Trapped on a story train that is, in every literal sense, a narrative devise, Rick and Morty must navigate a hackneyed anthology to confront the enemy that has them hostage and escape to freedom.
Well, that was certainly… a thing.
Rick and Morty often goes way outside the box for their story ideas and “Never Ricking Morty” was certainly no exception. If anything, I would even suggest that this episode might be shown as an educational tool in writing classes some day… you know, if the teacher was hungover and didn’t care about job security. (Hey, I once used a clip from South Park to demonstrate Yellow Journalism and sensationalism in today’s media, so anything is possible).
Most assuredly, this is intelligent writing sprinkled with some mildly funny anthology bits here and there.
The problem with this episode is that is appears a little too proud of its setup and basically spends half an hour patting itself on the back for it.
It was a clever setup, yes… but did we need constant reminders about what we were watching? Did we really need to be reminded about the overwriting and breaking of the thematic seals? In celebrating its own intelligence, I almost feel like my own was insulted… like my hand just had to be held as Rick and Morty went through narrative tropes that I wasn’t trusted enough to understand.
Granted, this is a cartoon, but this is a cartoon whose fan base literally stereotyped themselves for being super intelligent because only the super intelligent would understand a show like Rick and Morty.
Personally, I don’t believe that for a moment because I’m not super intelligent and I like this show just fine, but at the same time, I don’t like to be patronized and that’s honestly what this episode felt like it was doing most of the time. Hey, we have to explain what’s going on every sixty seconds… aren’t we just the most smartest thing?
It’s a shame that the hand-holding put a sour taste in my mouth because the episode itself is very clever. It never quite becomes laugh out loud funny until the end when Rick realizes that, to derail the train, he must do something he would never do and accepts Jesus Christ as his lord and savior… that and the ticket-taker blood fountain was really the only parts to me that were riotously funny as opposed to “inner chuckle” funny.
I’m not remotely saying that the episode is bad… as I said, it was very witty and, aside from the condescension, very smartly written. I just wish it would have trusted the audience more with the concept instead of explaining it for the purpose of self-gratification.