Once in a while, a mission planned by Rick Sanchez goes wrong. Or does it? In this article, we review the third episode of Rick and Morty‘s fourth season.
“One Crew Over the Crewcoo’s Morty” is directed by Bryan Newton and written by Caitie Delaney.
If you haven’t caught up with the show, do so now or read at your own peril. Spoilers ahead!
This week’s episode of the Adult Swim television series satirizes heist narratives. Our titular characters Rick and his grandson Morty Smith break into an alien temple but they discover someone already beat them to the chase. Their trail leads the duo to Heist Con, a convention for heist artists. The elderly scientist and his grandson try to outdo the convention’s speaker, Miles Knightly, but a complicated scheme becomes more complex as the audience and Knightly’s own heist team double-crosses him. The robotic artificial intelligence device Rick created double-crosses him, and before we know it, the viewers of the episode are stolen of their most valuable possessions: our knowledge and mentalities.
Rick and Morty pokes fun at the heist genre (along with symbols, tropes, and cliches found here), most especially the Indiana Jones and Ocean’s films. Mister Poopybutthole returns, this time as a university professor like Dr. Henry Jones Jr.; and the episode references the Crystal Skull object from the fourth Jones film. The origami horse (and later, origami boat) as the artists’ calling cards are the most used item in the genre. Heck, even the fictional convention Heist Con is a con. Not only does “con” stand for “convention,” but it is also a center for con artists.
Thievery is the primary theme presented here, and it’s mind-blowing how much is stolen from beginning to end. Morty writes a heist script and Rick steals it from him just to plot a scheme that results in his grandson giving up and wanting to go on adventures with his grandfather. Rick points out that even companies steal when he says:
It’s showtime, Morty. And I don’t mean a bad impression of HBO. I mean, time for a show.
Here, the scientist states that while HBO and Showtime are different television networks, they are still similar in what they broadcast. Nothing is original. In addition, fast food corporations can be deceptive. Wendy’s promoted last week’s episode as well as this week’s, but in this new episode, Rick is seen tossing an Arby’s paper bag in the wind at the beginning of the episode. As it was said, “No heist is complete without a double-cross.” If Wendy’s can do a 4 for $4, another company can take this concept and do something similar. Even before Wendy’s, the show was promoted by McDonald’s with its Szechuan sauce shoutout. The world is full of unoriginal ideas, and therefore banal ones at that, which is why Morty claims that “heists are just really dumb now.”
When you dig deeper into the genre, the heist is just one genre that deals with deception, the other being espionage, which is defined by the practice of spying to obtain information. In the episode, Rick’s robot Heistotron drops a giant “hidden” security camera on a planet and kills exactly fifty-nine thousand of its inhabitants. The scientist also teams up with other con artists, and their “son-of-a-bitch” handshake is a reference to characters from the 1987 science-fiction film Predator, a movie in which human and alien characters venture off on a spy mission.
We have to be careful about what is seen as stolen. Rick says, “Stealing stuff is about the stuff, not the stealing.” It’s then revealed that he stole his grandson’s idea and, consequently, his enthusiasm and dreams. While it is mentioned in academic institutions, plagiarism is no joke. One person steals another person’s work and the first person takes the credit. In fact, Rick’s white lab coat in this episode somehow has its own sentience like character Doctor Strange’s Cloak of Levitation. One must note that Dan Harmon worked as an uncredited consultant on the 2016 film. Do you think he must have taken the idea and used it in this episode?
Overall, the episode conducts a remarkable critique of the art of deception. It can also be revered for its brief jokes on conventions such as Comic-Con when Rick asserts that badges symbolize support, which he is not a fan of. Its arbitrary incorporation of Maya Angelou is worth noting. We can learn a thing or two about deception:
The only perfect heist is one that was never written.
On the other hand, the art of deception and everything that ties into it tells a larger lesson. Influence is different from originality. You can be influenced to replicate or allude to another’s work, but original ideas come rare these days. Also paying homage to Milos Forman’s 1975 film One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, the episode perfectly shows us that the top way out of a tricky situation is to dumb down on our mentality and thought processes.
What do you think? Have you seen Rick and Morty yet? If not, do you plan to? Let us know! For more animation-related news and reviews follow The Cinema Spot on Twitter (@TheCinemaSpot) and Instagram (@thecinemaspot_).
Rick and Morty Season 4 is now out on Cartoon Network’s nighttime program Adult Swim!