Rick and Morty Season 2 Episode 4 Review: “Total Rickall”

Rick and Morty

Rick and Morty has been off to a strong start in its second season. After quickly becoming a fan favorite adult cartoon, the new season continues to deliver consistently good episodes each week. In this week’s episode, titled, “Total Rickall,” we received another fun play on pop culture and the movie Total Recall. I really enjoy all of the original stories in Rick and Morty, but it’s never a bad thing when a show decides to mimic famous movies or media, and in this case, the series nailed it.

The episode opens up with the family eating dinner and a new character present who looks a lot like Jerry. It turns out that’s no coincidence because it’s his brother, Uncle Steve. Another character shows up that resembles Morty named Mr. Poopybutthole, but this one looks similar to an alien. Rick quickly realizes Uncle Steve is, in fact, not real, and shoots him to kick off the episode by revealing it was really an alien parasite that plants false memories into people’s minds like… Total Recall.

From here, the episode basically tailspins into a hilarious reel of “memories” where characters continue to pop up left and right. The fantasies that we see are all humorous and really well done because they get progressively more ridiculous. My favorite flashbacks were seeing Rick and Frankenstein’s Monster in ‘Nam together as well as Jerry’s vacation with Sleepy Gary (Beth’s fake husband). The events escalate to the point where Rick makes the fourth-wall-breaking joke about how the scene now looks like a Where’s Waldo? picture.

The parasite race begins to grow faster as they multiply, which eventually brings forth a character called, “Reverse Giraffe,” who gets everybody believing that Rick might actually be the alien. Morty agrees to shoot Rick, and they end up in the garage with things at the tilting point. Morty has every intention of killing Rick in this scene until he realizes how to save the day. I really loved this moment of clarity for Morty because he finally gets to be the hero, and it’s a testament to what he has learned from Rick. Although the poor kid isn’t learning about science, he’s gaining lots of street smarts, which was reflected here.

Morty recognizes that he has negative memories about Rick while the fictitious characters only implant happy memories so people get swept up in how positive the experience was. Morty kills the two parasites in the garage, and he and Rick begin to unload on everyone. They quickly add Summer and Beth to their team and take out all parasites.

By episode’s end, we find ourselves back at the dinner table where we started. The aftermath of these false memories was pretty funny as well because nothing was forgotten. Beth and Jerry both need to get over Sleepy Gary, Summer’s imaginary unicorn friend is gone, and Mr. Beauregard never took Morty to the dance. Each character was left feeling empty after falsely feeling some of their true wishes and desires.

“Total Rickall” was another successfully executed episode from Dan Harmon and Justin Roiland; they are continuing to give each character more depth in clever and humorous ways. This episode of Rick and Morty illustrated how shows can properly re-tell an old story in their own way.

Rick and Morty continues to give us consistency throughout this second season, and the creators, especially Dan Harmon, know how to keep a show fun and lighthearted while also giving the characters value. The show delivers again with “Total Rickall” and has me looking forward to each Sunday night.

Other Thoughts:

– Morty saving the day was really my favorite part of the episode. I felt the garage scene really showed off the growth of his character.

– Who wants to make “Hulk” the Broadway musical a real thing?

– Some of my favorite characters this week: Amish Cyborg, Hamurai, and Photography Raptor. Pensylvestor was good, too.

– Great moment at the end to make Mr. Poopybutthole a real person when Beth shoots him.

[Photo via Cartoon Network]

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