Ep #: 10
Air date: Apr. 7th, 2014
Synopsis: Morty and Rick are arrested by the Council of Ricks when the latter is found guilty of murdering numerous alternate Ricks. Now Rick has to prove he is innocent.
The alternate dimension plot is a staple of sci-fi storytelling and often used as a fine “What If” to see how your beloved characters would act if they were someone else, be it a different occupation or the ever popular, “What if they were evil?” story. Use too much though and it ends up being a cheap device that can easily end in a deus ex machina. Inescapable problem? Just warp to another reality or find an answer in another world. There’s also the issue of meeting countless alternate selves of said characters, rendering the ones we’ve been watching onscreen less than unique.
Rick and Morty solved that issue by establishing the world they live in is just one among literally billions right off the bat. And they pulled it off by ensuring it isn’t easy to just skip to another dimension and expect to live a consequence-free life. “Rick Potion No. 9” made it very clear Rick takes advantage of alternate worlds by escaping an Earth he couldn’t fix to live in one where he did, but where his and Morty’s counterpart violently died. Rick and Morty will not let even a convenience like alternate dimensions get off scot-free. It’s for this reason why “Close Rick-counters of the Rick Kind” works magnificently, choosing to build a world behind this well-worn trope and effectively backing up our Rick and Morty as unique individuals.
Question remains though, can the creators make a Rick more immoral than the one we’ve been watching throughout season one?
“Close Rick-counters of the Rick Kind” grabs our attention from the start. The Smith family is enjoying a pleasant breakfast when Beth announces that Rick has stayed with the family for a year now. Celebrations are in order. Then a portal opens, revealing an eyepatch Morty and a heavily scarred Rick. The two kill the other Rick and drag the other Morty away while the rest of the family screams in horror.
After the theme song, the show reveals the Smith family we just witnessed was another version than the ones we’ve been following for the past nine episodes. This Smith family is also celebrating Rick’s one-year anniversary. They, too are interrupted, not by a renegade Rick and Morty, but a trio of Ricks in fancy uniforms. They take Rick in for questioning, dragging Morty along as well.
Rick and Morty end up in the Citadel of Ricks, home of the Council of Ricks. The Ricks are prone to making a lot of enemies, so a thousand of them banded together to create a society of Ricks where they can freely gather with their Mortys and hide among themselves from various space governments. It becomes rapidly clear that most of the Ricks treat their Mortys like an object, producing merchandise brand and Morty insurances.
The duo are brought to the main council where they accuse Rick of twenty-seven murders of other alternate Ricks. They assume it’s him because he’s always been the malcontent, someone who refuses to side with the Rick Council and thus became an unpredictable thorn in their sight. Rick fights back, saying all the Ricks in the citadel wanted to escape the government, but ended up becoming the very thing they hated. The council is everything antithetical to what the Ricks believe in. The council retaliates by swiping his portal gun and tracing his previously known locations, all fitting the exact locales of the numerous murders. The council enforces capital punishment on him, so Rick fights back and makes a run for it, Morty in tow.
Rick creates numerous portals to ward the guards off and cut off their trail. The montage is a bushel of hilarious and demented alternate worlds: a Dr. Suessian land filled with strange dodo-camel bird creatures, a world of greasy grandmothers, anthropomorphic pizzas that eat humans, phones that eats couches, and couches that eats phones. Rick and Morty hide in the latter dimension.
Morty is unsure that Rick didn’t kill several versions of himself, but Rick tells him no profit could be made from such an act, so what’s the point? Morty wants to go home, but Rick is certain the council already sent a batch of soldiers waiting for their inevitable return.
Indeed, a group of Rick solders are setting up techs to target Rick’s location via phone calls in the Smith household; Jerry just has to make sure he’s on for more than thirty seconds. Course, being Ricks, this doesn’t stop any of them from crank calling him. Beth doesn’t do a thing about her fathers’ bullying, making them lemonade and sucking up all the praises they give her.
