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“The Whirly Dirly Conspiracy” sees the return of Jerry Smith to Rick and Morty and gives fans a rare event, a Rick and Jerry adventure.
Since his divorce with Beth, Jerry has been living a depressing single man’s life until Rick puts him out of bed naked and takes him up into space. Rick reveals Morty asked him to take Jerry on a pity adventure and the two go to a luxurious alien resort. But as Rick stated in the previous episode, half the people the scientist meets want to kill him, and a disgruntled worker at the resort asks for Jerry’s help to assassinate Rick.
At home Summer is suffering from typical teenage self-esteem issues and she uses one of Rick’s machines to enlarge her breasts. It’s a task that’s not as simple as it seems.
“The Whirly Dirly Conspiracy” sees the return of Ryan Ridley as a writer, a man who has written of some of the best episodes in the series (e.g. “Meeseeks and Destroy” and “Auto Erotic Assimilation”) and the worst (“Interdimensional Cable 2: Tempting Fate”). After the slight disappointment that was “Vindicators 3: The Return of Worldender,” “The Whirly Dirly Conspiracy” is a return to form and it is the second best episode of series 3 so far – “The Rickshank Rickdemption” is still number one.
The episode has an obvious conflict to mine- Rick and Jerry’s contempt for each other- and the episode uses it. Aside from the hilarious sight of a watching Rick drag a naked man, Jerry fears that Rick is just going to kill him. Their hostility is based on Jerry impregnating Beth as a teenager which Rick believes held Beth back – she is a Sanchez after all – and Rick did everything he could to break up their marriage. The power dynamic shifts between the two in the episode – Rick obviously has the knowledge of the alien worlds to survive, whilst Jerry takes advantage when Rick is incapacitated.
The great invention of the episode is the force-field that brings anyone killed in the resort back to life. It leads to some cathartic violence when Rick has to fight his would-be assassins and a very dark joke involving two alien kids. There was also a trippy sequence where Rick and Jerry go through a wormhole – it was as if the animators took a load of drugs and drew what came up into their heads. One quick moment within it is certainly going to lead to a load of Rick and Jerry slash fics.
The episode offers character development for Rick, Jerry, and Beth. Rick showd a bit of humility when speaking with Jerry, acknowledges he was a dick to his son-in-law, and it makes a refreshing change to see Rick and Jerry get along at the resort bar. Jerry has to learn to stand up for himself and show he is not the pathetic figure he has become. Although this isn’t the first time Jerry has had to learn this lesson: Beth literally saw Jerry as a submissive worm in “Big Trouble in Little Sanchez” and he had to save the day. Jerry also reveals one of his unusual fantasy and a hilarious running joke throughout the episode.
As the series progresses, we learn more about Beth and the more we see the more detestable she becomes. The series already established Beth has alcohol dependency issues, in “Total Rickall” she gave Summer a black eye on school picture day and literally said “f**k you” to her kids in “Pickle Rick.” Now she is shown not coping with the divorce: she’s making a statue out of a horse hoofs (which would be like me making a scarf out of my cats), dismisses her daughter when she asks her mother for help, and Beth is so stubborn that she has the belief that she could figure how to work Rick’s machine. It tries back to Rick’s view that Beth’s marriage to Jerry held her back.
Morty gets his chance to shine in this episode – he is the one who has to figure out how to work Rick’s machine, he has to give his mum a telling off, and he shows a protective side towards his sister. Morty has learned well from his grandfather.
“The Whirly Dirly Conspiracy” doesn’t have the nihilistic or existentialist themes that help makes the show so great – yet it still has the dark humor and violent action fans have come to know and love. It is also an episode that did not have to rely on crude humor, excessive swearing, or a movie parody that has plagued some of the previous episodes.