Rick and Morty “Auto-Erotic Assimilation” Review (S02E03)

Check out the full Rick and Morty Season 2 Guide.

Watching Adult Swim’s Rick and Morty, it’s easy to fall in love with this immersive sci-fi world. With animated brightness that captures everything we loved about American Dad and Futurama, the show doesn’t aim for shock value or attitude. Instead, each episode breaks down traditional sci-fi conventions and explores how the world is affecting the ageless characters.

Rick and Morty Season 2 Episode 3 Unity Graffiti

In the third episode of Rick and Morty’s second season (“Auto-Erotic Assimilation”), we finally get to see a little bit of Rick’s background. Throughout much of the show’s run, Rick is the only character who clearly knows what’s going on and has a background in all the interdimensional space travel.

Beta 7 and Rick

There’s a strong possibility Beth grew up around some of this stuff (and I’ve not yet noticed anything significant mentioned about her mom, except in passing) as she’s never put off by any of it.

Morality and Ethics

From the get-go, Rick is pushing boundaries by risking the kids on an adventure he knows is going to be risky. Whereas older cartoons would’ve made Summer the only voice of morality (Lisa Simpson, Haylie Smith, …) Rick and Morty focuses on how Grandpa Rick is actually the dangerous one with far-out ideas. It’s not just that one stern female who doesn’t know any better infusing the show with morality as though they were forced – this show truly focuses on the concept.

Presumably simply bored with age, Rick barely skips a beat or bats an eye to track down a distress signal, look for eggs from the Aliens movie series, write graffiti on the wall to make racist cops write it up as a looting by the Korblocks, and bumps into his ex-girlfriend, Unity (voiced by Mad Men’s insanely hot ginger, Christina Hendricks) who (now I can see why he’s bored with everything since) is an entire planet.

Rick Summer Unity

Much like Summer and Morty, I find myself questioning my ethics in finding so much joy watching the events unfolding in front of them because of Rick.

Quotable Quote

Rick “Oh yeah, if you see a room full of eggs, don’t shy away from it. Give it a shake Those face-huggers are worth more than this ship.”

The episode starts off with what’s typically sci-fi space horror fodder showing a space crew assimilated by a hivemind, so it’s understandable that as the episode progresses Summer and Morty are less and less enthused by their position being babysat while Grandpa focuses on his solo adventure.

Rick and Morty Season 2 Episode 3 Alien Captive Basement

The often inappropriate scenarios that ensue when Rick is having sex with a hivemind that’s also talking to his grandkids is hilarious in so many ways. It’s a great depiction of how older generations really don’t care about putting kids in extremely socially awkward situations.

Summer, as the teenager, does take on the cause of fighting for the planet. It’s evident early on this isn’t going to work out well, and once the race war starts, Morty seems just as at-home as he was when Unity was in charge.

For a kid going through puberty, he’s quite mature about everything, arguably more mature than Rick.

Quotable Quote:

Summer “Well now I’m gonna barf. Come on, Morty.”

Jerry is normally a bumbling idiot, but there are a few moments where he does manage to shine through as an emotionally complete adult. Throughout the episode, he walks a fine boundary of likability while pushing Beth to explore an unusual noise coming from under the garage.

It’s actually nice to see Jerry stepping up to the plate, as it gives hope for Morty on both sides of the family to actually end up being an ok adult one day (possibly a side story Dan Harmon and Justin Roiland explore in future seasons). Even by the end, Jerry actually follows through with his project at the beginning to wack weeds.

In contrast, we don’t even know what Rick’s original intent was, having his grandkids in a spaceship. for a large portion of the episode, he’s simply bathing in the love of an entire planet. Jerry may be the epitome of dad jokes with his hip-hop vernacular, but Rick is just selfish.

Landing on Unity's Planet Rick and Morty

Beta 7 clearly has an interest in Unity’s well being, and, as a fellow hivemind is obviously better for her, but he’d rather get her trashed on powdered neutronium and enphenatron-infused fractal dust.

