Rick and Morty Episode 6 Season 4 review: Superb sci-fi tale owes much to Jordan Peele’s Us

rick-and-orty-night-familyAdult Swim

Rick and Morty Episode 4 of Season 6, “Night Family,” kicks off with a T.S. Eliot quote and ends with a deliciously dark post-credit sting. In between, we’re treated to a superb self-contained sci-fi tale that plays like a mini-Jordan Peele movie.

The Eliot quote in question begins with the lines “When you’re alone in the middle of the night and you wake in a sweat and a hell of a fright…” Which is also how this Rick and Morty episode – entitled “Night Family” – kicks off.

As with Jerry snoring beside her, Beth finds herself wide awake in the middle of the night, heads downstairs, and spies Rick doing sit-ups in a terrifying trance-like state. She calls his name, but he doesn’t answer.

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Next morning, over breakfast, daughter asks dad what’s going on, and Rick explains that it was his Night Person. So kicking off the Smith family’s own personal nightmare.

What happens in Rick and Morty’s “Night Family”?

Rick then reveals that a Night Person does the stuff you can’t be bothered to do during the day. Which in Rick’s case is crunches to achieve a six-pack.

The family likes the sound of that, so request personal Night People. Something Rick initially – sensibly – turns down, before giving in and giving each of them their own. Which results in Morty soon having abs, Beth playing the trumpet, and Summer speaking Spanish.

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Somewhat predictably, rather than doing anything useful with his Night Person, Jerry becomes pen-pals with his nocturnal doppleganger.

Night Family Fight Back

It’s all going swimmingly, until Night Family request Day Family rinse their dishes to help with the washing up. Rick steadfastly refuses, the Night People smash said dishes, and rather than back down, Rick replaces them with super-alien dishes from the forbidden zone. Triggering war.

It doesn’t take long for Night Family to seize the day, enslaving their opposites, controlling them with proxy droids, and subduing the Smiths with sleeping gas in sleeping pods.

But our daytimers won’t be beaten, the episode building to a dramatic action sequence with car chases, explosions, all-out brawls, and a final ultimatum.

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Which makes the episode frequently feel like a Jordan Peele movie – with shades of Us sprinkled throughout – until it transforms into a an electro-scored John Carpenter flick. What’s not to like about that heady cult combo?

The Verdict – Is Rick and Morty “Night Family” good?

“Night Family” is the best episode of Season 6 thus far, being focussed, funny, and hilarious throughout, most notably during the climactic action where a joke that begins at a gasoline factory perfectly encapsulates the rule of three.

It’s also about something. When complaining about the Night Family’s single, simple demand, and refusing to fulfil it, Rick states “They only exist to do sh*t we don’t want to do.” Making this an episode about the service industry, or domestic servitude, or even slavery if you want to take it that far.

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All of which turns the Smiths into the villains of the piece, and their Night People the heroes, who call them out by reminding the family “We’re all the same people.” But Rick can’t accept that, resulting in a dark ending to a superb episode, with an even darker sting in its tale.