"Rickternal Friendshine of the Spotless Mort" is the eighth episode of the fifth season of Rick and Morty, and the 49th episode of the series overall. It premiered on August 8, 2021, and was written by Albro Lundy and directed by Erica Hayes.
With the rest of the family out of town on a cruise, Rick is left to his own devices at home and decides it's time to reconnect with an old friend.
Leaving on a trip, the Smiths leave Rick home alone. When they leave, Rick goes to the garage and activates "Best Friend Rejuvenation Sequence," which brings the cybernetic, half-dead Birdperson out of the wall Rick had stored him in in "Star Mort Rickturn of the Jerri". Rick removes his cybernetic parts and tries to bring him back to life, but finds that his conscious mind is hiding inside his unconscious mind. With no other choice, Rick enters Birdperson's mind to save him.
Rick arrives, nude, in the memory of their meeting at an alien music festival, using a bystander to point him towards Birdperson. He goes through a memory of a battle between Rick, Birdperson, and several Citadel of Rick agents, before landing in a memory of Rick, Birdperson, Squanchy, and several other Resistance fighters planning "The Battle of Blood Ridge". Memory Rick notices him and Rick reveals to him that he is just a sentient memory, before incapacitating him and finishing a device that lets him track Birdperson through his mind.
He finds Birdperson observing a memory of him and Tammy together. Birdperson rejects his rescue attempt and flies away just as Gromflomite soldiers attack. Memory Rick joins Rick in the fight and the two win, going off to find Birdperson. In the garage, both Rick and Birdperson are having a seizure. The AI that control Rick's garage notices neighbor Gene walking by, and convinces him to bring it as many batteries and solar panels as possible.
The Ricks track down Birdperson to a large red crystalline tree. They split up, Memory Rick entering Birdperson's memories suppressed by the Federation after being transformed into Phoenixperson. Rick finds Birdperson making bombs out of rage, and, upon seeing Rick, he detonates them in an attempt to destroy his own mind. Memory Rick sees Birdperson's death as the tree begins to collapse, and the Ricks run, not before Rick stops at the memory of his fight with Birdperson in "Star Mort Rickturn of the Jerri", defeats Birdperson, and orders himself in the memory to give him his clothes. The destruction of the tree turns all of the Bird People nearby feral.
The Ricks go through the "PTSD-Station" to get to Birdperson, and end up in the Battle of Blood Ridge. Memory Rick, eager to see it, is delighted to find that the Resistance easily wins the battle, mostly because of the efforts of Rick and Birdperson. As Rick looks for a way out, Memory Rick observes that after the battle, Rick offered to take Birdperson to whatever reality they wanted to go to and stop fighting, but Birdperson rejected it, stating that it was not worth his integrity.
Birdperson has taken a Memory Tammy to watch the sunrise with him at their home, and both are ambushed by the Ricks. As Rick argues with Birdperson to try and take him back, he reveals that both him and Memory Rick had learned that Birdperson and Tammy had a child. Birdperson decides he will live for his child, held by the Federation, just as the memory Federation attacks. The four steal a Federation car and drive through Birdperson's memories.
Rick reminds Birdperson of a time when they used the mind erasing gun on Jerry and they travel to Rick's garage, where they retrieve the gun. Rick explains that to reach the exit, they need to use memories that Rick and Birdperson share mainly rooted in anger and sadness to "lily pad" their way to a happier memory of their first meeting where they indulged in the use of the illicit Federation substance Senthol Diempathate. They travel through a funeral of a friend, Squanchy's attempt at stand-up comedy, and Rick, Birdperson, and Squanchy's band. As they arrive at a portal that will take them out, they are attacked by another Tammy, who Memory Rick throws into the abyss along with himself. A black, bird-like goo creature attacks, Birdperson says goodbye to Tammy, and Rick and Birdperson fly out of his mind.
After narrowly escaping the collapse of his brain's neural pathways and regaining consciousness, Birdperson confronts Rick over not telling him about his incarcerated child until it was "necessary to save" himself. Disappointed, he leaves just as Gene arrives with his batteries. Panicking, the garage pretends to not know him and shuts the door. However Rick is not angry and tells the garage that he understands.
Meanwhile, it is shown Memory Rick is still alive after transporting himself inside Rick's brain. Rick finds him and offers to make him real to get a drink, Memory Rick follows but hesitates realizing that doing so would mean he eventually becomes present Rick.
