Wow. I just… wow. As a diehard fan of Rick and Morty, I really don’t think there was much more we could have asked for this episode. After a season this superb (though maybe not reaching the dizzying creative heights of the first season), having a finale this funny, shocking, sad and devastating was supremely satisfying. More importantly though, the universe of Rick and Morty was expanded to places that had only been hinted at in the past. We now have a clear trajectory going forward. The finale of season one was fun and left the door open for a continuation next season, but it was nothing like this. We have so much to look forward to sometime next year (or year and a half, as Mr. Poopy Butthole gleefully pointed out), so I’ll be talking about some of that, as well as what really makes this show so good. This episode’s set up is that the Smith family has received a wedding invitation for Tammy and Birdperson on the planet Squanch. But once they arrive, shit hits the fan and the Smiths have to go into hiding. It was a big, universe busting episode. And I’m heartbroken that we’ll have to wait so long for another one.
Here are some thoughts
1. The use of continuity really payed off this episode
Everything from the conclusion of Tammy and Birdperson’s weird (and tragic) romance to Morty referencing the fact that Rick needs Morty’s brainwaves to disguise his own, it felt like this was really the culmination of the series so far. And the button at the end with Mr. PoopyButthole was at the same time very satisfying and totally infuriating. I mean, he basically mocked fans of the show for caring about the characters for about 45 seconds (it was hilarious, though). Rick and Morty has always thought very highly of it’s audience. There’s no coddling anywhere in the series that I can see. The show assumes you’ve been watching from the beginning and that you have a sense of how the universe works and that you’ll pick up every new concept relatively quickly. Part of the reason the show has such devoted fans is that when you’re watching it, you never feel lied to or talked down to. It’s a rare feat, especially for a show this thematically and narratively dense.
2. There seems to be some echoes of Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows this episode
Okay, for those of you who haven’t read the final Harry Potter book or seen the second-to-last movie, I guess skip this one. But, I mean, if you haven’t… like, what are you doing? Go do that. Anyway, early in the book, all the good wizards (the order of the phoenix) are gathered together for a wedding when they are ambushed by death eaters (shorthand: bad wizards). There felt like a lot of shades of that going on in this episode when Birdperson and Tammy’s wedding is ambushed by none other then-
3. TAMMY NO!
YOU TRAITEROUS BITCH!!! How on earth did you make me care about a character that is named “Birdperson” and who talks in a monotone voice? Seriously, this was utterly shocking. Not in a million years would I have guessed that Tammy from Earth was a deep cover agent for The Federation. It makes the finale of last season really, really upsetting.
4. BIRDPERSON! SQUANCHY!!! NOOOOOO!!!!
His last thought was “Tammy isn’t Tammy?” The love of his life… shoots him down… at his own wedding. Dear God, that is some dark shit for a cartoon about a mad scientist. And then Squanchy… I didn’t see him die, but I don’t know how he could possibly have survived a fire fight like that. It really says a lot about this show that it was able to make me really care about two characters who are basically walking gags.
5. So much in the series makes sense now because of the “Federation”
Apparently, Birdperson, Squanchy, Rick and 14 other people at that wedding are on the Federation’s wanted list. They’ve been fighting a war with them for years and have lost many friends. Rick laid it out like this: The Federation is a governmental body that basically runs the universe. Rick and a bunch of other aliens don’t think they have any right to do so, so they’re fighting against the Federation to liberate the universe. Holy SHIT. We knew that there was something going on in the background with Rick, but I had no idea he was fighting a Libertarian insurgency against what is basically The Empire from Star Wars! That is some excellent world building. It also clarifies what Rick said in the very first episode when he told Morty to shoot government drones because they’re “robots.” When Morty shoots one of them (which is one of those grasshopper looking things that were part of the Federation in this episode) and see that it’s a living thing, Rick says “I was being figurative, Morty! They’re bureaucrats, I don’t respect them!” Rick certainly does have a problem with authority, but it was unclear that he was this deep in it.
6. The planets
One has a screaming sun. One has everything on the cob (“EVERYTHING’S ON THE COB!!! RUN FOR YOUR LIFE!!!”). And one is very tiny. When the Smith family has to go into hiding, Rick finds three planets that would be habitable for them to live on. These are the choices. Because a screaming sun would be crazy annoying and everything on the cob is really dangerous for some reason (possibly the best gag of the episode), they settle for the little one. You can walk from one end to the other in about thirty seconds. But the Smiths shack up there to hide until they can go home (if ever). Rick accidentally ends up crawling through the center of the Earth and hears his family standing up for him against Jerry, saying they won’t leave because they love him.
7. Morty has grown up
So Rick decides he’s going to go “get some ice cream” in another solar system. But Morty knows immediately what’s happening. “Rick,” he says. “I can handle it if you leave. But Mom can’t.” I have to say, Morty has really come a long way. While he can often be indifferent or callous, picking up on his grandfather’s traits, he has pure and unwavering loyalty to his family. And despite being rattled (especially last episode), he still believes in good and doing good. And maybe that part of him has rubbed off on Rick.
8. Earth has joined the Federation!
I think it’s kind of hilarious that we didn’t get to see the Earth assimilating with the rest of the galaxy. It must have been quite the spectacle to see all those aliens descending on the hottest new tourist destination in the known universe. I think there is a lot to be mined next season in that department.
9. Rick’s sacrifice
Rick, giving Jerry one last hilarious fuck you, turns himself in to the Federation and is now locked away in a high security prison. Rick has moments like these sometimes, but this is far and away the biggest sacrifice he’s ever made. And not for the universe, or the greater good. For his family. It could be argued that Rick would be much more valuable in protecting the universe from the Federation if he was free, but that would mean the Smiths being interrogated and tortured for his whereabouts. This is some next level pathos for Rick. And wow wow wow what a cliffhanger, as Mr. PoopyButthole so snidely put it.
10. What’s next season?
Well, Jerry has a job now. Beth has to deal with losing her father again. Ditto for Morty. Rick is locked in prison, the fate of the uprising in peril. Earth is now assimilating into the intergalactic community. There is so much to look forward to next season, it makes me want to scream. See you again in a year and a half. Oy.
Tags: Adult Swim, bird person, rick and morty, squanchy, WEDDING