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Rick And Morty Season 6 Episode 3 Recap: The Beths Are Back In Town

It's Thanksgiving time for the Smith-Sanchez family! After last week's diversion to Blips and Chitz for a "Die Hard" parody, "Rick and Morty" Season 6, Episode 3 is all about love and family. More specifically, it's about loving your family in ways that make your kids and your scientist dad extremely uncomfortable. Let's back up a little bit.

The episode, titled "Bethic Twinstinct," opens with Morty (Justin Roiland) enjoying a new alien video game console when Rick (Justin Roiland) shows up as a turkey (potentially a holdover effect from last season's "Thanksploitation Spectacular" episode) and asks where he got the new toy. Space Beth, the potential clone of Beth (both Sarah Chalke), is in town for Thanksgiving and gave it to him, Morty explains. Rick is eager to play, but first comes Thanksgiving dinner.

Space Beth's return throws a wrench into the currently ordered family dynamic, resulting in the least science-fiction-y episode so far this season and by far the most hilariously awkward. With that, let's break it down.

No one loves you like (other versions of) yourself

As the family sits down for Thanksgiving dinner, Jerry (Chris Parnell) proposes a toast. It starts out sweet enough, with Jerry telling Beth he's grateful for her. But it soon goes off the rails when Jerry insists that, should Beth leave him or become unfaithful, he will kill himself. Roll the title credits.

Throughout dinner, both versions of Beth, having patched up their differences in the season premiere, are incredibly chummy with each other. There are, to put it mildly, vibes in the air. Space Beth cracks Beth's back, Beth later gives her a massage. They can't keep their hands off each other. They almost go in for a kiss but stop when a noise emanates from inside the house. It's Summer (Spencer Grammer), and she's onto them. Unable to deal with the reality of the situation, she heads for the couch to distract herself with video games.

Eventually, the two Beths excuse themselves to a planet called Gloppydrop to pick up some ice cream. But what they end up licking is, of course, each other. The pair return home, sans ice cream, unable to keep their tongues out of each other's mouths. They're so caught up in each other that they don't notice Morty just outside the car. Morty, too, retreats into video games with his sister, unable to handle the idea of his mom cheating on his dad with herself. "You tend to notice stuff a little before I do," Morty says. "But eventually you do notice," Summer replies. The two agree that protecting Jerry from the truth is the most important thing.

Notably, Morty's video games advertise as realistic, but that turns out to mean they're boring to reflect reality. It's a poignant parallel to the Beths, whose questioning of their reality led them to this point.

A full San Junipero

Beth heads into the garage, where Rick is disemboweling a cybernetic space whale for parts to make another video game controller and asks him if he has any Gloppydrop ice cream. He tells her he's on to what she and Space Beth are doing and reveals that he's slept with versions of himself before. But he leaves her with a warning: "Lies pile up like credit card debt. You retain an advantage by staying liquid." Beth retorts that her affair with Space Beth is a "cash transaction, fun and done."

After fooling around some more up on the roof of the house with Space Beth, Beth expresses some reservations about their illicit relationship. "Are we in love with ourself?" she asks. "I mean, does that make us the most or the least healthy woman in the universe?" Shortly, she admits that she doesn't need to put a label on things, but she does want to know what the "shelf life" of their relationship is, so the two of them head to Rick's Holodeck to run a program where they live out a life together.

Meanwhile, Jerry, having finished a jigsaw puzzle, tries to find the two Beths, but Summer and Morty quickly cajole him into playing a video game. Morty picks a random game, which happens to be about hiding an affair. With Jerry distracted, Rick, Summer, and Morty head down to the Holodeck, where they find the Beths at the end of their lives together. "You did a full 'San Junipero' in here?" Rick exclaims, referencing the celebrated episode of "Black Mirror" where two lovers live forever in a computer simulation. "Oh my god, Beth. I mean, there's masturbating and then there's masturbating." Rick tells the Beths they need to inform Jerry about their affair, but Space Beth gets defensive.

