The following recap contains spoilers for Rick and Morty S7E9 “Mort: Ragnarick” (written by Jeremy Gilfor and Scott Marder and directed by Kyounghee Lim).
After a couple of episodes that didn’t really rank in the upper echelons of Rick and Morty, S7E9 “Mort: Ragnarick” is a refreshingly fun and entertaining episode. We open on Jerry visiting his grandmother in what appears to be heaven. After asking where his grandfather is, Jerry is informed that “this is getting annoying.” We learn that Rick has been repeatedly “killing” Jerry in an experiment to discover an afterlife. Not because he wants to “get into” heaven—he wants to tap the limitless energy potential that a hypothetical afterlife may offer. And because Rick himself is too “atheistic” to locate any afterlife worth robbing of its energy, he’s created a paradox. Unless…
Rick and Morty set off for snowy Norway, where Rick plans to get killed and awaken in the afterlife of Valhalla. He’s captured Bigfoot in a Poke Ball and has erected a facility with an enclosure in which he plans for Bigfoot for kill him and send him to Valhalla. Once Rick has had the chance to gather the energy and set up a relay, Morty will resurrect him via a clone in a suspension tube in the facility.
Rick has bullied Bigfoot incessantly since capturing him, mostly because Rick is amused at what he perceives to be Bigfoot’s substandard intelligence–very on brand for Rick, and is why Bigfoot almost immediately beats Rick to death. Rick wakes up in Valhalla (naked, of course), only to be trampled by two clashing armies. He reawakens once again in a pub in Valhalla, where he is warmly welcomed by the Vikings. They take Rick to the armorer, and Rick, surprised to see how advanced the technology already is here, knocks him out.
Back in Norway, Morty watches as Bigfoot mourns Rick’s death, cradling his severed head and beginning to dig a grave for him in the pen as he prays. Morty asks if Rick messes with Bigfoot a lot, to which Bigfoot responds with an affirming nod. Seeing that Bigfoot has religion and noting a kindred spirit, Morty opens the enclosure. Unfortunately, it was all a ruse, and Bigfoot grabs and kills Morty, exits the enclosure, and starts attacking the tube in which the naked Rick clone is stored.
Morty wakes up in Valhalla, and, just like Rick, is killed by rampaging armies before waking up in the pub. Morty asks about Rick, and the Vikings take him to the armorer, only to find him tied up and the armory cleaned out by Rick. Dubbing Rick a witch, the Vikings approach Rick’s new digs, where he has been working on developing the relay to return home. Responding to their accusations, Rick declares that he is Odin, and this has all been a test for them. Their suspicions are renewed when Morty is confirmed to know “the witch,” and Rick kills them (it’s okay, they’ll respawn at the pub). Rick chastises Morty for getting duped by Bigfoot: “Any big idiot can pretend to believe in the afterlife!” Now that Rick’s ticket out of Valhalla is stuck with him there, they have to move quickly to complete the relay.
Bigfoot finally breaches the hull of Clone Rick’s tube, from which a naked, babbling Clone Rick scurries away. Bigfoot pursues Clone Rick into the nearby town, where they are both captured, but not by any government agency: these suited, sunglasses-wearing guys work for The Man Upstairs—The Pope. Speaking with a ridiculously exaggerated Italian accent, The Pope reasons that they cannot kill or command a man to kill, but because Bigfoot is “outside God’s domain,” he can kill at The Pope’s command. Offering Clone Rick as a reward, The Pope sends Bigfoot after Satanists, the Gajungas Secular Nudie Magazine offices, and a Non-Denominational Candle Factory.
In Valhalla, the Vikings once again storm Rick’s stronghold and are mowed down by Morty. Morty expresses concern at the increasing forces, but Rick holds to his plan to complete the relay of infinite energy so that they continue to get second chances. Morty challenges Rick as to why he’d rather “stay dead until you win, than live as a loser.” Rick’s thirst for infinite energy, and his infinite desire to be the very best, is a reminder that as much as he’s grown so far in the show, he still has some extremely crippling character flaws. Moreover, he responds by angrily putting down Morty over his failure to execute the original plan, and Morty meekly retreats.
Set to a thumping metal riff, the Vikings continue to storm the stronghold, get killed by increasingly creative weaponry, and respawn, just to do it all over again as Rick works on the relay until it is complete. Rick bombs the pub repeatedly, creating an ever-deepening crater from which the Vikings cannot crawl out of, ensuring their passage back to Valhalla should they die in the real world given that the Vikings cannot destroy the relay, and will not—still under the impression that Rick is Odin.
The Pope eventually gives Bigfoot a wrist-mounted device to allow him to text-to-speech, and finally offers him Rick. The pair have barely arrived back in the world of the living before Bigfoot is smashing through the house with intent to kill Rick. Morty implores Rick to just apologize to Bigfoot for bullying him for being dumb. Rick stops short of an actual apology, though manages to appeal to Bigfoot by pointing out that he only used Bigfoot to kill himself, while The Pope used him to kill many. Rick promises to make it right with Bigfoot if he can help them stop The Pope. I appreciated that Rick owned up to his actions against Bigfoot, but it would have made his newfound alliance with the beast more meaningful had he actually had a heart-to-heart and reconciliation rather than just point out that The Pope was technically worse, but I guess at this point we have to remember that it’s all baby steps when it comes to Rick being introspective.
The first siege on the Vatican doesn’t go well. The Pope uses the infinite energy relay to levitate and immediately disintegrate Rick, Morty, and Bigfoot. They reawaken, with Bigfoot now in the body of a handsome man. What follows is a montage of Rick, Morty, and Handsome Bigfoot repeatedly confronting The Pope, getting killed in increasingly creative and violent ways, and respawning just to do it all over again.
Returning to Valhalla once again, Rick is forced to apologize to the Vikings for his ruse, admitting that he is not Odin, and thinking he could push them around because he thought they were dumb. Rick has spent the entire series assuming that he’s the smartest being in existence (hell, he created the Central Finite Curve just to contain that reality), so it was both surprising and refreshing to see him actually admit to the contrary here, especially given his resistance to doing so in this very episode. He instructs the Vikings to unplug the relay and delivers a very offensive put-down of their mothers, causing them to pursue them to the relay, and when they return to the Vatican, The Pope is rendered powerless by the deactivated relay. This allows Rick to capture The Pope in a Poke Ball. A Pope-y Ball, if you will.
The episode ends with a tearful Rick and Morty doing a Harry and the Hendersons on Handsome Bigfoot, throwing debris at him and yelling for him to leave, as a confused and hurt Handsome Bigfoot states that he just wanted to live amongst society and get a job. Rick and Morty continue to berate and throw empty cans at the poor man, until he relents and retreats into the forest before a cut to credits.
This episode was a ton of fun. I loved Valhalla, the repetition of Rick’s battle cry as they kept storming the Vatican, the whole bit with The Pope (including his name literally being “The Pope”)—just a great time all around. This is the penultimate episode of the season, and overall this has been an extremely strong one. I’m looking forward to the big finish.