The Rickmeister, makin’ copies!
This one reminded me a little of Robert Heinlein’s All You Zombies, though there’s no time travel involved. It’s Ricks and Mortys (and Beths and Jerrys and Summers) all the way down, but that isn’t immediately apparent. Turns out Rick built a few decoy families and put them around the country in case someone came trying to kill him, but the decoys have built decoys of their own and everyone is trying to kill all the others. Even the initial threat that kicks things off is revealed to be one of the earlier, higher-quality sets of decoys that figured out the trick unprompted.
Complicating things, as you go down the chain of copies, errors crop up; past a certain point, it’s obvious physically that they’re not the originals, but even the earlier copies lose accuracy in more subtle ways – notice the differing quality of the squid costumes.
It adds up to an episode with, technically, a very strange structure – one where the entire cast keeps getting killed, and we switch to a “new” set of characters – and yet, because they’re iterations on the same people, having the same arguments, we’re able to follow a kind of emotional arc anyway. Rick wants to kill the other copies, Beth is indignant about Rick’s callousness towards the decoys (fittingly, since she’s already kind of worked through this), Summer is a little more aware than even Rick is in being able to accurately peg that they’re probably decoys, and Jerry is… Jerry. Oddly, despite his name being in the title, Morty has the least to do here and is kind of just along for the ride.
- The real Rick at the end mentions ‘the’ decoy family’, not ‘a’ decoy family, so he only built one (the ones in the character suits) and, fittingly, they were the highest fidelity and survived the longest. That Rick also decided to build multiple decoys, though…probably not a good idea.
- The easiest way to tell who’s a decoy is that the decoys are made to have terrestrial adventures and probably couldn’t even think about escaping into space or other dimensions. Of course, they also probably couldn’t realize that.
- A couple of the decoy families mention the states where they live. It’s almost never specified or important, but the real Smiths live around Lake Michigan somewhere; Beth and Jerry grew up in Muskegon and you can see the ship taking off from the Great Lakes area a few times.
Next week, Rick and Morty meet a Captain Planet analogue in A Rickconvenient Mort.