Rick and Morty: The Whirly Dirly Conspiracy
August 21, 2017 6:45 PM - Season 3, Episode 5 - Subscribe

Morty tries to be the adult of the family while Beth tries crafting and Summer wrestles with body issues. Rick and Jerry take an unexpected trip together.
posted by absalom (49 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
 
I'm kind of not cool with that bit where the alien kid killed the other one when that immortality shield got destroyed. I mean, it's just a cartoon alien and I should be more disturbed by the local news (and maybe that is the writers' intent) but it still seems off. I get the sense that I probably wouldn't enjoy hanging out with the writers.
posted by Burhanistan at 6:53 PM on August 21 [2 favorites]


That bit hit me hard too, particularly as a parent of two kids in that age range. But I really think that it was not so much meant to be funny as it was meant to shock us into a reminder of what violence means in an attempt to bring emotional weight back to what violence in the aftermath of Pickle Rick. In that sense, I mean, it kinda worked.
posted by 256 at 7:54 PM on August 21 [8 favorites]


But then later Jerry got slapped in the face repeatedly with alien ball sac and that made me kind of happy!
posted by Burhanistan at 8:10 PM on August 21 [3 favorites]


Gratuitous murder isn't exactly new to the series. Or gratuitous murder of or by children or child-like creatures. Granted, gratuitous accidental murder of children, by children; that is a line they haven't crossed before. So far as I can recall. Unless maybe Morty killed some other version of Morty at some point, or if you count that time he turned into a car and ran over his classmate.
posted by sfenders at 8:16 PM on August 21 [1 favorite]


I liked this one. I wasn't entirely feeling Vindicators - it felt too easy - but this was more back to classic Rick & Morty.

Stuff I liked in particular:
* Watching how Summer and Morty are reacting to growing up in this craziness. I had a crazy childhood too - nothing on theirs - but it reminds me of how my sister and I reacted to the same stuff in diametrically opposed ways a lot of the time despite being similarly capable.
* Rick and Jerry actually finding a smidge of mutual respect. Who knew that could happen?
* Clancy Brown as Risotto Groupon. I mean, what's not to love?
* Morty maiming Ethan. Dark, man. Darker than the kids, IMO, due to the intentional nature of it.

I'm kind of not cool with that bit where the alien kid killed the other one when that immortality shield got destroyed.

I feel for you, but I also think flirting with crossing the line is a huge part of the way Rick and Morty functions. Like... an inherent part of the story is that the universe is fundamentally full of things that are amazing, but also weird and unforgiving and terrifying, which is why awful things are so routine. (Minus that, it'd feel toothless for me, so I tend to give it a pass even when a particular thing doesn't work for me.)
posted by mordax at 9:20 PM on August 21 [2 favorites]


Are we not going to mention Beth's craft project, the All-Hoof Horse? (OK, I think there was also some horse ankle in there, but it was a solid 80% hoof.)
posted by filthy light thief at 9:20 PM on August 21 [11 favorites]


Oops, slipped my mind. That was so, so wrong.
posted by mordax at 10:16 PM on August 21


So the two alien kids are running around and Jerry says "bad parenting ".

Later on, one kid kills the other.

Beth is high-strung and honestly not the good parent in the couple. I took the whole kid accidentally killing kid thing as a testament to Jerry being the only decent parent out of Jerry, Beth and Rick.
posted by GuyZero at 10:43 PM on August 21 [1 favorite]


After Morty nearly being molested by a Jellybean and then going off the deep end and murdering people left and right in the Purge episode as he tried to deal with the fallout from the Jellybean encounter, not much on this show is going to shock me.

Pretty good episode though. I like how dark Morty is at times. He was seemingly super innocent at first but now he kills people, horribly disfigures someone for hurting his sister, and has a tendency to snap when pushed a bit too far.

And how for all of the "Mortys are idiots" talk he seems to pretty bright when the situation calls for it. The casual disarming of Rick's bombs and figuring out how to work Rick's machinery when nobody else can, etc.
posted by weretable and the undead chairs at 1:44 AM on August 22 [6 favorites]


Beth is high-strung and honestly not the good parent in the couple. I took the whole kid accidentally killing kid thing as a testament to Jerry being the only decent parent out of Jerry, Beth and Rick.

It's also worth nothing that we should take Rick's speech about Jerry using pity to manipulate people, at least with regard to Beth, with a big grain of salt. Rick clearly despises Jerry and isn't exactly an objective source on this. We haven't seen how Beth and Jerry met and have no idea what their relationship was like. It's entirely possible that Jerry is right: in the beginning they did genuinely love each other and it was Rick's influence that corroded their relationship. Rick even admits that he intentionally harmed their marriage.
posted by Sangermaine at 7:19 AM on August 22 [5 favorites]


"Careful Ethan, your s'more is burning..."

