Ep #: 15
Air date: Aug 16th, 2015
Synopsis: The Smith household is on lockdown while a parasite-in-disguise infests the house, shapeshifting into people they carry fond, but false memories for.
It’s a happy day in the Smith household: Jerry’s older brother, Steve, has been living with them for a year now and you couldn’t ask for a more pleasant person. In appreciation for all the family has done for him, Steve just bought plane tickets to take everyone on a trip to Paris. Life couldn’t get any better! Unless you’re Rick and you’re first instinct is to shoot Steve dead with a laser gun in front of the whole family.
Rick informs the Smiths that there is no Steve. The man was an alien parasite the whole time, evident when it transforms back to its disgusting, worm-like form upon death. These species discreetly mulitply by emitting themselves into people’s minds, creating false memories of loved ones and close friends. In time, they will use this to take over the world. Their moments with Steve never happened, but it felt no less real to them.
Rick figures the entire house is compromised, so he activates a blast shield around the building until the parasites can be eradicated. Rick informs the Smiths to keep an eye out for exaggerated, cartoony types of characters. Then a small, yellow-skinned man named Mr. Poopy Butthole appears out of nowhere to encourage Rick. To add this on a meta context, Mr. Poopy Butthole is with Rick and Morty during the introduction sequence. Keep that in mind.
As the Smiths search the house for any remaining parasites, Rick pins a “6” on the wall to remind everyone that there are only six members in this household: Rick, Morty, Jerry, Beth, Mr. Poopy Butthole, and Summer. So if they meet someone with a higher number count than that, they know who to shoot. Mr. Poopy Butthole tries to cheer the family up, saying they’ve gotten into weird shenanigans before. Remember the time they were stuck in an elevator after seeing the Hulk musical? It was pretty bad for a while, but luckily their stereotypical Italian cousin Nicky saved them! The family all have a good laugh, including Cousin Nicky who’s obviously been in the living room the whole time. Then Rick shoots him in the arm, revealing him for what he truly was. The family is shocked, but even more so when Rick had to make a guess. This means any one of them could be it.
A stunned Beth recalls Cousin Nicky was the one who found that secret Nazi submarine. Cut to a flashback of the Smiths tied up in said submarine as a comically evil Nazi reveals his diabolical plans. Fortunately, the Smith’s English butler, Mr. Beauregard shows up to save the day. He decides not to retire after all. Everybody laughs. Mr. Beauregard reminisces fondly about that day while he serves the family. It’s pretty clear the parasites creates false scenarios and characters that wouldn’t look out of place in a cheesy sitcom. Everything from Jerry getting his head stuck in a banister until Mr. Beauregard fixed the issue with a simple solution (marmalade), Morty going to the prom with him when his date ditched him, and a pillow fight are all here.
Rick interrupts to point out that there’s way more people than there should be; the house should only have six. Beth corrects her father, saying it’s always held ten: the main Smiths, Mr. Poopy Butthole, Frankenstein, Sleepy Gary, and Photography Raptor. Trying to focus, Rick gets help from his main man, Pencilvester, a talking pencil. Beth has an idea and whips out her smartphone. Surely they would know who is real or false by the photos they keep. Neither Beth or Mr. Poopy Butthole show up in their respective phones, but the whole family gets real suspicious when Summer declares she has no photos of her family. She justifies herself, saying no teenage girl would have pictures of their relatives on their phone. Frankenstein counters, saying it IS weird Summer keeps mentioning this one friend who visits her every night, even though no one has seen them. Cut to a flashback of Summer being visited by a magical lamb named Tinkles. She takes Summer to a colorful, pastel world called Bedtime Land where Summer parties with all the other cute creatures.
Rick is about to kill Summer because she has no proof of this Tinkles character. Fortunately the fairy lamb chooses to show up right now, sparing Summer’s life. Jerry tries to placate everyone, saying he knows that Beth and her husband Sleepy Gary have been his best friends since High School. Rick is frustrated because he’s never been this unsure for so long. He’s about to hurt Summer, but Sleepy Gary steps in to protect his daughter. He tries to appeal to Rick’s good sense, saying they had so much fun together. Remember the barbecue? Rick tries to resist, but new parasites keep popping in, each one bordering on the ridiculous (Amish Cyborg is my favorite.) They all force Rick to remember. Try as he might, Rick can’t resist and he reminisces back to the time he hosted a BBQ party for a whole slew of weird folks. When he snaps to, the entire house is filled with outrageous characters with comical gimmicks, much to Rick’s distress.
Jerry later speaks with Sleepy Gary in private. Worried that he may not be real, he confesses his fears to the only person he trusts. Sleepy Gary won’t hear of it, citing their vacation as proof of his existence. There Gary and Jerry realized their feelings for each other and have since carried on a secret tryst behind Beth’s back. It’s an oddly heartwarming scene if you ignore the whole cheating (albeit fake) thing.
Rick is going insane, so the others have to pin him down and try to lower his guard so he can open the blast shield. Reverse Giraffe says it’s suspicious how this stereotypical mad scientist with a flying spaceship not only wants to keep them all in, but showed up out of the blue a year ago. Even Morty is convinced enough to hold Rick at gunpoint. Not wanting to execute him in front of Pencilvester, he request they take him to the garage to do it in private. Baby Wizard and Rubber Ducky with Muscular Arms drag the old man there. Morty argues with Rick with such intensity that the latter demands to be put out of his misery.
Morty kills Baby Wizard and Rubber Ducky instead, having figured out how the whole parasite thing works. Each memory from the parasites have always been pleasant to ensure an easy time multiplying. Not Rick though. No, Morty’s time with his grandpa is filled with turmoil and negligence. With that knowledge in hand, Rick and Morty team up.
They run back to the living room, armed to the teeth with weapons, and tell everyone if they’ve ever encountered any unpleasant memories from each other. When Beth can’t think of a bad time with Ms. Refrigerator, the latter is the first to die. Rick then aims for Summer who is just a little fed up with his constant accusation. Morty recalls a moment when his sister kicked him between the legs; more than enough evidence to deduce she’s real. Summer does the same for her mother when she remembers Picture Day gone horribly wrong because Beth was severely drunk and accidentally struck her daughter with an empty wine bottle. The Smith family goes on a shooting frenzy, ridding the house of the parasites.
Jerry’s the only one who doesn’t fight back, scared he is one of them. Sleepy Gary protects him, but Beth kills the man, revealing his true form. Jerry is so heartbroken that he wants Beth to end his life. Beth doesn’t; the man may not be an alien parasite, but he’s certainly a pathetic leech. Jerry tries to kiss Beth for comfort, but they both need time to get over Sleepy Gary.
The family – all six of them – sit down for dinner, but Beth gets suspicious and shoots Mr. Poopy Butthole. Now remember the memory of them being stuck in the elevator? Though their time with Mr. Poopy Butthole has always been pleasant, it still technically counts as a bad memory. After all, it was Cousin Nicky who saved them, not Mr. Poopy Butthole. This is further hinted during the opening credits where he’s just a part of the scary adventures Rick and Morty gets into. Mr. Poopy Butthole has been real all along, serving as a red herring throughout the episode. The only thing that doesn’t make sense is where the heck Mr. Poopy Butthole had been in previous episodes, but in either case, but Beth shot an innocent man. While the rest of the family tends to him, she tearfully runs to the kitchen and desperately drinks herself into a stupor.