Rick and Morty Season 4, Episode 4 Review- Claw and Hoarder: Special Ricktim’s Morty
Dragons are some of the most iconic creatures in all of fiction, appearing in almost every culture I can think of. As cool as they are though, I know that having one as a pet would be a bad idea. Even if they’re one of the nice dragons, they’d still be a hassle. Why mention this? Because the plot of this week’s episode of Rick and Morty has the pair learn this the hard way. However, it’s not for the reasons you’d think.
Full disclosure: this episode gets weird, even for Rick and Morty. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!
Morty’s Drogon (I Know What I Wrote)
So, Morty decides that he wants Rick to get him a dragon as a reward for all the crap he goes through. Even though Rick tries to get out of this, in the end he gets Morty his dragon, Balthromaw, though he wants no part in it.
In my opinion, Balthromaw’s a mix of a few popular depictions of dragons. Firstly, he has his own lair where he hoards treasure like Smaug from Lord of the Rings. Physically, though, he looks like he could be the long-lost twin brother of Drogon from Game of Thrones. As a bonus, Balthromaw’s voiced by GoT alumni Liam Cunningham, AKA Ser Davros.
At any rate, Morty soon realizes that having a dragon’s not as fun as it sounds. As a result, Rick decides to slay him, and then probably planned on saying “I told you so” later. However, the show twists its typical formula by having the two bond over all the cool stuff Balthromaw.
Then, things take a turn into left field. The two end up “soul-bonding”, which is thinly-veiled metaphor for sex. Instead of hiding it, the show goes all out, with the dialogue even making it sound like sex.
Um… Dragon “Soul-Bonding”
So, from here, things get very weird even by Rick’s standards. Firstly, Balthomaw gets taken back for bonding with more than one soul. However, since Rick’s soul-bonded to him, if the dragon dies, Rick does. As a result, they have to go rescue him in a dimension where Rick’s science doesn’t work. Some other reviews have said it’s a missed opportunity to not have Rick deal with the fact that his expertise is useless, but I disagree. He’s still Rick Sanchez, and even when put into an unfamiliar environment without any of his tools, he’d still find a way to thrive.
It doesn’t matter in the end, though. The whole fantasy adventure ends up being something everyone wants to forget. As a result, Morty tells Balthomaw to get lost, unable to stand the revelation of how horny dragons can be. If it weren’t for what I just witnessed, I’d be laughing at the deadpan, baritone way Cunningham voices the dragon’s attempts to reconcile.
Jerry and Garfield and the Noodle Incident
While all this is happening, Jerry’s on his own adventure with a talking cat a la Garfield. There’s no explanation whatsoever as to why the cat can talk: all that we know is that Rick has nothing to do with it. The two go on a silly road trip to Florida for the heck of it, but just leaves them to have to call Rick for a ride home. Naturally, Rick uses this chance to scan the cat’s mind and find out why it can talk.
We never learn what Rick and Jerry see, but whatever it was, it was horrific. The two are so disgusted that Jerry starts vomiting, and Rick almost kills himself. If someone as messed-up as Rick’s tempted to choose suicide rather than live with seeing something, then it has to be bad.
I thought this pay-off was a hilarious example of the “Noodle Incident” trope. Getting its name from the Calvin and Hobbes comic strip, TV Tropes defines a noodle incident as something either so ridiculous or offensive that it can’t be shown. Fortunately, Rick mercifully wipes Jerry’s memory of the whole thing. As much as Rick hates his son-in-law, he can’t subject him to what they just saw.
What Just Happened?
So, even after watching this episode, I still have no idea what the point behind it was. However, maybe that’s the whole point of what I just witnessed. I honestly don’t know, because I’m still trying to get over the fact that Rick and Morty took dragons and made them into horny beasts. Maybe it was just Justin, Dan and the others wanting to mess around. Or the whole thing was a subtle defense to the ending of Game of Thrones.
One thing’s for sure, though: I think Rick’s going to steer clear of fantasy worlds for a while.
I Give “Claw and Hoarder: Special Ricktim’s Morty” a 3/5.
By the way, I wanted to get this off my chest: that wizard used a wand to create a portal to travel between dimensions. This was the perfect opportunity to reference another form of magic-based interdimensional travel and they wasted it.
Look at all the cool things that Balthomaw had in his lair. Some of that stuff’s worth more than all that treasure!
Click here to see my other animation stuff.