Rick and Morty: Addicted to our own limitations

By Aristophanes and Hermes

Today’s discussion of Rick and Morty contains spoilers through Season 3, Episode 6: “Rest and Ricklaxation.” If you haven’t watched the latest episode, read at your own risk.

Aristophanes (Ari): So today we’re talking about S3E6: “Rest and Ricklaxation.” What were your initial thoughts?

Hermes (Herm): It may be the biggest character development we have seen out of Rick and Morty, the characters, yet. We see what Rick and Morty truly value in their own personalities. It confirmed what we already knew — Rick has an irrational love for his grandson and Morty is no longer the bright-eyed, good-hearted 14-year-old we met in the first season. Some of the detail with the writing could have been done better, but this ambiguity I have felt critical of could be easily answered down the road. It wasn’t my favorite episode, but I feel it may grow on me, similar to how “Vindicators 3” did.

I also found it interesting how the focus of the episode was squarely on Rick and Morty, as well as Morty’s relationship with Jessica. It was very interesting how she’s been built up to be a goddess, basically, but the new, non-toxic Morty basically shrugs off their poor chemistry and has the confidence to immediately pursue the next woman he sees. I am also surprised Rick and Jessica have a relationship; I am even more surprised Rick has not tried to work that in Morty’s favor before.

Ari: Personally, I loved this episode. You’re spot on with the comment about character development. When Rick and Morty are each separated into two versions of themselves — the “toxic” and “good” halves of their respective personalities — it gives the writers a chance to explore the nuances of their psyches. The most interesting aspect of the episode, for me, was that it wasn’t the “good” Rick who cared about his Morty the most, it was the “toxic” Rick.

Herm: I agree. And it’s not like “good” Rick doesn’t love his grandson — I just think toxic Rick loves his Morty more than he wants to. On a more general note, I also think Rick sees a lot of himself in Morty; if he didn’t, why would he continue to include him in his adventures? The whole cloaking thing (i.e., where Morty can conceal Rick’s presence by canceling out his “genius” brain waves) is just a cover for Rick’s true feelings.

At least for this Rick, anyway. The other Ricks in other universes are not relevant here.

Looking for the latest updates on Rick and Morty? Read our discussion of the Season 3 finale by clicking the link below:

Resizing (107)

[Rick and Morty: POTUS vs. Rick]

Ari: Replying to what you said about Morty and Jessica, it was really interesting to see what a fully confident Morty could do once he put his mind to it. He asked Jessica out, and she said yes. Then, after she left him, he moved on without it bothering him all that much. At the end of the episode, we see Morty has become a complete Wolf of Wall Street-like investment figure, living it up in New York. Did you catch, though, how that Morty, knowing Rick might try to track him through a phone call, didn’t hang up immediately? In the end, he basically just let Rick find him.

Herm: “We are addicted to our own limitations,” Morty says, and there is a hint of truth to that. His insecurity has been his limitation throughout the show, and what I found interesting was his lack of insecurity post-detox is what actually ruined things with Jessica. This investment figure type only further shows that Morty views honesty as a weakness. I did find that interesting. I think he got bored without his anxiety; without it, life became too easy. As someone working through similar obstacles in my own life, I found that fascinating.

Ari: I was just going to say something similar! The fascinating, and ironic, part is that the new Morty, who was brave enough to ask out Jessica, suddenly wasn’t the Morty Jessica wanted. At the end of the episode, she mentions that it’s good to have the real Morty back again. I think Jessica likes Morty, and his insecurities are a part of that.

Herm: I think it’s a bit soon to suggest Jessica has romantic feelings for Morty, but it certainly shows Jessica is a decent person and cares about Morty on a basic level, at least. I also think Morty, with his characteristic anxiety, is not overly type-A the way the new Morty was, and he values Jessica more because of it. It wouldn’t be crazy if she becomes a more developed character in later episodes.

Ari: I also wanted to talk about the clown scene. Terrible, wasn’t it?

Herm: I enjoyed the contrast between the regular and toxic versions of everything. The one that actually stood out most to me was the church scene, where the bishop tells the congregation, “We made God up for money!” I love the social commentary and its coincidental ties to current events (i.e., the Joel Osteen controversy).

Ari: How fast the transition happened, and how unexpected it was, made it even funnier.

Herm: I thought the transition back to normal, and the idea of the congregants and children being horrified at their actions, was far funnier than the original transition to the toxic world.

Ari: For the children, I totally agree: funny and disturbing. The whole toxify-the-world plot reminded me a bit of the movie Kingsman. They did something very similar, and with a similar church scene, as well. I wonder if that served as inspiration.

Also, I actually really like non-toxic Rick. I’m going to miss him.

