Adya Patil March 2, 2020
Ooh Wee! Rick and Morty is back for season four, providing fans with another dose of the show’s exploration of existential questions with underlying philosophical themes, masked by dark humor and fart jokes. If you’re the rare individual who hasn’t heard of the show, Rick and Morty is an animated show following Rick Sanchez, the smartest (and most cynical) man in the universe, and his grandson Morty Smith, a sniveling and anxious high schooler, on their wacky adventures through the intergalactic universe. The sci-fi and meta show created by co-creators Justin Roiland and the late Micheal Mendel is beloved by many due to the shows’ satirical nature on stereotypical sci-fi shows and references to classic 90’s media.
The season four premiere starts with a bang, hitting viewers with yet another relevant existential question: should one live in the present moment or constantly plan for the future? The duo starts the episode by mining death crystals, crystals that can predict every alternate death one may experience based on the choices they make. When holding it, Morty sees that one of his possible deaths is dying in his long-time crush Jessica’s arms, while she comforts him by saying that she loves him. The rest of his adventures consist of Morty using the crystal to decide every decision he makes in hopes of securing his future with Jesica. This results in him mistakenly killing Rick, and not reviving him. It also created mass destruction and casualties, ending with him encapsulated in a “goo capsule”, waiting for further instructions from the death crystal. Clearly, he was planning for the future, obsessing over his ideal death and being cautious of every step he takes in fear of losing his desired death. Rick, on the other hand, pursued every impulsive thought, not thinking about his actions while facing danger at every turn. After not being revived by Morty, he was eventually revived by Operation Phoenix, a collection of lifeless bodies he maintained in glass tubes filled with some sort of preserving liquid that his conscience could inhibit if his main body died. He is reborn into several strange bodies, including a wasp in a fascist wasp world. However, at the end of the episode, Rick ends up saving Morty from himself by destroying the death crystal. After discussing their adventures throughout the episode, they conclude that planning for the future and living in the moment are both important to live a full life, but the key is to moderate how much you do of each.
Season four also delved deeper into the complexity of each Smith family member’s personality. For example, in episode two of season four, we learn about Rick’s being a shy pooper, symbolizing his tendency to not let anyone see him vulnerable. He then discovers that an alien named Tony was also using his toilet, so Rick swore to kill him. Throughout the episode, Rick and Tony figure out that they are alike, in the sense that they lost the only thing that made their lives worthwhile. After realizing their similarities, Rick sets up the most epic prank to catch Tony using his toilet. Only for Rick to find out that Tony died, he begins to understand the opportunity he missed out on. He could’ve had a friend who, like him, was a product of traumatic events that left them as emotionless and without a will to live. He then sits on the toilet, triggering the prank he set up. The episode ends with holograms berating and demeaning himself.
Though there are (unfortunately) only five episodes in this season so far, each one serves an interesting topic for Rick and Morty fans to uncover and discuss amongst each other. The show is an enormous brain teaser, challenging the audience to think about their role in the human race and how one should live the ideal life.