by Jeremy Rogers
Warning: This review contains spoilers for this episode and previous episodes of Rick and Morty.
This episode took a lot of people by surprise. Last week’s teaser gave the impression that this week’s episode would be, like the title implies, about Rick and Morty visiting an underwater city. Instead of following Rick and Morty as they explore the depths, the audience follows a few stories taking place on the Citadel as the society of Ricks rebuilds.
The worldbuilding on display in this episode is spectacular. The Citadel is painted as a society incredibly close to that of modern America. The Citadel, though neither cast as utopia nor dystopia, has the instantly recognizable features of racism (placing the Mortys in a “racial” underclass), and classism with working class Ricks toiling away while the wealthy Ricks live like kings.
The episode follows four different narratives all happening at different places in the Citadel: a group of Rick-less Morty students trying to find a purpose, an assembly line worker Rick who kills his co-workers in a class-fueled rage, a doe-eyed Rick cop paired with a corrupt Morty cop who hates all other Mortys, and the campaign manager for the Morty Party’s candidate for Citadel president.
The group of Mortys get together to try to find a magic portal that grants wishes. However, after throwing in their most valued possessions and one Morty melodramatically throwing himself in, they find out that the portal was used for the Citadel’s trash disposal. This does not dampen the remaining Mortys’ spirits, as they truly come to believe that their wishes came true in the end despite them doing nothing to affect any change.
The Working Class Rick is passed over for a promotion, so he murders his supervisor and takes a key employee hostage. He talks to the Rick SWAT team about how Ricks are told they are special but are stripped of what makes them unique. However, this Rick’s rebellion ends up with him being another cog in the machine he wanted to tear down, his delusion of breaking the system being the very thing keeping the system alive. The classist subtexts here are really interesting, especially when intertwined with the racial subtexts in the cop plotline.
Speaking of, Cop Rick is sympathetic to the plight of the Morty underclass, but his grizzled, old Morty Cop partner hates his own kind. As they go, Cop Morty breaks rules to harass Mortys breaking the law while Cop Rick protests. In the end Cop Rick has to kill Cop Morty and his own innocence in the process. The commentaries on racial and economic disparity really shine here. As do the scenes depicting a corrupt justice system.
The main story of the episode follows the beleaguered campaign manager of the Morty candidate. He has little faith in his candidate, because it seems no one takes Mortys seriously on the Citadel, since the Ricks are in power. The candidate gives a rousing speech that all but seals his chances of winning, and afterwards he fires his campaign manager. While drinking in a bar, the Dejected Morty is given an envelope by a trench coat-wearing Rick. Dejected Morty then finds Presidential Morty on the campaign trail and takes matters into his own hands.
This does not go over well with the government. This traitorous Morty is killed before he can warn everyone about the new president: Evil Morty. This twist was not particularly exciting, but it does give the overarching narrative of the season a much-needed shot in the arm.
This episode does not offer much in the way of inventive animation, heart pounding action, or even fantastical sci-fi concepts. Instead it delivers on a very relatable, real world that feels surprisingly familiar.
Another great facet of the episode is the performance given by Justin Roiland who voices all but one character in the episode. Each character is given their own unique feel, making each one feel like a distinct resident of the Citadel.
For all of the bizarre spectacle in Rick and Morty, “The Ricklantis Mixup” might just be one of the truest pieces of classic science fiction in the show’s canon. It doesn’t wow its audience by showing how different and strange its world is, but instead shows different ways of looking at our own world.
All images from Rickipedia and “The Ricklantis Mixup”
Rick and Morty Season 3, Episode 7: "The Ricklantis Mixup"
“The Ricklantis Mixup” harkens back to classic sci-fi by showing perverted versions of our own world reflected through the world of Rick and Morty. The commentary that this show offers, while nothing groundbreaking for the series, is still relevant and welcome.