Herm: I will miss non-toxic Morty more. And maybe it’s because, in many ways, I aspire to be like him, just not as over-the-top. I felt non-toxic Morty was successful on his own; that’s something regular Morty can’t do yet. Non-toxic Rick was fine, but the token cynicism, abrasiveness, and general rudeness is part of what makes the normal Rick so unique.

Rick seems to have a better understanding of his positive and negative qualities than Morty, considering the non-toxic Rick was a better person overall than the non-toxic Morty. The detox rid Morty of some positive qualities, like humility and conscientiousness. In some ways, he became even worse than his normal self. There’s an interesting idea at play, here: not everything that seems good is actually good and vice-versa.

Ari: The moral of the story ends up being that non-toxic Rick and non-toxic Morty aren’t perfect by themselves. They both need small parts of their toxic personalities to remain who they really are. I appreciated that. As the series goes on, it becomes harder to keep the characters dynamic and interesting. By delving further into personal psychology, we get to see what really makes each of them tick.

You’re right that non-toxic Morty ended up being somewhat worse than non-toxic Rick. I do think that, in the end, non-toxic Morty realized what he was losing out on, though. It was implied he wanted Rick to find him. I think the retoxification was pretty voluntary.

And your comment on good vs. bad is exactly right! It’s like the central message of Inside Out, which taught us that sadness, in some circumstances, can be extremely beneficial, and it’s actually harmful to try to be happy 24/7. This is the same, but with personality traits instead of emotions.

Herm: I agree with most of that, but I believe the message of Inside Out, while similar to what you said, is that sadness can coexist with happiness and it is healthier than one running the show exclusively. Consider the memory of when Riley misses the game-winning goal in her hockey game. She is sad, but the memory is actually a fond one as her parents and teammates comfort and support her in spite of the loss. I think the point in our case is that Morty is the Mortiest Morty and Rick is the Rickest Rick only when they have all of their qualities intact.

Ari: Can you explain the idea of there being a Mortiest Morty and a Rickest Rick for people who aren’t familiar?

Herm: So, in Season 1, Episode 10: “Close Rick-counters of the Rick Kind,” we are introduced to the Council of Ricks. All of the Ricks across the finite multiverse curve have banded together to protect themselves (and to a lesser extent, their Mortys). In that episode, we learned C-137 Rick (our Rick) is the most Rick-like of all of the Ricks in the show’s canon, making him the so-called “Rickest” Rick. Similarly, Morty is the most Morty-like of all the many Mortys. Further, our Jerry is the Jerriest Jerry, our Summer is the Summerest Summer, etc.

C-137 Rick and Morty, the two we follow in the show, are the purest forms of themselves throughout the entire multiverse.

Ari: Before we wrap this up, one last question: Based on what we know now, how do you think Season 3 might end?

Herm: Well, we do know Rick and Morty will visit Atlantis in the next episode, which airs in two weeks. Based on previous episodes, I don’t know how much impact it will have on the overarching plot; it may be more in the vein of “The Ricks Must Be Crazy” and “Look Who’s Purging Now,” both from Season 2. It wouldn’t surprise me if a lion’s share of the remaining season is left to further develop our characters, with the last episode being the one that really propels the plot — and leaves us on a cliffhanger.

As far as renewal chances, Season 4 isn’t an “if” but a “when.” I’m just hoping the writers learned from the rough process of producing the third season, which faced delays and aired a year and a half after Season 2 ended.

Ari: I’d generally agree with most of that. For me, I think we’ll see some sort of resolution to Jerry and Beth’s divorce by season’s end. Maybe they get back together, maybe it’s something else, I’m not sure. I just feel like the current status of Jerry being very uninvolved is odd and unsustainable. I also think we’ll see Summer and Morty confront Grandpa Rick. They’ve been dealing with emotional trauma all season, and it’s bound to boil over at some point.

Oh, and Birdperson. We last saw him in a brief scene at the end of the Season 3 premiere. He’s due for a comeback.

Herm: Beth and Jerry won’t get back together; it just doesn’t make sense. And I think you meant “Phoenixperson” now. They wouldn’t put him and Tammy in the post-credit scenes of the premiere and not give it some sort of payoff down the road.

Ari: You may call him Phoenixperson, but on the inside, he’s still the same Birdperson to me!

Herm: On the inside he’s a bunch of organs riddled with bullet holes! ■

Rick and Morty airs Sundays at 11:30/10:30 CDT on Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim. The next episode will air September 10.

Rick and Morty Chats

Season 3:  Ep. 5 | Ep. 6 | Ep. 7 | Ep. 8 | Ep. 9 | Ep. 10Wrap-Up

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