In a post-credits scene, Birdperson's daughter is picked on by an inmate in a Federation prison, and is seen attacking him before being dragged away.
- Morty Smith
- Jerry Smith (no lines)
- Beth Smith
- Summer Smith (no lines)
- The Garage
- Freedom Fighters Crew
- Birdperson and Tammy’s Daughter (debut)
- Space Beth (indirectly mentioned)
- Memory Birdperson
- 3 memory Tammys
- Many memory Gromflomites
- Five memory Ricks (one onscreen, 4 off-screen)
- Many memory monsters
- Many memory Galactic Federation robots
- Memory Geardude
- Replacement dimension
- Birdperson's Consciousness
- Rick finally restores Birdperson to normal.
- In celebration of Season 5, Pocket Mortys' weekly updates will coincide with new episodes, including new avatars for players to collect. With the release of this episode came Memory Rick as an avatar, plus Birding Man Morty and Tammy Morty to catch.
- This is the second episode where Rick travels through the mind of another person. The first was "Lawnmower Dog".
- Rick seemingly uses half of a powdered and desiccated time crystal added to senthol diampathate (and an unknown catalyst) to inject himself into the memory of their first meeting. Rick inserts the other half of the crystal between Birdperson's eyes, and begins a simultaneous infusion of the aformentioned mixture into their bloodstreams, synchronizing their conscious minds through a mechanism apparently similar to the real world concept of state-dependent memory retrieval.
- It is revealed that Tammy and Birdperson have a daughter who is currently in prison.
- In Birdperson's memory, there are details from Rick's past that seem to indicate a backstory similar to the fabricated one in "The Rickshank Rickdemption", specifically the death of Diane and Beth:
- In a memory of Rick and Birdperson fighting a gang of Ricks, one of the gang shouts "killing us won't bring her back!" This implies a woman of importance to Rick was killed by the gang.
- Memory Rick says his daughter is dead, and is surprised to hear that Real Rick "moves in with one of abandoned adult Beths." This hints that Beth C-137 died before the beginning of the show, and thus none of the Smith family are from Rick's dimension. However, Memory Rick is based on what Birdperson knows about Real Rick's past, so this may not be historically accurate.
- Real Rick also states that "It's not that simple". Implying that Beth C-137 may not have been an abandoned Beth.
- Memory Rick's Portal Gun has the same design as the gun seen during the fabricated memory.
- Tammy hints that she may not be human as she stated she spent two years in an "Earth high school."
- Memory Rick behaves similar to Morty, and functions as a sidekick replacement in the episode. He states he would not disdain and give a dollar to some man who is callous like real Rick, who later became angrier and stubborn. One might think, due to this comparison, Morty may follow the same trajectory.
- However, this behavior could still be a result of projecting on Birdperson's part, as this Rick is based on his real friend's nostalgic memory of his real counterpart. Real 35-year-old Rick could still be very different from Birdperson's portrayal. Rick is shown in the same episode having lied to Birdperson, regarding the existence of his own daughter, thus Memory Rick may not be an entirely accurate recreation.
- Rick's parents are briefly shown in a shaded, framed photo in the hall in Child Rick's memories.
- This episode marks the return of high IMDb ratings to Rick and Morty episodes, reaching a score of 8.4, after the previous four episodes ("Rickdependence Spray", "Amortycan Grickfitti", "Rick & Morty's Thanksploitation Spectacular" and "Gotron Jerrysis Rickvangelion") became the lowest rated episodes in the series' history.
- The crack around the Smith house from "Ricksy Business" and "A Rickle in Time" is still visible.
- Beth forbids Rick from having parties, referencing the events of “Ricksy Business”. This also references when she and Birdperson first met, which took place in "The Wedding Squanchers”.
- Rick directly references the episode "Pickle Rick", likely comparing it to the possibility of a popular episode, or a better one without the family having too much relevance.
- Rick briefly uses the memory cleaning device seen in the episode Morty's Mind Blowers on himself.
- The episode's title is a reference to the film Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.
- The Federation car that Rick stole resembles the Warthog from the Halo video game series, featuring the same overall design and similar seat configuration, as well as a turret that looks like a M41 Vulcan. The plot also resembles a Warthog Run from the Halo games, where protagonists drive the vehicle to escape danger in end-game scenes.
- Birding Man is a reference to Burning Man.
- In the scene where Tammy sacrifices herself, and Rick escapes with Birdperson through the roof, they parody the famous "I'm flying" scene from the movie Titanic.
View a full transcript of this episode here.