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The 6 Best And 6 Worst Things About Rick And Morty Season 6

In many ways, "Rick and Morty" Season 6 encompasses the platonic ideal of the whole show: It's a collection of cleverly woven genre spoofs and complex sci-fi ideas bookended by brief teases of a larger story. After the incredibly climactic Season 5 finale, which sees Evil Morty destroy the Citadel of Ricks and vanish through a golden portal to parts unknown, Season 6 picks up with one of the largest status quo shifts in the history of the show. But from that point on, it's mostly classic "Rick and Morty" adventures — a phrase Rick himself now seems to despise.

Though the Adult Swim series created by Justin Roiland and Dan Harmon has almost always been strong, Season 5 gave some fans and critics pause with its uneven assortment of episodes. Those doubters will be happy to know that Season 6 is a true return to form. With a nice blend of familiar episode formats and new, weird experiments, the series keeps things fresh and familiar at the same time. The animation is creative and flashy as always, and the voice cast — both regular and guest — is as strong as ever.

Still, "Rick and Morty" Season 6 is far from perfect. Its efforts to inject some new ideas into its blend have mixed results, and some familiar details are less welcome than others. Here are some of the best and worst things about "Rick and Morty" Season 6.

Worst: The edge has worn off

Six seasons deep, "Rick and Morty" still contains ample reminders that it's an adult animated series. And like all adult animated series, there's a substantial amount of humor aimed squarely at teenagers. Nearly every episode features gratuitous violence and an endless stream (no pun intended) of toilet jokes, both of which have always been part of the show's brand. But in Season 6, some of these creative choices become more grating than edgy.

Yes, "Rick and Morty" is a show about nihilism in an infinite multiverse, and yes, that means that rampant death and chaos is part of the game. It's not out of turn for the series to keep including these elements. But they really start to feel overblown about midway through Season 6. Characters constantly curse and eviscerate their enemies with reckless abandon, and a lot of it just starts to feel hollow. Perhaps that's a sign that more needs to change for the show to stay fresh.

During one scene in the season's second half, while Jesus (yes, that Jesus) beats Rick and Morty to a pulp, Rick drops a seemingly self-lambasting line comparing them to "South Park." It's a sign that the writers fully know the path they're treading. Unfortunately, self-awareness can't make the jokes work on its own. The fact that "Rick and Morty" keeps delivering creative ideas makes the continued "edginess" look even worse in comparison.

Best: Smith family staycation

While the story of "Rick and Morty" Season 6 does feature plenty of familiar beats, it also adds a few big change-ups to the series formula. One of the biggest is the absence of Rick's portal gun for about half the season — a welcome constraint that forces the writers to get creative with some at-home Smith family adventures.

Episodes like "Bethic Twinstinct," "Final DeSmithation," and especially "Night Family" bring the same kind of zany sci-fi hijinks as Rick's usual multiverse adventures. The difference is that they all have to play by a limited ruleset because the portal gun is out of the picture. This allows for more interaction between all of the Smith family members, and the characters feel stronger as a result. Jerry has some of his best material ever in Season 6 because he's at the center of the action more frequently.

The portal gun is an indelible part of the "Rick and Morty" narrative machinery, so it's unsurprising to see it repaired by the time Season 6 ends. Removing it from the show entirely would create a wholly different show. However, it's nice to have a respite from the portal-hopping craziness that's always defined the series. Hopefully, future seasons take some cues from Season 6's interest in changing up the pacing.

Worst: Rick gets stale

While the supporting cast of "Rick and Morty" has grown more important over the years, the show still orbits around the two titular characters. This continues to work for Morty in Season 6. His subtle but apparent character growth reaches interesting places, and he often feels more like Rick than the old Morty. Rick, in contrast, has one of his weaker seasons to date.

There are some compelling Rick-centric threads in Season 6, like his revived hunt for Rick Prime and his reluctant return to therapy. However, the show's refusal to move forward with any meaningful character development for Rick has started to wear thin. His usual crassness and casual cruelty toward Morty ring stale, even when the jokes are fun.

Dan Harmon has repeatedly emphasized his preference for episodic storytelling, even telling Digital Spy that Rick's gradual transformation into a nicer person might spell the show's doom. And, with the series officially ordered through a theoretical Season 10, there's a lot more show still to come. At some point, though, every show must meet its doom. For years, "Rick and Morty" has excelled by fusing great episodic storytelling and slow-burn arcs. Rick's story is about a man resisting change, so it makes sense that the show resists it too. But as we enter Season 7 — a milestone few series ever reach — it might be time to risk a little destruction and finally allow Rick to grow.

