interest of all if they could work together to find a way out of the teenyverse. But in any case, here they are, putting their differences aside, and working on a solution to their current predicament.


Rick: "All right, not bad."

Zeep: "I guess you're an okay proto-recombinator."

Rick: "I've certainly seen worse ionic cell dioxination."

Zeep: "If this works, drinks are on me."

Rick: "If drinks are on you, you're gonna need a second mortgage on that tower. [leans in to whisper] I'm an alcoholic."

Zeep: "Opium addict."

And they both laugh a hearty laugh.

Morty approaches them just as they're adding the finishing touches. They place their hands on a blue crystal and it ignites with some kind of glowing energy. Morty's last words to the tree people are: "You guys are the fucking worst! Your gods are a lie! Fuck you! Fuck nature! And fuck trees!" Then they disappear.

This makes me wonder: is this Morty's way of being a hypocrite? Morty accused Rick of being a hypocrite before, and Rick did the same to Zeep. Morty, taking his turn being a god over the people of a miniature universe, ought to follow the pattern, shouldn't he? How is he a hypocrite? Well, after accusing Rick of slavery by means of deception and lies, Morty could also be seen as creating slaves of a people through deception and lies--posing as a god (or at least a wise leader), pretending to honor the sacredness of trees and nature, hiding his true intention of getting back to Rick to get them the fuck out of there--and ultimately using them as his main weapon to coerce Rick and Zeep into working together to invent a way out of the teenyverse. He too is treating them as slaves. And when he finally doesn't need them anymore, what does he do? He abandons them in the worst way possible--by bitching them out with a diatribe of seething anger and hatred--finally revealing his true thoughts. Not sure if this was Roiland and Harmon's intention, but it is one way of interpreting the events of this scene.
My thoughts | My art | My music | My poetry

In fact, the idea that there's more differences between groups than there is between individuals is actually the fundamental racist idea.
- Jordan Peterson

right outta high school i tried to get a job as a proctologist but i couldn't find an opening.
- promethean75

Ahh... gib, zombie universes are so last year! I’m doing hyper dimensional mirror realities now.
- Ecmandu
User avatar
resident exorcist
Posts: 8929
Joined: Sat May 27, 2006 10:25 pm
Location: in your mom

Re: The Ricks Must be Crazy: Part II

Postby gib » Sat Jan 27, 2018 11:03 am

Last edited by gib on Sat Jan 27, 2018 11:22 am, edited 1 time in total.
My thoughts | My art | My music | My poetry

In fact, the idea that there's more differences between groups than there is between individuals is actually the fundamental racist idea.
- Jordan Peterson

right outta high school i tried to get a job as a proctologist but i couldn't find an opening.
- promethean75

Ahh... gib, zombie universes are so last year! I’m doing hyper dimensional mirror realities now.
- Ecmandu
User avatar
resident exorcist
Posts: 8929
Joined: Sat May 27, 2006 10:25 pm
Location: in your mom

Re: The Ricks Must be Crazy: Part II

Postby gib » Sat Jan 27, 2018 11:04 am


The contraption works. Rick, Zeep, and Morty are teleported back to Kyle's universe, back into the lab from which they entered the teenyverse. "Hey uh, how 'bout that drink," says Rick. Zeep tip-toes backwards into the elevator claiming that he needs to get his wallet in his ship. Rick mentions with a suspicious tone that that's where the transporter is too, implying that Zeep intends to beam out of the teenyverse back to the miniverse where he will destroy it with Rick and Morty inside. Unable to stop Zeep, Rick shouts: "Run Morty! That asshole's willing to risk everything he cares about just to defeat me! He's psychotic!"

Then there's a really dumb scene in which Rick mimics Inspector Gadget, uttering "Go go Sanchez ski shoes!" A couple of rocket equipped skies pop out of Rick's feet, and with Morty on his back, they propel him upward along stair railings and upward slanting ceilings.


They burst through the roof where Zeep is seen approaching the transporter. They tumble into the transporting, crashing into Zeep, bringing him along. Once in the transporter, Rick hits a button which teleports them back to the microverse where Chris (the President) has just cooked them a feast. Not the least bit interested, Rick grabs the miniverse and smashes it on the ground. On his knees, Zeep shouts "You monster!" Rick and Morty run out the door.

Now they're in a race to get back to Rick's universe (well, the universe he and his grandkids portaled to). Whoever gets there first will smash the microverse destroying the other. Zeep crashes to the outside through the wall on something like hovering skidoo or wheel-less motorbike. He says to them as he passes by, "You may have created this universe, Rick, but I live in it." Before an attempt on Morty's part to transform into a car with the help of nanobots Rick at one point implanted in his body, they catch a cab with which to beet Zeep to the transporter.

They pass Zeep on the road. Rick distracts Zeep so that he fails to see the giant Rick float up ahead (they're celebrating Ricksgiving and there's a parade): "Happy Ricksgiving, biatch!" Zeep notices too late and crashes into the float.


Throughout this scene, the soldiers back at the ship with Summer have been counting down from 10 (it's intercut every so often to give the impression of time going by a lot slower). They get to 5 by the time Zeep crashes into the float. They're interrupted by a whole army of giant spiders approaching from the right. On the left, a limo and two motorbikes drive up. They stop and an important looking dignitary steps out. He shouts, "Hold your fire!"

Summer watches as the dignitary and one of the spiders meet each other between the ship and the soldiers. The dignitary is carrying a document of some kind.

When Summer asks what's going on, the ship says, "I have brokered a peace agreement between the giant spiders and the government."

Next scene, the dignitary is standing in front of a podium giving a speech: "Thanks to the skilled diplomacy of this mysterious space car, from this day forward, human and spiderkind will live side by side in peace. We will stop bombing them, and they will no longer use their telepathic abilities to make us wander into webs for later consumption. Instead, we will work together to make this world a better place for all, no matter how many legs. [Soldier: What do we do about the space car?] Leave it alone. I mean, what did it really do anyways? Kill a guy and paralyze his buddy? Ha! Not a bad trade for spider peace."

So apparently, the ship's idea was to impress the government by brokering peace between them and the spiders, thereby convincing them not to destroy it. <-- There's Rick technology for you.

The military moves out, clearing the area. The spider whispers something to the dignitary (the President?) with subtitles that say, "What wicked webs we un-weave." The dignitary laughs (almost in an evil/maniacal fashion), raises the spiders limb, and shouts, "I love this spider!" <-- Reminiscent of the President in Get Schwifty. <-- Perhaps also a subtle anti-liberal slant.

The ship concludes the ordeal by repeating her favorite mantra: "Summer is safe."

Back in the microverse, an exhausted looking Rick and Morty walk up the ramp, in the rain, into the transporter when suddenly, from behind them, Zeep shouts out "Rick!!!" Rather than raise the ramp and close the door, Rick decides to meet him on the ground for one last show down. He literally kicks the shit out of Zeep, spitting on him while he's down to add injury to insult. It couldn't get any worse than that. Your own god beats the shit out of you and abandons you on the ground in the rain with the full knowledge that he's about to destroy your universe. The irony here being that Rick just beat the shit out of someone who is almost just like him except for a few minor details--once again proving that Ricks don't like themselves... and they almost got along so well.

Rick and Morty zap back into the universe with giant telepathic spiders, eleven 9/11's, and the best ice cream in the multiverse. They enter the ship. Rick asks Summer if she's all right. Summer says in a stressed out tone: "Uh huh!" Right before Rick is about to start the ship, Morty interrupts: "What are you doing, Rick? I'm pretty sure the battery's dead." But Rick successfully starts the car anyway. Morty is under the impression that because they failed to meet their objective in the microverse, there's no reason to believe the battery would be outputting energy again. But Rick is thinking one step ahead--not only of Morty, but of Zeep. He explains:

In other words, Rick is not only taking the recent events they've been through into account, but Zeep's intelligence too. Rick knows that Zeep is just as intelligent as he is (or very close) and if Rick would think about the fact that his universe would be destroyed if he didn't start outputting power, then so would Zeep. And since Zeep is not such a renegade as Rick is--always working for the man--then he knew that Zeep wouldn't want his universe destroyed (unlike Rick the nihilist who wouldn't give two shits about his universe). So he could count on Zeep returning his people to Gooble Box power so as to preserve his universe. <-- Has Rick learned a lesson here? To think two steps ahead of the greenies?

I'm also curious about whether Zeep figured out what flipping the bird actually meant. He says at the end of the clip above: "Peace among worlds, Rick," while flipping the bird, but we know that means something different to the greenies than it does to us. But Zeep is highly intelligence, so I question whether his sarcastic tone is not only in his words but in his gestures too. I wonder, that is, whether he realized, being able to think like Rick, that the middle finger probably doesn't mean "peace among worlds" after all and most likely means something derogatory. Who knows.

Rick concludes with: "You were right, Morty. We really just needed to be honest with those guys." <-- Not exactly what Morty had in mind. All of Morty's moral preaching was about the wrongness of slavery. His point was that Rick shouldn't be using this kind of battery at all. Rick, on the other hand, is saying that the greenies didn't have to be duped into thinking that the gooble boxes were for their sole benefit, bestowed upon them by the gods to brighten up their lives. Rather, if the greenies just knew that Rick would toss their universe if they didn't continue to stomp on their gooble boxes, they'd do it just out of fear of being destroyed. Not exactly a lesson Morty would be thrilled about, and certainly not the one he wanted Rick to learn.

They finally make their way to the ice cream parlor. Sitting at a table with Summer and Morty, slurping on ice cream, Rick says to Morty: "See, Morty? This is what it's all about. This is why we do what we do." <-- If I'm right about the symbolism of ice cream in the Rick and Morty series--taking comfort in false realities--then Rick is essentially saying that he is ever driven by a need to escape, a theme we've seen countless times before. Though it does seem like a bit of overkill to hop down 3 levels of microverses, nearly becoming stranded in the last, just for a bit of ice cream (though we have to remember, most of that was unplanned) but we have to keep in mind that the ice cream is merely symbolic. In this episode, it seems Rick is trying to escape the ethical realities that stem from being a slave driver, or a tyrannical god. Sitting there in the ice cream parlor with his grandchildren slurping on ice cream allows him to forget all about that and much more.

Then Rick takes his first ice cream lick. He discovers flies in it.

Rick: "Ew! What the hell? Jesus! There's flies in my ice cream!"

Server: "Presidential decree. All ice cream is now for all beings, no matter how many legs."

Rick: "What the fuck did you do, Summer?!"

Summer: "It was your ship! Your stupid ship did it!"

Rick: "[Speaking over top Summer] Don't blame my ship!"

Summer: "It melted a child!

Rick: "My ship doesn't do anything unless it's told to do something!"

Summer: "It killed it itself! We almost died!"

Rick: "I don't want to hear it, Summer!... Your boobs are all hanging about, and you ruined ice cream with your boobs out! And don't even try to deny it, either!"

The scene pans out to show Rick and Summer through the window shouting passed each other while Morty groans in the background. A giant spider hangs from a thread licking fly infested ice cream.

It seems Rick doubts not only the intellectual potential of the greenies he created, but his ship too--fulfilling yet another Frankenstein monster theme--creating a monster without thinking through the full ramification that his creation entails. He is also not accepting responsibility for his own choices. Though he was looking forward to nothing more than having ice cream with his grandkids (again, symbolizing escape), he sabotaged his own goal by keeping Summer behind to be looked after by his ship while he and Morty went on a rip roaring adventure into inner space. Yet there's a whole chain of events that happened between then and their sitting at the ice cream parlor now--both he and Summer are responsible for this outcome, the flies in the ice cream. By disallowing the ship to take more direct measures, Summer, in a round about way, "told" the ship to arrange the affairs of this reality such that flies end up getting added to ice cream. But in all practicality, what was Summer supposed to do? Allow the ship to continue it's brutal measures of paralyzing people and slicing them up into little fleshy cubes? Overall, I think Summer is in the right here, and Rick, as usual, is brushing off responsibility.



* The ethics of slavery: There are very few people who would agree that slavery is ethically acceptable (Autsider comes to mind), but what Rick shows us in this episode is that the ethical ramification of slavery can be dampened somewhat by adding a few "extra steps". Rick isn't coming down into his microverse threatening the greenies with cracking a big whip every time they fall short of their energy output quota. Instead he is using a combination of deception and reinforcement. He reinforces the output of energy by allowing the greenies to use a huge portion of the energy to power their own world. He deceives them by telling them that the "waste" energy is disposed of in a giant volcano when in reality it is used to power his ship. In effect, he has introduced a new industry to their lives. They "work for each other," presumably implying that they stomp on the gooble boxes for the same reason people work at power plants--they get paid by someone to produce energy not only for the man, not only for the gods, but themselves so that they can go home to a lit house with heating, running water, and a big screen TV on which they can watch sports and their favorite shows on Netflix. <-- Is this slavery or is it natural market forces? Well, it certainly isn't natural... not in this episode. But it isn't straight out slavery either. Rick is providing something to enrich the greenies' lives, something they would use and work just as hard for even if there was no Rick-god lording over them and willing to destroy their universe if they ceased to produce power. But the miniverse Zeep invents is the rub. In the end, Rick must resort to honesty. He must tell Zeep, and presumably through him everyone else, that if they don't continue to produce energy via the gooble boxes, he'll destroy their universe. In effect, they don't have a choice. True freedom may mean continuing to use the gooble boxes for the same reasons they've always used them (working for each other) but if they don't have the choice to go with a more effective option (Zeep's miniverse) then is that really freedom? The irony is that the greenies continue to do the same thing they've always done--stomping on the gooble boxes--but at the end of the episode, they feel coerced, not free. Stomping on the gooble boxes ends up feeling demeaning rather than rewarding. It is uncannily similar to income tax. Before we read headlines about how the government is using our tax money for their own personal agendas, we may feel a sense of pride in paying it--we feel we are contributing to society, trusting that the government will put our tax dollars to good use and therefore feel that we are putting our tax dollars to good use--we feel that this is what we would choose anyway--but once we learn about the scandals, the embezzlement, the corruption--how our hard earned tax dollars go to pay for the personal interests of corrupt politicians, or deals with foreign enemy powers, etc.--we are suddenly hit with the realization that we don't have a choice--we want to withdraw our tax payments but realize that we can't, that we have no choice, and all of a sudden income tax feels like slavery. Providing reinforcement in the form of the incentives of natural market forces is one thing--ex. by providing a new technology that improves the quality of people's lives--but deception is quite another. If you have to hide something in order to make the people feel they are participating in a program freely, then you are a slave driver, for the only other means of making the poeople participate is through coercion.

* Can matter be divided indefinitely: For all intents and purposes, the greenies must be smaller than the tiniest subatomic particle in Rick's (alternate) universe. If an entire universe can be created inside something the size of a kleenex box, it must break the boundaries of size in whatever universe it was created in. Then inside that universe, there's another, and inside that other universe, there is yet another. Not only do we see the transcendence of the smallest thing possible in each universe, but we see that the pattern just repeats for every iteration. That is to say, if below the size of the smallest subatomic particle in the universe Rick occupies, there is a whole other universe, then exactly the same situation is setup in that smaller universe; in effective, this means the pattern can go on forever, implying there is no limit to the size of the smallest particle. A more interesting question is: how does Rick do it? How does Rick create something as complex as an entire universe composed of stuff smaller than the basic building blocks of the universe from which it was created? I guess one just needs to "put a spatially tessellated void inside a modified temporal field." <-- This is just science fiction, of course, but the philosophical question that comes out of this is: is this possible in real science? Or perhaps: can this occur naturally?

* God: a mad scientist?: The theme of this episode is nothing new. The idea of science spawn new universes has been seen in dozens of science fiction films and books for at least a century. Even science itself suggests it's possible--the theory that at the center of every black hole is a gateway to a new universe is known by scientific thinkers the world over, and if the scientists at CERN and other particle accelerating facilities can really create mini-black holes, then they can also create universes. If we ever do this, we would pass as creator gods, just like Rick. It stands to question, therefore, whether God, the creator of our universe, is really just a (mad) scientist like Rick, or a genius inventor like Thomas Edison. Could our universe be merely the product of some scientific experiment, some innovation in technology? Would the creator(s) of our universe even be aware that they've invented us (us meaning either our universe in general or the human species more specifically)? And if they are aware of us, would they take responsibility for us? Caring for our well-being and recognizing our value as sentient creatures, like we imagine the loving father figure we picture the Christian god to be, or would we be more like the Frankenstein monster, an abomination of nature spawned by madness and abandoned to whatever cruel fate awaits those who are foresaken by a wreckless god who takes no responsibility for his creation?


There are pros and cons to every reality--Rick thought he could escape to this reality to get ice cream with his grandkids, but the whole thing is ruined because there are flies in his ice cream. This is due to his own actions: if he only brought Summer along, there wouldn't be any need for his ship to broker a deal between the spiders and humans of this reality, and there would be no flies in the ice cream. This is symbolic of course. If ice cream is symbolic of taking comfort in false realities, then the flies represent true realities catching up. Rick can't just ignore the realities he wants to escape from with those realities ruining the very escape he runs towards.

It's ironic, therefore, that Rick boasts about how this reality has the best ice cream in the multiverse. One of the "fun facts" of this universe (namely, giant telepathic spiders) ends up making it possibly the worst ice cream in the universe--reiforcing the idea I (and Rick) mentioned earlier on--that no realities, on net value, is really any better than any other, and therefore one can't really escape the flaws of one reality by jumping into another.

This episode strikes me as a glorified version of Anatomy Park--the theme of visiting other worlds by going smaller rather than going through portals (also, what would happen if Rick jumped through a portal while inside the microverse? Would he hop to another reality at the same level of scale? Or can he even calibrate scale with his portal gun just as he can time and space?).

What would "Ricksgiving" even mean? At least we can interpret Thanks Giving as: a day to give thanks. That same logic applied to Ricksgiving gives us: a day to give Rick. <-- Huh?

How long has Rick used the microverse to power his car? Wouldn't that translate into thousands of greenie years? If he introduced gooble box technology to them at a stage in their evolution when they were just ripe for it, they should have evolved eons beyond it by now. But I guess that's the whole premise of this episode--they have grown beyond it. But still, how long would that take in Rick years? We know that Rick has been flying his ship since the pilot, which was two seasons ago. Maybe he created the microverse battery only recently. Maybe he used some other form of power back in the pilot? *GASP* Maybe that's what those other batteries were for!

When Zeep suddenly realizes that Rick created his universe, this is symbolic. Rick didn't intend for Zeep to realize that. He only intended for Zeep to recognize his own hypocracy. The fact that Zeep went beyond that is what's symbolic. It symbolizes the same thing that the greenies' evolution beyond gooble box technology symbolizes: Rick's oblivion to the intricacies of what he created. It's a combination of Rick's cocky attitude and his interests being limited only to his own personal interests. He is only interested in creating a power source for his ship. Therefore, his thinking stops at the point in the greenies' evolution where they are fit for gooble box technology, which of course blinds him to the fact that they will eventually evolve beyond that point. Likewise, his rash thinking about how to show Zeep how much of a hypocrit he is stops at Zeep's realization that he is a hypocritc, which of course blinds him to the fact that Zeep's realization will evolve beyond that, coming to the point where he realizes that Rick stumbled upon exactly the same technology that he did.

Should we feel that sorry for the slave status of the greenies? After all, their emancipation hinges on Zeep's miniverse, which is just another case of slavery.
My thoughts | My art | My music | My poetry

In fact, the idea that there's more differences between groups than there is between individuals is actually the fundamental racist idea.
- Jordan Peterson

right outta high school i tried to get a job as a proctologist but i couldn't find an opening.
- promethean75

Ahh... gib, zombie universes are so last year! I’m doing hyper dimensional mirror realities now.
- Ecmandu
User avatar
resident exorcist
Posts: 8929
Joined: Sat May 27, 2006 10:25 pm
Location: in your mom

Re: Big Trouble in Little Sanchez (Part I)

Postby gib » Sun Jun 24, 2018 3:25 am

Rick and Morty - S2E7 - Big Trouble in Little Sanchez (Part I)

This episode of Rick and Morty opens with a bit of a red herring. The discussion around the breakfast table veers almost immediately onto the topic of vampires. Apparently, there are vampires at Morty and Summer's school, one of which killed one of the lunch ladies. But this episode is not about vampires. The vampire motif is just a catalyst to usher in the real theme of this episode: Rick reliving his teenage years. Helping his grand kids hunt down vampires apparently requires becoming a teenager (principle Vagina even mentions that he knows Rick is really an 80 year old man in a cloned adolescent body, and that it never really bothered him), and its this which is the real theme of this episode.

This allows Harmon and Roiland to go down a whole new scientific avenue: psychoanalysis. We explore the complexities of Rick's mind when it gets repressed into the unconscious, and how even from there his genius breaks through in amazing ways.

The secondary plotline might also be said to explore the psychological dynamics of Jerry and Beth with respect to their marriage and how they perceive each other. As they visit an alien facility of rather unorthodox marriage counseling methods, they get a chance to see how their marriage would pan out between two alien monster versions of themselves, or rather how they perceive each other, as a means of demonstrating how, when taken to extremes, such perceptions, if they were real, could not possibly pan out in a relationship. Though this may sound a bit convoluted as phrased, it will become more clear as we get to the details. But in any case, the outcome of this will be another instance of Jerry manning up.

I'd also like to say that this episode strikes a chord with me. The idea of reliving my teenage years is something I long for--that is, reliving those years as a popular kid; it should come as no surprise that I have a Rick complex (an inner Rick, or a longing to be Rick) and it just seems so convenient that Rick, in this episode, wants to relive his teenage years. It's almost as if Roiland and Harmon see a connection between the two--those with a Rick complex and those who wish to relive their teenage years--as if the Rick complex is borne out of "missing out" on the popularity that every angsty adolescent longs for. Those who didn't get to experience it develop a Rick complex... or so the idea would go.

But in any case, this episode, like I said, begins with a discussion around the breakfast table about vampires. A few subtle Easter eggs hint that we are looking at an alternate timeline--not C-137: Summer bellows out: "Vampires are real?!?!" and Rick answers: "Yes Summer, vampires are real. Who knew? Oh right, all humanity for hundreds of years now." <-- So if Rick is saying that the reality of vampires is common knowledge among all humanity, then that suggests that we are looking at a timeline in which vampires are commonplace (I mean, that could have been the case all along, even in dimension C-137, but I think that if that were the intent, we would have seen more of it, or at least hints of it). Then there's the box of Strawberry Smiggles on the breakfast table. If you recall, Strawberry Smiggles was a cereal the commercial for which was aired on interdimensional cable in episode 8 of season 1. In that episode, Morty, and even Rick, are a bit shocked at the gore and violence in the commercial, suggesting that they don't have Strawberry Smiggles in their reality (or if they do, they don't get commercials for it like this... but I think the idea is that if they're getting it through interdimensional cable, Strawberry Smiggles is indeed from another dimension). But there it is on the breakfast table, suggesting that this is the reality from which that channel came through to C-137's interdimensional cable box. Even if there are several dimensions which feature Strawberry Smiggles, C-137 certainly isn't one of them (assuming the reality featured in the interdimensional cable episode was C-137). And perhaps we get an idea of why the commercial for Strawberry Smiggle is so violent--in a world plagued by blood sucking, human slaughtering vampires, blood, gore, and violence might be commonplace, and so it isn't a huge shock for the inhabitants of this reality to have it in their commercials.


