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"Never Ricking Morty" is the sixth episode of the fourth season of Rick and Morty, and the 37th episode of the series overall. It premiered on May 3, 2020.[1] It was written by Jeff Loveness and directed by Erica Hayes.

Synopsis

Rick and Morty get caught in a continuity-creating anthology device full of people telling stories about Rick.

Plot

On a train zooming through space, a bearded man enters the dining car. A conductor with a red misshapen nose says "Tickets, please" and takes his ticket. The man sits down at the bar. A second man sits next to him and asks the bartender for a drink for his "colleague", presuming they are both on the train to kill Rick Sanchez. He suggests to the first man that they swap stories and begins his own.

In the story, the second man is seated on a throne of skulls and orders his minions to lower a prisoner into a vat of acid. Rick enters. The man asks Rick how Rick found him; Rick responds to his questions with farts. The man orders his minions to attack Rick, who quickly defeats his attackers. The man from the bar says, "Now *I'll* fight you!" Uncharacteristically, Rick looks scared and flees.

Back on the train, the second man now asks the first man why he's going to kill Rick; the first man replies annoyed that he doesn't know any Rick Sanchez. As others begin telling their own stories of Rick, the first man leaves the dining car. In the next car, the man encounters a circle of storytellers regaling one another with heartwarming tales of Rick's good deeds. Goomby, one of the storytellers, relates the story of how Rick saved "Space Christmas". The group laughs appreciatively, then aggressively demands the man should tell his own "Christmas Rick" story. The first man angrily declines and threatens them with his gun so that he can leave the car.

Entering the next car, he encounters a blonde woman wearing a low-cut top, whom he threatens to shoot if she cues up a Rick vignette. In explaining she doesn't know how she got there, she begins a cutaway story in which she enters a train car (the conductor appears from behind a plant and takes her ticket) and meets an older woman who asks her why she dated Rick Sanchez. The older woman embarks on her own cutaway story about when Rick met her family, which is interrupted by a warning shot from the man's gun. He admonishes the blonde woman for beginning a vignette; she protests that she wasn't trying to. The man begins to monologue about the train amplifying and linking narratives. When the woman becomes distracted by her own cleavage, the man realizes what's happening, and the two reveal themselves to be Rick and Morty in disguise.

Rick explains they are stuck in a literal story device, an anthology. The conductor enters. Pointing his gun, Rick tells him to stop the train, but the conductor turns out to be a powerful fighter. After he skillfully uses Morty as a human shield, Rick instead shoots the train window, sucking the conductor half out the window.

The conductor is suddenly in an arcade. He pulls off a helmet attached to a game (which he's just lost) called "Tickets Please". He returns to his family but doesn't believe anything is real. Moments later the top half of his body tears away bloodily and begins to pirouette toward the arcade ceiling, spraying blood everywhere. The scene cuts back to outside the train, where the window Rick shot has cut the pirouetting conductor in half.

Rick plugs the hole in the window, but so much air has gone that the train deploys "emergency continuity" as oxygen masks that drop down. Rick breathes in, then takes the large tank connected to the masks labeled "Continuity". Train police break in, threaten Rick and Morty to tee up a story about Rick and end up shooting the tank, which explodes.

Cut to a police training class, which is using the last scene as an educational tool. But Rick and Morty are suddenly among the students. They subdue the students and the teacher, and Rick finds a diagram labeled "Anthology" in the teacher's desk that shows a circle with eight segments (Dan Harmon's "story circle").

The train rumbles, signaling an act break and a musical number with Rick and Birdperson. Via the continuing narrative of the pirouetting conductor at the arcade, the story winds its way back to Rick and Morty, wearing space suits and walking on the hull of the train. After putting the conductor out of his misery, Rick and Morty must disrupt the "thematic seal" by Morty telling an unrelated story. Morty eventually succeeds by telling a story of Summer and Beth fighting off scorpions with their period rays. The two of them make it into the train's engine compartment before Rick runs out of air, only to confront Story Lord ("like a Matrix space Frasier").

