Rick and Morty S6E6 – JuRicksic Mort

This episode puts a Rick and Morty twist on the classic sci-fi premise of the seemingly benevolent aliens with a dark secret, a la To Serve Man. In this case they’re superintelligent dinosaurs, who left Earth long ago and have returned to clean up the mess humans have made of the place. Within days all of humanity is living in a post-scarcity utopia… but what are the dinosaurs really after?

As it turns out, nothing; they’re exactly what they seem to be and just want to help humanity. The closest thing to evil about them is that they’re kind of smug and paternalistic about the whole thing, but even that is pretty much right out in the open. But while Rick’s trying to dig up dirt on them (at the behest of the President, who’s bored) he discovers that there IS something else going on: every planet they set up on is eventually wiped out by a species of evil asteroid creatures who just want to destroy. The dinosaurs dither about whether it’s ethical to use violence to stop the asteroid heading for Earth, and an outraged humanity kicks them off the planet, until Rick calls their bluff in a game of “virtue chicken” by standing next to them on Mars until they’re forced to destroy the asteroid to save his life.

The moral of the story? It’s great to be a good person, but if your delicate morals don’t let you do what’s needed to protect them when a real monster comes to call, what are all the nice things you did really worth? I caught a whiff of a real “centrist liberals vs. fascists” theme – or maybe that’s just all the time I spend in the PT.

I had mixed feelings about this one; I tend to really dislike anything with the premise that it would be terribly boring if we didn’t have to go to work every day, on the grounds that no it fucking wouldn’t. There are more books I want to read than I could read in a lifetime; ditto TV shows I want to watch, games I want to play, places I want to visit… how can you ever get bored? Jesus, get a hobby or something! Go on a hike! The whole “guess it’s a GOOD thing we have to toil away like this!” things has always struck me as sour grapes.

(But then, I did work through the entire pandemic while observing a bunch of white-collar office types moan about how awful it was having infinite free time, so maybe I’m just a teeny bit bitter here.)

On the other hand, I really enjoy episodes where Rick comes up against entities that are able to actually challenge him over the ones where, as he put it in an early episode, he’s “Bugs Bunny fuck[ing] with the opera singer for nine minutes.” The dinosaurs not only have portal travel, they have better portal travel than Rick, and the way they cheerfully show off their portal pistol that actually lets you see what you’re stepping into is a delight.

In the next episode: the portal gun is finally fixed. Will we find out what’s been going on in the larger multiverse, now that the central finite curve is gone?

Random thoughts:

  • Rick tells the rest of the family “you’re all basically Jerry now,” but one thing that his interactions with the dinosaurs really emphasizes is that, on a cosmic scale at least, Rick is basically Jerry. They both get up and do whatever they want all day, they don’t help anyone or have any long-term goals, and their lives are filled with little distractions but ultimately empty. Rick looks a lot cooler doing it, that’s all.
  • This episode had some similarities with the “99 Ships” episode of Solar Opposites, which also featured a species who seems to attract killer asteroids as well as dinosaurs living on worlds all over the galaxy.
  • I was also reminded of Star Trek: Voyager’s Voth, which similarly were so far advanced beyond anything else that you just had to reason with them because nothing else was an option.
  • The ending with the dinosaurs skateboarding was awesome. That’s all!