"The ABC's of Beth" is the ninth episode of the third season of Rick and Morty. It is the 30th episode of the series overall. It premiered on September 24, 2017. It was written by Mike McMahan and directed by Juan Meza-León.
Rick and Beth sort out issues from her childhood by visiting a world called Froopyland. Morty and Summer are a little wary of Jerry's new girlfriend.
After learning on the news that convicted child murderer Joseph Lipnip is set to be executed by lethal injection tonight for eating his son Thomas Lipnip, with his execution already drawing dozens more spectators, Beth remembers how she tried to cope with his disappearance by imagining that he got lost in her imaginary world called "Froopyland" and laughs at how silly it was. Rick then gets offended and reveals her "imaginary world" was actually one of his inventions created for her to play in. Beth realizes this means that Tommy might actually still be trapped in there and enters the realm with Rick. As Beth argues with Rick about spending her childhood in the "glorified chicken coop" instead of by his side, Rick is captured and nearly fed to the offspring of a giant bird-like creature, losing an arm in the process.
After fighting off the bird and her babies using a new mechanical arm, Rick and Beth discover that the lifeforms have been created and corrupted using human DNA, indicating that Tommy is indeed still trapped in the dimension. Beth theorizes that Tommy committed intercourse with the Froopyland creatures in order to produce children of which he would consume in order to sustain himself and Rick adds that it is also likely that the less appetizing of them (for Tommy) would worship Tommy as their god. Rick's assumption is revealed to be true once the two are captured by a group of Tommy's children (human/Froopyland creature hybrids). Upon being captured and brought before Tommy, they learn (to no surprise) that he has become the dimension's de facto leader and commits incest with his children as well as cannibalism to survive, just as Rick and Beth figured out. However, Tommy reveals in a play that Beth was the one responsible for trapping him in Froopyland, out of jealousy for his own father. Following the play, Tommy decides to give a "demonstration" on how he nourishes himself in Froopyland, to which Rick responds out of disgust by quickly leaving with Beth in tow.
When Beth asserts that their "adventure" is not over, Rick tries to justify keeping Beth in Froopyland for most of her childhood by saying that she was "a scary fucking kid" that frequently asked him to make borderline, if not blatantly, psychotic toys and devices to use on the neighbors' kids. Beth tries to blame Rick for her actions, claiming that she only did it so Rick would spend more time with her, and she resolves to save Tommy from the dimension. But when she refuses to apologize for trapping him in Froopyland, Tommy refuses to leave and sics his children on her, causing her to go into a defense-induced killing frenzy, during which she presumably kills Tommy. Beth returns with his severed finger and Rick and Beth create an adult clone of Tommy in order to save his father from lethal injection. Pondering her life and finally confronting Rick, Beth discovers she has two options: leave the family to travel the cosmos while Rick replaces her with a clone, or stay with the family and be content with the life she has chosen. Her decision is left ambiguous.
Meanwhile, Jerry begins dating Keara, an alien highly invested in hunting, much to Morty and Summer's dismay. After becoming exhausted on one of their hunting sessions with Keara, Jerry admits to Summer and Morty that he wants to break up with Keara to which the two encourage him to confront her about it. The following day, Summer and Morty find themselves on the run from Keara after Jerry warns them that she wants to kill them. It is then revealed that this is because Jerry claimed that they were trying to end his and Keara's relationship. While trying to kill Morty and Summer, she breaks up with Jerry once he reveals that he also wanted to end their relationship. Afterward, it is revealed she is using him as a rebound to get over a previous ex, much like Jerry was with her.
Post-credit scene: Jerry's answering machine plays messages that detail Keara warning Jerry that her new boyfriend is angry with him, the boyfriend calling and saying he's coming after Jerry, Rick assuring Jerry he killed the alien hunter and then saying he had sex with Keara. Michael, the owner of the antique phone store where Jerry rented his answering machine, also allows Jerry to keep the device, since "no one uses them anymore and it's only used for exposition on TV shows, anyway".
Cast and characters
- Replacement dimension
- Alaska (mentioned)
- Harry Herpson High School
- Jerry's Apartment
- Krutabulon (mentioned)
- Renaldo's (mentioned)
- Dimension Without Daylight Saving (mentioned)
- Antique Phone Rentals (mentioned)
- In celebration of season 3, Pocket Mortys' weekly updates will coincide with new episodes, including new avatars for players to collect. With the release of this episode came: Froopy Tommy, Froopy 14, Froopy 5, Kimono Jerry, Kiara and Tommy as avatars, and Froopy Shloop Morty, Froopy Moop Morty, Froopy Bloop Morty and War Paint Morty to catch. 
