Rick and Morty’s fifth season was the most inconsistent season the series has produced. Season Six had its work cut out to win back dejected fans.
The end of Season Five saw Rick and Morty in their most dire situation: stranded in space with their portal gun not working. Even worse, Rick’s old nemesis re-emerges. But along with the expressive lore, there was also fun to be had with Summer getting stuck in a Die Hard scenario, super-intelligent dinosaurs revisiting Earth, and Morty joining an order of knights from the Sun.
Since the end of Season Three, Rick and Morty had lost its luster. The seasons became more inconsistent, the intelligent episode was lost, and more episodes seemed to be made for shock value. It went from being the show that it was cool to like to a show trying desperately to remain relevant. However, season Six marked a massive improvement over the previous two seasons, producing some great episodes and only one terrible episode.
Season Six’s first half was stronger. It felt much more akin to the show that fans fell in love with. Some episodes were more creative, character-driven, and emotionally deep. “Rick: A Mort Well Lived,” “Bethic Twinstinct,” and “Analyze Piss” were the most character-driven episodes of the season.
“Rick: A Mort Well Lived” was a great revisit of the video game ‘Roy.’ Morty’s mind was split across the video game, and Rick needed to convince the various Mortys to return to the real world. It explored the relationship between the pair and showed the different viewpoints amongst the Mortys. It also raised some existential questions about the offspring in the virtual world. “Bethic Twinstinct” was a focused episode about Beth undergoing self-reflection and self-discovery and doing it through her relationship with Space Beth. Finally, “Analyze Piss” deals with the heavy subjects of suicide, legacy, and purpose, with Rick ending up trying to do a good deed for a deceased man.
The season’s most creative and best was “Night People.” In this episode, the Smith family was able to program their bodies to do tasks while they were asleep. However, they enter into a feud because of Rick’s pettiness. It was hilarious and inventive. These attributes were shown when the Day Smiths and Night Smiths entered into a physical fight and constantly lost and regained consciousness. It’s the type of episode that made fans fall in love with the show.
However, there were some duds as well. The worst episode was “Final DeSmithation,” which was a long incest joke. In that episode, Jerry gets a fortune cookie saying he is going to have sex with his mother, and he is trying everything in his power to avoid this. Jerry teams up with Rick to find where all fortune cookies are manufactured. The concept and execution were like an episode of Family Guy or South Park.
Some of the episodes had the issue of being bland and formulaic. It added to the sense that Rick and Morty had lost its spark and went from being a trendsetter to being another show in the crowd. It’s hard for a show to maintain quality throughout a season, let alone its entire run, but the first three seasons of Rick and Morty had a consistent quality. “A Rick in King Mortur’s Mort” felt formulaic as it showed Morty joining an order of knights but nearly getting his penis cut off. There were some funny moments when Morty destroyed a religious brief, but it had a feeling of been there, done that. It ends in the same way as “The Vat of Acid Episode,” where Rick and Morty fake their own deaths.
The most divisive episode of the season was “Full Meta Jackrick.” This episode was a sequel to Season Four’s “Never Ricking Morty” and was about writing devices and tropes. As the title suggested, “Full Meta Jackrick” was a self-aware episode that deconstructed the writing process. It was an episode that required a high tolerance for this type of writing and humor. People who enjoy writing will get a kick out of “Never Ricking Morty,” but others will find it up its own butt.
Season Six was Rick and Morty was better than the previous seasons. Fewer episodes were made for shock value, and there was only one bad episode. Some great episodes and moments showed what Rick and Morty could be capable of.