by Ryan Fine
Warning: This review contains spoilers for this episode and previous episodes of Rick and Morty.
Now that we’ve passed the halfway point of this Rick and Morty season, there are a few things we know to be true. First, whoever has been writing these episode titles with charming yet god-awful Rick puns for the last two seasons is never going to stop. And second, this season is much less about the plot and a heck of a lot more about the characters.
The good news is that two and a half seasons into the show, we know the characters well enough that these episodes have the potential to be compelling. The bad news is that if you’ve been watching the show up to this point, you know that even the most character-driven episodes of the first two seasons had incredibly strong storylines to support them, and that hasn’t always held true this time around.
In this episode, the titular duo take a vacation to “the best day spa in the galaxy”, where they are talked into trying out a detox machine. The machine seems to blow up and leave them to die in a poison wasteland, but it turns out that it actually just separated the toxic parts of their personalities into new versions of Rick and Morty. The rest of the episode pits Healthy Rick and Morty (with newfound politeness and confidence) against Toxic Rick and Morty (essentially exaggerations of their original insecurities and god complexes).
With Morty’s new mastery of social interaction, he becomes the most popular kid in school and finally asks out Jessica, who has been the girl of his dreams since the very first episode of Rick and Morty. But Morty is now unable to shut up about himself to the point where it is legitimately annoying to watch, so Jessica gets bored and makes an excuse to bail on the date. This doesn’t get Morty down at all though; he quickly hops over to the bar and finds a new love interest to latch onto.
However, as Healthy Morty’s new relationship evolves and he simultaneously finds great success as a stockbroker, Healthy Rick’s compassion gets the better of him and he starts to worry about his toxic equivalent. His green, slimy equivalent goads him into freeing him from the machine, but accidentally traps Morty’s new girlfriend Stacy in their place. An unexpected interruption from Healthy Rick halts Toxic Rick’s plans to make the entire world toxic, and the two halves of Rick and Morty are permanently re-combined.
“Rest and Ricklaxation” can safely be classified as another decent enough episode of Rick and Morty. What stops it from reaching beyond that and into greatness territory is pretty much summarized in the cold open. In the first two minutes of the episode, Rick whisks Morty away from school for a quick adventure, but it turns into an unspecified six-day long disaster that leaves them so physically and emotionally wrecked that even Rick agrees they need to take a break.
So the question is, where is that episode? Somewhere in the ether of the Rick and Morty canon, there is a story that is far more gripping than this one ever could have been. The fact that the writers just winked at us and said “trust us, that episode would have been amazing” basically reads as a straight-up confession that they no longer actually have it in them to write a situation that could put Rick Sanchez on the verge of tears.
Although this episode is entertaining, like every other episode of Rick and Morty, it becomes a little bit tiring to see so many episodes in a row attempt to tackle the same angle of the show. The show has not dipped into dullness quite yet, but it’s starting to become more of a legitimate question whether it’s beginning to lose its momentum.
All images from Rickipedia
Rick and Morty Season 3, Episode 6: "Rest and Ricklaxation"
“Rest and Ricklaxation” follows pretty much the exact same trajectory as most episodes of the third ‘Rick and Morty’ season. Unfortunately, this one leans on clever one-liners and temporary character changes a bit too much to effectively distract from the storyline, which has a lot of potential as a concept but can become a little bit grating in practice.