- This is the first episode name of the series to include Beth's name. Most others use the name Rick (such as "Rick Potion #9" and "Total Rickall") while others use Morty (such as "Mortynight Run" and "Morty's Mind Blowers"), do not feature a main character name (such as "Meeseeks and Destroy" and "Get Schwifty") or feature both main character names (in the case of "The Rickchurian Mortydate").
- Name of the episode, apparently, comes from the ABCs of Death 2012 anthology film.
- Beth is aware of the fact that she is only one of many daughters from many universes (and possibly believes it to be an excuse for his bad parenting) since the time she was told about it in "Ricksy Business".
- According to Rick, an adventure requires conflict, stakes, a benefit for Rick himself, and Morty.
- This is the first time Morty can be seen not sitting in the back seat of the class.
- Some of the things Beth asked Rick to invent as a kid were:
- A ray gun
- A whip which forces people to like the bearer
- Invisibility handcuffs
- A parent leg-trap
- A lightning gun
- A teddy bear with anatomically correct innards
- Night-vision googly-eye glasses
- Sound-erasing sneakers
- False fingerprints
- "Fall-asleep" darts
- A lie-detecting doll
- An indestructible baseball bat
- A ladybug-shaped taser
- A fake police badge
- Location-tracking stickers
- Rainbow-colored duct tape
- Mind-control hair-clips
- Poison gum
- A pink sentient switchblade
- The song playing while Rick and Beth clone Tommy is "Fathers and Daughters (Doo-Doo in My Butt)", which was created by Chaos Chaos ft. Dan Harmon, Justin Roiland and Ryan Elder.
- Tommy refers to Beth as "Beth the Destroyer".
- Despite causing Jerry to leave the house, Rick still protects him from the alien hunter.
- This was either due for his grandchildren, Beth or out of his own choice.
- Whether or not Beth accepted Rick's offer to clone her so she could pursue her own interests is deliberately left ambiguous, teasing the possibility only with her rapid shift into a more parental demeanor when the kids return home. This was later touched upon in Star Mort Rickturn of the Jerri.
- The music that plays and the directorial choice in panning from picture to picture when Beth decides whether or not to stay bears a strong resemblance to similar scenes in "Close Rick-counters of the Rick Kind," and "Get Schwifty," where Rick reviews past memories of Morty and Morty decides whether he should abandon Rick or not (respectively).
- The episode briefly mocks the "school bully" cliche. After Morty's bully insults him, he immediately questions his own values.
- The separation of Jerry and Beth from the episode "The Rickshank Rickdemption" plays a large role in this episode.
- Twice in two sequential episodes now Rick can be seen drink out of a can from 'Foonies', first in "Morty's Mind Blowers".
- On the fridge, there is a picture of Rick and Mr. Poopybutthole smiling together, in which the latter was last seen in "Total Rickall".
- On the fridge, there is a picture of Morty hugging a young Snuffles smiling together, in which the later was last seen in "Lawnmower Dog".
- In accordance with Dan Harmon's stance on time travel within the series, Rick explicitly states that when he went to retrieve pizza from a parallel universe, he did not time travel to return immediately. He went to an alternate reality that did not create daylight savings time (which would make the time an hour earlier there), and simply stole pizzas from the counter. Thus, he did not place an order and wait, explaining how he returned almost immediately.
- The cracks on the ground are still visible, following the events of the episode "Ricksy Business".
- The scene where Summer gets telekinetically strangled by Keara is very similar to the scene where Rick gets strangled by the female Gazorpians in "Raising Gazorpazorp".
- Rick admits that Beth not his original Beth, which she admits she knows, since she was told it in "Close Rick-counters of the Rick Kind".
- Rick's speech to Beth is very similar to the one he gave to Jerry in "The Whirly Dirly Conspiracy", about them not taking responsibility for their actions and lack of morals.
- The title is a pun on the comedic horror film The ABC's of Death.
- Rick references his understanding of Beth's frustrated feelings towards him by alluding to Charles Manson, a convicted mass murderer.
- Rick references the iPad when ranting to Beth.
