Rick and Morty made its long-awaited return for the second half of season four last night (May 3), though the first episode in months has left fans somewhat baffled.
The show is known for its outlandish and bizarre concepts, but the latest episode, Never Ricking Morty, may have taken things a bit too far for some.
To recap, the (incredibly meta) episode takes place on a space train that is literally powered by narrative — namely passengers telling stories about Rick. Taking co-creator Dan Harmon’s ‘story circle’ writing concept rather literally, Rick and Morty learn that the train is on a never-ending circular path, and to reach the engine Morty is forced to tell a completely unrelated story to break the ‘thematic seal’ and get in.
Things get even more bizarre as they do battle with the ‘Story Lord’ and are strapped into a machine to be mined for story ideas, before Rick prays to Jesus Christ and frees them (because its something that is completely out of character for him, of course).
However, they then discover the controls are fake… before the audience learns they’ve been inside a toy train Morty brought for Rick the whole time.
The bizarre concept has fans somewhat confused, to say the least, while others had their own interpretations of the episode — many suggesting the whole thing was a meta projection of the ‘story circle’ concept.
“What the actual fuck was that Rick and Morty episode,” one wrote. “I am so beyond confused that was a bit too meta for my liking but overall it was good.”
“Two years ago I tried to explain Harmon’s story circle to my friends… Today’s episode felt like a love letter and a fuck you. Which is why I love the show,” another added.
— Man…..WTF (@YoloFlame) May 4, 2020
— Michael McDougal (@TheDude11021984) May 4, 2020
— ProudMN (@SkolLady) May 4, 2020
What the actual fuck was that Rick and Morty episode. I am so beyond confused that was a bit too meta for my liking but overall it was good #rickAndMorty
— I have many names (@ihavenonamekg) May 4, 2020
— *Horse Noises* (@BKaslewicz) May 4, 2020
Unpopular Opinion but I absolutely did not like today's episode of #RickandMorty . Lots of reason why, this episode really confused me and not in the good way. Harmon and Roiland seem to be making fun of us for theorizing about the episodes but they have already done this before.
— Vaibhav Jha (@vaibhavjha234) May 4, 2020
Two years ago I tried to explain Harmon's story circle to my friends…
Todays episode felt like a love letter and a fuck you. Which is why I love the show.#RickandMorty
— Johnny Spurs (@Imjustbrowsing5) May 4, 2020
Fans on Reddit also weighed-in on the episode, one joking that it “was the most Dan Harmon episode yet”.
“Seriously once they were staring down at that literal circle map it all suddenly clicked for me and I missed the next several lines of dialogue from laughing,” another added.
In no uncertain terms, however, a third person joked: “Like what the fuck even happened? Did this episode happen? Probably not lol”.
However meta it was, some references certainly did not go over fans’ heads — especially an apparent mention of coronavirus.