Ep #: 27
Air date: Aug. 27th, 2017
Synopsis: Rick and Morty take a trip to the spa where they literally remove the toxicity out of their bodies.
Jessica broke up with Brad, leaving her free to pursue other guys. Morty overhears the news and slowly approaches his crush, but Rick steps in and drags the boy away to another adventure. He promises it’ll take a mere twenty minutes.
It lasts six days.
Rick and Morty barely survive a galactic war. Though they defeat the baddies and win the favor of an alien planet, their victory is hollow. Aboard their parked ship, the two burst into tears, beyond stressed and traumatized over all the danger and near-deaths they’ve suffered a hundredfold. Even Rick, who’s usually in control of the situation, loses it. Realizing how broken they both are, Rick decides to take him and Morty on a vacation to an alien spa.
The spa is doing wonders for the two, but the best is yet to come. They enter a detoxifying chamber supposedly designed to remove all the toxicity from your body. When Rick wakes up, he’s coated in slime in an equally slime-covered world. He finds Morty also covered in goo and assume they’re in Hell. Rick is none too happy about this, taking his aggression out on Morty to a considerable degree than he usually does. Likewise, Morty is a simpering, self-loathing coward with none of the bravado he developed over the course of the show. Rick discovers why pretty quickly: they’re the toxicity Rick and Morty carried. The machine literally separated all the negative traits they possessed and gave them form.
With all their toxicity removed, Rick and Morty are life-affirming, incredibly well-adjusted people. Rick is patient and kind and Morty confident and determined. Rick sincerely telling his grandson he loves him with no “if” at the end would be amazingly rare if we didn’t know Toxic Rick and Toxic Morty are lingering inside the machine, trying to claw their way out.
Morty is doing fantastically in school. He uses his newfound confidence to inspire his fellow students and ask Jessica out on a date, one she reciprocates. Rick interrupts him again though politely this time to inform Morty that their Toxic selves are trying to reach them. Now that Rick no longer possesses his selfishness, he feels guilty for leaving his toxic self alone; he’s taking in the accountability of his past actions. Morty tries to convince Rick that it isn’t healthy to take back their negative traits. He’s extremely happy with himself and he doesn’t want anyone to take it away from him. I can’t say I blame him.
Morty’s date with Jessica does not go smoothly, largely because he’s a talkative loon who won’t shut up. With nothing to set him back, he’s positive enough to compliment everything and have the ambition to do whatever he sets his mind out to. Jessica cancels dinner, saying he’d be bored with her and leaves. Morty enthusiastically agrees and takes it in stride, immediately moving on to an older woman named Stacy. With his can-do attitude and Stacy’s clear apathy, the two make out.
Morty takes Stacy home where they meet Rick tinkering with the Detoxifier containment unit. He managed to purchase it from the spa with intent to merge him and Morty with their Toxic selves. Rick knows it’s for their own good, but Morty begs Stacy to help him when he’s lured into the machine. Stacy accidentally ends up in their place, transporting her into the containment unit while Toxic Rick and Toxic Morty goes free. Toxic Rick never intended to merge with Rick, but instead escape to the outside world to reign havoc on his other self. Toxic Rick and Rick fight one another, but they keep coming up to a draw. Knowing the battle would only drag further, Toxic Rick grabs Toxic Morty and escapes with Rick’s spaceship, planning to spread the toxicity all over the world if he cannot kill his other self. Rick is content to let Toxic Rick carry out his plans since he has every right to, so Morty slaps him, saying this is his way of dealing with problems in a healthy manner. Rick realizes that each person handles their issues differently based on that individual’s need. This gives him an idea.
Toxic Rick successfully transforms the world into a hellish nightmare, but Rick and Morty arrive to stop them. Rick shoots Toxic Morty with a bullet full of nanobots, designed to disintegrate him unless he reverses the machine. Toxic Rick claims he doesn’t care, but one of his negative traits is that he’s irrationally attached to Morty. Rick continuously shoots Toxic Morty, forcing Toxic Rick to merge with himself. With Rick back to his old self, he saves the world. He’s about to merge Toxic Morty with Morty, but the latter runs off.
Three weeks later, Morty has become a successful white collar business man. He has a beautiful apartment and an amazing girlfriend. He’s living the life! Jessica eventually calls Morty just so they can talk. Morty knows it’s a trap though, planned by Rick so he can be “re-toxified.” Once Morty is back to who he was, he indeed, finds out Jessica went along with Rick’s plans because the latter would not shut up about Morty, constantly drunk texting her about him. Morty breaks up with his new girlfriend, gives her his apartment, and returns to life as an awkward teen. Jessica is seemingly going back with Brad, but she does tell Morty it’s good to have the real him back.
The after-credit ends with Stacy finally freed from the containment unit.
“Rest and Ricklaxation” continues season three’s theme of breaking down the Smith family’s towering issues. This episode seem to draw on a “What If” formula of Rick and Morty post-character development after learning from their mistakes or flaws. As I stated in the last recap, Rick is a tricky character to get right because he’s an apathetic sociopath who’s awesome at what he does and often gets away with it to boot. It’s a behavior that shouldn’t be emulated in the least. As the show progresses, we see more and more of Rick’s personality deconstructed and laid out before us: a complicated man whose left a lot of his life behind with a callous attitude that borders on nihilism because of the pointlessness of the universe. Though Rick has sympathetic moments, his actions frequently are not and shouldn’t be treated as such. So “Rest and Ricklaxation” supposedly shows us a Rick that we should root for, but as is per standard of the show, they take it to another level where removing all his negative qualities means he simply does not care in the slightest. He’s bland.
The thing is, there needs to be a set of boundaries to balance out the supposedly good traits of ourselves. Morty demonstrates this by being a confident lad that lands him all the best positions he can ambitiously shoot for, but never the greater connection he has with his loved ones or anyone he meets. He’s too busy doing everything because the fears and awkwardness he once carried no longer applies to him. “Rest and Ricklaxation” states that there is a need for setbacks, but that doesn’t mean the show is going to stop criticizing Rick (and by extension the rest of the Smith family) for his faulty behaviors. Season three is candid about pointing this out repeatedly, but sadly, there are no cheat sheets to getting better. It’s still going to take time for them to work out their problems. The question is how long can the show keep up this formula before it gets old?
Bonus points for giving Jessica a bit of character, too. It’s nice to see her act beyond Morty’s love interest, giving her choices of her own and at least some sparkling of a personality.