You can always rely on Rick and Morty to deliver the unexpected: sure enough, the show’s midseason premiere, which airs this Thursday in the UK, includes a surprise reference to the coronavirus pandemic.
Season four of the animated comedy returned to US screens last night after a five month hiatus, bringing with it a brief, last-minute acknowledgement of the global COVID 19 crisis.
In the season’s sixth episode, grandpa-grandson odd couple Rick and Morty find themselves trapped on a never-ending train, which is actually a meta “literary device”, operated by villain Story-Lord who is sick of Rick defying the rules of narrative structure.
At the end of the episode, the train is revealed to actually be a toy, which Morty bought for his grandpa. After the train is derailed and broken, due to events occurring inside it, Morty offers to replace it but an angered Rick replies: “Buy another one, Morty. Consume Morty.”
“Nobody’s out there consuming with this f**king virus!” he exclaims as the episode ends.
The classically meta episode acts as the anthology chapter of the series, much like the Interdimensional Cable episodes in the first two series and Morty’s Mind Blowers.
Viewers quickly took to Twitter to voice their opinions on the brief reference. “They really did just mention the Coronavirus in the new Rick and Morty. That genuinely caught me off guard,” one user tweeted.
Episode six was written by Jeff Loveness, who has written for Sky Comedy/TBS’s series Miracle Workers, Jimmy Kimmel Live and The Oscars.
Rick and Morty will return in the UK on Thursday 7th May at 10pm on E4