“Rick and Morty” 2.3 “Auto Erotic Assimilation” (7 out of 10) Created by Justin Roiland and Dan Harmon; Written by Justin Roiland, Dan Harmon, Ryan Ridley, Mike McMahan, David Phillips, Matt Roller, Eric Acosta, and Wade Randolph; Directed by Bryan Newton and Pete Michels; Starring Justin Roiland, Spencer Grammer, Chris Parnell, Sarah Chalke, Christina Hendricks, and Patton Oswalt; Run time: 30 minutes; Rated TV-14; Originally aired August 9, 2015.

“Rick and Morty” is equal parts debauchery, sci-fi tropes, and the breaking of those sci-fi tropes, with maybe a little extra debauchery for good measure. Sticking to a formula can sometimes spell imminent disaster for a series but with Dan Harmon and Justin Roiland’s science fiction love letter that formula makes for animated diamonds forged in the heart of a neutron star, Mega Tree induced euphoria,  solid gold forged in the bowels of a sentient fart.

Season two’s third episode “Auto Erotic Assimilation” is no exception. When Rick, Morty, and Summer pick up a distress signal in deep space they follow it without delay. Rick explains that nine times out of ten a distress signal leads to a bunch of dead aliens with a bunch of cool shit ready for plunder, one time out of ten it’s a trap, and he’s ready to roll those dice.

In any other show this would telegraph a trap being set for the trio but not in this universe. Upon boarding the ship they discover the aliens are still alive and are quickly taken over by a body snatcher type hive mind called Unity (Hendricks) who also happens to be Rick’s ex lover.

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A sub plot involving Beth and Jerry discovering an underground alien dungeon is forgettable, even with a cameo from Patton Oswalt. Where this episode really shines is Planet Unity Morty accompanies Summer on her crusade to liberate the assimilated peoples and Rick enjoys a drug addled orgy with the hive mind. By episode’s end Summer has learned that, at least in this case, the loss of individuality was not such a bad thing and in fact, Rick is the only true monster on this world.

After Morty and Summer leave the planet to return home Rick discovers Unity has abandoned him calling into question his humanity and stability in the process. Rick then returns home as well but potentially irrevocable damage has been done. The series has stated in no uncertain terms that Rick is horribly depressed. In the episode “Ricksy Business” Birdperson reveals that in his native language Rick’s trademark catchphrase “Wubba Lubba Dub Dub” actually means “I am in great pain, please help me.”

“Auto Erotic Assimilation” ends with Rick going to the garage and building a machine that will kill him but the machine fails and he passes out. No one liners, no roll on the snare drum. While “Rick and Morty” is consistently one of the funnies shows on television, it isn’t afraid to go to the dark places and is perfectly suited to do so. I hope that the implications of this episode aren’t cast aside when the next episode airs on Sunday, I’d like to see this aspect of Rick’s personality explored further, and while he is objectively a horrible human being, I hope that he is able to find some happiness. But not too much, disfunction, they name is Rick Sanchez, the universe just wouldn’t be as fun without you.

New episodes of “Rick and Morty” air every Sunday on Adult Swim. You can catch up on previous episodes right here.

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