Rick and Morty: Rest and Ricklaxation review

Adam Mathew 29 August 2017

rick-and-morty

Grab ahold of these Terry Folds.

One of the greatest buzzwords out is “toxic”. Everything is that nowadays. Internet comments are toxic, working environments are toxic, baby formula is toxic (though that was more of a literal, needle-like nanoparticles thing). Egos are really toxic, and this is the concept writers Dan Harmon and Justin Roiland milk in episode 6.

It's a literal ego milk, too. After a ludicrously close call on one of their adventures – which involves a near-miss saucer escape through some gargantuan, probably delicious eyeholes ­- Morty and Rick visit an intergalactic day spa to get their toxic selves squeezed out. Before this complimentary psychological detox commences, Rick grills the long-necked operator of the machine for not swallowing his phlegm before talking them.

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Speaking of mucus, the machine does its thing, and all of a sudden Rick and Morty are transformed into booger versions of themselves and are soon at large in a hellish boogerscape world. A more-belligerent-than-usual Rick figures the operator overloaded the machine to get back at them, and the day spa blew up as a result. However, as his genius intellect catches up, he realises the awful, sticky truth: they are garbage people – the toxin castaways sitting in the detoxifier.

Meanwhile, our real and de-stressed duo are already flying home while listening to a randomised song entitled “Terry Folds”. (It's sure to be the feel good hit of summer, what with its abusive, sexually suggestive lyrics concerning a large array of alien body parts.) It's an awkward soundtrack for any long car ride home, but the zen Rick and Morty take it in their stride and are uncharacteristically affectionate to one another. Pure, eye-rolling sap is rarely this entertaining.

Especially when the shtick of the episode becomes juxtaposing these love-in moments with scene cuts back to the snarling, scheming snot Rick. He's dividing his time equally between planning an escape, discovering natural elements in the snotverse, and telling Morty to shut his “parasitic turd-holster”.

Actual Morty is doing much better. Like the plot of some cheesy '80s teen flick, his positive outlook on life has somehow earned him super popularity. His teacher dismisses class early when he cracks wise and shows applied knowledge. Morty then effortlessly solves the confidence issues of his peers, and even wins the respect of a bully who, in a hilariously unlikely moment of empathy, assumes they're both kindred loser spirits, hiding behind a confident facade. Morty attracts the attention of Jessica, his long-time crush, and an awful pick-up line secures him a dinner date.rick-and-morty-2

As the episode progresses, the new motor-mouth Morty transitions to annoyingly positive and then starts to head off into textbook sociopath territory. In an amusing twist, Rick becomes the moral member of the team who believes that their abusive, film-negative selves deserve to have the freedom they're demanding. A forced remerging of all parties goes awry, and the released toxic versions promptly go to war with their healthy counterparts.

If you love seeing the kooky sci-fi doodads of Rick and Morty, this brawl around the Smith family home is the stuff of dreams. Repeated kicks to healthy Rick's nuts makes a belt deploy the Groin System 6000, a phallic AI laser that's not unlike the one owned by Sex Machine in From Dusk Til Dawn. Snot Rick tweaks the frond of a houseplant to reveal a grenade that holds an alien gerbil that rapidly grows into a lethal attack beast. Before it hideously mauls healthy Rick, he extracts his own DNA into a dart, fires it into snot Rick, thereby impregnating him. A terrified snot Rick performs a similar process on the feasting alien beast. A baby version of healthy Rick chest-bursts out of snot Rick, just as a new version of snot Rick bursts out of the back of the beast. Both super-grow into nude, adult versions of themselves and the fight continues. 
When the situation reaches a head, the snotty Rick and Morty have brought the world to its knees via a toxicity doomsday device that's turned the entire world bad (which results in some hilarious truth bombs dropped on religion and the fast food industry, among other things). Both versions meet in a stand off where healthy Rick wins the day through introspection and logic. He correctly guesses that because he doesn't feel affection to Morty, that means his alter-ego is suffering from crippling loneliness and an irrational attachment to him, a weakness that can be leveraged (by shooting his grandchild in the legs until he gets compliance).

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Amusingly, the episode rounds off with the two Ricks merging, but healthy Morty jetpacks away. Three weeks later and he's become a hilarious homage to Patrick Bateman. This fast-talking, tiny American Psycho has capitalised on his lack of a conscience to become a Wall St success. He's got the high-rise New York crib and a voluptuous adult girlfriend who's somehow ok with dating a 14-year-old runaway.

An intervention from Rick, plus the left-field appearance of some flying drones who transform into Voltron, results in Morty's remerging. The continuing adventures of Grandpa and grandson through yet another green portal are stopped, however, by a genuine moment from Jessica. She tells Morty that she's happy to have him back. The slow-burn romance continues. Only time will tell if it will bloom into love (that hasn't been helped along by science plus vole and/or praying mantis DNA).

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VERDICT

This purely Rick and Morty-focussed adventure is miles better than the uneven construction that was episode 5. No angsty Summer or divorced parents subplot hastily shoe-horned in here. Just great sci-fi ideas, dark social commentary, and a song that make you want to tap your feet and squeeze some holdy flaps at the Terry Fold Dance.

Where to watch Rick and Morty

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