Rick and Morty
All Morty wanted was something pure. But like most things Morty wants on Rick and Morty, by the end of the episode everything pure about it has been stripped away.
In this case, “Claw and Hoarder: Special Ricktim’s Morty” begins with Morty having made a simple deal with Rick: If he cuts school and helps with one of Rick’s adventures, then Rick will get him a dragon. It’s definitely a deal that Rick doesn’t plan to fulfill, due to his belief that dragons are lame (in his words, they’re for “nerds that refuse to admit they’re Christian”). But when Beth calls him out for making her son a promise, Rick summons a wizard and sets up the deal, in which Morty and his new dragon friend, Balthromaw, become soul-bonded.
For Morty, this means the opportunity to soar through the sky on the back of his new best friend. However, Balthromaw isn’t quite as enthusiastic about the situation. (Morty claims that he wants them to function as equals, which is easier said than done, given that Balthromaw is technically beholden to him due to the magic spell bonding them.) Balthromaw does end up forming a connection with Rick, though, as the two of them bond over the obscure items that Balthromaw likes to hoard, including a signed Future record, Small Soldiers spin pops, and a vintage 1989 Ecto Cooler juice box. (If Ecto Cooler ends up getting the super-obsessed Schezwan Sauce treatment as a result of this episode, then God help us all.) The two get high off volcanic fumes and go on an epic bender that includes some extensive time partying at the local zoo, but when Morty finds out that Rick and Balthromaw have formed their own soul bond, he gets annoyed and tears up his dragon contract, thus resummoning the wizard who made the original deal.
The wizard, after beating up Balthromaw for being “slutty” (totally lost count of how many times the word slut was used), takes the dragon back to his magical realm for punishment: death by hanging, though it’s a death that’ll take 78 years. Rick then decides to follow them into said realm, where none of his technology works, but the lesson of the day is that “bros rescue dragons” and Rick’s determined to see it through.
Rick’s normal gadgets and gizmos don’t work in this magical world, but he manages to hack together a power pack that blasts magic. Summer even gets to join the fun, with Rick giving her “sexy arrow shooty lady” powers, and the three of them manage to free Balthromaw, though the only real freedom comes as the other dragons aim to break the soul bonds with a “soul orgy” that gets way more sexual than Morty’s comfortable with (especially given the involvement of his grandfather and sister; “Maybe we don’t tell your parents about this,” Rick says at one point). Morty says good-bye to Balthromaw, going inside to try to shower the unclean feelings away — his initial happiness over getting a dragon friend now totally ruined — and Balthromaw is left to his own devices.
Meanwhile, while all this is happening, Jerry ends up on his own little side adventure, thanks to a talking cat who suddenly appears in his bedroom. Why can the Talking Cat talk? (And why does it sound like Matthew Broderick?) No answers are provided — instead, the Talking Cat urges Jerry to take him to Florida, a place where no one will ask questions about why a cat can talk. Jerry agrees, wanting to prove that he’s “down to clown,” but when the Cat betrays him over a pooping-in-the-sand-related incident, Jerry’s left on his own while the Cat continues to party; the party ends, though, when the Cat starts asking too many questions himself. (This story line is literally acknowledged from the beginning as feeling a bit superfluous, especially given that the main plot involves a talking dragon.)
When Rick picks up Jerry and the Cat at the airport, they bring the Cat out to the desert to scan its mind and figure out why, exactly, it can talk. The answer proves to be so horrifying that Rick wipes Jerry’s mind to spare him the memory, and the two of them chase the sobbing Cat away. (Poor Cat.) In the post-credits stinger, however, the Cat and Balthromaw become acquainted, with a trip to Florida for the two of them on the horizon. It’s another episode that features no shortage of fun moments but fails to really find cohesion — though with the finale coming next week, there’s always a chance that some of the more random elements introduced here might pay off as the season crosses the finish line.
Dispatches From the Multiverse
• The premise of Ass, which is like “Bones, but they solve ass crime,” feels suspiciously like something that could get green-lit by Fox tomorrow. (Though they’d probably wait a little longer to resolve the will-they-won’t-they romance at the core of the show.)
• We never get a name for the Talking Cat, but I kind of hope he shows up again. After all, whatever chaos might result, at least it’ll come with the dulcet tones of Matthew Broderick.
• Speaking of the voice-acting, Liam Cunningham (a.k.a. Davos Seaworth, the Onion Knight, from Game of Thrones) is pretty marvelous as Balthromaw. The voice cast in general this season has been pretty extraordinary.
• Between all the extremely graphic stuff being described by the dragons and the show’s general level of profanity, this might be the most bleep-heavy episode of the season. Not a complaint! But (and this is a bit of a complaint) apparently Adult Swim has no problem with the word slut, arguably to excess.