From the simplest of setups comes, once again, a Rick and Morty adventure that simultaneously goes completely haywire even while it exposes the innermost pathos of its characters. Okay, there are actually multiple relatively unconnected narratives here, not just one, but both are essentially about loneliness and isolation, even while at least one of them is ostensibly about, well, pooping.
Rick, as the episode begins, just wants to “go on a solo mission” — which Summer immediately calls out at the breakfast table as him wanting to go to the bathroom. Seeing him take off in a spaceship, the initial assumption is that Summer is wrong, until Rick’s spaceship arrives in basically an oasis designed for the perfect potty experience. The only catch, as he discovers, is that someone else has used his idyllic toilet recently, which sends him on a mission to track down the culprit.
This means Rick’s attention is not focused on planet Earth, which gives Jerry back at home an opportunity to get into trouble with Rick’s new intern Glootie, who has four eyes, a New Zealand accent (hi, Taika Waititi!), and a tattoo across his forehead reading, “DO NOT DEVELOP MY APP.” It’s a warning from Rick that Jerry, being Jerry, totally ignores, and soon he and Glootie are working together to launch a dating app called Lovefinderrz, which proves to be extraordinarily good at setting up people with their potential soul mates.
Summer, in fact, almost immediately gets set up with her perfect man (okay, well, he’s a sandwich artist who loves Phish, but pobody’s nerfect?), much to her mother’s dismay; meanwhile, a frustrated Morty insists that Jerry shut down the app before things get out of hand, which leads to the two of them paying a visit to Glootie’s mother ship, where the Emperor Palpatine–esque leader of the Monogatrons explains that as a “pre-app society,” Earth takes for granted the idea that love is scarce, when actually love is “as abundant as water.” What isn’t as abundant as water? Actual water, which the Monogatrons are hoping to acquire while Earth citizens are distracted by the app as they bounce from relationship to relationship. (Like most dating apps, Lovefinderrz is designed to support serial monogamy, not actual forever love.)
Rick’s mission to track down the person who defiled his special pooping place brings him first to the drug den of a fly who rules in a world of frogs, then to an intergalactic revolution between robots and lizards, then to the office of a humble cubicle drone named Tony. Rick is totally prepared to kill Tony, but the man’s humble demeanor (hi, Jeffrey Wright!) leads Rick to show mercy … until he catches Tony using his toilet again.
Initially, it seems like Rick has killed Tony (reuniting him with his dead wife in a heaven filled with toilets), but what’s really happened is that Rick has trapped him in a baggie filled with Globoflyn, a drug that delivers a mix of your most mundane and most dear fantasies, keeping you sedate and, more importantly, out of Rick’s way. Rick gives Tony one very last warning about using his toilet. It seems pretty likely that Tony will ignore it.
Jerry and Morty are still trying to shut down the Monogatrons’ evil plan, though Morty is frustrated with his father’s lack of experience — after all, if Jerry hadn’t ignored Rick’s warning about the app, they wouldn’t be in this situation. One of the best aspects of Jerry and Morty’s relationship in recent episodes has been the way in which Rick and Morty has acknowledged how Morty’s time running around the galaxy with Rick has affected him: He’s a little more jaded and cynical than he was at the beginning of the series, an attitude that is very much the result of years of painful experience, and made him less forgiving of his father’s screwups.
Jerry’s incompetence gets them caught by the Monogatrons, but it’s also Jerry who wins Glootie’s sympathy enough for a little help with an escape attempt. Meanwhile, Rick sets up a booby trap for his toilet, then decides that he wants to make amends with Tony … only to learn that Tony has died on “Mount Space Everest” (sure).
Summer continues to go on a matching spree, bouncing from new soul mate to new soul mate, but while Beth tries to protect her from making terrible choices, what ultimately ends up saving Summer (and the rest of the Lovefinderrz users) is the app implementing a paywall filled with annoying ads, which leads to everyone deleting it.
Glootie, it turns out, is the one who turned on the ad wall, saving the human race much to his leader’s dismay. Summer makes up with her mother, Morty and Jerry return home safely, and Rick returns to his special toilet a bit sadder for having lost someone with whom he maybe made a connection. Also, his special toilet is now booby-trapped with holographic taunts for Tony — taunts he’ll never hear.
Dispatches From the Multiverse
• In fairness to the alien receptionist at Tony’s office, who’s the one to tell Rick about Tony’s death, there aren’t a lot of people under the age of 40 who would hear a reference to “the opening of The Beverly Hillbillies” and immediately leap to “a little bubbling crude.”
• Perhaps one of the episode’s darkest moments is the abandoned baby at the mall food court. Hopefully, with the app essentially nonfunctional, its parents remember to track it down.
• It’s funny that Beth’s perfect match is Ted Danson, as the Cheers and Good Place star is notoriously one of Hollywood’s most happily married men, having been with Mary Steenburgen since 1995. Of course, maybe the Rick and Morty writers know something we don’t know?
• Jerry’s alternate ideas for the name of the app: Ooh-La-Love, Cupidr, Meetlovers, WhoGotzDaLuv. Honestly, any one of those would be better.
• There’s some pretty gruesome alien action as Rick fights his way through the lizard versus robots rebellion to track down the delivery robot that brought Tony his “avian protein club sandwich.” The show’s gift for adding a certain level of imaginative flair to its violence has rarely been in better form.
• “The Old Man and the Seat” seems relatively neutral about whether relationships are ultimately a good or a bad thing, but the introduction of the Monogatrons leader and his wife (hi, Kathleen Turner! Damn, this episode had a great cast of guest stars) was actually pretty sweet. “Prisoners are just things,” he says as Morty and Jerry fight the guards. “Connect with me; tell me about your day.” Relationships are hard work, but there are moments that make them worth it.