Rick and Morty Recap: A Bonding Exercise

By Jonathon Wilson
Published: December 9, 2019 (Last updated: 3 weeks ago)
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Rick and Morty Season 4, Episode 4 recap: “Claw and Hoarder: Special Ricktim’s Morty”


“Claw and Hoarder: Special Ricktim’s Morty” is a step down from other recent offerings, but still a satisfying-enough diversion.

This recap of Rick and Morty Season 4, Episode 4, “Claw and Hoarder: Special Ricktim’s Morty”, contains spoilers. You can check out our thoughts on the previous episode by clicking these words.

Back after a Thanksgiving hiatus and with one episode left before a midseason break, “Claw and Hoarder: Special Ricktim’s Morty” finds Matthew Broderick as a talking cat and an unconventional X-rated romance blossoming between Rick (Justin Roiland) and Balthremar (Liam Cunningham), a horny dragon given to Morty (also Roiland) as a gift. Surprisingly, none of this is quite as funny as it sounds.

It’s still pretty funny, though, and if Rick and Morty Season 4, Episode 4 doesn’t quite meet the lofty standards set by some of the show’s more recent offerings, it at least provides a competent 20-odd minute diversion. Rick naturally thinks dragons are lame, convinced that Morty will quickly feel the same way about Bathremar, but once Rick gets to know the giant lizard, he discovers they have much more in common than he first thought. Bathremar, though, is promiscuous, originally signed away by a wizard who insists he’s a s**t, charming Rick into a “soul-bonding” which is a polite but unsubtle form of sex, and then upsetting Morty when he catches the pair of them in the act.

An unfortunate consequence of soul-bonding in “Claw and Hoarder: Special Ricktim’s Morty” is that it allows both participants to feel whatever the other feels; that’s fine during sex, but less so when Bathremar is hung by the wizard, though the fact that dragons apparently take a really long time to die this way ensures the conceit is only an excuse for gags rather than any legitimate tension.

Meanwhile in Rick and Morty Season 4, Episode 4, Jerry (Chris Parnell) finds himself embroiled in a bizarre B-plot in which he discovers a talking cat (Broderick) who wants to go to Florida – the payoff for this is that the feline is from another planet and is carrying around extra-terrestrial baggage so horrific that Rick has to mind-wipe Jerry to preserve his sanity.

Unfortunately, the show’s trademark self-awareness isn’t enough to protect it against criticism here, since acknowledging something doesn’t equate to subverting it, and the end-of-episode gag about the whole thing being a bit of a waste of time doesn’t mean it wasn’t actually a bit of a waste of time. Although it’s nice that the show thinks the same way I do. I wish more did.

TV, TV Recaps
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