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The Onion A/V Club Reviews: Rick and Morty ‘Something Ricked This Way Comes’

On 25, Mar 2014 | In Press & News | By SBI

The two plotlines of “Something Ricked This Way Comes” play like dramatic re-enactments of the sort of conversations nerds always get into, and I don’t mean that as a criticism. It’s most obvious in the episode’s A-story: Summer gets a job at a store run by the Devil (voiced by Alfred Molina, who just the right mix of soothing and vaguely diabolical), and Rick decides to fuck with him, because when it’s science versus magic, Rick is going for the nuclear option. Translating this into nerd-speech, it’s a question about all those magical shops in shows and movies and books where a person can buy something they think they’ve always wanted, but it turns out they get more than they bargained for. Ha. Mwaha. Mwhahahahaha. MWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.

There are assumptions genre stories need to make in order to arrive at their conclusion. Like, say, the “Time Enough At Last” episode of The Twilight Zone, in which poor Burgess Meredith survives nuclear war only to break his glasses, which means he can’t read any books, which was the only thing really keeping him going. It’s a gut-punch of an ending, but to get the full effect, you have to stop yourself from thinking through the rest—like, how we don’t know the full scope of the damage, and if books survived than maybe there’d be other glasses somewhere, and maybe other people, and what was he going todo for food anyway, just read until he starved to death? It’s not that these questions ruin the ending, but they do make it less immediately powerful; complexity often diffuses strong emotion. Whenever a story (like Stephen King’s Needful Things, explicitly referenced in the episode because that’s the name of the Devil’s shop) wants an ironic punishment, it needs you to believe in an open-and-shut world. No second chances. No loopholes. Just hubris and suffering.

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