promortyrus
Image: Adult Swim

Rick and Morty – Promortyrus

After last week’s uber-meta episode, Rick and Morty are on somewhat more familiar ground with an immersive and fun sci-fi adventure. That’s how ‘Promortyrus’ first appears, at least, but under the laughs, there’s a fantastic level of the deconstruction and genre criticism that this show does well.

On an alien world, Rick and Morty have become hosts, an extra-terrestrial creature tied to their face. After an arm of Morty’s mask gets scratched off, the two of them escape and attempt to find their ship. They learn they are on the world of Glorzo, which is populated by these parasite mask aliens, and that they intend to spread their presence to Earth. Rick and Morty begin an escape from the planet, and gleefully start destroying the alien society in the process. A joyous adventure soon reveals hidden depths, however, when the two are forced to return to the planet in search of Summer, who they hadn’t even realised that they left behind.

When you watch the early instalments of Rick and Morty, it’s incredible how far we’ve come in terms of animation quality

It may initially seem that this episode is parodying Alien, but things are never that straight-forward. We soon learn that the fun opening adventure takes place in the middle of the narrative, offering us a great bit of deconstruction as we actually see what happens after Rick and Morty leave. As the scientist says, “there’s a reason we don’t go back”, and seeing how the latter half of ‘Promortyrus’ plays out is really interesting. It characterises an entire race of seemingly-monstrous and gross aliens, taking a story that we played for comedy and turning it into a tragedy. It’s fantastic writing again, although I wonder if every episode must end with a commentary on not trying so hard to have good adventures.

I think that ‘Promortyrus’ is markedly funnier than last week’s instalment, with a lot of great laugh-out-loud lines and some great banter between Rick and Morty – I particularly enjoyed Rick’s annoyance that the aliens won’t pick a lane between being “face-huggers or industrialists”. It also sees the show pushing the boundaries of good taste as only it can, packing in references to 9/11 and Pearl Harbour as well as a bit of Smith family incest. Only Rick and Morty can make genocide so enjoyable (and look so good – there should be some real praise going the way of the animation department). When you watch the early instalments of Rick and Morty, it’s incredible how far we’ve come in terms of animation quality.

It’s the perfect balance of fun, funny and provocative, and it sits nicely in the catalogue of good Rick and Morty episodes

We also get to see a little bit of the Smith family in ‘Promortyrus’, which is always good for some laughs. Summer is obviously a large part of the plot, casually uprooting an alien society in her own distinct way, and there are some side gags for Beth and Jerry. The latter has taken to keeping bees, something that earns him the usual amount of derision, and makes him the subject of a fantastic post-credits gag. He’s one of Rick and Morty’s ace cards, though, and it would be good to give him a bit more to do in the remaining few episodes of the series.

‘Promortyrus’ is not the show’s most inventive episode, but it’s a solid instalment with a lot of laughs and some fun character work. I enjoyed the deconstruction of the heroes’ actions on Glorzo, and the storytelling format worked really well as a means of contextualising it. It’s the perfect balance of fun, funny and provocative, and it sits nicely in the catalogue of good Rick and Morty episodes.

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