Story Lord captures and binds them and reveals his plan: drain Rick and Morty of story potential to fuel the anthology train. After a series of cutaway narratives, modulated by Story Lord's control panel (which influences things like "narrative energy" and "broad appeal") , Rick and Morty find themselves in a final narrative that Story Lord views through a runed portal: the pair must face armies of Meeseeks, Citadel Guards, male Gazorpians and Evil Morty. Rick defeats Story Lord's plans by telling Morty about Jesus Christ, his personal savior. The control panel drains of power, and the train grinds to a halt.

As Veggie-Tales-like cartoon characters surround Rick and Morty, Story Lord jumps into the narrative through the portal to yell at them. Jesus Christ descends from the heavens and drives everyone to their knees, and Rick and Morty use the distraction to leap back through the portal, trapping Story Lord in the narrative. But when they try to restart the train, the controls crumble away, fake.

Cut to Rick and Morty in the Smith living room looking at a glowing model train traveling in a circle. Morty has bought it for Rick at the Citadel. Rick expresses great happiness that Morty spent money and engaged in capitalism. In the train narrative, Story Lord is talking to Jesus Christ, who decides to escape by summoning magic blood. In the living room, the train short-circuits and derails.

Rick grows angry that the train is broken. When Morty suggests that he could return the broken train, Rick gets angrier and tells Morty to buy another one instead, reminding him that "nobody's out there shopping with this fucking virus!"

The post-credits scene is an ad for Story Train.

Cast and characters

Main Cast


Non-speaking characters


Unknown voices

  • Clam woman
  • Spore alien
  • Goomby
  • Leah
  • Leah's sister
  • Concept of Time
  • Train Cops
    • Train Cop 3
    • Train Cop 4
    • Train Cop 5
  • Green alien on stage
  • Uncle Nibbles
  • Male Pig alien
  • Female Pig alien
  • Mike Johnson
  • Fat bald man
  • Ruth Bader Ginsburg
  • Sarge
  • Marcus
  • Male Gazorpians
  • Bible-Saurus
  • Mr. Celery
Guest-Starring


Starring

Deaths

  • Tickets Please Guy
  • Female Scorpions (possibly)
  • Jesus Christ (presumably)

Locations

Episode notes

Trivia

Series continuity

  • Some of the anthologies feature heavy story elements (though Rick points out that those events may or may not have actually happened), foreshadowing some events that will likely come in the future.
    • Rick fights Pheonixperson while Summer fights Tammy, both fights were between those that were once friends during Seasons 1 and 2 but turned to the dark side in later episodes.
      • In "Star Mort Rickturn of the Jerri", Tammy and Pheonixperson both appear as major characters with no reference to this scene, revealing the scene to have been a red herring.
    • President Morty appears, leading an army of Ricks, Meeseeks, and male Gazorpazorpians after Tales from the Citadel. He also mind controls them through his eye patch much like he did with "Evil" Rick back in Season 1.
  • Blips and Chitz, which was last seen in "Mortynight Run", makes an appearance in this episode.
  • There are three photos from music numbers performed in episodes from Season 2 in the train cart that appears after the Birdperson and Rick musical number. The photos are of Morty and Fart performing Goodbye Moonmen in "Mortynight Run", Rick and Morty performing Get Schwifty in the episode of the same name, and Tiny Rick performing the Tiny Rick Song in "Big Trouble in Little Sanchez".
  • Abrodolph Lincoler, Snuffles, Birdperson/Pheonixperson, Tammy, and President Morty all make reappearances.
    • There is also a photo of Morty Jr. which can be seen during Morty's story, nodding to the fact that Morty still thinks about his son from "Raising Gazorpazorp".

