Rick and Morty Season 6 Teaches Fans a Lesson With Worst Episode Ever


The Big Picture

  • Rick and Morty Season 6 responds to fan critiques by incorporating meta-discussion and fourth wall breaks into the plot.
  • Episode 9, “A Rick in King Mortur’s Mort,” may intentionally be a lousy episode as a way for Rick to chastise the boisterous fans.
  • The appearance of the vat of acid gimmick is likely a deliberate move by Rick to challenge fans who question the direction of the series.

As far as television series with intense fandoms go, Rick and Morty has racked up quite a loyal viewership that not only watches each episode, often multiple times, but also eagerly dives into the mythos of the series, exposes hidden Easter eggs, and tracks down the show’s many references. Seemingly, they also appear to be increasingly harder to please, as they do not shy away from sharing their critiques of each episode with the show’s creators. Since the series often breaks the fourth wall, these strident criticisms of the show have inevitably worked their way into the plot of the series. Though the show is gearing for an eighth season and a spin-off anime, Season 6 of Rick and Morty on Adult Swim has its titular character Rick struggling to maintain fidelity with the direction of the series. This meta-discussion has found a central position in the plot of several episodes, which aim to explore the common critique that the creators receive insisting that they need to do more classic Rick and Morty adventures.

Episode 9, “A Rick in King Mortur’s Mort,” just might be their answer to this request, but be careful what you wish for. Could this episode, arguably the worst of the season, be intentionally lousy as a means for Rick to chastise the boisterous fans of the show? It wouldn’t be the first time he uses the vat of acid gimmick to teach a lesson. Rather than berating Morty, who Rick actually treats with an unusual amount of kindness in this episode, it’s rather likely that, here, the haphazard galactic quest is in fact a strange lesson from Rick to you, the viewer.

Rick and Morty

The fractured domestic lives of a nihilistic mad scientist and his anxious grandson are further complicated by their inter-dimensional misadventures.

Release Date
December 2, 2013


Cartoon Network

Rick is very clearly aware at least of the possibility that he is the star of a television show, often talking to the viewer, announcing commercial breaks, or ranting about how many seasons it will take for him to finally get his Szechuan sauce. However, Season 6 of Rick and Morty takes this to another level, abounding with fourth wall breaks, self-referential material and canon, much to the chagrin of certain boisterous fans who want nothing more than classic adventures from the series’ early days. In Episode 7, “Full Meta Jackrick,” this very note is given to Rick by a fictionalized version of the late writer Joseph Campbell. “When you get home, Rick, do some classic adventures. Like Season 1.” As if speaking for the animators, Rick replies, “I’m so sick of that f***ing note, what the f*** does it even mean?”

In the episode prior, “JuRicksic Mort,” a trio of intergalactic dinosaurs quickly solve many of the potential canonical elements that had been set up as multi-episode challenges for Rick to face, such as repairing an interdimensional rift or solving portal travel. And so, with nothing else afoot, “A Rick in King Mortur’s Mort” and the episode before it, “Analyze Piss,” bring the viewer back to the classic, Season 1 format.

What Happens in the “A Rick in King Mortur’s Mort” Episode?

Knights kneel down and pledge fealty to Rick and Morty in Season 6
Image via Adult Swim

“A Rick in King Mortur’s Mort” is a chaotic take on the classic Rick and Morty space adventure with odd characters, mythology vs. science, and a spiraling sense of offbeat ridiculousness. The episode begins with both Rick and Morty attending a popup galactic food experience on the moon, but quickly devolves into mayhem, introducing a mythological sect of knights who protect the sun, as well as a myriad of new civilizations who occupy different planets in the solar system. Morty is thrust into a delicate and highly illogical predicament that jeopardizes his penis and also makes him king of the sun.

As a whirlwind of fighting and an explosion of new throw-away characters ensues, the episode gets lost in its own story until it climaxes with Morty about to sever his penis and toss it into the sun in an ancient solar ritual. It is at this point that Rick pulls out his tried and true vat of acid trick from Season 4’s “The Vat of Acid Episode.” The grandfather/grandson duo fake their deaths and everything resets in true Season 1 fashion. However, there’s more to this gimmick than a trap door of bones. It is worth exploring just a little deeper what it might mean having the vat of acid reappear here at the end of one of the first truly episodic storylines in quite some time.


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Does that make Morty a Shonen protagonist?

The Deeper Meaning Behind ‘Rick and Morty’s Vat of Acid

In “The Vat of Acid Episode,” Rick uses the acid stunt to teach Morty not to undermine him, to let Rick choose the adventures, to not ask him for advanced technology that Morty couldn’t begin to comprehend, and certainly to not question the direction he leads them in. The episode begins with Morty losing all faith in Rick’s methods, yes the vat of acid, to which Rick then agrees to give Morty exactly what he wants, a piece of tech that can choose a point in time and reset the user to that time stamp. It’s like a save-your-game marker in a video game. Well aware that Morty will eventually find a way to turn this into a serious mess, Rick waits for the right moment when all is seemingly lost and then forces Morty’s only way out to be the vat of acid trick that Morty was quick to pass judgment on earlier. While there were likely many other possible solutions, in true Rick form, he instigates the entire storyline in order for Morty to simply accept and verbally acknowledge that he was right.

With this in mind, the appearance of the vat of acid gimmick is likely anything but a sloppy ending for a chaotic episode. While Reddit is full of fans calling it a slipshod callback in a ludicrous episode, under the right lens this is Rick pulling the rug out from under fans who challenge the direction of the series. It’s as if he is saying directly to the fandom this time, rather than to Morty, “Look, this is what happens when you choose the adventure, and it sucked. Now let me get back to doing what I want to do.” While this theory is unconfirmed by the creators and writers of the series, if there were ever a show with the gall to brazenly make an episode intentionally ill-conceived, it is Rick and Morty.

Rick and Morty is available to stream on Max in the U.S.

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