Best: More Space Beth

"Rick and Morty" Season 6 brings the show something it hasn't had in a very long time: A new primary character. Space Beth first appears in the Season 4 finale, but she really comes into her own in Season 6. Though she still spends a good deal of time gallivanting around space, she starts making the Smith house her permanent base. This makes things complicated when she and the other Beth embark on a romantic affair. But after Jerry joins in, things return to a new and strange status quo.

With or without the whole sleeping-with-yourself thing, Space Beth's presence is a huge boon for the show at large. She brings a distinctly different energy than any of the other core characters as someone who can outshine Rick and develop unique relationships with the rest of the cast. In many ways, Space Beth feels like the piece we didn't know was missing from the show, and the whole Smith family dynamic levels up with her under the same roof.

Worst: Experiments gone wrong

Though some elements of "Rick and Morty" Season 6 can feel a little stuck in the past, there are also a lot of new ideas tossed around across the 10 episodes. While some of these experiments pay off, they're not all winners. Or at least, their success is seriously up for debate.

Take "Analyze Piss," perhaps the season's boldest episode, which sees Rick donning the mantle of a urine-themed supervillain. It's the classic pathos-meets-parody formula that the series has often employed to great effect, but taken to an extreme place. Some might feel it goes too far, but at the same time, some critics found the episode to be a standout. The conflation of serious subject matter and a pee-spraying Green Goblin glider will prove too absurd for some, but it's certainly a bold choice.

The writers take similar risks in "Bethic Twinstinct" and "Final DeSmithation," to varying success. These dips into taboo territory are understandable, and occasionally, Season 6 handles them deftly. But at other times, they just feel like gross-out humor and shock value packed into a "Rick and Morty" box. When you take big swings, sometimes you're going to miss.

Best: Experiments gone right

The bad thing about taking risks is that sometimes things go wrong. The good thing is that when they don't, the rewards can be huge. Alongside its more questionable experiments, "Rick and Morty" Season 6 hits some true home runs by stepping outside the box.

"Night Family" is an obvious stand-out in this regard. It's a weird, dark, horror-themed episode in which the Smiths enslave their sleeping bodies to do menial chores and deadlifts at night. There's a genuine sense of foreboding throughout the episode, and it's fun to see the familiar house take on such a drastically different vibe. "Full Meta Jackrick" is another great episode, which dives just deep enough into the self-referential, fourth-wall-shattering rabbit hole to feel original, without going so deep that it loses itself. The ghost of Joseph Campbell chastising an alienized Dan Harmon stand-in could have whiffed, but fortunately, it sticks the landing.

There are some other great twists throughout the season, like Jerry becoming an intergalactic superhero in "Analyze Piss" and Gwyneth Paltrow becoming a cartoon villain in "Final DeSmithation." Though they rely heavily on callbacks and familiar spoofs, the "Rick and Morty" team still knows how to surprise us.

Worst: Repetition

There are plenty of original ideas — both good and bad — spread across "Rick and Morty" Season 6, but there are also a lot of things we've seen before. For an episodic series that's run for so long, that's to be expected, but Season 6 has a few repetitive beats that feel more like lazy writing than clever callbacks.

For instance, in the season's penultimate episode, "A Rick in King Mortur's Mort," Morty is recruited by the Knights of the Sun. It's a fun deal for a while, until he learns that the initiation ritual is cutting off his own genitals. Suddenly disenchanted, Morty backs out, resulting in absolute chaos and widespread bloodshed across the solar system. Funny, right? Well, a bit less funny when you remember the show did this exact same storyline back in Season 2. "Interdimensional Cable 2: Tempting Fate" sees Jerry faced with the same dilemma: Sacrifice his manhood for the sake of the galaxy at large, or don't, because, well, ouch.

There's no clever line referencing that the writers have done this before — it just sits there, uncommented upon. And it's not the only such instance in Season 6. The finale episode is basically a less entertaining version of the Season 3 finale, right down to the duel against President Curtis. Or you could compare it to the Season 4 finale, where they also, as Rick puts it, "do a 'Star Wars.'" Asking for fully fresh ideas in every single episode is a bit much, but these instances of retreading old territory still stand out in a bad way.

Best: Callbacks

Fortunately, "Rick and Morty" Season 6 has more clever callbacks than hollow self-mimicry. Going back to the Roy game at Blips and Chitz in "Rick: A Mort Well Lived" is fun, and it provides an excellent reason to zoom in on Rick and Morty's relationship. Spending some quality time on Cronenberg World in the season opener is a great move too, and it ties into the larger plot in some interesting ways. And while the main storyline of "A Rick in King Mortur's Mort" is derivative of old episodes, it ends with a fantastic callback to the Emmy-winning "The Vat of Acid Episode," with Rick and Morty diving into a "vat" of "fake sun" to hilarious effect.

