If Rick and Morty season finales are about blowing things wide open and seemingly promising major shake-ups, Rick and Morty season openers are usually about hastily picking up the pieces and getting back to the status quo. This one doesn’t break that mold, exactly, but it does follow up last season’s massive Evil Morty-centric infodump with a little more information on an Evil(er) Rick… who just so happens to be Morty’s biological Rick, the one who dumped original Beth’s mom and took off years ago, leaving his planet to be occupied and then Cronenberged by an interloper.
With all of Rick C-137’s dimension-hopping technology destroyed, he’s got to “reset the portal fluid” in order to travel again, but actually resets all portal travelers, sending them back to their original universes – and we see what’s been happening in those discarded timelines since then.
- Rick turned his original universe into a shrine perpetually stuck on the day his wife and daughter died, forcing everyone there into a repeating time loop, but forgetting to stop them from aging. It’s very Rick to make his own grief into everyone’s problem and to not even do a good job of it. Also, he built an AI of Diane’s voice to haunt him.
- Morty’s universe isn’t doing so hot. His original mother and sister died after being left frozen and his father wanders the wilderness alone. Morty observes that Jerry is badass now, and he’s right – but what is it worth? The guy would rather be laughing at stupid email jokes.
- Jerry (who did indeed get switched at Jerryboree) goes back to his dimension, where he and Beth never spent any time divorced, and their marriage is still terrible.
Meanwhile, Summer and the two Beths have a space adventure looting the citadel, and everybody finally goes home, only to accidentally release “Mr. Frundle”, who destroys the world and necessitates switching again, this time to a dimension where Rick, Morty, Jerry, Summer, and both Beths all just died in a freak accident AND everything else has been the same up to this point. But it’s a rush job, so they had to settle for one where Parmesan is pronounced “Parmesian.”
Overall, I’d call this a solid episode which answers a few longstanding questions (and for once does it without ladling out contempt towards the people who dare to be interested in the interesting world they’ve created.) Observations:
- The title is a reference to Stanislaw Lem’s Solaris, which has been adapted into a couple of movies. I don’t really see the connection but I suspect it has something to do with the “haunted by a dead lover” stuff, which is also in the book.
- This one’s pretty brutal towards what are technically some pretty significant recurring characters who have been in several episodes – if you haven’t gotten mixed up with all the switching, the Beth and Summer that started the series died offscreen and the Jerry that made friends with Doofus Rick, the one that emotionally reconnected with Beth after seeing himself as an actor in another dimension? That guy’s ultimate fate was Mr. Frundle. The series as a whole is kind of just the decoy episode writ large.
- Mr. Frundle drinks the Earth’s oceans, so I guess Rick beat Mister Nimbus in the end.
- Also, hard luck for Planetina, ouch. I don’t think that’s the solution to Earth’s pollution she had in mind.
- Also, you left Phoenixperson in your closet, you dick! I mean, I know there’s just a new version of all these people now, but still, ice cold.