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Review: Rick and Morty Season 5

This article was originally submitted on the 4th April

Rating: 4 out of 5.

If you know me, or have been in my flat, you’ll know how much I love Rick and Morty. Yes, I have the pickle Rick bucket hat, a poster, and even a Snuffles/Snowball toy. So, you can imagine my delight when the latest season dropped on Netflix after a year of waiting. With a year of anticipation, I have much to share – but I’ll try to avoid spoilers. 

The overall season was the most chaotic one yet, but I live for the chaos. Along with this, the creators previously said that this season would also be the most canon focused of them all and they certainly delivered, with the first and last episodes centering around Rick’s elusive backstory. Much contrary to Rick’s disdain of “serialised drama.” I got the feeling that writers were, in a sense, giving in to the fandoms clamouring pleas for backstory, but begrudgingly voicing this catering through an equally begrudging Rick. Episodically, this season, I believe, contains the best and worst. We have episodes of the “Pickle Rick” realm of sardonic action and emotional depth, but also forgettable episodes of the “Slut Dragon” variety. 

The first three episodes, I have to say, were amazing. Some of the best written, at least in my opinion. The first was written by Jeff Loveness, who came back to write the final episode of the season before departing to write for Marvel’s Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantomania. This gig attested to his skills. Loveness’ season opener introduces the flamboyantly horny Mr. Nimbus, who, much to Rick’s embarrassment, proclaims to be the scientist’s nemesis and attempts to establish “canonical backstory.” This episode also finally brings some ironic agency to Jessica, voiced by Kari Wahlgren. The second episode, Mortyplicity, epitomises one of Rick’s mantras, “nothing matters.” It’s a standalone episode of bloody carnage, and the after credits scene is hilariously paired with Queen’s song “Who wants to live forever” as its soundtrack. Now, episode three features Jennifer Coolidge and Alison Brie from Community as voice actors. This is my favourite episode of the whole season. Written by Rob Schrab, who you might know from Community or Workaholics. We see Summer (Spencer Grammar) and Rick (Justin Roiland) embarking on an intergalactic bender to forget about love, whilst Morty (Justin Roiland) endures a heart-breaking arch with love. Kishi Bashi’s “I am the antichrist to you” has been on my playlist ever since and is a gorgeous backing track to Morty’s arch. 

However, it’s after these episodes that things get a bit weird with the season. Critics online have stated that the episodes showcase a sense of floundering that hasn’t been seen before. Yes, the episodes are very creative and unexpected with the classic humour, but there is a lack of character growth or even focus within the Smith Family. However, that grasping for meaning is overcome in the last three episodes – again, some of the strongest yet. They look at Rick’s relationships with those closest to him, if you can call anyone that. Episode 8 establishes even more backstory to Rick within a surrealist realm of the mind of one of Rick’s friends and we finally get justice for Birdperson! The final two episodes acknowledge the toxic failing of Rick’s relationship with his grandson, displaying the worst qualities of both eponymous characters: Rick’s coldness and Morty’s desperation. Finally, the last episode is a whirlwind of the big canonical reveals the writers promised. Oh yes, and Evil Morty on the Citadel of Ricks makes an appearance along with an amazing orchestral version of “For the Damaged.”

Like I said before, this season displays the best and worst of Rick and Morty. I wouldn’t have missed watching and you shouldn’t too. If you can get past the giant sperm monsters.

Image Courtesy of Sabotage21 via Pixabay