When Rick & Morty debuted back in 2013, the show was a delightful oddity that found a dedicated audience in its corner of Adult Swim. The show was inventive and approached the sci-fi elements of its premise in a serialized way that felt fresh. Most importantly, it was one of the most consistently funny shows on television. The audience only continued to grow as the rapturous word of mouth spread throughout pop culture until it ultimately became the show that defined the channel. By the time the show reached its third season, the fanbase was fervent enough to force McDonald’s to bring back a long abandoned dipping sauce just for a brilliant gag. With such a passionate following, fans were understandably beside themselves when contract negotiations and creative exhaustion caused a two-year delay for a new season. The wait was worth it, though, as the show finally returned for a fourth season last November that continued to push boundaries and keep us crying with laughter.
For the uninitiated, the show follows Rick Sanchez, an alcoholic mad scientist, who goes on grand adventures with his hapless grandson, Morty, whose good intentions often lead to dire consequences. Rick is the father of Beth, a mostly even-keeled horse surgeon who has a complicated relationship with her dad. Jerry is the spineless, insecure husband of Beth who seems to be prone to suffering the consequences of Rick’s exploits more than anyone else. Rounding out the immediate family is Summer, Morty’s sister who behaves in the typical ways of a teenager. In the beginning, the show focused on Rick and Morty hopping around to different planets and getting into various shenanigans. It still does, but their story has opened up further with Summer getting more involved over the run and different backstories being explored among the family. That’s not even mentioning the complex, multi-dimensional timelines that have been introduced that leave you questioning which version of Rick & Morty you are even following.
The third season ended with Rick feeling a bit defeated over seemingly losing the dominant position within the family. While a serialized show in some respects, this serves as more of a bubbling undercurrent of conflict rather than a central narrative throughout the season. This season we get thrilling and hilarious tales that tackle Morty trying to harness Rick’s powers for personal gain, pulling off the “perfect heist,” sexually charged dragons, sentient planets, vats of acid and so much more. Summer gets the opportunity to become a god to a race of alien beings while Jerry faces all manner of folly from weightlessness to befriending a talking cat. You always know Jerry is going to find a way to mess everything up, and it never fails to be funny. Beth confronts a storyline that was introduced previously regarding her father cloning her that ends the season on a fascinatingly dark note. Rick has increasingly been steeped in darkness, and the way in which the show keeps maintaining that aspect is very interesting.
Rick and Morty is a show that is so beloved because of the bold storytelling that it embarks upon. The show could easily be a never ending parade of standalone adventures, but the creative team wants more from it than that. This is a show that has some of the biggest laughs on television currently, but the dark edge it has makes the storytelling feel more essential. It is so much fun to be watching an episode and realize that they are experimenting with something that was introduced seasons ago. These characters do not exist in a vacuum; actions have consequences and the creatives do not forget what has happened to each character over the course of the series. From industry reports, we have at least sixty more episodes of the series in store for us, and I for one cannot wait to see all the ways in which this team tackles new, creative arcs while delivering content that will have you crying from laughter. Rick and Morty is one of the most enjoyable half-hours on television.
Rick & Morty: The Complete Fourth Season comes to Blu-Ray with a vibrant transfer that largely looks quite excellent. Colors are bright and bold throughout the season with some excellent nuance from episode to episode due to the adventures on deck. This is an immaculately clear presentation free of any dirt or debris. Fine lines and details are crisp and maintained well without any bleeding. There does not appear to be any issues with banding. Rick and Morty maintains its visual style and sharp presentation for this latest season, which looks great on Blu-Ray.
The Blu-Ray comes with an appropriately lively Dolby TrueHD 5.1 lossless soundtrack. Dialogue is given priority in the track with a crisp, clear presentation in the center speaker that subtly creeps into surrounds during moments where different environments are being engaged. Music is incredibly immersive with stings accentuating certain scenes in the rear channels. Sounds effects from blasters and other kinetic moments provide a nice punch in the low end that is appreciated. The show employs a good use of environmental effects that are directionally accurate within the mix. All in all, this is an excellent audio presentation that suits the show well.
- A Day At Rick and Morty – Inside Season 4: A nine-minute featurette that goes inside the creative offices and offers up interviews with some of the creative producers and designers. Seeing the amount of work that the creative team has to put in made me stressed out for them.
- Inside The Episode: All ten episodes are given a minute-and-a-half to two-minute breakdown of the story with the creative team. It’s a lot of fun hearing about where the ideas in the episodes came from along with which episodes “broke” the writers. Also, Dan Harmon talks about writing the “heist episode” from a place of hate for the genre.
- Creating Snake Jazz: A two-and-a-half-minute look at “Snake Jazz” from episode 5 with the creative team. Composer Ryan Elder takes you through the process of creating this cultural phenomenon.
- Directing Rick and Morty: A three-minute look at the process of directing animation with several of the directors from the season. This shines a fascinating light on a process you often don’t get to see.
- Samurai and Shogun: A five-minute incredibly violent short that has nothing to do with the main story. This is just a wild samurai showdown with alternate timeline Ricks that is a lot of fun.
- Prop Process: A three-minute discussion with Lead Prop Designer Brent Noll in which he discusses the difficulty of creating the inventive props in the show.
- Character Creation: A nearly three-minute look at what goes into creating a new character for the show with the designers. They give some fun insights into which characters were the most difficult to design along with the various deaths in the show.
- Animation Challenges: A two-and-a-half-minute look at some of the creative difficulties in the show due to how it has grown in scope over the seasons.
The fourth season of Rick and Morty suffered absolutely no dip in quality despite a lengthy two year hiatus. There are countless scenes and lines that will be a part of my personal lexicon moving forward. This is a show that you really benefit from owning due to the ability to rewatch multiple times and catch little nuggets and subtle allusions that are placed throughout each episode. Warner Bros. Home Entertainment has delivered a Blu-Ray with a top-notch A/V presentation along with some worthwhile special features. This show is a must for any fan of offbeat comedy and stylish animation. Highly Recommended
Rick & Morty: The Complete Fourth Season will be available to purchase on Blu-Ray and DVD on September 22, 2020.
Note: Images presented in this review are not reflective of the image quality of the Blu-Ray.
Disclaimer: Warner Bros. Home Entertainment has supplied a copy of this disc free of charge for review purposes. All opinions in this review are the honest reactions of the author.
Dillon is most comfortable sitting around in a theatre all day watching both big budget and independent movies.