"Rattlestar Ricklactica" is the fifth episode of the fourth season of Rick and Morty. It is the 36th episode of the series overall. It premiered on December 15, 2019. It was written by James Siciliano and directed by Jacob Hair.
Rick and Morty get caught up in a full-on snake war after a space snake bites Morty. Jerry tries to prove he can hang Christmas lights without dying.
While getting ready for an adventure, Rick and Morty stop to talk to Jerry, who is on top of the roof, trying to set up Christmas lights. Morty passes on Beth’s concerns that Jerry will kill himself in the light-hanging process. Jerry says he can hang lights safely; Rick responds by accusing Jerry of lying. Jerry promptly falls off the roof, but before he hits the ground, Rick zaps him with a ray that makes Jerry’s body lighter than air. He then zaps Jerry’s shoes with a ray that makes them heavier than air, rendering Jerry “neutrally buoyant”. As Rick and Morty climb into the spaceship, Jerry celebrates his buoyancy, which allows him to jump high up in the air and then slowly sink back down. Remembering a warning that the ray will eventually wear off, Jerry sets a timer to keep track of how long he will be neutrally buoyant.
In space, Rick and Morty are arguing about piss and centipedes when (somehow) the spaceship hits “a sharp thing in space” and gets a flat tire. Rick puts on a spacesuit and goes out to fix the flat, giving Morty strict instructions not to follow. Morty promptly ignores these instructions, dons a spacesuit, and goes outside. Rick, who is fixing the flat, starts yelling at Morty to go back in the ship. While the two are arguing, a snake astronaut slithers up and bites Morty in the ankle. Morty kills the snake by breaking its astronaut suit with a hubcap, but it is clear he has been seriously injured.
Soon afterward, Morty begins to turn purple, a symptom of the poison that the snake injected into him when it bit him. Rick flies to the snake’s home planet, scans it, and synthesizes an anti-venom serum, which promptly cures Morty. The scan also reveals that the snakes on the planet have formed an advanced patchwork of industrial societies— there are 19 billion snakes divided into 10,000 nations, all on the brink of global war because of race. Rick remarks that the concept of racist snakes is hilarious, and begins to fly away. Morty, horrified that he killed an astronaut who might have been the snakes’ last hope for survival, and despairs that he is the reason “19 billion snakes lost all hope!” Rick responds that the snakes’ loss of hope is their own fault, reminding Morty that the snake astronaut bit its first alien contact.
On earth, we see Jerry bouncing into the city, where he sees a group of friends of many different races playing basketball together. Jerry asks to join the game, offering a bet that “this white boy can jump”. The players take exception to Jerry’s use of racial epithets, pointing out that the basketball court is the one place left in society that racism has not touched. Jerry tries to make amends, but ends up inadvertently implying that he is a Nazi. He decides to just try taking a jump shot, but as he jumps up, one of his shoes falls off, causing Jerry to go flying up into the sky as the basketball players look on, taking pride in the fact that their neighborhood has integrity.
After returning from the space adventure, Morty continues to blame himself for the snake planet’s impending doom. Having held onto the space snake’s body, he holds a vigil, where he hatches an idea on how to restore hope to the snakes. He goes to a pet store & buys a snake roughly the size of the space snake to take her place, whom he names Slippy. Morty proceeds to draw markings on Slippy similar to the ones the space snake had and then force Slippy into the space snake’s astronaut suit, being bitten multiple times in the process.
Morty then flies Slippy to the snake planet and throws her out the window. A parachute opens on the spacesuit, gently carrying Slippy down to the surface. Military officials from one of the nations on the snake planet detect Slippy and intercept her.
We then see a montage of Snake scientists, academics, politicians, and military officials attempting to interact with Slippy. The nation’s president appears at a press conference with Slippy, who hisses at reporters in a language they don’t understand. Snake academics record these hisses and attempt to decipher them. One snake professor finally manages to translate them. The military then recruits the professor to talk with Slippy, who is being held in a room at the Snake Pentagon.
