We had a chance to check out the Season 4 premiere of Adult Swim’s Rick and Morty before it hits the airwaves this Sunday night, and we’re happy to say that it’s worth the wait. “Edge of Tomorty: Rick Die Rickpeat”, airing Sunday 11/10 at 11:30PM E/P, feels like an encapsulation of the entire series so far, impressively so for a 22-minute runtime and bonus post-credits stinger scene. Much like the series itself, the premiere centers on the fraught but ultimately loving relationship between the title characters, both of whom have evolved (to some extent) over the seasons so far. But will the show itself evolve past what it’s become known for and reinvent itself? Or will co-creators Justin Roiland and Dan Harmon be happy settling for more of the same, because it’s worked pretty damn well so far?
While there are no spoilers ahead, I will be touching on some of the themes and fourth-wall breaking commentary for the Season 4 premiere of Rick and Morty in my review, if only to get an idea of where the show stands and where it’s going from here. The premiere was great; it has everything Rick and Morty fans are looking for. But where Season 4 might come up short is in its small episode order; only five new episodes will roll out over the next few weeks, so enjoy ’em while you got ’em. If they’re all up to the quality of the premiere, I think fans will cut the creative team some slack. [Update: We’ll actually be getting 10 episodes (!) with five this year and five next year.]
As for the premiere, if you’ve seen Edge of Tomorrow, also known by its tagline “Live. Die. Repeat.”, then you have an idea of the premise of this first episode. No spoilery details here, but Rick and Morty happen upon something that lets them glimpse their ultimate fates. Surprisingly, each of them takes this revelation in a different way: Morty is consumed by it, altering his life’s course in pursuit of a singular goal. Rick shrugs it off, momentarily concerned with his own immediate survival above all else. The way the episode resolves itself brings a strong moral message to the episode, which could be interpreted as “being content to live in the present”, though it’s presented in a true Rick and Morty style with plenty of alternate universe insanity.
But the biggest shift in this episode seems to be that some sort of responsibility and accountability has been forced upon Rick in the Smith/Sanchez family home. Rick is actually listening for once. That may not have much of an effect on his misadventures with Morty, but at least he’s going through the steps to get consent before dragging family members across space. That’s an important detail. Equally important is the fourth wall-breaking moments toward the end of the premiere that seem to suggest that the Rick and Morty show as you know and love it will continue to deliver the same high quality hijinks and surrealistic animation while occasionally stepping outside the box to give you something new and unexpected. The best of both (or many) worlds, you might say.
If the Season 4 premiere is any indication, we’re in for a helluva ride this season, even if it’s a short one.
Rating: ★★★★ Very good
Here’s the official synopsis for Season 4:
Buckle in for disappointment because there’s no way these episodes will be good enough for how long you waited. But maybe they will be? It’s season four! It’s sexy and smooth. Buckle in! Did I already say that? Definitely stay buckled in.
Rick and Morty is the Emmy-award-winning half-hour animated hit comedy series on Adult Swim that follows a sociopathic genius scientist who drags his inherently timid grandson on insanely dangerous adventures across the universe. Rick Sanchez is living with his daughter Beth’s family and constantly bringing her, his son-in-law Jerry, granddaughter Summer, and grandson Morty into intergalactic escapades.
Rick and Morty stars Justin Roiland (Adventure Time), Sarah Chalke (Scrubs), Chris Parnell (Saturday Night Live), and Spencer Grammer (Greek). The series is created by Dan Harmon (Community) and Roiland, who also serve as executive producers.