(Warning: Spoilers ahead for the May 24 episode of Rick and Morty.) The Sanchez-Smith family start off Sunday's new Rick and Morty episode, Childrick of Mort, all together as a family, as dad Jerry drags them off on a family outing. But this ain't the Brady Bunch's camping episode. Jerry's dream gets derailed when it turns out that Rick once had, uh, sexual congress with a sentient planet, and the planet now wants its alleged baby daddy to show up and represent.
Show co-creator Dan Harmon said in a video that someone on staff just suggested the idea of Rick getting romantic with a planet and the idea took off from there. But there's a deeper topic to the show.
"The (episode's) theme is actually parenting," director Kyounghee Lim said in the video.
And so it is, at least for two of the show's three plots. In one, Rick teams up with daughter Beth, who doesn't want to see her dad's supposed new children neglected the way she was. The two work together to direct the careers and futures of the race of apparent Ricks, with Beth and her dad relating in a way they seldom have in the past. There may be questions about who fathered the Rick-like creatures, but there's no doubt that Beth is her crazy yet capable father's daughter.
Meanwhile, Jerry's depressed because Morty and Summer have rejected his camping plans and don't want his (actually delicious-looking) s'mores. But when he finds himself stranded with a rejected bunch of the Rick-like kids, he discovers that some creatures will actually listen to and respect him -- just not his own offspring. Like Jerry himself, this plot was the dud of the episode.
And Morty and Summer, deprived of their spring-break plans for video game binging and druggie parties, manage to find a crashed spaceship that allows them to get their fill of both those activities. Or so they think. It's through absolutely no skill of their own that they end up saving the day when Rick is losing a fistfight with a Zeus-like god named Reggie.
It's fun to see the whole family back in action in Childrick of Morty, though I still thinkfrom last week is by far the best Rick and Morty offering of season 4. Summer, Beth and Jerry are fun, but the show's called Rick and Morty for a reason, and the two title characters don't get to interact much this time around.
Rick and Morty fans may not want next Sunday to come too quickly. The fourth-season finale airs May 31 on Cartoon Network's Adult Swim at 11:30 p.m. PT. It's titled Star Mort Rickturn of the Jerri, so may the Force be with us all as we face an unknown stretch of time with no new Rick and Morty.