The following recap contains spoilers for Rick and Morty S7E1, “How Poopy Got His Poop Back” (written by Nick Rutherford and directed by Lucas Gray).
Editor’s Note: This piece was written during the 2023 SAG-AFTRA strike. Without the labor of the actors currently on strike, the series being covered here wouldn’t exist.
The cold open of Rick and Morty S7E1 finds Mr. Poopybutthole crashing at the Smith household, and he’s not doing well. After getting shot by Beth several seasons ago, losing his wife Amy, breaking his legs and failing the bar exam, Mr. PB has crawled into the arms of the bottle and various other drugs. Beth is a lone holdout in allowing him to stay, but a drug deal in the living room prompts her to furiously get Morty to recruit Rick to get him out.
Rick’s idea to get Mr. Poopybutthole to leave is to create Robo-Ghost: assembling a robotic body, activating sentience, and uploading business—then terminating said upload and shooting the robot in the back of the head, causing it to have Unfinished Business and creating a spooky ghost. This doesn’t quite work, and Rick starts to go back to the drawing board, but Beth is having none of it, insisting that Rick do a proper intervention on Mr. Poopybutthole.
Rick refuses to talk to Mr. Poopybutthole without reinforcements, so he visits several friends to help him out: first is Gearhead, who is disinterested until Rick insists it’s not an intervention. Gearhead agrees, but only if they can take a drink for the road (with one for Rick). Next is Squanchy, who is only interested if they can take a drink with them (and make it three). After Squanchy is Birdperson, currently in very serious conflict with his rebellious teenage daughter and stressfully draining a glass of wine when Rick and the gang show up. Birdperson is game, and all they need is someone sober. They settle on next door neighbor Gene, who is absolutely not drinking because it’s a Thursday. Rick rips Gene from his riding mower, which continues moving forward seemingly with a mind of its own (this factors in later, in an extremely funny post-episode stinger).
Rick and his recruits bring Mr. Poopybutthole to F#%k You’s, a sports bar whose gimmick revolves around the servers insulting the customers. While Birdperson expresses concern at a F#%k You’s waiter’s particularly incendiary jab at Mr. Poopybutthole, the latter delightfully thanks his friends for this surprise celebration of his birthday, which apparently no one knew about. The waiter takes things one step further to slam Mr. PB’s face into a birthday cupcake, and Rick goes for broke to send the gang through a series of portals to strange worlds, growing increasingly intoxicated. I love when Rick and Morty just goes hog-wild with bizarre, vaguely distressing situations such as a universe in which everyone is a bottle of liquor and Rick and Co. pop in and crack open their heads to drink the contents of their bodies. It’s awful, and hilarious.
Arriving at a rave in which honey sprays from the sprinklers on insectoid partiers, I was almost certain we were going to get a Blade (1998) massacre homage, but instead, the gang meets Hugh Jackman. Rick assumes that Jackman would recognize them because they’ve both hosted the Oscars, but Jackman instead comes over because he married Gene’s cousin—another blow to Rick’s self-esteem.
Hugh Jackman peer pressures the gang into imbibing a mystery bag of pills before they venture to his house and everyone has red-tinted eyes and is severely tripping in their own way. Mr. Poopybutthole admits that the one thing he wants in the moment is to get his ex-wife back, and while most of the group rallies around his cause, Rick doesn’t think this is a good idea. Hugh Jackman calls Rick a “vampire,” feeding off of others’ energy—completely accurate—leading Rick and Mr. Poopybutthole to get into a yelling match in which Rick points out that his family wants Mr. PB gone, but he doesn’t because Mr. PB is his friend, to which Poopybutthole counters with the mic drop that a real friend would have known that it is not, in fact, Mr. Poopybutthole’s birthday and he’s seen through this intervention facade all along. They part ways, but Rick can’t stay away from his friend for long.
Mr. Poopybutthole revealed earlier that he hired a Predator (yes, that Predator) to keep tabs on his ex-wife. As the gang goes to Amy’s apartment to help him win her back, with Gene doing a Say Anything boombox pose and Hugh Jackman dancing, it turns out that Amy is now dating the Predator P.I. Mr. PB immediately loses his sh*t, kidnapping his child and sending the gang on the run with the Predator in hot pursuit. The remainder of the episode doesn’t quite hit a high, as the gang and the Predator grapple before Mr. Poopybutthole decides to take accountability for his failure as a husband and a father. It’s a mildly amusing sequence, but somewhat low-key given how energetic the rest of the episode is.
The preview episodes provided by Adult Swim ahead of the season premiere didn’t even include credits, leaving the identities of Roiland’s voice actor replacements shrouded in mystery. But if I’m being honest, if I didn’t know that these were replacements, I might not have even noticed. Now that we know that Ian Cardoni (Rick), Harry Belden (Morty) and Jon Allen (Mr. Poopybutthole) have taken the reins, it’s clear that these characters are in safe hands. “How Poopy Got His Poop Back” is a very fun time, and I look forward to the coming weeks to see what mayhem the titular duo gets wrapped up in.