TV REVIEW: Rick And Morty S3E7 ‘The Ricklantis Mixup’ (Contains Spoilers)

The teaser and title for this episode suggested some kind of Atlantis-based adventure, but deviated almost immediately from ‘our’ Rick and Morty in favour of a more ’22 Short Films About Springfield”-esque approach. After a visit from a Rick and Morty trying to raise money to restore the Citadel that our Rick previously dropped into a Galactic Federation prison, Morty ponders what life is like for those still on the Citadel. Whilst Rick suggests that only a chump would give a crap about the Citadel and those on it, we’re immediately treated to a ‘Tales From the Citadel’ montage. We end up following four story lines throughout the episode; a hardened Morty cop training a fresh-out-of-the-academy Rick, a dissatisfied factory worker Rick, a Morty running for Citadel President, and four Mortys on a coming-of-age journey.

I should probably preface this review by saying that, despite being the kind of person who has a pop culture review podcast and reviews stuff for this very website, I am notoriously terrible at having seen many films. I like to use the excuse that I grew up in a fairly limited household for movies; if it didn’t have Arnie or Stallone in it, we probably wouldn’t watch it, but that doesn’t excuse me for the literal years that I have been moved out of home. As such, this episode was possibly a little lost on me, as it was clearly referencing things that I have no idea about…

I’ve been reliably informed that the story of the Mortys on a journey to The Wishing Portal is very heavily paying homage to Stand By Me (a film I have been meaning to see for many years, but have yet to plonk my eyes on), but was still my favourite story of the bunch. For a start, I loved the designs on the different Mortys; for an episode filled with many versions of the same two characters, it was fantastic to see the little differences between them, both in terms of design and movement. There was an almost Where’s Wally feel to it; try to spot the Inspector Spacetime Rick, or the Roiland Morty! Some of my favourite jokes of the episode were in their story too, from Slow Ric-I mean, Tall Morty (“Did I gradgitate this year?”) to the boys’ portal wishes. Justin Roiland really shines in this episode, and not just because he’s basically the only person that speaks in it (aside from Jeff Davis’ amazing Sam Elliot-esque ‘Simple Rick’s Wafers’ adverts); again, the little differences between each Rick and Morty, based on their personalities and circumstances, are a pleasure to listen to. Slick’s ‘sacrifice’ is poignant and means everything and nothing at once; yes, change is on the horizon, but when there’s infinite Mortys, does anything really matter?…

The Cop story (which I am again informed by other people has a strong Training Day vibe) was also fabulous; it’s great to see a reversal of the usual dynamic, with Morty being the hardened, wise badass while Rick has morals and wants to follow procedures and laws. I would be a terrible reviewer if I failed to doff my cap to the animators for this episode; there’s an incredibly short but beautifully animated sequence in which a Rick tries to escape our cop buddies using bootleg portal fluid and gets, well, portal-vaporised.

The major issue (for me at least; for I am bizarre), is that this episode raised a lot of questions about the Citadel that I can’t find answers for, and they’re driving me a bit nuts. Take Factory Rick’s story, for example; whilst on the surface it’s a great story about job dissatisfaction with the usual Rick and Morty sci-fi pizazz, when you look a little deeper, what makes a Rick choose to stay on the Citadel? I mean, this is a super genius dude who has mastered inter-dimensional travel, and yet a whole bunch of him are just standing there on assembly lines, bored, cross and aching for adventure. He seemed to not have access to a portal gun; why? What’s keeping him there, or keeping him from exploring the multiverse? I feel like you can explain away the odd Rick choosing a “normal” life for personal reasons, but that many? Same with the Mortys; I get that there must be quite a few universes where Mortys lose their whole families, but how and why are there so many that have been through so many Ricks? What happened to their original families? Or their 2nd, 3rd, or 4th families? (I’m thinking about this too much, I know, but Rick and Morty is a show that invites thinking, so I reckon I’m off the hook here…)

Of course, the pay-off to this episode allowed me to let go of almost all the questions and niggles I had, because HOLY MOTHER OF PEARL I did not see that coming, and it was glorious. The fourth and final story we follow is that of a Morty running for President. He gives impassioned speeches, is savvy and smart and knows what he wants. After a botched assassination attempt, he wins the Presidency, very quickly murders any opposition within his shadow council, and that familiar Blonde Redhead song kicks in… The reveal that this Morty is in fact our evil eyepatch-wearing friend from back in series one was masterfully handled; the image of Rick and Morty bodies floating in the space outside the Citadel whilst he gives a distressingly deadpan speech about action is haunting, and sets up some pretty serious stuff for future episodes. The crowning glory is the knowledge that whatever happens from here; it’s our Rick’s fault. Sure, the Council of Ricks were a bunch a fancy-haired douchenozzles, but they’ve gotta be better than this guy, right?..

“This seems like a good time for a drink, and a cold, calculated speech with sinister overtones. A speech about politics, about order, brotherhood, power. But speeches are for campaigning. Now is the time for action.”

Also; mermaid puss.

Rating: 4.5/5

Reviewer: Stacey Taylor (@StaceysParlour)

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