Rick and Morty was a pleasant surprise. Its ambitious deconstruction to mine laughs out of the sci-fi genre and related tropes could have wandered into aimless, lazy parodies. Instead, it went above and beyond with clever plot twists and diverse scenarios, all comfortably nestled within its provocatively creative animation. No two episodes were alike, and its brand of unpredictability crafted genuinely funny scenes. If the first two episodes of the new season is any indicator, then Rick and Morty has nothing to fear; it’s more than a one-shot wonder.
Rick and Morty stars the eponymous grandfather/grandson duo and their series of misadventures. Rick Sanchez is a grumpy, self-absorbed scientist who travels through time and space getting into various shenanigans, often with damaging consequences. Morty acts as his personal assistant, butt monkey, and failed moral support. Rounding out the two is their immediate family consisting of Rick’s daughter, Beth Smith, a bitter sad sack unsatisfied with her marriage; her dorky, inept husband Jerry; and their eldest child, Summer, an average teenage girl.
At the end of season one, Rick froze time to cover up a party he and Summer were hosting. Season two’s premiere episode “A Rickle in Time” opens up six months later with time still at a standstill until Rick apathetically restores the universe back to normal. This causes an unfortunate side effect for him and his grandchildren when Morty and Summer’s instability literally causes the fabric of time to split in two. This results in the kind of think-out-of-the-box creativity that the show pulls off exceedingly well. Various muck-ups from the cast of idiots only worsen the situation, cranking the emergency up to eleven in true apocalyptic fashion.
“Mortynight Run” has Morty rescuing a sentient cloud desired by many alien species. While it lacks the ingenuity of the first episode, it more than makes up for it through stunning exotic backgrounds, some downright disturbing alien designs, and a series of musical montages drawn in trippy, 60’s psychedelic imagery. It also carries a truly hilarious take on immersive holograms, producing a sequence of events that plays its elements so seriously that the joke is even funnier by the end.
Its flexibility ensures any newcomer can hop in at any point in the episode without getting lost. Loyal viewers will find plenty of love as Easter Eggs are scattered everywhere, each worth a freeze frame over. Both episodes also recall subplots and character development from season one. “A Rickle in Time” uses its gimmick to explore its cast, including the mass of contradiction that is Rick. A subplot deals with Beth’s self-esteem issues with her profession as a horse surgeon and their reinforcement by her husband’s condescending degradation, picking up a running problm throughout season one. Even Morty seems enthusiastic to be Rick’s sidekick compared to his earlier reluctance.
Rick and Morty hasn’t changed since its beginning heydays, but it proves they nailed the formula right from the start. It’s wonderfully bizarre offering is as visually striking as it is psychotic. I can’t imagine what further madness Rick and Morty will get to next.