RICK AND MORTY – EPISODE 2: LAWNMOWER DOG

Ep #: 2
Air date: Dec. 9, 2013
Synopsis: Rick and Morty enter Mr. Goldenfold’s mind to convince him to give Morty perfect grades, but complication arise the deeper they dream. Meanwhile, The Smiths deal with the family dog’s increasing super intelligence.

Morty’s dog, Snuffles, treads into the living room and pees on the carpet right in front of Jerry. Morty tries to defend his pet, but Jerry retaliates by shoving the dog’s head to the stain. Rick arrives to drag the kid away, but not before Jerry begs him to invent a machine to smarten up Snuffles. Jerry’s request might as well be foot rot to Rick, but he needs Morty, so he quickly whips up a helmet that enhances Snuffle’s intelligence. The dog performs tricks at the drop of a hat and uses the toilet instead, rendering Jerry and Summer awestruck.

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Morty compliments Rick on his latest invention, but the old crank dismisses it and introduces Morty to a special device. The tool can send the user into anyone’s dreams once they place it on both the user and dreamer’s ear, kind of like the movie Inception. Rick plans to enter the brain of Morty’s math teacher, Mr. Goldenfold, to convince him to give Morty passing grades. That way, Morty can spend the better portion of his life going on trauma-inducing adventures with Rick. Morty complains that for all the time Rick spent cultivating this idea, he could have just helped the teen with his homework. He’s got a point, but Rick doesn’t care.

Rick and Morty sneak into Mr. Goldenfold’s house while he’s napping. Using the Inception Tool, Rick and Morty pass out and enter his dreams. Taking place inside an airplane, Rick and Morty catches Dream Goldenfold flirting with a stewardess version of a TV character he watches, Mrs. Pancakes. To motivate the man, Rick tapes soda bottles to his chest and claims he’s going to blow up the plane unless the teacher gives Morty “A”s. Goldenfold heroically reacts, chucking deadly Wheat Thins before busting out a pair of machine guns. Rick didn’t anticipate him as an active dreamer, putting them at a disadvantage. They can’t afford to die in Goldenfold’s dreams because their real life counterparts will also die. It’s a convenient piece of information Rick just so happens to relay while bullets are flying in their general direction.

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Meanwhile, Jerry is trying to impress Beth with the new and improved Snuffles. Beth doesn’t take, knowing full well something bad is going to come out of this. Indeed, Snuffles struggles to garble out a sentence to Jerry and Summer. They don’t understand what he’s saying, but they’re impressed anyway. Snuffles realizes the helmet’s limitation, so he ventures into the kitchen to open a drawer of batteries and wires.

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In order to stop Goldenfold’s madcap shooting, Rick takes Mrs. Pancakes hostage. This is enough for Goldenfold to lose his mind. Everyone on board flies off into a panic because his subconscious is. One of the passengers kicks the airplane door open, sucking Rick and Morty out into the open air. They spot Mrs. Pancakes with a parachute, so they make their way over and hitch a ride. Their safety is shortlived: Goldenfold is below with a trap. The convoluted contraption is designed to pluck Mrs. Pancakes to safety while leaving Rick and Morty vulnerable to a vat of lava. They need more time to plan an escape, so Rick has the bright idea to use the Inception Tool on Mrs. Pancakes. Going by dream logic, her’s will be a hundred times slower.

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The duo end up in a sex dungeon filled with imaginary creatures, ruled by Mrs. Pancakes. Morty proceeds to ask her for help, but Rick stops him. Dream worlds make it harder to convince people, so they have to ease their way in; Mrs. Pancakes has to think she came up with the idea herself. His explanation seem to be a partial excuse since he readily undresses and runs off to indulge himself.

Morty navigates the exotic room until he bumps into a hot human woman…who turns out to be his sister, Summer, in skimpy lingerie. It seems Goldenfold’s fantasy is so skewed he regularly dreams of Summer in uncompromising situations. Summer tries to seduce her brother and grandpa (the latter decked in S&M gear), earning disgust from both. Their sexual hang up is frowned upon by the others. A centaur guard tries to apprehend them, but Rick knocks him cold and uses the Inception Tool on him.

Morty and Rick are sent to a creepy boiler room. Chills run down their spine when a leathery faced man greets them with all the presence of a hot iron brand. This is Scary Terry, the “legally safe knock-off of an 80s horror character with miniature swords for hands instead of knives.”

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Snuffles approaches Jerry and Summer, now with a mechanic hand and a speech translator. Able to speak freely, he declares he wants to be understood. Jerry is just a smidge uncomfortable. He’s starting to understand his wife’s concerns, so he goes over to detach the machine from Snuffles. Summer stops him, pontifacting the immorality of removing one’s sentience. Like it or not, Snuffles is on equal footing with the family. He joins them as they watch a documentary on the evolution of dogs. There he learns the harsh truth that humans played a huge part in taming the creatures to be their subordinates. Snuffles is not happy to hear about this, further compounded by Summer and Jerry’s—especially the latter—condescending treatment of him.

