Even in one of its arguably lighter episodes, this season of Rick and Morty has proven to be really quite dark. The impact has really been catching up on our two lead characters, so ‘Rest and Ricklaxation’ delivers what it says on the tin – our heroes need a break. Suffice to say, things don’t run as smooth as that.
Rick pulls Morty away from school, and a disastrous attempt to flirt with Jessica, for a quick twenty-minute adventure. Six days later, after a very narrow escape, they succeed, but both then break down in Rick’s ship. Morty begins to weep and Rick laments his lack of control – this feels like a genuine and real reaction to events, and the kind of psychological damage that a more episodic show would happily skip over.
So, they decide to take a break. The two head to a spa, where Rick massively insults a detoxifier attendant. Into the machine they go, and a mucus-y looking Rick and Morty wake up in a toxic wasteland, surrounded by monsters. Initially convinced that the attendant sabotaged the machine, it only takes a moment before this Rick pieces it together – they are the toxins.
Its exploration of Rick’s psyche again was well-handled and really interesting
A mellow Rick and Morty emerge, and Morty really comes into his own. His easy confidence makes him the talk of the school, and he scores a date with Jessica. But, his uber-enthusiasm scares her off, and he winds up picking up a lady, Stacey, in the restaurant. He takes her home, where Rick has devised a new machine to restore the toxins. Having earlier received a message from toxin Rick pleading for help, he realises that they need to be whole again. But the ruse was just a trap – Stacey winds up in the toxin wasteland, and toxin Rick and Morty escape into the real world.
Cue an elaborate fight sequence between the Ricks, involving a weird alien creature kept in a plant pot and guns that turn the Ricks into babies. But when this ends in stalemate, toxin Rick resolves to change the whole world toxic.
It’s then that Rick figures out how to beat toxin Rick. His caring for other people was a weakness and so it ended up in toxin Rick – after shooting toxin Morty a few times with a poison weapon, toxin Rick merges with Rick in order to save him. But Morty flees – he doesn’t want to have that part of himself to come back, so he flees, winding up a Wall Street stockbroker. This can’t last, though, and Rick eventually tracks Morty down, bringing back the awkward young boy we all know and love.
There was nothing wrong with the episode, per se, but I felt somewhat underwhelmed with it – it didn’t seem to have quite as many laughs as the previous ones this season, although its exploration of Rick’s psyche again was well-handled and really interesting (the conclusion – that the toxic Rick and Morty personalities are a lot closer to the reality – is quite sad, really, but it feels true to the characters, and that’s what counts). As with ‘Rickmancing the Stone,’ the episode was good, but good is insufficient when it comes to Rick and Morty.
‘I want that kind of love – like, penis in the foreskin kind of love.’ – I don’t why it made me laugh so much, but it did. So sue me.
‘Listen to me, trying to calculate happiness over here.’ – If you needed proof that Rick had lost something, a comment like this, said without sarcasm or pretence, would do it.
‘What do you think about that?’ ‘I think my voice is annoying.’ ‘It is, and it’s your best quality.’ – And on the other side of the spectrum, toxin Rick and Morty.
I’m going to pick toxin Morty, simply because of how pathetic he is throughout the episode, to an extent that it gets to be really funny (and also a touch sad when he dies in Rick’s arms).
A tour guide leads a group around the mood tower where toxin Rick enacted his worldwide toxicity scheme. He flicks a switch on the canister, freeing Stacey. That’s it – nothing really in the way of laughs or development.