The professor talks with Slippy, first through an intercom and later by entering the room and speaking with her directly. Though Slippy seems suspicious at first, she eventually grows to trust the professor. She wraps herself around the professor in an aggressive display of affection. Though surprised, the professor quickly reciprocates, and the two make love while being monitored by other snake military officials.
Back on earth, Rick, Morty and Summer are playing Downbeat when Beth enters the room and asks about Jerry. Morty, much to Rick’s chagrin, reveals that Rick made Jerry lighter than air. Beth expresses concern that Jerry will fall out of the sky to his death; Rick responds that that could only happen if Jerry messes up wearing shoes. Quickly realizing that that is in fact quite possible, Rick and Beth rush to find & save Jerry.
Jerry is revealed to be flying through the sky while attempting to return to the ground. He has tied the legs of his pants together and is holding the torso area open so the pants will fill with rainwater. Beth calls Jerry on his cellphone and tries to convince him to tell her where he is so Rick can pick him up. Jerry tells Beth nothing is wrong and that he is just buying lights at the store. However, Rick notices that he is lying and freezes Beth using a special remote, and then tries to level with Jerry, but Jerry rebuffs Rick. As far as Jerry is concerned, his predicament is a "win-win": if he survives and returns home, it will be without Ricks help, but if he dies, it will be entirely Rick's fault. Rick decides to let Jerry try to get out on his own as he manages to lower himself enough to grab onto a tree. Before unfreezing Beth, Rick activates a special gadget in his lair, which created a disfigured, fungus-grown Jerry head, whom he uses to trick Beth into thinking that her husband was okay.
Meanwhile, in a bar, Jerry walks in, carrying a boulder into a bar and looks for a driver. The bartender and patrons tell Jerry he can’t bring the boulder in with him. When Jerry drops the boulder, he floats up to the ceiling; the bartender and patrons tell him this isn’t allowed, either. The patrons end up throwing Jerry out of the bar, causing him to immediately fly up into the sky again.
Back at the house, Morty is in his room when a snake-shaped robot suddenly appears. The robot attempts to kill Morty, but a snake enters the room wielding a shotgun. The snake and robot fight with each other, and Morty runs to the garage, where he warns Beth and Rick about the snakes. Beth and Rick are initially skeptical at first, but when snakes and snake robots start appearing in the room and trying to kill Morty, they quickly get the message. Beth, Rick, and Morty grab weapons and try to kill the snakes, which keep attacking in growing numbers. A humanoid snake robot arrives to tell the family, but Beth crushes him to death in a panic. Morty asks Rick why the snakes would attack him when he was just trying to help them. Rick angrily responds that by sending Slippy to masquerade as the original astronaut, instead of leaving well enough alone, Morty unwittingly informed the snakes that there was something bigger and scarier to unite against. Now, instead of falling into the Dark Ages for a couple of generations, select snakes create new technology such as time travel in an attempt to kill him.
In other words, none of this chaos would be possible if Morty simply did what Rick said in space and stayed in the car.
True to Rick's words, some time in the Snake Planet's future, the war costs the lives of 17 billion snakes by the end. Soon after, a new Terminator-esque war rages between snakes and machines. The surviving snakes from the previous war managed to defeat the machines in part because Morty somehow helped unite them.
Back at the Snake Planet, Rick and Morty land on the planet where the war between snakes and machines is in its earliest stage. Rick and Morty fight their way into the Snake Pentagon, where they defeat robots and snake soldiers alike. They briefly see Slippy, who is being threatened by several time-traveling robot snakes and protected by time-traveling snakes, making her a central source of the conflict that can determine the planet's fate.
They then reach the center of “Snake-Net”, where a time machine is under construction. They kill the scientists making the time machine, but they realize that it is not even a quarter finished, Rick makes a mental note to blueprint time travel in a format snakes can understand or, in his case, "committing more to Morty's current 'fuck-ups' ". As he said that, future versions of Rick and Morty show up with a book full of instructions on time travel written in the snakes’ language, portable time machines, and snake costumes. Future Morty, who is sporting a black eye, rudely insults current Morty, and future Rick insults current Rick. Future Rick and Future Morty then leave. Rick and Morty put on the snake costumes, travel back to 1985, and leave the time travel instructions at Snake MIT before returning to the present, hoping the snakes' own self discovery will be their undoing.