The subject of vampires comes up because Jerry asks what's new at school. That's when Morty brings up the lunch lady who dies from getting all the blood drained from her body through two holes in the neck. Summer, in one of her desperate pitches to get Rick to go on an adventure with her, suggests that Rick turn himself into a teenager so that he can come to their school and help them hunt down the vampires. Both Morty and Rick call her on her desperation: Morty: "Um... wow," Rick: "Yeah, pretty specific pitch, Summer." Rick goes on to express his utter disgust in the very idea of becoming a teenager and voices his contempt that she even asked that (this is deliberate on the part of the writers--they want a stark contrast between what old Rick thinks of the idea and what young Rick thinks--a diametric clash between conscious and unconscious desires).

(There's also Morty's line: "Yeah, Summer, it's a big universe. Get used to it. Right Rick?" <-- in a tone implying he's only saying it to impress Rick... as if to say, they're both launching pitches, Morty out of an excess of Rick-time, Summer out of deprivation of Rick-time.)

Next, we get a little taste of Beth and Jerry's marital issues (not that we haven't had plenty of that already); they get into a tiff over the fact that Jerry is too busy playing on his balloon popping game on his iPad to be paying any attention to the conversation about vampires (ironic since he started the whole conversation, and Beth, who wasn't even there when the conversation started, caught every word). Rick, fed up with all the bickering, implores them to either fix their marriage or get a divorce. Jerry brings up the fact that they've tried a therapist. Rick says: "That's Earth therapy. You might as well as ask a horse to fix a marry-go-round. I mean, he'll try his best but mostly he's just gonna get horrified." Then he mentions an alternative: "I know about a place that's off planet with 100% success rate." <-- And there's the segway into the secondary plotline. As soon as Beth mentions that they want to make it work, Rick spares not a second more. He grabs them by the arms and ushers them to his ship where he (presumably) plans to take them to this off-planet marriage counseling facility.

Morty and Summer are left alone in the kitchen. Morty voices a bit of angst about his parents getting a divorce. Summer responds with complete indifference, her only concern being to get stakes ready for the upcoming vampire slaughter.

On their way to Nuptia Four, the galaxy's most successful couples' counseling institute according to Rick, Rick explains to Jerry and Beth how awesome these guys are:

"They could save the marriage of a dog and a bar of dark chocolate. They could save the marriage of a porn star and a porn star."


After a bit of bickering about who's more ready for marriage counseling, Rick literally drops them off at the institution--through a latch at the bottom of his ship without even landing.

They are immediately greeted by Glaxo Slimslom, the head of this institution:


Glaxo ushers them in. He leads them to a room. He tells Jerry to sit down and put on a helmet. He does so and a scan of his brain shows up on a screen behind him. Glaxo explains:

"This machine isolates the part of the subject's brain containing all perceptions of its romantic partner," And to demonstrate how this works, Glaxo announces out loud before pulling a lever: "And we will now render Jerry's perception of Beth with artificial biological life!"

He pulls the lever and from a thick beam of light and flashes of electricity is produced a life form that's supposed to represents Jerry's perception of Beth:


The Smiths are understandably shocked, Beth fuming with rage insisting that Jerry take it back, Jerry pleading that he didn't do anything and asking if he can take it back.

Then it's Beth's turn. Here's what she thinks of Jerry:


Beth takes off the helmet, holds it in the air, and says: "Read it and weep, bitch," and drops the helmet on the floor.

It's interesting the manner in which each one takes accountability for their own manifestations. Jerry pleads that he didn't do anything and asks if he can take it back, while Beth is almost proud of her creation and talks as if she did it on purpose to spite Jerry. This also highlights a bit of hypocrisy on Beth's part: while she expects something more flattering from Jerry's manifestation, she doesn't mind dishing out something humiliating and insulting for her own (though to be fair, it's not clear what her attitude would have been if she went first).

And to top it off, Jerry bellows out in the most pathetic whine: "Does everybody see what I mean?" Glaxo says: "I think we all see what you both mean." <-- Meaning that they're treatment of each other and overall behavior couldn't be a better example of what their manifestations represent--Beth acting out the monster bitch she often is towards Jerry, and Jerry acting out the whiny little turd he often is in response to Beth.

It's questionable why they would go to such great lengths--or rather use such bizarre methods--to help couples with their marital problems. I mean, I'm sure it helps to demonstrate to couples the ridiculously exaggerated proportions with which their perceptions of their partners do an incredible injustice, but the money spent on these machines and the cost of maintaining the resultant monsters must be enormous (who's paying for Beth and Jerry? Rick?), not to mention the fact that it just seems so bizarre--it's like a marriage councillor putting on a satirical play to express the marital problems that subsist between his patients as his therapeutic method--even if it works wonders at the cost of pennies, it would just be... weird. <-- But of course, it is vitally instrumental to how the secondary plot line unfolds, so Roiland and Harmon had to do their best to rationalize it anyway they could.

We then cut to Harry Herpson High School where Summer meets Morty by his locker. She asks about vampire leads. Morty mentions something about the universe being too big to care about something as small as vampires--a bit of an ironic statement considering not only that vampires are actually kind of a big deal (except that we're *possibly* seeing a universe in which vampires are commonplace) but that the word 'small' is incredibly fitting considering what happens next: Morty closes his locker to see "Tiny Rick" standing right behind it--that's right, a teenage version of Rick--announcing his presence with "Whatup, my helsings!!!":


^ Notice that he still has his grey hair.

^ And a smaller lab coat fit for fourteen year olds.

Rick explains (still in his old man voice): "Yeah, I got bored and then I remembered this morning how I blew Summer off and I thought: hey, why are you such a grumpy douche, Rick? Go to the garage, transfer your mind into a younger clone of yourself, and get embroiled in some youthful hijinks. What's the BFD? So here I am! I'm Tiny Rick!!!"

So Rick does a complete 180--from chewing Summer out that morning for daring to even ask him to clone himself into a younger body to shouting his name "Tiny Rick!!!" down the high school halls as though boasting about his latest accomplishment.

Summer expresses her appreciation for Rick being here, saying that she wasn't sure they could do it on their own. "Don't short sell yourself Summer," says Tiny Rick, "you got everything it takes. But it'll still be fun to do this as a fucking team, motherfucking Tiny Rick!"

^ We see here an interesting twist in Tiny Rick's attitude--he's actually nice to Summer (and to an extent, nice period)--he's not the same old grumpy fart we're familiar with--and this plays out not only throughout the episode but in this very scene. For example, Toby Matthews, one of Summer's crushes, a football player by the looks of it, walks by:

Summer: Oh my God, Toby Matthews!

Tiny Rick: Hey, Toby! I'm Tiny Rick. I'm new. Hey oh, go easy on me. Ha! Ha! Just kidding [friendly punch to the arm].

[brief pause]

Toby: I like your straightforward style... and that lab coat's pretty cool. [walks past Summer] Summer.

Summer: He knows my name!

Tiny Rick: Why wouldn't he? You're great!

Rick Sanchez telling Summer that she's great! Tiny Rick is definitely a very different Rick than Old Man Rick (as I will call him). And getting it on with the cool kids, like Tony Matthews, as if he, well, likes people! It's almost as though this switch came not only with a new body but a whole new attitude--particularly, swapping his cynicism for amicability.

The exchange ends with the three of them walking down the hall with Tiny Rick bellowing out: "Huntin' a vampire with my grandkids! Fuckin' Tiny Rick!" <-- Almost as though he's going to enjoy the time spent with his grand kids rather than the actual vampire hunting. In fact, I'm wondering if this is really another Rick & Summer adventure (just like Raising Gazorpazorp--both episode #7 in each season). Rick seems to have taken a rather friendly turn particularly to Summer, saying to her: "Why wouldn't he? You're great!" If we recall the first words that came out of Tiny Rick's mouth when Morty and Summer first saw him, "Yeah, I got bored and then I remembered this morning how I blew Summer off and I thought: hey, why are you such a grumpy douche, Rick? Go to the garage, transfer your mind into a younger clone of yourself, and get embroiled in some youthful hijinks," we start to wonder if Rick might have felt a bit guilty about blowing Summer off, enough to call himself a grumpy douche. And now here he is making up for it. One wonders, in other words, whether Rick is really interested in some youthful hijinks, or in some bonding time with his granddaughter, if not both grandchildren. If this is the case, it shows what Old Man Rick is repressing and what Tiny Rick has come to terms with, but as we shall see, at the cost of many things Old Man Rick has already come to terms with and which Tiny Rick now represses.

To get a glimpse of how Glaxo works the monsters (the "mythologues" as he calls them) into the therapy, he takes a group of his clients on a tour of the institution:

If we can assume this captures the gist of Glaxo's methodology, we can glean this from his speech: that marriages, and relationships in general, fall apart because of the "mythologues" we project onto our partners. We see our partners as monsters, thus we treat them as monsters. This in turn, brings out the monster we see in them. This in turn brings out the monster within us (in self-defence from our own perspective), and this in turn reinforces the image of ourselves as monster from the point of view of our partners. Thus, the vicious cycle feeds on itself and eventually destroys itself, bringing the relationship down with it (this reminds me all too much of the self-fulfilling prophecy often seen in cases of paranoia that I touched on in episode 1 of season 2--particularly with respect to Rick's paranoia that the other Ricks are out to kill him).

Further to this point, Glaxo also points out that we have a way to identify the falsehood of this paranoia from the start: if our partners really were the monsters we see them as, the relationship would have died a long time ago--they would be unsustainable--but the fact that Glaxo's clients are not only still together but here at this establishment trying to resolve their marital problems testifies to the fact that neither partner can be fully the monster the other perceives them as: "We are not the monsters we sometimes see each other as because we are real and we are functional. That's what makes us better than them. We can find solutions. We can adapt. We can communicate. And most importantly, we can work together." It's funny how we so seldom take this wisdom to heart--we are so ready to fully buy into our paranoid projects and completely ignore the other side of the coin. Why? Most likely because we are defensive creatures--more concerned with protecting ourselves from harm than seeing the good in others and taking a leap of faith in trust.

You might have also noticed the different kind of dynamic that goes on between Jerry and Beth's mythologues. While all the other mythologues are attacking each other, Bethzilla (I'll call her from here on in) is taking an entirely different approach. She wants to use Earthworm Jerry (calling him that) in some ploy to escape. This is because Jerry attributes extreme intelligence to Beth--she isn't just a monster, she's a monster who can out-smart pretty much anyone in the room. And Earthworm Jerry is all too ready to comply. This is because Beth attributes subservience to Jerry, obeying anything she commands out of fear and a lack of self-respect. Obviously, the relationship that subsists in their heads is different from the others--different in a way that the councillors at the Nuptia 4 institute didn't anticipate--and specifically in a way that may be functional after all. Bethzilla and Earthworm Jerry seem to be "working together."

(It's weird that Earthworm Jerry turns out to be a shape shifter as well; in reaction to one of Bethzilla's fierce roars, Earthworm Jerry flattens himself like a pancake; this is what prompts Bethzilla to signal him over to her side through the energy mesh, and also what gives her the idea evidently forming in her head which we will see later; the point for now being... I wonder what shape shifting is supposed to symbolize about Beth's perception of Jerry? Perhaps that he's like a sly chameleon?)

In comes Summer carrying a duffel bag full of bloody stakes: "Well, it was a tough adventure, but it paid off. Our school is vampire free!" She's accompanied by Morty and Tiny Rick as they make their way into the garage.

^ This is what I mean when I say the vampire hunt is a red herring. It has absolutely nothing to do with the main plotline--we don't even get to see the vampire slaughter--it's just a device to give Rick a reason to become Tiny Rick. <-- Similar to The Ricklantis Mixup from season 3 (also episode #7 like this one), in that Rick and Morty's escapades to get some "mermaid puss" is a red herring.

In the garage with them is an incubation chamber with Rick's original (naked) body suspended in liquid. Summer asks: "So, how exactly is your old body living in there, grandpa Rick?" "Oh, you know," Tiny Rick says, "hyperbaric quantum fluid--*burp*--that kind of thing. It preserves living tissue. Not that there was much to preserve. Look at that mummy! Ha! Ha! Ha!"

^ Nothing wrong with a bit of self-directed humor, but this subtly hints at Tiny Rick's disdain for his old age--a real contrast with his disdain for "zit-covered, hormone-addled, low-stakes" teenagers voiced earlier.

Tiny Rick prepares to transfer his mind back into his original body when Summer gets a text from Toby Matthews: "Oh my God! Toby Matthews is asking if my parents are still out of town and if we can have a party!" And then she says disappointedly: "Oooh! He's asking if Tiny Rick will be here!" Tiny Rick thinks for a bit, then says: "Well, you know what, Summer? Tell him Tiny Rick will be here! And tell him to bring some brews!" <-- It's hard to tell here whether Rick is hesitating to return to his old body because he just loves being a teenager, or if he's going out of his way for Summer... as if becoming a teenager has brought out some untapped compassion for his granddaughter... or both.

Both Morty and Summer are ecstatic. "Who can have fun with this old bastard hanging around, huh?" Tiny Rick says referring to his older body. They all laugh as Tiny Rick utters a variant of his famous catch phrase: "Wubbylubbydoobdoob!"

Next up to bat on Nuptia 4: Jerry and Beth's mythologues. Glaxo says to the group while continuing on the tour: "Now, we have Beth and Jerry Smith from the planet Ee-arth. The Ee-arth relationships are simpler. It's a primitive planet, so their dysfunctions are--" he halts at the site of an empty chamber--Bethzilla and Earthworm Jerry are nowhere to be found. It's funny how highly complex their relation is despite Glaxo's naive assumptions--and I think Beth's intelligence is owed the credit.

A security guard enters the chamber and looks around. Behind him, we see a giant black blob camouflaged into the background. It opens its big bulgy eyes:


Those are Earthworm Jerry's eyes. He's covered in Bethzilla blood. Earthworm Jerry quickly returns to his natural form, revealing a menacing Bethzilla poised to attack the guard. She swats him with her tail, sending him careening into the energy grid where he burns instantly to ashes. Then Bethzilla leaves the room, Earthworm Jerry following close behind. Just to distract the crowd and stave off alarm, Glaxo invites everyone to the gift shop. But before he can even finish his sentence, Bethzilla bursts through the wall with Jerry wrapped snugly around her neck.

"Oh dear God no," Glaxo whispers to himself, then out loud to everyone else: "THEY'RE CO-DEPENDENT!!! RUN!!!"

Then the slaughter begins. :evilfun:

On the surface, this seems like a bit of juvenile humor, but really it encapsulates a piercing statement on Roiland and Harmon's part on the nature of Beth and Jerry's marriage. Their central issue, the statement seems to say, is that they are co-dependent. Now, what's the difference between being co-dependent and being in love? Being in love means you just want each other--you want and lust after each other for who you each are... all without having to change who you are. Being co-dependent, on the other hand, means that you need each other--not want, need--almost as an addiction--for some reason other than who you each are. And there really is a stark contrast between 'need' and 'want' here--co-dependent relationships are typically characterized by a love/hate dynamic. Though you need each other, you often don't want each other. You see conflicts in co-dependent relationship just like we see between Beth and Jerry. An outside observer would conclude that they must hate each other, then go on to question why they remain together. They remain together because of dependency. Both have grown to depend on the other for some reason other than the love of who they are--and this need not be read onto too deeply, it's not always something on a deep psychological or spiritual level--it could be something as mundane as money. One is financially dependent on the other. Or the law. One needs to be married in order to remain in the country legally. Being co-dependent, in other words, is perfectly compatible with hating the other person, to not want to spend a second more with them, but finding you're hooked, utterly dependent on the other person for one reason or another, and so you cannot escape. <-- They are the worst kinds of relationships--these are the kind from which you desperately want to escape but are painfully aware that you can't.

So how does that end up in the kinds of disasters played out by Beth and Jerry's mythologues? Yes, their mythologues are preposterous exaggerations of each one's perception of the other, and I'm sure the caliber of chaos and mayhem they intend to cause is an equally preposterous exaggeration, but so long as it's an exaggeration and not a lie, we have reason to question how it comes out of co-dependence. In other words, why does being co-dependent make a couple dangerous? Does it? I don't see why it necessarily does--I mean, Beth and Jerry may cause a lot of harm and abuse to each other, but that's true of all the mythologues here, so I don't think it's typical of co-dependent couples in particular; one might say the major disaster caused by Beth and Jerry's conflicts is to their children, but this too I think can be said of any couple of parents constantly at each other's throats--the only difference being that those parents who are only having problems getting along (as opposed to being co-dependent) will throw in the towel when the conflict becomes too great--and I hardly think it can be said, in this case, that this does any less harm to the children. No, I think that what the chaos and disaster caused by Bethzilla and Earthworm Jerry's co-dependence represents is their distorted forms. Glaxo's central lesson--that if our perceptions of our partners were real, the relationship would have died a long time ago (and maybe its members as well)--carries over to co-dependent relationships as well. It says that if Beth and Jerry's perceptions of each other were real, their relationship would have destroyed the world a long time ago (or caused a lot more harm)--the fact that Beth and Jerry are not the monsters they see each other as is why their relationship, in reality, though co-dependent, has not caused any serious harm--not in any way unique to co-dependent relationship anyway (harm to the children, recall, is characteristic of any sour relationship).

It's also a bit interesting to pick apart the characteristics of each mythologue and keep track of from whom those characteristics are projected. For example, we know that Bethzilla sees Earthworm Jerry as useful (which is why, unlike with all the other mythologues, she doesn't immediately kill him). This obviously projects from Jerry. He thinks Beth keeps him around because she sees use in his subservience. But then again, Beth projects Earthworm Jerry as being subservient. So does this mean Beth does keep Jerry around because of his subservience? Well, let's be careful. Beth, first and foremost, projects Jerry as a worm, as nothing but a squirmy coward--subservience falls out of that only because cowards tend to be subservient out of fear; IOW, maybe Beth is only projecting cowardice... but then again, why does Beth keep Jerry around? Well, based on Jerry's words from Get Schwifty, "I’m sick of pretending that we’re together because of the kids," the kids might be it. Remember, Beth got knocked up by Jerry at a very young age, and I don't know what it's like being a pregnant teenager, but I'll bet that makes you pretty co-depedent (if not just dependent) on the father of your child. It's possible, in other words, that all Beth sees in Jerry is the use to which his subservience can be put--namely, towards raising the children. I suppose the same analysis could be carried over to Beth's perceptions of Jerry, why she thinks he sticks around. But I can't really make much of it. She sees him as a coward. He is a coward. Her mythologue, though an obvious exaggeration, is at least pointing in the right direction. But how does being a coward make Jerry co-depedent on Beth? Maybe it's the worm aspect, or what it symbolizes, that explains why Beth thinks Jerry sticks around. The worm obviously represents the slimy, sleazy side of Jerry, the part of him that sinks beneath the level of dignity and honor in order to get reassurance and validation from others. Beth even says in Autoerotic Assimilation, "[There] will never be enough support to satisfy you! ... because you cling and you cling and you cling." Is this why Beth thinks he sticks around? Because he leeches off her pity in order to feed his incessant need for reassurance and validation? It could be that Jerry's clinging to Beth for reassurance and validation is symbolized by Earthworm Jerry's clinging to Bethzilla for physical protection. Maybe the physical protection Earthworm Jerry seeks is symbolic for the ego protection that Jerry seeks. But in my mind, this is a stretch. So I'm at a bit of a loss to identify what in the mythologue symbolism represents that in Bethzilla which Earthworm Jerry is dependent on.

Overall, their co-dependence is disastrous because of this: as regular human beings, they are merely stuck in a marriage in which they are at each other's throats, but as mythologues, they are the projections of Beth's and Jerry's worst perceptions of each other; though Glaxo assures us that the monsters that the mythologues are aren't accurate representations of the real people they are projections of, the mythologues are productions of real biological life, and these exaggerated characteristics, though not representative, are nonetheless real of the mythologues themselves. Therefore, the co-dependence between Bethzilla and Earthworm Jerry means that they will reinforce and strengthen each other's negative characteristics so as to continue to be able to depend on the other. Therefore, though they are not friends, they are a dangerous and almost unstoppable force when brought together.

A house party at the Smith's house ensues--kinda reminiscent of Ricksy Business--with many of the same characters and the same red cups; Toby Matthews is flirting it up with Summer, complementing her blue shirt. "You're looking real good," he says. Pan over to Morty sipping from his cup. Jessica makes her way over: "So, is Tiny Rick your brother or cousin or--" she asks. Morty answers: "No, my grandpa just transferred his consciousness into a clone of himself so he could be in our high school." "Cool," she says.

As this conversation carries on, we see Tiny Rick pass by in the background with a guitar. "Hey, Tiny Rick's playing guitar," announces someone:

Summer seems to be the only one who gets the awkwardness of the lyrics--and not just their awkwardness but their truth. Not even Morty bats an eye at the obvious cry for help that Tiny Rick's song really is; he's focused on Jessica, happy as a clam to be grooving with her. Summer too has a romantic distraction--Toby Matthews--but the message gets through to her nonetheless (proving that she's the stronger of the two? The more mature? The more aware?).

It's worth taking a moment at this point to analyze what just happened. It should be patently obvious that the lyrics to Tiny Rick's song are not at all whipped up at the top of his head (as he puts it), but deliberately planned and delivered as a cry for help. The more interesting question is: deliberately planned by whom? Tiny Rick, the antsy teen he's become, the one on the surface, or Old Man Rick, the elderly one we all know and love, the one on the inside? Tiny Rick certainly acts as if these lyrics are literally whipped up off the top of his head with no deeper meaning than a child's nursery rhyme. We are lead to believe that if this really is a cry for help, it must be coming from the unconscious. If this is the case, Roiland and Harmon are certainly making a caricature of Freudian psychodynamics. Art, according to the Freudians, is one of the channels the unconscious uses to express itself when the usual channels are blocked--that is, expression from normal conscious thought--blocked from entering consciousness. The subject, in other words, represses certain thoughts and feelings, which forces the psyche to find other ways of expressing or venting them. Art is a viable way of doing this since it permits the subject the excuse: it's just art. The subject can convince others, and himself, that the content of the art has absolutely nothing to do with any supposed repressed thoughts or feelings, that it's all "whipped up off the top of his head." Having no way of verifying the truth of this, everyone is left to just accept the subject's word.

