02nd Oct2017

‘Rick and Morty 3×09: The ABC’s of Beth’ Review

by Steven Riley

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Whether or not season three of Rick and Morty is considered the best one so far or not, it’s difficult to argue it has been the most varied.

From the incredible opening episode that resulted in the destruction of the intergalactic governments, Council of Ricks and Beth and Jerry’s manage, the majority of the episodes have felt different enough that we’ve not quite been sure what’s around the corner.

We’ve had Rick as a pickle, a series of intertwining stories involving the Rick’s and Morty’s on the new Citadel to a clip-show sequel episode in Morty’s Mind Blowers there have been different formats as well as outlandish ideas, with those three in particular highlights of the last nine episodes.

Another theme has been mixing the characters for each adventure. Rather than just our eponymous duo teaming up, we’ve seen Rick spend episodes with Jerry and Summer as well. This episode was time for him to travel with his daughter instead.

After hearing the father of her childhood friend is undergoing the death penalty for the murder of his son, Beth ends up confiding to her admittedly indifferent children about her relationship with the child, Tommy. Rick then overhears this and is irritated about Beth’s criticisms of ‘Froopyland’, taking her back to the land he created for her in her younger days.

It soon transpires that Beth took Tommy here when they were younger and accidentally got him trapped there. Rather than dying, as everyone initially thought, he had survived by procreating wit and consuming the animals around him.

While the premise is as dark and amusing as we come to expect from the series, it doesn’t quite feel like the show its stretching itself as we’ve seen in previous episodes. The story isn’t as in-depth or hard-hitting as the ones in Tales of the Citadel and even feels less fleshed-out than some of Morty’s Mind Blowers. The fact that it was the main thrust of the episode, with only the Jerry dating sideshow to distract, means this is a slightly underwhelming penultimate entry into the series.

That’s not to say there weren’t some great moments. The sketch where Rick reveals Beth’s psychotic childhood tendencies through the inventions she asked him to create and seeing the usually-pathetic Jerry getting a win for once were both great moments. But they didn’t feel like enough to fill an episode.

Instead the real value may well come from Beth’s role herself. We already knew she was wrestling with how much she is like her revered father and whether that was the path she always wanted to take. The final scenes acted more as confirmation of this rather than development of her character, but the idea she may now have been cloned while she travels the galaxy “finding herself” will surely come into play later.

Time will tell whether this episode was made more to serve a later plot arc than as a self-contained episode. But with the series tying up this week, it will surely end with more of a bang.

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