“The Vat of Acid Episode” Rick and Morty S4 E8

I have a feeling this one’s going to be divisive, but then pretty much every episode is divisive – everyone has their own opinion on what Rick and Morty should be.  So maybe what I’m expressing is my own conflicted feelings about this episode.

Most of it, I loved. It was another story that plays around with the traditional structure of an episode – the first third is just a mini-story on its own and much of the rest of it is a long musical montage containing another long musical montage.  And it’s hard to tell exactly where they’re going with any of it.  Okay, we all knew how Morty’s relationship was going to end, but they just kept teasing us with that moment and swerving and it just kept going.

Family Guy does a variation on this – the “Peter hurts his knee” jokes where they’ll hold on something that’s not funny for a long, long time, under the theory that it’ll eventually become hilarious.  It doesn’t.  It was mildly funny the first time they did it just because it was so weird, but after that it just became “oh, this thing again.”  The reason Rick and Morty succeeds at drawing out the joke and Family Guy fails is that here we get an actual story.  We know what the punchline’s going to be, but it’s all about the journey. Like The Aristocrats!

And then at the end we get the reveal that the whole thing was just Rick being hyperbolically cruel to Morty (with vast collateral damage) because Morty dared to criticize him.  Which already happened once this season in the heist episode – in that case because Morty had an interest that didn’t include Rick – and it left a bad taste in my mouth that time, too.  There’s nothing impressive about Rick, with his limitless abilities, besting Morty. He can do it any time he wants, in a million different ways. Rick invokes Bugs Bunny in this episode, but the reason Bugs Bunny getting one over on Elmer Fudd was funny is that it wasn’t Bugs holding the shotgun.

  • I didn’t notice this until it was pointed out to me, but during the plane crash survival sequence, a number of the passengers’ winter gear duplicates the kids’ outfits on South Park, with Morty, very appropriately for this episode, wearing Kenny’s orange parka.
  • Rick compares the state saver to the go-back-ten-seconds device on Futurama, but what it really reminded me of was Life is Strange.  Though it’s actually considerably more convenient than either of them.
  • The acid vat has the same big problem that a lot of Rick’s solutions do, which is that he creates them assuming that everything is going to go exactly to plan, and then when it doesn’t, everything goes right to hell. (The love potion is probably the biggest example of this.)  So Morty is pretty justified in getting pissed off about it.
  • Is anyone watching Solar Opposites?  I checked out the first couple of episodes; it’s okay so far. It’s basically “what if Rick and Morty, but not as much?”