In most cases, any unconscious content that may come out in the subject's art is subtle or obscure enough to go completely unnoticed. It can't be too obvious lest everyone react like Summer in the scene above, least of all the subject himself; the point is to let it out without making it obvious. This is why I say Roiland and Harmon are making a caricature of Freudian dynamics--the unconscious content that comes out in Tiny Rick's song are in-your-face obvious, and yet no one except Summer catches on. At the same time, however, this also has to be a statement about how intelligent Old Man Rick is. I think it becomes clear as the episode progresses that a more general statement about the teenage mind is being made here: that it is as capable of fooling itself as it is intelligent. The more intelligent, in other words, the more it can fool itself into believing anything. I think the statement being made in this scene is that Rick is so intelligent that, in the context of a teenage mind, he is capable of convincing himself to express this blatantly obvious cry for help without admitting that it is, in fact, a cry for help. In other words, he's intelligent enough to, at once, come up with a way to express his cry for help in a patently obvious way, and have not just himself but everyone else convinced that it's just meaningless lyrics to a song he whipped up off the top of his head. Rick wasn't nearly as good at lying to himself this morning when he expressed his disdain for "zit-covered, hormone-addled, low-stakes" teenagers, but I guess the point is: that's the Achilles' Heal of the teenage mind.

(Then again, one has to wonder how much Rick represses; one has to wonder, for example, whether Rick really meant it in Something Ricked when he told Summer: Yeah, [not caring] is good. It's the best. <-- He obviously cared enough to be the over-protective father figure when Summer was fraternizing with the Devil. It might just be that the older we get, the more it makes a difference what we lie to ourselves about.)

Back on Nuptia Four, Bethzilla, with Earthworm Jerry around her neck, is tearing up the place, maiming and killing everyone in her path. Beth, Jerry, and Glaxo run together. They barely make it through a door before it closes behind them and a huge bulge suddenly forms from the impact of Bethzilla on the other side. Then Glaxo tears into Beth and Jerry:

"Your demonized mythologizations of each other are cooperating. [Jerry: Isn't that good?] No! No! It's bad! You have the single worst marriage I've ever witnessed! It shouldn't exist! You should never... ever... ever have gotten together and I do not understand how, or why, you would ever stay together."

All philosophies of accountability and blame aside, I think Glaxo is simply being portrayed here as a distasteful character, blaming others for the results of his own methods and technology. Jerry and Beth were literally thrown into this situation and at no point were they in control or knowledgeable of what was happening. One *could* say that Bethzilla and Earthworm Jerry would never have come into existence if they ended their relationship a long time ago, but they could never have foreseen this. On the other hand, Glaxo might simply be blaming them for sustaining a terrible relationship, not for their part in creating the monsters that are Bethzilla and Earthworm Jerry. But like I said, I don't think the point of this scene is to go deep into a philosophy of accountability and blame but just to show the repugnant character Glaxo becomes when things don't go according to plan.

This is especially true in Jerry and Beth's case since, unlike all the other clients, they didn't volunteer to be here. They were dragged along and dropped off by Rick. So to be fair, they can't really be blamed for dragging their marital issues here to Nuptia Four where not only are they unqualified to handle co-dependent relationships but are proving to be self-destructive when given such a relationship.

They manage to find their way outside where a ship with other Nuptia Four therapists await them. "There's only room for one more," they hear. "I'm a therapist," Glaxo reassures them, "I'll talk to them." He runs to the ship shouting, "They're not therapists! Go! Go! Go!" The ship takes off as Glaxo climbs aboard, leaving Beth and Jerry stranded with Bethzilla and Earthworm Jerry lurking around the premises.

Beth suggests finding a control room to contact Rick. Jerry finds a panel on the wall that opens, revealing a small compartment behind it. "If you can find one too, we should be safe for hours, maybe days!"


^ From the looks of it, that compartment could probably fit three people... but the point is to show an example of Jerry's petty, selfish character--indeed, the whole reason their marriage is failing (er, half the reason). Petty and selfish in such an oblivious way, Jerry has no idea, even in the midst of saying it, that he is being petty and selfish. A real man, one would think, a man a woman could fall for, would offer the compartment to his wife; he would sacrifice himself for the woman he loves. Jerry is doing the exact opposite without even realizing it.

Beth suddenly begins to see reason in Glaxo's words: "You stay put, Jerry. I'll send help if I make it. [Jerry: You don't want to find your own little hatch?] Jerry, I believe that if you hide by yourself, you might survive, and I believe I, by myself, have a shot of getting out of here, but the two of us? Together? I don't know... Look, maybe the shrink was right... Good luck."

I guess the lesson Beth is getting out of this is that the outcome of any situation either of them might find themselves in is bound to be better if they face that situation separately rather than together. Together, they are more of a destructive force to each other and everyone around them than they ever could be apart. Beth is not saying she wants to abandon Jerry--she'll send help if she makes it--but that their best chances of success will be met if they take their own measures into hand separately. If she hides in a compartment like Jerry, they may survive for a few days but not indefinitely. If Jerry follows her in her attempts to escape, he'll only slow her down and ultimately spell both their dooms. But if Jerry hides and she tries to escape, they both stand a chance of surviving.

But before Beth can get very far, Bethzilla makes an explosive entrance. She bursts through the floor and knocks Beth on her ass. Bravely, Beth points her finger at Bethzilla and admonishes, "Ok, you listen to me!"--almost as if to stand up against Jerry's image of her. Bethzilla picks her up in her claws. "Or don't," Beth says. Jerry, kinda bravely, steps out of his compartment and pleads with Bethzilla, "Hey!... Don't... please!" Bethzilla sics Earthworm Jerry after him. Jerry runs in fear as Earthworm Jerry chases him down the halls of Nuptia Four.

I find it interesting that when Jerry sees Beth is in trouble, he steps out of his hiding place and at least pleads with Bethzilla.

Mr. Goldenfold gives Morty's class the day off for having an awesome party with Tiny Rick the other night. Everybody cheers and abruptly leaves the classroom, all except for Morty and Tiny Rick. Summer walks in. She inquires about Tiny Rick's plans to merge back into his old man body. "No can do," says Tiny Rick, "Tonight's the big dance and Morty's bringing Jessica. He needs his tiny wing man." Morty and Tiny Rick hi-5 each other. After pressing Tiny Rick to say when he plans to return to his old man body, and being brushed off by both Tiny Rick and Morty, Summer pulls out a drawing by Tiny Rick which says at the bottom: "Help me Morty and Summer."


"What if the you that likes [being young] isn't you?" she questions. "Come on, Summer," says Tiny Rick, "That's the title of the art." That's when Summer lays it on thick, hitting Tiny Rick with the harsh truth: "Grandpa, I think that when you put your mind into this body's young brain, it did what young brains do: it shoved the bad thoughts into the back and put a wall around them. But those bad thoughts are the real Rick. The fact that you're old, the fact that we're all going to die one day, the fact that the universe is so big nothing in it matters. Those facts are who you are. So you're trapped in there and you can only come out in the form of Tiny Rick's teen angst." But again, Tiny Rick and Morty brush it off treating Summer like she's just being lame. (Marty's "get your shit together" speech follows.)

Despite the irony of Summer encouraging this idea to begin with, she shows quite the depth of insight here, admitting profound truths that, as she claims, people her own age shove into the back and put a wall around. Morty, though a bit younger than her, serves as a prime example: "Summer, he's happy! I'm happy! I-I-is that why you're doing this? You don't want me and Rick to be happy?" Though obviously feeding a bit of denial here, Morty might have a point. Arguably, Tiny Rick isn't doing anything wrong. So what if he lives the rest of his life having recovered his youth (at least, in the beginning)? So what if his old man body is left to die and rot away? What's wrong with having a little fun in life? There is the question of what Beth would think: her father now being half her age, but that's an awkwardness she could get used to. But Summer's beef with this is not rooted in moral righteousness but in Rick's glaringly obvious cries for help. Summer just sees this--she's picked up the distress beacon--and is trying to respond. Overall, it seems Summer is right, and Tiny Rick and Morty are just distracting themselves from the harsh truth with a bit of adolescent fun.

Back on Nuptia Four, Jerry's still being chased by Earthworm Jerry, that is until he gets backed up into a dead end in the hallway. He turns around and puts up his fists, and still with a tone of fear, beckons "Get back!" Earthworm Jerry recoils, letting out a fart. "Wait, for real?" says Jerry, "You're how Beth sees me? [...] How can Beth have these thoughts about me?! That judgmental monster bitch!" Jerry's right to be surprised by the fact that Earthworm Jerry is how Beth sees him because, as Glaxo explained, "we are not the monsters we sometimes see each other as." Jerry is far less of a cowardly worm than this mythologue conjured up in Beth's mind makes him out to be. The proof is in this very scene. While Jerry may have started out running away from Earthworm Jerry, when he is forced to confront him (due to the dead end), he finds that he can take command, just like Bethzilla did, wearing the pants, so to speak, in the relationship: "Turn around." he says, "I said turn around!" and Earthworm Jerry immediately obeys. "I want to know where my wife is," he commands, "You are going to help me." So in a standoff between Jerry and Earthworm Jerry, Jerry comes out on top, proving that he is not as much a coward as Beth sees him. He does have his moments.

Where is Jerry's wife at the moment? Being used like a tool by Bethzilla. She (Bethzilla) shoves Beth into a chair, rips out a metal trust from the under the floor, bends it into an arch, and anchors Beth to the chair with it like a metal harness at an amusement park ride.


"What do you want?" Beth questions. "Jerries," Bethzilla answers. Bethzilla straps the helmet onto Beth's head and pulls the lever to start the mythologue generating engine. Predictably, a bunch of Earthworm Jerries start popping out of the materializer. When questioned about why she would want Jerries when Beth herself doesn't even want Jerry, Bethzilla explains that she wants to create an army of Jerries (we've seen the destructive force Earthworm Jerry can exact, even if it isn't on his own initiative, by virtue of his sheer body squashing earthworm strength). "The value of his subservience is wasted on you," says Bethzilla, "I will use it to dominate the universe." Beth challenges this: "Wouldn't it make more sense to put my dumb ass husband in this chair, so you can make an army of your bad ass self?" Bethzilla responds with a bit of logical sense: "There could never be more than one of me." <-- So not only does Jerry think of Beth as an evil monster bitch, but someone who wants power all for herself.

Bethzilla continues: "I'm the smartest, strongest being alive because Jerry thinks you're that much stronger and smarter than you are." <-- A bit revealing. Some of this, no doubt, comes from Beth being Rick's daughter--and we all know Rick as "the smartest man in the universe" (at least according to the Gromflomites). Oddly enough, this seems to spawn off Earthworm Jerries at an alarmingly faster rate. What does this mean? Does it mean that when a person thinks highly of you, but you don't think highly of yourself, the person just ends up looking lowly in your eyes (albeit, if Beth doesn't think highly of herself, it might be just because Bethzilla insinuated it by saying she's not as strong or smart as Jerry thinks she is).

Morty and Jessica arrive at the high school dance. They meet up with Tiny Rick dancing by himself. Another musical number with psychoanalytic undertones ensues:

Morty finally catches on: "Okay, that last part was really weird. Maybe Summer's on to something here." Jessica denies it, then asks Morty to slow dance (seems she likes him after all). Morty quickly forgets his angst.

^ I think this is the first time in the series Morty and Jessica have a "romantic" moment (aaawww)--but then again, everyone loves Tiny Rick, which would make anyone close to Tiny Rick (like Morty) quite popular by proxy, which is probably the reason Jessica is so into Morty in this episode.

Then principle Vagina pulls Tiny Rick aside (outside the gym) and has this to say: "Tiny Rick, this conversation is gonna break my heart wide open. You're a great student and the fact that you're an 80 year old man in a clone body never bothered me. But this here is another matter. You recognize this? We got a tip it was in your locker. [shows him the duffel bag of vampire blood* soaked stakes.] Now, because the gym coach was a vampire, the school board is embarrassed and won't take it public. However, they can't have students killing teachers. I gotta expel you for this one, TR. I'm sorry."

(* Don't vampires lack blood?)

TR, predictably, is pissed off. He walks back into the gymnasium and chews out Summer in front of everyone: "Summer Smith is a fucking psycho nerd and she just got me kicked out of school!" Summer swears up and down that she did it because she loves and is trying to save him. But Tiny Rick storms out of the gym, leaving Summer to be lambasted by boos and hisses. "Summer, I thought you were cool!" says Toby. Summer runs past Jessica and Morty crying. "Oh my God, Morty," says Jessica, "Your sister crossed Tiny Rick? Talk about self-destructive." Morty, with an obvious look of concern on his face, replies with a half attentive "yeah." Not that it shouldn't be expected, but Jessica betrays a bit of insensitivity here, if not towards Summer, then towards Morty for the fact that this is his sister they're talking about (which further indicates she's more interested in being popular, or maybe in Tiny Rick himself, than she is Morty).

Bethzilla has her Jerry army well on its way. The room is filling with Earthworm Jerries:


That's when Jerry enters the room, gun in hand, announcing his presence: "Hey! Jerry lover! How 'bout a taste of the real thing?!" Beth is just as shocked as Bethzilla. "Jerry!" she shouts as her image of Jerry changes: instead of Earthworm Jerries, the device now pumps out ordinary Jerries, each one stepping into existence with an inquisitive "huh." Then Jerry starts using the gun, bludgeoning whole flanks of Earthworm Jerries. Beth's image of him changes once again... to shirtless beef cake Jerries:


Then, thinking he found the secret to winning Beth's love, he tries to milk it (with all good intentions, of course, to produce more beef cake Jerries): "Beth! It's me, your husband. I'm here to save you, or my name isn't Jerry Smith!" But this, of course, back fires. Now Beth starts pumping out pompous self-congratulating Jerries... literally standing around congratulating each other:


"Ok, fair enough," Jerry finally says.

The irony is that the destruction of Nuptia Four, the blame for which can be pinned on Beth and Jerry's mythologues, and therefore Beth and Jerry indirectly, turns out to set the stage for Beth and Jerry to rekindle a flame in the marriage, a flame lit buy Jerry's bravery and Beth's libido. <-- This is the latest instance of Jerry manning up.

On the other hand, I wonder how much of Jerry's courage depends on having someone subservient to him--namely, an Earthworm Jerry under his command. Earthworm Jerry lead him here, like a servant, which might make Jerry feel a bit like Bethzilla. I wonder if this is feeding Jerry's courage and his ability to man up.

Tiny Rick, meanwhile, is, out of a fit of rashness, stepping into the Smith's garage, picking up an ax, ready to destroy the vat sustaining Old Man Rick. "Say good night, old man," says Rick before Morty sneaks up behind him and tackles him to the ground. They get into a bit of a tiff which ends in Morty pinning Tiny Rick to the ground. "Rick, I know you're in there!" Morty says, "I know you're trying to get out!" "That's it, Morty!" says Summer, "Hold him down!" She plugs her earphones into Tiny Rick's ears and forces him to listen to Eliott Smith's Between the Bars:

Tiny Rick resists but finally gives in. He cries. He suddenly has a breakthrough. He starts asking deep philosophical questions like Old Man Rick would: "Oh God, what is life? How can someone so talented die so young? What is being young? I'm not young, I'm old. I'm-I'm gonna die. My body isn't real. Summer! Morty! It's me! It's Rick! Regular Rick!"

It seems Summer's right: the adolescent mind shoves all the bad thoughts to the back, include difficult questions, the answers to which can give one vertigo. But here they are coming out in Tiny Rick's mind, giving way to Old Man Rick.

When Morty asks how they can get him back into his original body, Tiny Rick answers: "OK, listen carefully. There's a set of diodes on the vat's control panel, a blue one and a red one. Oh God, what kind of world is this? I didn't ask to be born. I need you to connect the blue one to my left temple and the red one to why doesn't anyone really like me?"

^ It seems despite Old Man Rick breaking through, Rick's teenage angst still lingers. He's still stuck in a 14 year old body, after all, and the 14 year old brain inside that body still does what 14 year old brains do. At the same time, however, it's curious what the actual subject matter of his angst is. What kind of world is this? Why was he born? Why does nobody like him? <-- All questions Old Man Rick would never ask. Why? Because Old Man Rick has grown immune to these issues. It is only because he has been put back into a teenage body that he whines about this stuff. Tiny Rick wasn't unliked--he was the most popular kid in school. He certainly didn't dwell over what kind of world this is. He just enjoyed engaging in a bit of teenage shenanigans. The only reason he's hung up on these issues now is because these are the issues Old Man Rick deals with, but still being stuck with a teenage mind, he can't deal with them. But it's revealing that Old Man Rick has to deal with them at all. Though he's used to covering them up and maintaining a kind of numbness over them, this reveals, as Bird Person pointed out at the end of Ricksy Business, the depth of the pain he suffers underneath the dumbness and the covering up (and the drinking).

The mayhem on Nuptia Four continues. All sorts of Jerries are at war with each other. Bethzilla and her army of Earthworm Jerries are inflicting blood and carnage against regular Jerries, beef cake Jerries, self-congratulatory Jerries (who are standing around congratulating each other), and the original Jerry, who in turn are inflicting blood and carnage against Bethzilla and the Earthworm Jerries. The original Jerry, with two beef cake Jerries on each side, attempts to bend the metal bar keeping Beth trapped.

Beth: "Jerry, you can't bend metal."

Jerry: "Then make a me that can."

Beth: "How can I do that while I'm watching you totally fail to bend metal?" <-- I have to say, this is a bit of a dick move on Beth's part. Sure, Jerry's doing something stupid at the moment, but can't Beth suspend that for just a sec and fantasize about a sexier, manlier version of Jerry? Is it really that hard?

Jerry: "Good old Beth! The mind of a robot and the heart of an insect!" <-- Jerry's not helping here either.

Beef Cake Jerry #1: "Don't talk that way about her."

This gives Jerry an idea:

Note that while the Beef Cake and Earthworm Jerries stare in awe at Beth-the-goddess before they kneel down before her, Original Jerry is focused solely on Original Beth.

While this melts Beth's heart (or makes her horny), it should be noted that it's Jerry's display of intelligence, not his idea of Beth the goddess, that wins her over. That is to say that while Beth the goddess is the product of Beef Cake Jerry's mind (how Beef Cake Jerry sees Beth), it was original Jerry's idea to put the helmet on Beef Cake Jerry, thereby bringing Beth the goddess into existence. In fact, there's a slight hint of insult in his idea. Jerry's idea is based on his image of Beth as a narcissistic egoist--a person who expects her lover to see her as a goddess (turns out he's right)--which is why he's the Steven fucking Hawkinson of Beth's ego.

And those words at the end: "I love you," bring closure to the secondary plotline in, yet again, another one of the many twists of irony the Rick and Morty series is so well known for. If Beth is now saying to Jerry that she loves him (and Jerry, well, Jerry's always loved Beth), it seems that the one couple whose relationship was so bad that their mythologues destroyed the entire Nuptia Four establishment is now reaping the full benefits of their time here by way of their mythologues, which are in turn a representation of their destructive and toxic relationship.


Summer and Morty have figured out the wiring on Tiny Rick's head as well as how to transfer his mind from the teenage body to the old man body. They hit a few keys on the laptop keyboard and the transfer completes without a hitch. The vat opens up, letting out all the water, and Old Man Rick falls on his face. He gets up, completely naked, hacking out whatever liquid is in his lungs.

After thanking both kids for their hard work and persistence, Rick decides that Summer deserves the gratitude since she was the one who saw through the veneer all along while Morty was "that willing to sell [his] existence out for some trim." While Summer shields her eyes from the gruesome site of Rick's naked old man body, he pulls them both in closer and sums up the episode in a cheesy one liner: "The teenage mind is its own worst enemy. Oh, I also learned this:"

^ I guess this was Rick's plan to attain immortality (like a phoenix). If so, I'm not sure why he had to destroy all clones; if the lesson he learned is that the teenage mind is its own worst enemy, then why doesn't Rick just transfer his mind into one of the grown up copies of himself? And also, what does it say that Rick has such an elaborate plan to become a "phoenix" and rise from the ashes not long before he dies? Does he have a secret yearning to be young again? To achieve immortality? To cheat death? Quite odd for a man whose nihilistic pretensions supposedly make him indifferent towards life or death.

Rick arrives at an incinerated Nuptia Four where a romantically intoxicated Beth and Jerry await him on a park bench. "So, what do you think?" says Jerry, "You wanna keep this marriage going a while longer?" "At least until Morty has graduated high school," replies Beth with eyes closed, holding Jerry close.

"Ah ha!" says Rick from his spaceship, "You see? What did I tell you two? It worked." <-- He's right despite the irony that it wasn't by design.

Upon leaving Nuptia Four, Rick warns them: "Uh, just so you're prepared, there's a bunch of dead me's in the garage."

Jerry: "Huh! Sounds like our stories were connected by a theme."

Rick: "Not really, Jerry. Probably a cosmetic connection your mind mistakes for thematic."

Jerry: "Oh."

^ How would Rick know? In fact, he doesn't, and he's wrong. There's a bunch of dead Jerries sprawled across the floor of the mythologue generation chamber back at the establishment, some at original Jerry's own hands. But Jerry accepts Rick's assessment with a sullen "oh." Jerry probably doesn't even know what "cosmetic" and "thematic" mean, yet he goes along with whatever Rick says regardless, mostly because he sees Rick as smart and therefore probably right no matter what.

