Wubba lubba dub dub! After over two years since the end of Season 3, “Rick and Morty” is finally back. Season 4 kicked off on Nov. 10 with “Edge of Tomorty: Rick Die Rickpeat,” followed by “The Old Man and the Seat” this past Sunday.
However, Adult Swim has decided to only air the season one episode at a time, which means you’ll have to wait an entire week between each installment. Also, they’re only dropping half of the season in 2019, and then the other will come “sometime in 2020.” Now that’s just rude.
Of course, “Rick and Morty” fans are used to waiting. The Season 3 premiere aired April 1, 2017, but the second episode didn’t come until July 30. The entire season spanned from April to October of that year. Now, here we are two years later with Season 4 picking up right where Season 3 left off. But was it worth the wait?
According to Twitter, the answer is a resounding yes. Fans have taken to the internet to praise the show after the first two episodes. One user tweeted: “Rick and Morty season 4 is pure brilliance,” while others were even more enthusiastic, with another user proclaiming: “Well Rick and Morty season 4 is fckn awesome!!!”
— Matt_lonewolf (@Matt_lonewolf) November 18, 2019
It’s not hard to see why people are quick to applaud Dan Harmon and Justin Roiland. (Warning: spoilers ahead as of right now.) The premiere picks up exactly where the third season ended, introducing a new dynamic to the house now that Jerry and Beth are back together.
When Rick attempts to whisk Morty away from the dinner table, Beth reminds the mega genius of a new house rule, which is followed by a halfhearted attempt on Rick’s part to ask Morty to help him before they leave. As if Morty would say no.
Right from the gate, the creators convey a maturing of the show through character development, particularly in Beth. She’s been scarred by many near-death experiences involving Rick and has also witnessed him completely ruin several realities. As such, she and Jerry aren’t thrilled about Morty being at Rick’s beck and call, not that it matters much.
After that, the real fun begins. Rick and Morty travel to another planet to harvest what Rick calls “death crystals,” which show people the multiple ways they could die. This doesn’t faze Rick, but of course, Morty is completely thrown off by the crystals’ power and accidentally kills Rick, which sends his consciousness through cloning vats across several realities.
From there, Episode 1 is essentially a parody of “Edge of Tomorrow,” and sees the show poke fun at existential questions, as usual. The writing is clever, referencing past episodes and even breaking the fourth wall before diving straight into the new story.
What sets Episode 1 apart is the combination of old concepts from the show, such as Morty’s crush on Jessica, with new comedic material, like when Rick discovers post-war fascist realities. This episode is the living embodiment of the old “well that escalated quickly” meme.
It wouldn’t be a Rick and Morty adventure without Rick having to bail Morty out of a sticky situation, even as he navigates a host of new bodies through several different realities. He even learns new lessons about family and cooperation, though it’s doubtful he fully internalizes them. Ultimately, he makes it back to his home reality in time to save Morty from himself and put his consciousness in the correct body.
Aside from gifting the world a hilarious TV show, sometimes the creators end up teaching viewers valuable lessons, even if the viewer has to put these together for themselves. It’s the classic “show don’t tell.” In the words of Rick: “There’s a lesson here, but I’m not the one who’s gonna figure it out.” The genius of “Rick and Morty” is the cynical, satirical lens through which these lessons are shown.
Episode 1 wraps up with a commemorative Rick rant (with Morty joining in this time) that salivates over adventures yet to come. In the process, Morty accurately describes the spirit of Season 4 when he declares: “Sometimes we’ll do classic stuff and sometimes we’ll just do whatever!”
While Episode 1 falls into the “classic stuff” category, Episode 2 would be considered the “whatever.” But that doesn’t mean it isn’t great. This episode sees Rick go on a solo adventure because, according to Summer, Rick is a “shy pooper” and goes to his own planet to sit on the throne. The scene is surprisingly peaceful for an unknown alien planet until Rick discovers someone else has been using his toilet. That’s when all heck breaks loose.
Meanwhile, Jerry develops a super-powered dating app alongside Rick’s alien intern, Glootie. The app matches people together but also makes them fall madly in love at first sight, which ends up being super entertaining as Summer finds six “true loves” in one week and drives Beth up a wall.
Once he sees how dangerous the app is, Morty destroys the duo’s computers and orders Glootie to take the app down. But since he’s an intern in every sense, he opts to instead take both father and son to his master’s spaceship, now conveniently closing in on Earth.
The most notable aspect of this episode is the character development for both Rick and Morty. There are those who would expect some change in Jerry after escaping the dark clutches of separation from his wife, but he’s as much of a numbskull as ever. Morty is noticeably more commanding in the absence of Rick and at this point isn’t afraid to be blunt with his father. The scars he’s sustained from hanging around Rick show and, as hinted at in Season 3, manifest in sudden bouts of anger.
Rick, on the other hand, has an uncommon experience. After tracking down the perpetrator who used his treasured toilet, he tortures him with a simulation of his personal heaven, which involves sitting on a toilet next to his deceased wife. Seeing this as pathetic, Rick sets the guy free and tells him to “go live his life.” The guy, whose name is Tony, then tells Rick that he’s a good friend, which Rick counters immediately by portal-gunning Tony away.
After Rick discovers he died in a skiing accident, he mourns the interloper by sitting on his toilet sipping his flask, basking in a swath of 1,000 Rick holograms making fun of Tony. In this moment of sadness, the mad scientist shows the looming sense of loneliness he usually hides with a sarcasm-laced bravado.
Armed with witty banter, clever allusions and plenty of classic satire, “Rick and Morty” Season 4 has yet to disappoint. The punch lines are delivered perfectly, the overall tone takes the foundation built up in the first three seasons and expands on it and it solidifies the show’s franchise status while making hordes of fans happy.
Sure, it probably took Harmon and Roiland six months just to make these two episodes, but great art takes time. And even though we only get five episodes for now, the return of “Rick and Morty” is most definitely worth the wait.