This one resonated with in ways I’m not sure were intended; there are some obvious trans overtones in a story about an AFAB person named Marta who adopts a short haircut, takes on a boy’s name and identity, and gets kicked out of the house for it. It’s a surface similarity, but it’s also appropriate for an episode about seeking one’s identity. Marta – along with the rest of “Earth’s” population – are all copies of Morty’s consciousness, split into five billion parts and distributed among the NPCs of the Roy video game, and Rick’s come in to bring his grandson home. But all those pieces of Morty are individuals, and they don’t all want to leave.
Like the best brain-twisting sci-fi, this brings up a LOT of big-ass questions. Is it better to live in “reality” if it means being subsumed into a tiny part of a whole? What does it mean to be part of the same person, but to be a distinct individual at the same time? It’s an idea with so much potential, it’s simultaneously a joy to watch and frustrating because 22 minutes is not nearly long enough to dig into it.
It’s that second question – am I Morty? – that Marta wrestles without throughout her life. She’s a part of Morty’s consciousness, but she’s also lived her own story – one which is much longer than Morty’s, by the end – and has her own connections to her family. She mourns her father and worries over whether her daughter will be able to live on as part of Morty, and in the end she manages to claim her own identity separate from the person she was splintered off from.
Meanwhile, outside the game, Summer is “doing a Die Hard“, even though she’s never watched it, and fighting off a gang who’s attacking Blips and Chitz. I didn’t find this as engaging as the other story, but it played in a fun area between parody and subversion of parody. Essentially, the gang is trying to do a parody of Die Hard, and gets thrown off because Summer’s cutting the Gordian knot and just killing them.
- I wasn’t entirely sure what pronouns were correct for Marta, but she seems fine with ‘she’, so ‘she’ it is. It’s similar to the difficulty in talking about Yamato from One Piece, another AFAB character who adopts a specific male identity that’s distinct from himself.
- Why do aliens have a video game set on Earth, anyway? Maybe it’s a way of keeping the game map from getting out of hand – pick a culture that you kind of know about because out of them’s been bumping around the galaxy for a while making headlines, but which doesn’t generally leave its planet.
- I think in the end I’m just a sucker for time dilation; I really liked Mort Dinner Rick Andre and The Ricks Must Be Crazy and pretty much any other time they’ve gone to this well.
- Morty “trust[s] Rick implicitly” now – because the eight percent of him that didn’t got left in the game. I don’t know if even Rick could plan that one, but it sure did work out conveniently for him.