The post credit scene features a bunch of vampires playing a comedic bit before the lead vampire sinks his teeth into a young beautiful woman's neck... not really worth digging into... just something to remind us that this episode has a vampire theme running through it.
My thoughts | My art | My music | My poetry

In fact, the idea that there's more differences between groups than there is between individuals is actually the fundamental racist idea.
- Jordan Peterson

right outta high school i tried to get a job as a proctologist but i couldn't find an opening.
- promethean75

Ahh... gib, zombie universes are so last year! I’m doing hyper dimensional mirror realities now.
- Ecmandu
User avatar
resident exorcist
Posts: 8929
Joined: Sat May 27, 2006 10:25 pm
Location: in your mom

Re: Big Trouble in Little Sanchez (Part II)

Postby gib » Sun Jun 24, 2018 3:25 am

Rick and Morty - S2E7 - Big Trouble in Little Sanchez (Part II)


* Relationships and mythologues: I decided to appropriate the term "mythologue" because, as I think the point of this episode would concur with, mythologues aren't just auto-generated biological simulations of a person's perception of their partner, but simply those perceptions themselves. So the question is: how do our mythologues--our perceptions of our partners--affect our relationships with them? Well, I think, obviously, it could go either way--we see how Jerry's perception of Beth as the monster Bethzilla is detrimental to their relationship, as is Beth's perception of Jerry as Earthworm Jerry, yet at the same time we see how Beef Cake Jerry has the opposite effect, as does Beth the Goddess. Yet the real Jerry and the real Beth are somewhere between these two extremes. It would seem then that in order to nurture the best relationships with our partners, we ought to recognize what in our perceptions of our partners is real and what is myth. But this may not be so easy. Everyone knows that relationships are rocky, that there are times when the battle of the sexes reaches heights that cause much animosity and hatred between partners. When this happens--when we go into "war" mode--the mind has a tendency to go to extremes. It will completely forget all the good times you've had with your partner, all the experiences that give reason to trust your partner and to see the good in them, all the reasons you fell in love in the first place. They simply become a temporary monster in your eyes. They suck! They're mean! They're abusive and you're the victim! This is actually a very common phenomenon not only in romantic relationships but between groups of people in society at large. When a member of a specific group does us wrong, especially if it's a group we already hold in suspicion, there is an impetus to generalize our feelings to the whole group. Why is this? It is because of defensiveness. If the hurt they cause us makes us feel vulnerable, then we fall back on certain defense strategies, one of which is to villainize the whole group. That way, we don't have to think about whether this particular member of the group or that particular member will hurt us--it's the whole group. It's the most efficient way of protecting ourselves from harm. The unfortunate thing is that any innocent members of the group end up being the baby who gets thrown out with the bath water. Something similar happens in romantic relationships. By ignoring all the good aspects of our partners and all the good times you've had with them, you blindly throw out all that is good about your partner with the bad. You're partner knows that they are not the mythical monster you make them out to be, so they don't understand why you would go to such extremes, and this can cause the same kind of negative reciprocation--a monster version of you in their eyes being raised as a defense against the hurt you cause them. Ultimately, your demonizations of each other destroy the relationship and can cause irreparable damage. Even if your demonizations of each other turn out to be accurate, you have to wonder if you created the demon by your initial projections. Paranoia breads paranoia, and ultimately the self-fulfillment of the paranoia, and this is a deadly poison that kills the relationships.

* Young and vigorous vs. old and wise: is it better to be young and full of vigor, though you might be naive and stupid, or old and wise, though you might be bitter and cynical? We have seen that both sides of Rick's personality were at odds on this question. Tiny Rick was so enraptured by the excitement and popularity of his youth that he wanted to ax the Old Man version of himself in the vat. At the same time, the Old Man Rick trapped inside Tiny Rick was so desperate to get out, he went to incredible lengths to get a message out to Summer and Morty while remaining under the radar to the Tiny version of himself and everyone else (though, in the end, he was the one who got to ax Tiny Rick). So each one would prefer their own way of life over the other--the fun of youthful hijinks and the bliss of ignorance vs. the wisdom of knowing the deep and harsh truths of our world and the cynicism that comes with it. Summer seems to think Old Man Rick is the better Rick to be whereas Morty seems to like Tiny Rick better. But then again, Summer may just be tainted by the fact that Old Man Rick is the Rick she knows. I mean, yes Old Man Rick is sending out distress signals, and anyone who cares for him, like Summer, would want to respond, but Tiny Rick is also sending out messages, that he likes being young and that there's not "much to preserve" in that old mummy, and that he's better off being axed to death. Why isn't Summer sympathizing with Tiny Rick? It makes one wonder what Summer would do if Tiny Rick, being repressed inside Old Man Rick at the beginning of the episode, was able to send out messages to the effect of "I want to be young again!" But if we put Summer's sentiments aside, what can we say about the question, not just in regards to Rick but to anyone. If any one of us stumbled upon the fountain of youth, we'd have a choice to either drink from it or walk on by, living out the rest of our lives the way we were meant to. What is the best choice? Is it a moral choice or just one of personal preference? Would the right choice be different for each individual? And if there is a moral aspect to this choice, does it depend on your own happiness and well-being, on that of others, or just on principle alone? We don't need to answer this here and now to see that these kinds of philosophical questions are clearly raised in this episode of Rick and Morty.

* The Unconscious Mind: Always One Step Ahead? The unconscious mind works in a paradoxical way. In order to always be one step ahead of us, it must utilize our intelligence and at the same time rely on our stupidity. We must be stupid enough to remain oblivious to its tricks, and yet it must be incredibly intelligent in order to trick us--indeed, to trick ourselves. Rick the Old Man genius locked away in Tiny Rick's unconscious must have conjured up some fairly clever tricks in order to convince Tiny Rick that his cries for help were just expressions of art, but this also makes Tiny Rick kinda stupid. If we think of the divide between the conscious mind and that of the unconscious as literally two separate consciousnesses in the same body--two separate beings in effect--then is it possible that one of them gets the bulk of intelligence while the other suffers a deficiency? Or is it more a matter of control. Old Man Rick, working from the unconscious, has control of his intelligence more often than Tiny Rick (or maybe all the time, and only allows Tiny Rick to use it when appropriate). My view is that the conscious mind ultimate serves unconscious processes, functions, and predispositions. It is there only because unconscious biological forces needed it. It serves a purpose that need not accord with the conscious mind's own goals and intentions. Those goals and intentions are only there because the unconscious planted them there, and serve a greater or deeper purpose than the ends of those goals or intentions themselves. The unconscious is always in control, in other words. So why would Rick's unconscious convince him that transferring his mind into a teenage version of his body is a good idea only to try desperately to return to his old man body when Tiny Rick refuses to go back? Well, maybe this was all in the plan. Maybe Old Man Rick knew it would be tough to convince Tiny Rick to return to his old body, but since he needed this outlet, this return to his youth for a temporary period of time, he figured he'd take the chance and have a plan for how to trick Tiny Rick to send out an SOS in order that someone would help him get back to his original body. Or perhaps it's just a matter of things not always going according to plan. As Tiny Rick said after the vampire slaughter: I guess it's time for me to get back inside the old-timer. That's when Toby Matthews texts Summer asking about a party. Neither Old Man Rick nor Tiny Rick could predict that. So maybe Old Man Rick simply didn't take adolescent temptation into account (in this case, the temptation for popularity, something Old Man Rick can't get as an old man), and had to innovate certain alternate measures in order to get back. In any case, I think you'd have to be a fool to believe that you are in control. Unconscious forces are definitely at work--keeping you in check, making you do this or that, say this or that, and always conjuring up some bullshit for you to believe in so that you can enjoy the bliss of remaining ignorant.

Furthermore, the question is raised: Is Old Man Rick repressing Tiny Rick into his unconscious just as much as Tiny Rick repressed Old Man Rick into his unconscious? Is it the case that any time someone represses something, it is for the sake of embracing something else? Some unfulfilled desire or thought? Is it the case that for anything we want to become aware of, we must repress and deny something else? It seems that, at the beginning of this episode, Old Man Rick was denying his desire to be young again, and when that desire broke through, causing him to transfer his mind into a younger clone of himself, he began denying his cynicism, the harsh truths of reality that Old Man Rick had no qualms admitting. Is the mind like a balloon that must be compressed at one end or the other? Any time you try to squeeze the air out of one end of the balloon, it inflates the other. And if you then try to squeeze the other end, the first end becomes inflated. Is it impossible in other words, or at least incredibly difficult, for the human mind to be conscious of all things at the same time? In Rick's case, it certainly seems so, but it also seems that squeezing one end of the balloon is easier. It seems that squeezing Old Man Rick out of consciousness results in Old Man Rick, working from the unconscious, using his ultra-mega-super intelligence to send out distress signals to anyone around him and willing to respond in a helpful way. But squeezing Tiny Rick out of consciousness does not result in the same use of intelligence or sending out of distress signals--mainly because, it seems, Rick's intelligence in general knows that it's better to squeeze out Tiny Rick than to squeeze out Old Man Rick. It seems, therefore, that even if consciousness is like a balloon that needs to be squeezed at one end or another in order to function at all, its intelligence eventually settles on the best place to squeeze--the best content to repress and the best content to remain conscious of--and ultimately settles there for the rest of one's life.



I got nothin'.

Oh wait... I do have one question: does a goddess count as biological life?
My thoughts | My art | My music | My poetry

In fact, the idea that there's more differences between groups than there is between individuals is actually the fundamental racist idea.
- Jordan Peterson

right outta high school i tried to get a job as a proctologist but i couldn't find an opening.
- promethean75

Ahh... gib, zombie universes are so last year! I’m doing hyper dimensional mirror realities now.
- Ecmandu
User avatar
resident exorcist
Posts: 8929
Joined: Sat May 27, 2006 10:25 pm
Location: in your mom

Re: The Philosophy of Rick and Morty

Postby gib » Sun Jun 24, 2018 6:26 pm

Here's another final thought: on both occasions when Rick transferred his mind--from Old Man Rick to Tiny Rick, then Tiny Rick to Old Man Rick--the first thing he does is go on a slaughter--the vampire hunt when he becomes Tiny Rick, and then his clones when he becomes Old Man Rick again. Is this symbolic of releasing repressed rage? I mean, if the episode is about psychodynamics--the repressing and the releasing of mental content from and into consciousness--then the idea of going on a wild slaughter rampage could easily be symbolic of pent up unconscious content suddenly being released--especially if we go with the balloon analogy of psychodynamics.
My thoughts | My art | My music | My poetry

In fact, the idea that there's more differences between groups than there is between individuals is actually the fundamental racist idea.
- Jordan Peterson

right outta high school i tried to get a job as a proctologist but i couldn't find an opening.
- promethean75

Ahh... gib, zombie universes are so last year! I’m doing hyper dimensional mirror realities now.
- Ecmandu
User avatar
resident exorcist
Posts: 8929
Joined: Sat May 27, 2006 10:25 pm
Location: in your mom

Re: The Philosophy of Rick and Morty

Postby gib » Fri Jun 29, 2018 11:06 pm

Let's compare these two videos:

...with this one:

My thoughts | My art | My music | My poetry

In fact, the idea that there's more differences between groups than there is between individuals is actually the fundamental racist idea.
- Jordan Peterson

right outta high school i tried to get a job as a proctologist but i couldn't find an opening.
- promethean75

Ahh... gib, zombie universes are so last year! I’m doing hyper dimensional mirror realities now.
- Ecmandu
User avatar
resident exorcist
Posts: 8929
Joined: Sat May 27, 2006 10:25 pm
Location: in your mom

Re: The Philosophy of Rick and Morty

Postby gib » Sat Dec 08, 2018 7:06 am

Rick and Morty - S2E8 - Interdimensional Cable 2: Tempting Fate

It seems that an interdimensional cable episode is called for in every season. Even in season 3, Rick, in breaking the 4th wall, admits that they were supposed to have an interdimensional cable episode but settled for Morty's Mind Blowers instead. We all remember the interdimensional cable episode of season 1 (or do we?), titled "Rixty Minutes," and this is more of the same. The only difference in this episode is that the Smith family get to watch interdimensional cable in an alien hospital waiting room while alien doctors work arduously to cure Jerry of some kind of mutant bacteria that Rick kept in a pint of Cherry Garcia. This obviously plays heavily into the secondary plotline: Jerry's struggle between his dignity as a philanthropist and his manhood (more on this below). As for the primary plotline, well, it ain't much different than the first interdimensional cable episode... and I think I'll take the same approach: go through the highlights of all the wacky and zany shit the multiverse has in store for avid fans of interdimensional cable.

1) Man vs. Car


Basically like WFC except the competitors are a man and a car. The car always wins. No shortage of blood and gore in this one.

2) Eye Holes


A commercial for Eye Hole cereal. It's a little deceptive at first as it starts off like a scene from a soap opera. A couple of alien-like creatures, one whose name is Samantha, seem to be having a romantic evening sitting on the couch with some wine. Flaps of skin cover their eyes. The guy says: "Samantha, I need to know that you understand that I have a couple of eye-holes." He rips off the flaps of skin to reveal a couple of eye holes. Samantha responds by ripping her skin flaps off to reveal eight eye holes.


Now, the anatomy of these aliens is rather complicated. First, it's not clear why they have to rip their skin flaps off. Does it hurt? Will it grow back? Is this a regular occurrence with these folks? Second, their "eye holes" aren't really just holes in their heads where their eyes should be, but empty fleshy sacks with openings at the front that seem to be burrowed into their face. Presumably, eye balls would fit into these sacks. Third, these eye hole sacks don't even seem to be securely attached to their face. The Eye Hole Man, who comes into the scene in a bit, kicks them in the head and their eye hole sacks just fall to the ground. If these eye hole sacks are really a part of their anatomy, then I guess the flaps of skin serve to keep them in place. Fourth, even without eyes in the eye holes, they still seem to be able to see. Fifth, are they able to see even with the skin flaps? Or is seeing only an occasional thing with them, something they do only when ripping off the skin flaps is called for. Sixth, given that the guy wants to reveal that he has a couple of eye holes, it seems fair to assume that not all members of this alien species have eye holes. Further, given that Samantha has eight eye holes, it seems fair to assume that those who do have eye holes don't all have the same number of eye holes. Seventh, they seem to get some kind of erotic arousal by cupping their eye holes together--the equivalent of french kissing I suppose--as this is exactly what happens next. As you can see, their anatomy is not only complicated, but seems radically unnecessary.

Then the Eye Hole Man breaks through the glass in the ceiling, lowering himself on a rope from his chopper, and yells at them through a megaphone: "I'm the Eye Hole Man! I'm the only one who's allowed to have eye holes!" and then kicks them both in the head, knocking their eye holes to the ground. <-- A weird thing to say for a man who seems to have regular eyes. I mean, in that sense, we all have eye holes... unless he means these weird fleshy sacks that would supposedly hold eye balls. If that's the case, then the only sense in which he could "have" eye holes is... if they were a cereal!!!

And that's what this drama turns out to be--a commercial for eye hole cereal. I suppose that makes the Eye Hole Man the equivalent of Lucky the Leprechaun or the Trix Rabbit--going around trying to get his "eye holes" back (successfully). <-- And come to think of it, this might be the season two equivalent of Strawberry Smiggles.

Apparently, the Eye Hole Man is real. Rick says to Morty: "You gotta be careful, Morty. If that guy catches you with a box of his eye holes, he comes bursting in through a window and just starts kicking the shit outta you. But it's worth the risk. They melt in your mouth, Morty. They're delicious." <-- Suggesting that this has happened to Rick. It also makes one wonder: if the Eye Hole Man is real, what's he doing in a cereal commercial? Is it like Gordon Ramsay doing cooking commercials?

3) How Did I Get Here?


"The only show that makes you ask yourself, 'How did I get here?'" says the host of How Did I Get Here. Morty notices a woman by the coffee machine getting coffee. She was a grotesque deformity on her face. Morty compares it to Worf from Star Trek but I think she looks more like those Martian mutants from Total Recall (the first one, with Arnold Schwarzenegger, not the retarded remake with Colin Farrell):


The host of How Did I Get Here announces: "Here's our first person," and all of a sudden, the lady is on the show. She's seen standing on top of a lamp post freaking out about the fact that she has no idea how she got there. Morty notices she's no longer by the coffee machine.

4) Jan Quadrant Vincent 16


We all remember Jan Michael Vincent, right? (Don't we?) Well, now there's 8 of them... but there's 16 quadrants... and Jan Michael Vincent can't be at two places at once. <-- That's one hell of a springboard for an action movie, but there it is!

5) The Adventures of Stealy:


Stealy is a stout little guy with extremely long arms--perfect for stealing things. It's not clear whether he's human or not, but he seems to live in a modern human world. He hosts The Adventures of Stealy, a show featuring him going around offices (and presumably other places) stealing things. He'll do it surreptitiously, behind people's back, or in plane sight, right in front of them. If anyone gives him any trouble, he simply puts them to sleep by covering their mouth with a sedative soaked cloth... and then steals the person. Then he makes his way back to the "quiet safe room" where his victims can't get him. Then he tallies up all the items he stole. Each one is worth so many "brapples". A bag of "bobbish" is worth 8 brapples. A "plumbus" is worth 6.5 brapples. Three crushed party cups (the red ones we always see Rick drinking at parties) are worth 15.5 brapples. For some reason, these brapples seem to be represented on the screen with different symbols for each item:


6) Funny Songs:

A standup commedian asks members of the audience what they do for a living. Then he improvises a song that mocks them. There is no creativity in the song at all:

Then he gets security to to beat the shit out of the audience member, sends dogs to sick him, and demons to take his life out.

7) Lil' Bits:


A commercial for Lil' Bits, a restaurant for people with huge heads and tiny mouths. The food is tiny enough to fit right in:


The host of Lil' Bits takes you on a tour of his restaurant, showing you all the scrumptious tiny meals you can eat. It ends with the host disturbing a man in the restroom as he tries to piss in a urinal.

8) Opposite News / Cooking Things:

This one I find pretty funny. Opposite News with Michael Thomson is essentially a news show in which the news is reported by telling the opposite of what happened. For instance, Michael Thomson reports that "today, the Pope didn't get killed." <-- But that's not the funny part. We notice that Michael's body is sloping off to the right side of the screen and he seems to be getting annoyed that he's being tugged in that direction. <-- That's not the funny part either.


Rick switches the channel to find Cooking Things with Pichael Thomson, a cooking show also featuring a man whose body slopes off to the side of the screen, this time left. He too is getting tugged in that direction.


Pichael finally has enough and tugs Michael Thomson into the set of Cooking Things. That's right, they're Siamese twins joined together at the abdomen. The set of Opposite News was just to the left of Cooking Things. The divide between them was right at their abdomen.

They start bickering with each other, Pichael expressing a bit of jealousy that Michael was always the favored child, bestowing him with an honorable name like Michael and leaving Pichael with such a ridiculous name. It ends with Michael throwing his news report at Pichael calling him a piece of shit. <-- That, I find hilarious.

9) How They Do It...:

Remember when Stealy stole a plumbus from the office? Well, on today's episode of How They Do It..., we get to find out how plumbuses are made (or is it plumbi?).

10) The Personal Space Show:

I could never get tired of watching this one. The Personal Space Show is a show about a guy who just talks about how much he loves his personal space. After introducing the show, for example, he paranoidly looks around saying: "Woaw! Woaw! Hey! Who's around me right now? Who's around me?" Then he steps up to a platform and starts a slide show. He goes through 9 slides of more or less the same thing: expressions of personal space each phrased in slightly different ways:











After the slide show, he decides that he doesn't want his skin anymore because it invades his personal space. So he tears it off. The show ends with him just standing there skinless. He sways a little back and forth with a droopy look on his face expressing either faintness from the pain or disappointment in himself for what he just did.

Rick laughs: "What an asshole!"

Throughout the whole show, a banner passes on the bottom of the screen which reads: Just out of curiosity, I decided to check it out. Nothing's there. But I did find this link: ... omain_for/ <-- This guy actually bought the domain and is asking folks what he should do with it. I like this suggestion by ChewiestOcean4:

"Its as simple as just making a list of 1. Personal space 2. Personal space 3. stay out of my personal space, etc."

Alas, the site seems to no longer exist (if it ever did).

11) Alien Olympics:

That's not actually the name of this show--I just had to call it something; you remember those alien dudes in Mortynight Run? The one's Jerry encounters down a dark alley who splat into some kind of oozy liquid? Well, Rick flips the channel to find what looks like their summer Olympics. One such alien dude runs towards a brick wall, takes a leap at it, and SPLAT!!! Turns into blue ooze all over the wall. Then another alien dude takes measurements of the splat (I guess the point is how much wall can they cover). He gives his thumbs up and a panel of 3 alien dude judges lift up their score cards to show ratings in an alien language.


12) Octopus Man:

This one's just lame. A half-man/half-octopus dude knocks on the passenger side window of a car. A shaved headed gangster looking dude with a scar over his eye rolls down the window.


The half-octopus man says: "I'm octopus man" and giggles in a childish, mildly insane kinda way. He explains that he's a marine biologist who's been bitten by an octopus. He gets in the car and they go driving. He claims that he now helps/saves people (kinda piggy backing off the spiderman theme). The car stops. Octopus man gets out and sneaks up behind a couple people walking down the street. He stabs them to death.

^ What's with Roiland and his obsession with violence?

13) Breaking News:

Remember how season one's Interdimensional Cable ended with a different version of Jerry on Breaking News? Well, this season's Interdimensional Cable ends with the current version of Jerry on Breaking News. He's caught on camera in the operating room, pointing a gun at Mr. Pibbles who's on the operating table getting surgery done. But that gets us into the secondary plotline, so let's break from our regular programming and rewind to the beginning of the episode.

Jerry is sick. He's being rushed to the emergency room in an alien space station hospital. He's got a bad case of, well, "mutant bacteria" that Rick stored in a pint of cherry garcia. He looks awful:


After vomiting up copious amounts of disgusting green goop (reminiscent of the Exorcist), Rick warns: "Watch out for that stuff. It'll stain if it gets on your clothes, and it'll send you into a murderous rage if it gets in your eyes or mouth." <-- Obvious not just Jerry's last meal.

The nurse reassures the Smith family that "Dr. Glipglop is the best in the galaxy." Right then, Dr. Glipglop enters the room. Jerry projectile vomits on him. As Rick predicts, he goes into a short murderous rage before being incinerated by Rick's gun (a parody on 28 Days Later?). Rick excuses himself: "What? Every hospital claims to have the best doctor in the gal-*BELCH*-axy." Beth, annoyed with her dad, tells him to go in the waiting room.

So Rick, Morty, and Summer go wait in the waiting room. Rick takes the cable box, rips it from the waiting room TV, throws it to the ground (just like he did in season 1), pulls out the crystallized zanthonite (the pink stuff), plugs it into the cracked open cable box, and wires it back to the TV.

Nurse: Hey, what are you doing?!

Rick: A sequel.

Nurse: I don't understand.

Rick: Yeah, me neither, we pretty much nailed it the first time.

On the screen suddenly appears, in big rock-like font, "Interdimensional Cable II"--sexy ladies twerking their asses all around it:


Rick flips through a few channels. They catch Man vs. Car and Eye Holes. Beth comes in texting on her phone: "I can't believe you're explaining alien cereal. We're worried about Jerry," to which Rick responds: "Well, you're 39 years too late, or, you know, however old he is. Is he-is he 50? Jesus Christ, Beth, is-is Jerry 50!?"

^ Not sure what that was all about--why would Rick jump from 39 to the ripe old age of 50... and then act all shocked as if it were a fact? <-- What's more odd about it is that I was 39 when I first saw that... and remember, I was stoned at the time... leading my fertile imagination to believe it was a statement about me (yes, literally a message directed at me)--a statement that I was Jerry. It really felt like a jab in the stomach. I don't want to be Jerry.

