This recap of Rick and Morty season 6, episode 1, “Solaricks”, contains spoilers.
The endless conflict in Rick and Morty has always been between canon and chaos. The show has never had a shortage of ingenious concepts to put to varying amounts of use, but increasingly, especially in the last couple of seasons, the question of how it all fits together has become more and more pressing. The sixth season premiere, “Solaricks” – an obvious riff on Solaris, by the way – kind of gives us the best of both worlds, with endless nods to everything from Avengers: Endgame to The Usual Suspects combined with multiple self-referential gags and ideas that deal directly with the current Smith line-up not even all being from the same universe.
Rick and Morty season 6, episode 1 recap
Things begin by following on pretty directly from the fifth season finale, ripping off Tony Stark’s stranded-in-space monologue as Rick and Morty find themselves starving to death aboard a spaceship following the destruction of the Citadel of Ricks. Shortly after being rescued by Beth, they dive into a course-correcting little adventure that is calibrated quite carefully to appeal to the long-time Rick and Morty fans who’re sure to get all the references.
Is this the show trying to have its cake and eat it too? Possibly, but it’s hard to quibble when all the usual hallmarks of a good Rick and Morty episode are here in such volume and quality. With all the spare Morties having turned feral, Rick tries to reboot the portal index but instead sends portal travelers – eventually! – back to their original universes, which sends Morty to a post-apocalyptic dystopia where he gets to have a fun, if bitter, little adventure with a survivalist Jerry, and Rick back to the universe where Weird Rick killed his wife and daughter and he built a chatty AI reminder of his failure to keep him motivated. (“Oh, I used to drink drink” had me rolling, for what it’s worth.)
This is all, in a way, standard stuff, but it’s delivered with all the pep and enthusiasm as some of the show’s best episodes, and it sneaks in moments of unexpected pathos – Rick tells AI Diane that she reminds him of Summer – where they’re least expected. The overall effect is funny and weird, as expected, but also functions as an Easter Egg hunt for dedicated fans and a reminder that no matter how self-referential and irritable the show might get about its own continuity, someone, somewhere is keeping track of it. I’m all for standalone episodes, but it’s nice to be reminded that some stuff really does matter – at least some of the time.