Cultural references

  • After Morty mentions getting a new train, Rick references how no one's going shopping because of a virus going around. This is a reference to the 2019-20 Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, which happened a few months after the season 4 hiatus began.
  • Rick compares Story Lord to Frasier Crane from the TV-show Frasier.
  • The creatures that appeared after Rick and Morty prayed in the story are references to the Bible and many of its works and parodies related to it.
    • The living vegetables are a reference to Veggie Tales, a show that commonly talks about verses and stories in the Bible using anthropomorphic vegetable characters.
    • Biblesaurus is a reference to a belief in some rather outlandish forms of Christianity which state that dinosaurs allegedly once coexisted with humanity on a six thousand-year-old Earth. The character's design is based on the cartoon series Denver, The Last Dinosaur, including his fondness of skateboarding.[4]
    • The antromorphic book is a nod to Psalty the Singing Songbook.
  • The mechs the cats pilot when they fight Snuffles resemble the Z-Mechs that the Imps use from Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare 2.
  • The "Story Train" concept is lifted directly from series co-creator Dan Harmon's "Story Circle" process of writing. The Story Circle, adapted by Harmon from Joseph Campbell's "Hero's Journey," entails an eight-step process a character must go through:
    1. A character is in a zone of comfort or familiarity.
    2. They desire something.
    3. They enter an unfamiliar situation.
    4. They adapt to that situation.
    5. They get that which they wanted.
    6. They pay a heavy price for it.
    7. They return to their familiar situation.
    8. They have changed as a result of the journey.
    • Harmon employs this technique almost religiously for most of his projects, including Rick and Morty and Community.
  • The scene where Morty is describing a story where his mother and sister are using their vagina-rays to battle against female scorpions is a parody of the Bechdel test, which is a measure of the representation of women in fiction. In order to "pass" the Bechdel test, the story needs to contain 2 women who talk about something besides men.
  • The flashback to the Vietnam War is a nod to the twist of the 1990 film Jacob's Ladder, a movie dealing with Vietnam War soldiers exposed to a mind-altering drug that lead to a distortion of reality. Morty as a war veteran stabbing Rick with a bayonet is reminiscent of what happens to the main protagonist at the beginning of the film.
    • In the background in the tent where Morty wakes up is a poster for One Night With Janis Joplin, a musical act about the life of Janis Joplin.
  • The aliens in the train cart that appears after the Birdperson and Rick musical number are dressed as characters from famous Broadway musicals, including Erik from The Phantom of the Opera, Tracy Turnblad from Hairspray, Donkey from Shrek The Musical and Bombalurina from Cats. Two of the characters are yet to be identified.
    • The cart also has several posters of different musicals, including "The Sound of Rick", "Rick" and "The Meeseeks of the Opera", parodying of the poster for the musical film The Sound of Music, Cats, and The Phantom of the Opera.
  • Jesus Christ at the end of the episode says: "Father of omens! Give me blood beyond sight!" a reference to "Sword of Omens", give me Sight Beyond Sight!" from ThunderCats.

Transcript

View a full transcript of this episode here.

Gallery

Click here to view the image gallery for Never Ricking Morty.
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References

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ve Rick and Morty episodes
Seasons
Season 1 PilotLawnmower DogAnatomy ParkM. Night Shaym-Aliens!Meeseeks and DestroyRick Potion #9Raising GazorpazorpRixty MinutesSomething Ricked This Way ComesClose Rick-counters of the Rick KindRicksy Business
Season 2 A Rickle in TimeMortynight RunAuto Erotic AssimilationTotal RickallGet SchwiftyThe Ricks Must Be CrazyBig Trouble in Little SanchezInterdimensional Cable 2: Tempting FateLook Who's Purging NowThe Wedding Squanchers
Season 3 The Rickshank RickdemptionRickmancing the StonePickle RickVindicators 3: The Return of WorldenderThe Whirly Dirly ConspiracyRest and RicklaxationTales From the CitadelMorty's Mind BlowersThe ABC's of BethThe Rickchurian Mortydate
Season 4 Edge of Tomorty: Rick Die RickpeatThe Old Man and the SeatOne Crew Over the Crewcoo's MortyClaw and Hoarder: Special Ricktim's MortyRattlestar RicklacticaNever Ricking MortyPromortyusThe Vat of Acid EpisodeChildrick of MortStar Mort Rickturn of the Jerri
Season 5 Mort Dinner Rick AndreMortyplicityA Rickconvenient MortRickdependence SprayAmortycan GrickfittiRick & Morty's Thanksploitation SpectacularGotron Jerrysis RickvangelionRickternal Friendshine of the Spotless MortForgetting Sarick MortshallRickmurai Jack
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