Jerry awakens in his hospital bed looking just fine (except for a bit of drool dripping from his mouth--maybe a connection to Rick... but I doubt it). He looks around the room. "Where am I?" he says. He's surrounded by a bunch of alien doctors. They skip any discussion about Jerry's state of health or what transpired up until this point and get straight to Shrimply Pibbles, the galaxy's most influential civil rights leader. They explain that Pibbles "was brought to this hospital's emergency room where he is fighting for his life." They go on to explain that Pibbles can be saved if they replace his heart with Jerry's penis. They hype him up as a pretty important guy, putting Jerry between a rock and a hard place. If he agrees, he would be a hero but at the cost of his penis. If not, he gets to keep his penis but at the cost of his reputation all across the galaxy. In Jerry's defense, one of the doctors argues, "he knows nothing of the genocides of Klorgon, or the tragic events of 65.3432.2314." <-- Presumably, events that Pibbles played a pivotal role in. A old alien man confined to a wheel chair and looking wise like Yoda speaks up from behind the crowd of doctors:

"And even if he did, he wouldn't comprehend them. I've dwelt among the humans. Their entire culture is built around their penises. It's funny to say they are small. It's funny to say they are big. I've been at parties where humans have held bottles, pencils, thermoses in front of themselves and called out, 'Hey, look at me! I'm Mr. so-and-so dick! I've got such-and-such for a penis.' I never saw it fail to get a laugh."

Jerry, unable to resist the urge for validation, jumps at the opportunity to be a hero: "Take my penis! Take it all! And tell Shrimply Pibbles that when the galaxy came calling, Jerry Smith from Earth didn't flinch!"

^ So once again, we're gonna have an episode where Jerry's incessant need for external validation is not only challenged but drives him to do some pretty radical things.

Back at the waiting room, the rest of the Smith family catch snippets of How Did I Get Here and the Jan Quadrant Vincent 16 trailer, intensely enthralled by every minute of it.

Jerry, meanwhile, is getting his crotch marked up by a sharpie. The doctor is showing Jerry where he will be making the incisions. (For some reason, the supports holding up Jerry's legs seem to be holographic.) The doctor seems to touch a sensitive spot as Jerry suddenly recoils and shouts out: "Ah! Ha! Ha! Oh, you know what?! I gotta-I gotta laugh at myself here! I'm having a little laugh at myself because I just realized I haven't run this whole decision past my wife." When the doctor asks him if he thinks Beth will be ok with this, he replies "Oh, absolutely. Beth is automatically on board, always, with every decision I make."

^ Jerry is up to something here. He can't go back on his decision to be the hero in the eyes of the galaxy--he wouldn't be able to withstand the backlash to his reputation--so he's going to get Beth to do it. That way, she can take the blame, not him.

After watching The Adventures of Stealy and Funny Songs, the doctor comes out, announces to the Smiths that Jerry is doing just fine, but then asks to have a word in private with Beth. He brings her to Jerry. Jerry explains the situation. Beth, understandably, and to Jerry's satisfaction, blows up at the doctor, yelling "I bring my husband in for emergency medical treatment, he's gone an hour, and now you want his penis..." As she speaks, she flips through a catalog of prosthetic penis replacements that the doctor hands her. She loses track of what she's saying by some of the illustrations, a look of WOW replacing the look of scorn. Add to this the doctor's words: "There are those that believe, Mr. Smith, that Shrimply Pibbles represents love between all life, that his fate will determine the fate of hundreds of billions of sentient life forms." This, coupled with the catalog, is enough to turn Beth's attitude around: "I mean, Jerry, you didn't explain the full gravity of the situation."

Jerry thought he had it in the bag--saying to the doctor while Beth, stunned by the images of prosthetic penises, flipped through the catalog: "Well, there you go. Sorry. I know it's hard to understand, but on Earth, love comes first." Another one of the many twists of irony featured in the series has Jerry's plan yielding the opposite effect. Beth, now liking the idea of a new Jerry with a prosthetic penis, is on board with the idea of saving what might be the most important man in the universe. Jerry's really got himself into a pickle here by way of his validation-starved ego.

An argument between Mr. and Mrs. Smith ensues:

Jerry: "Uh, well Beth, I don't think your decision should be based on politics. Who could argue with a wife's decision to keep her lover intact?"

Beth: "Well, I don't think that's fair at all, Jerry. At all. In fact, I think this whole paradigm has sexist overtones."

Jerry: "Beth, can we talk about this privately?"

Beth: "You know, I think the bottom line is, Jerry, if you want to keep your penis, you should say out loud, 'I prefer to keep my penis.'"

Jerry: "But Beth, what kind of man would say something like that if the universe needed his penis!?"

Beth: "Well, Jerry, what kind of wife would I be if I did anything to stand in your way?"

^ She makes an excellent point, a point that didn't even register on Jerry's radar. If she's the one to halt the entire penis transplanting operation, then she's the bad guy. Jerry simply needed her to say no to the operation so that he could get out of it without looking like an asshole, but he gave no thought to how that would make Beth look in the eyes of Pibble's followers. If he can't say no on the grounds that that would make him the villain, why can't Beth?

Beth makes another good point when she calls Jerry out on failing to man up: "you should say out loud, 'I prefer to keep my penis.'" <-- This is not only a challenge to man up, not just a challenge to drawing out some internal validation, but to do the honorable thing if the intention is to get out of donating his penis anyway.

Up next on interdimensional cable: Lil' Bits.

Graciously, the doctor gives Jerry one more chance to "use" his penis--by letting him beat off to some alien internet porn in the privacy of his office. (Why he doesn't let him sleep with his wife is beyond me.) Before the doctor leaves, he says, "I forgot to mention: there are extensive medical records open on my desktop, but I trust you to confine your activities to the purely pornographic." <-- This did not need mentioning at all. Turns out those medical records are about Pibbles, and Jerry, after giving them a quick glance, realizes how he can leverage this information to keep his penis--some incriminating evidence against Pibbles, no doubt.

Rick, Morty and Summer enjoy a little bit of Opposite News with Michael Thompson followed by a bit of Cooking Things with Pichael Thompson.

One of the doctors, giving a crowd moving speech about Pibbles from behind a podium, introduces Jerry Smith. The crowd cheers.

"Hello everyone!" says Jerry, "Let's hear it again for Shrimply Pibbles, huh? He's a good guy, isn't he? I've only just been learning about his accomplishment, from his march on Flirt Blurt Square to his ongoing battle with heroin dependency. He's the best."

The crowd cheers. Not what Jerry was expecting judging from the look on his face. Obviously, this is the dirt he thought he dug up on Pibbles. He tries again:

"Um... yeah... well, i-it occurs to me that his heroin addiction may not have been a matter of public record."

A reporter alien in the audience speaks up: "You realize heroin makes up 10% of the atmosphere on Shrimply Pibble's home planet."

Another reporter: "His planet was destroyed by Klorgon death squads. He can't live outside of it without breathing heroin."

Jerry: "Right... I know that... I just think..."

Another alien: "This guy's trying to get out of giving away his penis!"

The crowd starts to boo. Jerry looks around in dismay.

Next up on interdimensional cable: How They Do It: Plumbuses. Followed by: The Personal Space Show. And finally: Alien Olympics.

Jerry gets ushered off the stage. One of the alien doctors takes the podium: "Please, everyone, I have news about Shrimply Pibbles... word of Jerry Smith trying to weasel out of his penis donation has spread across the galaxy. Beings everywhere have come together to offer whatever little they have to help save Shrimply's life."

^ It could be said this is another twist of iron: if this great influx of humanitarian aid was triggered by Jerry weaseling out of his penis donation, then Jerry in fact saved Pibble's life.

The doctor goes on: "Enough to pay for a brand new, state of the art, synthetic heart that will be even better than Mr. Smith's pathetic penis."

"Wait!" Jerry protests, "That was an option the whole time?!?!" <-- To be fair, even if it was an option, it seems it wasn't an affordable one. Then again, they're the doctors. Couldn't they simply volunteer their time and donate the synthetic heart?

Beth: "Ok, Jerry, let's head home."

Jerry: "I can't leave now! Everyone hates me!"

Beth: "Unfortunately, there's no surgical procedure that can fix that." <-- Beth will drive this point home more clearly at the end of the episode. The point is that sometimes you've gotta do what you've gotta do, and accept that people won't like you for it. You could spend the rest of your life trying to get people to like you, or just wait a short while for people to get over their hate for you and forget you.

But does Jerry get this point? On the contrary, he deviously says to himself: "Or is there?"

Cut to the operating room. We see a bunch of doctors surrounding Pibbles on the operating table. There happens to be a gear person there:


Just an aside about gear people. I wonder if we're supposed to take them as Easter eggs. If you recall, we had a couple encounters with Gear Head in the series--once in the Season 1 finally, and again in episode 2 of season 2. You might also recall the alternate timeline theory of episode 2--that is, the theory that says we weren't following Rick and Morty C-137 in that episode (except in the beginning when Rick C-137 got his ticket). In other words, we were following a Rick and Morty who come from a universe in which gear people exist (unless they were visiting a different reality from their home reality, but there was nothing to indicate this). Now this doesn't mean that gear people don't exist in any other timeline, but that's why I wonder about this. Maybe it does. Which would put this episode, the season finally of Season 1, and let's not forget episode 4 of Season 3 (Vindicators 3), all in the same timeline as episode 2 of Season 2.

Jerry comes bursting into the room with a gun. Unzipping his pants, Jerry orders the surgeons: "I'm a good person. And I demand that you cut off my penis and put it in that man's chest."

Cut back to the waiting room: Octopus Man is on interdimensional cable. The scene ends with a bit of violence (Octopus Man stabs a couple of pedestrians), and Summer makes a comment:

"Does all interdimensional TV have to rely on juvenile violence?"

Then Morty goes on a diatribe: "Well, Summer, maybe people that create things aren't concerned with your delicate sensibilities! You know?! M-maybe the species that communicate with each other through the filter of your comfort are less evolved than the ones that just communicate! Maybe your problems are your own to deal with, and maybe the public giving a shit about your feelings is a one-way ticket to extinction!"

Rick: "Geez, Morty. I take it Katherine Hefflefinger hasn't texted you back yet?"

Morty: "I don't want to talk about it."

While mildly comical, this scene seems a bit out of place. Not sure how or if Morty's outburst ties into the greater themes of this episode. I don't think Katherine Hefflefinger is a real person--maybe some girl at Morty's high school. In any case, we may be seeing the beginning of some dangerously repressed rage on Morty's part as this will be the central theme in the next episode.

They're interrupted by Breaking News streaming a live feed of Jerry attempting to take the doctors in the operating room hostage. "It's gotta be from an alternate reality, right?" says Rick seemingly having learnt from the previous incident of a Jerry Smith appearing on Breaking News of some interdimensional cable channel. Security guards rush by casting some doubt on Rick's words. They rush into the operating room. "Sir!!!" they yell at Jerry, "Put the gun down and step away from Mr. Pibbles!" Beth and Summer enter the room. Jerry pleads "I'm a good person," almost as though begging everyone in the room to acknowledge his good side. At the same time, Beth points out that the "gun" he's holding isn't a gun at all, it's the XP-20 XS. It starts to vibrate. Jerry drops it. Beth motions for Jerry to back away from Mr. Pibbles and come towards them. Jerry, still hellbent on proving that he's a good person, drops his pants and says one more time "I'm a good person," before racing towards Mr. Pibbles and leaping towards him (not sure what his plan was... lodge his penis into Mr. Pibbles' chest and stay there?). The security guards open fire shooting 57 holes into Jerry's body (Beth actually says 57 later). Beth and Summer scream in horror. Morty, watching on the television, looks in complete disbelief. Even Rick looks shocked.

So there's one more interdimensional cable program to mention: Butthole Ice Cream Parlor. This is a ice cream parlor that dispenses ice cream through butt holes. Now, I think we have to presume they aren't real butt holes, but orifices designed to look like butt holes. But there you have it: strawberry, chocolate, vanilla, and all kinds of flavors spewing out straight from a butt hole. This is the first thing Jerry sees as he wakes up in a hospital bed, apparently now completely fixed up. The whole family is standing around looking at him. After Beth explains what happened, Jerry responds: "All I wanted was for everyone to like me." Then Beth drives it home: "Jerry, remember that time you left a comment underneath that youtube video and someone replied and called you a dumb ass so you replied and told them it takes one to know one and then you stayed up all night hitting refresh on your browser waiting for them to reply and then you fell asleep crying... this is like that; you can't make people like you, you just have to wait for hating you to bore them."

^ Some very wise words indeed.

Jerry takes those wise words to heart: "You know, you're right. I shouldn't be motivated by other people's opinions of me." But they don't really sink in. Rick says "All right guys, let's go home," to which Jerry replies "If it's all the same to you, Rick, I'd like to go to the zoo... with my family." Everyone scoffs at the idea. Jerry relents: "Ok, I'm sorry, I'm sorry, we'll go home!"

^ I *think* that's supposed to be Jerry once again caring about what other people think of him. But if so, it's kind of a poor example. He could go alone to the zoo, but he said he wanted to go with his family. And if they don't want to go, what the hell can he do about it? Dragging them along is not the same as simply not caring what they think.

The post-credit scene has Jerry sneaking into Rick's cupboard in the kitchen and sneaking some of his "eye holes". Then the eye hole man comes crashing through the window on a rope and lands on Jerry's shoulders pounding him on the head. He screams through his megaphone: "Give me my eye holes! Give me my eye holes!" The rest of the family (Morty, Summer, and Rick) come rushing in. Summer and Morty try to tear the eye hole man off Jerry while Rick just leans back looking disappointed at Jerry for going into his cupboard.

This also might be a hint that we are looking at an alternate timeline to C-137. I mean, I suppose there would be nothing inconsistent about C-137 featuring the eye hole man, but knowing Roiland and Harmon, they would usually make realities featuring odd or zany characters or aspects other than C-137 (like the Eric Stoltz reality). So this *might* be taken as a further sign that we weren't following C-137 in this episode.



Unfortunately, this episode of Rick and Morty didn't offer a lot in the way of deep philosophy. The only thing that stands out is Jerry's incessant need for external validation, so let's elaborate on that:

How far would you go to be liked? Would you amputate a part of your body to be lauded around the galaxy as a hero? Would it make a difference if refusing to do so meant letting the entire galaxy down? Most of us probably watch this episode thinking Jerry a complete twerp, but it's always easy to say this from the side lines. Put yourself in his shoes--if you refuse to donate your penis (or vagina or whatever) then not only will you be known throughout the galaxy as a selfish prick who cares more about himself than peace and harmony across the galaxy, but you could be responsible for warfare and death upon possibly millions of beings across the galaxy. Tougher cookies to chew than it seems at first, isn't it? And what about taking Beth's advise? How easy would it be to wait for people to stop hating you? Is that actually good advise? In Jerry's case, probably. He's enough of a nobody for people to eventually forget about him. But does it always work that way? Don't some nobody's become infamous for something embarrassing or terrible they've done? And couldn't they go down in history as "that guy"? All these considerations would weigh upon one's mind when placed in a sticky situation like that which Jerry found himself in in this episode.


There are a few episodes in the Rick and Morty series in which Jerry gets to experience the ultimate pinnacle of fame and glory, two of which are M. Night Shaym-Aliens! in which Jerry wins an award for "Hungry for Apples" and Something Ricked in which he becomes a celebrity to the Plutonians. This *could* have been a third, but the intent seems to have been to force Jerry to struggle for fame and glory rather than have it fall into his lap, and for him to fail miserably. On the other hand, he failed miserably in the other two cases as well. In M. Night Shaym-Aliens!, the simulator shut down, causing the ceremony and the award itself to disappear right in front of him. In Something Ricked, Jerry actually manned up, choosing to surrender his fame and glory for his son. And I suppose in this episode, he actually did get to enjoy, for a brief moment, the same fame and glory (the pinnacle of which would be his speech at the podium), but lost it in an attempt to weasel out of having to give up his penis without giving up his fame and glory. <-- Out of the three, this is probably the most sordid way of losing fame and glory and probably the most deserved. In M. Night Shaym-Aliens!, Jerry simply had no choice. In Something Ricked, he did the honorable thing and really didn't deserve to be despised by the Plutionians. In this episode, however, his attempts to demonize Mr. Pibbles was not a cool move, and not only earned him the hate of everyone in the room and across the galaxy, but lead him down a path of desperation and insanity. I don't know if he deserved to be shot in the end, but one can only hope he learned a lesson about allowing his need for external validation to take him to extreme ends.

I'm also second guessing my theory that the presence of a gear person indicates an alternate timeline. Again, this theory says that there is only one timeline that features gear people, which would mean that the timeline we were following in Mortynight Run is the same timeline we followed in Ricksy business and Vindicators 3, but this also means that any episode in which the big crack surrounding the Smith's house exists, the one caused by teleporting the entire house to an alternate dimensions during the house party, is part of that same timeline. And we see that crack in A Rickle in Time and in Auto Erotic Assimilation, the latter being the very episode I insinuated, with my theory of Urban Patoi Jerry, was a return to dimension C-137. <-- So that destroys that theory. Of course, it's possible that in both realities, Rick and Morty threw a house party during which the house got teleported to another dimension, but if we're gonna say that, why not say it's possible that in both realities there exist gear people? At this point, I'm satisfied to put that theory to rest.
My thoughts | My art | My music | My poetry

In fact, the idea that there's more differences between groups than there is between individuals is actually the fundamental racist idea.
- Jordan Peterson

right outta high school i tried to get a job as a proctologist but i couldn't find an opening.
- promethean75

Ahh... gib, zombie universes are so last year! I’m doing hyper dimensional mirror realities now.
- Ecmandu
User avatar
resident exorcist
Posts: 8929
Joined: Sat May 27, 2006 10:25 pm
Location: in your mom

Re: The Philosophy of Rick and Morty

Postby gib » Tue Jan 22, 2019 6:04 am

Rick and Morty - S2E9 - Look Who's Purging Now

On a leisure cruise through space, Morty tells Rick how nice it is to be travelling with him. Kind of a sentimental moment. Rick concurs, talking about how "it's nice to get back to the basics after a pretty intense mixed bag of a year," sort of signaling that we're reaching the end of the season. Then an alien bug hits the windshield. Rick turns on the wipers, smearing bug guts all over the windshield. He realizes they're out of windshield washer fluid and heads to a nearby planet to pick some up.

They land in a small rural town where the locals are cat people:


I understand that, generally in the Rick and Morty series, Roiland and Harmon want to make extraterrestrial beings look like aliens, but in this case they don't. They look like cats. And I suppose I'm not one to say what aliens are supposed to look like... but they're cats. And I don't even know what the theme of cats (if that's indeed what they're supposed to be) has to do with this episode, but maybe I'll come up with a theory in the course of dissecting this episode. And this is not to mention the fact that they speak perfect English... which is what we all expect from an alien species that has had no contact with Earthlings.

But trying to look past the English speaking cat people, the setting is like a scene out of a Steven King movie: small town, southern US accents, religious folk. From the ship, Rick asks one of the locals if they have any wiper fluid. The cat man points him to the general store, and then warns that they'll want to be gone by sun down. When Rick asks why, he explains: "Sun down's when the festival begins... for millennia, our society has been free of crime, war, living in perfect peace." Rick starts up in excitement: "Oh! I know what this is! You've been able to sustain world peace because you have one night a year where you all run around robbing and murdering each other without consequence... [turns to Morty] It's like The Purge Morty, th-that movie The Purge?... I've been to a few planets with the same gimmick. You know, sometimes it's called the cleansing, or the red time. There was this one world that called it just murder night. I-I-It's a purge planet. They're peaceful, and then, you know, they just purge."

I was gonna watch The Purge in preparation for this installment, but unfortunately it's not for rent. You have to buy it. And I'm certain it sucks. Definitely not worth $10. So here's the trailer instead. Enjoy!

^ A glimpse into your future, perhaps?

Morty, riding his usual moral high horse, expresses his contempt for such an idea. Rick concurs: "Yeah... wanna check it out?"

So in this episode, they're gonna check out the purge, and as you can probably guess, get stuck here and consequently take part in the purge. And the underlying philosophical theme of this episode is that of balancing morality with suppressed rage. If there is a question to summarize this theme, it is this: does attempting to live a moral life (ex. Morty) result in repressed violent and murderous impulses that sooner or later need to be purged? This will be another episode much like Mortynight Run in that Morty, at first, is all preachy and morally staunch only to break down later and go completely against his initial moral attitude, learning a valuable lesson in the process. But there are some differences too. For one thing, it's not as clear in this episode that Morty learns anything. There's a brief moment at the end when he tells Rick "I guess you were right, I've got a lot of repressed stuff I need to deal with," but then Rick assures him that his rage most likely came from purgenal, a chemical in a candy bar he ate. Second, whereas in this episode, we could say Morty turns out to be a hypocrite, we can't so much say that in Mortynight Run; in the latter episode, Morty simply realizes he made a mistake, and goes against his initial intentions in order to rectify that mistake. Morty may have been naive, we could say, but that's different from hypocrisy.

Morty tops off the windshield washer fluid while Rick chats with an old timer sitting in his rocking chair outside the general store. The washer fluid is on the house he says and throws in a couple candy bars. The contrast between the kindness of these folks and the psychopathic rage which is about to ensue is intentional. The sun is almost set and Morty is eager to get out of Dodge.

They finally take off. Rick has the brilliant idea of sticking around a while to watch the purge. Morty thinks it's an outrageously idiotic idea, but it's Rick's ship and he pulls rank.

Morty: "You're the worst! This planet is the worst! How can you be into this?! You know, people are going to kill each other."

Rick: "So what? Y-y-you're trying to sit here tell me th-*belch*-th-that there's a video online with someone getting decapitated, you don't click on it?"

Morty: "No! W-Why would I do that? You do that?"

Rick: "I don't. Because it would bore me. I see shit like that for breakfast, Morty. But if you don't do it, I say it's because you're afraid of your own primal instincts. So you stuff 'em down and-Oh! Oh! Shh, shh, it's starting."

This is another common theme that rears its head in philosophy sometimes--the notions that murderous rage and lust for violence is a "primal instinct". This is subtly different from the aforementioned theme of repressed rage being the result of living a moral or civilized life. The latter would seem to imply that murderous rage and the lust for violence aren't primal instincts per se but what happens to otherwise innocuous instincts (relatively speaking) when constantly kept in check and deprived of release--instincts such as freely venting to someone who upset you or getting relatively mild revenge on someone who pissed you off. We must be allowed to release these feelings on a regular basis--somehow, someway--so that they can be satisfied when they are small and require little in the way of repercussions--otherwise, they eventually burst from the cage we keep them in and become murderous rage and the lust for violence. Perhaps the truth is a combination of these two. Perhaps we should say that when repressed and compelled to build up, these feelings and impulses don't thereby cease to be primal instincts, but rather become the accumulation of our primal instincts after they have piled up and can no longer be contained. Perhaps what Rick meant when he told Morty that he stuffs his primal instincts down is just the ordinary everyday primal instincts of wanting to stand up for himself or lash out at the things that annoy him. The stuff most normal people do. Perhaps it's a statement about how over the top Morty is about following the moral path, of always worrying about the right thing to do (as opposed to how we all just want to murder and shed blood but are too afraid to admit it). Rick's statement may not even have hinted that there is a raging psychopath inside Morty, just that his aversion to murder and carnage is a consequence of his excessive morality. I mean, I think most of us would agree that murder and blood shed are horrible things, and hopefully none of us would partake in it, but what about Rick's question: would you click on a video of someone being decapitated? I mean, it's not the same thing as committing murder or violence yourself--not by a long shot--and I think there would be at least a bit of curiosity in most people. Would you click? Morty says he wouldn't, but I don't think we ought to be surprised should we find him to be in the minority.

