This RICK AND MORTY review contains spoilers.
Rick and Morty Season 6 Episode 6
When dinosaurs showed up in the spaceships from Arrival at the start of this episode, I assumed we were in for another silly, self-contained, one-off storyline and it is one, mostly. However, it turns out this is the mid-season finale and therefore a lingering conflict—namely that portal travel is still broken due to an inter-dimensional rift—finally gets resolved as well. Though the episode is mostly about Rick’s rivalry with some super-genius dinosaurs from space, the portal stuff is teased a couple of times throughout, so as to set up the fixing of the inter-dimensional rift, which happens unceremoniously right near the end. Clever girl.
However, “JuRicksic Mort” is mostly about selfless, brilliant dinosaurs who have come to Earth to take over running the planet. A cool thing Rick and Morty’s flexible, high-concept setting regularly allows for is introducing a premise and then fast-forwarding to it completely overhauling life as we know it. In this case, the dinosaurs eradicate effectively all the world’s problems only a few minutes into the episode, leaving humans to figure out what to do with all their free time. Rick has no problem with this until he’s contacted by the President (Keith David, back again), who wants him to get rid of the dinosaurs so we can “go back to the old days where we pretend to fix the problems we cause.”
Meeting the dinosaurs, Rick discovers he despises them because of their sanctimonious selflessness, not to mention they’re more scientifically advanced than he is, having invented a portal pistol that shoots portals that let you see a preview of where you’re portaling to within the portal, you know, like in Portal. Now Rick has his own motivation for getting rid of the dinosaurs. It’s a great idea for a conflict; Rick is so smart and all-powerful he rarely needs to tangle with anybody, but it makes perfect sense for his character that he’s so insecure about someone being smarter than him that he creates his own conflict, based entirely on bitterness.
The progression of “JuRicksic Mort” is a lot of fun because it does that Rick and Morty thing where the plot seemingly gets resolved way too early as, after a bit of research, Rick gets the dinosaurs to leave and the Earth returns to its war-ridden, environment-in-crisis, hellhole status quo. But Rick can’t leave it at that and ends up pursuing the dinosaurs to challenge them again, after which, as the resolution to a game of selfishness/selflessness super-genius chicken, the dinosaurs seal up the inter-dimensional rift against Rick’s wishes.
It’s so very Rick and Morty to close out a multi-episode conflict in a matter of seconds at the tail end of an extremely silly episode. On the one hand, I suppose I, like Rick, lament that the show “could’ve milked that thing for the whole season.” However, on the other, it’s not as though the writers had been regularly addressing the busted portal situation in a meaningful way or that they were drastically reining in the otherworldly shenanigans. It did feel like it resulted in more episodes about conflicts coming to the Smith home, rather than happening in whatever crazy universe-of-the-week, and I do generally appreciate the more family-centric, sitcom-leaning episodes, so hopefully they’ll remember there remains a lot of good stuff to be mined from those kinds of stories. Still, the temporary loss of the portal gun came nowhere near rendering Rick helpless—I mean the guy could still jet off into space to go to Blips and Chitz or buy fancy dinnerware whenever he wanted.
Furthermore, I’m not sure what kind of satisfying conclusion to the broken portal problem I was expecting. If it had ended up happening by way of some rambling sci-fi explanation like we got in last season’s finale—and some of this season’s premiere—I probably would’ve zoned out through it. The abrupt, dumb solution we got is far preferable, not to mention much more on-brand. The fact that Rick brought it on himself because of his mostly one-sided rivalry with some super-smart dinosaurs means the resolution is nicely tied to his petty, stubborn character. Rick did, in fact, finally fix the portal problem, kind of, as a result of his persistent dedication to spite.
“JuRicksic Mort” is a well-constructed, funny episode. There have certainly been funnier episodes but the good gags do come at regular intervals here, some standouts being the triceratops suggesting humans quit running the planet in favor of making more Marvel movies (“See? You love doing that”), the Joe Rogan gag, and Morty puking as Rick flings him through portals. As for the storyline, I do wish there had been more development of the plot thread about Jerry’s life experience as an unemployed loser suddenly becoming relevant because the dinosaurs fixed everything and nobody knows what to do with all their free time, but, regardless, anytime Rick and Morty foregoes the fallback of over-the-top action sequences and Rick violently cutting down droves of enemies in favor of a more “battle of wits” kind of thing, it’s a nice treat.