Although they have the whole universe to explore, Rick and Morty clearly have a lot of affection for planet Earth, with an abundance of pop culture references woven into the fabric of their surreal sci-fi adventures.
Show creators Justin Roiland and Dan Harmon often turn to Hollywood for inspiration, thrusting our dynamic protagonists into self-aware story lines based on the likes of Nightmare on Elm Street, Inception and The Lawnmower Man.
Oh, And There Was Also A Parody Of The Purge
Yep, the horror series received the special Rick and Morty treatment during the penultimate episode of Season 2, with typically hilarious consequences. The episode, titled "Look Who's Purging Now," opens with the pair making a pit-stop on a peaceful looking planet. One of the reasons for this equilibrium is an annual "festival" where all crime is legal.
Upon hearing this, the meta, fourth-wall breaking Rick immediately draws comparisons to The Purge, and decides it would be a good idea to stick around and watch events as they unfold.
There's only one hiccup: The level of violence makes Rick vomit, and as they watch from the safety of the spaceship, Morty spots a young, cat-like woman surrounded by crime-thirsty Purgers. With a dose of courage, he encourages Rick to help save her.
They Rescue Her, But Things Don't Go To Plan
After the feline, Arthricia, is rescued by the pair, she deceives them and steals the spaceship, leaving our potty-mouthed protagonists to fend for themselves among the Purgers of the netherworld.
As well as witnessing inhabitants of the planet "purging the fuck out of each other," they too get sucked into the unrelenting violence. Morty, who is disgusted by the concept, makes a transition into a rage-fueled maniac.
What follows is a gratuitous exploration of unhinged violence with a tone of nonchalance combined with relevant social commentary, something Roiland and Harmon effortlessly achieve throughout both seasons.
'Putting Poor People Against Each Other For Thousands Of Years'
After suiting up in Iron Man suits, the pair run riot until they find Arthricia. Instead of killing her, they give her the opportunity to take revenge on the rich and powerful rulers of society, who have instigated the annual festival as a means of pitting "poor people" against each other.
The episode reaches a gory climax of unrelenting violence (including a Risky Business style dance-off on a floor covered in blood), before Rick and Morty leave the planet as the inhabitants discuss plans to rebuild society.
An Interesting Exploration Of The Social Impact Of The Purge
The show's parody is good fun, but it also highlights some interesting issues of the impact a Purge can have on society, albeit portrayed through a bizarre intergalactic paradigm.
Morty generally acts as a moral compass for Rick, but the freedom and acceptability of violence turn him into an unstoppable, blood-thirsty killer. There is also an undercurrent to the episode that suggests humans repress feelings of violence and rage, making occasionally outbursts of rage necessary. In this case, sitting through a reading of a dull screenplay seems to set Morty on the slippery slope.
It also raises the question as to whether the movie itself is an unnecessary exploitation of violence, under the guise of social commentary.
Will Rick And Morty Purge Again In Season 3?
So, the question is, will the pair return in the upcoming third season? The episode definitely leaves the possibility open. When they leave, Rick tells the cat-like creatures to use food as a bargaining power for their new society. Within minutes, they revert back to violence and the suggestion to bring the festival back.
The theme of the most recent installment, The Purge: Election Year, takes a political slant on whether the annual Purge should continue. Perhaps Rick and Morty will return to the planet, and try and encourage the inhabitants to change their ways. Or maybe they'll find something better to do. It's a big universe, after all.