This RICK AND MORTY review contains spoilers.
Rick and Morty Season 6 Episode 8
Coming on the heels of another of those hyper-meta snoozefest episodes, the opening of “Analyze Piss,” with Rick complaining about having to fight too many “nineties-style, goofball supervillains,” was a bit worrying. Morty suggesting that Rick might want to investigate exactly why so many of these goofball supervillains keep coming after him just seemed like a potential setup for another overly self-aware adventure I personally wasn’t down for, even though Rick’s follow-up comment, “I’m not the fucking Tick,” did make me laugh. Happily, the setup is something of a misdirect; Rick never does quite nail down a satisfying reason why he’s a nineties villain magnet and “Analyze Piss” reveals itself to be a much more interesting, funny, and emotional journey for him, not to mention, there’s a lot of great stuff for Jerry and also, yes, a lot of piss.
Even though the cold open sets us up for an episode about wacky supervillains, we don’t meet too many more once the Pissmaster (Will Forte) shows up. The best Rick and Morty episodes take a stupid premise and use it to go deep on an aspect of the human condition and it doesn’t get much stupider than the Pissmaster. He’s a guy who wears a suit full of piss that lets him breathe piss (which, presumably, he enjoys), rocket around on piss jets, and shoot streams of piss at people, but he’s also a storytelling device for exploring how Rick deals with confrontations; the fickleness of social media; the fine line between heroism and villainy; and, yeah, even that old chestnut, the meaning of life.
It’s extremely good character stuff for Rick, who really feels like he’s growing emotionally, finally being forced to admit there are people and things that he cares about. This is helped along by the reappearance of Dr. Wong, played by the great Susan Sarandon. It’s heartening to see that Rick has been checking in with a therapist and actually taking her advice sometimes. And it’s a testament to the art and writing that the Pissmaster truly feels like a tragic, human figure, when Rick finds him dead by suicide. Further, it lands when we see how hard it hits Rick that Pissmaster left behind an estranged daughter.
That said, the episode knows it’s walking a fine line and can’t afford to go as hard on the pathos as it sometimes has in the past because, well, it’s an episode centered around piss. So, it has its super-sad scene, but it juggles it with some of the biggest laughs of the season, too. This is probably predicated on how funny you think piss jokes are, but personally, I think they’re very funny, so I laughed a lot. The idea of a guy flying around and drenching everything with piss is good on its own, but there’s also piss puns, e.g., “heat-seaking pissles” and a rendition of that “y’all ready for this” song in which the word “this” is replaced by another word, which I won’t spoil here. There are a number of clever non-piss-oriented jokes, too, like much of Jerry’s subplot (which, in itself, functions as another smart story misdirect), my favorite joke being when Jezebel offers a cash reward for evidence he’s a bad person—their highest honor! Also, special mention goes to a joke early in the episode about a housefly in Dr. Wong’s office that gets a clever payoff later on.
“Analyze Piss” (which, by the way, couldn’t have a more perfect title) has pretty much everything you could want in a Rick and Morty episode: character development; clever, surprising storytelling; tragedy and pathos; and a whole lot of hilarious, sci-fi craziness. So far, “Night Family” is my other favorite episode of the season for its unique horror-movie vibe, but, with all its great character development and clever storytelling, I’ve got to give the edge to this charming, piss-soaked tale.