Ep #: 24
Air date: Aug. 6th, 2017
Synopsis: Rick turns into a pickle to get out of family therapy, a session Beth is also not looking forward to.
Rick summons Morty to the garage to surprise him with his latest experiment: he’s a pickle! Rick literally transferred his mind into a pickle. Morty’s reaction is priceless because for once he has none. He’s at best, baffled because he has no clue what Rick is trying to accomplish. The answer is depressingly clear: Beth, Summer, Morty, and Rick all agreed to attend a family counseling session because Summer was caught huffing pottery glaze and Morty peed in class. The principal recommended a counselor as a result, so Rick done turned himself into a salty vegetable at the last minute to get out of it. He denies that as his reason, even when the Smiths spot the Anti-Pickle Serum suspiciously hanging over him that is set to drop ten minutes after the family leaves the house. Despite Beth fervently defending her father, even she can’t let this slide, so she takes the needle and leaves her father to literally stink around as a pickle.
A stray cat bats him away when it mistakes him for a snake. He rolls out into the yard where the sun quickly bakes him to near-death. Luck shines on him though as it starts to rain, but it’s on the heavy side, so the escalating water washes Rick into a sewer drain. Never let it be said that Rick isn’t a genius survivor though. Surrounded by cockroaches, he lures one in with his delicious brine smell and kills it. Ripping off the cockroach’s head, Rick is able to control its movements by pressing specific parts of its brain with his tongue. He uses it to turn the cockroach into a makeshift ride.
Beth isn’t happy that she has to go with the kids for counseling, believing this specific issue is her children’s fault only. Already she’s quick to blame Summer and Morty, in denial of any disruption she has caused. And then there’s her unquestionable loyalty to her father. Even when she took away the needle knowing what Rick was doing, she makes excuses for his absence when the counselor, Dr. Wong, asks her why he didn’t join the rest of the family for this huddle. Dr. Wong is on the ball, repeatedly asking about Rick in spite of Beth trying to drive the discussion to her kids and their mishaps. Dr. Wong tells Beth the root of the problem originated from Rick, causing a chain reaction that caused the divorce and negatively affected her children. Beth does not respond in kind, immediately blaming both the counselor and her kids.
Rick managed to dissect and alter the cockroach so he can move around and escape. He’s built traps in advance which comes in handy when he beheads a rat to upgrade his lame cockroach body into a superior rat one. Just in time, too, a whole gang of rats viciously wants some of that sweet pickle juice. Boy, I thought nothing would surpass the level of violence in “Look Who’s Purging Now”, but “Pickle Rick” immediately ups the scale as Rick nails into the rats sometimes literally and murders his way out. Rick escapes the sewer and dives out of a restroom toilet. He quickly runs into a group of bodyguards who are all a little too trigger happy. Rick has stumbled upon a private institute.
The leader of the institute, the Agency Director, is informed that two of his men are down and that this infernal pickle is a deadly combatant. Rick contacts the director, demanding to be let out or face the consequences when he forces his way out. The Agency Director has the guts to stand his ground, stating he’s violating international law, but his guards are more superstitious, nicknaming Rick “Solenya” AKA the “Pickle Man”, an old wives’ tale. Rick kills six more men without missing a beat, forcing the Agency Director to request a favor from a criminal named Jaguar. In exchange for killing Rick, Jaguar will not only be free, but he can see his daughter, Katarina, again. This is more than enough motivation for the man. Rick and Jaquar’s one-on-one battle is short, but dazzling; the animation is top dollars here. It takes the best of action films and condenses it into ten minutes of pure awesome. Jaguar’s gruff exterior, heartwarming motivation, and built would make him a protagonist of such a genre. Indeed, his cliché dialogue and disposition is constantly lampshaded by Rick.
The Agency Director and his surviving guards watch the battle unfold until their security cameras are all destroyed during the crossfire. He contacts Jaguar, asking if the job is done, but Rick responds instead. The Agency Director relents and tells Rick he’ll free him, but it’s too late, Rick is coming for him. Desperate, the Agency Director offers 120 million in bonds or a chance for them to work together, but Rick ain’t buying, especially now that he knows Katarina had been murdered ages ago. The Agency Director shoots the rest of his men, takes the cash, and tries to escape via helicopter. There’s just one problem with that: Jaguar is in command of the vehicle. He and Rick secretly partnered up when the two sympathized over their respective daughters. Rick burns the entire building down, killing the Agency Director and giving Jaguar the revenge he wanted for Katarina. Jaguar relinquishes the chopper to Rick, but not before telling him that it isn’t too late to patch up with Beth.
Rick excuses any attempts to make up with his daughter by stating love is only as much of a concept he can give and that he has infinite daughters in infinite dimensions, but he still makes his way to family counseling. There Rick admits the needle contained Anti-Pickle Serum and that he did plan to use it so he wouldn’t have to come here. When Dr. Wong asks why he did that, he belittles her, saying counseling is a scam and deconstructing their feelings never lead anywhere outside of a false sense of security. He’s a scientist, he creates and solve his way to a solution. Dr. Wong, ever so neutral and polite as expected of her job, completely obliterates him by figuring him out in seconds. Succinctly, she tells Rick that of course he’d be bored out of his mind in therapy: it’s not an adventure. The reason his intelligence is both a blessing and a curse is that for as much as it provides him the challenge he seeks (talking about feelings doesn’t do anything for him because there is no wrong way of doing it), he also uses it to isolate himself from his family. Beth pulls the same trick when she excuses her ego through her intelligence and constant reminder that she is Rick’s daughter. Rick is the master of his own mind and it is this internal logic that justifies why he came to counseling. He didn’t come for the sake of his family, he came because he wanted to; he made that choice.
The session is over and Beth drives the family home. In a twisted level of growth for Rick, he apologizes to his daughter and instead of running off, offers to go out and have a drink with her. Beth enthusiastically agrees and hands her father the serum so he can change back. Unfortunately Summer and Morty watch with concerned eyes, both aware they need more counseling. They desperately bring up Dr. Wong, but it’s clear neither Beth or Rick is paying them any attention.
Beth’s daddy issues has been a reoccurring nightmare for the family since Day One. Her superior-inferiority complex has been endemic to the Smith’s current dilemma. It’s been going on long before the events of the show when Rick up and left her for reasons she’s likely still trying to puzzle out. To compensate, she denied her father would be so callous and though Rick loves his daughter, he has the advantage of a greater playground where losing her means he can just replace her with another version of herself. Beth does not have that access, so she flaunts her ego, is constantly in denial that she played a part in breaking up the Smith family, and just as frequently redirects her problems to her loved ones. Beth needed an episode like this for a long time. We’ve sympathized with her abandonment issues, but her faults have been a frustrating red flag that hasn’t been brought to light outside of marital woes between her and Jerry. Though their flailing marriage is an equally justified issue to dig through, the show never dealt with Beth as an individual. Her reliance on her father was stifling her character for a while. With this firmly out in the open and massive changes that is visibly affecting her family that they can no longer put it aside, we have a chance for her to grow from this. It’s the best consolation we could hope for if Rick and Morty persists in dangling the string with Rick’s flip-flopping character arc. Leave it to the show to craft an entire episode that is one part affectionate parody of action films and another a brutal analysis of its central cast.
The after credit ends hilariously: Rick and Morty held captive in a giant piano by a music-themed villain named Concerto. Before they could be killed, Rick and Morty are rescued by Jaguar who slits Concerto’s throat before silently flying away. Rick excuses that as the reason why he shouldn’t go to therapy.