Rick And Morty Season 4 Episode 1: The Easter Eggs And References You Probably Missed
Rick and Morty Season 4 Episode 1 spoilers ahead!
Are you thrilled Rick and Morty is back? Annoyed we're not getting the full season this year? Mad in general about something completely unrelated? Let us know in the comments below.
The Rick and Morty Season 4 premiere has finally arrived, and with it, the opportunity to spend an inordinate amount of precious time digging deep into every possible aspect of this beautiful 23-minute animated wonderland that we can think of.
In Episode 1, "Edge of Tomorty: Rick, Die, Rickpeat," Morty gets his hands on a "death crystal" that shows him how he'll die, and uses it to manipulate his future so he winds up with his classmate Jessica--a familiar obsession for the teenage boy. Rick, meanwhile, gets continuously re-routed to other Ricks' clone vats and deals with an increasingly strange series of alternate realities. It all comes together for an action-packed (and pretty disgusting) climactic battle that involves a giant hologram of Rick given physical form, and a lot of wasp eggs.
The episode managed to look back at Rick and Morty's past, referencing the classics, while still maintaining forward momentum. Read our Episode 1 review, and keep scrolling to discover all the Easter eggs and references we could spot in the episode. Let us know below if we missed any.
1. Welcome to Margaritaville
The Margaritaville necklace from Jessica's funeral selfie stays with Jessica into old age, if Morty's visions of his death are legit. Why anybody's grandmother would leave them a Margaritaville necklace when she dies is a bigger question for another day.
2. Things Have Changed
Beth admonishes Rick for dragging Morty on another adventure without asking whether he actually wants to go, saying, "Dad, there's a way we do this now." The events of the show's Season 3 finale apparently had a lasting effect on the Smiths.
3. You've Gotta Put These Seeds Inside Your Butt
This episode marks a return to something resembling the classic Rick and Morty formula. Appropriately, the expedition to collect "death crystals" bears a resemblance to the show's very first episode, when the duo embarked on an equally dangerous quest to acquire some very painful-looking seeds.
4. The Many Deaths of Morty
Keep an eye on Morty's death crystal visions throughout the episode to catch many glimpses of various ways in which Morty might die, including but not limited to: being sucked into a toilet, getting his head stuck in an elevator door, being blown up while defusing a huge bomb, spilling a vat of toxic waste only to have a passing car splash it onto him, being crushed in traffic by a log that falls off a truck, simply falling off a ladder, and countless more.
5. Operation Phoenix Down
Rick remarks that he canceled "Operation Phoenix" and took his own clone vats offline a few seasons ago. This is a reference to the episode “Big Trouble in Little Sanchez,” when Rick cloned himself into a teenage body. At the end of the episode, he realized that Operation Phoenix "[was] not the fallback he thought it would be" and destroyed all his clones.
6. Time Travel Stuff
There's a box in Rick and Morty's garage labeled "time travel stuff." As Rick hops between different realities in this episode, the label on the box changes, from "fascist time travel stuff" to "shrimp time travel stuff" and finally "wasp time travel stuff." Rick tends to be pretty literal sometimes. (Side note: Series creators Justin Roiland and Dan Harmon have said more than once that they won't do time travel on the show, making this something of a meta joke.)
7. Fascist Fans
The entire sequence with fascist Rick and Morty can be viewed as a meta commentary about the subset of the show's fans who believe Rick and Morty shouldn't weigh in on "political" issues and just want to watch Rick and Morty go on adventures. "Stop asking questions!" fascist Morty tells Rick. "Stop doing meta commentary! Just have fun!"
8. I'm Mr. Meeseeks
The fascist Morty scene is also full of reference to past classics, including Mr. Meeseeks, of course, not to mention Revolio Clockberg Jr. from the Season 1 episode "Ricksy Business."
9. Playing God
Every time Rick gets re-routed to a new reality, you can glimpse a pair of less-fully-grown clones gestating in the background. These fetuses change as the realities change, becoming tiny shrimp, teddy bears, and more.
10. ABC, 123
On the blackboard in Morty's classroom are equations such as "1 ass + 1 ass = 2 assess [sic]" and "babies come from space," not to mention multiple drawings of penises. Also, in the top right corner, you can see that Morty has detention.
The bully who promises to murder Morty makes a reference to Coco, the 2017 Pixar film in which a young Mexican boy visits the Land of the Dead.
12. Fait Accompli
The bully also references "fait accompli," which is a French term that means something that has already happened by the time those who are affected by it learn about it.
13. Randall from Recess
One of the bully sidekicks is clearly Randall from the show Recess, which ran on ABC Kids between 1997 and 2001. This Randall-alike has appeared previously on Rick and Morty--a roided-up Rick and Summer beat him up at the end of Season 1, Episode 9, "Something Ricked This Way Comes."
14. "An Akira-Type Situation"
The police officer who arrives while Morty is decimating his bullies describes the confrontation as "an Akira-type situation." He's referring to the 1988 anime film that's widely considered to be a classic. From this point forward in the episode, there are many more references to it--even the song that plays sounds similar to Kaneda’s Theme from the film.
15. Judges Shouldn't Believe in Ghosts
The news ticker visible in the episode has several surprises. For one, it points out that "no matter how you pronounce 'La Croix,' you sound stupid;" hard to argue with that. The ticker also reveals that the judge who Morty just mind-melted has killed herself, to which the Center for Suicide Prevention replies that, while it's a tragedy, "judges shouldn't believe in ghosts."
16. Trover Saves the Universe
There's a billboard in Times Square for Trover Saves the Universe, Justin Roiland's VR game from earlier this year.
17. "Where's my Boglin??"
This show's greatest mystery is now why the first thing Rick searches for when he realizes Morty has pilfered his arsenal of sci-fi weaponry is the 1980s Mattel puppet toy known as the Boglin.
18. Kirkland Brand Meeseeks
The Kirkland brand of products comes from the bulk store Costco. It's essentially the store brand--the joke being that store brand products are inferior to name brands.
19. "AI Racist Accusatory Isaac Asimov Bulls***"
This quote of course references golden age science fiction author Isaac Asimov, who wrote frequently about robots and artificial intelligence.
20. Ferro Fluid
Hologram Rick calls the black and red goo that takes over his body "Ferro fluid," which is basically a high-tech liquid that reacts strangely with magnets and is used for a wide variety of purposes.
21. 100 Years
Rick and Morty's back-and-forth at the end of the episode is a reference to a similar exchange from the show's pilot, which seems meant to demarcate the show's intention to return to classic formulas while continuing to push boundaries (as the titular characters put it, more or less).
22. The "Stinger"
This episode features an after-credits stinger scene in which Morty overhears Jessica talking to her friends and realizes his vision of their future relationship wasn't what he thought it was.
23. "Edge of Tomorty: Rick, Die, Rickpeat"
Lastly, the episode's title is, of course, a reference to the 2014 Tom Cruise movie Edge of Tomorrow, which was also known by its tagline, "Live, Die, Repeat." The movie is about a soldier who relives the same day over and over--it's basically sci-fi Groundhog Day.