Embroiled in a typical scrape on another planet, a multi-limbed alien pursuing their tattered spacecraft, things look far from great for Rick and Morty in this season five opener, until a desperate call to high school crush Jessica – and the revelation she’d like herself and Morty to spend some time together – sees the downtrodden teen emboldened by a heightened resolve to steer Rick’s space cruiser to safety.
The fiery ship crashes into Earth’s ocean, thereby – and unbeknown to Morty – instigating a challenge to the fragile peace treaty forged between Rick and his newly revealed nemesis, Mr Nimbus. Back at the Smith family residence, Rick asks Morty to head back in time, to another existence, to age some wine for his coming peace talks with Nimbus. Coincidentally, Morty needs some wine for his date with Jessica, and accidentally instigates a bloody, generational, tribal feud that spans from feudal times to the far distant future.
In the middle of this, Beth and Jerry debate an invitation from the perennially thrusting Nimbus to join him for a ménage à trois. Summer, meanwhile, is on the ocean floor, speargun in hand and a trail of dead sea creatures behind her, searching for the enchanted conch that will rid Nimbus of his powers (one of which includes the ability to control the police). There’s also some big stuff about the enigma of time and space, delivered by a glassy-eyed Jessica who has somehow, unwittingly been dragged into the chaos.
PS, Morty and Jessica don’t hook up. Obviously.
‘Mort Dinner Rick Andre’ is a solid season opener. No fills (though lots of fins). A few great lines (“Stop shitting in the ocean”) mean the incoming Nimbus can now take a seat at the conversation concerning the show’s best ever guest characters.
But it’s what the episode hints at regarding the episodes to come that intrigues most. If season four concerned itself with mostly stand-alone stories, there’s a sense throughout Rick and Morty season five episode one that an arc will run across the season. The core cast show growth to their characters; Morty is increasingly frustrated with Rick (“I think you don’t want me happy because then I’ll stop doing your crazy chores”). Rick is increasingly on edge. Summer is more assured. Will this season provide answers to the show’s longstanding mysteries? Evil Morty? Talking Cat? Are Rick and Morty actually the same person? Rick’s line to Nimbus – “Don’t establish canonical back story with me” – seems very knowing.
The very, very funny Jim Gaffigan! You’ll know him from his stand-up, The Jim Gaffigan Show or maybe as Henry Haber in Bob’s Burgers.
Pop culture parodies
Mr Nimbus is an obvious nod to DC’s Aquaman (though Marvel’s Namor the Sub-Mariner is probably closer in tone). There’s also an early doors nod to Blade (Rick: “That’s fucking tight”). A nod to Psycho in the backstory of the incoming Hoovey. Another to Game Of Thrones’ Wall a little after that. A dab of Batman villain Mr Freeze. Spider-Man baddie Dr Octopus. A little bit of Tron. Loads and loads of Star Wars. And the title? That’s riffing on 1981’s cerebral comedy drama, My Dinner With Andre.
Nice to see you again!
Though we don’t see her, the influence of family therapist Dr Wong on the relationship of Beth and Jerry (who spend the episode musing a proposed three-way with Nimbus) is spoken of often.
Did you know?
Mr Nimbus is the first character to call Rick “Richard” since the show began. “I used to fear you, respect you, now all I feel is pity…” There’s also a blink and you’ll miss it suggestion that Rick and Nimbus were once… lovers? More backstory reveals please!
Rick and Morty season 5 episode 1 airs on E4 in the UK at 10pm on Monday
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