Ep #: 5
Air date: Jan. 20th, 2014
Synopsis: Morty bets Rick that he could plan a better adventure. Meanwhile, the Smiths achieve their dreams through the Meeseeks, but Jerry runs into a problem with his.
Aboard an abandoned alien spaceship, Rick and Morty are on the last leg of their journey. Curiously, they’re running away from the Smiths family. In reality, they are alien spirits who managed to possess clones of Jerry, Beth, and Summer from an alternate dimension. They pin Rick down, forcing Morty to trap them Ghostbusters-style despite his initial protest. Alien or not, they still look and at times, behave like his family. Morty saved the day, but at the cost of his sanity yet again.
Rick casually teleports them home where Morty pukes his gut out. While Rick has taken it in stride, Morty is fed up. Adventures are suppose to be fun and delightful, which is anything but with these two. I guarantee by the end of this episode, aliens mimicking his family is going to be the least traumatizing thing Morty has and will deal with for the rest of his life. Either way, he is done and opts out. Rick tries to persuade him, eventually culminating in a bet between the two. Morty can pick the next adventure, but if they bail halfway, then he loses all right to complain and is forced to do Rick’s laundry for a month. If Morty wins, he’s in control of every tenth adventure.
The Smiths—the real ones—barge in, begging Rick for help with their mundane tasks. Rick tiredly agrees, but Morty thinks he’s chickening out of the competition. That’s enough to ruffle Rick’s feathers, so he solves the Smiths’ problem by giving them a Meeseeks box. By pushing the button on the box, a Meeseeks appears. They are tall, bulb-headed Muppet-looking creatures with a friendly demeanor. With their persistent “can-do” attitude and a kindly catchphrase (“Hey, look me, I’m Mr. Meeseeks!”), they’re the kind of creatures you’d see hosting a preschool show. Even their inners are literal fluffs. A Meeseeks is able to handle any request the user asks of them as long as it’s kept simple. Once fulfilled, they poof away. Summer is a bit disturbed by the implication that these sentient creatures die as quickly as they come, but Rick assures her they’re cool with it. He is not kidding. Rick dumps the box on them and leaves with Morty.
Giving the Smiths access to the Meeseeks is the equivalent of opening Pandora’s Box. If anything, this is further proof how little Rick gives a crap about the consequences. Jerry is cautious, but Summer and Beth dig right in. Summer wants to be popular in school while Beth wishes she was a more complete woman. Jerry chides them both for “doing it wrong”, then follows Rick’s advice: he wants to take two strokes off his golf game. We all know how well this will blow over.
Morty takes Rick to a fairy tale-like world. Following the grand tradition of fantasy narratives, Morty is in want of a quest. Coincidentally, the local village they stumbled upon is in desperate need of money. A giant beanstalk is said to have untold riches from the giants above. Morty is game, but Rick is unimpressed.
Summer’s Meeseeks holds an attendance at her school. He gives a passionate speech on why being her friend is a wise choice. She is instantly showered with her fellow peers. Principal Vagina discreetly asks the Meeseeks’ advice on his current custody battle, but the Meeseeks vanish, having fulfilled its task.
Meanwhile Beth and her Meeseeks is dining out at a restaurant. She airs out her concerns, unfulfilled with life. Sure, Beth is putting herself through veterinary school and she largely regards herself as a successful surgeon, but she’s going through the motion. Her heydays as a wide-eyed girl ended when she got pregnant at seventeen. The Meeseeks tells Beth she doesn’t stop being an individual just because she sacrificed a lot. Sometimes the best thing to do is being honest with her loved ones, even if it means setting them free. Beth takes this to mean that she should finally divorce Jerry. Teary-eyed, but with renewed hope, she edges closer to kiss the Meeseeks, but he evaporates. A waiter asks if she wants more wine, but Beth thinks she’s had enough.
Jerry, however, is not doing so hot. Despite his Meeseeks’ advice, Jerry can’t seem to improve. He’s getting increasingly frustrated and the Meeseeks realize that he alone cannot complete this task. So he pops out another and ask for that Meeseeks’ help.
Rick and Morty climb the beanstalk to the giant’s home. They hide behind a cookie jar when the giant wanders in. Not even a second passes before it all goes downhill: the giant slips on water and hits his head on the table. Morty is stunned; his fairy tale journey has suddenly take a swing in the other direction. Worse, the giant has a wife and child. The wife assumes Rick and Morty attempted murder on her husband, so she traps the two in a glass cup before calling the police. They’re sent to prison and interrogated by the cops. Insultingly, Rick continues to egg Morty on his crummy adventure.
Jerry struggles while several Meeseeks shout commands at him, leading him to quote a depressingly relatable line, “Have you ever tried to calm down? It’s a paradox!” The Meeseeks are desperate; living this long is a burden on them. The girls are doing fine, though Beth’s attempt to seduce Jerry with her new hairstyle does nothing for the man. Summer tries to comfort her mother, chiding Jerry in the process.
