Rick and Morty season 5 is off to a strong start, with two great episodes in a row. Episode three changes the pace a bit, parodying a popular cartoon from the 1990s and sending Rick and Summer on a hilarious side mission.
Things begin when Morty instantly falls in love with Planetina, a character inspired by the 1990 Captain Planet cartoon and voiced by Alison Brie. Brie isn’t the only community student to serve on this episode, and former writer Rob Schrab took credit for writing this one.
The writer change definitely leads to a slight change of pace from the season’s first two episodes, both of which felt like they had the potential to be long-time fan favorites. This one, however, definitely felt a bit like a midseason discard. Not that this is necessarily a bad thing.
Rick’s little side quest with Summer, which saw them go on a three-day spree around planets that were doomed, was designed to provide laughs to the episode, and for the most part, it succeeded. There was a ton of fun, throwaway jokes here, and it was nice to see that Summer had more to do. That said, the sexual / incest-style banter didn’t quite land like the show must have anticipated and the post-credits scene felt sordid.
The constant teasing that Summer is more like Rick is a nice touch and I look forward to seeing him explored as the show progresses. Morty has now had two independent side adventures this season, and it seems like this is the direction Harmon, Roiland, and company may be heading in the future. In fact, we still haven’t had an episode entirely dedicated to Rick and Morty this season.
The main story of the episode is fine, and it gives Morty some good character development, especially with his mother. The idea of people trying to profit from climate change was nice, but it could have benefited from being more padded. He felt very fleeting and never got home as he should. Brie was fine in the role, but her character really wasn’t that interesting. In a season that has put Nimbus to use, it seems unlikely that we will remember her too much in the future.
An interesting development was Morty’s relationship with his mom. While the ages of the characters may remain the same, Morty really feels like he’s growing up and starting to expand on his own this season, and the idea of him falling in love and having his heart broken is interesting. We rarely see a mother-child relationship between Morty and Beth, so it was a nice touch and something I look forward to seeing more of. He also showed maturity to Morty, which could shape his relationship with Rick for years to come.
Rick and Morty opened season five with two fantastic episodes, so while there’s no denying that episode three was fun, it definitely felt like the show slowed down a bit here. What you get out of the main story will depend on how much mileage you can get from a dark 90s cartoon reference. If that’s not really your scene, Rick and Summer should keep you entertained long enough for 20 minutes.