The episode begins innocently enough. Morty overhears his crush, Jessica, talking to her friends about her recent break up. Before Morty can really start to make a move on Jessica, Rick bursts into the scene and drags him away for another adventure despite having told Morty that he could go to school. But that was “before [Rick] needed something”…right back to winning that award for grandpa of the year, isn’t he?
Rick promises that the adventure will only take 20 minutes, but six days later the two are in the worst shape we’ve ever seen them. They may have won an award of some sort for saving an entire population, but tearing through an alien ship as they struggle to survive is the last straw for them. They both have a complete mental breakdown in the ship just before heading home, crying and yelling hysterically. So, Rick decides they need a vacation and takes Morty to the best spa in the universe.
Since the resort is alien, it’s not abnormal to see Rick and Morty regurgitated from the mouth of a mysterious blob monster that somehow relaxes whatever creature it swallows. They continue their experience when Rick is convinced to try a mental detox, but the relaxation ends when the detox machine explodes. Rick and Morty are hurled into a gooey toxic wasteland and struggle to escape a hoard of monsters with their lives. Soon, however, Rick deduces that they aren’t the Rick and Morty they were when they entered the machine. They are the toxic pieces of Rick and Morty that was purged, and they are stuck there with all the other toxins purged from spa-goers. “We’re what God removed!”
Meanwhile on Earth, Rick receives a transmission on his cell phone that captures the voices of Toxin Rick and Morty as they’re being tormented. Rick correctly guesses that their toxic selves are sentient and his counterpart shares his intelligence. Morty, who has become popular throughout his school because of his newfound kindness, generosity, and friendly confidence, decides to crush Rick’s phone and encourages him to live in bliss and not worry about their toxic counterparts. Which is an obvious sign that something is about to go wrong, because this is more out of character for Morty than anything else that has happened so far in the episode.
Morty becomes more and more energetic as time passes. His date with Jessica is a disaster because he can’t stop talking and scares her off. After Jessica leaves, he moves on and attempts to get with a woman named Stacy at the restaurant’s bar. He and Stacy head back to his home, but Morty gets cockblocked by Rick, who has made contact with Toxin Rick and made arrangements to “re-toxify” himself and Morty. Rick forcibly pulls Morty into the re-toxification chamber, but Stacy breaks Morty out of the chamber and takes his place at the last second. As Toxin Rick and Morty end up being transferred into the real world, Toxin Rick reveals that his plan was for the real Rick and Morty to end up being thrown into the toxic wasteland he just escaped from. But, surprise, that didn’t work as planned. Now Stacy is stuck in the wasteland instead.
Toxin Rick is still intent on sending Rick into the chamber—queue the fantastic and ridiculous fight and chase scene that completely demolishes the house. After Beth enters the scene, Toxin Rick decides that it would be better to just make the entire world toxic since he can’t send the real Rick into the toxic wasteland. He succeeds, and all hell breaks loose as everyone’s toxic sides take over their bodies. Rick and Morty show up to the scene with jet packs, and Rick immediately shoots Toxin Morty with a special bullet that is laced with an encrypted nano-botic virus that will disintegrate him. The only way Toxin Rick can save Toxin Morty is to merge with real Rick…which is quite the standoff.
Of course, as soon as both Rick’s merge again, Rick immediately farts in Morty’s face.
Morty takes off, refusing to remerge with his toxic self, and heads off to the city. In a very Wolf of Wallstreet like scene, he’s shown masterfully negotiating a million dollar stock purchase over the phone. He also apparently has an apartment of his own, complete with a new red-headed girlfriend. But after a phone call from his old flame, Jessica, his fantasy-come-true is ruined. Rick traces the call and teleports himself and Jessica into the apartment, sending in several flying robots to restrain Morty. Rick injects Morty with the residue of his toxic self, and Morty instantly returns to being miserable and self-conscious. Morty talks to Jacqueline, his new girlfriend, and offers to leave her the apartment, as well as the drones Rick used to restrain him. Rick suddenly stops the argument he had been having with Jessica to interrupt Morty and declare that Jacqueline cannot have the drones—“they turn into a little Voltron robot, they’re awesome”.
For those of you who have read my other articles, you know that this made my little Altean heart flutter. But I digress.
The episode comes full circle when Morty returns to school. He once again overhears Jessica’s conversation with her friends, this time hearing that she could possibly get back together with her ex-boyfriend. Naturally, Rick pops up again and begins to drag Morty through another portal. Just before Morty enters the portal, Jessica calls out his name and tells him, “it’s good to have you back”. And honestly, that’s incredibly touching considering all the depressing shit we’ve seen in the previous episodes.
Overall, this episode felt a lot more normal (or at least normal as far as Rick and Morty goes). The toxic animation was both disgusting and entertaining, and the idea of separating the toxic self from the “normal” self was brilliant. It once again forced Rick, and this time Morty as well, to contemplate and confront his demons. Granted, his acceptance of his toxicity really only meant that he went back to his classic Rick ways. But hey, that’s a start, right?