Rick and Morty season 4, episode 7 recap: Facehugging aliens have feelings too

As the episode Promortyus teaches us, in space, no one can hear you poop on the living room rug.

Gael Fashingbauer Cooper
CNET freelancer Gael Fashingbauer Cooper, a journalist and pop-culture junkie, is co-author of "Whatever Happened to Pudding Pops? The Lost Toys, Tastes and Trends of the '70s and '80s," as well as "The Totally Sweet '90s." If Marathon candy bars ever come back, she'll be first in line.
Gael Fashingbauer Cooper
4 min read

Rick and Morty find themselves in a truly Alien universe.

Video screenshot by Gael Fashingbauer Cooper/CNET

Rick and Morty delivered a much more straightforward story this week than last. While the May 3 episode of the Adult Swim animated comedy, Never Ricking Morty, got all meta and crazy and fourth-wall-breaking, Sunday's show, Promortyus, managed to keep the crazy within more traditional bounds. 

The story had a beginning, an ending, a somewhat traditional Rick-and-Morty adventure, an A+ Summer plot and even a weird but entertaining Jerry mini-plot that might return somewhere down the road.

Warning: Spoilers ahead for the Promortyus episode of Rick and Morty.

If you tune in even a minute late to this episode, you might think you somehow missed a huge chunk of plot, because the story starts in the middle, goes forward, then backtracks and shows what's really going on. It's that how-did-we-get-here twist of Memento or The Hangover or even, well, Citizen Kane. And the latter works -- Summer is Rosebud.

From the title, Promortyus, we know this is some kind of takeoff on the Alien film universe, and indeed, Rick and Morty begin the episode on a planet called Glorzo with the iconic Alien face-huggers already hanging off their heads. (We also maybe learn a little too much about Morty's love for Pornhub.)

Rick and Morty manage to escape, of course, but not without wrecking the universe they're leaving behind. But not in a personally tragic death way, more in a Star Wars no-tears death way, they point out, so there's no guilt as Morty shoots up everything in sight. 

They're even enjoying the violence and mayhem -- "It's like popping bubble wrap," Rick crows -- and just then, they see two towers meant to stand in for the World Trade Center towers. Gulp. Rick and Morty can't bring themselves to destroy the buildings -- but have no problem re-creating the attack on Pearl Harbor in the next second. Hey, 2001 is a lot more recent than 1941. And suddenly, Rick and Morty are back having pancakes with Beth and Jerry, and Beth is wondering why either of these iconic attacks were even options.

And here comes the mini-plot: Jerry's now a beekeeper! He's keeping bees! And producing his own honey! And that's about all we learn about that until the mid-credits scene, so don't give it a lot of thought, because has anyone noticed that Summer is missing?

Welp, put down the pancakes, boys, it's time to don some anime robot suits and find out where Summer's been this whole time. And it's a highly entertaining answer, so without a lot of spoilers, let's just say that Summer is definitely Rick's granddaughter, and that chewing on toothpicks isn't, apparently, as bad a habit as your mom might have claimed it was back in the day.

It turns out alien face-huggers can have thwarted romances of their own (which leads to a cringey but thankfully brief incesty plotline when Rick and Morty's face-huggers can't keep their lips off each other). And suddenly the story comes back around again, and Summer's got a Br'er Rabbit "don't throw me in the briar patch!" solution to save her brother and grandpa's lives. And now the boys are back watching some interdimensional cable -- or did something hitch a ride home with them?

I've got a feeling that those who didn't like last week's episode, Never Ricking Morty, because of its meta-plots and insidery-feeling jokes may like Promortyus a lot better.  I liked both, but Promortyus is probably going to be easier to rewatch -- it's just as fast-moving and funny as any Rick and Morty episode, but it pulls off a satisfying and self-contained adventure to boot. 

Rick and Morty mixed with the iconic Alien universe was almost certainly going to be a hit no matter what. Embellishing that world so that the Aliens not only have their own romances and feuds, but have an M&Ms store, made this episode as sweet as a bear-shaped jar of Jerry's own honey. Game over, man. Game over. I'll likely watch this one a few more times before the May 17 new show, The Vat of Acid Episode. With a vague title like that, no idea what it can possibly be about.

Watch this: Rick and Morty Comic-Con exclusive toy unboxing

Eight great quotes from the episode:

1) "Congratulations on making it into print media. Real bright future there." -- Rick upon seeing Morty made the cover of an alien news magazine.

2) "Ask the Saudis." -- Rick has some thoughts about the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks and he isn't afraid to state them.

3) "I'm sorry I didn't 9-11 Pearl Harbor before breakfast!" -- Jerry the newfound beekeeper wants to make honey, not war.

4) "Why do you think we never go back to a place we've already been? Do you know how many adventures we could get out of Purge Planet, Morty? Gear World? I don't sequel. It's called integrity." -- Rick has a problem with reruns, apparently.

5) "Can I get a laser whip?" "OK, but there's no way you don't chop your dick off." -- Morty has big weaponry dreams, but Rick knows his grandson only too well.

6) "You're in a cape, Summer, how bad can it be? No bad story ends in a cape!" -- Well, Rick kind of has a point here, to be honest.

7) "Everyone pretend podcasting isn't boring."  -- Rick, after it's revealed that Summer is hooked on a Serial-like alien-universe podcast.

8) "Did we at least learn something?" "That we suck, and everyone sucks?" -- Morty is looking for a moral, but Summer's not buying it. This isn't SuperFriends.

2020's best new TV and streaming shows

See all photos