Rick and Morty The Rickchurian Mortydate review
Rick has quite the rapport going on with the President of the United States. (One's status tends to increase when you save the planet by writing and performing a song that tells everybody to take off their pants and poop on the floor.) Rick's given leeway to drink in the oval office, even though he breaks a thousand federal laws a day. He's also the first person the government calls when some alien goo-gah infests the Kennedy sex tunnels. Lastly, he's also trusted to not divulge the existence of The Truman Cocaine Lounge, The McKinley Hooker Dump and The Lincoln Slave Colosseum. That's a strong friendship between scientist and head of state, but it sours when Rick opts to turn his back on the POTUS to go play some Minecraft with Morty.
After a lot of accurate Minecraft skewering – in which Rick complains about having to craft things to mine things that will help him craft things to mine – an angry POTUS tries to chew out our heroes. Doesn't really go his way, unfortunately. The portal-hoppers remind the Pres that they're frequently the only thing standing between this planet and utter destruction; they only save this version of Earth because relocating to a different timeline is a pain in the butt. And hey, it's not like they can ever be arrested for doing whatever they want, right?
The President is incensed and this becomes full-on rage when the two parties clash over how to deal with a new threat: a miniature, nuclear-armed city appearing in the Brazilian jungle. Though Rick mocks the idea, the US Government wants to shrink down to the aggressor's size and engage in peace talks. Cruddy 1950's government tech is insulted, and names are called. Somewhere in there “The Commander in Queef” questions how many pubes Morty has. It gets pretty ugly, folks.
In the end, the POTUS ignores the advice of our heroes and orders their capture (though, just as they warned earlier, Rick and Morty prove to be Houdini-level escape artists). After taking a cancer-inducing shrinking pill, the now naked Pres makes a slow journey into the city of the Megagargantuans. Annoyingly, Rick and Morty have already visited and established a cease fire deal. They've even left a complimentary shirt emblazoned with “Best President Ever” for him to put on. But no pants.
Beth's subplot is also in full swing. A worrying concern begins to build when she uncharacteristically allows Summer to buy a racy Daisy Duke-esque outfit. Why is she so cool with this risque parenting decision, and why does everything feel fresh for her now, like she's a different person? Two possibilities exist: it's the result of turning an emotional corner with her father, or she took Rick up on his offer to take a holiday from her life while a clone fills in.
Personally, I think the matter could be solved with one simple question – does she dream of electric sheep – but no, Beth takes a different line of investigation. In her desperation, she turns to a Beth Expert, her estranged husband and mental decathlete, Jerry. He tries emotional feedback over critical analysis by recreating the first time they ever kissed. It's a rare, tender moment for the series that insta-heals a broken marriage (even if it doesn't conclusively prove that this Beth is the authentic article). Morty and Summer also return to complete the family unit and they all pledge their lives to protect Beth if Rick decides she's a clone who's become too self-aware and must be terminated.
Not that Rick has the free time needed to attempt any kind of Clone Gunman Theory – he's currently engaged in the craziest and most entertaining shootout since Pickle Rick, this season's high-point. How did we get in this brouhaha? Well, the conversation turned nasty when the POTUS refused to take a selfie with Morty, then everything accelerated to deadly when Rick's self-defence systems killed a grab-happy Secret Service agent. The sci-fi battle strategies that are brought to bear in this fight are even more ludicrous than the episode six fight between Rick and Toxic Rick. Special shout-out to the cryo-frozen twin kids who can be made into killers via the blow of a dog whistle (sadly, they get mini-gunned to bits by the President).
Surprisingly, the fight ends with our hero throwing in the towel, a very un-Rick-like thing indeed. A phone call to Morty reveals the Smith family is back together and in solidarity against their domineering Sanchez patriarch. They even hold together when Rick portals in with an assault rifle (initially it's assumed he wanted to hose Beth with it because she's a clone, but he really just wanted to casually off Jerry). Reluctantly, Rick accepts this new reality going forward. A unified Smith family experience that Beth describes as being “like season one, but more streamlined”. Speaking as a fan who's rewatched that opening season way too many times, I'm honestly not sure if that old dynamic is worth revisiting. But hey, just like the Mr Poopybutthole post-credits scene shows, Dan Harmon and Justin Roiland seem to know what their fans need and always have a few cards up their sleeves.