Rick and Morty, which was created by Justin Roiland and Dan Harmon and started airing in 2013, quickly became one of the most iconic shows currently airing with a rabid fan base that just can't seem to get enough. Despite the show's sustained popularity, it has been through peaks and troughs over its run so far with critics and audiences alike claiming the previous season, Season 3, as the worst of the bunch.
Even with episodes like "Pickle Rick" and the "Ricklantis Mixup" providing for some of the biggest laughs and playing with trippy sci-fi and fantasy concepts that the show is known for, the overall pulse from the viewing audience was lukewarm at best. The show feels most life itself when it focusses on the absurdist humor, deconstructs a beloved sci-fi or movie concept and gives us contained storylines that work on their own.
Following is the breakdown of each of the new Season 4 episodes of the show with a score attached indicating its quality in terms of storytelling, humor, and originality.
Let the ranking begin!
Episode 1: "Egde of Tomorty:Rick Die Rickpeat"
Taking a page out of Hollywood time travel films that deal with the trope of a person dying over and over again to be alive the next day, essentially being stuck in a time-loop. After Rick is accidentally killed on their quest of retrieving "death crystals"- crystals that show a person their future and how they die, Morty must come out of the mental trap of the crystal that is condemning him to his worst possible future and revive his grand-dad before it's too late.
As a concept, this episode works fine with a major source of the comedy being Morty's degradation due to the crystal and the various "Rick clones" created by the mad-scientist waking up from cryogenic sleep all across the universe. The idea of the crystal guiding someone into a fate worse than death is a neat idea, however, for a premiere episode, it is a little lacking.
Overall Score- 3/5 stars
Episode 2: "The Old Man and the Seat"
Scatological at its core, this episode is all about doing one's business is peace. Rick's obsession with being all alone on a distant planet like Thanos while on the crapper is an inherently funny concept that is bolstered by the amazing animation of the show. Rick's subsequent crusade against the tiny being treating the toilet as his own is very telling of his character and the resolution of this plot-thread is absolutely heartbreaking.
Plot b, which deals with Morty and Jerry attempting to bring an evil dating app that is destroying the world at large has some funny moments, courtesy of Summer and Beth's constant showdown. However, the second plot thread felt generic and didn't add much to the world of the show.
Overall score- 3.5/5 stars.
Episode 3: "One Crew over the Crewcoo's Morty"
Easily one the most creative episodes of the show so far, the deconstruction of the 'heist movies' is pitch-perfect with this one. Dan Harmon, the co-creator of the show who has made it no secret his abhorrent hatred towards movies and TV shows with a 'heist' as the central concept, has made the best piece of criticism he could make. The random montages of putting a team together, the contrived nonsensical writing that is at the center of all these stories and the final twist all work like a charm.
Rick's robot, 'Hiestatron' and all the carnage it causes due to its programming is a blast to watch and makes for a breezy episode that works perfectly as a sci-fi deconstruction of a genre.
Overall score- 4/5
Episode 4: "Claw and Hoarder: Special Ricktim's Morty"
Intimacy, sexuality and loyalty can be considered the main themes in the mind of this episode. After Morty's soul-bonded Dragon Balthromaw cheats on him with Rick and is taken back to a realm of dragons oppressed by a wizard, our heroes must free all the dragons while accepting troubling things about their own sexuality.
The "slut dragons", dragons proud of their sexuality bring the biggest laughs of the episode. Plot b, the second plot thread that deals with Jerry's misadventures in Florida with a talking cat voiced by Matthew Broderick is one of those rare moments in the show where both the stories work.
The resolution of both the stories is fantastic and the manner in which they complement each other is nearly perfect.
Overall score- 4/5
Episode 5: "Rattlestar Ricklatica"
Clearly a play on words, this episode splices snakes with space-opera TV shows like 'Star Trek' and 'Battlestar Galactica', and gives one of the most inventive, original and out-of-the-box episodes of the series till date.
The humanization of snakes to comment on the issue of racism in America, the detailed world of the snake planet and their movie-like response to getting an alien visitor all take shots at movies like, 'Arrival' and other films of the same ilk.
The ripple effect Morty's actions which involve introducing an earth snake to the planet full of them is very well thought out. The various pop-culture representations of the snakes, for example, 'The Terminator Snake' really tickle the funny bone while the ending that calls back to the time-cops from the previous seasons make the episode a laugh-riot.
Overall score- 5/5