Rick and Morty are under Giant Court, ready for the final sentence. A lawyer acting for small people rights steps in at the last minute. Because they were instantly accused without having been read their rights, the two are free to go. In spite of everything, Morty remains optimistic. After all, they managed to conquer their problems so far. Morty is confident they can find another way to earn money for the villagers. For now, they have to get down and the only way is a long flight of stairs not designed for tiny folks. Rick tempts Morty to end the adventure and go home, but Morty stubbornly refuses and starts his descent.
Unwilling to wait for Jerry, Beth is set to go out for dinner. Jerry notices her hostility and joins her, fed up with the golf strokes in spite of the Meeseeks’ protests. Jerry doesn’t care and leaves the creatures to their fate. The Meeseeks has had enough, they just want to die and their prolonged existence (it’s been two days) has caused them all to be on edge. Angry and frustrated, the entire group start to blame and kill each other. The first of Jerry’s Meeseeks stands up and states the problem isn’t them, but Jerry. Killing him means their torture will be over.
Much to Morty’s luck, a small tavern is built into one of the stairs’ side. The two take a load off their feet. Morty is further validated when they meet a friendly slug creature named Slippery Stairs. For 25 smeckles, he’ll take them all the way down the steps. Rick’s bitterness finally gets to Morty though. He tells Rick to either shape up or leave, then he walks off to use the restroom.
Morty runs into a friendly creature named Mr. Jellybean in the men’s room. A casual conversation turns deadly when Mr. Jellybean gets a little touchy with Morty. This scene is one of the most depraved moments of the entire show. Mr. Jellybean attempts to have his way with Morty in spite of the boy’s protest. Morty struggles and barely makes it out, punching the freak and slamming his head in the toilet. Sexual assault is a heavy subject matter and one that should be treated with kid gloves. How it plays out depends, but when it comes to adult comedy, it can really delve into tasteless territory. Rick and Morty fortunately chooses to not make it a joke. What Morty experiences traumatizes the kid and it’s never played at his expanse. He gets better, but this is just a long string of horrible encounters Morty unfortunately has to get used to in order to survive Rick’s worlds. And you thought I was kidding when I said he’d suffer worse! Everything that occurred on screen is shown without an ounce of comedy. Well, outside of a sentient jellybean groping a human boy. That’s probably absurd enough.
At a restaurant, Beth starts to inform Jerry about the vacation that she always wanted to take. Jerry nervously assumes (likely correct) that she might use that as an excuse to leave him permanently. Before his feelings can be justified, the parade of Meeseeks crash the place. The couple hide inside the kitchen fridge walk-in, but that does little to sate the Meeseeks. Motivated by their desire to fulfill any request no matter how far, the Meeseeks take nearby civilians as hostages. Armed to the teeth, they give Jerry one last chance to take two strokes off his game. Jerry hopelessly rants about his mediocrity. Beth steps up and pulls a rack apart to improvise into a golf club. She instructs Jerry, then tells him she loves him. That’s enough for Jerry to get the confidence he needs to walk out of the fridge and demonstrate his skill. Using a tomato as a golf ball, Jerry strikes it perfectly into a pot, impressing the Meeseeks enough to finally vanish. One Meeseeks is a bit of a stickler, so he asks for Jerry’s short game. Jerry delivers and the final Meeseeks disappears. Driven by adrenaline, Jerry and Beth passionately kiss.
Morty approaches Rick and waves the white flag. He tearfully tells Rick he just wants to go home. Rick spots Mr. Jellybean stumbling out of the restroom after, realizing who has been messing with his grandson. Rick cheers Morty up by using his gambling wins to pay Slippery Stairs. They can then donate the rest of the money to the villagers. That way Morty can end the adventure the way he wants it. In less than capable hands, Rick’s tendency to skip out on any consequences alongside his boorish attitude means he could have been a terrible character; an excuse for the writers to spout whatever they wanted without scrutiny. Luckily, they found a balance by showing he isn’t always free from criticism. Eventually it’ll become clear that Rick can’t keep running from his past because it will catch up to him. The show also emphasizes his devotion to his family in spite of his lackluster concern for their well-being. It’s rare to be sure, but scenes like this prove Rick cares for Morty and no one has the right to screw him over.
They return to the village to cheers from the townsfolk. For their efforts, the villagers bring out their King…who happens to be Mr. Jellybean. Morty quickly declines and leaves once Rick opens a portal. Before it closes, Rick quickly shoots Mr. Jellybean dead, much to the villagers’ horror.
Jerry and Beth are lounging in the now ravaged living room. Jerry asks if Beth is still planning that trip. In spite of their imperfect marriage, Beth reassures her husband that unlike the other boys in high school, he stayed for her. She’s not going anywhere. Once Rick and Morty arrive, the couple pins the mess on Rick and his Meeseeks. Rick takes a page from Morty’s book and ends the story neat and clean via convenient fourth wall breaking. Occasionally the show will address the audience, though it’s uncommon. This is also the first time Rick spouts the catchphrase “Wubba-Lubba-dub-dub”, something that sticks with him for the reminder of the show.
The stinger concludes with the fairy tale villagers having erected a statue of their beloved king. One man approaches another with photos found in Mr. Jellybean’s closet. The man is revolted, but orders them destroyed. He believes the public would be better off if they idolize the Jellybean they know instead of who he truly was.