There are only two guarantees in life: death and having to wait a long time for new episodes of Rick and Morty. A good accountant can get you out of paying taxes, but they can’t make Dan Harmon and Justin Roiland work faster. It’s the most frustrating aspect of being a fan of the series. There have only been 31 episodes in the nearly 6 years since it debuted on December 2, 2013. And it’s upcoming season, which comes more than two years after the season three finale, is only slated to have five installments. But season four’s superb premiere makes it clear that rather than bemoaning the long hiatuses Rick and Morty takes, viewers should embrace the amount of care that goes into each new year.
It’s still one of the best-written and most entertaining shows on television, one that remains incredibly smart, funny, and insightful. And it might be all of those things because how long they take to make it.
Season four picks up where season three ended. Beth and Jerry’s reunion has changed the family dynamic, leaving Rick’s power over them neutered. It makes for a fun new perspective on Rick’s adventures with Morty, but it’s not a barrier to them going on a batshit crazy journey, like they each do here. And we do mean totally batshit crazy.What follows is arguably the show’s most meta episode yet; Rick makes a number of direct references to past seasons before old characters and storylines prove relevant. But because the writing is as sharp – and absurd – as ever, those nods to the past fit in the context of the episode to create something new. They’re also a way for Rick and Morty to tell viewers they should enjoy what is happening now rather than looking back. The show knows how frustrating it is to wait for new episodes, but none of that should matter as we’re enjoying new stuff now.And the new stuff is great, in the purest sense of the show. It pulls on so many different strands – including allusions to a beloved anime, the show’s infinite universes, and an old Rick plan – to tell a hilarious and poignant story that it almost feels impossible one 22-minute episode can do so much. There’s timely social commentary, jabs at celebrities, meaningful insights on the nature of life itself, and references to artificial intelligence concerns. They all come together to deliver a hilarious episode that feels as bonkers and inane as anything the show has done before. It really has everything fans could want, and it will reward repeated viewings. Some of its funniest gags are not overt, and a new object creates visuals that demand multiple re-watches.
Is it possible the episode would have been this good if Roiland and Harmon had “only” taken six or nine or twelve months to make it? Maybe, but we only get to live in this universe, and here it took two years to make it great. It took nearly as long time to make season three too, and it was the show’s best. So rather than complain about the hiatus between seasons, it’s time for all of us to embrace it. All of that time and care might be exactly why the show remains this good.
So as the episode says, enjoy what we have now in the moment, and look forward to what is to come. And what we have now, and what we expect to follow, is one of the best written shows on television producing episodes that live up to Rick and Morty‘s own ridiculous standards and seemingly impossible expectations. Considering the only other guarantee in life, it’s nice to know it will always deliver.
Featured Image: Adult Swim