‘Rick And Morty’ Season 6, Episode 4 Recap: Clean The Damn Dishes


“Night Family” opens with Beth suffering from insomnia, prompting a joke about the bleak, almost dystopian landscape of the App Store, as opposed to one of Rick’s crazy inventions.

While wacky alien technology sparks the plot of this episode, it’s refreshingly grounded overall, mostly taking place within the house and veering into horror, reminiscent of Jordan Peele’s Us, in which the Smith’s worst enemies are themselves.

Rick has acquired a machine that any overworked wage slave would kill for, that programs the sleeping self to do whatever annoying chores they didn’t have time for during the day – of course, the rest of the family want in on it, despite Rick’s prediction that something is going to go terribly wrong.

Rick has programmed himself to do crunches while he sleeps (it’s kind of unclear if he’s actually resting during these sessions), while the rest of the family opt to improve themselves, without experiencing the grind. Except for Jerry, who, rather sweetly, opts to send letters to his Night self, the first clue that the Night Family have their own personalities.

Things are going smoothly, until Jerry helpfully passes on a request, asking the Day Family to rinse their dishes, so the Night Family can have an easier time cleaning up. Amusingly, Rick is absolutely infuriated by this request, seemingly viewing the Night-folk as an inferior species, and goes out of his way to make a mess.

The Night Family, in their first act of rebellion, break all the plates in the house, prompting Rick to escalate the situation, enlisting a ominous alien blacksmith to forge a set of unbreakable plates. For Rick, it’s not about the effort, but the principle.

But Rick has underestimated his opponents – Rick is soon woken up by the Nights, strapped to the bed and stripped of his technology, forced to endure the most horrifying scene I think the show has ever produced, as the crusty goop from last night’s dinner is scraped into Rick’s mouth.

This is the final straw for Rick, who, despite losing all of his equipment, manages to build a containment device using rotten pieces of garbage; the Night Family should have known better – this is a guy who can make a mech suit out of a dead rat.

Rick then tasks Summer with masquerading as Night Summer to take down the machine empowering the Night Family, but Night Summer turns the tables on him .. somehow? It’s never really explained, but Night Summer has gotten the best of Rick.

Interestingly, Night Summer is channeling the resentment that her daytime self doesn’t seem to be able to express against her dismissive and disrespectful grandfather, while Night Rick seems tired, and resigned to his fate (the two sides to Jerry’s personality, it seems, are both pure-hearted).

As Night Summer manages to enslave and imprison the family, they escape only with the help of Night Jerry, proving that Jerry’s dorky kindness can be just as useful as Rick’s nihilistic genius, sometimes.

Their escape leads to a fun, clever car chase sequence in which the family members flicker between their day and night selves, repeatedly being knocked out and slapped awake.

There’s a few good visual gags during the chase – a series of explosions culminating in an almighty blast of dry leaves, and Jerry discovering a new kink during a fight with Beth.

When the fight winds down, Night Summer has again bested Rick, and has him pinned down and surrounded. Despite holding all the cards, the Nights offer Rick a very reasonable truce – rinse the dishes, and the war will end.

Hilariously, Rick chooses to remain petty, and the Night Family takes over the house, enjoying something of a happy ending. Until, just like the Day Family, the Nights don’t want to do all the annoying household maintenance, and don’t even know how to do half of it. Soon, the Night family is broken and exhausted from all the neglected chores piling up, and choose to “suicide” themselves by breaking the alien device.

It’s a victory by default for the Smiths, in which laziness and procrastination leads to victory. The whole episode is a nice metaphor for the daily battle we all fight against our future selves, when we leave dishes unwashed and chores neglected.

Rick, of course, would rather take the most difficult path, rather than doing the simple, responsible thing; perhaps the smartest man in the universe should invest in a dishwasher.

If you enjoyed reading, check out my recap of the previous episode here



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