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Rick and Morty - Morty's Mind Blowers - Roundtable Review

24 Sept 2017

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This article was co-written by Louis Rabinowitz, Laura Markus and Marine Perot.

Overall Thoughts

Louis: Virtually nothing was going to match up to last week’s incredible episode, so my expectations were set automatically lower for this one, knowing it’d likely take the form of a breather instalment to let a little of the tension that built up with the return of Evil Morty out. And that’s pretty much what we got - a comparatively relaxed episode of Rick & Morty that seemed mostly concerned with making as many jokes as it possibly could within 22 minutes.

It’s a good thing, then, that the script for Morty’s Mind Blowers, credited to a whole team of writers, is so sharp and densely funny. Freed from the constraints of a singular narrative, Morty’s Mind Blowers is essentially one long (well, short) imaginative exercise with a much bigger canvas than the Interdimensional Cable episodes had, and it means the episode can hoover through about 15 legitimately interesting episode ideas in one go, getting straight to the joke with almost none of the build-up. To be honest, after last week, it’s just nice to have a very, very silly episode that sees all its conflicts resolved within the half-hour, and Morty’s Mind Blowers creates a compelling enough framing device for all its comic skits that it still feels like a worthy enough addition to this terrific season. It’s not a top-tier episode of the show - it’s not overly ambitious, and not every one of the jokes lands (the Mr. Lunes mind blower is too long and is eclipsed by the much more concise and witty entries later on, just like this review), but it’s still a very satisfying change of direction from last week’s wham episode.

Laura: At its core, this was just a fun, silly episode with so many hilarious sequences in it. So, basically what Rick and Morty does best. But if you consider what preceded this episode, you look at it in a whole different way. It was the perfect breather after “Ricklantis” and it was so well needed. I had a great time with it. It showcased even more creativity from these brilliant writers and animators. So wonderful to see. Also - quick shoutout to the metal cover of the theme song used for the ending credits. Holy f*ck, can I PLEASE have a longer and legitimate copy of this? I will pay ALL THE DOLLARS.

Marine: The more this show goes this season, the more I feel like I need to watch the episode 2 or 3 times to really get a good grasp on them. SO MUCH IS GOING ON IN THIS EPISODE! I love that we get to see a bit of past Rick and Morty adventures and how they impact them. This season keeps getting wilder and wilder and digging more into the meta aspect of the show and it’s just a great television experience.

Character development

Louis: Season 3 has lived up to its promise of being the darkest season yet, so it’s fitting that the lightest episode of the run so far is still pretty disturbing underneath the surface. Rick’s removal of Morty’s memories makes for a lot of good gags, but the episode is very aware that this also constitutes a kind of emotional abuse (just look how all the robots suffered on Westworld), as Rick is forcibly reshaping Morty’s identity and history to suit his own selfish whims. If recent episodes have skewed further towards the interpretation that Rick does love his grandson deep down, then this was a major counterbalance to that, making clear the dismissiveness, or even contempt, Rick has towards the notion of Morty as a genuine individual.

Or maybe this is just his deeply screwed-up way of expressing that love - the way in which a memory-wiped Rick signs up for Morty’s suicide pact and prepares to go with him might suggest an innate protectiveness towards him that is revealed once all the bravado and self-deception that defines him is worn away. Ultimately, it’s down to your interpretation, as it’s been for three seasons now. Despite the familiarity of the ‘choose your own Rick’ method of character development, Morty’s Mind Blowers shows there’s still room for a new spin on that old idea by wiping Rick and Morty down to the most essential aspects of themselves, albeit making clear that there’s maybe not a lot more ways that can be done. It’ll be interesting to see whether a fourth season would completely drop this ambiguity and define Rick’s relationship to Morty, as Rest and Ricklaxation hinted at with its semi-definitive answer, or if the show plans to do this dance for years to come. In all likelihood, the latter, but who knows with this show?

Laura: Oh, there’s something to be said about Rick removing his embarrassing moments from Morty’s head. And there’s something else to be said about how all this led to the both of them wanting to do a suicide pact. AND, there’s something EVEN MORE to be said about how Summer already knew what to do in this exact situation. But I don’t even know how to say it other than, “Oh boy. Look at them go!”, and such. (Did I just shoutout the Lawyer Morty? I think I did.)

It’s fascinating to see how far Rick will actually go to maintain an image that he wants the family to have of him, even though we can see in just a few episodes prior how little he supposedly cares about said image. I bet some YouTube video has already gone through this with a fine-tooth comb better than I ever could. This episode wasn’t afraid to get dark in other aspects too. We see Beth literally showing she loves Summer more than Morty. Yeesh. But then, as a sweet juxtaposition, you got things like Morty and Mr. Poopy Butthole getting engaged. Now why the f*ck would you ever wanna remove that memory? That’s everything I wanted from this show!

Marine: Rick removing Morty’s memories of him appearing to be less smart than usual (like the “taking things for granite” or the chess game loss) showed us once again that Rick is both a jerk and a man who can’t handle having his pride hurt. It’s fascinating and horrifying at the same time to see him do that to Morty, just removing memories when it pleases him. On the other end, I love how Morty is challenging is relationship to Rick more and more, not letting him treat him like crap all the time and instead trying to stand up for himself (even if, let’s face it, Morty still fails most of the time).

Funniest moments

Louis: Oh god. I could just list every one of the mind blowers here. In the interests of brevity, I’ll spare you that, but I did especially love the squirrel segment (weird geopolitical humour is my favourite, so squirrels plotting an economic crisis in Argentina while contemplating selection of a new Pope is a dumb joke written especially for me), Rick taking things for granite, Morty’s redhead magnet and the Men in Black 2 joke. And, like Marine, I loved how Summer was the one responsible for cleaning up the giant mess made by Rick and Morty and restoring everything to normal. Feels about right.

Laura: Morty’s fondness for redheads, while amusing, is actually very disturbing as Rick has the same affinity (as seen in “Autoerotic Assimilation”). I don’t really know what to take away from that. And of course, the squirrel uprising was the best. I will be shouting it out as my Scene of the Week.

Marine: The bit with the light switch. Oh man, it’s so dark, but so funny at the same time. I think it was my favorite part of this episode, which contains a lot of gems. That being said, I like the squirrels too. And Summer handling everything at the end.

Easter eggs

Laura: This video found so many little things.

What comes next

Louis: Wait, there’s only two episodes left? Just two? I thought 2017 was the year that felt like a decade.

Aside from that, the trailer for this one looks really intriguing. Beth’s toxic relationship with Rick has always been an untapped opportunity, so it’s great to see an episode that puts that relationship to the forefront. The title even implies we’ll get flashbacks, which is something this show has virtually never done before. After this fun, light one-off, a meaty character-driven instalment feels like the right way to go.

Laura: Very interested to see this one. I’m hoping for some real backstory beats, as well as an explanation for why there is literally a waterfall made of a rainbow, and how that didn’t immediately turn everyone gay.

Marine: I am very much looking forward to “The ABCs of Beth”! I love seeing Beth and Rick interact and we haven’t had too much of that since the whole Pickle Rick debacle so I’m curious to see how the episode is going to delve even more into their relationship and their past.