Ep #: 16
Air date: Aug 23, 2015
Synopsis: Rick and Morty enter a galactic Battle of the Bands in order to save Earth. Meanwhile, the Smiths content with a new religion.
A giant alien head scouts the universe until it approaches Earth. Its presence quickly causes ecological damage and untold destruction on the planet, forcing humankind to embrace a possible Apocalypse. The Head demands one thing and one thing only, “Show me what you got.” Rick knows what's going on, so he takes Morty to the Pentagon to fix this problem. Meanwhile, the Smiths are invited to the local church to pray together because they assume the giant head is a vengeful God, something even Summer starts to believe.
Inside the Pentagon, the President and his employees are busy theorizing the Head's origin and figuring out a strategy to deal with it. Rick teleports in, causing security to gang up on them. The scientist counters by turning them into snakes via a button on his wristwatch. Before anything else can go wrong, The President steps in and brokers peace with Rick. Fortunately Rick plays ball and tells the government that the giant head is a Cromulon, an alien whose only goal is to get lesser lifeforms to perform catchy, hit songs. The President orders all their top, popular singers to a makeshift stage in Area 51, but they've all perished from one of the Cromulon's earthquake when it hit the Grammy Awards ceremony. Only one singer survived: Ice T. The President orders the musician to be shipped to Area 51 and then asks Rick and Morty to contribute as well.
Back in the Smiths' neighborhood, the local reverend tries his best to calm people down, assuring them this is merely an act of God, but Principal Vagina counters with his own theory: all the religions were wrong; they should instead pray to their new Head overlord.
Morty is worried because he isn't a musician, but Rick tells him to grab a keyboard and go with it. To Morty's surprise, he manages to create a decent song with his grandfather. “Get Schwifty” is a hit with the Cromulon and the natural disasters it was causing starts to recede. At the same time, Vagina had been praying in a means to appease the alien. The rest of the churchgoers assume his prayers have been heard. Beth tries to be rational about this, saying there isn't necessary a cause-effect between his prayers and the Cromulon responding, but then a violent earthquake occurs seemingly in an effort to silence her. In reality, the giant head teleports Earth to their dimension. Along with four other alien planets, they are to compete with each other to create a hit song. The winner will be spared, the losers will have their entire world blown up via plasma ray. Only Rick, Morty, and the government knows about this, the rest are busy praying to the Cromulons, convinced they are their new Gods. Beth and Jerry are a little more skeptical. I'm a little confused Summer isn't, she's seen enough sci-fi weirdness that she should have considered if that was an alien first.
Either way, Vagina's new religion, Headism, takes off. The community as a whole are kinder and better to each other. Beth remains the skeptic, but Jerry thinks it's for the better. Nothing speaks the truth than seeing their daughter Summer fully embrace the religion. She offers to cook dinner for her parents and has overall, turned into an obedient child. This surprises and pleases the Smiths; perhaps Headism isn't so bad after all. That is, until Jerry and Beth witness the Ascension where Vagina condemns sinners (a thief, Goth, and movie talker in this case) to be lifted via balloons so the Heads can inhale them and snort them out as “better babies.”
The rest of the planets try to compete against each other in an effort to please the Cromulons. Any protest ends with their world blown up, so the situation is mandatory whether they like it or not. Earth is up in six hours and Morty is stressed. Rick and Ice-T chill, nowhere close to taking this seriously. Morty thinks they should take their family and leave Earth, but Rick refuses to admit defeat. Morty tries to use Rick's portal gun to go home, but is warned that there isn't enough juice to grab their loved ones and teleport them away. However, that doesn't stop Rick from frivolously using the device to grab a batch of Fig Newtons for Ice-T while the two chatter away. Morty is understandably angry that his grandfather lied to him, so he grabs the teleporter and warps out.
Unfortunately Morty doesn't have a good grasp on the portal gun and he ends up warping to various alien worlds before passing out in the middle of a jungle. Luckily, Birdperson rescues him; Morty has landed on his home planet.
Jerry and Beth are in love with this new Summer, but finds it comes with a cost: Summer is so consumed with her religion that even the slightest mishap has her devastated and in constant fear of the Cromulons.
Rick is starting to get nervous. Without Morty, he's not sure what to do. He asks Ice-T for help, but the rapper simply doesn't care if Earth gets blown up. Rick eggs him on until Ice-T reveals who he truly is: an alien from the planet Alphabetium. There everyone is a letter of the alphabet. Ice-T is in reality a frozen block of ice, transformed into that state by the Elders for not caring enough. Earth is just a temporary destination before he leaves to explore anew. Rick tries to convince him otherwise, but Ice-T jettisons off-planet.
While The President has remained Rick and Morty's staunchest supporter, the General of the US army has been skeptical and trigger-happy since the Cromulon arrived. With both Morty and Ice-T gone and the President unwilling to do anything but hope for the best, he takes matters into his own hands. General Nathan threatens the President at gunpoint and pistol whips him unconscious, vowing to use nuclear bombs to retaliate.
Birdperson thinks he can tinker with the portal gun's history to locate Rick with it, but Morty wants to find his family instead. Birdperson thinks Morty is abandoning Rick, but Morty counters and says his grandfather never cared about anyone but himself; he never suffers the consequences of his actions. Birdperson remains supportive of Rick, saying this is the man who has the power to save Earth, just like how he saved his life.
Principal Vagina is so thrilled with Jerry and Beth's work for Headism that they want their help to take their religion globally. He wants Jerry to use his advertising skills to attract the crowd while Beth is promoted to Head of Medicine. They're both ideal jobs, but they ultimately decline. They've waited years for Summer to respect them, but the fact of the matter is, it has to be Summer herself who wants to do this, not some crazy religion that forced her to. They will get through this with their measly jobs. Beth and Jerry tearfully make strides in their relationship, opening up what could be a new foundation for their love lives.
...They're immediately tied to balloons so they can be ascended, by Summer no less!
Morty returns backstage and finds the President tied up. After Morty frees him, the two take a Black Hawk to Area 51 where Rick is failing to impress the Cromulons. The giant heads all start booing. At the same time, Summer and the other Headists assume the booing is their Gods disapproving of their actions against Beth and Jerry. Desperately, she drags her parents back to the ground in spite of Vagina's commands to unleash the Smiths skyward. This is further helped by the Cromulons cheerfully praising Summer's action; in reality it's because Morty arrived on stage in time to help Rick. General Nathan has had enough, he launches the missiles against the aliens, but they barely make a blip. The Cromulons declare this an act of rebellion and disqualifies Earth. The Headists misinterpret to mean that they want Vagina unseated from his religious throne. Vagina protests, but he is turned against by his fellow man and is prepared to be ascended. It's clear he cared less for Headism than the power it gave him.
The Cromulons ready their plasma ray, but something blocks its path. Ice-T has arrived on time, using his frozen body to stop the ray from hitting Earth. He realizes he cares now and wants to hear what Rick and Morty's got to offer. With the President's help, the duo performs and wins the competition. Earth is safely restored back to its original position and Headism crawls to a halt when the townsfolk realize they were in a galactic musical contest all along. General Nathan, in a fit of rage, tries to kill Rick, but the latter zaps him with his wristwatch. Turns out, that wasn't a snake changer, but a particle beam. He just happened to have a snake holster attached to his leg.
The after-credit has Ice-T returning to Alphabetium to rejoin his brethren. Since word has gotten out about his good deed on Earth, the Elders – one of whom is Ice-T's father – restores him to his true form: Water-T. Suddenly the Numericons have invaded. Water-T's father is killed in the process. Father and son reconcile before Water-T sets out to take on the Numericons.