Turns out, however, that Rick may be a little too in touch with his "primal instincts"--after taking in the spectacle of blood and gore below, watching the blood as it splatters on the windshield, Rick admits to maybe having gorged a bit too much: "Man, I think my eyes were bigger than my stomach on this one, Morty," and then pukes out the side of the ship. <-- Is this another one of the many contrasts between Rick and Morty in the series? Morty being the one too much in denial of his primal instincts, Rick being the one too much in touch with them?

Just then, a cry of fear catches Morty's attention. A young cat-girl around the same age as Morty is trying to fend off with a torch a group of older blood thirsty cat-men. She's caught between them and a huge bail of hay. She's dressed a bit like Alice in Wonderland. She looks terrified.


She's surprisingly good looking for a cat person.

I find it odd that these guys are killing indiscriminately. I mean, I think the idea of releasing pent up rage is that you get to take revenge on people who pissed you off, or you don't like, or just annoy you. These guys are killing each other completely arbitrarily. What did this girl ever do to these guys? It kinda raises the question: are these supposed "primal instincts" that we all repress deep down inside built on anger and hatred, or do we all hide a indiscriminate thirst for blood for its own sake?

After purging a little himself, Rick says, "All right, Morty. L-let's get outta here."

"W-w-wait, hold on," says Morty, "W-w-we have to go down there."

Rick responds with the "non-interference policy," which supposedly everyone in space follows. Morty blackmails Rick threatening to tell his mom about this. Rick replies, "You little turd."

It's interesting that just a few seconds ago, Rick threatened to purge Morty if he told his mom. Now Morty seems to be calling his bluff... and it worked.

It's also noteworthy that the only time Morty's interested in interfering with the purge is when a cute young cat-girl is in trouble. This could have been just as valid a reason to interfere for any of the other victims down there, but because this one strikes a cord on Morty's libido, it all of a sudden matters. I suppose there is this one difference in the case of cat-girl: she seems genuinely to want to escape, actually screaming for help, and is not trying to purge upon anyone else. But she can't be the only one on this planet, and it's definitely obvious that Morty is thinking like all young adolescent males think.

And if we think about this a little deeper, we might point out a connection to the Freudian concepts of the "life wish" and the "death wish". The life wish and the death wish are Freud's concepts of the two major impulses that drive human nature. The death wish--the desire to kill your competition--is one side of the strategy for surviving; and other side--the desire for sex and reproduction--compliments the first. These two are usually expressed in terms of hate and love. And in this scene of Rick and Morty, it could be said that Rick is being driven by his death wish--the desire to see others brutally maimed and destroyed, perhaps vicariously satisfying some deeply routed hatred--while Morty is being driven by his life wish--the desire to save another out of love or affection.

Rick squashes one of the three cat-men with his ship. He gets out, shoots the second one, and the third one flees. Morty reassures the girl that they aren't gonna hurt her and introduces himself and Rick as tourists.

More cat people come over the hill. Rick gets out his gun and starts shooting them. He gets a rush out of it:

This is so reminiscent of Mortynight Run--the way Rick points out the irony of killing a shit ton of people just to save one life--kind of like the way they killed a shit ton of gear people just to save Fart (who turned out to be a threat to all carbon based life in the end). It also brings up an interesting question: does the number of people you kill matter if it's for the sake of saving a life. The trolley thought experiment comes to mind: is it justified to allow the five people to be run over by the trolley in order to save the one person? On a purely utilitarian analysis, the answer is obviously no. But what about on the basis of innocence versus guilt. <-- This extra twist changes the question somewhat--as if to say the five people on the track are all serial rapists whereas the one person is innocent of any wrong doing--and in this scene, it's much the same. They aren't merely killing a bunch of people to save one life, but a bunch of guilty people (at least for the night) to save an innocent life. And then there's the question of Rick's enthusiasm: if you have to take out a few lives to save an innocent person, should it be pleasurable or should you do so reluctantly? Should anyone care how Rick feels about it? And is he taking pleasure in the killing itself or simple the opportunity to do something few people ever get to do at all. I've often asked myself the same question: if I could murder someone and get away with it, would I? I don't think I would, but there's always that curious side to me--willing to try anything at least once to see what it's like, or to be able to say I did it.

In any case, while we can dig out some deep philosophy from this scene, it's meant to be a parody, more or less making fun of what Morty got them into.

Morty offers to protect Arthricia (who introduces herself as such) in their ship. So that's what they do. They get in their ship and wait out the purge safely above the blood bath.

Morty tries to start some small talk with Arthricia. He asks about whether it took the cat people time to ease into the purge or it started all at once. Arthricia says it took some time.

Quite late into the episode, we cut to the secondary plotline (which eventually will merge into the primary plotline). It's quite simple. It features only Summer and Jerry. Summer's lying on the couch doing something on her iphone. Jerry comes in and asks:

"Watchya doin? Watching some TV? Playing on your phone?"

Summer: "Is that a real question?"

Jerry: "Making conversation."

Summer: "Are you? What part of that gives me anything to work with? My choice is to say nothing, be sarcastic, or bark 'yes' like a trained animal. It's not a conversation, you're holding me verbally hostage."

Jerry: "Ok, ass face, I'll go in the kitchen."

Summer: "Hey dad. [Jerry: yeah]. Watchya doin? Going into the kitchen? [Jerry: OK]. Yeah, you like that? [Jerry: Screw you.]"

Now, Jerry's always good for a laugh. It's always fun to walk all over him and make fun of him. He's an easy target. But it seems obvious some cockroach crawled up Summer's ass. The episode doesn't go into what that might be, but it just as well might be Jerry himself. A simple conversation starter like "watchya doin?" may, in all other circumstances, be innocent, but in this case, Jerry's up to something. And we'll find out later. For now, we can only surmise that Summer must have somehow sensed it.

Morty asks Arthricia another boring purge question. She says she's tired of answering purge questions. A moment of awkward silence follows. Arthricia suddenly blurts out "My nana! My nana! We have to save her!" They land by an old abandoned shack. Rick, in a suspicious tone, asks her, "You just now remembered your nana exists?" Accepting her questionable reply, they (Rick and Arthricia) exit the ship and go into the shack. Rick brings his gun. Morty stays behind in the ship. After a few seconds of silence, Morty sees a couple laser blasts shoot through the roof. Then Arthricia comes out with Rick's gun looking all bad ass. She points the gun at Morty in the ship and tells him to get out. Morty, with his hands in the air, exits the ship allowing Arthricia to get in. Before taking off, she says, "For what it's worth, I'm sorry. But that's not really worth anything tonight, is it?"

After Arthricia abandons them, Morty runs into the shack to find Rick on the ground with a laser shot through his liver and flames all around. "Morty!" he says, "The amish bitch shot me!" He points out the fact that without his gun, the ship, and his portal gun (which was in the ship), they're like the rest of the cat people. Morty helps Rick to his feet. They make their way out of the burning shack as Rick says "She got me right in the goddam liver, Morty. It's the hardest working liver in the galaxy, Morty. Now it has a hole in it."

More cat people come over the hill. Rick, being too incapacitated, pushes Morty to do something. As one cat person charges towards them, Morty raises his arms in the air and shouts, "We come in peace!" Rick says, in a despairing tone, "Oh my God." He then pulls out a small device from his lab coat and throws it at the cat person charging towards them. It completely disintegrates him upon impact. Rick pulls out another device from his lab coat and shouts to the rest of them: "There's more where that came from! You wanna get purged, you bring it! Drop-*belch*-Drop your shit! Drop it all!" They drop their weapons. Rick then tells Morty to get their weapons, and that he only had one of those devices; the object he's holding now is a box of tic tacs.

Jerry makes a second attempt to get on Summer's good side. He brings in a box of crackers. "Are you ready to be nice to me?" he asks. "In exchange for crackers?" says Summer. Summer calls him out on his antics: "Dad, get a job. You're trying to create drama because you're bored."

Then the "space phone" rings from underneath the couch cushions. Summer reaches in to get it. It's Rick. He and Morty are in a shack (possibly the same one that was burning earlier). Rick, in typical scientific fashion, is preparing something chemically. Morty is looking out the window watching for purgers. Rick is on what deceptively looks like a regular old cell phone.

What happens next is so typical of what happens when you need immediate help from someone but you have to explain your situation to them first. They become distracted by the questions and confusions that your explanation invokes and completely forget that you need help now.

Rick: "Hey Summer, it's grandpa. I need you to do me a favor."

Summer: "I can barely hear you."

Jerry: "Who is it?"

Rick: "Morty and I are on a planet that's purging. I need you to-"

Summer: "A plan that's what?"

Rick: "We're on a planet that's purging, Summer, purging! We lost my car and my gun and we're in a purge!"

Jerry: "Oo, is it Taddy Mason?"

Summer: "Like the movie The Purge?"

Rick: "Yes, I need you to take-"

Summer: "That movie sucked."

Rick: "Oh my God, hold on!" Rick drops the phone on the table and puts it on speaker. They hear:

Jerry: "It's not Taddy Mason?"

Summer: "Dad, who the fucked is Taddy Mason?"

Anyway, while still having the conversation (and while Jerry and Summer argue about who Taddy is), Rick applies his chemical concoction to his wound and heals himself, bellowing out in a bit of pain in the process. In reaction, Summer puts them on speaker.

(Realistically, it should take years, depending on where cat planet is, for the signal to travel to and from each phone... but then again, most of Rick's technology is based on reality hopping, which includes teleportation within a single reality. Maybe the signal just goes through a portal.)

While the conversation continues, a cat person barges through the door with a pitch fork:

^ Too much in that scene to write it all out.

Rick tells Summer to go find a red box in the garage with a key pad on it, and to take the box outside and enter the code on the key pad. Before she leaves to do so, Jerry questions, "Is it just part of growing up to hate your dad?" "I'm ignoring you," Summer replies.

^ Jerry is really being made out to be pathetic in this episode (more so than usual) and it keeps getting worse with every scene. And don't forget, Jerry's up to something.

Rick and Morty make their way to a lighthouse:


Morty, still on his moral high horse, reminds Rick that he's not willing to purge anyone. Rick admonishes: "Morty, if we're gonna survive tonight, you're gonna need to harness your repressed rage," to which Morty snaps, "I don't have any!!!" "Spoken like a person with repressed rage," Rick says.

^ This is a bit of foreshadowing. Morty's lid is about to blow, and what transpires in the lighthouse will be the trigger.

They ring the door bell. An unarmed old cat-man opens the door. "I take no part in the festival," he says, "If you desire to kill me, I only ask you do it quickly." They tell him they're only here to send a beacon from the top of the light house. The cat-man agrees so long as Morty listens to his tale.

While Rick sets up the beacon at the top of the light house, Morty and the cat-man sit on the main level. There are candles lit and the sounds of a crackling fire can be heard. The cat-man opens a rather large book while Morty chows down on one of the candy bars the old man at the general store gave them. The cat-man's tale reads like a long and boring movie script:

Summer makes her way into the garage followed by Jerry nagging here about talking to him. She's cognizant enough to realize, in here own words, that Rick and Morty's situation takes slightly higher priority than Jerry's situation of being unemployed and bored. She pulls the box off the shelf, sits it on the garage floor, punches in the code, and watches as the box opens up:


^ This sophisticated contraption is the beacon seeker--particularly the orb sitting atop. It fires up, making machine-like noises while smoke spews out from several orifices. "Look," says Jerry meanwhile, "I'm your father, and I love you, is all I'm saying. I'll leave it at that." <-- Not quite true as we shall see later. The orb suddenly takes off, bursting a hole through the roof. "Oh, he might have said to take it outside," says Summer (he did).

Rick, atop the light house, puts together his beacon, an odd contraption put together with various random gadgets (I see a frying pan, a fishing road, a clock, and a funnel, among several other miscellaneous items), and attaches it to the railing:


^ Not sure where he got all the parts (odd that the cat people have very similar accessories to us), but if he can make an intelligence amplifier for Snuffles out of random kitchen trinkets, I'm sure he'd have no problem building a beacon out of whatever the cat people have to offer.

(I also find it funny that he's building a beacon atop a light house, which itself is a kind of beacon.)

Meanwhile, Morty is bored to tears listening to the cat man's dull script. He finishes it.

Morty: "Wow."

Catman: "Yeah."

Morty [insincerely]: "It's... G-good job. Good job."

Catman: "You liked it?"

Morty: "Of course I did."

Catman: "You didn't laugh at the scene in the bar."

Morty: "I... thought it was funny but... I wanted to hear the rest."

Catman: "D'you have any thoughts? Notes?"

Morty: "Nope. I-I j-just enjoyed it. That's my note. You know? Please write more."

Catman: "Seems a little insincere."

Morty: "What? No!"

Catman: "You don't have to mollycoddle me. I want to improve my writing. Tell me your real thoughts."

Morty: "All right, well um... I'm not a huge fan, personally, of the whole three weeks earlier teaser thing. I feel like, you know, we should start our stories where they begin, not start them when they get int-"

Catman [stands up]: "Get out."

Morty [recoiling]: "Um... what?"

Catman: "No, I'm sick of this. You bang on my door, you make me help you, I share something personal with you and you take a giant shit on it."

Needless to say, catman won't let them put up the beacon anymore. Both go upstairs. Catman tells Rick to tear down his beacon, calling Morty a shitty person. Rick, at first, blames Morty. Then Morty explains what really happened.

At this point, Morty is about to explode. In response to catman's defensiveness, Morty shouts at him: "Did you want me to weep with joy?! It's terrible!!!" When catman motions to take down the beacon, Morty pushes him back: "No! Stop! That's not fair! Just because you hate your own writing doesn't make me a bad person!" Then pushes him down the stairs. Catman lands at the bottom dead, blood pouring out his nose and the back of his:


"You like that?!" Morty tops it off, "You want me to cut to three weeks earlier, when you were alive?!" "Woaw, Morty," says Rick, "You just purged." Morty looks at his hands in realization of what he just did.

Then the beacon starts beeping. A woman's voice is heard from it: "Beacon arriving." Rick turns around to tend to it. "Ok, time to go," he says, as if nothing happened.

At this point, I'm wondering if catman represents the opposite of all the others. Whereas all the others are extremely polite and harmless all year round by virtue of repressing their rage, and then let it out one day a year in a violent blood bath of death and carnage, catman seems to let out his rage in little mini-bursts whenever they arise. His overreaction to Morty's criticism could be seen as just this. Normally, when we ask a person to criticize our work, we expect that we're going to have to hold back a bit of rage--we expect that we probably will take some measure of offense to the criticism and therefore muster the strength to take it as constructive and helpful. Catman doesn't muster any strength--he just let's out whatever aggravation is provoked within him. But this is probably also why he takes no part in the festival. By letting out all his rage in little mini-bursts whenever it arises, he has no need to let it out once a year in a massive explosion of psychopathic violence.

As we see, however, this is not necessarily a good thing. If the rest of the cat people represent one extreme, he represents the other. While it can be agreed that repressing one's rage to the point of needing a purge night once a year to let it out is unhealthy, so is reacting with offense to every little bit of constructive criticism that comes your way. Doing that, one does not give one's self the opportunity to grow. Despite what he says, catman will never improve his writing.

I also wonder if a similar contrast exists between Rick and Morty. As we have seen earlier in this episode, Morty represents the extreme of too much repressed rage. Could it be said, therefore, that Rick represents the other extreme? Letting out his rage in little mini-bursts whenever it arises? We know that Rick doesn't stand for criticism, even if it's constructive, especially from Morty. Rick is certainly rude, cynical, and bitter at almost everyone, but he is also quick to forgive and forget, to go with the flow at the appropriate times. He doesn't hold grudges. He invited members of the Council of Ricks to the house party in the season 1 finally. Rick says at the end of Vindicators 3: "Morty, 20 people try to kill me every week. I end up getting high with half of them. I mean, check it out, Gear Head's here." We'll even see Rick forgive Arthricia for shooting him at the end of this episode. Is this because any resentment or hard feelings he might hold for someone, he lets out right then and there? And is therefore able to forgive and forget right away?

Summer's work is done. The beacon seeker is on its way. She now has time to give Jerry some attention:

Summer: "Dad, what's going on? What's the deal here?"

Jerry: "I just wanted to spend some time with my daughter. You're growing up so fast. You used to be my little girl."

Summer [giggles]: "Yeah."

Jerry: "Remember when we used to go to the playground and I'd push you on the swings?"

Summer: "Oh, you could push me higher than all the other kids." <-- Summer is really soaking it up now.

Jerry: "You were so small and cute. I thought you were gonna fly right off into the street."

Summer [more giggling]: "I used to pee my pants."

Jerry [puts his hands on her shoulders]: "I know. And now look at you. You have a job. You're making really good money. You're not paying any rent so you have plenty of disposable income."

Summer [smile drops]: "Oh God, dad, please don't. [holds bridge of nose]"

Jerry: "I just need a few hundred dollars to get through the month. I have some interviews coming up. Something's gonna come through, I can feel it."

Summer [walks out]: "I'm going inside."

^ So there it is, the punchline. All this time, Jerry's main objective was to borrow money from Summer. This is the pinnacle of rock bottom--when your own wife won't give you money so you have to ask your daughter instead--and in such a manipulative way too--buttering her up with sentimental memories of when she was little, getting pushed on the swing by her daddy.

I'm curious to know what Jerry needs the money for. If it's anything important (like finding a job), I would think Beth would be thrilled to let him use some money from their joint account (if they have one) or just give him some money (if they don't). Since he's coming to Summer, I have to assume he's going behind Beth's back, meaning she wouldn't approve of whatever he needs the money for.

Summer seems to have allowed herself to be a bit duped. Her initial reaction, earlier in the episode, was to blow Jerry off before he even had a chance to butter her up. She somehow detected his ulterior motives. But here, she's suckered into fond memories and a moment of warm fuzzy feelings between her and her dad, meaning that she must have temporarily forgot not to trust his motives. But it also shows that she wasn't brushing him off earlier just to be sassy; at least when Rick called on the space phone, she was simply tending to higher priorities. But once those priorities were out of the way, she gave Jerry her undivided attention... and paid for it.

Rick and Morty make their way away from the light house (presumably to give the beacon seeker some open space to land?). Rick tries to console Morty about his recent kill, reminding him that it's the purge, and all's fair in love and war (or just war), but Morty's still not having any of it. Then, the rest of the cat person clan show up, all bloody and carrying deadly weapons. They're greeted by the old timer they met at the beginning, the one who gave them the candy bars. The cat people surround them.

Then the beacon seeker finally shows up (not sure why it targeted them rather than the beacon up at the light house; maybe when Rick said "time to go," he meant they could take the beacon with them). It lands right in front of them and opens up into two flat discs with a rod jutting up vertically between them (yes, it's quite phallic sounding). Rick steps onto one of the discs and presses a button at the top of the rod. Beams of yellow light project from a red bulb also atop the rod and scan Rick's body, leaving a suite of robotic armor covering him:


Morty does the same:


Rick then fires a missile out of his arm, killing about 5 people, and follows it up with a series of bullets fired at everyone around him.

I mean, if you're stranded on a cat planet in the middle of a purge, what else would you want a beacon to bring you? Certainly not an escape pod or maybe a portal gun. No, you want a highly sophisticated, technologically advanced, bullet shooting, missile firing, rocket equipped suit of armor with which to purge everyone back. Makes you wonder how many times Rick's been in situations where this is exactly what he wished he had. Not to mention it's equipped for two people. Was he thinking ahead to one of his misadventures with Morty?

Morty, of course, is still hesitant. A bunch of cat people surround Morty, throw him to the ground, and try to butcher him with their pitch forks and scythes. It has no effect, of course, since Morty's suit of armor is thick steel, but it certainly has an effect on Morty's rage. He becomes visibly angry; it boils up to the point when he can't stand it any longer. He leaps to his feet, grabs a cat person and rips his head off, then, like Rick, starts firing into the crowd around him as Feels Good by Tony! Toni! Toné! plays in the background (not bad for someone who doesn't even know how to use the suit).

After the blood bath is over, Rick steps up to a panting Morty from behind, "Geez! Wow, Morty! Now you're getting into it. Never expected that outa ya." He pats him on the back as if he's all proud of his grandson.

Then they take off to find their ship (literally, they take off... with rocket thrusters at the soles of their feet). They look like some kind of superhero duo, as if Iron Man had a mini-me.


Rick discovers his ship crashed into an old store in town. When he tries to point it out to Morty, he finds Morty down on the ground shooting up more cat people. And when I say shooting up, I mean really letting it all out. It's like the initial burst of purging he engaged in near the light house let loose a torrent of rage that just can't be contained. Rick lands behind him, making remarks like a commenting spectator. "I uh--*burp*--think uh--*burp*--think those people were just hiding," he says. And: "Ok, Morty, now you're just shooting corpses."

Rick finally decides to step in: "Ok, buddy, all right, that's good. Good job. Time to go home," as he rests his hands on Morty's shoulders and ushers him away.

They head towards the ship. They find Arthricia crawling out from behind the ship. She either just crashed or she was out cold for a while. Rick aims his arm (with the embedded gun) at her ready to shoot. She begs for her life and explains that she never intended to harm them and that she's trying to end the festival. When Rick asks her to explain, she says:

"I was going to use your ship to destroy the rich assholes who run our society and save my people from the horrors of this yearly festival."

^ Wow, now there's a twist I didn't see coming.

Morty's having none of it. He wants to kill Arthricia.

Rick: "Geez, Morty, purge it down a little."

Morty: "Purge! Don't purge! You're sending me mixed messages, Rick!"

Rick: "Morty, y-*burp*-ou're acting like a--*burp*--frickin' lunatic. Calm down."

Morty: "Screw you, Rick! I'll purge you too, you old rickety piece of crap! This has been a long time coming! I'm gonna rip your fucking guts out, smear them all over your face! I ain't takin' no shi-" <-- Rick zaps him with a laser out of this wrist (like Spiderman's web). Morty falls unconscious.

Well, one can hardly blame Morty. What should one expect from a person who's repressed their rage for so long and it suddenly all comes bursting out? Moderating it is a skill that hasn't had the chance to be exercised.