Scary Terry pursues Rick and Morty with glee. To hammer the point, a creepy song echoes through the wall, sung by a little girl. What was presumably just background music turns out to be real when Rick finds and knocks the creepy kid unconscious and uses the Inception Tool on her. They just end up back in the same boiler room. Worse, Scary Terry can hop into other dreams willingly!

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Summer wakes up in the middle of the night to find Snuffles in her room. He’s now riding on a giant machine he has built for himself. With great restraint, he asks Summer where his testicles are, a loaded question if there ever was one. Summer tries to calm him down, but fails. He decries the name “Snuffles” since he views it as his slave name. He demands to be called something more dignified: Snowball. Her parents try to pry Summer away, but another dog Snowball endowed with free will blocks their path.

Rick and Morty end up in a beaten down neighborhood, but no matter where they go, Scary Terry is one step ahead. Running doesn’t seem to work, so Rick suggest they hide. Morty is reluctant, but agrees. After all, if they could hide, it’s not like Scary Terry would be telling this to anyone. Surprisingly, hiding works and the two keep it up until Scary Terry tires himself out.

The rest of the Smith family is jailed while Snowball commendeers their house. He has since recruited a number of dogs, each gifted with intelligence and their own machines to create weapons for world domination. The Smiths try to apologize, but Jerry keeps screwing it up with his patronizing attitude, only furthering Snowball’s vengeance.

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Rick and Morty follow Scary Terry home. Turns out, Scary Terry is just a normal guy who murders people in their dreams because it’s a common job among his species. When he isn’t working, he’s a devoted husband and father. However, Scary Terry had a rough day, so he takes it out on his wife. The two argue for a bit before he apologizes and the couple make up. Once they’re asleep, Rick and Morty sneak into their bedroom and uses the Inception Tool in his ear. Morty fearfully ponders what a nightmarish creature’s dreams could be: a hellish dimension? A parade of corpses? No, it’s something far scarier: High School. And Young Terry doesn’t have any pants on! And his teacher is a jerk and everyone makes fun of him! Rick and Morty back him up, pair of pants included. Scary Terry is touched and wakes up with serenely. This is such a great twist. A lesser show would have milked the pop culture by shoving as many unnecessary references as possible. Rick and Morty does not do this; there’s no quick Leonardo DiCaprio cameo or that infamous “BWAAAAH!” musical cue seen in the trailers. Scary Terry isn’t a carbon copy of Freddy Krueger, but a person with internal conflicts who, by all rights, is just an Average Joe. That’s the joke. “Lawnmower Dog” is consistently good because it uses the plot as a groundwork for the rest of the episode, letting their own brand of humor carry it.

Having conquered his inner demon, Scary Terry repays the two by killing the other dreamers, culminating in him blowing up Dream Goldenfold. This impact startles the real teacher awake. He triumphantly declares Morty is going to get perfect grades, rationalizing it as his idea the whole time. Mission accomplished.

Rick and Morty fly home, only to find Snowball is running the place. They rescues their family and decide to split. Jerry stubornly refuses to and like the moron that he is, marches up to Snowball and pees on their weapon cases, claiming it as his property. Jerry ends up with a face of his own urine when Snowball shoves him down in retaliation. However, Snowball spares Morty because he was the only one to show him kindness.

The dogs take over the planet until humankind is no longer the dominant species. Morty doesn’t mind at all. He spends the next year living luxuriously in a giant manor with two hot women and a servant who attends his every need. Rick smashes his way in and crushes Morty’s idealized existence: this is all a dream. When everyone had gone to sleep, he had used the Inception Tool on Snowball. Morty isn’t happy about this, but is ready to make amends. Rick gives Morty kidney failure.

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Morty is being tended to while Rick (poorly disguised as one of the dogs) continously urges Snowball to save him. One of the dogs inform Snowball he needs to stop spending outrageous medical prices or he’ll lose his kingdom. Snowball doesn’t care, he would trade it all to save his friend. His comrade warns him the humans would never do the same, but Snowball is adamant that they are not human. Snowball has an epiphany. He wakes up with a big decision in hand.

Gathering a selection of dogs, Snowball plans to leave Earth and create a new society elsewhere, free from human taint. Before he departs, Snowball informs Morty that he can call him “Snuffles” if he chooses to. Morty wonders how a society of dogs will function. Rick casually answers that it’d probably make a decent 11-minute cartoon, itself a reference to Justin Roiland’s short, Dog World.

Starting with “Lawnmower Dog”, every Rick and Morty episode has a ending stinger, usually a separate scene with callbacks to the main episode. This stinger involves a trip back to Scary Terry’s high school with a pleasant outcome. No one is making fun of him; his new teacher is a kindhearted hippie; and he and Rick chill in the back, smoking weed.

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