Rick and Morty has absolutely no interest in making my job easy, does it? After last week’s anthology episode, “Morty’s Mind-Blowers” substitutes another “Interdimensional Cable” episode with a clip show based on clips we’ve never seen — a sort of rethinking of Community’s “Paradigms of Human Memory.” “Paradigms of Human Memory,” incidentally, would be a perfect name for this episode, which makes use of memories that Morty asked Rick to erase for him to shed light on yet another way in which the show itself is an unreliable narrator. We can never be truly sure which version of Rick and Morty we are watching, and the show retains the right to pull the rug out from under us at any given time. “Morty’s Mind-Blowers” gives it a new device for doing so, and further evidence that we are perhaps many dimensions removed from wherever we started.
These are the memories Morty recovers — and, later, loses again:
• No one believes Morty when he sees a man on the moon, insisting it must have been a smudge on the lens of his telescope. When the man shows up as Morty’s new school guidance counselor, Morty tries to prove that he’s the man on the moon but sounds absolutely insane because he can’t point to any specific wrongdoing. Principal Vagina assumes Morty must be using a code word to tell him that the new guidance counselor is a pedophile. Principal Vagina fires the man, who kills himself later that day. That night, Morty realizes that there had been a smudge on the lens of his telescope after all.
• In “Morty’s Menagerie,” Rick and Morty get put into a menagerie of living beings collected by a giant light-bulb-shaped being. To escape, Rick sends a signal back to NASA, detailing instructions for an interdimensional spaceship that needs to be flown by two people exactly Rick and Morty’s size. The spaceship arrives at the menagerie, at which point Rick leaves the two pilots in their zoo prison, dressed in their clothes, and they head home.
• Rick and Morty are approached by an alien being who asks Rick to kill him. Apparently, if Rick kills an alien of this species, it will attain a perfect afterlife. Before Rick kills the alien, though, they decide to make a lunch pit stop (at Don Cuco’s — good looking out, Burbank). When Rick goes to the bathroom, Morty helps the alien realize that there is no evidence of the afterlife, which means he might not actually be going to heaven. Rick comes back from the bathroom just in time for the alien to make a run for it, and he’s hit by a car, which condemns him goes to alien hell. His soul blames Morty as he’s dragged down by demons.
At this point in the episode, Morty wonders if there is a problem with allowing himself to forget so many memories. Is it now impossible to learn from his experiences? Rick admonishes him to stop looking for a lesson: “This is a free-form anthology.” Then, we a grab bag of horrifying Morty experiences:
• Beth is put in a Sophie’s Choice situation in which she must pick between Summer and Morty. Beth immediately picks Summer.
• Morty is possessed by Volpamatron, Destroyer of Worlds. Rick, Beth, and Summer encourage Morty to fight it, and he manages to halfway puke up the parasite causing the possession. It is absolutely disgusting. Love is what gets Volpamatron out of Morty’s system, and because the Smiths aren’t loving enough to help Morty expel it quickly, he’s just half-barfing up this parasite monster for an extended period of time.
• Rick and Morty are on a planet that falls to 300 degrees below at night, along with a giant, adorable alien named Beevo. To survive, Rick cuts Beevo over and they climb inside him, Tauntaun-style, but Rick got the planet wrong. It’s not getting cold at all. They killed an innocent alien for nothing.
• Rick tells Morty not to take things for “granite.” Morty laughs at him. Rick erases Morty’s memory without Morty’s permission.
Stunned by this revelation, Morty starts to fight with Rick, and in doing so both get blasted by Rick’s memory-eraser. Neither can remember who they are or how they got there. Rick correctly surmises that the glass vials are memories, and he plugs one into the device on Morty’s head. In it, Rick tricks Morty into jerking off an alien. That’s pretty much the gist of that one.
Morty guesses, based on the memory he just saw, that he and Rick are partners of some kind who fight aliens, Men on Black–style. Then Morty plugs in another memory: He sees Rick going above and beyond to create a completely level shelf, the experience of standing on which is completely orgasmic. It makes the rest of reality seem untethered and cruel — or, as Morty puts it, “Everything’s crooked! Reality is poison!” Rick tells Summer he’ll erase this memory for Morty.
Back in the present day, Morty realizes that Rick has been erasing his memories. He plugs in more memories:
• In this one, Rick gets angry at Morty for not immediately flipping the correct light switch in the garage. Rick then takes him to a warehouse planet, where he’s got a storage locker full of humans who were in some kind of stasis. But they’ve all just flatlined. Rick asks Morty to grab a shovel.
• Rick uses a giant magnet-shaped object-finder to grab a zip tie, and Morty uses the same magnet device to find redheads.
• Rick fits Morty with a device that allows him to talk to animals. Morty overhears squirrels discussing international conspiracies of which they seem to be in charge. (“We need a quorum to pick a new pope, in case the Exxon/Monsanto thing falls through in Africa.”) The squirrels notice him listening and follow him home. After Rick temporarily paralyzes the squirrels, he tells Morty to pack up because they’re heading for a different reality: “You f*cked with squirrels, Morty!”
“Mounting in suspicion” of Rick, Morty goes through all of his old memories, then grabs Rick’s gun and points it at his own head. Rick decides to go in on a suicide pact with him. They’re about to shoot themselves when Summer enters, asking if they’re doing Morty’s Mind-Blowers again. Summer figures out that it’s a “Scenario Four” and complies with instructions that Rick left behind to restore both of their own memories and make it appear as though they’d fallen asleep while watching interdimensional cable. When they wake up, Rick and Morty yell at Summer for letting them fall asleep and disappear on an adventure.
In the post-credits scene, Jerry finds a box of his own mind-blowers that turn out to basically be E.T., except Jerry fails to save the alien.
I love that Summer is the hero of this episode (I’m an avowed Summer stan) and I’m interested to know how many universes removed we are from where we started, but I have to admit, this episode was a low point for me. Clips of Morty being traumatized over and over again to illustrate principles of Rick and Morty’s relationship that we’ve already seen felt like the show spinning its wheels. “Interdimensional Cable” was a clip show that had a lot of fun trying new things. I’m sorry to say “Morty’s Mind-Blowers” didn’t blow my mind.