NOTE: Full spoilers for this episode of, “Rick and Morty” are present in this review
Rick and Morty really soared with its much-hyped ‘vat of acid’ episode last week, and this seemed to indicate that Season Four’s usual pattern of alternating story quality would likely hold true this week. Fortunately, the season’s penultimate episode, “Childrick of Mort” manages to be a pretty strong one overall though, delivering another hilarious, allegorical storyline, this time themed around superstition and control, all bundled within a rather unusual hook-up effort by Rick. The result of said hook-up effort ends up having reverberations throughout the entire Smith family, particularly for Jerry, who finds himself achieving an unlikely regency as the ruler of a primitive people.
Jerry fans are actually in for a particular treat this week, since Jerry is a key personality in this episode. Jerry hasn’t had much of a chance to occupy his own storyline in Rick and Morty since last year’s midseason finale, “Rattlestar Ricklactica”, but finally, the tragically inept patriarch of the Smith family is given a fantastic chance to shine again. Beth also gets her biggest storyline of the entire season so far to boot, when she ends up assisting Rick on a very unusual project, with planet-wide consequences. That’s no exaggeration either! As we learn early on during an attempt at a Smith family vacation, Rick had sex with an entire planet named Gaia, and seemingly impregnated her, resulting in the ‘birth’ of an entire population of Rick-like clay people!
Rick and Beth thus work together to try and steer the clay society to ideal productivity and prosperity, using a literal sorting machine, while Jerry decides to branch off, bringing Morty and Summer into the woods with him, so he can have the family camping trip that he originally envisioned. After a flurry of insults from Summer however, Jerry sulks off alone, and eventually finds himself falling into a river, eventually washing up with a whole group of Rick’s and Beth’s, “Unproductives.” This prompts Jerry to become the leader of the Unproductives, easily manipulating and taking control of them, and building a camping-themed society that eventually crowns Jerry its ultimate ruler.
The subtle joke amid all of this craziness is obvious, but very valid; Even a small amount of delusion-fueled power can easily go to someone’s head, and break through the most careful of societal planning. Better still is that Rick’s and Beth’s planning ends up being entirely worthless in the end, once the clay civilization’s actual ‘father’, a giant, “Zeus”, shows up to reclaim his children, resulting in a literal battle between himself and Rick! Jerry, meanwhile, leads his ‘Unproductive’ people in a siege against Beth’s ultra-advanced clay civilization, equalizing both the most and least outwardly productive of the clay society into the same cannon fodder for Beth’s and Jerry’s own petty ideals. It’s another brilliant, sardonic job at the institutions that found our real-world society, and how, whether it’s religion, corporate culture, or just some idiot that over-values the outdoors, good ideas will inevitably be perverted and abused in the name of someone else’s subjective, damaging agenda.
The only Smith family members that felt a little under-utilized here were Morty and Summer, who accidentally stumble upon an abandoned spaceship after Jerry leaves them in the woods, and decide to live out their own fantasies for a vacation, namely Morty’s desire to play video games, and Summer’s desire to get high. After Summer gets high on alien brake fluid, before Morty treats the ship’s control panel like a game controller, the two then find themselves inadvertently saving Rick from certain doom at the hands of the Zeus, ramming the spaceship through the Zeus’s head, and killing him instantly. As much as this was the perfect icing on the cake, bringing home Rick and Morty’s usual comedic take on random chaos always trumping human influence, it left Summer and Morty as nothing more than plot devices this week. Even the crack of Summer sounding more like Rick didn’t totally land as well as it could have, since Summer’s barely been a part of Rick’s and Morty’s adventures lately, save for, “Promortyus” from a couple of weeks ago.
That being said, it’s great that Beth and Jerry got more of a chance to occupy the spotlight this week, as Rick’s latest sexual encounter reaches a zany new level, thus provoking a zany new challenge for the Smith family. “Childrick of Mort” doesn’t quite measure up to last week’s especially stellar, “The Vat of Acid Episode”, but it does break the vague pattern of every other episode within Season Four’s two halves feeling a little weak. This episode, by contrast, provides a hysterical commentary on the futility behind superstition and arbitrary career value, while placing these ideas within a genuinely hilarious series of storylines, all of which deliver plenty of strong laughs, even if Morty and Summer weren’t given quite as much to work with, in contrast to their parents and grandparent. With only one episode now being left for Season Four, it’s anyone’s guess as to how this season may ultimately end next week, but hopefully, because we got another winner this week, it doesn’t hurt the season finale’s chances of closing out Rick and Morty’s latest duo of episode helpings with aplomb.
- Hilarious premise of Rick impregnating a planet
- Beth collaborating with Rick on the clay society
- Jerry being a standout with his 'unproductive' civilization
- Morty and Summer feel a little under-utilized