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Recap: Rick and Morty Season Three, Episode Five – ‘The Whirly Dirly Conspiracy’

Things get zany and complicated for the entire family

After getting slightly off topic last week when it came to this season’s new narrative, Rick and Morty gets itself back on track with ‘The Whirly Dirly Conspiracy.’ Morty insists that Rick takes Jerry on an adventure, and Beth is determined to deal with a technological mishap that leaves Summer a giant monster by herself.

It’s kind of hard to pit this season’s episodes against one another, largely because ‘Pickle Rick’ saw the series reaching a new high very early in the season. While this episode isn’t quite as internet-breaking as the former, it’s still leaps and bounds above ‘The Vindicators.‘ The focus is back on the family, with the adventures they find themselves thrust into being a result of Rick and the universe they’re living in. How everyone responds and handles things continues to give characters a chance to show themselves, and the series fires on all cylinders, rather than going around in circles.

Rick and Morty doesn’t often give us many episodes where the focus is on the relationship between Rick and Jerry, and this episode is a blessing because of its change of pace. Rick and Jerry go off on an ‘adventure’ to a resort-like area where there’s an invincibility shield that prevents you from dying. Neither one of them really wants to be around each other, but they’re making the sacrifice for the sake of the family (namely Morty,) and they even manage to take baby steps towards bonding.

Jerry finds himself thrust into a plot to murder Rick (because even with the invincibility shields, people are still trying to kill Rick. That sneaky bastard.) Jerry flip flops his involvement in the plot repeatedly, realizing that Rick treats him terribly and is the reason for his divorce, but also having a heart and wanting to do what’s best for his wife and kids, even if the family is separated right now. Together, he and Rick navigate the world they are in much like a regular episode of the show. You sure can tell Morty is Jerry’s son, eh?

Meanwhile, Summer is having a body image crisis, and Beth is less than helpful. This season has done a lot to try and make viewers sympathetic towards Beth, and she’s certainly got a lot on her plate. It’s hard to dislike her even when her cold, doctoral approach to Summer’s issues just makes her daughter even more upset. After all, Beth is the one gluing a bunch of horse body parts together. That seems like an issue worse than whether a boy thinks you’re cute. Sorry, Summer.

Summer gets her hands on one of Rick’s contraptions, modifying her body. What starts off as bigger breasts and a more shapely butt soon turns Summer into an enormous, oversized monster. Feeling guilty that she wasn’t able to boost Summer’s self esteem, Beth is determined to right the situation and insists that she can return Summer back to normal.

What does that involve? Her calling tech support (and unwittingly freeing the little creatures trapped inside the machine) and accidentally making things worse — Summer becomes even more gigantic, and then she gets ‘reversed’ looking like a female Titan. No boy will find her cute now, that’s for sure. Summer flees, and Beth and Morty have to find her and save the day (which involves Beth turning into a reverse giant too!) In the end, Morty avenges his sister’s self esteem, messing with the boy who bruised Summer’s ego while she and Beth reconcile.

Rick and Jerry’s side of the story wraps up somewhat disappointingly, with Jerry looking through the window at his family, wishing he could go in but not wanting to be pitied. As much as we’re meant to love Beth, we’re meant to love Jerry, too. This season of Rick and Morty has done a wonderful job at turning the parental figures into integral parts of the plot, unlike past seasons where they were more tangential on Rick and Morty’s adventures.

This episode may not have been as insane as ‘Pickle Rick,’ but it earns its place in this season’s top tier for its superb story that keeps this season’s arc moving ahead. The next episode, ‘Rest and Ricklaxation’ airs next Sunday on Cartoon Network. Check back to POParazzi for a recap after it airs, and leave your thoughts on this episode below!

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Written by Sam Bennett

Sam Bennett is the creator and editor of POParazzi. He works primarily in Washington, DC. You can contact him at sam@poparazzi.org and visit his portfolio at sam-bennett.com.

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