If ever there was a Rick and Morty punchline that you’d think would never be addressed again, it would be the giant incest baby that was shot out into space during "Rickdependence Spray.” Yet here we are only three episodes later in Season 5. The baby, inexplicably dubbed Naruto, becomes a crucial deus ex babina in the episode’s climax to help save the day.
The enormous biological offspring of Summer and Morty Smith has become one of the most powerful beings in the universe, so how often will it be around to save its parents, grandparents, and great-grandfather from certain doom? "Gotron Jerrysis Rickvangelion" might be remembered as the Voltron episode, but space kaiju incest baby is a bigger deal ... much bigger.
How did we even get here?
"Gotron Jerrysis Rickvangelion" begins innocently enough, with Rick taking his grandchildren to Boob World. Except when they see a blue Gotron Ferret on a nearby moon, Rick abandons the plan to complete his collection. With a full five-person squad of Voltron-style ferret robots, they can combine into a super-mecha capable of taking down kaiju. And it’s the five Smith family members that have to squad up.
Rick and Morty channels Voltron, Power Rangers, and even Pacific Rim in spectacular fashion but makes it an opportunity for Summer to shine as a brilliant utilitarian and opportunist. She’s a foil to Morty’s meekness to the extent that you almost feel bad for him here. Rick quickly spirals out of control, his ambition growing as he collects alt-reality Gotron ferrets and their Smith family pilots from across the multiverse. It’s all in the effort of building an even bigger combo-robot. While Rick basks in the drunken glory, Summer manages it all. And she’s more than capable of meeting the logistical needs.
From a stylistic standpoint, the episode makes clever use of dueling voiceovers from both Morty and Summer. We hear their inner thoughts — and they hear each others’ — and the effect gives an already intriguing story a touch of neo-noir. It’s a fun little gag that thankfully doesn’t overstay its welcome.
Rick C-137 being the Rickest Rick around, it’s only natural that he lets the booze and power go to his head.
A hot-headed Rick variant sabotages the operation, and some anime caricatures modeled after the classic Voltron cartoons stage a coup. They successfully replace the many Morty, Summer, Beth, and Jerry variants. It’s around this time that a totally adequate episode goes off the rails and becomes amazing in several ways:
Summer drops a bombshell of a monologue to her family. Remember how several episodes earlier, the United States government launched Summer and Morty’s giant incest baby into space? Well, the government recovered the poor creature near Mars and got Summer to communicate with it. After it escaped, the family rides atop its head with Summer controlling it Ratatouille style to easily defeat the super mecha.
In a way, it’s bold and terrifying for Rick and Morty to double down on this ridiculous giant incest baby plotline instead of something more expected like Evil Morty. Is this a bit of a troll for all the fans who want more serialized plots on the show? Definitely, but it’s also an interesting development in Rick and Morty’s long-running dabbling with incest jokes.
Recall that Morty and Rick made out (sort of) last season, a specific relationship that was joked about in the first season. And a Morty variant in “The Ricklantis Mixup” literally wished that incest porn had more mainstream appeal.
It’s a bit of an odd choice, even for a show that likes to push the envelope. And Season 5 literally makes a huge deal about it in the form of Naruto Smith. So will this big baby be around for many seasons to come? Or will he disappear without explanation, just like Space Beth?
Rick and Morty airs Sunday nights on Adult Swim at 11 pm. Eastern.