Rick and Morty Season 7 Episodes 1 & 2: Post-Roiland, Does it Still Work?

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| November 3, 2023

Rick and Morty is back with Season 7. It’s been nine months since Season 6’s finale, and, boy, has a lot happened in that time.

We are in a world without Justin Roiland for the first time, and everything is weird. I guess that’s par for the course for the Sanchez clan and their cohorts, but this is a different kind of weird. Roiland was the creator of the show, and he voiced both Rick Sanchez and Morty Smith, the two main characters. The titular characters have now transitioned to relative newcomers Ian Cardoni and Harry Belden, respectively.

I’m not going into why he’s gone, but there’s no doubt he was extremely important to the show’s inception and continued success. So, is it strange now he’s gone?

After the first two episodes, I have thoughts. But first, let’s recap this season’s openers!

Episode 1: How Poopy Got His Poop Back

Poopy’s life is down the pooper

In the period between the Season 6 finale and the Season 7 opener, Mr. Poopybutthole (now voiced by Joe Allen) has been living with the Smith family. However, it’s not all sunshine and rainbows, as Mr. Poopybutthole has fallen into a deep depression after losing his job and being abandoned by his wife and kids. Using drink and drugs to numb the pain, his self-destructive behavior has finally reached a tipping point for Beth (Sarah Chalke) and Jerry (Chris Parnell).

It falls to Rick to be a good friend and throw an intervention, something he avoids admitting at all costs. Gathering Birdperson, Squanchy, Gearhead and Gene (a douchebag neighbor), they resolve to have a friendly chat with Poopy. Unfortunately, it doesn’t go to plan, and the intervention turns into one last bender, complete with drugs, drink and HUGH JACKMAN.

This culminates in an attempt to win his wife back from her new boyfriend, The Predator. With all Predator battles, it’s freaking tough, but the gang prevails and earns a customary pistol gift. However, that doesn’t win back Wayne Poopybutthole’s wife and kids. Realizing his wife and child’s happiness is all that matters, Mr. Poopybutthole accepts reality and decides to turn his life around. 

The post-credits show the real villain of the episode: Gene’s runaway riding lawnmower, having destroyed the town and murdered multiple innocents. Damn you, Gene!

Episode 2: The Jerrick Trap

Burger and Fries, together again

Jerry calls out Rick’s “brain privilege” (the privilege of being smart), causing Rick to lose his shit and pull a Freaky Friday. Rick, in Jerry’s body, unable to cope with his diminished capacity, immediately blows his brains out. This causes Jerry to panic, and lose control of Rick’s scientifically augmented body, accidentally also dying. The garage AI… does its best to put all the pieces back together again a la all the king’s horses and all the king’s men.  

Meanwhile, Morty has been “captured” by mobsters for selling crystals on their turf. Captured may be a stretch because Morty is treated like a boss, knowing his association with the elder Sanchez. This episode cements Rick’s position in the galaxy. He’s a muther-trucking GOD! But when the mobsters meet the Rick and Jerry mashup, his unquestionably divine aura dissipates.

Jerry and Rick, now remarkably similar in character, bond. They’ve been friends for a few seasons, but neither can admit that to the other when they’re 100% themselves, especially Rick. In this state, they can love each other like brothers. 

When the mobsters kidnap the Smith family, Rick and Jerry combine forces (think eww eww eww Human Centipede eww), saving them and re-establishing Rick’s God-like reputation. Jerrick separates, but I like to think the experience has brought them closer together.

In the post-credits, it’s revealed that a part of Rick’s mind is trapped within Jerry’s. It’s a great setup to be explored later in the season. 

Summary

It’s good to see the gang back together again!

So, does it feel strange without the creator and actor of the two main characters, Rick Sanchez and Morty Smith? 

Well, it feels strange that it doesn’t feel strange. Yes, there are subtle differences in the tone and conversational cadence of the likes of Morty and Mr. Poopybutthole, but it’s close enough to the before-times. Nowhere near as jarring as the Family Guy Meg Griffin change. It’s a good enough soundalike, and I’m sure I’ll get used to it over time. 

How about the writing? Could these two episodes have been produced under Roiland’s tenure? Yes. Absolutely. They’re weird and wacky, and it fits the narrative and style of Rick and Morty perfectly. I’d expect nothing less from Dan Harmon, who also has this show in his veins. 

The two opening episodes were extremely entertaining, and it worked in its favor that series favorites such as Squanchy, Birdperson and Mr. Poopybutthole (oooooooeeeeeee!) returned to set us all at ease. But it wasn’t all fan service. These episodes progress the characters in interesting ways, and I’m here for it.

Rick and Morty forever, 100 years.

What did you think of the latest episodes?

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