Take a Shot Every Time You Hear ‘Die Hard’
Rick and Morty S6 Ep 2 Review
In the Summer of 1988, Fox gave the world the gift of Die Hard, one of the greatest action movies of all time. Then we got all those films trying to imitate its success, and people stopped wanting to see more Die Hard. Regardless, it’s still one of pop culture’s staples, and being who they are, Rick and Morty do their own Die Hard. The result is an episode that runs the joke about the original film into the ground.
Get used to seeing Die Hard in this because pretty much every character name drops it.
Roy: A Life Well Lived Returns!
Firstly, the A Plot. In Season Two’s “Mortynight Run,” Rick introduced Morty to his favorite game, Roy. It’s a VR game where players play this guy named Roy from childhood through his entire life. I remember seeing it and thinking, “Wow, this one thing’s way more interesting than the rest of the episode. I want an episode focused on this game!”
Well, I got my wish, but not in the way I intended.
Morty’s in the middle of playing Roy when terrorists take over the arcade for…reasons. Their brief shutting down the power while Morty’s inside makes the game glitch. Thanks to that, his mind’s split between all the NPCs, and when the game ends, Morty dies. So, Rick has to take control of Roy and convince all the MPCs (Morty PCs, get it?) to leave the game.
Easier said than done, even for Rick Sanchez. He ends up starting a pseudo-religion where everyone is Morty and gets most of him onboard with getting out. However, 8% of Morty doesn’t want to leave since they think their lives are better in a VR game than dealing with Rick. And, since Rick can’t simply say he loves and respects Morty, Morty goes to war…with himself. Holy War!
I didn’t appreciate it until after I slept a full night, but this whole thing is hilarious and brilliant. The entire episode serves as an abridged retelling of how the titular duo’s relationship’s developed over the series, from the trusting attitude at the start to his growing desire to break free from Rick that we see today. Moreover, It’s not said explicitly, but the fact that Morty’s mind went to war with itself over whether to stay or follow Rick shows how much this is tearing him up inside. It may not have happened here, but sooner or later, Morty will need to find a balance or choose a side.
Until then, though, it’s fun to see a planet based on Morty’s limited knowledge of the world destroy itself.
Summer Does a Die Hard
Meanwhile, in the real world, Summer’s left to fend off the terrorists by herself and keep Rick and Morty safe. Or, as Rick puts it, “do a ‘Die Hard.’”
There’s two problems with that, though. Firstly, Summer’s never seen Die Hard before, so she’s clueless about it. Secondly, the terrorists, whose leader’s voiced by Peter Dinklage fusing Alan Rickman and Tyrion Lannister, have seen Die Hard. In fact, in a hilarious twist, it’s revealed that every culture in the universe eventually develops a Die Hard myth.
This is either a jab at how many times filmmakers tried to copy the formula of Die Hard, or at how cultures can develop similar myths. The Greeks and Jews had the Great Flood and Noah’s arc character, and everyone had dragons. Either way, it’s hilarious to think that a universal constant is Die Hard.
Ironically, it’s Summer’s ignorance of Die Hard that allows her to pull off a Die Hard. She’s the unpredictable wild card, the “Ultimate Mclane,” as the lead guy puts it. And with six seasons of adventures with Rick, Summer’s good enough to mop the floor with them. Especially after she actually read the guy’s book on Die Hard.
Die Hard Dies Hard
In the end, the terrorists either die or run away, and Rick pulls Morty out before Roy croaks. However, there’s the unsettling realization that Rick left a part of Morty behind. The part that wanted his independence from Rick got it as part of a deal for everyone else to go.
Fortunately, though, Rick does care about his grandson, so he pays to have the Roy game stored on a battery so Morty can live his life inside the game. It also serves as a nice spoof to the end of the original Indiana Jones movie.
At first, I didn’t have a high opinion of this episode. It felt like the show was beating the Die Hard joke into the dirt past a certain point. After sleeping on it, though, I admit that maybe that was the point of the joke. Plus, while the plot with Rick and Morty in the Roy game seems like a backpedal on their character development, it’s not. The show loves negative continuity for one-off adventures, so I doubt Morty got affected. In addition, the fact that Rick agreed to Morty’s terms is a subtle sign of progress. There’s hope for Rick and Morty yet.
Now, I need to go count how many times Die Hard was said in this episode.
I Give “Rick: a Mort Well Lived”
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