‘Rick and Morty’ Season 4 Episode 8 Review: A Dark Vat of Acid

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The Vat of Acid episode on Rick and Morty Season 4 Episode 8 definitely lived up to all the hype. And even though I half expected that Rick and Morty would spend the entire episode in a vat of acid, I wasn’t disappointed when that’s not how it turned out.

Here’s a review of Rick and Morty Season 4 Episode 8.

This article will have major spoilers for the latest episode. 

I wasn’t sure what to expect heading into tonight’s episode. Unlike the previous episodes this season, the title wasn’t even a parody of a TV show or the name of a movie. Instead, the episode ended up being about Rick creating a “save point” in life that Morty could go back to over and over. And just as we’ve seen in previous episodes, Morty had a price to pay for making fun of Rick. But this time it was even more complicated than the Morty’s Mind Blowers episode, where Rick could erase every moment where he did anything he felt embarrassed about.

This episode was compelling from the beginning, when Morty was very unimpressed by Rick self-parking his ship. From there, things just got worse. The more embarrassed Rick felt, the more he was going to have to find a way to set things back to normal.

Rick’s vat of acid plan went awry (as his plans sometimes do), but not before we got to see Morty try to save the poor rat’s life by giving the rat his own oxygen. It was kind of symbolic of how Morty tried to save his relationship later. (Or maybe I’m just reading way too much into that.)

As episodes in this series often do, things went really dark when Rick ultimately revealed to Morty at the end that he had “prestiged” himself thousands of times. Morty has a lot to live with. It reminds me of a Star Trek episode where higher levels of warp drive actually have unintended, awful consequences. It’s a trope we sometimes see in science fiction, but I actually wasn’t expecting the twist on this one, so it really took me by surprise.

Interestingly, one viewer on a Reddit discussion pointed out that this short film from 2015 used the same concept:

One-Minute Time Machine | Sploid Short Film Festival · Official SelectionEvery time the beautiful Regina rejects his advances, James pushes a red button and tries again, all the while unaware of the reality and consequences of his actions. Directed by Devon Avery. Selected for the Sploid Short Film Festival, a celebration of the coolest short films and the filmmakers that make them. Learn more details…2015-07-08T15:22:50Z

I wonder if this Rick and Morty episode was inspired by this short film? Probably not. It’s more likely that any philosophical discussion about time travel ultimately posits the question of whether you “kill” the self you time-traveled away from. (Just as transporters on Star Trek bring the uncomfortable question of whether you’re just creating  a copy and killing the original over and over.)

Another interesting twist was that we learned Morty’s true love (or at least “a” true love) is a brunette, not a redhead. But despite all the trials that Morty went through to save his relationship, a mishap by Jerry sent it all crashing down.

Sadly, happiness evaded Morty yet again. Sometimes I feel like Morty is pulled between two fates: one where ends up with greatness like Rick or another where he ends up with a string of bad luck like his dad Jerry.

In some ways, today’s episode reminded me a little of the heist episode. (Spoilers next…)  In the heist episode, Rick had an intricate plan in place just to get Morty to give up a script. In the latest episode, Rick had an intricate plan just to prove Morty wrong and get some payback for Morty making fun of his vat of acid. I love how Rick’s pettiness and hurt pride can cause him to do really outrageous things. For me, that joke never gets old.

This episode also reminded me a bit of the episode where Morty ended up having to bury another version of himself, and how we found out many episodes later that he was still haunted by that memory. I have a feeling that the memory of the true love that’s now gone forever could haunt Morty for quite a long time.

So far, my favorite episode of Rick and Morty this season was the Story Train episode (and that brilliant snakes episode.) But this latest episode was definitely near the top, and perhaps one of the darker ones in the series.

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