The sixth episode of Rick and Morty Season 4, "Never Ricking Morty," achieves new levels of meta-humor brilliance as the duo hops aboard the Storytrain, and the bizarre www.Story-Train.com joke about commercialism in the time of coronavirus at the episode's very end makes the series' best joke even better.
Remember Roy: A Life Well-Lived? Episode 6 is basically like watching that through a kaleidoscope as a seemingly endless array of lives play out before your eyes with minimal continuity.
Adult Swim aired "Never Ricking Morty" Sunday night, and the clip-based episode feels like a mashup between "Morty's Mind Blowers" and Roy: A Live Well Lived in that we get an anthology of seemingly disconnected scenes united by a single premise: Rick and Morty are trapped aboard a train of anthological cars that constantly breaks through the Fourth Wall, occasionally trapping our characters in lifelong simulations that ends with their return to the actual story.
The most jarring instance of this transforms Morty into a distressed war veteran who spends years tracking Rick down only to kill him so they can return to the Story Train. (It's all very Inception.) In the end, we learn that even the train itself is a fake simulation within a toy called the Story Train that Morty bought from the Citadel for Rick, and it creates the entire adventure for whatever Rick that uses it.
Rick begs the viewer to "look it up on the internet" and buy it. There's a real-seeming website and everything. But is it actually real?
What is the Story Train in Rick and Morty?
"The Citadel of Ricks Story Train comes with car after car of enemies, lovers, and Goomby all grappling with the nature of who you truly are," Rick says during a commercial for the train. The "Rick-patented anthology generator" creates new stories and people aboard the train, but these living people "have no souls" as "puppets of fate."
And from the way Rick and Morty interact with theirs towards the end of the episode, it seems like their psyches were actually present aboard the train, making this entire episode a fabricated extension of the Roy: A Life Well-Lived lifelong immersive arcade game featured on the show previously. When Rick and Morty board the train, they feel like they're really part of it, but when they return to their home reality, the experience fades like a dream.
How does the Story Train connect to Roy: A Life Well-Lived?
When Rick kills the conductor aboard the train, he wakes up in the Blips and Chitz arcade, seemingly having just finished a game of Roy: A Life Well-Lived. His body within the universe of the Story Train is ripped in half as she endlessly spins caught between life and death, and the same happens in the "non-diagetic" reality of the arcade.
"Never Ricking Morty" is a perfect example of nested non-diagetic stories (events that exist outside the world of the story), especially when not a single one of these stories can be considered canon for the show — not even the central one that involves Rick and Morty playing with a train.
Can you buy an actual Rick and Morty Story Train?
Despite Rick's belligerent promises that the Story Train is a real thing that you can buy, he's lying outright.
So far, no you cannot buy a Rick and Morty Story Train, but given the fact that you can buy everything from Pickle Rick-flavored Pringles to Strawberry Smiggles, it seems inevitable that some kind of toy set will be released by Adult Swim at some point in the future to celebrate this ridiculous joke. The last time a joke like this appeared on the series, it resurrected McDonald's Szechuan Sauce.
Is www.Story-Train.com real?
If you try going to http://www.story-train.com/ then you get an error saying the IP address cannot be found. That's seemingly intentional. There's no actual website set up for public consumption just yet, but there might be one at some point in the future.
Who owns Story-Train.com?
Heavy.com reports that Turner Broadcasting (which owns Adult Swim and therefore Rick and Morty) bought the domain on March 6, 2019 and then updated it on March 2, 2020.
Rick and Morty Season 4 airs Sunday nights on Adult Swim at 11:30 p.m. Eastern.