Rick and Morty: “Rest and Ricklaxation” Season 3 Episode 6 Review

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Jeez, what a concept. Only Rick and Morty would approach serious character introspection the way “Rest and Ricklaxation” does. But besides a few character consistency blips, it totally works.

After another life-interrupting adventure that gets grandfather and grandson in mortal danger (the mission drawing vague parallels to a would-be ruthless version of A New Hope in its brief montage), Rick demands a vacation. He and Morty end up on an intergalactic spa when a detox room seemingly malfunctions and the pair are transported to a slimy, yellow-green world of gooey trash. But as they freak out, Rick realizes that they’re the living embodiment of the detox. The cut to perfectly healthy Rick and Morty emerging from the room with relaxed smiles, and the politeness to follow, was brilliant. In fact, how the episode introduces this concept and starts to deal with it is its greatest section.

Rick and Morty’s perceived perfection in the real world, with Rick having grown polite and Morty boasting confidence and a friendly demeanor, sure makes these two characters into the idealized versions of themselves they may like to be. But Toxic-Rick’s (as I’m choosing to call him) distress call brings forth a crushing truth to the pair’s cordial relationship in the real world: your toxicities are your responsibility. The oozy, green versions of themselves are the versions they chose to throw away, not the toxicities actually lying within them, otherwise the machine would likely have given them the same personality.

The second half of the episode includes a couple odd character choices that don’t quite work, however. Morty, for example, strikes out on a date for getting too excited and talking way too much, which seems to directly contradict the persona he carried around the school the day prior. It’s also a bit hard to swallow that Rick’s purest form threw his affection for Morty entirely into his toxic self. With that playing a big part in the resolution, “Rest and Ricklaxation” doesn’t quite stick the landing. We’ve just seen Morty save Rick from himself too many times in these two and a half seasons to buy that Rick, even at his most “logical,” would think caring for Morty was a literal waste.

But after Rick reconnects with his toxicity, Morty flies off, refusing the parts of himself he hates. He winds up getting a beautiful apartment in Manhattan, essentially living the success of The Wolf of Wall Street (complete with one very amusing scene reconstruction). Rick of course drops in and violently merges Morty and Toxic-Morty, but having the younger, more emotional of the pair fight so hard to keep part of himself out of him is kind of tragic, albeit emotionally rewarding. It’s genuinely nice when the girl Morty has a crush on says she’s glad he’s back before he jumps into a wormhole with his grandpa. Hopefully it’ll bring Morty closer to that idealized version of himself without sacrificing part of his core personality. That’s some pretty thorough and resonant introspection. Grade: A-

By Matt Dougherty

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