After they leave, a snake student and his peers read the time travel instructions and use them to build a time machine. They send a student back to the 19th century to prevent Snake Abraham Lincoln’s assassination, sending him a letter which told him to duck, preventing his assassination. The student returns victorious, only to find that the ripple-effect of protecting Lincoln has altered the timeline and caused his present to be ruled by Snake Nazis.
Not taking any chances, the student grabs a chainsaw and steps back into the time machine. In 1938, Snake Adolf Hitler is giving a speech in Snake Berlin. He then goes inside to take a shower. A series of snake time travelers show up— some seeking to kill Snake Hitler, others seeking to protect him, or just fight one another as Snake Hitler stares at them in confusion. The time travelers start killing each other, leading to pandemonium.
On earth in the present, Jerry briefly calls Beth to ask for help. When she doesn’t answer, he leaves a voicemail promising to come home with “the best Christmas lights ever!” He grabs ahold of a jet, which he holds onto when the neutral buoyancy wears off. A snake-human hybrid robot approaches Jerry and offers to save his life; Jerry, thinking the robot is from Rick, kicks it away, causing it to fly into the plane’s engine. The plane careens toward the ground— Jerry jumps away at the last minute, grabs a tree, and climbs to safety.
Back on earth in the present, time-traveling snakes and snake robots are raining down on the suburbs, still fighting to the death. Summer & Beth are hard at work killing them, but to no avail. Morty worries that giving snakes time travel just made it worse, but Rick reassures him that things will work out in their favor, knowing what would happen next.
In the fourth dimension, Shleemypants receives a phone call, informing him of the incident. He and another time cop travel to the snake planet and go back in time until they find the first snake to use tools. They proceed to beat that snake to death, thereby preventing the snake civilization (as we know it) from ever developing. In the present on earth, all the attacking snakes and snake robots suddenly disappear, the ones that haven't fallen writhing in pain before involuntarily eating their own tails. As this counted as one of Morty's adventures, Rick pulls out the card, but this time, he tears it apart, declaring that there are no freebies because of what happened.
Jerry reveals himself to be on the roof, and claims he was there the entire time. He then promptly falls off and breaks his leg. Rick heals the leg halfway, claiming that the other fifty percent is on him. He then remarks to Morty that Jerry sucks, yet Morty does not challenge this assertion Rick, Morty, and the family go inside to have some eggnog, only for the former two to once again encounter their future selves, who rudely remind them that they need to make snake costumes and translate time travel instructions into the snakes’ language. Both Rick and Morty resign themselves to doing this.
In the post-credits scene, they finish the instructions and time machines and travel to the snake planet to hand off the instructions, but before doing so, Rick punches Morty in the eye while reminding him to stay in the car next time. This resolves the causality loop and explains Morty’s black eye.
Cast and characters
- Space Snakes (Presumed extinction)
- Buzz Advil
- Snake Resistance Robot
- Human-Snake hybrid
- Several people on a plane
- Caveman Snake
- Smith Residence
- Snake Planet
- Devil's Teat
- 4th Dimensional Time Cop Headquarters
- Boob World (mentioned)
- The episode's title is a pun on Battlestar Galactica, an American science fiction franchise.
- Despite the Rick and Morty creators having a stance against adventures involving time travel, this episode contains a large amount of it.
- The Santa hats Rick and Morty wore are examples of a Bootstrap Paradox. Rick and Morty will always receive the hats from their future selves, and later, pass it on to their past selves in an endless loop.
- The time travel plot on the snake planet involving machines is a nod to the Terminator franchise.
- It is revealed that Beth does not keep Jerry's number stored in her phone.
- Jerry is attacked by an American White Pelican while he’s airborne, but it makes the sound of a seagull, rather than a pelican.
