Rick and Morty portal into Season Five with a fantastically funny premiere

After crashing into the ocean and angering Rick’s nemesis, the aquatic Mr. Nimbus, Rick has to have his old enemy over for dinner to smooth things out, but Morty is more interested in having a quiet date with Jessica as Jerry and Beth are presented with a way to spice up their marriage.

This was such a perfect episode where everything worked. Where I was expecting a parody of Aquaman, “Mort Dinner Rick Andre” turned into an examination of what we want verses what we feel compelled to do and it was woven into the episode in such a sly and interesting way that I didn’t even realize it until my second viewing.

Rick and Mr. Nimbus, for example, are compelled to be antagonists even though neither of them want to be. Jerry and Beth feel compelled to accept Mr. Nimbus’… uh… invitation to spice up their marriage even though it’s obvious that neither of them really want to. Jessica, in what was probably the episode’s most ingenious twist, realizes that she’s just a secondary character out of an unconscious compulsion and, becoming the only truly free person in the entire episode, throws off her shackles to do what she wants to.

It was, in a word, brillant.

Of course, being brilliant isn’t enough because the episode is hilarious with joke after joke landing and building on top of each other all the way up to the final line. The high concept science fiction premise of a dimension where time moves faster and Morty, inadvertently, making himself a Satan-like figure to an entire civilization was executed not only with hysterical results, but also lent itself to the theme of compulsion and want. Citizens of the time dimension deviate from their compulsions to focus on their wants, but are always pulled back in when Morty reappears in their culture.

“Mort Dinner Rick Andre” is Rick and Morty at its absolute best. It’s an episode so funny and so smart that you have to watch it multiple times to catch all of the jokes and all of the themes inside it.

I sincerely hope the rest of the season reflects this high mark.

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