Following a grueling two-year hiatus, Rick and Morty returned to Adult Swim on Sunday with the first of five new episodes from Season 4. And, as always, not everyone made it out alive.
The fun began with another tense breakfast at the Smith household, which ended with Rick leaving to gather death crystals on a distant planet. You know, Rick stuff. But enlisting Morty’s assistance in this impromptu adventure wasn’t as easy as it used to be. “Dad, there’s a way we do this now,” Beth told Rick, implying that he needed to request Morty’s permission before dragging him on any more potentially fatal outings. Rick begrudgingly obliged, but the whole situation left him pretty rattled. (“What’s next? What if I want you to jump off the Empire State Building? I have to ask? And you seriously don’t see how that’s a slippery slope?”)
We learned that death crystals allow individuals to see how they’re going to die, but as Rick explained, the conclusions constantly change as a result of the different choices a person makes throughout their life. Upon seeing himself dying of old age with his beloved Jessica, Morty became a man possessed, doing whatever it took to make sure that extremely specific future came to pass — including stealing one of the crystals, accidentally getting Rick killed, then refusing an emergency hologram’s instructions to clone his grandfather back into existence.
Fortunately, Rick had a protocol in place should this situation ever present itself. “Operation Phoenix” rerouted his back-up data to a clone vat in another universe, a “fascist dystopia” where Rick watched as his counterpart was murdered in cold blood by Nazi-Morty. “He was an inferior Rick,” Nazi-Morty explained. “He was too political. I want to have fun — classic Rick and Morty adventures, like in the old days.” Their adventures were cut short when Rick used a well-placed Mr. Meeseeks to murder his captor, a confrontation which also ejected Rick from the ship and resulted in his death. Again. (For the record, it’s only the first episode of the new season, and we’re already struggling to keep up with the number of times Rick has died.)
Operation Phoenix brought Rick back once again, this time as a shrimp-person in an alternate reality full of — you guessed it — fascist shrimp-people. His death in this godforsaken realm came quickly, but if you thought a third reality would prove more successful, we’ve got three words for you: Fascist. Teddy. Bears.
Fortunately, Rick’s fourth rebirth did the trick. He found himself in an alternate universe of wasp-people, where he enjoyed a nightmarish meal (I will never wash the image of wasp-Morty eating Mr. Goldenfold’s larva babies from my brain!) and learned that maybe — just maybe — he doesn’t have it to so bad at home, after all.
Meanwhile, Morty was still being guided by that death crystal, which incidentally made him an enemy of the school bully. After gathering some intergalactic weaponry from Rick’s arsenal, he made quick work of said bully, taking out a few police officers and a couple military members in the process. (Oops?) Dubbed an “American monster” by the likes of Nancy Grace, Morty was put on trial for his crimes, and just when it seemed like all hope was lost, the crystal led him to give the judge a message: “I will always remember our time in Peru.” Those were her husband’s last words! Case dismissed!
OK, this is when Morty really went off the rails. First, Jessica — freaking Jessica! — invited him to go skinny dipping, but because that decision would presumably jeopardize his plan to die with her, he declined the offer. (Subtext: He was so focused on securing his future with Jessica that he failed to appreciate her in the here and now.) He then fused with a puddle of feral fluid, transforming himself into a massive entity of darkness.
The three Ricks (wasp, hologram and original flavor) were able to separate Morty from the dark matter, only for it to fuse with the hologram, leading to an even greater threat. “I can feel!” he exclaimed. “I have mass! I’m a god now!” So Wasp-Rick did what wasps do best — he laid eggs in the evil Rick’s eyes and let his babies eat his brains from the inside. The circle of life!
In the end, Rick and Morty agreed that they should do “a little of this, a little of that” from now on. “Sometimes we’ll do classic stuff. Other times, we’ll do whatever. And sometimes we won’t even do anything!” Now if only Summer hadn’t made that weird incest joke and totally ruined the Season 4 premiere. Ugh, Summer.
Your thoughts on Sunday’s Rick and Morty premiere? Was it worth the two-year wait? Grade the episode below, then drop a comment with your review.