Rick and Morty season 6, episode 6 review, recap, and analysis: 'JuRickSic Mort'

GamesRadar+ Verdict

While it may prompt a few paleontologists to question their worldview, this is another excellent standalone story in a season that’s getting close to Rick and Morty at its best. 'JuRickSic Mort's' deepest impact on the show, however, may just be giving Rick his portal gun back…

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Warning: This Rick and Morty season 6 episode 6 review is packed with spoilers. If you haven’t seen the episode, stop reading now – you don’t want to make Mr Poopybutthole sad, do you?

Whenever a long-running sci-fi show makes a format change, chances are it won’t be too long before it reverts back to the status quo. That’s why the Doctor will rarely go more than a few episodes without their trusty sonic screwdriver or TARDIS, and why Star Trek crews always find a way to fix a faulty warp drive or transporter. There’s not much surprise, then, when – roughly 60 percent into this sixth season – Rick belatedly gets his broken portal gun up and running. Those dimensions where hats wear people aren’t going to explore themselves…

Wisely, however, Rick’s running repairs are rarely more than a sideshow in an episode that comes up with a wonderfully off-the-wall explanation for the extinction of the dinosaurs 65 million years ago. In other words, it’s classic Rick and Morty.

The start of 'JuRickSic Mort' feels like a throwback to the show’s early days, as – with Beth at work, and Rick taking Morty to school in a normal human car – there’s at least a small semblance of normal family life. It soon turns out, however, that Morty’s extra-curricular extra-terrestrial activities have left a mark on Harry Herpson High School, and that Mr. Goldenfold (returning for the first time since season 4’s ‘The Vat of Acid Episode’) has instigated “the Morty Protocol”. As the class plays it safe by hiding under their tables, Goldenfold’s worst fears are realized when a giant alien spacecraft with an Independence Day-esque interest in famous landmarks appears overhead.

Rick and Morty has ventured into Close Encounters territory before – most notably with the giant "show me what you got!" floating head in season 2’s 'Get Schwifty' – but rarely have the occupants of an alien craft been quite so, well, prehistoric. "Do they come in peace for once?" asks the TV news? Well, yes, they do – though this is one of those rare occasions when there may be too much peace.

This trio of technologically advanced, Marvel movie-literate dinosaurs left Earth millions of years earlier to fulfil their calling of helping other worlds to flourish. Now that humanity has evolved beyond the squirrels they left behind, however, the passive-aggressive newcomers tell the world “you’ve done your best”, and take over management of the planet. The human race, meanwhile, is encouraged to go on permanent vacation.

As a montage of newspaper front pages – a charming anachronism in a world where most people consume their news online – we learn that unemployment is at 100%, stock markets are no more, and there is literally something to complain about. But, as was the case in Arthur C Clarke’s novel (and subsequent Syfy mini-series) Childhood’s End, the human race doesn’t handle utopia well, and before long, US President Curtis is looking to exploit the fact Rick is "not bound by morality" to take the fight back to the dinosaurs. There are only so many Grammarly ads on YouTube a guy can take.

Having agreed to deal with his fellow intellectual superbeings on condition that he gets to host the Oscars, Rick confronts the dinosaurs as they lament their old friends being turned into fossil fuels – a surprisingly sad and poignant moment. Alas, Rick’s offer of inter-dimensional travel falls on deaf ears to a species who perfected their own form of universe-hopping aeons earlier – Rick destroys their gift of a superior portal gun because it has “uptight zen snob germs all over it”.

Rick and Morty season 6, episode 6

(Image credit: Adult Swim/Channel 4)

It's from here that 'JuRickSic Mort' goes peak Rick and Morty, with a twist so stupidly off-the-wall that arguably no other show on TV – with the possible exception of Futurama – would conceive it, let alone execute the premise to perfection. As Rick and Morty travel the universe looking for a solution to Earth’s scaly problem, they spot a common theme. Not only do the fossilized bones on every world look spookily familiar, but the recurrence of identical giant craters also proves that every planet the dinosaurs influenced was wiped out by a meteorite impact. Coincidence? To make matters worse, these giant rocks are actually semi-sentient beings who have a long-standing cosmic beef with the dinosaurs – oh, and Earth is their next target.

In the meantime, things have got so bad back home that Jerry’s debut self-help book, Never Trying Never Fails, is being circulated around the world – and even Jerry’s annoyed about his big break because the "communist lizard scumbags" have deduced that “whoever wrote it must be above needing credit”. So, somewhat unsurprisingly, there is much rejoicing when the dinosaurs head back to space to save Earth from imminent armageddon. Rick then gets to live out his dream of hosting the Oscars – where Tom Hanks gamely plays to the crowd by shouting "Wilson!" from the front row – before agreeing to save the dinosaurs from an act of futile self-sacrifice on Mars. 

As much as he loathes the self-righteous dinos, Rick has even more contempt for canon, and 'JuRickSic Mort' continues season premiere ‘Solaricks’’ meta gags about standalone stories vs serialization – maybe that mysterious space rift wasn’t worthy of a three-episode arc after all. The fact that Rick gets his portal gun up and running without explanation feels like a knowing wink at the audience, that the hows and the whys are nowhere near as important as the fact it exists. 

Keeping things closer to home has been a breath of fresh air this season, though now you sense the writing team are keen to get back out into the multiverse. As Rick so eloquently puts it, "Adventures, Morty, social commentary, crude characters. Here we go, Rick and Morty time!" With the whole of space and time at their disposal, we’re expecting great things…

A little Mort information…

  • The title is, of course, a nod to Jurassic Park – though to call it a pun may be stretching the definition a little bit. 
  • Other Jurassic Park references include Morty calling one of the dinosaurs “clever girl” and Rick calling back to Laura Dern getting “elbow deep in dino doo-doo”.
  • The dinosaur spacecraft are reminiscent of Boba Fett’s Firespray gunship and the vessels from Arrival.
  • The orange T-Rex is voiced by Friends star Lisa Kudrow.
  • President Curtis (played by Keith David) has been a recurring character since season 2’s ‘Get Schwifty’. 
  • The full list of things that, according to the dinosaurs, should have made humanity question its suitability for running a planet is: gunpowder, anime body pillows, celebrity presidents, jazzercize, gluteal implants, Marvel movies, space tourism, Dogecoin, social media, comment sections, domestic terrorism, crocs, Amazon Prime, Fluffernutter sandwiches and capitalism.
  • The dinosaurs’ pain-free, skin-off teleportation process is strangely reminiscent of the invisibility tech in Hollow Man.
  • When the President suggests to Rick that he "Zero Dark Thirty" the dinosaurs for the good of the species, he’s referring to Kathryn Bigelow’s 2012 film about the hunt for Osama bin Laden.
  • He also turns “to Westworld” into a verb to describe Rick’s android diner chef.
  • When Rick says vertical skateboarding looked easy on Pro Skater 3, it’s a nod to an installment in the long-running Tony Hawk franchise.

New episodes of Rick and Morty debut on Sunday nights/Monday mornings, respectively, on Adult Swim in the US and E4 in the UK. Here's the full Rick and Morty season 6 release schedule for more information. 

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Richard is a freelancer journalist and editor, and was once a physicist. Rich is the former editor of SFX Magazine, but has since gone freelance, writing for websites and publications including GamesRadar+, SFX, Total Film, and more. He also co-hosts the podcast, Robby the Robot's Waiting, which is focused on sci-fi and fantasy.