A confession, to begin with – I never liked the ‘Interdimensional Cable’ episodes of Rick and Morty. The show is at its best when it’s nicely plotted, an adventure starring our two leads or the family, and although these episodes offered some laughs and some interesting premises, that’s all there is to them – a series with so few episodes shouldn’t have an episode each season dedicated to filler material. ‘Morty’s Mind Blowers’ is a better way to format this style of episode, but it’s still essentially the same thing, and it’s the low point of season 3 so far.
The episode opens with Rick and Morty being pursued by a creature eager to grab the Truth Tortoise – Morty looks into its eyes, and drops it into a void. But the memories stay with Morty, and he wishes that they could be erased from his mind – cue a trip to an underground room, where Rick has been keeping all the memories that are too much for Morty to handle. ‘I call them Morty’s Mind Blowers,’ says Rick, ‘and we’ll be doing this instead of Interdimensional Cable.’
And so, we’re off, with the dark story of the time Morty drove a man to suicide by accidentally framing him as a paedophile (it’s funnier than it sounds – Rick and Morty is one of the shows that can straddle this level of darkness and still be humorous). Things don’t get much more light-hearted than that, which sketches including Morty accidentally turning off the life support machines of some aliens and Rick needlessly killing an animal friend, before things take a little turn.
After the heights of the last episode, ‘Morty’s Mind Blowers’ feels a massive step down
Morty pieces together the fact that the memories are colour-coded and, among the mistakes, Rick has also removed petty memories (like the time that he thought the saying was ‘taking things for granite’). A battle ensued, and their memories are wiped. Morty uses the memories capsules to figure out who he is (the best story is here – Morty gets a Dr Doolittle-style device enabled him to hear squirrels plotting to destabilise global politics, and the two need to flee to a different reality) and Rick hates on Men in Black 2, a sentiment you feel is based in the writer’s genuine disdain.
The memories get to be too much, and the two decide to both commit suicide. Cue Summer, who walks in and, without any emotion, restores their memories. The plot, such as it is, is light and out of the way quickly enough – it didn’t need to be very substantial, but I found that it worked better as a framing device than random TV sketches.
It’s traditional to have this random sketch, goof-off episode in every season but, coming after the heights of the last episode, ‘Morty’s Mind Blowers’ feels a massive step down. Maybe, given all the darkness this season, we just needed an inconsequential episode to relax a little bit and break up the tension, but this season feels as though it has been on a certain trajectory, and this episode feels like a stall in the road.
‘Here’s one I call ‘Morty’s Menagerie’. They don’t all have titles, though – it’s not a Simpsons Halloween special.’ – Rick’s explaining the format.
‘It’s a freeform anthology. I’m getting annoyed you’re not hearing that.’ – Rick has explained the format to Morty, and he still isn’t getting it.
‘You fucked with squirrels, Morty?’ – There’s a lesson here. If you take one thing from this episode, don’t mess with squirrels.
Oh, poor Mr Lunas, Morty confusing you for a smudge was the beginning of the end. I’m sure, given your distinguished military record, you’d have made a brilliant guidance counsellor. There are a whole bunch of good characters in some of the scenes, though – the alien creature who winds up in Hell and the demon death worm are also good picks.
Time for Jerry’s mind blowers (why, oh why, can’t we have more Jerry this season – he steals every scene he’s in)! Jerry comes to the garage and uses the memory apparatus to recall a past adventure of his own. In this case, a parody of E.T., in which the family are riding through the woods, eager to save the alien from the government. Where is the alien? Jerry is bringing it – or at least, he should be. The family return to find Jerry in his bed, eating crisps and watching TV, and a dead alien in his car, in a scene that is both very bleak and massively funny.