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‘Rick And Morty’ returns, or did it?

Adult Swim’s most popular animated series returned to the small screen with its most mind-bending episode yet

<p>'Rick and Morty' creator Dan Harmon hosts a panel at 2014 Comic Con in San Diego.</p>

'Rick and Morty' creator Dan Harmon hosts a panel at 2014 Comic Con in San Diego.

Spoiler warning: Major plot details of the episode are discussed in this article.

After a long five-month hiatus, the show about an evil genius and his less-than-stellar grandson graced audiences with another outlandish premiere packed full of gimmicks and shticks that are on the brand of creators Justin Roiland and Dan Harmon. The wait for the second half of the season left many fans anxious to see what the showrunners had in store for the duo. Utterly jaw-dropping and offensive across the board, the second half of the fourth season of “Rick and Morty” returned to Adult Swim Sunday night to delight and confuse audiences.

The episode began in typical fashion for the show. The audience follows an unknown and unnamed character on a train, followed by a cutaway explaining why another patron on the train wants to kill Rick Sanchez. But unlike other episodes, the characters are aware of the plot device they're using. The unnamed character on the train deliberately tries to get away from several Rick-centered vignettes. At this point in the episode, it feels like a duller version of the show’s earlier episode “Interdimensional Cable 2: Tempting Fate.” It isn't until meeting with yet another character who is trying to escape these vignettes that things start to make sense — or at least whatever constitutes sense in this episode.

The rest of this episode is ridiculous in the sense that there's just too much to unpack. The second half does away with the many cutaways seen in the beginning of the episode. All in the last half the episode references feminism, religion and previous episodes. Somehow, Roiland and Harmon squeezed another episode into this last half.  In the most glorious of ways, this episode proves that “Rick and Morty” is at its best when making complete sense and utter nonsense. .

The unnamed characters are revealed to be Rick and Morty themselves. They both have been wandering the train unaware of how they each got there. As both characters are aware of the cutaways they’ve been experiencing, they decide their ride must end — leading to hilarity. The train turns out to be a train of continuity which, quite ironically, is discontinuous. This small two minute scene has Inception-like qualities as Rick and Morty permeate cutaways and disrupt the action of the scene.

The wild second half of the episode sees Rick and Morty try to end the train of continuity. In order to end the cutaways, Rick comes to the conclusion that they must do something the show has never done before — employ the Bechdel test. “Rick and Morty” finally acknowledges how the show hasn’t done the female perspective justice. While the scene is quite funny, it doesn’t truly make up for the fact that Summer and Beth are the only female characters to get any substantial screen time. Luckily for the duo, this break from their norm ends the train of continuity, but not all their problems.

In the end, true to the very nature of “Rick and Morty,” the pair is caught with their backs against the wall. They have no weapons, no tools and no allies. However in one of the most offensive yet funniest jokes so far, Rick accepts defeat and Jesus Christ. To the bafflement of their captor, Rick and Morty drop to their knees to allow God into their hearts and redeem their eternal souls — or at least what seems like it. This come-to-Jesus moment in the episode was funny considering that, in the past, Rick’s arrogance and narcissism has managed to get the duo out of every sticky situation. He’s referred to himself as God in the past because of his own perceived imperishability — to see Rick bow down to a higher power was shocking for everyone involved. Before allowing this stark change in character to sink in, it’s revealed that the scene was yet another cutaway! 

While this episode is not as good as the fan-favorite “Pickle Rick,” it is a genuinely good story that will go down as a “Rick and Morty” classic.