Ep #: 1
Air date: Dec. 2, 2013
Synopsis: Rick drags Morty out of school on an intergalactic adventure to gather Mega-Seeds.
Rick and Morty doesn’t make scruples about itself the minute the show begins. “Pilot” opens up with a drunkard Rick stumbling into Morty’s room and dragging the fourteen-year-old boy out of bed. Rick boards the two into his makeshift spaceship and bluntly informs Morty his plan to drop a bomb on Earth and start anew. To ease Morty into this, he’ll kidnap his school crush, Jessica, to enact an Adam and Eve situation. Morty is not pleased with this revelation and his protest eventually wins out. Rick lands his ship in the middle of a desert. As he stumbles out of the vehicle, he unconvincing states this was all a test. Then he passes out, leaving Morty stranded in paralyzed fear.
Cue title sequence.
Their nightly misadventure takes a toll on Morty the next morning. He can barely keep himself awake in front of his whole family, The Smiths. Aware of Rick’s sci-fi adventures, each family member reacts differently to the elephant in the room. While she’s concerned for her son, Beth barely raises a tone against her father’s ill-treatment of Morty. Her husband, Jerry, is quickest to point Rick as the problematic source of Morty’s woes. Though it doesn’t help that Rick is condescending towards his son-in-law. Rick has been taking Morty out of school and Jerry is none too happy. Rick unabashedly justifies school as an unnecessary distraction, but whatever his excuses may be, it’s clear he has no respect for anyone’s opinion. That just leaves Morty’s older sister, Summer, who apathetically refuses to be part of this drama. Rick leaves the dining table, but not before praising Beth for making a good breakfast. No amount of family drama is enough to prevent Beth from accepting even the faintest praise from her father; she just can’t help but be suckered into Rick’s good grace.
The Smith family eating breakfast in spite of high tension amongst themselves.
After, Morty attends math class. His teacher, Mr. Goldenfold, aggressively lectures ridiculously rudimentary math lessons every 9th graders should have learned by this point. Morty is too enamored with Jessica to care. Still reeling from last night, Morty drifts off into Dreamland. He has an erotic fantasy where Jessica allows him to touch her “Little Mortys.” This causes him to tiredly fondle his own teacher who creepily doesn’t mind in spite of severe denial.
In-between classes, Rick is bullied by a greaser kid named Frank for all of twenty seconds before Rick zaps him with a freeze ray. Rick needs Morty for an important mission, but the latter is worried about missing school again. Rick pressures him into it and the two head off, leaving the still frozen Frank behind. Summer doesn’t seem to notice (probably too charmed by his bad boy attitude) as she approaches and flirts with him. She barely gets a sentence in before he shatters into a thousand pieces, much to her horror.
At St. Equis Hospital, Beth works as a horse heart surgeon. Jerry arrives, free for lunch, and casually invites his wife to join. She’s less than pleased at his intrusion and even less so when he thinks little of her job. Beth thinks her work is far more important than it actually is while Jerry wastes no time with passive-aggressive retorts. There are hints that Beth is aware of her predicament. Circumstances several years back prevented her from being the famous surgeon (for humans) she’s always dreamed of. Her ego and resentment means she won’t let Jerry win though. Their martial issues will be a running subplot through Rick and Morty; their current dilemma is kid’s stuff compared to some of the debates they get into later. Rather than rehash old arguments, Jerry discreetly brings up a retirement home pamphlet, saying Rick should be put in one. Beth stubbornly refuses.
Using his portal gun, Rick takes Morty to Dimension 35-C. Rick and Morty shines in the animation department. The titular characters’ numerous planet-hopping and alternate dimension malarkey means the animators can meticulously craft bizarre species and settings. For example, Dimension 35-C looks like a world Dr. Suess could have built.
Dimension 35-C houses the fabled Mega-Trees, host of the Mega-Fruit of which Rick needs its Mega-Seeds to use for his science projects. Morty is suffering severe anxiety from the place, but Rick tries to calm him down, saying he has enough personal experience to know everything will be alright. Until a giant alien beast sneak up from behind, prompting Rick to panic and yell at Morty to run the hell away, having absolutely no clue what that thing is.
Rick and Morty eventually reach the Mega-Trees, located below the steep cliff they’re on. Rick gives Morty a pair of boots that can adjust gravity to let them walk off the side with ease. Morty bites off more than he can chew when he falls over, having forgotten to turn the boots on. Then Rick has the good sense to instruct Morty on what he was suppose to do with remarkable callousness.
