The first time Morty and Rick split up on Rick and Morty, they both almost died and an alien monster nearly went on a rampage across Earth — but at least it left room for Summer to shine and claim her very first complete story circle on the show.
Although have gained a lot of fame as an iconic team in the five years they’ve been on the air together, they don’t actually spend every episode side by side. The very first time they split up was a big deal for that reason and more.
Morty and Rick first explore different story paths in Season 1, Episode 7, “Raising Gazorpazorp.” Morty conceives an alien child that shares his DNA by having sex with an alien sex robot incubator, so while Morty tends to his newborn, Rick takes Summer instead on an adventure to a faraway planet for answers.
In every episode of Rick and Morty, co-creator Dan Harmon uses a writing tool of his own design called the “story circle.” It’s an eight-beat structure that allows his characters to travel through a meaningful story from start to finish and allows the writers to throw as much high-concept sci-fi crap in their scripts as they want.
In “Raising Gazorpazorp,” Rick, Morty, and Summer all have complete story circles. While common for Morty, this Summer’s first time assuming a main role in the series, and it is one of the few times that we see Rick actually change in some way by the end of an episode.
After Morty decides to keep and raise his newborn baby — Morty Jr. — Rick ends up with Summer as his sidekick for the adventure-of-the-week: a trip to the sex robot’s home planet of Gazorpazorp. There, a feminine utopia run entirely by women have cast their brutish male counterparts into exile.
This storyline in the episode doesn’t quite do it for me or many viewers; it doesn’t really hit hard or smart enough to be a commentary on gender roles, but instead comes off as a sluggish attempt at satire and ends up delivering bad jokes on traditional gender stereotypes. Oh well, can’t win ‘em all.
However, it is a good backdrop for the sexist Rick to get a firsthand view of what life with a female co-pilot is like. Without Summer along for the ride, Rick would have been killed by the matriarchy. But more importantly, unlike Morty, she proves a clever and useful companion.
They return home to find Morty sending his now-grown son off into the world, and Rick admits that having Summer along for future adventures would not be the worst thing in the world. We see as much later when Summer remains part of the team in episodes like “Rickmancing the Stone” and “Auto-Erotic Assimilation.”
So when Morty and Rick split up for once in “Raising Gazorpazorp,” it’s only a bit ironic that Summer gets perhaps the most complete story circle of all.
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