RICK AND MORTY Season 2 Episode 3 [Review]

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RICK AND MORTY Season 2, Episode 3 “Auto-Erotic Assimilation”/ Directed by BRYAN NEWTON & PETE MICHELS / Written by RYAN RIDLEY, ERIC ACOSTA, DAN HARMON, TOM KAUFFMAN, WADE RANDOLPH, JUSTIN ROILAND & MATT ROLLER / Created by DAN HARMON & JUSTIN ROILAND / Starring JUSTIN ROILAND, CHRIS PARNELL, SPENCER GRAMMER, SARAH CHALKE, PATTON OSWALT & CHRISTINA HENDRICKS / Produced by HARMONIUS CLAPTRAP, JUSTIN ROILAND’S SOLO VANITY CARD PRODUCTIONS, STARBURNS INDUSTRIES & WILLIAMS STREET

It would be fair to say that Jerry and Beth do not have a happy marriage. Between Beth’s daddy issues regarding her long-absent mad-scientist father and Jerry’s issues with work, his lack of education, his feelings of general inadequacy and… well, just being Jerry if we’re going to be brutally honest, there’s a lot of bad blood between them. But when the quest to locate a weed-wacker in Rick’s lab (a.k.a. the garage) leads to the discovery of a second subterranean lab and an alien prisoner, will they be able to put aside their differences and suspicions in the name of togetherness and unity?

Of course not!  Don’t be ridiculous!  Have you ever seen this show, before?

Meanwhile, Rick and the grand-kids are tooling around space when they pick-up a distress signal.  Surprisingly, Rick is ready to drop everything to rush into a potentially dangerous situation. Unsurprisingly, this is because Rick sees every distress signal as a potential opportunity to loot strange alien ships.

It turns out the aliens in question are not dead but are under attack.  They claim that they are besieged by a most unnatural and fearsome plague that blights the soul and destroys all sense of self.  But what they call a soul-blighting plague that erases individuality is what Rick calls an ex. And not just in the usual way that most people refer to their exes with unflattering remarks – Rick literally used to date a gestalt entity known as Unity.

Now, as Summer tries (without success) to get the civilization that Unity has conquered to remember the joys of being themselves, Rick decides to “catch-up” with Unity. And by “catch-up” we mean “have sex with”. And by “have sex with” we mean that Rick explores new heights of debauchery, as only he can.  Well, technically someone probably COULD explore new heights of debauchery in the same way that Rick does in this episode but it would be really uncomfortable. Especially in a crotchless Uncle Sam costume. Which must be quite difficult to get a hold of on an alien world in deep space, if you think about it…

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The new season of Rick and Morty has been on a roll since the first episode.  Yet this episode is easily the best of the season so far and – quite possibly – the best episode of the series to date.  And not just because both plots are rip-roaringly hilarious.

A lot of it has to do with the delivery. The regular cast is clearly comfortable with their roles at this point and the interaction between various pairs (Jerry/Beth and Summer/Morty, in particular) make the episode.  There’s also some wonderful guest performances by the always amazing Patton Oswalt (as a Borg-like rival hive-mind to Unity) and Christina Hendricks as the main voice of Unity.

What really sells this story, however, is its conclusion. I dare not spoil a bit of it save to say that it would be a wonderful bit of silent acting if it were to involve real actors instead of drawn figures. As it is, it’s a powerful and surprisingly sweet moment that adds new dimensions to the character of Rick, who usually only exists as a means to a punchline rather than a complete character. This speaks well of what we can expect to see from the series in the future.

Rating 5

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