Mortynight Run is the first episode of Rick and Morty to be named after the latter character, and the main storyline shows exactly why. We’ve seen Rick grow a little, even showing a softer side on (incredibly) rare occasions, but seldom do we get to see Morty go through more development than just no longer being surprised at the crazy shenanigans Rick gets them into. This episode provides a nice, if a little dark, character arc for Morty, as he attempts to save the life of a sentient and telepathic gaseous cloud dubbed Fart from an upbeat and charming assassin by the name of Krombopulos Michael and the clutches of the Galactic Federation. Morty feels responsible because Rick sold weapons to Kromopulos Michael in order to get some money to spend the day at Blips & Chitz (an intergalactic entertainment centre). Whilst it’s fairly obvious immediately that Morty doesn’t know the whole story as he embarks on his mission to save Fart, it still plays out in typical Rick and Morty fashion; cleverly, hilariously, inventively and insanely.
It’s worth noting that the voice acting in this episode is top-notch; Andy Daly’s cheerful and sweet assassin is refreshing, so funny (“Here I go, killin’ again!”) and doesn’t get nearly enough screen time, and Jemaine Clement of Flight of the Conchords fame is perfect as Fart. I’m a huge fan of the Conchords (and a little bit in love with Clement and co-star Bret McKenzie’s luscious New Zealand accents), and his voice in this episode is very reminiscent of his bizarre dream-Bowie from the show, only a little more deadpan. This is only enhanced by the Bowie-esque song Fart sings a few times during the episode, with gorgeous psychedelic animation swirling about to the ideas of the “world being one together” and having no pain. As the story unfolds, we grow to care at least a little for Fart, meaning that his demise at the hands of Morty after expressing his desire to return to our world and destroy all lifeforms, is even more hard-hitting. Morty learns a valuable lesson here, that really there is no real, singular right thing to do, and that whilst killing on the whole is bad, there may be occasions when this is actually for the greater good. It’s a dark thread running through the episode; a lot of people/aliens die as the Galactic Federation attack, and all of it could’ve been avoided by Morty just having left well enough alone, but having Fart burst into “Goodbye Moon Man” again as he is gunned down by a remorseful Morty was just the right balance of tragedy and comedy to stop the episode from becoming too depressing.
The real gems though, and I feel I haven’t stated quite enough that this is episode is relentlessly funny, come from Jerry’s subplot and Rick and Morty’s all-too-brief trip to Blips & Chitz. The opening of the episode suggests that maybe Jerry will be going along for the ride this week, but no; he is quickly dropped off at a Jerry Crèche created by a Rick (not our Rick) for all the multiverses Rick and Mortys to pop their Jerrys whilst they’re off having adventures. The idea is inspired, and also very funny as we see that the Jerrys do not really differ in each reality. The overall theme of the episode, that we don’t really understand the world we live in at any given moment, is really hammered home as our Jerry decides to leave the daycare, only to return upon discovering that the outside world is scary, gross and just too much for him. Seeing all the Jerrys having fun together was just adorable, and actually serves to show just what a nice guy Jerry is, even if he’s a little bit of a wimp. Over in Blips & Chitz, we are introduced to the game “Roy: A Life Well Lived” in which players basically live a life and try to get as far along as possible. It says a lot about how different Rick and Morty are that during Morty’s stint on Roy, he gives up his dreams of professional football, works at a carpet store and survives cancer, whereas on Rick’s playthrough he takes Roy off the grid. Onlookers gather around as an alien cries “This guy doesn’t have a social security number for Roy!” It’s a clever joke that works well to reinforce the characters and deliver the funny. I was also almost hysterically happy to see Gazorpazorpfield on a TV screen in the background. (I think I would legitimately watch an entire episode of Gazorpazorpfield…)
Overall, whilst the episode may not have delivered the same kind of spectacle as the season opener with it’s split-screen madness, it delivers tip-top well-timed jokes, some amazing action sequences, a surprisingly touching character arc for Morty and some fabulous voice guests. It came out guns blazing (ahem) and, despite being a little predictable, won me over. This season is shaping up to be amazing.
Reviewer: Stacey Taylor (@StacebobT)