It’s a stereotypical Hollywood love triangle, but it works because two of the points are a hivemind, one of which is still babysitting the kids.

Morty and Summer, to their credit, actually work well together. There are some poignant moments as Morty enjoys being waited on hand and foot but still supports his sister in her stance against it. He can see both sides of the issue and does his best to act as an emissary of peace, helping bridge the communication gap instead.

As the world slowly devolves into a race war, Summer and Morty are stuck right in the middle. Summer sticks to her convictions, trying to convince everyone to stop, to which Morty replies, “ahh, Summer. First race war.”

Morty Summer

It’s only when hiding from everyone else that Morty is willing to argue with Summer and undermine her point. When facing Unity and the alien race, Morty sticks by his family.

Eventually, Summer lightens up to Unity, and Morty sticks with her in trying to explain Rick and Unity are bad for each other. In order to even get in front of Rick, Summer threatens to tell Beth and Jerry about what sounds like the gargoyle locked up under the garage (she’s definitely not saying Korblock, which he identifies himself as).

Quotable Quote:

Morty: “Thanks for clarifying – I’ll have a super accurate headstone now.”

Beth and Jerry ground the show in most episodes, this time by having a normal couple argument in front of an alien in the basement. When the alien escapes and steals a voice translator, we find out he’s Blim-Blam the Korblock, who eats babies, has space aids, and Rick is curing him.

Rick and Morty Season 2 Episode 3 Alien Escape Garage

Watching a puss-filled alien snail monster lay out all of the solutions for Beth and Jerry’s problems is brilliant. I love that he drops the mic at the end, and then returns to take it back, leaving just as Morty and Summer return.

Hopefully we’ll get to see more of the Korblocks, because this one speaks so well.

By the end of the episode, we’ve been taken on an immersive emotional roller coaster that spans the entire family, along with the universe.

Rick and Morty Season 2 Episode 3 Rick Walk of Shame

Rick is dumped by Unity, and as he reads a planet’s worth of breakup notes, I can’t help but feel that same feeling in the pit of my stomach I get when I listen to Adele sing “Someone Like You.” It breaks the man’s heart to the point that you start to see him as fragile.

At the end of the episode, Rick gets drunk and starts to follow through with his promise to Beth to kill any of his imprisoned aliens. He returns to the garage, unfreezes an alien and kills him, then tries to kill either himself or the alien in his head, but passes out before he can finish the job.

Suicide, aids, murder, racism, addiction, slavery – all subjects touched upon within this episode without ever once feeling like an after-school special.

Like the Marvel movies, Rick and Morty has post-credit scenes, and if you need a quick up-note for the episode, hold on to see Rick and Morty arguing with Beta 7 after he recovers a little from his breakup (though is clearly not over it).

From front to back, “Auto-Erotic Assimilation” will easily be one of the top ten best episodes of Rick and Morty by the end of the show’s run. Do yourself a favor and watch it now.

Score: A+

Brian Penny whistleblower versability shadowBrian Penny is a former operations manager and business analyst at Bank of America turned whistleblower, troll, and freelance writer. His work has appeared in Huffington Post, Lifehack, Fast Company, The Street, Hardcore Droid, and Cannabis Now.

 

Versability

Brian Penny is a former Business Analyst and Operations Manager at Bank of America turned whistleblower, troll, and freelance writer.

2 thoughts on “Rick and Morty “Auto-Erotic Assimilation” Review (S02E03)

  • August 8 at 1:17 pm
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    Just noticed something interesting … that frozen creature doesn’t seem to be an alien …technically. It looks like a baby-bird … from the cronenberged dimension. He was probably keeping it frozen to try and find a cure. Then he gave up and decided killing it was the only solution to put it out of its misery … talk about past mistakes.

    Reply
    • August 9 at 1:53 pm
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      actually could be a Kronenberg. I hadn’t considered it, but it definitely has the shape…

      Reply

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