That... is a scarier delivery than the phrase might make you think.

We knew Morty has a lot of anger in him. At least in this case he's using it for (certain values of) good, defending Summer.
posted by SansPoint at 7:19 AM on August 22 [3 favorites]


Was it just me or did Morty make the s'more in a weird, wrong way? Like he assembled it then roasted it? What?
posted by GuyZero at 7:44 AM on August 22 [4 favorites]


In what direction, exactly, did the joke about the child killing another child punch?
posted by Going To Maine at 7:45 AM on August 22


In what direction, exactly, did the joke about the child killing another child punch?

Is this really a question we're going to ask about every joke?
posted by kenko at 7:55 AM on August 22 [10 favorites]


Punching down on weird alien kids :( :( :(
posted by nicolas léonard sadi carnot at 8:36 AM on August 22 [1 favorite]


Is this really a question we're going to ask about every joke?

Given how things have been going lately, the answer sadly appears to be yes.
posted by Sangermaine at 8:46 AM on August 22 [2 favorites]


Well, it is an entire thread about one 22 minute episode so why wouldn't any detail be dicussed? That's the point of the subsite, to hash out things and beat them to death if desired.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:53 AM on August 22 [1 favorite]


In what direction, exactly, did the joke about the child killing another child punch?

Towards the viewer.
posted by SansPoint at 8:58 AM on August 22 [13 favorites]


Punching the viewer for watching the show, I think, renders the creators complicit.
posted by Going To Maine at 9:06 AM on August 22


Which isn't untenable, I add. But it's why the show is justifiably hateable
posted by Going To Maine at 9:08 AM on August 22


You don't need to build a case to hate something, just go ahead and do it, let those emotions rip dude! And...complicit in what? You feeling upset? I think that's the point, you can squeeze humour out of upsetnosity when it's in a bizarre context. If you never want to be uncomfortable watching an adult comedy then...I dunno what to say man.
posted by nicolas léonard sadi carnot at 9:47 AM on August 22 [6 favorites]


You could read the kid-shooting-kid scene as a post-modern commentary on point-of-view in space opera adventures and how having the camera on you usually grants magical invulnerability.

Or you could read it as a commentary on how Rick fucks everything uo whenever he goes anywhere. He leaves a trail of destruction in his wake and it's a miracle he has any friends.

In the best world, the kid who killed the other kid comes after Rick for the entirety of Season 4.
posted by GuyZero at 10:06 AM on August 22 [2 favorites]


Ah, I see we're overthinking a plate of beans. Okay, then.

I'm of the opinion that it punches up:
Those kids were arguably innocent - hard to tell what age they were, but it seemed young - but the situation wasn't. Their explicitly wealthy parents brought them to a place with an immortality field to kill each other for fun.

The lesson there is simple: that with enough money, there are no consequences to your actions, even murder. Those kids were being raised to be monsters. Without getting deraily specific, that's a huge problem IRL.

That's not the fault of the kids, but the joke is definitely on their parents, thinking wealth could ever really make them safe - it's a variation on why the ending at the Purge planet was funny too, just darker.

So yeah. It's funny, and I'm fine with laughing at it, but I don't think everyone else necessarily needs to be.
posted by mordax at 10:47 AM on August 22 [32 favorites]


And how for all of the "Mortys are idiots" talk he seems to pretty bright when the situation calls for it.

No more posting while asleep.
posted by weretable and the undead chairs at 11:07 AM on August 22


Holy shit, I didn't realize that's what he did to Ethan until I read that link. Wow.
posted by corb at 11:14 AM on August 22


What link?
posted by kenko at 11:21 AM on August 22


...the, uh, one I found and then somehow assumed had been posted in thread when weretable and the undead chairs referenced the mutilation. I'm sorry, I did an 18 hour drive yesterday for the eclipse and am still loopy.
posted by corb at 11:24 AM on August 22 [1 favorite]


Morty is at a weird place right now where he thinks that he can somehow harness his terrifying life circumstances in the service of justice, but he still has a teenager's idea of what justice looks like. Ethan broke up with Summer and started dating someone that he liked better. That's not even objectionable, much less punishable. Three episodes ago Summer was married to a wasteland raider with an unfortunate mustache; how serious could her relationship with Ethan possibly be? But her feelings were hurt when Ethan broke up with her and Morty decided that needed to be answered, despite his first-hand knowledge that Summer's feelings tend to be wildly out of proportion with whatever triggers them.

Eventually Morty is probably going to figure out that Rick's work can't be used for just ends, because Rick doesn't believe in justice beyond whatever's personally satisfying for him at that very moment. But we're not there yet.

