Rick and Morty Season 2 Review: One of TV's Best Comedies Gets Even Better

Rick and Morty S02E01 / S02E02: "A Rickle in Time," "Mortynight Run"

It's been a long time since we were treated to new episodes of Adult Swim's time-traveling adventure Rick and Morty, April 2014 in fact. In that 15 months, we've said goodbye to so many great TV shows, LeBron James went back to the Cleveland Cavaliers and became a movie star, Pluto became really cool again, and Donald Trump said roughly 14,000 offensive or mind-boggling things. For a show that deals with the fluidity of time, space, and reality, it sure feels like Rick and Morty is returning to a brand new world.  

One of the key things that December 2013 and late July 2015 share? Rick and Morty is one of the best, most ambitious comedies in both timelines. 

A quick refresher here (it has been a while): Rick and Morty follows the titular characters, the former a drunken mad scientist and the latter his loyal companion and grandson, as they criss-cross universes, timelines, and planets to stumble into all sorts of hijinks—often involving alternate versions of themselves. The show's creative forces are Justin Roiland (who voices both lead characters among others sprinkled among every episode) and Community's Dan Harmon, who we love around these parts (so much so that Tim boldly suggested he created all of comedy on this week's Totally Tubular). 

In its 11-episode first season, the show moved from an amusing riff on Back to the Future to an increasingly complex story about time travel and the dysfunctional relationship between Rick and Morty, and Rick and the rest of his family—including his daughter Beth (Sarah Chalke), his son-in-law Jerry (Chris Parnell), and his granddaughter Summer (Spencer Grammer). Having seen the first two episodes of Season 2 (light spoilers to follow), I'm happy to report that the show has gotten even better at bringing Beth, Jerry, and Summer into Rick and Morty's multi-dimensional escapades and is much better for it. 

The Season 2 premiere, "A Rickle in Time" (Sunday at 11:30pm), is still split between a timey-wimey A-story and a more grounded and domestic B-story, but thankfully Summer is present in the former rather than the latter. While Beth and Jerry are indeed marginalized a bit in a story involving an injured deer, it plays with Beth's desire to prove the value of her skills as a horse surgeon and the common thread of her simply wanting a little more out of life (sorry, Jerry). The only reason I say that they're marginalized in the B-plot is because the primary story is one of the show's best yet, with Rick, Morty, and Summer dealing with the aftermath of their decision to freeze time at the very end of Season 1 and the kids' anxieties in their relationship with their drunken grandfather.  

This story in the premiere succeeds not just because it splashes around in the pool of multi-verse conventions and Schrodinger's cat—or should I say cats, as many of them appear in the episode—and all that, but also because it's a minor technical marvel. The frayed realities allow for a slew of meticulously crafted touches in animation, which is no surprise given what the show pulled off in Season 1. However, it's the way in which the episode layers numerous dialogue tracks on top of one another to create confusion and then conversion among the different versions of Rick, Morty, and Summer that really blew me away and ultimately illustrates how Roiland, Harmon, and their team continue to find new ways to expand the potential of its genre DNA within the animated realm. 

Meanwhile, the second episode of the season, "Mortynight Run," swaps Summer out for Jerry, resulting in yet another of the show's demented-yet-kinda-moving looks at the life of the sad-sack dad. There's an extended sequence involving a slew of Jerrys left at a kind of halfway house by their respective Rick and Mortys that is weird and sad and funny all at the same time. That the show can tell stories like this, and then toss in a random joke about multiple Jerrys trying to figure out which auxiliary cable to plug the TV into, is the sign of a great comedy working in full control of its abilities. 

Along the way, the show introduces odd and fully realized guest characters played by the likes of Keegan-Michael Key and Andy Daly, who are both unsurprisingly funny playing around in this universe. One of my favorite things about Rick and Morty is how it employs these one-off characters in not only a given episode's story, but also in additional scenes that are pretty consistently the funniest thing about the episode. Key voices a testicular-looking time lord creature from the fourth dimension in the premiere and he's great when dueling with Rick, but the episode's final sequence, with two of these creatures zipping through time to wallop Albert Einstein for simply messing with time in the first place, only for Albert to recommit himself to the endeavor to spite these creatures, is wonderful. There's a similarly enjoyable scene like this in "Mortynight Run" involving Daly's bug-like assassin.  

But at the center of it all are these two characters who are constantly at each other's throats but finding a way to make their insane partnership work. The premiere does some great things in examining Morty's frustrations with Rick while the second touches on his response to the darker things Rick has to do to survive out in the dark corners of outer space. It's just enough heft in the middle of the jokes and the space-time continuum-bending stories to make Rick and Morty better than other animated comedies that would prefer to riffle pop culture references and toilet humor at the audience. 

