Rick and Morty S6E7: “Full Meta Jackrick” — Pedal to the Meta

Rick and Morty hold hands in a chamber.

The following contains spoilers for Rick and Morty S6E7 “Full Meta Jackrick”

Rick and Morty is little if not meta. The show often dives headfirst into meta gags, withering takedowns of story structure, and fourth-wall breaking. “Full Meta Jackrick” says “Hold my beer.” This is going to be a divisive episode, “Never Ricking Morty” style. But those that loved that episode will probably feel similarly to this one, as it is a deliriously dense deconstruction of storytelling tropes that gradually spirals into chaos. And it is a blast. 

The episode comes screaming out of the gate with a “previously on” recap featuring mostly nothing that has actually happened so far in the season, as Rick grows increasingly more suspicious at each one. Rick manages to break the “Previously on” spiral by getting Morty to agree to marry him, and transports them to a chamber in which the parasitic Previous Leon resides. Rick has realized that they’re in a “previously on” spiral, and this chamber acts as a “narrative decelerant” so that he can confront Leon and break them out of the cycle. 

Latching onto Leon, Rick and Morty are dragged through the show’s opening title sequence, as a screaming Morty tries desperately to come to terms with what is happening in the unconnected vignettes of the sequence. It’s a nice touch that Rick and Morty tussling with Previous Leon are independent of the Rick and Morty going through the regular title sequence. Once they escape, Morty, vomiting repeatedly, wonders why there were opening titles and what that means for them. 

Now, Rick has broken the fourth wall multiple times throughout the show, and “Full Meta JackRick” seems to confirm that Rick is aware that he lives in a television show. Morty coming to this realization will probably have very little bearing on later episodes, but it wouldn’t be a season of Rick and Morty without the kid going through another existential crisis. 

Rick and Morty meet Tony Hawk

Previous Leon escapes, not through a portal, but through “a meta layer in the fourth wall,” prompting Rick to drag his grandson in after him. Cornered by the pair, Previous Leon prays to Jesus, who shows up for them to “meet the Lord.” That turns out to be Story Lord, returning from “Never Ricking Morty.” Interestingly, Rick has no idea who this is, but after a moment, Morty recognizes him. It turns out that Story Lord plans to take the remote Rick used to transcend the fourth wall and get what every character wants…motivation. 

Having been betrayed by Story Lord, Jesus still has every intention of beating the tar out of Rick and Morty, but they’re saved by Previous Leon, who latches onto Jesus and sends him into a deliriously absurd “previously on” spiral where, after the resurrection, Jesus realizes he cannot die and goes on to fight a Loch Ness Monster, kill Dracula, and become an entrepeneur, failing to save his wife Frankenstein-style, and asking a sorcerer to take his curse. It’s wild stuff. 

The next round in this feast of meta roasting is the Self-Referential Six, each introduced with Suicide Squad-esque title cards: Miss Lead, Flash Back, Connie TinuityError, Protago Nick, and Mr. Twist. There’s an extended sequence in which each of these insufferable individuals use their abilities to battle Rick, such as Flash Back going back in time to observe Rick explaining how his anti-meta device used to counter Miss Lead works. Each of these situations are garish examples of the narrative tropes each of the Six represents. 

Rick’s endgame here is to enlist the help of the imprisoned Brett Caan, who can retcon continuity. Morty rightfully points out that Rhett is a name and Brett could have been called Rhett Caan and it would have made more sense. Rick releases Brett, who effortlessly lays waste to the Six by changing their continuity to have no bones, be killed by coffee, and so on. But he goes one step further to declare that there has never been anything beyond the fortress, and the fortress has always been a giant orange. 

Rick and Morty are pretty screwed now, and I’m not actually sure how they got from a giant orange to a frozen wasteland. But it is very noticeable that Rick takes off his lab coat to wrap around a freezing Morty. There have frequently been moments in which Rick shows genuine care for his grandson, and it’s always nice to see. 

There’s also the moment where Rick, after bludgeoning Leon, tells Morty, “His life doesn’t matter.” Then, looking directly into the camera, adds “Yours does.” It’s not something that is lingered on, and I honestly didn’t pick up on it until it was pointed out to me, but it’s an interesting little bit. It’s probably just something the writers threw in for Reddit thread fodder, but if Rick and Morty Reddit theory and observation threads could mine crypto, someone would be unfathomably wealthy. 

Rick, Morty, and Joseph Campbell confront Previous Leon in a library.

The pair get rescued by prolific writer Joseph Campbell, just in time to stop Story Lord using his own creator to siphon the motivation from the universe, giving him immeasurable power. He is impervious to Rick during their battle, until Morty, channeling the long-dead Campbell, convinces the writer to stop fueling the motivation machine, leaving Story Lord vulnerable. It all ends with Story Lord’s creator smothering him with a Rick plush doll, which are available on a website that unfortunately will inform you that these plushes are unavailable in this reality. 

“Full Meta Jackrick” is certainly a very funny episode, but I’m hoping that the back half of the season has a bit more in the tank than a barrage of meta references. I love some meta humor, but the show is capable of far more than riffing on storytelling structure, something that Dan Harmon and company have made abundantly clear across several shows that they’re good at doing. It’s been a very strong season so far, and this week was an absolute blast, but I’m hoping that they’re not resting on their laurels for whatever larger story, whether genuine or dunking on fans, remains in the final batch of episodes.

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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