The Best ‘Star Wars’ Joke in Tonight’s ‘Rick and Morty’ Isn’t in the Dialogue
Tonight’s new Rick and Morty episode, “Rise of the Numbericons: The Movie,” operated at a breakneck speed as it crammed an entire sequel film’s worth of plot points into 22 minutes with the most unhinged episode of Season Seven so far — imagine how much more chaotic it would have been if the writers had two and a half hours and no plan.
In all likelihood, the Venn diagram of people who watch Rick and Morty and people who have spent at least an hour of their lives typing detailed breakdowns on the poor decisions made by the architects of the most recent Star Wars film trilogy is probably close to a circle — or a zero if you’re a Numbericon, or an “O” for the Alphabetrians. With that in mind, it’s slightly surprising that Rick and Morty took nearly exactly four years to flame the wet fart of a finale film Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. But tonight, the wait was well worth it.
The very first Rick-less episode in Rick and Morty history is chock-full of references to the third installment of Disney’s much-discussed and dissected Star Wars trilogy — including the episode title itself — but the best part of the parody was the story’s pacing, which imitated the lightspeed-level rush job that was The Rise of Skywalker. Maybe, in the third installment of the Ice/Water-T trilogy, Dan Harmon will hire J.J. Abrams to spend half the runtime frantically apologizing for the second one.
“Rise of the Numbericons: The Movie” is effectively a sequel to the Season Two episode “Get Schwifty” — even if Water-T wasn’t able to acknowledge it. This time around, real-life Ice-T appeared in a cameo playing the father of the aquatic alien played by Harmon who occasionally bears the stage name of the rapper and actor, depending on his temperature. The episode told the story of Water-T’s people, the Alphabetrians, as they fight their bitter enemies the Numbericons and race to solve the mystery of an ancient artifact that leads to unspeakable power.
The episode also marked the most screen time that Morty’s math teacher, the Mrs. Pancakes-loving Mr. Goldenfold, has enjoyed since Rick and Morty tumbled through the many levels of his dreams in just the show’s second episode, “Lawnmower Dog.” With Morty serving as a sort of sherpa and a semi-passive observer throughout the episode — at one point remarking, “We’re making great time!” in an allusion to the episode’s best joke — “Rise of the Numbericons” is a canonical resurrection of early elements in the Rick and Morty universe that we didn’t realize we missed.
But the biggest takeaway from tonight’s Rick and Morty entry is that, seven seasons in, the show is still willing and able to return to its roots with a playful and punchy sci-fi parody that shows both the love the writers have for Star Wars and their eagerness to point out the preposterous plot construction of the franchise’s ninth episode. So far, Season Seven has been a massive return to form after two seasons of relative turmoil wherein many fans — and possibly Harmon himself — felt that the show had become aimless as it lost sight of what made viewers fall in love with it in the first place.
Sound familiar, Kathleen Kennedy?