Roly-poly Jerry

Over ice cream (secretly procured from Rick's garage), tensions are high until Space Beth comes out and addresses the elephant in the room. "Jerry, I had sex with your wife. Or, I'm your wife and had sex with the clone you sleep with. Your pick." Hearing this, Jerry flashes back to a time in high school before he was together with Beth, when a friend warned him that she was going to be "too much woman" for him. "Sooner or later, she'd tear you apart," the friend says. Back in the present, Jerry stands up and ... rolls himself up into a giant roly-poly.

Rick explains that when he and Jerry were both drunk, he installed the ability to roll up into a shell as a defense mechanism. Jerry has literally crawled into his shell. Space Beth wants to pry him out, but Rick warns that it's impossible, even for him, and that if she hits a nerve, he'll turn into a Shrek. "In his own, sad way, he's taken control."

In a last-ditch effort to remedy the situation, the Beths ask Rick to erase all romantic thoughts of each other from both of their minds. Rick warns them it's a bad idea, but he's about to go through with it when Jerry comes out of his shell, apologizing for threatening to kill himself and heading upstairs to pack his things.

Beth follows Jerry upstairs, trailed by Space Beth, to talk to Jerry, who remains angry. Space Beth observes, "You're not mad that it was about you. You're mad that it wasn't." Turning to Beth, she continues, "He wanted to permit our love." Jerry retorts, "It's not 'Handmaid's Tale' to loop in your husband" ("Rick and Morty" is always full of pop culture references, but this episode is especially rich with them).

Rick learns another lesson

Space Beth sarcastically asks, "Pretty please, Jerry, can I make out with myself?" to which Jerry responds, "Yes, you may. Yeah, see, not so hot when it's above board, homewreckers." From there, the scene takes a turn, as the situation quickly becomes sexual, with the Beths degrading Jerry, who, in turn, permits them to continue. "I'm freaked out by how hot this is," Beth says.

Down in the dining room, Morty, Summer, and Rick can hear everything, and they are all deeply uncomfortable. Eventually, Summer and Morty burst into tears while Rick tries to distract them by asking what they're thankful for.

As Space Beth departs the next morning, Jerry says they've all learned a lesson. Rick agrees, and heads into the kitchen, where he locks the alien wine the Beths enjoyed at the beginning of the episode in a secret safe, then puts the remote control for it in the garbage disposal. Does this imply that the wine caused them to develop feelings for each other? Did Rick plan this all along, or were his plans foiled by the twist of Jerry joining in on the action? We may never know for sure, but Rick seems unhappy.

Despite the zany sci-fi antics that weave through "Rick and Morty," the show grounds its characters in their twisted reality. "Bethic Twinstinct" is a perfect example. The existence of Beth's clone is not only treated seriously but sincerely, and their affair is never treated as a joke (the punchlines are in the discomfort of their family). The bizarre threesome between the Beths and Jerry reflects a new emotional reality, one in which all their insecurities are projected in a Freudian manner and, if not reconciled, then redirected in a way that demonstrates how much the characters have changed over the years.

When does Season 6 Episode 4 of Rick and Morty air?

Season 6, Episode 4 of "Rick and Morty" will air on September 25 at 11 p.m. EST on Adult Swim. Titled "Night Family," its description simply reads, "I'm scared, broh." With scant information, it's unclear what the episode will be about, though the title may potentially imply some kind of dark doppelgangers of the Smith-Sanchez family. The family unit has been the focal point of Season 6 thus far, with both Episode 1 and 3 revolving around the dynamics of the relationships between them all.

Justin Roiland has promised that Season 6 will continue to have a mix of self-contained adventures and episodes that draw from the show's now-extensive mythology. "I still think every season should have a good amount of point-of-entry episodes," he said during an interview with Global News. So far, this season has had two canon-driven entries (Episodes 1 and 3) but even the more stand-alone "Die Hard" parody of last week's Episode 2 still required some previous knowledge. If Episode 4 does turn out to be a family-centric episode, it may once again rely heavily on existing canon.