‘Rick and Morty’: from ‘Alien’ to ‘Star Wars’ – the five best sci-fi references in this week’s episode

After last week’s (incredibly meta) season four return for Rick and Mortythe show seemed to land on more familiar ground in its latest episode.

In episode seven of the new series, Promortyus, we find Rick and Morty escaping a species of face-hugging aliens called the Glorzo, though we initially have no idea how the pair got there in the first place.

However, in the second half, it is revealed that Rick and Morty are trapped by the alien race after messing with some eggs alongside Summer, their niece and sister respectively. While the former two are processed by face-huggers, Summer manages to avoid the same fate by using a well-placed toothpick to fend off the intergalactic baddies. Eventually, she even manages to take over as empress of the species’ world (we won’t spoil how here).

Alongside the twist-filled plot, there are a whole load of pop culture references and bizarre jokes to geek out on. We’ve broken down our favourites below:

Alien

The most obvious one: the creatures that Rick, Morty and Summer are trapped by are clearly inspired by the face-huggers in the Alien franchise. In Rick and Morty’s universe, as in the classic 1979 epic, the creatures attach themselves to their victim’s face before laying eggs in the host’s stomach, with an alien bursting out 30 minutes later.

Rick and Morty 'Promortyus'
Rick and Morty ‘Promortyus’. Credit: Adult Swim

However, instead of them being vicious creatures, Rick and Morty give their versions of the slimy extar-terrestrials a more emotional character arc after Summer convinces them to end their cruel cycle of procreation to adopt a more progressive, technological-driven society.

Prometheus

It’s very obvious to anyone that’s seen Ridley Scott’s Alien prequel starring Michael Fassbender, but this week’s episode title, ‘Promortyus’, nodded to the 2012 sci-fi thriller. As mentioned previously, the story’s concept and ‘face-hugger’ plot tool were all cribbed from the Alien franchise too – and presumably, Prometheus was the only film out of the six official entries that they could think up a pun for.

Prometheus
Michael Fassbender in ‘Prometheus’. Credit: Alamy

Star Wars

Blink and you’ll mis it, but there’s a nod to the galaxy far, far away when Rick and Morty note that they feel no guilt over their destructive actions. Where have we seen that before? Well, blowing up multiple space stations with hundreds (if not thousands) of workers on board over a political dispute isn’t exactly ethical – is it? Luke Skywalker, we shun you.

In another, probably unintentional similarity, the planet which this week’s episode takes place on is called Glorzo – a greasy, disgusting alien character from Star Wars‘ expanded universe. Glorzo is only a minor name in the Disney franchise, but you’d think creators Dan Harmon and Justin Roiland probably did a basic Google search before approving the episode. A very subtle Easter egg, perhaps?

9/11 and Pearl Harbour

Our interdimensional duo crack a rather risqué joke about 9/11 as they pass by two tall skyscrapers during their escape from the alien world. While they congratulate themselves over avoiding a “cheap” gag – even though they technically didn’t – they then decide it’s “in bounds” to poke fun at WWII US naval defeat biopic Pearl Harbour while bombing a shipyard.

The first ever episode

We all know the series likes to go meta, and Promortyus continued that tradition by harking back to Rick and Morty‘s first ever episode. In reference to the alien eggs being “shit out” of the host’s body, Rick tells Morty that they have gone “full circle from the pilot” — where Rick gets Morty to smuggle some valuable Mega Seeds by hiding them “in his butthole”. That’s a whopping six years and 38 episodes ago!

‘Rick and Morty’ airs every Thursday at 10pm BST on E4 – stream the series online on All4

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