This summer many eager fans watched the highly anticipated Rick and Morty season 5. However, for many it was not what they had expected. Season 5 of Rick and Morty was a disappointment. It had its moments, but overall was a step down from the previous seasons. Now let’s discuss the important elements of season 5 and the reasons it fell short of many fans’ expectations.
This article may contain some spoilers.
For seasons 4 and 5 Justin Roiland and Dan Harmon wisely chose to return to the simpler structure that the show began with: standalone episodes with a simple plot. While the character development and exposure of seasons 2 and 3 was necessary, it’s not the show’s identity. However, the first season of Rick and Morty wasn’t special because of its simplicity; it was special because it was funny.
That’s Rick and Morty’s identity; it’s a sci-fi themed comedy. Season 5 wasn’t nearly as funny as the previous seasons. Every episode in season’s 1-3 had at least one laugh-out-loud-funny moment. Season 4 wasn’t quite as funny, but season 5 was a disappointment. My biggest laughs watching episodes 2, 3, 5, 7, and 9 came during the after-credits scenes.
Lack of Commitment
The writers’ best idea of the season was episode 4. Morty gives in to his adolescent desires by doing something gross that ends up causing a worldwide crisis. The resulting trouble makes it difficult for Morty to hide his shame, but he still tries. This is a great plot because it’s relatable and it creates potential for very funny scenes. Hiding an embarrassing secret is something that most people have done at some point in their lives, but can look back on with humor. However, the concept was underused throughout the episode.
Eventually it takes a random turn into the lair of the horse-people, which reminded me of a moment in episode 2 of season 5. Rick and Morty tune in to some interdimensional cable and have this to say about the show they find.
Morty: Huh, kind of mucked it up with this Dracula stuff.
Rick: You’re right. It shows a lack of faith in their core concept.
The constant side jokes in this episode show a lack of faith in Morty hiding his secret. The secret eventually got out, which could have been hilarious, but it was poorly written and poorly delivered. The antagonist revealed Morty’s secret while Rick was captured and it soon reached the rest of the cast through a phone.
However, their reactions to finding out what Morty had done were brief and angry, which didn’t have a comedic impact. Morty was hiding this secret because he feared others being ashamed of him, not because he feared others being angry with him. So, shame needed to be the focus of this reveal for comedic impact, not anger.
A similar concept was well executed in Futurama season 1 episode 4, “Love’s Labours Lost in Space.” Leela was hiding her romantic encounter with Zapp Brannigan from Fry and Bender. When the secret got out there was a pause, as the two realized what had transpired between Leela and Zapp. Fry’s mouth hangs open out of shock and the two respond with shame and ridicule. Each line was well written and well delivered, which maximized comedic impact.
The reveal of Morty’s secret should have been executed similarly. It would have been much funnier if there had been a pause, followed by Rick and the rest of the cast shaking their heads and sighing. This had potential to be a very funny episode, but the writers blew it.
Missed opportunities, poor delivery, and lack of relatability marred the whole season. Another episode that had potential was episode 8. Rick entered the mind of his friend, Birdperson, in order to repair his damaged psyche. There was a moment when they visited a memory where Birdperson and Tammy are kissing in Rick’s workshop. The moment ends abruptly when the real Rick and Birdperson drive a car over the memory.
That was a perfect moment for Birdperson to have said something about Rick behind his back, or they could have messed with Rick’s equipment. But the opportunity was missed.
In season 5’s finale, a very popular character made an appearance: Eyepatch Morty, sometimes called Evil Morty or President Morty. He has been a mysterious character throughout the series. At long last, fans were given some details about his motive, and it is actually pretty interesting. However, this should have been a two-episode finale because the motive takes some explaining and the brief monologue didn’t cut it. Also, fans have been waiting to find out what Eyepatch Morty’s goal is for years, so a regular length episode didn’t do it justice.
Season 5 of Rick and Morty was a disappointment, but I trust Dan Harmon and Justin Roiland to bounce back. I want season 6 to be funny more than anything else, and I look forward to seeing it.