Rick And Morty Season 4 Episode 7: 18 References You Missed In The Latest Episode
Have y'all heard about Aliens?
Rick and Morty episodes can almost universally be lumped into one of two categories: There are meta episodes in which the duo have mind-bending adventures and/or break reality, and there are genre parody episodes where series creators Justin Roiland and Dan Harmon pay tribute to various movies. From the very beginning, the latter category has been crucial to the show's identity--the second episode of the first season was a parody of the movies The Lawnmower Man (1992), Inception (2010), and A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984).
With Season 4, Episode 7, "Promortyus," Rick and Morty gave us yet another film parody episode, this time tackling the Alien series, with a dash of Star Wars satire for added spice.
Of course, this is Rick and Morty, so it wasn't really that straightforward. "Promortyus" used the framework of an extraterrestrial horror movie to draw comparisons with real world tragedies and force Rick and Morty to confront their own violent tendencies. It also featured a whole lot of poop jokes.
For those who want to dig deeper, here's every Easter egg and reference we caught in Rick and Morty Season 4, Episode 7, "Promortyus." And if you're looking for more recommendations, listen to GameSpot's weekly TV series and movies-focused podcast, You Should Be Watching. With new episodes premiering every Wednesday, you can watch a video version of the podcast over on GameSpot Universe or listen to audio versions on Spotify, Stitcher, Google Play, and Apple Podcasts.
1. Episode Title: Promortyus
This week's episode title references Prometheus, the 2012 Alien prequel. That movie was a huge mess, but we're glad it exists, if only so that it could inspire this episode.
2. The Starro Episode
In this week's "inside the episode" video, Dan Harmon says he thought of this episode as a tribute to Starro, a DC comics villain who looks like a space starfish and attaches spores to New Yorkers' faces to mind control the whole city.
3. Nonlinear Storytelling
In the same video, Harmon says he believes this is the first Rick and Morty episode constructed with a nonlinear story--as in, the story begins in the middle and we get caught up on the events leading to the opening scene later. Given the, uh, nontraditional way many Rick and Morty episodes play out, it's hard to say whether he's correct.
That said, in the Season 2 episode "Look Who's Purging Now"--which is also referenced elsewhere in this episode--Morty says he's "not a fan of the whole 3 weeks earlier teaser scene" and that their stories should start at the beginning, not at the point where they get interesting.
The facehuggers from the Alien franchise, which latch onto people's faces and lay eggs inside their bodies, have inspired countless imitators and tributes in the decades since the original Alien movie's release. Another notable example is the "headcrabs" from the Half-Life video game franchise.
5. M&M store
Rick seems to view the Glorzo planet's M&Ms store as a sign of an advanced civilization. These retail locations, officially called M&M's World, originated in Las Vegas in 1997. There are currently M&M's World stores in Vegas, Orlando, Shanghai, NYC, London, and Henderson, Nevada.
6. Natural Birth
The "birth an alien fetus and then die" trope is also taken directly from the Alien franchise. In the original Ridley Scott movie, a baby Xenomorph bursts through a character's chest in a now-famous scene. In Rick and Morty, the process is more akin to taking a dump so big that it explodes the lower half of your body.
7. Glorzo Magazine
Glorzo Magazine, which features Glorzo Morty on the cover, is styled just like Time Magazine, which often features famous and/or notable people on its covers.
8. Glorzo Alex Jones
Glorzo Rick's YouTube persona is similar to real-world figures like Alex Jones, who stoke anger and fear in their followers by peddling in conspiracy theories.
9. Just Like Star Wars
As Rick and Morty fly around the city wreaking destruction, they remark on the similarities to Star Wars. The comparison goes beyond their ship's bottom-mounted guns; in Star Wars, nobody bats an eye at the deaths of countless Storm Troopers. That starts to feel a bit messed up when you think about the fact that many Storm Troopers are, apparently, just normal dudes like the sequel trilogy character Finn--which is the exact point this episode of Rick and Morty makes when it later humanizes the Glorzos.
10. 9/11 and Pearl Harbor
As Rick and Morty fly toward the Glorzo twin towers, they agree that it's too soon after 9/11 to go down that particular road. However, Pearl Harbor--which occurred almost 80 years ago--is fair game. Both are tragedies in America's past, but time heals wounds--and makes certain jokes more acceptable as it passes.
11. Purge Planet and Gear World
Rick references both Purge Planet and Gear World. The former is a reference to Season 2’s "Look Who's Purging Now," and the latter refers to Season 2's "Mortynight Run."
12. Suit Up
The combat suits Rick and Morty don are reminiscent of various mech suit-themed anime and cartoons, from Gundam and Voltron to Transformers and Ronin Warriors.
13. Next Time, Flamethrowers
As Rick and Morty lament their choice of weapon, Rick promises they can bring flamethrowers next time instead. Ever since the original, the Alien movies have often prominently featured flamethrowers.
14. Sum Sum
Rick refers to Summer by the nickname Sum Sum, which was first used in the Season 3 episode "Rickmancing the Stone."
15. Nobody Knows de Trouble I've Seen
The song "Nobody Knows de Trouble I've Seen," written by African-American composer Harry Burleigh and performed by countless artists throughout American history, has become synonymous with the plight of wrongfully incarcerated convicts. That's exactly how Morty uses it here. Other notable examples of similar comedic usages include The Lion King and Spaceballs.
16. In the Loop
When Beth scolds Rick for not keeping her in the loop like he promised to, she's referring to the end of Season 3, when the Smith family almost fell apart for good.
17. Full Circle
As our titular heroes/villains writhe on the ground believing they're about to die in alien childbirth, Rick remarks that "it's full circle from the pilot--full circle," referencing the show's original episode, in which Rick coerced Morty into shoving alien seeds up his butt to smuggle them through galactic customs.
18. American Tricia
The episode's stinger, which calls back to the minor beekeeping joke from earlier in the episode, brings to mind the 1999 film American Beauty, in which a similar scene plays out between Angela Hayes and Jane Burnham.