This RICK AND MORTY review contains spoilers.
Rick and Morty Season 6 Episode 10
Nobody is going to believe me, but I actually had one more paragraph at the end of my review last week in which I worried there’d be a reveal in this week’s finale that would render how nice Rick had been to Morty entirely moot and make me look like an idiot. Unfortunately, I removed said paragraph because I felt my review would “read better” and now I’ve lost the staggering amount of credibility I’d built up with the Rick and Morty fanbase! This is the worst day of my life! Luckily, there’s a silver lining as “Ricktional Mortpoon’s Rickmas Mortcation” is a fantastic season finale!
Now, in fairness to me, the reveal that Rick has been uncharacteristically 22% nicer because he replaced himself with a robot that’s programmed to be 22% nicer isn’t actually rendered entirely moot because, as the robot puts it, because Rick built him to make Morty happier, anything the robot does is technically something Rick has also done. Further, the reason Rick built the robot in the first place was because he truly was hurt by Morty calling him boring in the previous episode. Rick does care about his relationship with his grandson and has a desire to improve in his family’s estimation of him. He just dealt with the issue in a dysfunctional, sciencey way. Rick has grown, but in a roundabout fashion that is very classically him.
Learning that this nicer Rick is a robot while the real Rick has cooped himself up in a subterranean level of his lab also results in some great story threads. The progression of the plot has a really organic feel to it as we follow the arcs of Robot Rick, Real Rick, and the President as they weave in and out of each other’s paths, culminating in a satisfying, Star Wars-influenced showdown. Robot Rick’s arc is especially clever as he goes from following his programming to be kinder to his family and not admit he’s a robot to feeling guilty for deceiving his family and wanting to admit he’s a robot to wanting to die to be free of the shame of disappointing his family.
Further, Keith David always sounds brilliant as the President, but the use of him as a recurring character has been a bit of mixed bag (I was no big fan of that Thanksgiving nonsense). However, in this episode he’s the best he’s ever been when he’s revealed to be a bitter Gen Xer Star Wars fan who has a bone to pick with how the franchise has been debased. It’s a hilarious trait to add to the character and impressive how much of the plot is spun out of his Star Wars obsession. This speaks to why this episode feels so solid and fun. Though it’s technically your standard Rick and Morty sci-fi craziness about robots, underground labs, and outer space, it’s all built on a sturdy sitcom bedrock of running gags (e.g., lightsabers being dropped vertically), family relationships, and characters’ silly, petty, emotional wants, making it all feel oddly grounded. (The only moment that feels like a stretch is when Morty shoots with the intent to kill the President, but that’s a nitpick.)
As season six continued to pile on the (mostly rather good) one-off adventures, it started becoming difficult to see how they were going to be able to resolve the arc with new antagonist Rick Prime (aka Weird Rick) and, well, as it turns out, they didn’t even try to. Instead, “Ricktional Mortpoon’s Rickmas Mortcation” ends with a tee up that’s a funny riff on the famous “Rick and Morty forever, 100 years” monologue for a season seven about hunting Rick’s nemesis. I have to say I’m looking forward to it and am overall pleased with what we got this season. Though it wasn’t always amazing, coming off the heels of the worst season of the show, season six was less cynical, much funnier, and more character-driven. It’s at least on par with, if not better, than season four, with more good episodes than bad and one of the best season finales yet.