Rick resumes his attention on Arthricia: "Ok, s-sorry about that. Now, where are these rich people?"



^ This seems to come out of nowhere. I haven't seen The Purge, as I said, but I'm guessing there's some kind of government elite or maybe a secret society that controls the purge and keeps everyone brainwashed into thinking it's a good idea. Or maybe in the sequel (there's 4 of them if you can believe it). In any case, I'll bet it was planned out well in advance and fit into the plotline seamlessly--with a nice lead up to it--or something to kick it up a notch if it was introduced in one of the sequals. In this episode of Rick and Morty, however, it almost seems like something they tacked onto the end when they realized the plotline, up to this point, was too short. As a matter of fact, it kinda takes away from the underlying theme of this episode--that of purging one's repressed rage--and replaces it with something like social conformity--that people will do whatever they're brainwashed to do, no matter how horrific or abhorrent.

But on with the story...

"To another successful year of the festival," says the catman at the head of the table, "Pitting poor people against each other for thousands of years."

^ It's not clear whether the existence of this elite is common knowledge to the ordinary cat folk or they operate in secret. The guy said they've been doing this for thousands of years. That's a long time to be doing it out in the open. Arthricia certainly knows about their existence, but how she knows is not mentioned.

In any case, after the catman's toast, Rick and Arthricia kick down the doors (or Rick does at least). Feels Good is playing in the background (presumably out of Rick's suit of armor). Arthricia is now wearing Morty's armor suit. Morty is still unconscious, strapped to Rick's back with ropes, being worn like a back pack.


They approach the old catman. Rick explains themselves:

"Here's the deal. I'm not here to judge. I'm just a guy from another planet, but this girl is one of your poor people and I guess you guys felt like it was ok to subject her to inhuman conditions because there was no chance of it ever hurting you. It's sort of the sociopolitical equivalent of, say, a suit of power armor around you. But now things are evened out sooo... Arthricia?"

Rick backs away, allowing Arthricia to step in and begin on of the best scenes in the episode:

^ Note the clip at the end of Morty strapped to Rick's back unconscious, swaying back and forth like a rag doll. It's almost as if to say Morty's missing out, like if he hadn't lost his cool with Rick, he'd be having a whole lotta fun right now (though someone would have to go without a suit; maybe Rick would let Morty and Arthricia do the dirty work while he waited outside, giving them some bonding time).

They're back at the village. The morning sun is rising. Arthricia thanks Rick for helping out. Rick tells her: fuck you for shooting my liver, but otherwise seems to have completely forgiven her... an example of how his mini-bursts permit him to forgive and forget. He then makes his way over to Morty who's now awake. He tells him now's his last chance to make something happened between Arthricia and himself (this almost counts as bestiality). So Morty approaches her:

Morty: "H-Hey Arthricia? Um, maybe I could-"

Arthricia: "Y-I have a boyfriend."

Morty: "Okay."

Arthricia: "I'm not trying to be rude. I just... I don't want to lead you on."

Morty: "I-I-I understand."

Arthricia: "I mean, thank you so much for helping in the festival but... *sigh*... I have a boyfriend, and *sigh* he just-"

Morty: "Okay, okay, you can stop saying it. I took it okay the first time and now you're just r-repeating stuff."

Arthricia: "Oh, I'm sorry."

Morty: "It's okay."

Arthricia: "Oh, you're so sweet. I just--oh--but I can't."

Morty: "Yeah, you're still doing it."

^ Every nice guy's nightmare.

Rick has a few last words with the surviving locals. They talk about how it won't be easy building a new society from the ground up. Rick makes a very simple suggestion: if you need something, you get it. One guy mentions that he needs food. Another holds out a loaf of bread and says he's got food but it's for him. At the suggestion that he make extra food, he asks who will take care of his kids as he makes all that food. Another pipes up and says he'll take care of his kids for extra food. Needless to say, a crude sort of bartering system seems in the birth throws. But it doesn't make it too far before their inability to agree on terms erupts in the same kind of violence and butchery as the night before. Then one of them calls for the group to stop. He suggests designating a period of time in which they can get all their rage and hatred out of their system. And thus they come full circle.

Well, not quite full circle. If the purge night was previously orchestrated by the rich elite (in secrecy?), it's now orchestrated by cat folk themselves. Not sure if there's a subtle message here on Roiland and Harmon's part--namely that people will do only that which they know--but it certainly counts as one of the many twists of irony in the Rick and Morty series exemplifying the futility of trying to make things better, or striving to achieve any goal at all. For all Arthricia's efforts (and those of Rick and Morty), toppling the rich aristocracy did absolutely nothing to end the senseless tradition of the purge.

On their way home, Morty fesses up to the fact that he has repressed rage. He tells Rick he feels bad about what he did. Rick pulls out a candy bar and tells him not to worry: the candy bars they ate in the "first act" (he literally says "the first act", breaking the fourth wall as he sometimes does) contain "purgenal", a chemical that heightens aggressive tendencies. They take that to indicate that Morty's violent outburst back on cat-planet wasn't the real him. His character is "totally protected" in Rick's words. Rick throws the candy bar to the back of the ship. The camera zooms in on it to see a label that reads: NOW PURGENOL FREE.


The post-credits scene: Jerry is sitting on the living room couch playing on his iPad while wasting energy by leaving the TV on. Beth comes in the room: "Jerry, what is Taddy Mason LLC and why is our phone bill $700?" Jerry, taken by surprise, has an incredibly guilty look on his face. All of a sudden, from the TV comes: "Hey, are you bored, lonely, just looking for a friend? Call me, Taddy Mason":


Jerry fumbles around looking for the remote. He looks under the couch, on the table, by the TV, he starts look for the controls on the TV. All the while, Taddy Mason gives the whole spiel, how he's a friend for hire (almost like an escort service), how it's only $1.99 a minute, how he'll even call you on a regular basis. Beth hears it all. Finally, in desperation, Jerry pulls the plug on the TV.

Beth, looking at him grimly, says: "Jerry, get a job."

^ I guess that's what Jerry needed the money for.

So at $1.99 a minute, that means Jerry spent $700 / $1.99 = 350 minutes = 5.83 hours (almost 6 hours) talking to Taddy Mason for the month. Jerry, apparently, needs a friend like a junkie needs heroin.

Never did figure out the cat theme, but to distract us from that question, here's Tony! Toni! Toné!


* The consequences of repressed rage: This episode of Rick and Morty takes the Freudian picture of the psyche to heart. It supposes that rage, or any natural impulse for that matter, is an energy that can be contained in the unconscious by defense mechanisms like repression. Freud compared this process to steam being pumped into a boiler which, when the pressure becomes too high, would blow its lid (like Morty shooting corpses). Is rage like steam that one has to blow off? And when it is repressed, is it "stored" like a permanent reservoir of emotional energy that builds up pressure the more it accumulates? If it is, then the more we repress our rage, or any emotion for that matter, the closer we bring ourselves to exploding, and the more violent the explosion when it finally happens. On the other hand, this episode might have the wrong idea. Maybe rage and other emotions naturally dissipate over time, regardless of whether we repress them or not. Maybe the boiler we force them into allows them to "leak" out in small quantities through little cracks in the structure. Maybe our rage and other emotions need to be constantly stimulated in order to stay alive. Or maybe our response to stimuli exacerbates with repeated exposure. Maybe it's not that our rage is "stored up" but that we respond stronger every time a thing annoys us, like our brains realize that our first response obviously wasn't enough. In any case, it is a real phenomenon. We've all experienced it. We can only tolerate so much. We take, and take, and take, until we've had enough and then we explode. How this works, the details, the exact nature of this phenomenon, is much less certain.

* The consequences of unrestrained raged: We also saw in this episode what the consequences might be of unrestrained rage. We saw this with the light house keeper and we see this all the time with Rick. Both immediately let off steam at the slightest stimulation. The consequences seem to be less murderous rage, a weaker impulse to violence. This would be just the inverse of the previous point (the consequences of repressed rage). Sure, there are frequent annoying mini-bursts--the lighthouse keeper's intolerance of Morty's criticism, Rick's disrespectful treatment towards Morty about almost everything--but it also permits those around them to not feel their lives are threatened. The lighthouse keeper welcomes Rick and Morty into his lighthouse peacefully. Rick, while unquestionably abusive to Morty, never wanted to beat or kill him like the participants in the purge did. So it stands to question: does letting out one's rage in frequent mini-bursts prevent one from wanting the occasional major purge?

* Does fighting amongst ourselves keep us in poverty: This is a question that seemed to slip into the episode after Arthricia introduced the rich elite. The discussion among the cat people near the end seemed to imply that violence was an alternative to a free market economy, that they had been participating in the festival for so long, a free market economy was a foreign concept to them. This further implies that all their rage was based on each one's unwillingness get what they want from each other, to participate in a give-and-take dynamic. The windshield washer fluid, recall, was "on the house". Rick told them, recall, that "if you need something, you get it." Could it be that this is what the rich elite were orchestrating? That the means by which they "pit poor people against each other for thousands of years" was by making them believe that taking what they want is an unforgivable evil and giving freely is a moral imperative? The idea, then, is that if anyone got what they needed from someone else, it would be by shear coincidence, not because one asked for it or others somehow knew that one needed it. This, therefore, might sew the seeds of hatred and resentment over the fact that one rarely gets what one needs from others, and this supposedly builds up a rage that must be purged once a year. If so, this strategy would seem to have prevented the regular cat folk from becoming self-sufficient in creating their own wealth--that is, by forming their own free market economy. Many questions were left unanswered after introducing this plot twist: for example, did the rich elite provide for the poor cat folk? Was it like a welfare system? Keeping them just at the level of sustenance? Or did the one sided constant giving suffice to supply everyone with what they needed despite that no one asked or paid for anything. If this instilled repressed resentment amongst the cat folk (mind you, this is my conjecture, not Roiland and Harmon's), why didn't the cat folk simply lash out at each other whenever it became too much? Who convinced them to save it for the festival, and why? And how did the rich elite convince them to give freely and never take what they need in the first place? In any case, it reminds me a lot of the Democratic party of the United States--maintaining a welfair state amongst the poor disenfranchised and keeping them there by maintaining violence and crime amongst them rather than trade and business. <-- It would seem, then, that if fighting amongst ourselves doesn't keep us in poverty, a rich elite with just those plans might.
My thoughts | My art | My music | My poetry

In fact, the idea that there's more differences between groups than there is between individuals is actually the fundamental racist idea.
- Jordan Peterson

right outta high school i tried to get a job as a proctologist but i couldn't find an opening.
- promethean75

Ahh... gib, zombie universes are so last year! I’m doing hyper dimensional mirror realities now.
- Ecmandu
User avatar
resident exorcist
Posts: 8929
Joined: Sat May 27, 2006 10:25 pm
Location: in your mom

Re: The Philosophy of Rick and Morty

Postby gib » Sat Mar 02, 2019 9:27 am

Rick and Morty - S2E10 - The Wedding Squanchers

Sitting around the breakfast table, Jerry tries to impress the family by enlightening them about the trick to eating cereal: "The trick to cereal is keeping 70% above the milk." Beth responds by telling him to get a job. There's a knock at the door. Rick prompts Jerry to get it. Jerry obeys. In comes this grotesque looking pink blob floating in the air:


It seems half organic, half robotic, and all gross. It hovers into the kitchen saying, "Delivery for Rick, Morty, Summer, Beth, and Jerry."

"It's like the intergalactic version of UPS but less off putting," says Rick. Why a machine that transports deliveries has to be half organic is never explained. Rick reaches under one of its slimy flaps and pulls out a robotic egg:


"Oh, shiiit!" celebrates Rick, "It's an eggvite from Bird Person." He cracks it open. Out pops an animated hologram of Bird Person and Tammy announcing their wedding:

Rick proceeds to chuck it in the garbage while Summer gleefully expresses her joy that her good friend Tammy is getting married (two a middle aged half-man/half-bird from another planet). Rick sits back down as "courier flaps" asks if he wishes to RSVP or send a gift. Rick responds with a firm No! "Weddings are basically funerals with cake," he says, "If I wanted to watch someone throw their life away, I-*burp*-I'd hang out with Jerry all day."

Beth urges Rick to reconsider:

Beth: "Dad, you have a friend that's getting married. That's a big deal."

Jerry: "It's a big deal he has a friend."

Rick: "What do you know about friendship, Jerry?"

Courier flaps: "Confirmed. Shipping Jerry."

Courier flaps sucks up Jerry (more like slurps up) and departs out the front door.

In response to Beth asking where it's taking Jerry, Rick says, "I assume planet Squanch, 6 thousand light years across the galaxy." (The Milky Way galaxy is 53 thousand light years wide.) "T-T-That's-That's insane!" bellows out Morty. Rick responds: "Yeah, I know, now we have to go to the wedding."

This episode, the last of season 2 (and the last I'll write about), is about friendship, trust and betrayal. Rick learns several valuable lessons by the end, the least of which is who his closest connections are, and what that means. What does it mean? Throughout all two seasons so far, Rick's been quite an asshole--insensitive, abusive, closed off, and in denial about the slightest suggestion that he cares. It becomes evidently clear in this episode that the reason for this is that Rick suffers fear of betrayal. But when he learns who his true loved ones are--and what love means--he learns the betrayal he was so afraid of is worth going through for the sake of those loved ones. This gives way, for the first time in the series, to a moral calling on Rick's part--a moral calling that beckons Rick to put his family ahead of his own self-interest.

The whole family, sans Jerry, are flying in Rick's ship, dressed to the nines for the wedding... all except Rick who, of course, wears his familiar lab coat, blue shirt, and brown pants. They land on planet Squanch.


It must have taken them a little over 6 thousand years to get here, so they're understandably tired. Or maybe not. The only way they could have gotten here in reasonable time is if they traveled through a portal. If anyone's seen the season 3 debut, you know that Rick's the only one who knows the technology of interdimensional travel, so we have to assume that courier flaps, if it indeed traveled through a portal to get to Earth and then back to Squanch, could not have hopped between dimensions. This means that planet Squanch, as well as Bird Person and all his friends, live in the same universe as Rick and the Smiths. If we can assume the Bird Person and the Squanchy we see in every episode are the same Bird Person and Squanchy, that links the universe of this episode with that of Get Schwifty and Ricksy Business.

Squanchy welcomes them to planet Squanch, and introduces himself to Beth who hasn't seen him before. Beth gets a crash course in how to speak Squanch. You basically use the word "squanch" at least once in every sentence. The listener infers what you mean by the context. So Beth tries it: "I squanch my family." They all look at her as though she said something appalling. "Stop saying it! Gross!" says Squanchy (of all people). He then invites everyone to cock-squanches.

Courier flaps then shows up and spits out Jerry (so the rest of the family beat him obviously). Jerry, covered in goo, stands up. Beth, who stays behind, throws a tuxedo on him and tells him to change.

The wedding is much like any other scene in the Rick and Morty series featuring a large gathering of aliens from all over the galaxy (like the house party from the season 1 finally):

The buildings look a lot like those on Bird Person's home planet (as seen in Get Schwifty). I wonder if Bird People and Squanches (if that's what they're called) share the same planet.

The Smiths meet up with Tammy. Tammy and Summer scream as they hug each other. Tammy shows off her huge acorn ring (it's literally a ring with an acorn on it). "It was Bird Person's grandmother's. She fought a squirrel for it."

Then Bird Person shows up. He's all dress to the nines as well (as far as Bird People go):


Bird Person: "Rick, I am pleased you and your family could witness my melding with Tammy."

Beth: "Our pleasure."

Rick: "Yeah, I just hope you got a pre-meld."

Morty: "Rick!"

Rick: "What?! It's just a practical way of making sure that when she's done with you, you can get one of your balls back."

Beth: "Jesus dad."

Morty: "He's just grumpy from the flight."

Rick: "Oh, I-I-I was happy on the flight. [walks away] I'm grumpy from the landing."

^ It seems Rick not only doesn't like weddings, but being at one takes a major toll on his mood. It stands to question whether it's being at a wedding or being at Bird Person's wedding.

But Rick's not the only one. Beth is going through a few motions as well: when Jerry starts networking with an alien (introducing himself as an advertiser), Beth rags on him for it:

Beth: "Jerry, stop networking, we're in space."

Jerry: "Jerry, get a job. Jerry, don't look for a job at an alien wedding. I don't get you."

Beth: "This is the closest I've ever gotten to this part of my father's life. I don't want to blow it."

Jerry: "I get it. I'm cramping your style."

Beth: "You say you get it, but I'm scared you'll keep doing it."

^ I'm not sure who has the bigger stick up their ass--Rick or Beth--but it seems the stick comes from two completely different places; with Rick, it comes from being at this wedding; with Beth, it comes from her yearning to get closer to her father and feeling threatened that Jerry will ruin it. (And for the record, I think it's perfectly reasonable to network at an alien wedding considering this is probably not the last time the Smith family will encounter aliens, particularly once they're connected through Tammy and Bird Person's marriage.)

Tammy's parents approach them. Beth suggests: "Look, here's some humans you can practice on." But does Jerry make a good impression? Well, just watch:

^ Jerry may not be the sharpest tool in the shed, but he isn't this dumb. He's being an ass on purpose. Maybe it's to spite Beth, or maybe he's taking Beth's words to heart: they're at an alien wedding so don't try so hard (though I think her point was it makes more sense to network with humans than aliens). In any case, he's going out of his way to make a bad impression. Beth sends him to the corner to talk to nobody.

Morty approaches Rick at the bar. He gives him a little pep talk to try to lighten him up. He accuses Rick of not being very supportive of Bird Person on his big day. "Bird Person's big day, Morty," says Rick, "was at Blood Ridge, on Glapflap's third moon, against the Gromflomites. This... this is a losing battle." <-- A little bit of background into Rick and Bird Person's history. Morty responds with some fairly mature advice: "What do you think's gonna happen if you open yourself up a little bit? I mean, look around. This is your family and friends all around you, you know? Take the day off. There's nothing to run from. Nothing to fight." <-- It's a really good point. This is one of the rare moments in their adventures together when there's nothing to be upset about. If there's any occasion when Rick should be happy, enjoy himself and be sociable, this is it. Rick does look around the place, scoping out all his friends and family, watching as they have a good time, indicating that he is thinking about Morty's advise, but as usual, he blows it off with a snide insult about lame advise he knows nothing about.

While Morty tries to work through Rick's issues, Beth works on her own with Bird Person.

Beth: "Ah, sounds like you and my dad have a long history together. Wish I could say the same."

Bird Person: "The road your father and I walk together is soaked deeply with the blood of both friends and enemies."

Beth: "Must be nice. Um, I used to have to draw him into family photos with a crayon."

Bird Person: "The war in which we fought is far from over. We live our lives in hiding."

Beth: "I guess I should be happy for you? I mean, great, you guys got to hang out. I hope you had a blast."

Bird Person: "The galactic government considers us terrorists. It's unwise of me to share these details but I've become inebriated."

Beth: "I don't know if you can appreciate what it means to grow up without a father but-"

Bird Person: "The guest list at this wedding includes 17 of the federation's most wanted. We have committed numerous atrocities in the name of freedom."

Beth: "Aaand during that time, I don't suppose he ever mentioned his daughter. [A squanchy-like character walks by with hors d’oeuvres.] Are those baby quiches?" [Beth takes one.]

Bird Person: "Night crawler pate. I should prepare for the ceremony." [Bird Person walks away.]

Beth: "Like talking to a brick wall."

^ Talk about the pot calling the kettle black. Beth is so obsessed with getting daddy validation that she blocks out everything Bird Person says--even when it is about her father--as long as it's not what she wants to hear. It must be nice that the road her father and Bird Person walk together is soaked deeply with the blood of both friends and enemies? She guesses she should be happy that they live their lives in hiding? She hopes they had a blast? The narcissism at this party is unparalleled.

The ceremony is set on a beach before the evening sun. It sets on the ocean horizon right behind Tammy and Bird Person. Squanchy is marrying them (who knew he was a priest... or maybe a justice of the peace). The ceremony is rather uneventful. They both have their cheesy vows, "squanch" replaces every second word, and by the sounds Tammy makes, the kiss is really wet and sloppy. Rick, quite inebriated himself, let's out a disinterested belch at their vows.

Next comes the reception. There's a creepy looking man walking around the room taking photos with his eyes. That's right, he appears to be a cyborg whose eyes are cameras. He says to an alien dude: "I am not staring at you. I am a cyborg photographer. Just act natural. This is a candid shot. I don't require a camera so-" He gets cut off by the alien dude and walks away. <-- Might seem like a trivial detail to note, but one thinks twice about this when one knows what comes next.

Rick stands up to make a toast. He clinks his glass: "Uh, hi everybody, I'm R-*burp*-ick. You know, when I first met Bird Person, he was-"

He holds up his notes which literally read: "(trail off) (crumple up notes) (Ad-lib)"


Rick goes on: "Listen, I'm not the nicest guy in the universe... because I'm the smartest. And being nice is something stupid people do to hedge their bets. [grabs glass of champagne and moves to middle of room.] Now, I haven't exactly been subtle about how little I trust marriage. I couldn't make it work and I can turn a black hole into a sun. So, at a certain point you gotta ask yourself: what are the odds this is legit, not just some big lie we're all telling ourselves because we're afraid to die alone. Because, you know, that's exactly how we all die... alone. [Smith family grumbles in embarrassment and aggravation] But... but... here's the thing... Bird Person is my best friend, and if he loves Tammy, well, then I love Tammy too."

Applause all around. Beth grabs Jerry's hand and looks into his eyes lovingly. Squanchy tosses his "Rick's BFF" bracelet on the table.

"To friendship, to love, and to my greatest adventure yet: opening myself up to others!"

^ There's a lot of philosophical content packed into that speech. Let's unpack it.

Is being nice something we do to hedge our bets? Particularly because we're not as smart as we could be? After all, we can all recall numerous occasions when we had certain unflattering thoughts about a person but held back because it would be rude to say. For example, if you think someone is fat and ugly. We hold back saying it because to do otherwise would get us into a whole lotta trouble. There are also things we'd like to do that would be considered rude or cruel, and perhaps illegal--like stealing--but we don't because we would get in trouble. But how would being smart change this? Obviously, Rick is saying that with enough intelligence, one can get away with anything. One can dodge backlash by making the other person feel stupid (like Rick does to Jerry). One can dodge the law by coming up with clever ways to outsmart law enforcement.

(Also, having seen the Season 3 premier, I now caught on to how Rick admitted to being the smartest man in the universe; if the Glomfromites weren't kidding in the Season 3 premier, then neither is Rick.)

