13th Sep2017

‘Rick and Morty 3×07: The Ricklantis Mixup’ Review

by Steven Riley

SPOILER ALERT: This review contains spoilers for season 3, episode 7 of Rick and Morty. If you have yet to see ‘The Ricklantis Mixup’ we advise you to do so. Now, if possible.

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Rick and Morty seems to work best when the shows take an ambitious (or ridiculous idea) and just roll with it. Pickle Rick was a prime example earlier in the season. An episode where Rick turns himself in to a vegetable and goes on a killing spree shouldn’t work on paper but has been praised by many as the best episode of the series – until now.

After the misdirection of an episode where Rick and Morty go to Atlantis (our pair are only seen at the beginning and after-credits sequence) and we are instead taken to the ‘new Citadel’ which is being rebuilt after Rick C-137 destroyed it in the season premiere.

Moving away from our favourite pairs struggles with Beth and Jerry’s divorce, we instead get to experience life in the Citadel from different iterations of Rick’s and Morty’s, including a downtrodden, worker Rick, a slick Morty, a Sanchez-Smith cop duo and finally, a Morty running for President.

The escape from the norm allows the writers freedom to explore multiple themes from each viewpoint in one episode. We understand the frustrations a Rick would feel in a dead end job; knowing he’s as talented as those above him but working for a fraction of the value. A Morty who hates other Morty’s seemingly swapping roles with a more passive Rick. Another Morty desperate to break out of the system keeping all of his kin the same.

Each of the stories would make a good episode or even series arc on its own. For a cartoon to try and fit all of the above in is incredibly ambitious and even a huge risk, with the end result falling apart or at least coming across as incohesive. But it works and works brilliantly, especially with President Morty’s plot arc keeping it all together.

Speaking of President Morty, the revelation at the end of the episode (that he was the ‘Evil Morty’ from ‘Close Rick-Counters of the Rick Kind’) was not only a neat finish, but even one that could have repercussions for the rest of the season. The twist, which was fully revealed by the photographs obtained by his unfortunate former advisor-Morty, is more than just a neat callback and could allow Harmon and co. to explore how far a Morty twisted against Rick could go as well as providing us with a new arch-nemesis.

It would be amazing to see what would happen if Evil Morty, who we’ve already seen has a vendetta against all iterations of Rick, would be coming up against our Rick. The post-credits scene hinted such an event could arise (by cheekily claiming nothing from the Citadel would affect our Rick and Morty’s lives). Considering the evidence of how highly Rick values Morty – even to the extent of considering it his only weakness as we saw last week – seeing him tasked with fighting one and perhaps killing one would be fascinating if handled well.

From the evidence we’ve seen so far, you can be pretty confident the writers will handle it well. Each story felt deep but at the same time kept the jokes coming at a rapid pace, while the trademark dark humour we’ve come to love the series for (the method behind Simple Rick was – and it feels like we say it every week – one of the darkest the show has ever produced) while the commentary on class struggle again demonstrated how Rick and Morty dares to go where many other sitcoms – particularly animated – wouldn’t dare.

Let’s hope there’s more risks like this to come.

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