It looks to me like this season is headed towards some sort of eventual breaking point between Beth and Rick. I think it was interesting that this episode Rick explicitly stated how "Rick's daughter… had options." Beth is the only member of the family that we've never seen Rick intentionally take on an adventure; I have to believe that there's a reason for that.
posted by Parasite Unseen at 12:08 PM on August 22 [14 favorites]


Punching the viewer for watching the show, I think, renders the creators complicit.
Which isn't untenable, I add. But it's why the show is justifiably hateable.

You might want to say what you're trying to say more directly? All I've got is that you don't enjoy the show wallowing in darkness for the sake of, which is a completely fine thing to feel but also doesn't really require justification.
posted by atoxyl at 4:35 PM on August 22 [2 favorites]


I had the feeling that Morty and Summer are taking different parts of Rick: Summer is taking his reckless attitude towards technology and adventure, and Morty is taking his amoral attitude towards people who piss him off. I don't think it's a coincidence that both characters are actually changing with Jerry out of the picture, who was a voice of normalcy (and idiocy) in the house.

As for the kids getting killed bit, I feel like it was something the show has always done, which is to take Sci-Fi junk fiction to a logical conclusion: this time showing what happens when two off-worlder protagonists upset some age old tradition. I mean... it's not super different from other stuff the show has done. Relatively innocent creatures get murdered with great frequency, although the death of children tends to be on the planetary scale rather than the individual scale. I think it was a cheap shot (so to speak), but the main characters have eliminated probably half a dozen societies worth of living creatures at this point.
posted by codacorolla at 6:54 PM on August 22 [6 favorites]


codacorolla: Half a dozen societies? Rick has literally destroyed two Universes. (Well, a Mini-verse and a Teeny-verse), and it's implied that he's done it before.
posted by SansPoint at 7:13 PM on August 22 [2 favorites]


You could read the kid-shooting-kid scene as a post-modern commentary on point-of-view in space opera adventures ...

I dunno, seems like a pretty normal "I didn't think it was loaded" incident.
posted by sfenders at 7:27 PM on August 22 [2 favorites]


I was low balling it because I didn't feel like doing any research and I've only watched everything once, but yeah, heinous stuff has been played as a laff since day one. I guess the kid scene is different because it's showing an individual instance instead of generalized brutality. I understand that people respond differently to violence against children than to violence against adults (which is normalized by action oriented media). That's commentary of a sort, I guess, but I'm not sure if it's particularly interesting or novel commentary.
posted by codacorolla at 7:34 PM on August 22 [1 favorite]


Well I was fine with the kids dying but disappointing the class struggles at the immortal hotel weren't explored more thoroughly.
posted by kittensofthenight at 9:47 PM on August 22 [7 favorites]


I liked the Akira reference and the bit where the resistance leader had to put on a tiny hat and sing to children. Otherwise I'm finding the notes of this episode (and this season) to be way less resonant than seasons 1 and 2. Yes, there is a lot of character development, and as a child of divorce I can appreciate the family dynamics, but this is not a show that was built around emotional arcs. It was built around brilliant absurdity peppered with moments of pathos. Trying to shift gears is not working for me, and I can feel it in the AV Club reviews that are actively rationalizing why the show is so good, which prior to this season required zero rationalization.
posted by grumpybear69 at 7:26 AM on August 23 [5 favorites]


The show has never been completely above shoutouts for the sake of shoutouts, so I took the alien kids moment as a one-up on Westworld. And also as outside confirmation of Rick's explanation about the shield, as he's not exactly the most straightforward being in any universe.
posted by gnomeloaf at 7:41 AM on August 23 [1 favorite]


I'm starting to have difficulty enjoying this show's attitude. I feel there was less open contempt for the leads in previous seasons? It's not new exactly, there were episodes throughout that poked fun at what kind of broken person it would take to actually navigate this world, but the main theme seemed to be establishing sci-fi tropes and subverting them in a broader sense. This maintained focus on family dysfunction and cycles of abuse... I mean, it's an important conversation, but I'm not sure I was ready for Rick and Morty to really go all-in on it like that, and it's starting to overshadow the elements I enjoy.

I hate to be the guy tut-tutting artists' work when they try to do something more meaningful with it. The stuff I like is still there, and I'm interested to see where they're going with the whole thing. It's just leaving an aftertaste I didn't notice before and I'm not sure I like it. I probably just need to calibrate my expectations, and continue to watch DuckTales as a palette cleanser.

