Once Dan Harmon and Justin Roiland's Rick and Morty crossed the midpoint of its fifth season, something changed. It was hard to tell at first with S05E06 "Rick & Morty's Thanksploitation Spectacular" because… well… we weren't exactly big fans of that episode. But then last week's Jacob Hair-directed, John Harris-written "Gotron Jerrysis Rickvangelion" rolled around and it had a lot of things that worked for us. From the twisted takes on "Voltron" and anime cliches to a nod to some familiar mob movies that surprisingly didn't come with venom (unlike heist and time travel films). And if you ever needed an example of the essential role Morty plays in Rick's life, it would be tough to find one better. Yet it felt off but I couldn't figure out why. Then as I was explaining the episode to someone late last week, I figured out what the "problem" was.
Up until now, the Adult Swim series has offered us 4-1/2 seasons of theme, meaning, and satire with the loose trappings of canon to keep it all together. But the canon was never the focus; in fact, the idea of canon and a "mythology" has been mocked in the past. But with Harmon and Roiland having inked that sweet long-term deal, the creative team has been working further ahead than it ever has (with Harmon stating recently that there's already been work on the seventh season). So working that far ahead, the series will need to lean on long-term storylines and canon-building more because it's tough to stay thematically current when you're working months or more in advance.
And that brings me back to "Gotron Jerrysis Rickvangelion" and why I was having an issue processing it. For me, this episode represents crossing over a line in which I now have to give much more weight to the storylines themselves and their implications. Basically, what I'm saying is that Incest Baby matters now. As does the growing divide between Rick and Morty, the escalating tension between Summer and Jerry, Jerry and Beth working on their marriage, and wondering what Space Beth is up to. It will be interesting to see how the series evolves from telling stories to being a storyteller.
As Beth, Jerry, Summer, and Morty head out for a bit of a family breather, Rick stays behind and uses his time to help a friend. Which friend? Based on what you're about to see, that friend would be Birdperson. And considering the title is based on Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, be prepared for some major heartbreak if Rick's plan to help Birdperson is what we think it is. Here's your look at the cold open to Adult Swim's Rick and Morty Season 5, Episode 8 "Rickternal Friendshine of the Spotless Mort":
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