'Rick and Morty' Season 4 episode titles revealed: Here's what they mean
Unraveling the plot of Season 4.
Just in case anyone out there doubted it would still happen in Rick and Morty Season 4, Adult Swim released a teaser video confirming that the first five episode titles still reference popular genre shows, movies, and even books with the words “Rick” and “Morty” awkwardly shoved in for good measure.
Adult Swim released the video Monday, which contains every title for the first five episodes confirmed when the Season 4 trailer debuted earlier this month. Episode titles usually only offer vague hints of what to expect from the episodes themselves, but they always borrow at least some semblance of the original story.
In Romancing the Stone, a mercenary helps a young woman find her sister in Colombia, and they follow a treasure map to find an ancient gemstone. “Rickmancing the Stone” took Summer, Morty, and Rick to a Mad Max style post-apocalyptic world where Rick eventually stole a huge rock of Isotope-322 from the Death Stalkers. They’re similar, but different.
Here’s a breakdown of every Season 4 episode title we’ve got so far, what they reference, and what it might actually mean for Rick and Morty:
Episode 1: “Edge of Tomorty: Rick Die Rickpeat”
Movie — Edge of Tomorrow: Live, Die, Repeat
Often just referred to by the first part of the title, Edge of Tomorrow (2014) stars Tom Cruise as a member of the military’s media relations division in the midst of a war against an enigmatic alien force. He gets caught in a time loop, honing his skills with the help of Emily Blunt’s battle-hardened warrior. After repeating the same battle thousands of times over, he eventually discovers the secret to defeating the aliens. It’s a thrilling, novel movie that’s intense and utterly enjoyable.
During San Diego Comic Con in July, Rick and Morty co-creators Dan Harmon and Justin Roiland confirmed that Season 4 will involve time travel in some capacity. “We never messed with time travel after the pilot, but we do in Season 4,” Harmon said. The Season 2 premiere, “A Rickle in Time,” fractured time into many pieces, so it seems likely that messing around with time could become a trend for Rick and Morty season premieres.
Do Morty and Rick travel back in time to kill Hitler (based on Morty’s Nazi uniform in the Season 4 trailer) and get caught in a time loop?
Episode 2: “The Old Man and the Seat”
Book — The Old Man and the Sea
The last major novel written by Ernest Hemingway, The Old Man and the Sea is a sad story about an old fisherman who overcomes excruciating physical pain to best a giant marlin that catches on his line. He catches the beast, but sharks devour its carcass, rendering the experience winds a failure. It’s a bleak story about unfulfilled dreams and dying without any sense of accomplishment. And because the entire book is literally just an old man fishing, it’s very easy to make fun of.
Rick is obviously the titular “old man” here, and given the overwhelming sense of loneliness that pervades Hemingway’s novel, this could be the episode teased in some of the very first Rick and Morty Season 4 images (featured above). The end of Season 3 united the family against Rick, essentially rendering him the black sheep of the family. If Episode 1 involves some kind of time loop, then it stands to reason that Rick will be alone in one or more early episodes.
Could the “seat” reference some kind of simulation chair he uses to escape from reality? What’s his metaphorical fish here?
Episode 3: “One Crew Over the Crewcoo’s Morty”
Book & Movie — One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Next
Most will recognize One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest as the 1975 film starring Jack Nicholson that won a ton of awards, but it’s based on a somewhat less popular Ken Kesey novel. By all accounts, it’s one of the greatest films ever made, following a man who submits to a stint at a psychiatric hospital rather than go to prison despite being perfectly sane. To get a bit reductive, it’s a compelling story about non-conformism and a meditation on how society is often crazier than the people it labels as crazy.
In Rick and Morty terms, why is “Crew” inserted into the title twice? This episode could be about almost anything, but to reference a story like One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, it must grapple with mental illness in some fashion and/or imprisonment. Does a member of the family go insane? Or do several characters deal with imprisonment in some kind of psychiatric ward for a stretch? It’s also possible that this is the chaotic Meeseeks episode also teased in the Season 4 trailer. Those blue creatures often act rather insane.
Episode 4: “Claw and Hoarder: Special Ricktim’s Morty”
TV Show — Law & Order: Special Victim’s Unit
Law & Order: Special Victims Unit just became longest-running primetime live-action series of all time as it enters its 21st season, and this spin-off focuses on the detectives working on “sexually based offenses” that are “especially heinous.”
The “Claw” word in this Rick and Morty episode title feels like the biggest clue, because it probably refers to some clawed creature or alien. The use of “Hoarder” is also interesting. Together, these two words feel like a direct reference to dragons, clawed mythical creatures that often hoard treasure, particularly gold. Because the Rick and Morty Season 4 trailer teased that Morty gets a dragon in what might wind up a full-blown Dungeons & Dragons episode, we’re willing to bet that’s this episode.
The SVU tie-in is a little bit more difficult to pin down, but it could be a reference to Morty’s run-in with the law in what’s describe as an “Akira-type situation” in the trailer.
Episode 5: “Rattlestar Ricklactica”
TV Show(s) — Battlestar Galactica
Battlestar Galactica began as a 1978 TV series created by Glen A. Larson, but the 2004 reimagining created by Ronald D. Moore is arguably better and much more popular. Years after a war between humanity and the robotic Cylons they created, a peace treaty is broken that leads to the Cylons destroying 99 percent of all living humans in one catastrophic nuclear attack. The series follows the crew of the Battlestar Galactica, an old but beloved military spaceship, and the small fleet of surviving humans as they fight for survival in a chaotic universe. BSG still has an official placement on Time’s 100 Best TV Shows of All-Time, so it’s quality cannot be denied.
There’s a single shot from the trailer around the 0:50 mark where Morty and Jerry fall onto the floor of an alien ship, and a ton of red-armored aliens turn to point their weapons at them. These creatures look similar to Taiki Waititi’s Glootie in shape — and the number of eyes — so we can safely assume that this is the same episode where Jerry creates a failed dating app.
Rick and Morty Season 4 premieres November 10 on Adult Swim at 11:30 p.m. Eastern.