NOTE: Full spoilers for this episode of, “Rick and Morty” are present in this review
After a season premiere that made a direct point of trolling toxic series fans with an intentionally expectation-skewing story template, Rick and Morty once again went for a more experimental offering in Season Four’s second episode. “The Old Man and the Seat” separates Rick and Morty completely, with both pursuing their own separate storylines, as an obsession with control and convenience over seemingly universal forces begins to overtake Rick himself, along with the world at large. This all begins with an introduction to Rick’s apparent alien intern, Glootie, who is played in an amusing turn by Taika Waititi. The only rule Rick gives with Glootie? Don’t develop his app. He even went as far as to tattoo this rule on Glootie’s forehead!
In fact, this episode packs in a surprising amount of high-profile guest stars across its handful of storylines, between Sam Neill and Kathleen Turner as an invading alien couple, Jeffrey Wright as a kindly, but depressed alien that runs afoul of Rick, and the aforementioned Taika Waititi as Glootie. That’s a lot of star power behind another very good episode of Rick and Morty, albeit one that wasn’t quite as tight or consistently funny as the previous season premiere. The themes of universal convenience ironically making us resort to grossly inconvenient means to protect perceived territorialism do shine through though, making for an episode that still feels clever with its social commentary, even when its jokes can sometimes be a bit uneven.
The decision to put Rick on his own separate story path means that the Smith family are split up between two other storylines, which both at least set out with clever ideas related to the same Jerry-incited issue. After Glootie keeps compulsively asking people to develop an app with him, despite Rick’s insistence that it never be done, Jerry of course caves to Glootie’s desires, and the two develop a major Tinder-like dating app called, “Lovefinderrz”, a name that Jerry came up with, because of course he did. Despite the stupid name though, which the episode itself humourously pokes fun at, the app ends up taking the world by storm, compelling people to constantly break up with partners, just to find new partners, often multiple times in the same week!
The other storyline created here results from Summer using the app while she’s with Beth at the mall, which results in Summer running off with a strange guy that she just met, and Beth constantly giving chase. Summer is the one showing the real stakes behind the app to inspired effect, while Beth ironically keeps perpetuating the satire of control, and losing control, namely when Summer keeps moving between suitors at lightning speed. It feels like the jokes with Beth were a little bit weak compared to other elements of the episode, but Summer nicely picked up the slack, moving between an increasingly ludicrous array of male and female suitors alike, before she eventually becomes so exhausted that she’s practically a love zombie. This is not only a great jab at modern dating culture, but like I said, one that also explores higher ideas of how people vie for control over things that are obviously not meant to be controlled.
The actual destruction effort of the app however is left to Morty and Jerry, after Morty forces Glootie to give up his true masters, the aforementioned alien couple that’s played by Sam Neill and Kathleen Turner. Apparently, the app is being used as an elaborate distraction so that no one notices that Earth’s water is being stolen by Glootie’s race, which I suppose is a fair enough idea for an alien agenda, though it does have a few holes in it. I know that Rick and Morty is an exaggerated adult cartoon, but seeing that not everyone takes to the app, would it seriously go unnoticed if all of Earth’s water went missing because of a dating app? It stretches the realm of credibility, even by the standards of Rick and Morty. Regardless, Jerry embracing his own loneliness alongside Glootie is a fair enough means of helping Morty and Jerry survive to fight another day, and avert the water theft. I also especially love the joke that Lovefinderrz is easily defeated by simply putting an ad-controlled pay wall over it, which brings this episode’s satirical bend to a hilarious and all too real conclusion!
Overall though, it was Rick that headlined the strongest and most memorable storyline of this episode. Rick’s storyline involves him going to a secret, “Pooping place” on some idyllic planet in space, only to discover that someone has pooped in his toilet without his knowledge. This spurs Rick on an obsessive quest to find who did it, eventually leading him to Tony, played in another standout guest turn by Jeffrey Wright, an alien who’s likable, but down over the recent death of his wife. Rick has trouble killing Tony for his transgression, but also tries to neutralize Tony by beating his parallel universe doppelganger, then trapping Tony in a simulation of a toilet-filled Heaven, neither of which go as planned. Ultimately, Rick fails to stop Tony from using his special toilet, which comes with the ironic consequence of Rick’s encouragement to live on one’s own terms tragically killing Tony in a skiing accident. This is done right before Rick plans to stick it to Tony one last time before abandoning the toilet too, which comes with another ironic consequence; Rick being forced to use the toilet as a series of elaborate holograms of himself mock and belittle who was supposed to be Tony. It’s a depressing, but cleverly executed turn for Rick, who came that close to forming a truly meaningful connection outside of his family, only to lose it on account of his own selfishness, which once again finds a clever way to come back and haunt him.
Even in not being quite as funny or consistent as the previous season premiere, “The Old Man and the Seat” remains a standout adult animation offering, and continues to have Rick and Morty’s new fourth season unfolding on a strong note. The major dating app storylines between the Smith family weren’t always universally funny or clever, but Rick nonetheless proved to be the episode’s MVP, beautifully upholding his own storyline with the transgressor who dared poop in his secret toilet. The crassness and cleverness that defines Rick and Morty remains very strong overall here, even with a few shakier jokes, and the latest effort to split Rick and Morty into their own separate adventures mostly led to a lot of creative craziness, if nothing else. I’m about ready for a more conventional Rick/Morty storyline from here, but either way, it was nice to keep things fresh in Season Four’s sophomore offering, while maintaining that familiar spirit of inspired, yet witty lunacy that makes Rick and Morty such an excellent show.
- Jerry being responsible for a world-controlling dating app
- Summer's hilarious series of 'soulmates'
- Rick's eventful, clever toilet retribution
- Beth jokes are a little weak
- A dating app being used to mask water theft is a little too odd
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