Pickle Rick just might be the craziest and most awesome episode of Rick and Morty yet!
I’ve got to be honest, when I first saw the promo and hype for Pickle Rick, I thought ‘gee, that’s a stupid idea, this is gonna be a dumb episode.’ In fact, if you take Morty’s reaction at the very start of the episode when he first learns that Rick has turned himself into a pickle, that’s pretty much my wavelength right there. What the…?
I mean, why? Why would the world’s greatest scientist turn himself into a pickle? I know the show makes you think that the writers must be high half of the time, but a pickle? Come on! But that’s what separates Rick and Morty from all the other mundane TV out there.
Only this show could take an absurd, lame, gimmicky idea like this and turn it into something so goddamn brilliant and entertaining.
Similarly to Rick’s claim that he’s just trying to challenge himself, this show keeps challenging itself to outdo it’s previous brilliance. No matter what angle they start off with, they’re willing to go as dark or absurd as possible to create humorous and thought-provoking content for which we should all be thankful.
So what is Pickle Rick all about?
Rick’s transformation is initially just an attempt to get out of family therapy, but after Beth takes the serum that would transform him back into his normal self with her to therapy, Rick is forced to confront the limits of being a pickle.
With a quick reference to the cat and pickle craze on youtube, the family cat (since when do they have a cat?) knocks him off the workbench and out of the garage, beginning his adventure to try and save himself.
Whilst Rick is initially quite helpless (he is a pickle after all), it isn’t too long before he uses his genius to start acquiring body parts from insects and rodents that he’s just killed to eventually turn himself into some sort of super-killing machine-pickle.
Rick’s gradual powering up is done over some brutal and engaging action scenes, and boy does he seem to be having fun doing it! Rick seems to be at his happiest when he’s ruthlessly murdering and conquering (just like in Season 2’s ‘Purge’ episode).
Once he’s conquered the sewers, he escapes into some dodgy Eastern European arms facility, where he quickly kills a number of secret agents and continues to upgrade his destructive abilities. It all climaxes in a showdown with ‘Jaguar,’ who had been imprisoned in the facility, but is released to battle Rick in order to save his daughter.
They wind up on the same team by the end and blow up the facility before Jaguar tells Rick he should appreciate and make time for his daughter, unlike Jaguar’s daughter, whom it turns out was dead all along.
Rick starts to go on about infinite universes and infinite daughters before quickly backtracking once Jaguar becomes curious about infinite daughters. Coz, you know, Rick can’t really be bothered helping him anymore.
There’s another side to this episode though
The therapy sessions with Beth, Morty and Summer are quite the contrast to all the action in Rick’s scenes, as our competent therapist (who also specialises in helping people who love to eat poop) quickly identifies Rick as being the source of the family’s dysfunction.
Beth refuses to acknowledge any of this and continues to stoutly defend Rick, even in the face of indisputable evidence. Having spent plenty of time with Rick on various adventures, Summer and Morty are very aware of Rick’s flaws and fallacy.
By the end, they’ve all faked making some sort of breakthrough, with none of them better than Summer’s ‘I hope to be seen one day as someone that just likes getting high.’ Rick turns up at the end of the session and makes clear that he has no respect for therapy.
Our therapist (Susan Sarandon) then hits Rick with one of the best monologues in the entire Rick and Morty series. Here’s the full thing below:
‘Rick, the only connection between your unquestionable intelligence and the sickness destroying your family is that everyone in your family, you included, use intelligence to justify sickness. You seem to alternate between viewing your own mind as an unstoppable force and as an inescapable curse. And I think it’s because the only truly unapproachable concept for you is that it’s your mind within your control. You chose to come here, you chose to talk, to belittle my vocation, just as you chose to become a pickle. You are the master of your universe, and yet you are dripping with rat blood and faeces, your enormous mind literally vegetating by your own hand. I have no doubt that you would be bored senseless by therapy, the same way I’m bored when I brush my teeth and wipe my ass. Because the thing about repairing, maintaining and cleaning is it’s not an adventure. There’s no way to do it so wrong you might die. It’s just work. And the bottom line is, some people are okay going to work, and some people… well, some people would rather die. Each of us gets to choose.’
Wow, that’s some heavy stuff right there and it’s right on the money! Of course, Rick and Beth shrug the whole thing off and go out drinking, ignoring the kid’s plea to go back to therapy again. Can’t have our characters change that much can we?
The only real downside to this episode was no appearance by everyone’s favourite Jerry! It just gives us more to look forward to next week though in what’s turning out to be an absolutely brilliant third season.