WarningMight contain spoilers.

Yes, it’s Rick and Morty. Yes, it’s as mean, callous, and funny as ever. Yes, it’s still playing with the same concepts and conventions. And yes, I still greatly enjoy it, although it does fall back on the same techniques a little too often, particularly clones, existentialism, self-referential humour, and far too much gore. Stories continue to devolve with disappointing regularity into the Smiths killing things (often each other) as quickly as possible.

On the other hand, things like Rick getting angry at Morty for saving their lives by crashing into the ocean in the first episode are still funny. Morty’s ordeal of trying to get the wine is painful to watch—it feels like a nightmare, especially the ending, with Jessica having gone through so much. A Rickconvenient Mort is a very good episode with a repulsive yet funny post-credits scene; I was only surprised Morty doesn’t un-summon Planetina in the end. I expected the story to hit a darker note still.

I do find it hard to tolerate the episodes that focus on shock value. ‘Rickdependence Spray’ has its funny moments, but nothing interesting to say—it retreads familiar ground for the sake of a disgusting yet somehow predictable conclusion. I was displeased to see the story continued in later episodes. Along with the next one (‘Amortycan Grickfitti’ and its equally disgusting Hell æsthetic), it represents the nadir of the season.

The rest can’t be said to be Rick and Morty at its best (absurd, poignant, painful, thoughtful, provocative, hilarious), in part because the show sometimes seems to have run out of ideas for what to do beyond referencing itself. Even so, there’s a lot to like, and several episodes leave behind the generic outlines to offer a dose of proper Rick and Morty comedy and feeling.[1]

‘Gotron Jerrysis Rickvangelion’ deals with addiction, family, and humanity in characters we care about through a high-concept setting—as sci-fi should do—while wrapping it in a parody with more than a passing resemblance to a fantastic Community episode. It even has a hilarious voiceover battle and a morbid, darkly humorous post-credits scene in the finest tradition of the series. Spencer Grammer has never been better as Summer than when she has her breakdown.

‘Rickternal Friendshine of the Spotless Mort’ is another enjoyable, quintessentally Rick and Morty episode that expands Rick’s history in interesting ways between all the tomfoolery and nihilism. The only sour note is the repetitive (at this point) lampshade hanging. It might be natural for Rick to call out tropes as they occur, but it gets to be a bit much.

‘Forgetting Sarick Mortshall’ is perhaps the first time Rick and Morty have been both separated and allowed to exist apart from each other beyond their relationship, even though the entire story is propelled by the rift between them. There aren’t many big jokes to be found—Biiird qualuuudes stands out—in an amusing, interesting, and thoughtful story that leaves you wondering just how long the bird gimmick will last for Rick. The opening is smart, too, for making it seem like Morty is rectifying Rick’s oversights when he’s really trying to hide the evidence of his own mistakes (which he pays dearly for). The post-credits scene is great, with Harold or Garbage Goober similarly struggling to escape his toxic relationship with Rick.

‘Rickmurai Jack’ is an excellent finale. It almost feels as if the season was biding its time until it could reach this episode. It has a solid opening that functions as a pastiche of anime without worrying about exactitude, only incorporating as much of the style as it needs to in order to tell its story. In contrast to the predictable tedium of Rick’s earlier commentary, this episode deftly uses self-awareness as a tool without ever crossing the line into obnoxiousness. It also makes time for a superb wordless sequence detailing the parts of Rick’s history that were hinted at earlier. The only thing I don’t understand is how the ‘evil’ Morty escaping the Finite Central Curve affects our Rick and Morty, given that the show thrives on inter-timeline murder.

Hasn’t Jessica already gone through a lot with Morty when the season begins? Or was that a different timeline (or many different timelines)?

  1. I thought of writing ‘heart’, but Rick and Morty doesn’t have heart. It has emotion. That’s one of the things that separate it from a masterpiece like Futurama .