Rick and Morty’s episodic adventures are all based on the “story circle,” an eight-beat arc the characters follow to ensure the show delivers fun, satisfying stories every time. Most episodes feature Rick and/or Morty completing arcs, but there’s one character who’s rarely able to pull it off: Jerry.
This idiot attempts a circle in every episode leading up to Season 1, Episode 6: “Rick Potion #9,” but this is the first time he takes home the gold (or whatever fictional prize you win for completing a metaphysical journey).
To recap, “Rick Potion #9” is the episode where Morty’s request for a love potion plunges the world into irreversible chaos. When flu season spreads the concoction’s effects across the world and Rick’s makeshift cure exacerbates the epidemic, the whole planet quickly becomes a hellscape of horrific mutants.
Enter Jerry: the man of the hour.
Up to this point, Jerry has proven himself to be nothing more than an insecure, pitiful coward who never stands up for anything or anybody, especially himself. However, upon encountering his first real (albeit wrong) suspicion that his wife, Beth, is cheating on him, he chooses to do something about it.
In the most unlikely setting imaginable, Jerry Smith transforms from a zero to a hero when, on his way to “gotcha” his wife, he runs into the aforementioned monsters now running rampant all over town.
In every episode so far, Jerry misses two very important steps of the story circle: enter an unfamiliar situation and adapt to it. Typically, these beats are skipped to present a cautionary tale where the protagonist goes straight from wanting something to getting what they want, without having to work for it.
This time, though, Jerry strolls through both steps swinging. He doesn’t skip a beat between entering an unfamiliar dystopian situation and adapting to it by grabbing a shotgun and mowing the monsters down.
But like all circles, there’s still a heavy price to pay, and this one is a doozy. Unbeknownst to our newly masculated Jerry, this horror town is all thanks to our pals Rick and Morty, who, instead of fixing it, abandon the world (and the rest of their family) completely after finding a better dimension where the apocalypse was averted.
So, after all that, what does it cost for Jerry to finally complete a story? Narratively speaking, it cost him his role in the show. “Hero” Jerry is swiftly abandoned and replaced by another incompetent loser who we get the pleasure of mocking for the rest of the series.
Way to go, idiot.
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