- Rick references Reddit, and a Star Wars character, R2D2, comparing the way he treated Beth (by building an entire child-safe world to no acclaim) to a father who designed a toilet that looked like R2D2, as a way of entertaining his kids, and getting acclaimed ("blowing up the front page") on Reddit for it.
- There is currently no known real-life Reddit post, or instance of such an event happening, though it's possible this is a play on R2-KT, a white and pink R2 unit model built by the R2-D2 Builders Club for Katie Johnson, the daughter of the founder of the 501st costuming group. The R2 unit was built for her after she was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer, and she expressed a desire for a droid to watch over her as R2-D2 does in the second prequel movie for Padme.
- Rick's encounter with the juvenile aerial Froopy creatures is identical to the scene in Jurassic Park III when the missing twelve-year-old Eric Kirby is tossed by a Pterodactyl into its nest of young. Similarly, his comment that he was "charmed at "life finds a way"" was a reference to Jeff Goldblum's character, Ian Malcolm, asserting that the all-female dinosaurs in the original Jurassic Park would find a way to breed (spoiler alert: they did.)
- Rick compares Beth to former pro-wrestler Steve Austin.
- Summer mentions Facebook, where Jerry is said to have ranted.
- Jerry compares Keara to Cheetara from Thundercats.
- Keara is a parody and pastiche of various tribal and hypersexualized aliens:
- The Predators/Yautja (her elongated head, hunter/warrior clothing, skill with bladed weaponry and tendency to hunt other aliens for sport).
- The Na'vi from Avatar (her blue skin, cat-like face, and "Soul Bond" custom).
- A certain mutant prostitute from Total Recall.
- Aayla Secura from Star Wars (her blue skin, brown clothing, elongated head, and telekinesis).
- Liara T'Soni from Mass Effect (her name, blue skin and head).
- Keara's phase-shifting powers are a reference to the phasing ability from the video game Final Fantasy XV, which is used by the game's protagonist, Noctis.
- An alien in Tommy's play mentions the video game company Nintendo.
- Rick references Rotten Tomatoes - as well as Tommy's questionable food source - when he sarcastically calls Tommy's play "certified fresh". Rotten Tomatoes collects aggregate reviews for film and television in order to establish a film/show's quality as either "rotten" or " fresh". Picks that are "certified fresh" are works that have been critically acclaimed.
- During Tommy's play, Beth dismisses her portrayal of pushing Tommy in honey as "fake news". This term was used predominantly during the 2016 US Presidential Election by Republican candidate Donald Trump in reference to disparaging media reports against him.
- Beth compares the Floopians to The Muppets.
- "Isaac Asi-hole" is a reference to science-fiction writer Isaac Asimov.
- The "Parent Trap" is a dark reference to the 1961 film of the same name and its 1998 remake starring Lindsay Lohan.
- Beth references the television network ABC and their reality TV program The Bachelor.
- Rick mentions Blade Runner when discussing the possibility of cloning Beth.
- Tommy's play may possibly be a reference to Game of Thrones' Season 6 play "The Bloody Hand".
- The Ray Gun Beth wanted Rick to create slightly resembles the one seen in the Zombies mode in the Call of Duty: Black Ops series.
- The Varrix (the monsters that Keara hunts) are a reference to the Crawlers, the monsters of the movie "The Descent".
- Their mouths also resemble the Yautja (Predators), another reference to "Alien vs. Predator".
- They may also resemble Jared Nomak and the Reapers from the film Blade II.
- The post-credits scene is possibly a reference to the 1970s TV Show "The Rockford Files", where every episode began with a humorous line from an answering machine ("It's only used for exposition on TV shows, anyway").
- The taxi Morty and Summer leave as they return to the Smith household resembles the Vapid Stanier taxicab seen in Grand Theft Auto IV. The car itself Is a combination of the first and second-generation Ford Crown Victoria.
- The use of chalk to open doors to Froopyland may be a reference to the film Pan's Labyrinth, it may also be a reference to "Chalk Zone".
- The plot of the episode resembles the plot of the film, Juamnji.
- One of the Varrix recovers by sprouting spider legs from its severed head and crawling away which is a reference to the titular monster from the film, The Thing.
- Tommy travelling to a land of monsters that see him as their king is similar to the plot of the book, Where the Wild Things Are.
View a full transcript of this episode here.
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