Not that I expected anything to even remotely come close to the brilliance of ‘The Ricklantis Mixup’, the pre-finale and finale of the third season of ‘Rick and Morty’ seriously take a dip and leave a lot to be desired, even if I consider them to be regular runners and not a pre-finale or a finale. You might note that I have completely discounted Episode 8 from this discussion since it’s a fairly okay episode to begin with, and its anthology like nature meant that it would have no bearing on the larger, overarching narrative of the series or the season.
The decline begins with ‘The ABCs of Beth’, and it would be safe to say that while there have been episodes pairing Rick individually with each one of the family members, even Jerry this season, this one with Beth is a welcome rarity, with some interesting psychological insights on their increasingly toxic father-daughter relationship, also introducing at least one dichotomous plot point that may in the future pan out to play very, very interestingly. Read on.
The episode begins with Beth, Summer and Morty assembled in the living room, watching TV, when Beth hears about the news of the scheduled execution of accused child murderer Joseph Lipkip, who was on death row for having allegedly eaten his own son, Thomas “Tommy” Lipkip, who Beth recounts was her friend in her childhood years. She also recounts how tough it was for her to get over the traumatic incident, telling Summer and Morty that she tried to cope with it buy thinking that Tommy got lost in her imaginary world she called Froopyland, scoffing at it as she spoke. Listening to this offends Rick who then reveals that her “imaginary world” Froopyland was real and had been created by Rick for her to play in, leading her to theorise that Tommy might still be in there somewhere.
Meanwhile, Rick sends the kids off to spend the ‘custody’ weekend at Jerry’s, while confronting Beth and taking her to Froopyland where he tries to explain to her how the world he created was completely safe and secure for kids, while Beth accuses him of creating a “glorified chicken coop” instead of actually spending time with her like a father should. In a freak turn of events, just as Rick is demonstrating the features of the world, he is attacked by a large bird like creature and taken away and fed to its offsprings, whence Rick ends up losing an arm in the process.