- The way the snakes eat their tails at the end of the invasion is similar to that of the ouroborus, a snake that represents infinity and holds the balance of life and death by holding its tail in its mouth. The symbolism of an ouroborus reflects the looped nature of a time travel story.
- This is the second time that Morty C-137 is caught masturbating. Previously, Summer caught him in the kitchen in “Total Rickall. In this episode, a robotic snake attempts to kill him while he is masturbating in his room.
- This is the first time that it is not a flashback, but in the episode itself.
- Rick has a machine which can create disfigured, interactive replica heads of other humans, like Jerry, the mailman, Mr. Goldenfold (labeled as "Math Teacher"), Summer, a pizza guy, and a cop (labeled as "Cop 7").
- Rick's box of "Time Travel Stuff" is knocked over, symbolizing the second time it's been interacted with (first time being in Big Trouble in Little Sanchez) and the episode's use of time travel.
- The knocking over of the "Time Travel Stuff" box was not shown onscreen, but it happened during the beginning of the first snake attack in the garage.
- A photo on Jerry's phone reveals that Beth carried him on their wedding day, and not vice versa.
- Based on her fangs and the shape of her head, Slippy appears to be some sort of viper, and thus venomous. It is never explained how Morty survived Slippy’s many bites. It is possible that Morty synthesized anti-venom using the same machine Rick used at the beginning of the episode.
- The crack around the Smith house from "Ricksy Business" and "A Rickle in Time" is still visible.
- Morty's adventure cards from "Vindicators 3: The Return of Worldender" makes a return. Frustrated with the snake-related consequences of Morty's meddling, Rick rips up the current card, telling Morty "you know what: this one counts as one of your adventures!" This statement suggests that Morty will have to wait 10 more adventures before he can pick one again.
- The episode of How They Do It featuring the Plumbus is playing while Rick is asleep on the couch, last seen in "Interdimensional Cable 2: Tempting Fate".
- Morty can drive the Space Cruiser, like he did in "Edge of Tomorty: Rick Die Rickpeat".
- Rick, Morty, and Summer play "Downbeat", a fictional dice game last played by Beth and robotic duplicates of Rick, Morty, and Summer in "Rickmancing the Stone".
- Snuffles appears on dog food packages in the pet store.
- After meddling with time, the Snake Planet's analog of the United States is controlled by Nazis. This may be a callback to the many fascist worlds featured in "Edge of Tomorty: Rick Die Rickpeat".
- There is a bronze bust of a snake resembling Abradolf Lincler on the revised Nazi-controlled Snake Planet in 1985.
- The floating Schrodinger's cats, last seen in "A Rickle in Time", are still floating in the fourth dimension.
- In celebration of Season 4, Pocket Mortys' weekly updates will coincide with new episodes, including new avatars for players to collect. With the release of this episode came: Spacesuit Rick as an avatar, plus Snake Morty and Spacesuit Morty to catch.
- After rejecting Morty's request to go to a planet called Boob World, Rick asks Summer if she would like to go to Boob World. Summer responds "eh, not today", suggesting she would be interested in going to Boob World a different day. Along with "The Old Man and the Seat", where she is shown dating both female and male partners, this statement suggests that Summer is bi- or pan-sexual.
- Rick is also shown to be bi- or pan-sexual in "Auto Erotic Assimilation", wherein he sleeps with Unity in both her female and male host bodies.
- Jerry is also strongly implied to be bi- or pan-sexual in "Total Rickall", wherein he fondly remembers hooking up with Sleepy Gary. While this is a false memory implanted in his brain by a world-destroying Memory Parasite, Jerry regards it as a happy memory, and suggests he would rather die believing his relationship with Sleepy Gary is real than live knowing it was imaginary.
- This is the last episode to air in the 2010s.
- Morty: "Rick, wait, go back! I can't be the reason why 19 billion snakes lost all hope!
Rick: "That's right, Morty; only 19 billion snakes can do that!"
- Rick: "To paraphrase the great Jeff Foxworthy, if you bite your first contact on its ankle, you might be a Type-0-Civilization-neck."
