“One Flew Over the Crewcoo’s Morty” was a masterful spoof of the heist genre, the entertainment industry, and Elon Musk — and Elon himself has fun riffing.
This recap of Rick and Morty Season 4, Episode 3, “One Crew Over the Crewcoo’s Morty”, contains spoilers.
Rick and Morty Season 4, Episode 3 is a masterful spoof of the heist genre, as funny as it is fiendishly clever and smugly self-aware. It’s also proof that this show is so good it can even repurpose played-out tropes and trappings into better compositions than the ones it’s actually pilfering from; an ironic switcheroo perfectly fitting for “One Crew Over the Crewcoo’s Morty”.
The episode opens with Rick and Morty’s (both voiced by Justin Roiland) first proper adventure of the season – a jaunt through a trap-festooned Temple of Doom that I’m sure not coincidentally houses an artifact known as the Crystal Skull. As it happens, though, the trinket is missing, having already been snatched by villain of the week Miles Knightly (Justin Theroux) and replaced with his calling card – a red origami horse. This should come as no surprise, but Rick absolutely despises Knightly, and indeed everything associated with heists in general, so he and Morty head to Heist Con to confront him.
The convention is a nightmare for Rick, obviously, especially once he’s told that they can’t enter without forming their own crew. “One Crew Over the Crewcoo’s Morty” has multiple sequences of Rick and Morty doing exactly this, mostly by teleporting into various random locations and recruiting various outlandish personalities, almost all of whom are in service of some subsequent twist or double-cross as well as mostly being funny on their own terms. Getting into Heist Con and being challenged to a Heist-Off by Knightly is all part of at least two or three other heists devised by Rick and/or a self-aware robot he built and dubbed the Heist-O-Tron.
The episode-long running gag of Rick and Morty Season 4, Episode 3 is that the crosses and double-crosses never seem to end; each time we feel we’ve reach solid ground it’s wrenched out from beneath us by another last-minute development, beginning with Rick’s heist of the Crystal Skull getting more and more complex until the attendees literally heist Knightly’s skull from his head, and ending with a very last-minute skewering of the entertainment industry’s low standards when it turns out Rick has heisted Morty’s enthusiasm for his heist movie script because he’s scared of losing him.
That last bit is something of a footnote; most of “One Crew Over the Crewcoo’s Morty” isn’t about anything so introspective, but instead the simple formal fun of taking genre staples to their absolute extremes. There’s a great bit in which Rick assembles another crew and builds another robot, the Rando-Tron, which is programmed to design heists completely at random because anything even resembling a plan will at some point become part of the Heist-O-Tron’s double-cross plan.
One of Rick’s crewmen, by the way, is Elon Tusk, an alternative-universe Elon Musk who is voiced by the real Elon Musk in a hilariously self-aware turn that might serve as accidental damage control since the demonstration of the Tesla Cybertruck’s ostensibly bulletproof windows went rather splendidly wrong.
Rick and Morty Season 4, Episode 3 feels like exactly what is it: Roiland and Dan Harmon having as much fun as they can riffing on something so familiar to all of us that we can see all the developments coming but still get to be surprised at how far “One Crew Over the Crewcoo’s Morty” takes them – and how funny it is in doing so. Its final gag – that Netflix is still willing to buy Morty’s script, even though he was utterly disinterested in his own pitch – is just the cherry on top of a masterclass spoof.