Rick and Morty: Morty’s Mind Blowers review

Adam Mathew 20 September 2017

rick-and-morty-space-men

Rickollections of long ago.

If you're a fan of callbacks – or just the “eyepatch equals evil” trope in general – last week's Rick and Morty delivered in spades. Never in my wildest dreams did I expect the pirate-esque Evil Morty from S01E10 “Close Encounters of the Rick Kind” to resurface again. My wants-per-season are much more modest: I require at least one appearance from Mr Poopybutthole, and I need inter-dimensional cable. Technically, “Morty's Mind Blowers” delivers both of these, but they were blink-and-you'll-miss-'em affairs. A total Rick tease, if you will.

For those of you unfamiliar with inter-dimensional cable episodes, they're effectively Rick and Morty's version of The Simpson's Treehouse of Horror offerings. But whereas Groening and co. are limited to three separate non-cannon plotlines, this channel surfing shtick facilitates rapid-fire delivery of dozens of compartmentalised segments set in the weirdest parts of the infinite multi-verse. Most of the dimensional oddness can be chalked up to Justin Roiland abandoning a script in favour of fumbling improvised tangents.

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Rick breaks the fourth wall early on to curb-stomp our enthusiasm by effectively saying: no, we know you like inter-dimensional cable, but we're doing something else instead. The replacement activity is the titular Mind Blowers, a series of behind-the-scenes memories which show us the terrible things that have occurred during our heroic duo's portal-hopping. Morty is just as unaware of these incidents as we are, because Rick has been excising the bad stuff from his grandson's brain in an effort to maintain his sanity.

Why is it all going back in? That's quite a surreal story, actually. During a misadventure in what appeared to be MC Escher's wettest dreams, Morty fried his own brain by staring into the eyes of The All-knowing Truth Tortoise. (Trivia: if you listen to this amphibian's message to Morty backwards it says: “I am a Beatle, Paul is dead”.) Morty has begged Rick to remove hundreds of experiences from his mind over the years, and now he wants this one gone too.

Scene change to underneath the garage, where Rick unveils an extensive archive of coloured capsules of Morty memories, though it's unclear what this chroma-ordered system means (if anything). For example, a blue capsule holds the memory of Morty's “moonspiracy”, a time when the young space-time-traveler was convinced a regular dude was walking around on Earth's moon. The Smith family rejects Morty's theory as just a smudge on his telescope lens, but sure enough a “Mr Lunas” starts work as a guidance counsellor at school the very next day. Morty dobs him in as a moonman to principal Vagina, who mistakenly takes the accusation as code for paedophilia. Short story shorter: Mr Lunas ends up taking his own life. Horrified, Morty overhears some mourners at his funeral remark upon how George Lunas looked like a smudge from a certain angle. End memory. Black comedy gold.

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After a few more blue capsules it becomes clear that they're specifically moments when Morty has royally screwed the pooch. Meanwhile, purple capsules offer quite a different trip down memory lane. One that Rick has mysteriously named “poopAIDS_copy” offers a cocktail of recollections that involve Morty being rorted by his loved ones. Nothing too serious, just Morty's mum choosing his sister over him in a life or death stand off. Oh, and there's the traumatic event where the Smith family alternates between emotionally supporting Morty and cracking wise as he's trying to throw up a demon slug the size of a pool noodle.

The red capsules are the pick of the litter, as they represent the rare times when Rick has cocked up. Take the incident on Vincenulon IX, for example, which is a hilarious homage to the Tauntauns in Empire Strikes Back. In a moment of panic, Rick guts an adorable creature called Meebo in order to survive the onset of -300°C evening. Our heroes dive into their ex-friend's intestines and brace for snow. Slight problem: Rick was thinking of the climate on Vincenulon VII.

After a series of red capsules it becomes clear that Rick tampers with his grandson's brain even when a memory wipe hasn't been requested. This revelation starts a fist fight which ends in the accidental erasure of both Rick and Morty's brains, and the need for both parties to binge consume more capsules to rediscover themselves. It's at this point that we get bombarded with quick snippets of comedy.

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Some choice moments include Rick somehow being beaten at checkers by his grandson, Morty (literally) losing a hand during alien poker, the need for both of them to bury Santa in some nameless desert, Morty in a Slimer-like form being hunted by a Rick rocking a proton pack, and, of course, an ecstatic Morty being proposed to by Mr Poopybutthole. None of it makes sense. All of it is funny as hell.

Though, ultimately, the yucks on offer aren't up to the high standards set by inter-dimensional cable, which is where the episode ends up. Summer wanders into the lab, notices the two are at a loss and follows one of Rick's backup plans for just such an emergency. Two reprogrammings later and Rick and Morty have been deposited upstairs on the couch in a ruse to make them believe they've fallen asleep watching inter-dimensional cable. What's on? House Hunters (a show where rednecks stalk and kill sentient, anthropomorphic homes). Rick and Morty are pissed off at missing it, I couldn't agree more.

VERDICT

Jettisoning the inter-dimensional cable concept – a unique, script-less approach to episode creation – may be remembered as season 3's greatest misstep. In terms of sheer creativity and laugh value, few of Morty's Mind Blowers were as exciting or surprising as advertised. Every season needs a low-point. I feel this may be it.

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