In general, I don't believe that people have the power to "jinx" or curse anyone or anything. Now, I'm not saying that there aren't some folks out there with that particular set of skills because things are a little too weird out there for that not to be an option (plus, I take my survival skills advice from horror movies). I'm talking about those everyday things, like saying something's really good means you'll cause it to turn to s**t by saying that. Personally, if I had that bag of tricks? I would be kicking back and saying all of this aloud while a team of advanced computers compiled this review for me. But I don't, so that's what I don't mind saying that three episodes in? The fifth season of Dan Harmon and Justin Roiland's Rick and Morty may turn out to be its best yet, with the potential to be like that one album your favorite singer r band has that you can listen to straight through with no "skip tracks."
And it's not just that the series continues to surprise and shock us in so many deliciously great ways, because the Adult Swim series has that on lock at this point. No, it's the way this season has found a way to not only not ignore the narrative threads left at the end of the fourth season but also begin weaving them into something that new. At the very beginning of its run, a number of naysayers questioned how long Rick and Morty could run with "shock humor" and gross-outs. Well, I would be curious to know what they're thinking now because the hit series has found a way to do something that animated series like Family Guy, American Dad, and others. Harmon and Roiland's universe is evolving at a natural and fluid pace- with Morty, Beth, Jerry, Summer, and (yes, even him) growing along with it.
The creative team isn't riding the show's success by shoveling the same old, same old for nine seasons before attempting something groundbreaking. "Groundbreaking" is a dragon this show's been slaying since the first episode… Queen! That's a perfect segue into my thoughts on "A Rickconvenient Mort" (directed by Juan Meza-Léon and written by Rob Schrab), which takes the crown for the top episode this season so far. How can you not be impressed by an episode that can make your heart break for Morty and Planet Earth yet also feel hopeful for the new family dynamic that's been in play since S05E01? But most of all, the episode put viewers in the much-needed position of having to feel for characters we thought we knew and forcing us to stay in those moments. No punchlines. No sight gags. Just the raw emotion of being there for those moments we don't often get to see between planets blowing up and gods being killed. Of course, we're throwing on the "MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD!" sign because we're going to be offering our thoughts in bullet form- we'll meet you after the image spoiler buffer:
It's The End of The World As We Know It…: If Al Gore's was An Inconvenient Truth, then you could call this episode "An Unchangeable Fate" when it comes to the message it sent regarding man's attempts to fix just how badly its f***ed up the planet. In the end, Morty (Mankind) wasn't able to commit to Alison Brie's Planetina (Planet Earth) because he couldn't do what really needs to be done to truly save the planet- with Planetina's anger and parting message to Morty a statement on how the Earth appears to be pushing back on us hard in very big ways. And that's a fight we won't win. But Schrab didn't stop there, also skewering those who push environmental causes for personal wealth and ego-stroking. The teens-turned-corporate-sellouts controlling Planetina might as well have "Baby Boomers" written across their chests, testaments to those who fought for change just long enough for it to serve them.
We Need to Talk About Morty: I'm not the only one seriously concerned about the path that Morty's on, right? I mean, he's dealt with two major punches to the heart this season already. Then there was that rage he unleashed on Beth and Jerry that shows just how alone in the universe he's feeling. Add into that mix Rick once again using Summer as a weapon of jealousy against Morty, and I can' help but wonder if they're all not just pushing Morty closer and closer to that "evil eyepatch" life. And then there's the matter of Morty's fighting skills and his ability to adapt to weapons- and that he's more than willing to go fatal when need be. The only saving grace? That rare emotional moment between Beth and Morty, where Beth shows Morty that even in the midst of all the madness? He's not alone. Which is a perfect lead-in to our last main point- and a much more upbeat one…
Are They Becoming… A Family?!: You know things are evolving with the family dynamic when Beth and Jerry are the most stable folks love & relationship-wise in the episode but they were and it was nice. Looks like Dr. Wong may just be a miracle worker after all. While Jerry was "Jerry," it was more "sitcom dad" style and not obnoxiously self-absorbed and weak (he even tried a "concerned father" move with Summer but he was way too out-numbered). But this was the moment where we go to see Beth as much more than a wine-swilling daughter still seeking daddy's approval. We may not like the way she approached the Morty/Planetina situation, but it was tough love and she was right. But what really stood out was that she actually listened to Morty's tirade and was there for him when she knew he would need her the most. And let's not forget Rick and Summer's apocalyptic booty call bar crawl, an adventure that started out to spite Morty and Jerry and became an important learning lesson for both. The only red flag I see? As Summer continues her detached spiral, it's going to be very easy for her to feed Rick's ego to get in on the adventuring- especially if Morty continues flexing his independence.
Random Thoughts: I want both versions of the "P***y Pounders" t-shirts; great $50 Funko joke; apparently, Rick and Summer's oral sex skills impressions and "elbow titties" are pixelation-worthy; Daphne sounds like someone we once knew but we can't remember who, and it appears Morty is going to one-up American Pie in the next episode.
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