Rick and Morty season 5 episode 3, ‘A Rickconvenient Mort,’ provides an oddly heartfelt story that runs in contrast to last week’s episode. Episode 2 concluded with viewers not entirely sure which Rick and Morty they were even watching any more after they witnessed hundreds of “duplicate families” slaughtered in a Smith family civil war. Now, we’re given a whole episode in which Morty’s disassociation from his family (and society in general) are put at the forefront after he falls in love with Planetenia, the only being he feels truly accepts him. While this was a surprising step away from the show’s typically nihilistic approach, its repetitive side-story and dragged-out central plot brought down what could have been a memorably unique episode.
‘A Rickconvenient Truth’ review
Planetina is an obvious riff on Captain Planet, the eco-friendly and incredibly ’90s superhero that has been already been parodied extensively over the years. It’s an odd target for Rick and Morty, though given the show’s popularization of McDonald’s Mulan-themed Szechuan sauce, it’s not out of character for creator Dan Harmon to riff on something that’s a little outdated. However, it’s surprising that A Rickconvenient Mort would so heavily focus on parodying Captain Planet given the lack of solid jokes it has to make at the old show’s expense, and how little time it spends on the most interesting aspect of its spin on the character.
In the episode, Morty swoons over Planetina, who saves him and Rick from the acid-spewing Diesel Weasel (a great name that I can’t believe wasn’t already been swooped up by a ’90s cartoon). From there, Morty and Planetina form an unlikely relationship, which is scuppered on account of her needing to be beamed into existence by her four “kids.” This also replicates Captain Planet’s concept, though in this case, the kids have grown up and are now money-hungry adults using Planetina for merchandise and profit.
But that’s not the only thing standing in Morty and Planetina’s way. Beth is also critical of their relationship given the perceived age gap, though Morty explains that as Planetina is a celestial being, this isn’t applicable. Still, Beth’s opposition to their relationship eventually comes to a head when Morty wants Planetina to move in with them, with her refusing and sending the lovebirds off out on their own adventure. Eventually, this results in Morty watching as Planetina becomes a little too invested saving the planet, resulting in her going Super Saiyan and murdering 300 miners. Morty breaks up with her, she delivers an uncharacteristic “f*** you,” and we’re left with the likelihood that Rick and Morty has introduced another returning character.
It’s this final stretch of the episode that is its most interesting and, while it’s always good to let the title characters have their own adventures once in a while, is where Rick would have served as the perfect counterpoint to Planetina’s earth-focused approach. As we all know, Rick isn’t exactly too emotionally tied to Earth, recognizing it as but one among billions of planets within billions of dimensions.
Rick and Morty season 5, episode 3 ending explained
Letting Morty away from Rick allowed his relationship with Planetina to grow (relatively) undisturbed, but it also saw the episode abruptly shift gears into Morty seeing a downside in Planetina’s unrelentingly eco-friendly approach, and felt like a very long setup for a very short payoff. The final shot of a tearful Morty being consoled by Beth also felt weirdly sincere by the show’s standards, which has repeatedly illustrated to us that we shouldn’t be emotionally attached to any of its characters.
Rick and Morty has always subverted expectations, but either for a comedic payoff or to shine a light on the machinations of its disturbed characters and how they function. ‘A Rickconvenient Mort’ felt at odds with itself in that regard. On one hand, we get a brutally hilarious scene in which Morty takes down all four “kids,” using their rings to dismember them or burn them alive. Much like season 5’s ‘Mort Dinner Rick Andre’ in which Morty repeatedly went back through the portal to take more wine and kill more aliens, this is emblematic of a Rick-like shift in the character in which he’s no longer particularly scared of the dangers that befall him, as he is now the danger. But then, as the episode concludes with a lovelorn Morty, we’re reminded that he’s still just a kid who needs to be comforted by his mom when he breaks up with a girl.
This theme of lost love carries over into Rick and Summer’s side-story, where the duo go on something of an interplanetary sex tour where they land on planets on the brink of apocalypse, join them in their last-minute celebratory orgies, and then leave. While both agree to not get tied into a commitment, Rick goes ahead and falls for an alien (mostly on account of her having breasts on her elbows), much to Summer’s dismay. There’s the obvious throughline here of Rick secretly wanting to be loved and not being too happy with his lonely lot in life, but in a sentence I didn’t think I’d be writing today, a whole episode of gross-out alien sex gets repetitive after a while.
It feels like this episode ended where it should have started, with Morty seeing the flaws in Planetina’s plan and then going from there. Rick and Morty specializes in characters that are technically right but go about their business in all the wrong ways, and by the episode’s end, Planetina fits that bill perfectly. However, therein lies the problem — her realization that the planet was built to keep killing itself was the most interesting aspect of the episode, but that happens at its very end. Perhaps Planetina will return in a future episode and we’ll get more substance out of this concept, but as it stands, this episode is the first dud in a thus-far stellar season 5.