Rick and Morty, S03E08:
“Morty’s Mind Blowers”

Rick and Morty, S03E08:
“Morty’s Mind Blowers”

Perhaps the Weakest Episode of This Season Still Manages a Good Deal of Creative Laughs


An intriguing if ultimately undercooked anthology episode, “Morty’s Mind Blowers” feels as cobbled together as its premise suggests: a clip show made up of “clips you never saaaw.” As always it’s funny stuff, but pales in comparison to the show’s best outings.

Rating: 7.5/11


Reasonable people can disagree, but the consensus tends to be that both episodes of “Interdimensional Cable” are amongst Rick and Morty‘s best. So when it was teased that last week’s episode would be the third instalment, anticipation was high. Could the weirdly vibrant magic of largely-improvised alien TV channels possibly be captured a third time, or would the concept finally outstay its welcome?

Well, turns out it doesn’t matter all that much because, while the show is still willing to run with the concept of a bunch of disjointed vignettes, here it takes a left turn into character-driven territory. With a more comprehensive writing credit that any other episode of Rick and Morty – including Mike McMahan, James Siciliano, Ryan Ridley, Dan Guterman, Justin Roiland and Dan Harmon – “Morty’s Mind Blowers” involves Rick taking Morty on a journey through his erased memories.

(Adult Swim)

Apparently there have been countless times when Morty asked Rick to remove a specific recollection from his mind when he learned or experienced something he felt he couldn’t live with. Not only that but, as Rick’s demonstration continues, we see that there have been several instances when Rick simply wasn’t comfortable letting Morty remember something. It’s an interesting and slyly unsettling notion, proving that for all the wonders of interdimensional space Morty has seen, he is often exposed to things that traumatise him. Likewise, it shows us the lengths to which Rick would push his inventiveness in order to manipulate Morty’s perception of him which is, again, deeply disconcerting.

Still, there’s something strangely hollow at the core of this episode. Even though it’s taken the basic premise of “Interdimensional Cable” and flipped it towards a more pronounced dissection of its characters, it ends up feeling ultimately more removed from them than its forebears. Think of how “Rixty Minutes” managed to use something as arbitrary as channel surfing as a means of looking at the ways people form connections in what could ultimately be a meaningless existence. Even if you weren’t the biggest fan of “Interdimensional Cable 2: Tempting Fate”, it found the time to present Jerry with an impossible decision and still make him look like a selfish dickhead by the end, again reinforcing the show’s ethos that sometimes it’s better to take the easier route rather than feign nobility.

Here, though, it’s hard to argue that the excursion into Morty’s former memories adds up to much. The segments, for the purpose of this episode’s conceit, are actually scripted as opposed to the drunken, free-wheeling sketches that make up the “Interdimensional Cable” episodes. This makes them more linear and less lumpy but, often, there’s a rigidity to them that holds back the show’s more extravagant, wild impulses. When Justin Roiland has a few drinks and gets into the recording booth to lay down the bulk of the “Interdimensional Cable” episodes, there’s a madcap spontaneity that suggests anything might happen. Here, while a lot of the excerpts are still very funny, they don’t have that same crackling energy to them.

(Adult Swim)

I think the main problem here is trying to apply the regular rules of an episode of Rick and Morty to this choppy framework. This show is so smart and conceptual that it requires a full twenty minutes to flesh out most of the storylines and humour within it. Hell, “Rest and Ricklaxation” wouldn’t have worked at all in a condensed form because it’s plot was so specific that it needed the time to fully explain itself. So when an episode like this comes along, a lot of the material feels like it could’ve benefited from being more properly explored. For instance, the second memory of Rick and Morty being trapped in a giant alien’s emporium of other species is giggle-worthy, but it made me want to see more of that world and the consequences therein.

I should emphasise that this is not bad episode of Rick and Morty; in all truth, that really hasn’t happened yet. But there is an undercurrent of dissatisfaction running through this whole thing which becomes more pronounced when it winds down towards its conclusion. When Rick and Morty accidentally wipe each other’s minds, Morty uses the extracted memories in the pods around him to try and work out who they both are. In the end, he decides he and Rick should kill themselves rather than live knowing that most of their perceptions of who they are will sit collecting dust in a garage.

It’s the sort of signature escalation this show is known for, but it still feels haphazard and unearned, to the extent that when Summer emerges, tranquilises them both and restores their memories, it’s less of a relief than an inevitability. Add in the smash cut to a speed metal song playing over the credits and this episode feels more of a piece with most standard Adult Swim programming than any other before it. Well, they can’t all be “The Ricklantis Mixup“.


Quotes & Random Thoughts


  • This week, on Second Rickpressions: While I maintain that the clip of our heroes trapped in a menagerie could’ve used more breathing room, it struck me on second viewing how great the details of that enclosure are. From the yellow sheen of the whole room to the stuffed dinosaur and sheep dolls near the little television and, of course, the giant water bottle, it really adds heft to the segment. Also, this is a great line: “Chang, you may have majored in liberal arts… but you’re about to make history.


  • So, I’ll mostly just be listing the segments that I think were the most successful, starting with the alien overlord who needed to be killed by a great warrior in order to achieve an orgasmic afterlife. That shit was the exact brand of dark hilarity that I love about this show, right down to him being dragged to hell and Morty’s stammering, “That was a ton of evidence!”


  • Holy God, Beth immediately choosing to spare Summer and let Morty die without hesitation was excruciatingly brutal and, of course, even funnier when Rick showed up to eliminate the threat. There hasn’t been a moment of familial devastation as raw as that since Lisa straight away chose Marge over Homer on The Simpsons.


  • Predictable though it was, Rick cutting the adorable Beebo open so he and Morty could take shelter from subzero temperatures inside him, only for him to realise they’re on the wrong planet, was a solid joke. That was also some great design work on Beebo, making him so endearing only to have him so painfully murdered within seconds.


  • Rick making it to 80 years old without realising that the expression isn’t “Take things for granite” is a nice chuckle, especially when followed by him saying to Morty “I bet that really blows your mind… Want me to erase it?”


  • “Don’t look at me like that. For all we know, you could be the fucking weirdo!”


  • Rick tricking Morty into pleasuring an alien when Morty thought he was torturing him is probably the funniest part of the episode.


  • “It’s basically an endless string of callbacks…” I guess, take that, Men In Black II.


  • “[Sigh] So, did I just hear three distinct lightswitch clicks?” I say this about a version of Rick every week, but passive aggressive Rick is the best Rick.


  • And, finally, the mounting reveal that all of the world’s squirrels are secretly behind every major event was a great capper.


  • Of course, I should mention at this point how clearly the writers knew that there would be nitpicky arseholes like me trying to extract some meaning from this episode. Here’s Rick, direct to us: “Don’t break your back creating a lesson… It’s a freeform anthology! I’m getting annoyed you’re not hearing that.”

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