Rick and Morty: “The Ricklantis Mixup” Season 3 Episode 7 Review

Photo Credit:http://www.sidereel.com/tv-shows/rick-and-morty

Or is it “Tales From the Citadel?” The episode actually taking one name and then acting completely different from that name kind of mirrors everything wrong with this entry, an easy pick for season three’s weakest. After our Rick and Morty ignore a call to the Citadel from another pair of themselves, and continue on their way to their likely hilarious but unnecessary Atlantic adventure, we’re transported to the Citadel in a state of reconstruction since our Rick’s murdering spree in the season premiere. There are political and cultural divides not just between Ricks and Mortys, but Ricks and Ricks and Mortys and Mortys as well, some of which lost their fellow space traveler along the way.

But this societal construction, while astute (Mortys, treated one the Citadel as lesser beings, are accused to be “Mortys killing other Mortys” in the slums), doesn’t fall in line with the other versions of Ricks and Mortys we’ve seen in the past. It’s been previously established that there are in fact slight differences in the personalities of different Ricks and Mortys, but “Tales From the Citadel” takes it to the extremes, to the point where the only recognizable facets of virtually every character on screen is their familiar voice. Police partners Rick and Morty make out the latter to be a homicidal maniac. The first Morty to successfully have traction in the polls to become president of the Citadel boasts confidence and charisma, while his opposers, all Ricks, just fart at each other during a political debate that can gain any one of them power. The point is, these are not recognizable Ricks and Mortys, and thus the show is robbed of its emotional core for a story that I do believe has more on its mind than doubles in the multiverse.

Specifically, Rick and Morty has taken time, as recently as the excellent previous episode, to establish something meaningful within the dynamic the grandfather and his grandson share. By no means does the show have to milk that every episode of every season, but without our Rick and Morty present to bounce off of the Citadel’s complex power struggle (riddled with cleverly skewered cliches of dystopian stories, and even some more grounded genres), we’re just watching a society exist as it would were it not only consisting of thousands of variations of the same two people. Besides their yellow shirts and gastrointestinal problems, there’s nothing connecting the Ricks and Mortys to our Rick and Morty, and thus nothing to latch onto.

Some ideas here are good. A group of Mortys who escape from their school (where they learn only how to be perfect companions/punching bags for Ricks) struggle to find individuality amongst each other, pointing to the type of society this would actually be. One of the Mortys hilariously comforts another by bringing attention to his distinct rolled up sleeves. The fast and furious send up of genre cliches has its moments, and there’s even an enticing cliffhanger(?) as a particularly evil Morty goes full Blofeld in a meeting of Ricks. For the time taken out of this great season to establish the changing rules of the Citadel, I have to believe this is going to come back around to our Rick and Morty before the season is out. But if it doesn’t, without any semblance of the characters we not only follow, but have come to have affection for, “Tales From the Citadel” might just be a cleverly plotted waste of a precious half hour before the series disappears from the airwaves for who knows how long. Only time will tell. Grade: C+

By Matt Dougherty

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