rick and morty season 5 episode 9 finale review

Rick and Morty Season 5 Finale Review: ‘A strong conclusion to a weak season’

The Rick and Morty season 5 finale had the difficult task of wrapping up an otherwise unsatisfying run of episodes. With the pitch for the season’s final episodes — episode 9 and 10 aired back-to-back in a special double bill — being that it would show Rick’s life without Morty, the idea that the duo would once again be split up was a concerning one. However, ‘Forgetting Sarick Mortshall’ and ‘Rickmurai Jack’ form a strong conclusion to a weak season, setting up an interesting future for the Adult Swim series while also elaborating on its past.

Rick and Morty season 5 episode 9 review

rick and morty season 5 episode 9 10 finale review
Credit: Adult Swim

Episode 9 kicks off the finale with a hefty mistake from Morty, who mixes the portal gun fluid with some Mountain Dew and accidentally creates a portal in his hand. This error causes Rick to outline exactly how much he doesn’t need Morty, spinning a wheel that includes a rundown of things that would be better suited as a sidekick. After landing on ‘two crows,’ Rick sets off on a new adventure with his avian comrades, while Morty is left on his own to deal with his new portal hand.

Season 5 has routinely toyed with the idea of splitting up Rick and Morty, mostly to its detriment. Morty’s ill-fated romance with Planetina was jarringly melancholic and out-of-place, ‘Rickernal Friendshine of the Spotless Mort’ explored Rick’s relationship with Bird Person yet was bereft of humor, while the less said about Rick and Jerry’s “guy’s night,” the better. While the finale does once again split up its titular duo, it’s handled better this time around, highlighting both Rick’s incredibly commitment to making his grandson feel jealous, and Morty’s inability to take the lead without Rick.

Morty’s hand-portal leads him to Nick, another man who made a similar mistake and is now in a psychiatric hospital, with the pair joined by their portals. Meanwhile, Rick finds himself on a planet run by anthropomorphic crows, who help him to become more empathetic. Season 5 has routinely shown a softer side to Rick, though has largely felt unearned. However, Rick coming to terms with the abusive hold he has over Morty being the result of him enlisting the aid of trained killer crows is perfect. It also highlights how Morty, despite routinely seeming like he’d be better off without Rick in his life, is just as unable to let his partner go.

While Rick’s character development is handled more adeptly this time around, the real improvement here is in the quality of the jokes. Far too often in season 5, the writers have seemingly thrown everything at the wall and not given anything time to breathe. Zinger after zinger interjected with sci-fi jargon has made the season’s weaker episodes a headache to sit through, but that isn’t the case here. Nick and Morty’s “portal boys” adventure come to a head in a wonderfully violent fashion, while the anthropomorphic crows learning that Rick derisively regarded them as being an idiotic alternative to Morty, sees Rick figuratively eating crow and concluding his life-changing relationship with them. Bonus points should also be distributed for the post-credits scene featuring Garbage Goober, a seemingly throwaway monster given a hilariously tragic backstory.

Rick and Morty season 5 episode 10 review

rick and morty season 5 episode 9 10 finale review
Credit: Adult Swim

While episode 9 picks up the pace, episode 10 is what’s going to keep Rick and Morty fans until season 6 rolls around. The long-awaited return of Evil Morty is here, now the president of the Citadel and continuing his seemingly diabolical schemes. Dan Harmon has notably criticized serialization, saying that it has an “inevitable job of taking over your show and strangling it.” However, Rick and Morty has routinely dipped its toes into serialized episodes, with them being some of the best the series has had to offer. ‘Rickmurai Jack’ is no exception, as not only do we get to see what happened after Evil Morty took over the show, but we finally receive definitive confirmation of Rick’s backstory.

Yes, it’s finally revealed that Rick’s transformation into a nihilistic grandpa is the result of his wife and daughter Beth being murdered in his garage, with a Rick from another dimension turning up and killing them. Rick then went on a decades-long hunt for the perpetrator, killing hundreds if not thousands of Ricks along the way, until inevitably cutting a pact with the Citadel and settling down for a life with a different Beth. This also confirms the theories that the Beth featured in the show isn’t actually his Beth, which adds a whole new layer to their relationship — Rick never abandoned her, in fact, he spent most of his life seeking revenge on the person who murdered his version of her.

Evil Morty’s plans also come to a head with the total destruction of the Citadel, seemingly killing all alternate Ricks and only leaving some Mortys left alive. This sees the explanation of the Central Finite Curve, which separates all versions of Rick from each other in their own universe. As Evil Morty explains it, it’s an “infinite crib” that is holding an “infinite baby.” It’s a cataclysmic conclusion, bringing an end to the home of some of the series’ very best episodes, and seemingly doing away with the various Ricks that have punctuated the show. It’s a big move for Harmon and co., and considering the Citadel is the most interesting destination in the entire series, it remains to be seen how the show will progress without it.

Rick and Morty’s season 5 has been the weakest yet, though its finale might just be one of the strongest its writers have put out. Setting up for an intriguing future for the show, while it doesn’t quite make up for a lengthy run of tiresome episodes (and it especially doesn’t make up for the incest baby), it’s managed to hook me back in and leave me excited for season 6. Let’s just hope that the next season won’t take nine episodes to get to the good stuff.

Rating: 8.5/10

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