Meanwhile, Jerry and Beth argue over Rick. Beth defends her father, saying he’s only just recently come back into her life and she won’t screw that up. Jerry is concerned Rick is distracting Morty from school, though Beth points out the boy has always been struggling with his subjects long before then. What has changed is that for once, Morty has a friend to call his own. Jerry is about to turn over a new leaf, but a phone call from the unfortunately named Principal Vagina threatens to challenge that.
With both legs broken, Morty angrily calls Rick out and declares this as the final straw. Rick can only shrug; he did try to warn him. Without a word, Rick uses his portal gun and zips off elsewhere. The next few seconds is an uncomfortably humorous moment as Morty twitches in agonizing pain. Rick returns with a serum to cure Morty’s legs, bringing him back to his old self. Morty is impressed enough to willingly climb up and get the Mega-Seeds for him. Rick explains that he traveled to a future dimension where medicine is so advanced Broken Leg Serum is in every drug store in the corner. Everyone there is young and immortal, meaning Rick’s old, haggard appearance made him something of a celebrity. He leisured around in fame and hot women, unaware til the last minute that his portal gun ran out of juice in the process. They’re stuck in Dimension 35-C. That means they have to go through interdimensional customs to get home. Problem is, the Mega-Seeds are considered illegal contraband, so he tells Morty to do him a real solid: shove those seeds (and they’re big seeds) waaaay up his butt hole. Rick can’t do it because he’s done it so many times, leaving Morty to nervously accept the task.
Morty is in pain, but Rick has the cure.
Principal Vagina informs Morty’s parents that he’s totaled a measly seven hours of school since the start of semester. It’s a cause for worry, but a triumphant validation for Jerry. Nearby, Summer is grieving for Frank.
Rick and Morty arrive in an interdimensional gateway, run by the Galactic Federation. Rick isn’t fond of bureaucracy, so the sooner they leave, the better. One of the guards asks Morty for a random check up to test their machine for any jerk who shoved stuff up their butts. Rick panics and the two make a run for it, guards hot on their trail. In a fit of animation beauty, the background is littered with unique and downright gross alien designs that make up a suitable part of the show. They reach a portal gate where Rick needs time to punch in the proper coordinates. He gives Morty one of the security rifles to shoot the guards with. Morty has hang ups killing someone until Rick tells him they’re just robots. Morty blasts one on the leg, causing him to slowly bleed to death. It’s shown in all its horrific glory, too. The dying guard is comforted by his fellow officer who desperately yells for someone to contact his loved ones. Only after does Rick bother to clarify: he calls anyone associated with the government “robots” due to his severe mistrust. Score another traumatic memory for Morty.
A screencap from the Rick and Morty episode
Rick operates the portal in time, sending them home and careening into the school cafeteria. Jessica is noticeably impressed at Morty’s dramatic entrance. Before Morty can flirt back, Rick carries him away. Jerry and Beth arrive at the same time and accuses Rick for taking their grandson away. Rick tries to defend himself, but no one’s buying.
Back home, the Smiths are packing Rick’s belongings so he can be shipped off to a retirement house. Even Beth refuses to defend his actions this time. Morty tries to step in, but to no avail. Jerry has to tell his only son that he has a disability and skipping school elevates the issue. It’s a lot for the kid to take in, but Rick saves the day when he bombards Morty with complicated scientific questions for him to answer. To everyone’s surprise, Morty nails them. Rick says Morty is actually gifted—too smart for school even—and is why he keeps the boy around as his assistant. Neither parents want to taint Morty’s luck, so they compromise: Morty can hang out with Rick as long as he goes to school. Rick agrees and the parents leave.
Morty is shocked that he had the touch all along, but Rick drops an unfortunate bombshell: Morty is only smart due to the effects of the Mega-Seeds still up his butt. The Mega-Seeds will eventually dissolve inside, removing his intelligence. Instead he’s going to spend the next 72 hours with barely functioning motor skills and disrupted brain power. Starting now. As Morty topples over, writhing yet again in pain, Rick confesses to his tricks. He needed Jerry and Beth to get off his back, so he took advantage of a fortunate situation. Rick vows to collect more Mega-Seeds and happily chants of more adventures to come, whether Morty likes it or not.