I don't want to say too much more because these are two great episodes that deserve to be seen with generally unspoiled eyes. All you need to know is that Rick and Morty is back, and it's better than ever—which makes this a damn good timeline in which to live.

Rick and Morty Season 2 premieres on Sunday, July 26, at 11:30pm on Adult Swim.

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Jul 27, 2015
probably the best show on TV if you ask me. new season every bit as wonderfully crazy as the first.
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Jul 26, 2015
I found out about this show only a couple of days ago (because of that The Simpsons couch gag, i found on youtube), so, i watched the first season and i was blown away, Rick and Morty is really, really cool, i'm looking forward for this new season which of course looks like it's going to be as cool, if not better, than the first one =)
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Jul 26, 2015
I went ahead and watched the 2 new leaked eps from Season 2 as well and WOW they were great - as others have said - even better than season 1! I won't go into spoilers but I loved every minute. Ep one = 10/10. Ep two = 9.5/10.
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Jul 26, 2015
I thought the time lord/police guys beat up Albert Einstein because they mistook him for Rick (since they look similar in the episode). Not because he was going to come up with his theory (though the main joke was that because of the beating he came up with his theory).
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Jul 26, 2015
They did think it was Rick, the testicle head said "remember me, bitch?" or whatever and beat the crap out of him
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Jul 26, 2015
This comment has been removed.
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Jul 26, 2015
Just watched them, didn't resists, omg, even better than first season!
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Jul 26, 2015
I'm fighting the urge to watch them since I heard about the leak and I am basically staying clear of reddit to avoid spoilers.
Cory does a pretty good job with this article by not giving away too much but still teasing the episodes.
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Jul 26, 2015
What can I say, I am weak minded :D Didn't notice anything that would look out of place, but sure watch it officially to boost the numbers, I am in no position to do so
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Jul 26, 2015
It only boosts the shows numbers if you have a Neilsen ratings box - which most of us do not have - so makes no difference for like 95% of us when we watch it.
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Jul 26, 2015
The wait is almost over!
Feels good, man.
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Jul 26, 2015
Before I started watching R&M I always thought Community was the most clever funny show on tv. And then I watched Rick & Morty. And it makes sense when you see that Dan Harmon is working/worked on both (not taking anything away from Justin Roiland who, by the way, is behind the famous 'wubba lubba dub dub').

So yeah, this is the smartest show on tv, and I can't wait for season 2.
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Jul 26, 2015
Without one word of hyperbole, I can easily say that this is one of the best shows on TV, ever. Been intersted in Harmon and Roiland since I first saw them both pop up in "Yacht Rock".

Let me just say this; if "Roy" isn't a release title for the Oculus Rift then I'll be so, so, so very disappointed.
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Jul 26, 2015
Roy was hilarious!
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Jul 26, 2015
Rejoice! Rick and Morty are back [dance dance dance]!

Initially, I was not sure if I like the show or not, but after few episodes I loved it so much that I actually got goosebumps in anticipation of new episodes.

Anyone looking for original, funny, thought provoking, not for a single moment boring show, I strongly encourage you to take a look at this one.

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Jul 26, 2015
Is there no way to just "heart" articles anymore? That's weird.

Anyway, thanks for covering this. I was going to avoid it because it's only a day and a half away and I'm a die-hard enough to actually care about spoilers, but the truth is that the story is only a portion of what really makes this show great, plus I'm around and here it is.

I'm not sure this review will bring new people in, I hope it does because this show is great and people need to watch it, but damn are there some big ideas on both the nerdy story side AND the human condition that a critic would want to expound upon. People want less and less out of critical reviews these days, which is sad.

Rick & Morty Season 2 is great.
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Aug 02, 2015
Only articles on shows with a Community can be hearted.
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Aug 02, 2015
Good to know. Now, why isn't there a Rick & Morty community?!?
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Aug 03, 2015
It's an egregious oversight.
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Jul 25, 2015
Why the need to bring politics into this?

The last new episode from Season 1 was broadcast on April. 14, 2014. So it's only been 15 months since we saw a new episode of Rick and Morty. Why would you compare season premiere dates anyways?
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Jul 26, 2015
Are you under the (utterly) mistaken impression that Donald Trump is a politician?
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Jul 26, 2015
politics && politician

One can talk politics does not make that person a politician.
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Jul 26, 2015
You are correct that Cory got the wrong date for the last episode listed. I would argue though that Donald Trump isn't really politics so much as it is a hybrid circus/theater in the guise of wanting to serve the public.
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Aug 02, 2015
Trump seems more out of Rick and Morty's universe than ours.
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Jul 26, 2015
Thanks guys! I was looking at the PREMIERE date, not the S1 finale, just messed it up.

Also Trump is a trash person.
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Jul 26, 2015
I would argue that Donald Trump isn't even human. He is actually an evil sentient wig that somehow grew a vaguely humanoid appendage to infiltrate our society.
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