Rick and Morty The Whirly Dirly Conspiracy review
A Jerry-rigged adventure.
Oh, Jerry. In seasons one and two you were the designated whipping boy of the Smith household. In season 3 Dan Harmon has somehow managed to dig you down through the bottom of the barrel further and make you lamer. You're a divorced dad. Kirk Van Houten 2.0. I'm waiting for an episode to include a racing car single bed in the background of your bachelor pad, sitting next to it could be your demo tape of Can I Borrow A Feeling? For now, though, the soundtrack to your life is a wind that inexplicably and hilariously whispers “loooooser”.
Honestly, I'd written the Jerry character off. Maybe he'd simply disappear, like a dead-end character experiment like The West Wing's Mandy Hampton (Moira Kelly). Imagine my surprise to see him return as a key player in unravelling the ridiculous sounding “Whirly Dirly Conspiracy”. The fate of the galaxy rests in Jerry's hands in what Rick excitedly tells him is a... pity... adventure. Ouch. Welcome back, Jer.
It seems this intergalactic play date has been arranged by Morty, who's understandably concerned about his father's suicidal state of mind. Rick pragmatically decides to take Jerry to a resort that's encased in an immortality field. (Don't ask about the science, just roll with it.) In this part of the galaxy, rich a-holes pay top dollar to kick back here with a cocktail as their kids run about and execute one another to no effect. Think of it as Club Med reconfigured to be Club Ded.
Jerry is just starting to unwind when a toilet hand dryer shreds him into a secret chamber occupied by Risotto Groupon, one of the best-named characters in ages, and a resort employee with an old beef with Rick Sanchez. Groupon lost his empire because of Rick, just as Jerry did with his family. The alien outlines a plan for their mutual vengeance. All Jerry needs to do is get his father-in-law to ride a rollercoaster that temporarily leaves the immortality field (between the first “whirly” and the third “dirly”).
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Meanwhile, back on Earth, there's a situation you need to be abreast of. Summer, another recipient of the Smith family fragile gene, is having upper-body-image issues. Hoping to reacquire the interest of her boob-loving boyfriend, she recklessly decides to use a “morphizer-xe” in Rick's garage. Chesty LaRue screws it up, however, and hilarious gigantism ensues. Followed by a slightly less funny situation where the 'normalise' and 'reverse' settings on the machine makes Summer larger and more...uh, organs on the outside. It's a Clive Barker special, basically.
Speaking of gore, it's entrails-a-go-go when Rick and a resentful Jerry have to repeatedly dismember some immortal assassins lying in wait on the Whirly Dirly.
What follows is an incredibly well directed and novel action sequence that manages to sneak in the blackest humour moment of the episode. When the ride comes crashing down around everybody's ears (assuming they have them) it deactivates the immortality field. Some of the younger patrons who are playing laser tag aren't made aware of the change. Whoops.
In the ensuing chaos, Jerry and Rick finally end two seasons worth of sniping at one another and have a no-holds-barred argument. Jerry finally blames Rick for the obvious way in which he rocked up and ruining his marriage. Rick counters by suggesting Jerry is a predator of neediness who has captured and stifled the dreams of his once free-spirited daughter. Honestly, neither party is wrong in their assessment. However, a need to find a way off this planet ruins any chance of closure. Rick promptly enslaves a runner beast and leaps into a bareback rider position. Jerry gets relegated to a pouch, and as the beast gallops, it's testicles repeatedly smack him in the face.
A moment of cosmic apotheosis where Rick freely admits to everybody that his butt has faeces on it
After 20 miles of teabagging – and a weird development in the Summer subplot that sees her run off to confront her boyfriend at Camp Flabanabba – Rick and Jerry arrive at a spaceport. Rick is subsequently drugged into being a sissy by spaceport security officials who are concerned with his cybernetic augments (most of which seem to be below Rick's equator) and the evil Groupon reappears for what should be an easy kill.
Jerry finds his spine, however, and a scuffle breaks out that sends their ship into a wormhole. We're treated to one of the trippiest Rick and Morty sequences since Fart (Jemaine Clement) sang Goodbye Moonmen. Think: a moment of cosmic apotheosis where Rick freely admits to everybody that his butt has faeces on it.
Emmy Award-winning stuff, folks. From here, it's like the writers finally become aware of the approaching end credits; everything suddenly goes into fast forward. Deeply moved by his 2001: A Space Odyssey experience, Groupon expresses ponders why he wanted to kill Rick in the first place, but gets whacked anyway. Beth deliberately turns herself into an inside-out monster to talk Summer down from a double murder. Lastly, Rick and Jerry return to Earth via escape pod and reach a level of mutual respect not seen between them before (though Jer gets locked outside of the house like he's Fred in the end credits of The Flintstones).