Who doesn’t love a good heist story? That’s not a rhetorical question — the answer is Rick Sanchez. In this week’s Rick and Morty, the entire point of the narrative is to burst the balloon that is “hey, who doesn’t love a good heist story?” by pushing a heist story to the levels of chaos that this show can achieve nimbly.
There’s no Sanchez family drama this week; instead, it’s all about Rick taking Morty out on an adventure — first, to raid an abandoned temple, Indiana Jones style, and then when they discover that the temple has already been raided, to go track down the jerk who beat them to the job.
This brings them to Heist Con, a convention devoted to heists and the people who like to do them (which, again, pisses off Rick because “stealing stuff is about the stuff, not the stealing”). Of course, in order to get into Heist Con, Rick has to assemble a crew to prove he’s a professional heist-er, which leads to the requisite assembling-a-crew montage — but then not only does he get challenged to a heist off by rival Miles Knightly, but that crew ends up double-crossing him.
And that’s just the first of many such double-crosses, though perhaps the worst is when Rick creates a computer designed to be the ultimate heist machine, and the Heistotron goes rogue, going from quietly converting everyone at Heist Con into loyal members of Rick’s crew (who tear the entire place apart when commanded by Rick to steal everything) to becoming a sentient ship roaming the galaxy, accidentally destroying planets with its over-the-top zeal for heist-ing.
To take down the Heistotron, Rick assembles another crew of random folks, and insists upon them committing random acts in order to avoid falling into any of the traditional heist narrative’s tropes or cliches. However, it’s too late, because the Heistotron has graduated to stealing entire planets, including Earth, and so Rick has to pull out all the stops, cliché-wise, when confronting his rogue invention. (Boy, does “that’s what I wanted you to think!” gets said a lot in this episode.) “The only perfect heist was one which was never written,” the Heistotron says as it dies.
As they escape the Heistotron’s ship, Morty tells Rick that he’s got a meeting with Netflix to discuss his screenplay about heists, but the Heistotron’s message seems to linger in Morty’s mind, because his pitch falls apart as he’s telling it, as he’s now realized that “heists are really dumb” … which, it turns out, was all part of Rick’s plan.
It’s fun, to be sure, but ultimately a pretty superficial story, especially given the final twist — that all Rick wanted to do was stop Morty from finishing his screenplay about heists, presumably because if it led to Morty getting a deal with Netflix, Morty would stop wanting to hang out with him. It’s the ultimate double-cross, Rick actively trying to sabotage his own grandson, and it’s one that the episode never bothers to question or examine. (Though, who knows, this show’s memory sometimes likes to dredge up stuff like this, and it could come up in the future.)
All the details here are a lot of fun, especially when it comes to the new and returning characters brought in to make up Rick’s various crews. But it’s kind of a bummer how the whole episode is predicated on celebrating a genre while actively tearing it down. And while Rick’s motivation for sabotaging Morty — wanting to make sure that Morty is always available for going on adventures — is understandable, it’s also yet another way this show has found to torture Morty. Which is very on brand, of course. But it’s still a little sad that this episode fails to go deeper.
Dispatches From the Multiverse
• Elon Musk guest stars as “Elon Tusk,” a version of Elon Musk who has “monster teeth” and, one might hope, better luck when it comes to shatter-proof window glass on his Cybertruck.
• We only get a glimpse of Netflix headquarters, but the animated version does very much resemble the actual LA office park where they’re located.
• Also, in the hallway outside the conference room where Morty is pitching, barely visible, is a poster for Weirder Stuff 3.
• The remixed version of the theme song, playing over the credits, totally slaps.
• I love you, Professor Poopybutthole. You are the best of us.