There are smaller references too, like the brief visit to Jerry Daycare in "Bethic Twinstinct," and the return of Mr. Nimbus — a brief but welcome nod to one of Season 5's best additions. These little touches are reminders that, unlike some of its adult animation contemporaries, "Rick and Morty" is fiercely protective of its continuity, even when it's just for jokes. The attention to detail among the writers and animators is part of what makes the show shine so bright, and Season 6 has plenty of luminous moments to enjoy.

Worst: Rick Prime falls flat

For years, the main foe lurking in the background of "Rick and Morty" was Evil Morty, the eyepatch-wearing variant of our yellow-shirted hero who eventually takes over the Citadel of Ricks. First introduced in the Season 1 episode "Close Rick-counters of the Rick Kind," Evil Morty became a fan favorite, but his story seems to be over after the end of Season 5. In his place, Season 6 gives us Rick Prime, the malicious variant responsible for killing Rick C-137's Beth and Diane.

On paper, this is a great move. The revelation of Rick's true backstory is a highlight of Season 5, and Season 6 dives right into the Rick Prime hunt. Unfortunately, the show fails to commit to this new story arc in a compelling way. The season finale promises much more Rick Prime in Season 7, but you might find yourself not caring too much.

Evil Morty is a great villain because he flips the script, inverting the internal lore of the show by acting more like a Rick than a traditional Morty. He's great in the same way that Space Beth is great. Rick Prime, on the other hand, is just another Rick. Sure, he's psychopathic and particularly calculated, but so is our Rick. A story about C-137 becoming the very man he hates could be interesting, and it seems to be where we're headed. But we don't see enough of that future to really get invested. After the bang of the Season 5 finale, Season 6 lets the Rick Prime storyline fizzle.

Best: Dinosaurs

"Rick and Morty" has frequently excelled in both drama and science fiction, but some of its best moments have come when it's willing to simply be silly. Season 6 delivers a classic in that vein with "Juricksic Mort," the mid-season finale that sees dinosaurs return to Earth.

Turns out, they weren't wiped out after all. The episode reframes dinosaurs as a hyper-intelligent space-faring species — they're basically benevolent gods who travel far and wide, spreading prosperity to the lesser beings of the universe. The meteor thought to have killed them was just one of a sentient race of dinosaur-hating meteors. Brilliant.

This is silly "Rick and Morty" at its absolute best, exploring an absurd idea with an almost Asimov level of sci-fi acuity. Okay, maybe it's not quite Asimov, but it is incredibly funny. And at the end of the day, isn't that what "Rick and Morty" is all about? Dinosaurs!

Worst: A lackluster ending

It's no secret that the big-picture "Rick and Morty" story beats usually come at the beginning and end of each season. Season 6 follows this basic structure, bringing Rick Prime back in Episode 1 and confirming Rick and Morty's hunt for him near the end. But though we do get some interesting stuff in the season finale, the ending of "Rick and Morty" Season 6 is kind of disappointing.

Most of "Ricktional Mortpoon's Rickmas Mortcation" is standard stuff: Morty gets a lightsaber, drops it on a collision path with the Earth's core, and butts heads with the President — also an avid "Star Wars" fan — while trying to stop it from destroying the planet. It's all fine, but it's hardly the first time Morty and the President have collided, or the first time the show has spoofed "Star Wars," or even the first time we've had a "Rick and Morty" Christmas episode. The only sliver of something larger is Rick's lab hunt for Rick Prime, which culminates in him recruiting Morty to the cause. Even the whole robot replacement Rick thing is pretty well-worn territory by now.

Every finale doesn't need to be dramatic like Season 5's, but it's hard not to see this lackluster climax as a disappointment. No matter what big story threads you may or may not be weaving, it's bad form to close a season with one of its weaker episodes.

Best: Smart spoofs

We may not get a lot of overarching story progression in "Rick and Morty" Season 6, but we do get some of the better spoof material the show has yet produced. "Rick: A Mort Well Lived" is probably the best example, as the whole episode is a play-by-play parody of "Die Hard." It's so extreme in its mimicry that the whole thing works brilliantly, and the added touch of Summer not knowing the movie at all is just perfect.

How do you up the ante on your ultra-meta episode? Bring in the judgy ghost of Joseph Campbell, of course! What if Willem Dafoe's Green Goblin had a suit filled to the brim with urine? What if Gwyneth Paltrow were literally immortal? These are the important, hard-hitting questions that "Rick and Morty" Season 6 asks.

By the end of the season, you may feel disappointed at the lack of real drama or character development for Rick. But Season 6 still stands tall on the episodic, spoof-based storytelling that's always been the show's calling card. The writers may be sick of people referring to "classic 'Rick and Morty' adventures," but Season 6 is still full of them. And as long as the jokes keep on landing more often than not, "Rick and Morty" will always be worth watching.