Rick and Morty S6E2: “Rick: A Mort Well Lived” — 2 Blips 2 Chitz

Rick and Summer argue as aliens attack the arcade in the background.

The following contains spoilers for Rick and Morty S6E2 “Rick: A Mort Well Lived”

We were off to a great start with Rick and Morty last week, and S6E2 “Rick: A Mort Well Lived” absolutely continues that momentum with an episode that seems to point at a season that will be striking a more delicate balance between the elements that have divided some fans. It’s a fun, creative and thematically interesting episode. 

“Rick: A Mort Well Lived” opens with a shopowner berating a group of teenagers…and they all sound exactly like Morty, with generic shopowner and teenage dialogue. It turns out that the reason for that is during a session of the virtual reality game Roy: A Life Well Lived at the Dave & Buster’s-style Blips and Chitz, the arcade was taken over by terrorists, causing the game to split Morty into every single non-playable character in the game. Rick has jacked in as Roy, the player character, to rescue his grandson and the billions of splintered pieces of his psyche scattered across the game. 

Outside of the game, Summer is tasked with facing off against the terrorists, e.g. “Doing a Die Hard.” Part of the joke here is that Die Hard is such a established touchstone of action movies, every universe has their own Die Hard with the same plot. As Summer does her Die Hard, the terrorists, having seen Die Hard, think they know what to expect. But Summer, having not seen Die Hard, is improvising, which is even more Die Hard than the Die Hard the terrorists are expecting her to do. Shortly after, the terrorist leader surmises that Summer hates Die Hard, making her “The ultimate McClane.” 

“Rick: A Mort Well Lived” is a very fun episode, both in how it pokes fun at Die Hard as well as in how it frames Rick’s mission: the five billion Mortys in the game are treating Rick’s attempts to save them as a metaphor, and see Rick as forming a cult. Soon, the Mortys are styling their hair and dressing like Morty, singing Rick’s praise in song. Rick becomes progressively more exasperated as he tries to explain that, yes, while he is delivering a message, and yes, they all must ascend to higher plane for their salvation, he is not starting a cult. 

Summer and an alien tumble off of a ledge.

And yet, Rick basically is forming a cult, trying to gather as many Mortys as he can to fly them all out to the edge of the game map and reset the game, saving Morty–yet he is content to leave behind 8% of the Mortys, those that don’t trust Rick. Marta, who is Rick’s right-hand Morty in the game, comes to understand that the 8% of those Mortys are the part of real-world Morty that doesn’t trust Rick—who resents that Rick seems unable to express love and affection for his grandkid, and who is only doing this to continue to use Morty as cannon fodder for his misadventures.

Due to time dilation, minutes in the real world equates to months and years in the game, so as Summer does her Die Hard, Rick and Morty(s) are participating in a decades-long holy war between the Mortys that want to escape the game, and those that want to remain there, not trusting Rick and living their lives. Marta has broken her alliance with Rick, but the latter still waffles between trying his hardest to save Morty and resisting any semblance of actual affection for his grandson. 

Marta sends all of the Mortys back with Rick, on “one condition.” This condition is revealed a couple of minutes later, when all is said and done, a revived Morty cheerfully tells Rick that he trusts him implicitly. Summer picks up on this, but Rick brushes it off, saying that he got “every last piece” out of the game. He glances back at the machine, and in the next scene we hear that “some rich douche” paid for the game to keep running—allowing Marta to live out her life in the simulation. So did Rick do this out of charity to that slice of his grandson, or did he take the opportunity to stifle a part of Morty’s resistance to him? I’m inclined to think that it’s a bit of both, but probably much more the latter, as earlier in the episode Rick cryptically responds to a couple of Marta’s comments as “going to be real funny when we get out.”

Another thing I thought was really great in this episode is how a lot of the characters are framed in such a way that they could only come from a kid, such as a Morty military officer mentioning a non-specific “overseas war” or certain visual elements shown in such a way as to be drawn from the imagination of a 14-year old who isn’t exactly savvy with geography and news. Other good bits: Morty military officers invading the cult for them “Being religious the wrong way,” Rick spitefully calling out the expendability of 8% by stating “8% of the Snyder Cut was Batman dreaming,” and the absolute multitude of callbacks to Die Hard both obvious and sly (including a mid-credits sequence referencing the TV edit of McClane’s body sign in the third movie). 

Just two episodes in, this is already an extremely promising season of Rick and Morty. It will be interesting to see, given the apparent commitment to more continuity this time around, how much of the consequences of the events so far will affect the following episodes. With Morty much more subservient to Rick now that his cautious, distrustful side has been banished to the game, how is that going to affect their dynamic now? Will the show find new ways to foster suspicion in his grandfather, or will this push him further towards what Rick is? We’ll find out in the coming weeks. 

Written by Hawk Ripjaw

Hawk Ripjaw has been sharing his opinion on film and TV since his early teens, when the local public library gave away prizes for submissions to their newsletter. Since then, he's been writing for local newspapers, international video game sites, booze-themed movie websites, and anywhere else he can throw around some media passion. He watched the Mike Myers Cat in the Hat movie over 50 times in two years, for science.

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