As they dine in the couch dimension, Rick is fixing his portal gun while Morty gabs enthusiastically about all the different Ricks and Mortys. He believes their bond must be so strong it transcends to different dimensions. In reality, Ricks keep Mortys around because their specific brainwave cancels out the Ricks’ own unique pattern so no one can find them. All this time, Mortys have been tools to keep them safe. Morty does not take this news well, but before he can react, Rick states someone has been tampering with his portal gun. They planted the evidence so the council could frame him. Luckily, he was able to trace the real killer’s base. A team of Rick soldiers catches them, so Rick and Morty steal their spaceship and fly off to pursue the original murderer.
Morty is not happy being used as a human cloaking device. Rick tries to soothe things over, but the situation takes a far disturbing turn when they land on an obscure planet and find a dome covered with screaming, anguished Mortys. All of them are strapped to the dome as sharp metal points constantly poke their torsos. This is how the killer has escaped the Council of Ricks for so long: if one Morty can cancel out a Rick, then a thousand tortured Mortys can keep away the entire citadel. Rick is impressed; Morty is not.
Back at the Smiths, a different looking Rick approaches Jerry and genuinely asks how his day is going. Jerry is reluctant to trust him at first, thinking he’s like all the other Ricks, but quickly finds out this is Doofus Rick AKA the “worst Rick of them all.” Doofus Rick is kind, generous, and unselfish and the other Ricks constantly tease him over it. Jerry quickly takes to him and the two connect. Jerry trusts Doofus Rick enough to bring him to his room and introduce his collection of rare R2D2 coins. Everyone makes fun of him for it, but Doofus Rick tells him they mean something to Jerry and that’s all that matters. Jerry sheds tears, happy to find a Rick who finally values him.
Our Rick and Morty explore the inner sanctums of the dome. Morty accuses Rick on using him all this time, something Rick doesn’t deny. They’re eventually caught by a group of alien scorpion creatures, ruled by Scarred Rick and Eyepatch Morty from earlier. They separate Rick and Morty, tossing the latter to a room filled with traumatized Mortys.
Rick is taken elsewhere and strapped to an operation table. There Scarred Rick explains his evil deeds. Turns out he wanted Rick to find him in order to download the contents of his brain before killing him off. Scarred Rick starts scanning Rick’s brain, bringing up memories of his past, including his time with Morty. Rick gets sentimental, something Scarred Rick notices. He flat out tells Rick that no Ricks have ever cared for their Mortys.
Morty tries to convince his other selves to fight back. Believing him to be The One True Morty, the Mortys burst out of prison and go on a rampage. They eventually kill Scarred Rick while Morty rescues his own. Rick phones the councils to clear his name afterwards. The group of Ricks in the Smith household wrap up and Doofus Rick must depart from Jerry.
The council arrives to rescue the remaining Mortys and take them home. Without the Ricks in their lives, they must now lead a sad existence as normal, American teenagers. The council apologizes to Rick and awards him with a free replacement Morty coupon as compensation.
Morty eggs Rick after since the latter still refuses to acknowledge him as a person. However, Rick points out he’s the “Rickest Rick” out there, therefore Morty must be the “Mortiest Morty.” This is enough to placate Morty and their friendship is restored, however skewed it is.
The soldiers are investigating the dome when they find a horrible discovery: Scarred Rick has been remotely controlled the whole time. He’s not the murderer, so who is? Secretly, it was Eyepatch Morty all along, having hid the transmitter controlling his Rick behind his eyepatch. Why he did it and what his true goal is remains to be seen; Eyepatch Morty is still at large.” Close Rick-counters of the Rick Kind” answers that yes, there are Ricks far immoral and disgusting than our Rick, but there’s just as much a chance that a Morty can be unpredictable and dangerous as well.
The after credits end with Jerry still upset over losing Doofus Rick. He stares out from a rain-soaked window just in time to see Doofus Rick waving at him. Just when Jerry’s faith is restored, his Rick arrives and ridicules him for being friends with the worst Rick.