At least it's still funny, anyway. I cackled at the tech support gag.
posted by Phobos the Space Potato at 5:23 PM on August 23 [2 favorites]


I feel sort of the same way. I like the show when it's "The Twilight Zone with blood and farts" and I'm always extremely wary when Dan Harmon starts planning an expedition up his own ass. It seems like we're at basecamp for that right now, and I wish that they would just forget about it and go back to what they do best. It doesn't help that all the philosophy is reallllllly reminding me of time spent in worse corners of the Internet when I was younger.
posted by codacorolla at 5:34 PM on August 23


Captain contrary reporting for duty. I loved it.
posted by phearlez at 10:17 PM on August 23 [8 favorites]


I feel Morty this season is jarringly OOC. I don't know. I want to feel like the show has shown him evolve into the person he's being this season but I don't honestly believe that and it's been really bothering me. It bothered me when he disarmed those bombs and it bothered me in this episode when he shouted Beth down. It's tricky cause I feel like Morty actually HAS had the life experience to get that mature and self-assured but he spent the first two seasons not showing that sort of development and suddenly overnight he's so...adult. Maybe this is what it'll be like to parent a teen. But I'm just kind of waiting for the other shoe to drop that this Morty was a swap for some other Morty and our usual Morty has been asleep in some other dimension all season.

I thought the kid death was a tiny little throwaway commentary on gun control and media violence? Ultimately real actual American children get very injured and die all the time because they think actual guns are toys, because everything in their entertainment diet indicates that cool people shoot other people and seldom are the consequences shown realistically.

I legit love what they're doing with the family dysfunction but I have a long history of accompanying Dan Harmon on expeditions up his own ass and I'm game for another any day of the week, so. I share several of his pathologies and it's clear he's found a therapist who's really helping him work through some shit, whereas I have not, so in a way it's like free transitive-property therapy watching this show.
posted by potrzebie at 9:59 PM on August 24 [1 favorite]


Also I think Risotto Groupon is maybe my fave random character name of the whole show? Definitely on the short list.
posted by potrzebie at 10:00 PM on August 24 [4 favorites]


potrzebie: I wouldn't say Morty is OOC. He's been through some shit, both in terms of his family falling apart, and through the crap Rick's forced on him. And not all of this has been shown on-screen. Remember this bit from Vindicators 3 as Morty defuses the Neutrino Bomb:

Rick: Morty, how many of these --
Morty: Too many, Rick! Too many!

Even with Morty's unspecified, ambiguous Learning Disability, he's clearly shown that he can learn, and after enough similar black-out Rick stunts, it's not implausible he'd be used to this and able to deal with the physical aspects of the situation---if not the emotional ones. Trauma manifests itself in different ways, and I don't think it's implausible Morty would be able to figure out the Morphizer-Xe, but still be emotionally immature enough to use it on Ethan.

Which reminds me... there's a core of justification for Morty disfiguring Ethan. It's one thing for Ethan to just break up with Summer. To take another girl on the camping date they'd planned together is kind of a dick move. Morty's response may not have been proportional, but he's an emotional teenager with trauma issues and access to a device that can transmogrify people.
posted by SansPoint at 8:47 AM on August 25 [5 favorites]


It's not fair to this episode that it has to follow on the heels of the pickle rick episode! I'd say those occasional heartfelt moments in the show are enhanced by being surrounded by irreverent slapstick stuff.
posted by LegallyBread at 10:00 AM on August 25


Even with Morty's unspecified, ambiguous Learning Disability, he's clearly shown that he can learn, and after enough similar black-out Rick stunts, it's not implausible he'd be used to this and able to deal with the physical aspects of the situation---if not the emotional ones.

Absolutely. Morty grappling with 'what does it mean to be in Rick's world' has been a thing from the pilot on. I mean, the series opens on Morty preventing Rick from destroying the Earth to leave him and (an unwilling) Jessica as 'a new Adam and Eve.' Morty being angry and dealing with it poorly was a major theme in "Look Who's Purging Now," and this is just an extension of that as he's getting older and more jaded.
posted by mordax at 12:12 PM on August 25 [1 favorite]


Oh, something I totally spaced on before: another interesting thing about Morty here was that he admitted he set this up just to get a break from Rick. He didn't care if Jerry was okay, didn't think he 'needed a win.' Morty deliberately manipulated Rick for some peace and quiet.

This is completely believable out of a teenager, but also absolutely terrifying when I sit with it for a second. He's pulled that sort of thing before, (Rick Potion #9 comes to mind), but this is proof he's getting good at it, since Rick didn't even notice.
posted by mordax at 1:20 PM on August 25 [8 favorites]


I have this weird, mostly unsupportable theory that Rick is actually Morty's future self. I don't really believe it, but -- episodes like this make me wonder.
posted by webmutant at 8:54 PM on August 25 [6 favorites]


I totally agree he's been through some shit! I just feel like this confidence/competence emerged rather suddenly. S2 Morty felt a lot more hapless to me.
posted by potrzebie at 9:37 PM on August 25


I love Morty, so while I can't exactly say I'm happy to watch him (d)evolve into Rick, I can say I'm fascinated to see where the show takes him.
posted by mediareport at 4:31 AM on August 26 [3 favorites]


All-Hoof Horse
I thought it was a dog
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 2:41 AM on August 27


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