The following contains spoilers for Rick and Morty S6E6, “JuRicksic Mort.”
Well, I know last week I pointed to Rick Sanchez becoming a little more human as a character, and the lack of portal travel pushing them into different storytelling avenues. One week later, Rick and Morty S6E6 “JuRicksic Mort,” neither is applicable. And that’s a good thing, because it keeps the series unpredictable (and yet continuing a hot streak of quality) before a midseason hiatus–and could be a turning point for the season’s second half.
This episode reminds us of a time when dinosaurs ruled the world…just not in the way we might think. The arrival of uh…Arrival-looking ships, dinosaurs return to Earth. And they talk! At a UN council, the dinosaurs are surprised to see that there aren’t any left. They wonder if they left behind any evidence of their existence, as a Saudi leader sweats. They explain that for millions of years, they’ve colonized planets, elevated them to their highest level of harmonious existence, and moving onto the next one and leaving behind some of their brethren to maintain the paradise.
These benevolent beings politely re-assert control of Earth, putting it into a state of “permanent vacation” for the humans: crops grow in abundance, goods are free, and capitalism no longer exists. There is literally nothing to worry about. And people hate it. Or rather, mostly everyone: Rick and Jerry are totally content with doing nothing, and when the rest of the Smith family asks Jerry how he does it, he is finally inspired to print and publish his book “Never Trying Never Fails” (which the dinosaurs publish without crediting him).
Nobody seems to hate this new way of life more, however, than the President. He finally coerces Rick to help him get things back to the way they were by granting Rick’s biggest request: to host the Oscars. I’m not sure why that was so high on Rick’s list of things he wanted to do—perhaps just to wreak havok on a ceremony that tends to boil down to celebrities smelling their own farts—but the payoff wasn’t that satisfying (besides Rick stating “Every moment at the Oscars is scripted…even that one thing.”)
Rick’s pettiness is seemingly off the charts this week. When Morty not-so-subtly remarks on the lack of portal travel, Rick retorts that he’s got “a process” by which every time the portal gun is mentioned to him, he deliberately sets back progress just so Morty will learn to stop asking about it. When the dinosaurs present Rick with an advanced portal gun where you can actually see where you’re going, Rick spitefully crushes it.
On the other hand, Rick kind of has a point on the latter. These dinosaurs are maddeningly pompous, damning everyone they meet with faint praise, and even giving Rick a pamphlet about how great they are at saving civilizations. Rick concludes that “virtue signaling” this hard proves that the dinosaurs are hiding something. Rick and Morty travel to each of the locations outlined in the “improved” planets, only to find that the dinosaurs have gone extinct. Each planet’s civilization consists of idiotic aliens who have misconstructed fossils to suggest that the dinosaurs had heads for feet, or had bone skateboards. One common trend: they all allegedly did what they did in a huge crater.
So while the dinsoaurs mean no harm, every planet they save is chased by a great equalizer: a species of screaming, babbling meteors that follow the dinosaurs wherever they are, wiping out them and the paradise they created, for a significantly dumber civilization to grow. Previously unaware of this, the shocked dinosaurs relinquish Earth back to the humans to save the planet from destruction.
The dinosaurs aren’t going to fully go away without one final act of virtue signaling. They move to Mars, redirecting the meteor to kill them and save the Earth, and ignoring that they could go literally anywhere else and have the same effect, but they need the humans to know that it was them that saved them—until Rick shows up to join them, meaning their act is no longer selfless if it involves a human casualty.
The episode opened with a newscaster reporting on the rift resulting from last season’s finale. “Remember that rift? It’s probably important.” In return for Rick calling their bluff on the meteor, they “return the favor” by spitefully closing the rift before departing. I don’t think Rick has ever been as concerned with canon as he was by that act, since he can’t “milk that arc for an entire season” anymore.
With the dinosaurs gone, the Earth is once again on fire, capitalism throttles the working class, goods are expensive, crime is up, and everyone (except for Jerry) is content with the status quo. And Rick fixes the portal gun! First stop, a dimension where hats wear people! Second stop, Boob World! Rick yells dementedly at the camera that it’s Rick and Morty time! Now that Rick doesn’t have his canonical rift anymore, he appears to be leaning hard back into classic Rick and Morty adventures. Unfortunately, we don’t get to see what that’s going to look like until November 20th when the series returns from a hiatus. And we’ll see you again when it returns.