‘Rick and Morty’ Season 1, Episode 8 Has the Most Important Story Circle
Even slight Rick and Morty fans are familiar with the famous interdimensional cable episode, “Rixty Minutes.” It’s a smattering of random, mostly improvised bits of crazy, made-up TV shows and commercials.
But Season 1, Episode 8 of this show is also the first time Morty fully embraces nihilism and introduces the concept to his sister Summer. Beth and Jerry confront their relationship problems, Summer catches a deep glimpse into the vastness of the infinite multiverse, and it’s the first time the show references a previous event from an earlier episode. Let’s get into it.
The story circle is a writing tool invented and used by co-creator Dan Harmon that allows him to hit eight key narrative beats in every character arc in every episode of Rick and Morty. “Rixty Minutes” is an unlikely candidate to follow this structure since the two main characters spend the entire episode watching TV.
Neither Rick nor Morty completes a story circle this time around, but the episode offers the takeaway that nothing in life matters, so we all might as well kick back and watch some crazy TV. While this might be great for our interdimensional heroes, the rest of the family is busy grappling with the most important topics so far in the series.
Beth and Jerry’s marriage is such a joke that it’s almost taken for granted that their soon-to-be-divorce will be the butt of some ridicule in each episode. But let’s not forget that they actually agree to split up in this episode!
After catching a glimpse of what each of their lives could have been had they not accidentally become pregnant with Summer and subsequently stuck together to raise an “oops” baby, they mutually decide they would be better off without each other. It’s not until they see the underlying depression in their alternate timelines that they realize they should be grateful for the life they’ve created together.
So anytime you wonder how these two people who seem so terrible for each other are still together, come back and rewatch this episode. Or rewatch it just because it’s a great freakin’ episode.
There’s also a massively important step for Summer’s character. She went on her first sci-fi adventure in the previous episode, but this offers her first real peek into the nihilistic reality that Rick and Morty deal with every day.
When Summer becomes understandably upset that her parents wish she had never been born, she decides to run away. Morty talks her out of this, pointing to the grave in the backyard of the dead Morty whose life he took over at the end of Rick Potion #9.
Morty explains that he isn’t really her brother, and that infinite realities means nothing matters, and that she should let it go and come watch TV.
While this moment stands up on its own as an awesome excerpt, it also represents something else: the first time the show references something specific from a previous episode. For all we know, up until this point we could have been watching any number of different Ricks and Morties galavanting across space and reality. Infinite realities mean infinite versions of our protagonists, right?
But nope! Rock solid proof that we are following any kind of continuity at all. At least, for two episodes. We’ll see more examples of callbacks and references to older episodes later in the series, but for now, it’s nice to have this. Okay, I’m gonna go watch TV. Later.
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