This episode gave us exactly what we needed: a huge helping of dark, twisted backstory and character development. Between the darkness of the plot, the underlying familial and personal issues that were brought to light, and the shock-value incest discussions, there may have been too much information packed into one episode. But it was entertaining nonetheless.
We find out pretty quickly that Beth’s childhood friend, Tommy, is trapped in a place that Beth had previously thought to be a figment of her childish imagination. Rick drops the bomb that he actually artificially created this place, Froopy Land, to keep Beth entertained, and explains that they can go save Tommy if he’s still alive. But by the time they get to him, Tommy has gone pretty insane. Like raping-Froopy-Land-creatures-and-eating-the-babies-to-survive insane. Needless to say, Beth has quite a challenge ahead of her and no one gets out of there alive except her and Rick.
And apparently Rick didn’t create Froopy Land to “get rid of” Beth. He created it to protect the rest of the neighborhood from her. Serial killer kid vibes, anyone? He pulls out a box of weapons young Beth had asked him to make for her, and it’s more than enough to convince anyone that she was a sociopath from a young age. But Beth continues to deflect the blame for this and tells Rick that she only asked him to make those things so that she could spend time with him – way to show off those manipulation skills you, not surprisingly, learned from dad, Beth.
Meanwhile, Morty and Summer have been bubbled off to visit Jerry for “custody weekend”. Jerry has seemingly moved on and found a new girlfriend, who he claims to be head-over-heels in love with. Of course, his new honey is an alien with an “avocado-shaped head”. Morty and Summer immediately recognize that their father is caught up in a rebound and try to convince him to break up with her. After a few “celebratory” hunts to help his new lady rid the earth of another alien species, Jerry finally caves and tells the kids he’ll break up with her. He doesn’t, but he does tell her that it was the kids’ idea to do it, and she immediately tries to murder Rick and Morty. Just as Jerry finally admits the truth to her, her ex-boyfriend appears and reveals that Jerry has been the rebound all along.
Jerry didn’t get as much development as I had hoped for. But not only did he admit he was wrong, he finally stopped cowering for one second and put himself on the line rather than his loved ones. It’s a shame that he’s only capable of doing so when there are lives at stake.
It was wonderful to see Beth’s character fleshed out a little more than the usual “get a job, Jerry” stuff we’ve seen in the past. Earlier in the season Morty called his mother out by saying that she was acting exactly like Rick, but Beth vehemently denied it throughout the episode. In this episode, Beth admitted that she is just like her father, but that development still feels pretty small. We’ve known for a while that Beth is exactly like her father, no matter how much she denies it, so hearing about her sociopath tendencies as a kid wasn’t exactly shocking. And seeing her finally cave and admit she’s been in denial was bound to happen.
But I have to give the staff a round of applause for this episode as a whole. I have yet to see a show that utilized both incest and cannibalism together in a single scene, let alone as defining traits for an entire character. I was uncomfortable, and disgusted, and failed to contain waves of morbid laughter. Kudos.
Season 3 of Rick and Morty comes to an end with this next episode, and I expect that it will not only be crazier, but also darker than anything we’ve seen so far. The fate of the Smith family is in Beth’s hands, and I can’t wait to see what she decides to do!