Rick and Morty S6E3: “Bethic Twinstinct” — As the Kids Say, You Do You

Space Beth and Wife Beth sit at the dinner table.

The following contains spoilers for Rick and Morty S6E3 “Bethic Twinstinct” 

Ah, Thanksgiving: or, as Rick says, “Life is a subscription and Thanksgiving is your family’s yearly charge.” I’m sure many of us have familial landmines to navigate on Turkey Day, but in Rick and Morty S6E3 “Bethic Twinstinct,” a family this dysfunctional is practically crossing the pre-2018 DMZ barefoot and blindfolded. 

Morty is the proud recipient of a Pooplickian GamePod XL courtesy of Space Beth, who is visiting for the holiday. True to form, Jerry immediately soils the mood with a toast heavily implying (and then confirming) that he is thankful for his wife and would kill himself if she ever left him or cheated on him. It’s classic Jerry to say or to do the worst possible thing at any given moment, and it’s classic everybody else to hate him for it.

Wife Beth and Space Beth start to bond over dishes. As they share identical back problems, they’re able to adjust each other perfectly. Late at night, Beth goes outside to an equally sleepless Space Beth. They very nearly share a kiss, but are interrupted by Summer getting a glass of water and accidentally kicking something in the living room. However, Summer knows what was about to happen. She responds to this by becoming more involved in the video games. It becomes a running bit in the episode for everyone except Jerry to realize what’s going on and cope with video games. I guess it could be not unlike children escaping domestic strife by retreating to a different room to escape into a game. Jerry, for his part, is blissfully ignorant of everything and disinterested in virtual media, opting instead for a ludicrously simple jigsaw puzzle. 

The Beths announce they’re taking a trip to the Gloppydrop system to get ice cream, but they instead use that as an excuse to hang out together away from the family. During this, they acknowledge that, despite not knowing who is the “original” Beth, they can talk to each other and say things they couldn’t say to anyone else. It was a fantastic plot point when Rick cloned his daughter and shielded himself from knowing who was the original and who was the clone, and I love that the show is sticking to that plot thread. The comfort the Beths feel when they interact is palpable. Given how narcissistic Beth can be, it’s not that surprising when they arrive at how attracted Beth is to herself, before they fall into bed together on Space Beth’s space station orbiting Earth. It’s worth noting that the age-old question of what class of sexual activity it falls under if you have sex with yourself is not answered. 

They continue in Space Beth’s ship once back home, which Morty overhears, and now we have both Morty and Summer focusing just a little too hard on the video game to distract from the fact that their mother is cheating on their father…with their mother. It’s so surreal seeing the Beths interact, and the strength of the writing shows in how organically the two (particularly Wife Beth) grapple with the concept of being the same person, but with enough divergence in experience for them to have a genuine heart-to-heart about their feelings. 

Rick, Summer, Morty, Jerry and Beth stand outside.

Beth goes to her father, and mentions that she and Space Beth had so much fun, they forgot the ice cream. Rick immediately picks up on what she’s saying, and offers some rare, genuine advice to his daughter. Commenting on his own infinite adventures, he says that he has also “forgotten the ice cream.” He cautions Beth that if she “forgets it” too much, she will find herself having to harbor “secrets and lies…lies pile up.” When Beth sarcastically asks Rick if he’s against secrets, he retorts “Oh, hell no! Secrets are great!” 

Things eventually come to a head, as the Beths grapple with their differences: Wife Beth is tied to her domestic duties, shackled to her marriage and unsure of how she’s supposed to deal with the fact that she…might be cheating(?) on Jerry with her clone. Space Beth is harder-edged, dismissive of Wife Beth’s concerns, and more interested in the passion she shares with…herself. Damn, this is confusing. When Rick, Morty and Summer confront the Beths with how obvious everything is (except to Jerry), Space Beth abruptly spills the beans on their tryst at the dinner table. Space Beth says she’s been having sex with Jerry’s wife…or maybe she’s Jerry’s wife and he’s been cheating on her with a clone. This proves to be too much for Jerry, who abruptly rolls up into a pill bug.

Rick reveals that this pill bug coping mechanism was Jerry’s wish for an “emotional coping mechanism” when the two got drunk together. Now I want to see the scene where Rick and Jerry get wasted and share their honest thoughts with each other. Anyway, this ends up driving a rift between the Beths, with Wife Beth asserting her love for Jerry and Space Beth pushing back against Wife Beth’s poor communication with who she feels is a worthless husband. As the Beths decide to Eternal Sunshine their memories of their love, Jerry finally unfurls and witheringly puts himself down and his “weird little dick” (which is pointed out that he is the only one to comment on his member).

Space Beth realizes that Jerry is only upset about all of this because he didn’t know about it, didn’t “give permission.” Suddenly, a change comes over Jerry. He gives them permission. What follows can only be described as the most uncomfortably, hilariously awkward threesome of all time. We don’t see any of Jerry announcing he’s allowing himself to be degraded with the Beths, asserting himself, the sliding of furniture—but we do hear it, in the dining room directly underneath the bedroom. A shell-shocked Morty and Summer and a thoroughly irritated Rick get to listen to the whole thing. This is probably the funniest bit in the episode; assigning mental images to what Jerry and the Beths are saying is a horrifying prospect, and the changes in expressions on Morty’s and Summer’s faces run the gamut of the trauma process. 

But in what might be the first time Jerry has come out on top(?), the threesome seems to have significantly improved his relationship with his wife and with Space Beth. It’s surprisingly nice to see Jerry in a better place at the end of “Bethic Twinstinct,” and not the butt of a joke. Maybe this will improve their marriage, or maybe Jerry is still such a loser that this only gives him enough confidence to carry him until the beginning of the next episode. I also suspect that a major emotional shake-up is impending for one or more of the family members. It can’t be long until we find out. 

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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