Yesterday, we wrote about how Dan Harmon and Justin Roiland's Rick and Morty Season 5 Episode 7 "Gotron Jerrysis Rickvangelion" was a game-changer for the series (here) where the series shifted to a much stronger emphasis on storylines and their implications. And though it's been treated like it was that other c-word for most of its run, the Adult Swim series appears to have stopped worrying and learned to love "canon." We wrapped it up by wondering how the series would handle evolving from telling stories to being a storyteller. Well, thanks to director Erica Hayes and writer Albro Lundy's "Rickternal Friendshine of the Spotless Mort" with a pleasantly surprising episode that not only went all-in canon-building but also presented us with the most romantic episode of the series.
So while that "dun-dun-duuuuuuuun!" sinks in, we're going to throw on the "MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD!" sign and thrown down a spoiler image buffer because we're going to be talking details. See you in a second…
Normally, this would be the part where we start discussing what the episode's over-arching themes or satirical targets were. But Hayes and Lundy's "Rickternal Friendshine of the Spotless Mort" offered the building blocks to what feels like a bigger story arc that's expanding rapidly while also leaving us to rethink a number of key moments from Rick and Birdperson's shared past. But it's clear that the latter is the best place to start, as Rick pursues Birdperson through Birdperson's own mind to save him- whether he wants it or not. And it's there that the revelations begin to flow as we learn more about their time together, from learning that Rick's original Beth is dead and that Tammy & Birdperson had a daughter to getting a sample of Squanchy's stand-up stage and nearly seeing The Flesh Curtains perform. But it was the truth about The Battle of Blood Ridge that impressively elevated the episode.
While there's always been this assumption that the battle resulted in tragic losses for the anti-Federation forces, it turns out that the Federation had its collective ass handed to it. The importance of Blood Ridge is that it was the moment Rick and what would end up being his life going forward was rejected by the one person he loved and wanted to share the "meaningless" of alternate realities with- Birdperson. While the show hasn't hidden the fact that Rick has an open mind sexually, seeing Rick romantically express his desire to spend all of reality with his male friend was a move by the creative team that was pleasantly surprising while also making absolute sense. And this is where the heart of this episode beats the loudest: it left us looking at the previous Rick/Birdperson interactions in a completely different light while adding layers of better understanding to how Rick would eventually become the Rick we know now. Every time he talks about how he would prefer to travel alone, I'll think back to this episode and that thing inside my chest will end up aching a little for Rick.
Random Thoughts: The post-credits scene involving Birdperson and Tammy's daughter and knowing that Birdperson is working to find her is an interesting side story to have in play to revisit- possibly as a way of reintroducing Space Beth to the series? It's clear that Rick prefers horny and slightly sociopathic AI for his car, garage, and lord only knows what's else. They found a cool way to reintroduce "Morty's Mind Blowers" tech back onto the screen. The other surprise that caught us in our blindspot? That the fifth season finale won't be happening until nearly a month from now- September 5, to be precise- and that it's going to clock in at an hour.
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