Rick talks about marriage as a sort of crutch--something we do, not because we fall in love, but because we don't want to die alone. If this is true, then it really doesn't matter who we marry--someone we like, someone we hate, someone who's completely incompatible with us--so long as it's somebody. And I can't count the number of times I've seen marriages in which this seemed to be true. People settling for one another, people accepting partners that are far from ideal... and then hating each other throughout the entire marriage--resenting and despising each other--all so they won't die alone. Dying alone, then, is worse than not being in love. And it may even be futile. According to Rick, we all die alone regardless. At least one of us does anyway; unless we die at the same time, the other gets to have us at their bedside as they pass away.

Rick says how he hasn't been subtle about how he distrusts marriage and how he couldn't make his first marriage work. It's funny, not only how he can turn a black hole into a sun (which any physicist will tell you is impossible) despite not being able to make a marriage work, but how he uses the word "trust"--and ends his speech with "opening up". It's like the one thing he's not good at--the one thing he's mentally retarded at--is trust. It seems then that the reason he's so closed off to everyone is not because of some high intelligence horse his ego is on but because he's scared of being hurt. He describes "opening up" as his greatest adventure yet--implying that it is the most perilous--as if escaping near death at the hands of the gromflomites is child's play thanks to his extraordinarily high IQ, but opening up to people is the real challenge. He seems to be saying that if Bird Person, the one he trusts the most in this world, is able to open up (as demonstrated through marriage), then maybe that makes it ok for him to open up too.

(You might even note how Rick wasn't even ready to call Bird Person his best friend at the beginning of this episode --> Morty: "[Bird Person]'s Rick's best friend." Rick: "Uh, l-let's not get carried away, Morty.")

And just as Rick opens himself up to Tammy like this, he's betrayed:

Tammy responds: "Thank you. Rick, that was beautiful. Gosh, I look around this room and I think, 'Uh, Tammy, you're a high school senior from the planet Earth and you're marrying a 40 year old Bird Person? Like, whaaat?' [crowd laughs] But then I think, you know, in a lot of ways, I'm not a high school senior from the planet Earth. In a lot of ways, what I really am is a deep cover agent for the galactic federation, and you guys are a group of wanted criminals and this entire building is, in a certain sense, surrounded."


Not sure why she had to carry around her ID on her wedding day. I think being surrounded by gromflomites would be evidence enough. But let's think about this a little further. Tammy, whom we met in the Season 1 finally as a drunk high school teen at a house party, turns out to be a deep cover agent for the federation. She can't be more than 18, and must have known Summer for at least enough time to become good friends with her. The only other time we've met her was in Get Schwifty when Morty stumbled onto Bird Person's home planet and she told us she likes bird cock. That's quite the stunt to pull off considering how difficult it must be to fake being a high school student, best friend to Summer, and lover to Bird Person, but I suppose the galactic federation selects only the best. And what does she get out of it? Assuming she's human, and not some cyborg or alien shapeshifter, the federation must have approached her and offered her a deal she just couldn't refuse. It's not clear, however, what that might be.

Before everyone can get over their shock, Tammy pulls out a gun and shoots Bird Person.

Rick screams: "BIRD PERSON!!! NOOOOOO!!!"

Then gun fire opens up on both sides--the federal agents (Tammy and her "parents") and a handful of the rebels (including Squanchy). Joining the agents, a squad of gromflomites break through the glass ceiling and start firing. Then more rebels join in while others run for cover.

The Smiths, with Rick, hide behind a knocked over table. Rick prepares his portal gun for a quick escape. Tammy stops him with her gun: "Drop the portal gun." Rick obeys. She tells him to slide it to the middle of the room. He does, but not before flicking a switch on the gun that starts some kind of timer. As the gromflomites approach the portal gun to pick it up, it blasts a plasmic bulb of that green portal energy and sucks the gromflomites into (presumably) another dimension (kind of like the Ghostbusters trap).

The blast is so blinding and loud, Tammy has to take a second to rub her eyes and get re-oriented, dropping her gun in the process. We can hear the ringing in her ears.

Rick makes a run for it. He dashes across the room, grabbing a gun from a gromflomite who just got shot, and hides behind what looks like the band's stage (one instrument in particular looks like a bunch of ball sacks; and apparently impenetrable to laser blasts. <-- Like to have me one of those).


Squanchy approaches Rick, tells him to get his family out of here and that he's got this. Rick takes off. Squanchy removes a tooth which turns out to be a capsule containing a liquid. He swallows the liquid and transforms into this mammoth hulk:


He then starts tearing up the place--swatting gromflomites into the wall, crushing things, and pinning Tammy to the ground.

Rick gets his family to follow him. They run into a flying Winnebago (having something to do with worms). Tammy's parents chase after them. It's now evident from the scars on their faces that they're cyborgs, much like the one taking pictures with his eyes:


The Smiths manage to fight them off and escape the gromflomites.

Cruising through space, safely out of harms way, the Smiths have a friendly conversation inside the Winnebago...

Jerry: "Uh, Rick, is there anything you'd like to tell us about your relationship with this previously unknown galactic government?"

Rick: "All the important points seem pretty clear, no? They think they control the galaxy, I disagree. Don't hate the player, hate the game, son."

Jerry: "How could you be so dishonest with this family?"

Rick: "Oh, oh, should I have been more honest and open and loving like, oh I don't know, my now dead best friend, or your daughter who was BFFs with an intergalactic narc?!"

Summer: "Hey, Tammy was cool!"

Rick: "And now we know why!"

Summer: "Because of you!"

Rick: "Fuck you Summer! And fuck the government! And fuck me for letting my guard down which I will never... do... again!"

So it's pretty clear from this speech what Rick puts the blame on whenever something like this happens: putting his guard down. It seems pretty out in the open now: Rick is closed off because he fears betrayal... from both friends and loved ones and those who pose as such. Recall the post-credit scene from M. Night Shayman-alien--when Rick had a knife at Morty's throat accusing him of being a simulation. Rick seems to have lived a life in which being vulnerable and open to others is the most mal-adaptive thing one can do.

And what he just experienced must be a harsh reminder of that if anything is. If I'm right that Bird Person's trust in Tammy vicariously made Rick feel more comfortable investing trust in Tammy, then seeing Tammy shoot Bird Person to death right after he expressed his trust must have been the ultimate betrayal.

Rick then tells his family that they can't go home... ever. When they ask why, he tells them that the galactic federation is now looking for them: "Look, anyone who wants to go back to Earth is free to go back to Earth, but here's what's gonna happen. Alien bureaucrats are gonna arrest you. They're gonna put the inter-galactic equivalent of-*burp*-jumper cables onto your nuts and/or labia, and hook them up to an alien car battery until you tell them where I am. Which I guarantee you you're not gonna know. Which I guarantee they won't believe. So who's home sick? By applause. Ladies? Anybody?"

Summer starts crying. She asks where they're gonna live. Rick reassures them there are other planets hospitable to life besides Earth. He even disses Earth: "Fuck Earth. You realize our planet's name means dirt, right?" He pulls out a gadget, like a mini-computer, and speaks into it: "Computer, how many planets in the Milky Way are at least 90% similar to Earth." The computer comes back with 765. Then Rick asks how many are outside federal jurisdiction. The answer is 3.

Rick seems surprisingly pleased. He even says: "Our cup runneth over," and compares it to a shopping expedition: "Now who wants to go shopping for a brand new mother fucking world!!!"

Rick is doing what he always does when things get fucked up beyond repair--bailing on his world. Except this time he doesn't have his portal gun. So he must opt for another world within this one.

Three isn't such a large selection when you're planet shopping. You're bound to be disappointed by at least a few of them. For example, this is how the first one turns out:

Second one turns out to be Cob Planet. Why? Because everything's on a cab of corn. Everything seems decent at first--trees, blue sky, comfortable temperature--and then Summer discovers strawberries on a cob (literally strawberries growing on a corn cob); and Morty discovers flowers on a cob. Beth looks off to the horizon and discovers mountains on a cob (literally whole mountains jutting out of giant corn cobs).


Rick notices crows on a cob landing in a nearby tree. He picks up rocks on a cob, which has bugs on a cob crawling on it. He inspects it with a magnifying device and finds atoms on a cob:


^ The nucleus looks more like white chocolate chunks on a cob rather than protons and neutrons, but who am I to say what protons and neutrons are supposed to look like, let alone when they're on a cob. One thing I'm more certain about is that atoms on a cob, at least here on Cob Planet, are about 32 times smaller than ordinary atoms. In the image above, it indicates the magnification at 1650 to the power of 100, which is roughly 5.6 x 10^321, or .56 x 10^-322 of a meter. A typical atom is between .5 x 10^-10 and .1 x 10^-10 of a meter. So much smaller than an atom.

So the entire planet is made of things on a cob--right down to the very atom. <-- This seems like something Roiland and Harmon would make up for an entire reality Rick and Morty might visit with their portal gun--you know, a dimension where everything is on a cob--not just an isolated planet in C-137 (or whatever dimension we're following now), but who's to say there isn't a universe out there in the Rick and Morty world where just one planet is made of things on a cob. One of the main premises of Rick and Morty, after all, is that if there can be a reality featuring X out there (and with an infinite number of universes, there is every reality out there), why can't it be this one? Another possibility is that Cob Planet was originally from a universe in which everything came on a cob but somehow got sucked through a portal and ended up here--whether that portal was created intentionally by an intelligence or was a freak accident of nature is anyone's guess. But I think the most probable scenario is that Roiland and Harmon are trying to make this as similar as possible to Rick's reality hopping adventures with his portal gun--driving the point home that this is how Rick deals with his problems.

In any case, Rick decides that this is incredibly dangerous and urges everyone to leave: "GET IN THE GODDAM SHIP!!! EVERYTHING'S ON A COB!!! THE WHOLE PLANET'S ON A COB!!! GO!!! GO!!! GO!!!" They take off.

Two down, one more to go.

The final planet seems pretty decent. There's mountains, lakes, trees, grass, clouds in the sky. They land on the night side of the planet. All seems great until the sun rises:

^ Again, like something from another reality. This time, the oddity is with the sun, not the planet, and again the same implications apply: might be from a universe in which all suns scream and somehow made its way through a portal... but probably not what Harmon and Roiland were thinking.

They opt for Tiny Planet.

The scene cuts to a view of the entire planet with a little shack planted at the top. Not sure if it was there the whole time or they built it. Inside the shack, a TV is setup receiving signal from the galactic federation. They're watching gromflomite news. The reporters tell us that Earth is now a part of the federation and is open to tourism. Summer shuts it off.

Rick walks in all dressed for winter. He's carrying a flag with an R inside a circle.

Rick: "Do I smell bacon?"

Beth: "Yes, we discovered a species of tiny pig off the coast of New Australia about 30 yards East."

Morty: "Or 300 yards West."

Summer: "We'd offer you some but we hunted it to extinction for breakfast."

So Tiny Planet is 330 yards in circumference, almost the length of 3 football fields.

Rick announces that he's making an expedition to the South Pole to do some exploring (which explains his winter attire).

Now that Rick's gone, Jerry wants to talk about their situation. Morty preaches about the ethics of talking behind other people's backs, but Jerry insists. <-- I'm on Jerry's side with this one: they do need to talk about their situation, and it's best to do so when Rick is not around. Rick would just take control of the conversation and steer it in his own biased self-interested direction.

Rick's expedition to the South Pole takes him through forest, jungle, desert, rain and snow fall:

^ Notice the mountains in the background. If this planet is really only 330 yards in circumference, those mountains can't be more than a few feet high.

Rick discovers an ice cave. He crawls in saying, "Things just keep on getting better."

^ Rick seems to have an overly optimistic view of their situation. Saying "Our cup runneth over," when discovering 3 Earth-like planets outside federal jurisdiction. Dissing Earth as a planet named after dirt. Calling their situation "a blessing in disguise." Shouting "Now who wants to go shopping for a brand new mother fucking world?!" And now this. I think Rick's in a bit of denial. He knows he's responsible for the mess he got his family in and doesn't want to admit he really fucked them over. So he thinks of it as a blessing in disguise. It's not his fault that Tammy turned out to be a narc or that the federation crashed the wedding. Hell, he didn't even want to go to the wedding, and if it wasn't for Jerry getting sucked up by courier flaps, they wouldn't have. But the bigger picture of entering back into their lives and keeping this huge secret from them... who knows what his intentions were; if he wanted to escape the galactic federation by blending in to a modern family in the suburbs on Earth, it seems he had the opposite effect: dragging his family into the tangled web of his affairs with the galactic government. And now he's faced with a moral challenge: keep his family in hiding with him, or give himself up in order to save his family.

Rick stumbles upon the planet's core. It isn't much, just a whirlpool of lava about the size of a hot tub. He shimmies his way around it. All of a sudden, he overhears Jerry's voice. He climbs the wall into a small chamber. The ceiling is actually the floor of the log cabin. He listens in on the conversation:

Jerry: "I'm just saying, we keep acting like there's only two options, but there's not. So yes, if we went back to Earth, so long as Rick was out there, they'd want to interrogate us. But, and this is purely hypothetical, what if we turned your father into the government."

Beth: "Jerry, so help me God, if you ever bring this up again, no more bacon."

Jerry: "There already is no more bacon! This world sucks! Our lives sucks! Why are we doing this for someone that would never do anything for anyone but himself?"

Morty [sappy music starts]: "That's not the point dad! We love Rick... f-f-for the most part."

Summer: "Yeah, you don't love people in hopes of a reward, dad. You love them unconditionally."

Beth: "That's very good kids. I'm proud of you."

Jerry: "So let me get this straight. For the rest of your lives, no matter how much it hurts you, no matter how much it destroys our children's future, we're gonna do whatever Rick wants whenever he wants?"

Everyone: "Yes!"

Jerry: "WHY?!?!"

Beth: "'Cause I don't want him to leave again you dumb asshole! [begins to cry]"

While he can certainly be accused of being insensitive to Beth's feelings, I'm with Jerry on this one. Saying yes to doing whatever Rick wants whenever he wants no matter how much it hurts the children and destroys their future, only because you're afraid to lose him, is incredibly immature and irresponsible. On the other hand, turning in a family member (although I don't think Jerry considers Rick "family") in order to live a better life than the one they're facing on Tiny Planet might be considered equally immature and irresponsible. Rick may be reckless, irresponsible, and a horrible influence on the children, but Morty and Summer have grown a strong enough bond to their grandfather that they're willing to treat him as anyone would treat a family member--sticking with them through thick or thin. Still, Rick, overhearing all this, knows the gravity of the situation he got them into. He hears Jerry's reasoning and he hears Beth's response--that the only reason she's willing to put up with him and the situation he got them into, the only reason she's willing to drag the kids along for the ride--is because she doesn't want to lose Rick again. This confronts him with a dilemma. He could take advantage of his family's willingness to jump into the fire he's presented to them, continue to eek out a survival here on Tiny Planet, or he could take Jerry's words seriously and do what's right for his family--hand himself into the government. This is the moment when his denial breaks. He flops onto his bottom from his crouched position and gives into the undeniable truth, a look of despair overcoming his face. He knows what he has to do.

Morty plays frisbee with himself. He throws the frisbee towards the horizon and it literally comes back on the other side. He doesn't seem to be having too much fun--a look of boredom or even depression on his face (for obvious reasons).

Rick comes up to him and says he's going over to the Gloppy Drop system to get ice cream (if this is one of those metaphorical references to ice cream--representing taking pleasure is false realities--then it's convenient that Rick whips this up as a lie--he's not going for ice cream because he's facing up to a harsh reality). Morty asks, in a rather eager tone like an excited puppy, if he wants him to come with, needing his brain waves for camouflage. Rick says he'll be fine. Morty calls him out on abandoning them: "Rick, I can handle it if you go, but you'll break mom's heart, and I won't forgive you for that." Rick just leaves.

I think this conscientiousness on Morty's part is what sets him apart from his father. That Rick's abandonment of the family matters to Beth doesn't even show up on Jerry's radar. But with Morty, not only does it show up on his radar, but what matters to his mother matters to him as well.

The rest of the episode is kinda touching, so I think it's worth posting a clip of it:

If there is one redeeming moment in Rick Sanchez's life, this would be it. Rick is not known for his altruism, but when he is altruistic, it shines through with a blinding light.

I guess he's not as cynical about the galactic federation as one might at first think. If he trusts that his family can have a "normal life" on Earth as a reward for handing him in, he must trust that the galactic government is loyal to their word. Perhaps he understands that the galactic government is not evil, just overly bureaucratic and coldly mechanical.

Then there's post federation Earth--boy, did the federation sure set up shop quickly. I mean, how long were the Smith's gone for? A day? (the six light years thing was just a joke.) Also, not sure how they got Jerry's identity from his DNA. Even if they somehow got a hold of his DNA (a hair follicle, dead skin), how could they link it with the person without Jerry being their to confirm it? And what makes Jerry so sure his new "job" isn't just to pay off the debt he incurred from the (supposedly complimentary) pills he so complacently swallowed. The robot never said it was permanent. But then again, we find in the season 3 debut that Jerry does indeed get a pretty cushy job that pulls down 6 figures (whether that's in dollars or fed credits isn't clear, but 6 figures is still greater than the 4 figures of 7000 fed credits). So even if he is being stupid now, he should consider himself extraordinarily lucky.

I wonder if the Smith's realize what Rick did. We don't hear much of the conversation after the gromflomites bid the Smiths good morning on Tiny Planet, so it leaves one to question how much they reveal about why they're there. In particular, I wonder if they let out that Jerry Smith reported Rick, and if so, did Jerry play along? I doubt it because his family doesn't seem to be fuming mad at him. Also, in the season 3 debut, Beth tells Summer: "Stop saying his name! He abandoned us," which indicates that the Smiths still think Rick simply ran out on them again.

Rick gets taken to prison. There we see another humanoid robot taking his mug shots, saying exactly the same thing as the one at the wedding: "Sorry, I am not staring at you. I am taking your mug shots."

And the gromflomites who bring up a list of all the things Rick is wanted for:


Notice that the "wanted for" wording is in English but the list is in an alien language (gromflomite?).

So it seems like Rick, for once in his life, does the right thing for his family--and WHAT a thing to do--definitely not in his own self-interest. On the other hand, we always have to be suspicious of Rick's supposed altruistic acts. They often turn out to hide a hidden agenda. In the season 3 debut, for instance, Rick tells Morty that turning himself in was all part of his master plan to bring down the galactic government (as well as the Citadel of Ricks). As he says to the head gromflomite after transferring his mind to the gromflomite agent, "Well, I'm just a dumb ass bug, but it's possible Rick knew he'd be interrogated at this facility where we not only keep our most wanted, but our most sensitive data. Anyone here with level nine access could *burp* I don't know, collapse a government." <-- This could have been conjured up in the moment (he certainly wouldn't want to reveal anything about his family to these guys), but it would make more sense, knowing the genius that Rick is, that he would be plotting a way to bring down the government as a means to saving himself and his family rather than just turning himself in to rot in a high security prison. Whatever his motives are, they're certainly more than what they seem from the season 2 finally.

And of course, it just wouldn't do the season 2 finally justice unless Mr. Poopy Butthole gave us a review in the post-credit scene and whetted our appetite for season 3 (I wonder if the fact that he was watching the season 2 finally has any implications for which reality we were following in this episode--for one, it wasn't the reality featuring Mr. Poopy Butthole). Here it is:


Opening one's self to others: Is opening one's self up to others a foolish move or a healthy one? Are we better off always being suspicious of others and relying only on ourselves, or are we better off nurturing strong healthy connections with others? Personally, I think we're far better off opening ourselves to others, but we do have to be smart about who we open ourselves to--good friends and loved ones are ok, telemarketers and scam artists not so much. But Rick Sanchez lives a much different life than most of us. Rick can't even bring himself to trust his own family. When you live in a world where a flirty teenage skank turns out to be a deep cover agent for a galactic government, things can get a lot more harry. But this is quite the atypical world to say the least. If you're Rick Sanchez then maybe you shouldn't open yourself up to others--not even friends and family--but if you're living in the ordinary world of real life, then it's a fair bet that you're better off opening yourself to friends, family, and loved ones.

Connecting with others--selfish or selfless: If Rick's central issue in this episode is his distrust in others, then Beth's is wanting connection, specifically with her father. But both do it for selfish reasons. Rick harms his family in his stubborn insistence on distrusting everyone. But he eventually rises above it by sacrificing himself for his family. The only time Beth sacrifices her need to connect with her father, however, was in Autoerotic Assimilation when she stood up to her father about having secret underground lairs beneath the garage. In this episode, she clearly admits to putting her family in harms way because she doesn't want to lose Rick again. So the question is: is wanting connections with others always an act of love--i.e. done for selfless reasons? Or can it be selfish and possibly harmful to others--even to the one you want a connection with? And if it causes harm to the one you want to connect with, is the connection even possible? Does true connections with others require total honesty and sensitivity to the other's needs? I think it does, for anything else only drives a wedge between you and the other, and makes connection all the more difficult.

Love--unconditional?: Summer says, "You don't love people in hopes of a reward. You love them unconditionally." But how much can you love someone who, in Jerry's words, "would never do anything for anyone but himself?" The idea, I suppose, is that real love is not affected by the things the other person does--the way a parent might love their children, for example, despite how much the children might abuse their parents. When it comes to family, one can understand the mechanism--there is a deeply ingrained instinct to look out for members of your own family. What they do or what they say doesn't change the fact that they are family and carry your genes. This would certainly explain why Jerry has such a tough time understanding why his family would go through all the trouble of sticking by Rick's side. But even as families usually go, it bears questioning how realistic Summer's statement is. Certainly, there comes a point where the abuse overpowers the love and eclipses it with sentiments of animosity and resentment. We know that Morty certainly has gone through his fair share of mood swings with Rick. His statement to Bird Person in the season 1 finally, "I'm sick of having adventures with Rick," sounds as if Morty is about ready to give up on Rick. Is this love showing its conditional nature, or just the storms it must sometimes weather while holding sway like a stone? What would happen if the Smiths all of a sudden found out that Rick is not the person he claims to be? What if, for example, he turns out to be one of the parasites from Total Rickall? Would they still love him then? I would think not. But then that means that their love for him is conditional on Rick being who he says he is. Or is this the crux? When we say we love someone unconditionally, do we mean for who they are? If they turn out to be someone different, is it like the person we loved disappeared? If this is the case, then Summer is saying she loves Rick despite knowing that he would never do anything for anyone but himself. By the same stroke, Jerry is saying he can't love someone like Rick. In the finally analysis, perhaps love is always conditional on at least who the person is.
My thoughts | My art | My music | My poetry

In fact, the idea that there's more differences between groups than there is between individuals is actually the fundamental racist idea.
- Jordan Peterson

right outta high school i tried to get a job as a proctologist but i couldn't find an opening.
- promethean75

Ahh... gib, zombie universes are so last year! I’m doing hyper dimensional mirror realities now.
- Ecmandu
User avatar
resident exorcist
Posts: 8929
Joined: Sat May 27, 2006 10:25 pm
Location: in your mom


Return to Philosophy

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users