After a mid-series hiatus, Rick and Morty has returned to TV with an appropriately imaginative, meta episode – however as collection 4 continues, has Dan Harmon and Justin Roiland’s cult sci-fi animation taken a knife to its personal arc?
Properly, possibly. However possibly not. Both manner, maybe we should always have seen this coming.
Through the years, Rick and Morty has constructed up a status for itself as a very anarchic collection, following the interdimensional adventures of an alcoholic scientist and his milquetoast grandson as they steal from aliens, thwart (and trigger) numerous apocalypses and usually bounce from story to unpredictable story.
Commonly breaking the fourth wall and pouring scorn on conventional sci-fi (or different storytelling) narratives, Rick and Morty is as a lot anti-expectation because the characters are antiheroic – however over time Harmon and Roiland have nonetheless carried out slightly little bit of world-building anyway, with sure episodes hinting at extra conventional arcs for the characters to take care of.
The biggest of those might be character of ‘Evil Morty’ – a darkish model of the Morty Smith we all know from one other universe who’s appeared to plot world domination in two fan-favourite episodes, and is the common topic of fan theories and on-line dialogue from followers who hope to see the story resolved in future episodes.
Beforehand, Evil Morty and different in-universe plot factors have appeared just like the one factor Rick and Morty’s trademark cynicism couldn’t contact – however the brand new episode adjustments all that.
In By no means Ricking Morty (which aired on Sunday third Might within the States, however Thursday seventh Might within the UK) we rejoin our – heroes? Yeah let’s go along with that – as they’re trapped on a story practice with the evil Story Lord, with conventions of plotting, storytelling and the tropes of the collection itself all going to hell because the episode continues.
Mainly, that is Rick and Morty going extra meta than ever, with the episode culminating in Story Lord unleashing their “limitless potential” to have them face off with Evil Morty, a military of alternate Ricks, an evil model of Mr PoopyButthole (one other recurring character) and extra.
Basically, this scene – together with different flashes that noticed the dangling plot thread of Rick’s dead-friend-turned-bad “Phoenix Individual” in one other of the episode’s vignettes – is what the followers have been hoping for, a terrific ultimate showdown, the fruits of years of teases. And Rick and Morty just made enjoyable of it.
As a substitute of going through off with the villains, Rick and Morty derail Story Lord’s plan by redirecting right into a stereotypical Christian fable, full with ripped Jesus Christ and VeggieTale-style sidekicks. Story Lord is incensed – and on-line, fairly just a few followers have been too. What was all of the arrange for? Will these tales now be deserted ceaselessly? And even when they’re not, how can we take them severely?
“Is any of this canon?” Morty asks at one level through the episode, poking enjoyable at followers’ preoccupation with how episodes slot collectively.
“It might have been!” Rick replies.
The story concludes with the revelation that your complete episode really passed off on a high-tech “Story Prepare” toy, with Rick aggressively suggesting the lesson discovered is to help the forces of capitalism, so it’s truthful to say that followers are nonetheless reeling slightly from what all of it means for the way forward for the collection, and whether or not any of it mattered in any respect.
So what’s the reality? Properly, it’s in all probability slightly difficult. For my cash, the plot threads in all probability aren’t gone ceaselessly – they just received’t unfold fairly as prosaically as they did in these fantasies – however even when they had been, it could really feel applicable.
I’ve all the time felt Rick and Morty’s refusal to take something severely must also apply to itself, and generally the temporary hints of “arcs” felt just like the collection unconsciously slipping into one thing it wasn’t – one thing regular, to be taken at face worth. One thing much less attention-grabbing.
No matter else you consider By no means Ricking Morty, it was undoubtedly attention-grabbing. And even when meaning we don’t get an Evil Morty with an eyepatch once more, I’m keen to make that sacrifice for one thing completely different.
Rick and Morty continues at 10.00pm on Thursday on E4. Should you’re on the lookout for extra to look at take a look at our TV Information.