Rick and Morty mid-season finale recap: Rattlestar Ricklactica

Rick and Morty Season 4, Rick appreciating the little things in season 4 of Rick and Morty. New season premieres in November.
Rick and Morty Season 4, Rick appreciating the little things in season 4 of Rick and Morty. New season premieres in November. /

Rick and Morty accidentally alter the course of a snake planet’s cultural evolution and face galactic consequences.

Rick and Morty want to go on an adventure, but Morty has to watch Jerry hang the Christmas lights and make sure he doesn’t die. Because, let’s be honest, it’s Jerry and he’s dumb like that. Jerry doesn’t want Rick’s help, but Rick zaps him with a ray that makes his body lighter than air, then a zaps his shoes with a ray that makes them heavier than air, making him neutrally buoyant. Now Jerry gets to bounce around like an astronaut on the moon, but the effects will only last for 10 hours.

Rick and Morty set out on their adventure and almost immediately get a flat tire…in space, somehow. Rick tells Morty to stay in the car while he gets out to change it, but Morty wants to hang out in space so he puts on a suit and joins him. Rick warns him to get back in the car, making a bizarre analogy between space and Saturday Night Live: “You see it every day so you dream of being in it, but it dreams of removing all the air from your body and making you float around it for eternity as a flash-mummified corpse. Which is also what space wants.”

Despite Morty’s insistence that there’s no danger, a space snake sneaks up on him and bites him in the leg. When Morty is surprised that there are snakes in space, Rick repeats his warning, “There’s literally everything in space, Morty! Now get back in the car!”

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Rick finds the snake planet and analyzes their culture to create an antivenom to the snake bite that’s killing Morty. The snake’s history and culture mirror Earth pretty much exactly, with them hovering on the brink of annihilation over racism. Morty wants to do something to help, feeling like he’d be the reason an entire planet lost hope after losing its first interstellar explorer. But Rick has a point, only the snakes are responsible for their planetary situation, and if their instinct is to bite its first contact on the ankle, then maybe they don’t deserve to survive as a species.

Morty can’t let it go, though. He goes to a pet store, buys a snake that looks similar to the one that died biting him, and he steals Rick’s keys to take the new snake (named Slippy) to the snake planet. This sets off a chain of events that leads to the snakes inventing time travel and sending Snake Terminators back in time to kill Morty. Rick and Morty have to go back to the snake planet and fix the timeline while Beth and Summer hold off the Snake Terminators at home.

But when they get to the snake planet, they haven’t even finished building the time machine yet, so Rick has to remind himself to commit even more to Morty’s mistake and send their future selves back in time to give them snake costumes, time travel watches, and a time travel instruction manual. Rick and Morty then go back in time to Snake MIT in 1985 and give them the secret to time travel so they can get start being even stupider with it even earlier. He’s basically going to let them destroy themselves.

After the time-traveling snakes do a bunch of unimaginative dumb time travel stuff, like saving Snake Lincoln and killing Snake Hitler, the 4th Dimensional Time Cops step in and go back in time to stop the snakes from evolving in the first place, thus causing all the terminator snakes on Earth to disappear.

Meanwhile, Jerry manages to lose a shoe and begins hopelessly floating into the air as his 10-hour timer slowly counts down. When no one has seen him in a while, his family realizes he must have somehow messed up wearing shoes and he’s in danger of falling to his death. Jerry is too proud to admit he’s in trouble and insists he doesn’t need help. Through a series of coincidences and freak accidents, he’s able to make it back to the ground before his timer expires and pretends that he had been there fighting snakes with his family the whole time.

Future Rick and Morty give Present Day Rick and Morty all the time travel stuff to give to their past selves and they’re both real jerks about it. Not that any of the time travel stuff made any sense, but this handoff also doesn’t make any sense. I can’t quite get around why Present Day Rick and Morty aren’t the ones who go out and collect the time travel stuff to give to their past selves and why they are given the items by yet another set of Rick and Morty’s from the future. Where did THEY get the stuff and WHEN? Since Future Morty has a black eye when Present Rick and Morty are given the items, that means that Rick and Morty collect the items to give to themselves AFTER they go back in time to give the items to their past selves.

Dan Harmon and Justin Roiland claimed they’d never do a time travel episode, and I guess this doesn’t really count since it was really the snakes that did most of the time-traveling as a byproduct of the Terminator parody. The point is, they are clearly not interested in maintaining the dynamics and plotting of a time travel episode – which usually doesn’t make any sense anyway regardless of best intentions.

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After everything, my favorite part of this episode had to be that the written language of snakes was always just a series of esses and that snake jazz was just a beatboxed hi-hat on repeat. There was also a Snake Back to the Future poster on the wall at Snake MIT, which was pretty funny. They’re such dumb jokes, but so delightful.

Notable callbacks in this mid-season finale are the return of Keegan Michael Key as the Time Cop Shleemypants and that Rick falls asleep watching the How They Do It: Plumbus episode from Interdimensional Cable.