TV REVIEW: Rick And Morty S3E6 ‘Rest And Ricklaxation’ (Contains Spoilers)

Well, this is it, they’ve done it; Harmon, Roiland & co. have made 2 five-star episodes in one series! I absolutely adored Rest And Ricklaxation; from the amazing yet perturbing pre-credits sequences to the fabulously funny post-credits stinger, this episode was non-stop in it’s action, hilarity and providing a real look at the titular characters’ psychology.

After what Rick promised to be a short adventure takes a turn for the six-days-of-action-and-distress, they decide a vacation is in order. Rick takes Morty to a day spa in a bid for the pair to relax, where Morty convinces him to try out a cognitive detoxifying machine. The opening sequence had already blown my socks off with its top notch animation and fantastic voice performance from Roiland (Morty’s wobbling top lip and anguished cry of “Why do you keep doing this to us?!” during their minor breakdown in the spaceship might be the saddest thing I’ve ever seen…), but this is where the episode gets knocked into 12th gear. We’re thrown into a disgusting green, goopy landscape, with Rick and Morty covered from head to toe in the stuff. For a moment we, like the titular characters themselves, think something has gone entirely wrong with the machine, that maybe they’ve been transported to some monster-filled hellscape, but it doesn’t take long for Rick to work out that the machine worked perfectly; the toxins have been removed and we’re looking at Toxic Rick and Toxic Morty.

The premise of characters facing off against evil or dark versions of themselves isn’t a new one; in fact it’s a story path pretty well-trodden. Of course, this is Rick and Morty, so there’s a new life injected into a fairly tired concept; rather than our regular Rick and Morty coming up against their Evil Selves, we’re treated to a ‘healthy’ Rick and Morty (comprised of all their ‘best bits’) facing Toxic Rick and Morty (full of all the bits they deem to be toxic). It’s a real treat to see Rick and Morty, at first, interacting like a totally normal grandfather and grandson (“I’m real proud to be your grandpa, Morty.” “Thanks, Rick. I love you.”) but it’s Morty’s progression throughout the episode that really shines. The fact that the toxins that get removed are those that the person themselves think are their worst traits was a stroke of genius, as it meant that Healthy Morty could go off an a “l’il American Psycho” arc that makes total sense, and made for an interesting look at how the two view themselves. Rick, for example, sees emotional attachment as a toxin, which somewhat paradoxically means that Toxic Rick is a complete arse but cares hugely for Toxic Morty.

I rather loved the way Toxic Rick and Morty interacted with each other (“I think my voice is annoying.” “It is, and it’s also your best quality.”) but it’s Healthy Morty who really takes the spotlight in this episode. His low self-esteem and lack of confidence have been removed, and so he becomes a popular, smooth-talking school hero. At first, this all seems to be going brilliantly; he gives Mr Goldenfold some sass in class and gets away with it (“Normally I would come down on any kind of disruption but it seems to represent a positive change in your character”), lands a date with Jessica and catches and throws errant footballs like it’s second nature to him, however all good things must come to an end. Healthy Morty’s apparent lack of filter between his brain and his mouth means that his date with Jessica goes completely tits-up; he’s yammering away about anything that pops into his brain and is completely insufferable for it. He immediately puts Jessica off, but he doesn’t allow the night to end there, approaching a lady at the bar with terrible pick up lines but bags of confidence. At first, I was quite chuffed to see another Stacy (albeit missing the ‘e’) in pop culture; there aren’t many of us and often they’re not great characters (Wayne’s World’s psycho hose beast, anyone?!), but then this Stacy appears to be entirely happy to date (and possibly sleep with) an under-age Morty so, you know, back to square one, I guess…

The one thing I’m not sure about in this episode is why both Healthy and Toxic Rick are super-smart; is this something regular Rick sees as both a blessing and a curse, or just a handy plot device to ensure that Toxic Rick is smart enough to contact Healthy Rick and try to trick him into the containment unit? Either way, the resultant fight between the Healthy Rick and Morty and the Toxic Rick and Morty is great; that Rick keeps weapons all over the Smith family home is both genius and nuts, especially the weird beast egg thing in the plant pot (what if any of the family had accidentally grown that thing?!) There’s some really inventive weaponry on display too, rather than just guns; I particularly liked the weird injection gun that causes its user to grow another self from whatever it’s shot at; watching a teeny baby Rick burst forth from Toxic Rick’s insides and grow into an elderly dude was weirdly beautifully animated. Toxic Morty’s willingness to please Rick was a great twist; it shows that regular Morty sees this as an issue (and understandably so, given the terrible situations it usually puts him in), but can’t bring himself to address in every day life.

Toxic Rick’s plan to make the entire world toxic is a pretty standard villain move, but it was nice to see a Rick (even if he’s not a whole, real Rick) care so much about his Morty, because it means now we have concrete evidence that, despite what Rick says or does, he really does, deep down, love Morty. Healthy Morty flying off into the night, unwilling to merge with his toxic self said a lot about Rick and Morty’s differing ideas of healthy; Rick realising that he is not himself without these so-called flaws, whilst Morty wants to ride the wave of not feeling terrible about himself all the time. I thought it was brilliant that, when essentially running away from home, he ends up becoming a high-powered businessman; it seems a natural progression given that businessmen have this air of being totally confident, possessing the gift of the gab and also being a total flipping nightmare. It’s obvious, however, that when Jessica calls Morty in a bid to get his location, he consciously leaves the call open so that Rick can find him; we’ll never know exactly what it is that causes him to decide to take all his worst bits back (Jessica? Missing his family? Rick’s adventures?) but it’s nice to have him back at the end of the episode.

I’d be remiss to not mention one of the best things about this episode; Terryfold. During Healthy Rick and Morty’s first scene together, they turn on the radio and have a discussion about exposing themselves to new things to achieve happiness; Terryfold is the song on the radio at the time. A longer version plays over the credits and was released into the world after the episode aired, and I can’t get enough of it! It’s actually a legitimately good song (the backing track being provided by Chaos Chaos, a band I’ve been very much enjoying since Do You Feel It? featured in Auto Erotic Assimilation in series 2) but it’s Roiland’s improvised, bizarre and hilarious lyrics that make it. “Suck my flaps, you piece of s**t” is a particular favourite of mine!

I’ve barely scratched the surface of what made this episode so great; the return of Tricia (you know, the ample bosomed girl from the previous episode) and all her love and sex thoughts were hilarious, the nice little touches of animation on the Healthy and Toxic versions of Rick and Morty (for example, Healthy Rick smiling when Morty enters the garage whilst Toxic Rick spends most of the episode scowling), Morty’s chat up lines (“I do however know that I have a pretty bad case of Haventtakenyoutodinneritis; might be fatal!”), Mrs Pancakes making a triumphant return, and tons more besides. Here’s to Rick and Morty, the best damn show on TV! TINK.

Rating: 5/5

Reviewer: Stacey Taylor (@StaceysParlour)

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