- by Jeff Beck
Rick and Morty: The Complete Fourth Season: The Biggest and Best Season Yet (Blu-ray)
There's nothing quite like Adult Swim's animated show "Rick and Morty" anywhere else on TV, and it's not a show that's particularly easy to describe. On the surface, it's the wild misadventures of an eccentric scientist/inventor, Rick, and his grandson, Morty (both voiced by series co-creator Justin Roiland), who travel to various planets and usually get into odd predicaments (while other members of the family have their own subplots), but that doesn't begin to describe the show's unique and utterly bizarre nature. For example, adventures in the previous seasons have included creating alternate timelines, saving the world from a giant head by writing a hit song, visiting a "purge" planet, and the classic "Pickle Rick," wherein Rick turns himself into a pickle to avoid going to family therapy.
The show had always been great before, though not without its weaker episodes, as any program is like to have, but after seeing all of season four, it seems fair to say that the show has somehow managed to hit new heights and has probably given us its best season yet. Even from the premiere episode, "Edge of Tomorty: Rick Die Rickpeat," which has Morty finding a crystal that shows him his future (which he follows to extreme measures in hopes of ending up with a girl he has a crush on), the show's wild, unpredictable, and nonsensical nature is on full display.
However, even better episodes await further in, including "One Crew Over the Crewcoo's Morty" (written by Caitie Delaney), which is a great example of the show's stellar writing. The basic premise of the episode is that a heist expert has stolen a prize that Rick and Morty were after. What follows is a hysterically-convoluted series of twists, turns, and double-crosses that make the "Ocean" films seem like child's play.
Speaking of the show's fantastic writing, the episode "Never Ricking Morty" finds our titular duo aboard an actual "Story Train, which ends up being a device for an anthology episode of sorts. By the end of this insane episode, the pair have faced off against an army of MeeSeeks, robotic Ricks, and "Story Lord" (who is trying to break the fifth wall). As if that wasn't wild enough, they even encounter Jesus. It's really hard to do this episode any justice by simply trying to describe it, but it truly is one of the best episodes they've made yet, with much of that credit going to writer Jeff Loveness.
The last one I want to call special attention to is one simply titled "The Vat of Acid Episode (by Jeff Loveness and Albro Lundy), which earned the show another Emmy this year for Outstanding Animated Program. In this episode, the main plot has Rick creating a "Save Point" device for Morty, which he uses for malevolent deeds at first, but then he falls in love (which includes a marvelous "Up"-esque montage). However, it turns out his various resets have had major consequences. Like the others, it's best to leave out further detail so as to allow the episode to maintain its incredible surprises, but there's definitely a reason many consider it the best episode of the season, and definitely a reason it won the Emmy.
Before it sounds too much like it was a perfect season, we should get into a couple of episodes that didn't quite hit the mark. "Childrick of Mort" was a bit of a misfire involving Rick possibly being the father of a sentient planet's children, with a subplot that has Jerry (Morty's father) taking charge of a group of them that have been deemed "Unproductive." Another episode, "Claw and Hoarder: Special Ricktim's Morty," sees Morty acquiring a dragon and getting into another odd adventure. Both of these feature much weaker writing than the other episodes, and while they weren't particularly bad, they were definitely the low points of the season. However, given the brilliance demonstrated in the other episodes, you can easily forgive a slip-up or two.
As mentioned before, this is a really hard show to try and describe, especially in terms of why it's such an amazing program. You can say it's bonkers, nonsensical, and unpredictable, but it's really something you have to see for yourself in order to believe it exists. The writing for several of these episodes is on another level, and at some points, may even make you question whether the writer is on a particular substance that allowed them to come up with such crazy things. "Rick and Morty" remains one of the best animated shows around, and season five simply can't get here fast enough.
"Rick and Morty: The Complete Fourth Season" comes to Blu-ray in a 16:9, 1080p High Definition transfer of outstanding quality. The animation on all ten episodes is beautifully sharp and features vibrant colors, while the 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio gives you all of the dialogue, sound effects, and music in top-notch quality. Overall, you couldn't ask for better treatment, ultimately leaving you with the best possible way to witness the continuing zany adventures of the titular duo.
A Day at Rick and Morty: Inside Season 4 (9 Minutes)
Creating Snake Jazz (3 Minutes)
Directing Rick and Morty (3 Minutes)
Samurai & Shogun (5 Minutes)
Prop Process (3 Minutes)
Character Creation (3 Minutes)
Animation Challenges (3 Minutes)
10 "Inside the Episode" Featurettes (10 Minutes)
As far as extras go, we are treated to several featurettes about the making of the show, from a fascinating look behind the scenes at all of the hard work that goes into it to specific artistic challenges involved with each episode. While most of them are pretty brief, they're still rather informative, and will surely be of interest to fans of the show.
"Rick and Morty" returns for its fourth season bigger and better than ever before, offering up a multitude of fresh, wild, and hysterical adventures that remain as unpredictable and nonsensical as ever. Major credit goes to the writers, who somehow manage to come up with these bizarre, twisted premises, which keep fans coming back week after week for more. If you're a fan, it's a definite must-buy. If you're not, you don't know what you're missing.
Available on Blu-ray/DVD starting tomorrow.
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