This RICK AND MORTY review contains spoilers.
Rick and Morty Season 5 Episode 1
The season premieres of Rick and Morty’s second and third seasons were unique in that they followed cliffhanger finales, so—even if the second season’s didn’t turn out all that great—those premieres felt like epic reintroductions to the show’s world that had to get the characters out of a previously-established sci-fi pickle (not a literal one this time) in a way that was satisfying and cool. The series stopped doing season cliffhangers after that, so the season four premiere was just more Rick and Morty and the season five premiere is much the same. In fact, “Mort Dinner Rick Andre” even echoes “Edge of Tomorty: Rick Die Rickpeat” with a plot to do with time, Morty’s forever-crush Jessica, and the idea that—no matter the permutation of sci-fi circumstances—Morty is doomed to forever be, at best, friendzoned.
The conceit of “Mort Dinner Rick Andre” is that Morty has actually managed to invite Jessica over to his place for a date but he keeps getting interrupted by Rick and his nemesis, Mr. Nimbus, who is over for dinner. Morty has to repeatedly enter a portal into a Narnia-type world in which the progression of time is super-accelerated to collect bottles of sci-fi-aged wine to bring back to his universe and serve to Mr. Nimbus. He’s also hoping to save a bottle to share with Jessica.
Time fudgery is a sci-fi staple and one Rick and Morty has stuck its foot into more than once at this point, but that doesn’t mean the concept in this episode isn’t a clever and fun one regardless. After a series of mishaps makes Morty public enemy no. 1 of the Narnia world, the gimmick of hyper-accelerated time passage is used to build and destroy the universe on the other side of the portal several times over, blowing through a number of tropey sci-fi and fantasy worlds.
This is a series that loves to take its premises to extremes, so this all feels somewhat familiar. We’ve seen Morty practically live whole lifetimes, like his dramatic romance that’s undone with the press of a button in “The Vat of Acid Episode” or how Morty (or at least a part of him) became a New York City stockbroker for a spell in “Rest and Ricklaxation.” And, as mentioned, “Edge of Tomorty: Rick Die Rickpeat,” with its plot about potential futures, flirts with similar subject matter, too. The concept in this episode is still technically a new spin on the formula because all the crazy time stuff is happening to side characters this time around, but it feels kind of familiar all the same. It’s certainly smart and well-written, but when the gimmick of an accelerated-time world is introduced, you can’t help but have at least a vague notion of the sort of extremes you’re in for.
Of course, there are still surprising plot turns I couldn’t have guessed at, like how Jessica ends up getting pulled into Narnia land and becomes an all-seeing time god. It’s a funny and insane way to tie up the plot and I look forward to future episodes featuring Time Lord Jessica. (Just kidding, I assume she’ll be back to her regular high school girl self the next time we see her. Unless…?)
Besides all this time business, the other main draw here is the character of Rick’s nemesis, Mr. Nimbus. The gag is that Rick is this all-powerful science god, but, inexplicably, his nemesis is just some weird guy who controls the oceans and also, the police, for some reason. The other gag is that Mr. Nimbus is highly sexual and does a lot of thrusting and caressing of his bod. I unfortunately just didn’t find Nimbus particularly funny, but I didn’t hate him either. I do appreciate that he’s used well as a plot device to develop Jerry and Beth’s relationship (it’s nice to see them trying to awkwardly bond over watching porn rather than fighting all the time). And I also like that, even though his whole thing is that he’s inane and unknowably tied to Rick, we see at the end that Mr. Nimbus is, bizarrely, somehow an effective foil after all.
Basically, “Mort Dinner Rick Andre” is another functional Rick and Morty episode. My biggest problem with it (maybe because Mr. Nimbus didn’t totally do it for me) is that I only laughed a couple of times (the cosmic owl thundering “Such a waste!” got the biggest laugh out of me). But a functional Rick and Morty still guarantees you a lot of clever sci-fi tropes taken to extremes in creative ways, so, yeah, pretty good.