- Snake Merchant: "Any snake over fifty bucks years for the Beyond; I've seen 'em do it!"
- Snakes: "Hisssssssssssssssssssssss!!!!!"
- Biker: "Big man, holdin' a big rock. Think you can take me down?!"
- Tricia: "Summer, how supes-shook am I by your playlisting fleekness tonite!"
Summer: "You love it? It's Snake Jazz! My little brother got bit by a snake in outer space & killed it with a hubcap, and my grandpa had to scan its planet's culture for anti-venom, and they found this! It's my jam!!!!"
Tricia: "Seriously, my new thing now is Snake Jazz!"
Nancy: "Can you alter the course of a species's evolution like that without repercussions?"
Summer: "I don't know, Nancy; can you alter the course of being a giant f***ing nerd?!"
Tricia: "Also, later, we need to discuss your clothing & your weight."
Nancy: "That's fair."
- The celebrity voice package in the Space Cruiser is supposed to sound like Christopher Walken.
- Summer asks if Rick trapped Jerry in a painting again, which is a reference to the Luigi's Mansion video game series where King Boo traps Mario in a painting.
- After blowing a tire, Rick references the movies 2001: A Space Odyssey and Gravity when he says two guys leave the ship and one goes spinning away.
- Rick also mentions the TV-show Saturday Night Live.
- When at the basketball court, Jerry wanted to make a bet that "this white guy can jump", referencing the 1992 basketball movie "White Men Can't Jump".
- Morty has two candles of R2D2 from Star Wars in his room.
- Slippy returning to the Snake planet and acting different is a reference to movies like Lucy in the Sky, Extant, Gravity and Contact.
- When the Snake government recruits a language professor to talk to the newly arrived snake astronaut, it's a reference to the movie Arrival.
- The remote control that Rick used to freeze Beth, and his explanation that he got it from Christopher Walken, are references to the 2006 movie Click starring Walken, where the plot revolves around the same type of remote.
- The Devil’s Teat bar has many references, including signs for Stiff Turkey (Wild Turkey whiskey), Toss’n Brau (Löwenbräu beer), a framed picture of the band Mötorhead’s “Snaggletooth” logo, the huge guy playing pool is wearing a shirt with the band Led Zeppelin‘s “Icarus” logo,
- Jerry orders a "Diet Sprite Remix", a soda that was discontinued in 2005.
- Jerry asks if anyone in the bar is a driver for Uber, a popular ride-hailing app.
- Jerry's phone appears to have the apps PowerPoint, SnapChat, Facebook, and PayPal installed, along with an app with a logo similar to BuzzFeed’s, but with zig-zag removed from the arrow.
- The are several Terminator references throughout the episode.
- The snake wearing a leather jacket and wielding a shotgun is a reference to Terminator.
- Serpacorp (or Snakenet, as Rick calls it) is a parody of Skynet from the Terminator franchise.
- The "Future" sequence on the Snake planet is a copy of a similar scene in Terminator 2: Judgment Day.
- A snake with the hair and sunglasses of the Terminator appears in Snake Berlin, being one of the many time-traveling snakes attacking the Snake Nazis.
- "Resistance is mouse-like" is a parody of the phrase, "Resistance is futile".
- A poster in the 1985 Snake M.I.T. lab appears to be a snake-version of the Michael Jackson album Bad.
- The poster next to it is a snake-version of the movie poster for the 1985 movie Back to the Future.
- One of the snakes in 1985 wore a sweater with a rainbow-colored banana, a parody of the Apple logo in 1985.
- The fascist posters are snake-versions of the Nazi posters used during WWII.
- Snake Hitler has a portrait of the real life Hitler’s dog Blondi on his wall. The portrait resembles the dog painting from the It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia episode "Pop-Pop: The Final Solution".
- Most of the under-construction time machine built by the snakes resembles the main "Time rotor" of the TARDIS from Doctor Who, a show centred around time travel.
View a full transcript of this episode here.
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