Ah, geez, Rick, another one-off adventure? In what is seemingly becoming commonplace for the fifth season, Adult Swim’s Rick and Morty released its sixth installment with the backstabbing turkey war of the century in “Rick & Morty’s Thanksploitation Spectacular.” This is not the first instance the series has mixed in a holiday special with Christmas time in season one’s “Anatomy Park” or most recently season four’s “Battlerick Ricklactica.”
Some of the drawbacks to the episode from fans are the season’s reliance on one-off adventures of the titular duo and other family members instead of the show’s canon episodes like “The Ricklantis Mixup.” However, these adventures are paramount to how the show has found its success, and “Rick & Morty’s Thanksploitation Spectacular ” is yet another example of this.
The episode witnessed the second appearance of the President, voiced by Keith David (Platoon), as Rick seeks clemency yet again by taking shape as a turkey to be pardoned by the President after Morty messes up and releases the Trojan Horse French war figure that hides inside the Statue of Liberty. Aware of this David’s President employs a group of soldiers to use Turkey Vision and seek out the hiding Rick and Morty. After the President himself turns himself into a turkey to handle the job, a different turkey is transformed back into the President and the trio now has to fight back to take control of the President’s office and fight off a newly formed super turkey army.
The plot of the episode is tight as usual per creator Dan Harmon’s (Community) unique and effective storytelling methods and David’s guest appearance always succeeds with the President prioritizing the acts of a grandpa and a teenager over other pressing issues. David’s voice acting of the President character, seemingly acting like another member of the Smith family in all of his appearances, splits through the nonsensical nature of the show with sternness but also lends himself to the absurdist environment that its characters continuously find themselves within.
There seems to be a little more added to this inclusion of the President as the audience sees the guest character almost take on the corporate form of Rick and the laser-focused approach to tasks being well-thought-out. Yet, as his last appearance showed, the episode had to be completed and solved by yet another mysterious under dwellings of American society with robotic aliens of the Pilgrims and Native Americans that come to rescue. Sound familiar to “Rickdependence Spray?” That’s because it is. Looks like the writers and creators have found some deep appreciation for Jordan Peele’s Us and the idea of exploring the notion that there can be some supernatural and galactic elements to the home planet just as there have been to the various galaxies the titular duo and the rest of the Smith family have explored.
The animation team is granted a chance to shine with the all-out battle of the turkey army and some flashy gory scenes from Rick, Morty, and the President. A fun installment to the series and the season, yet it does beg the question of where this season intends to take the viewer. Rick and Morty season five has included an increasing amount of storylines focusing on family and unconditional love through its abrasive tone, but specifically through wild and nonsensical adventures that do not have the same pop as to previous episodes like “The ABC’s fo Beth” or “Auto Erotic Assimilation.” There does seem to be a missing piece to the puzzle as there is a lack of darkness being drawn onto its characters’ psyche that viewers have enjoyed over the previous four seasons. As the season enters its final four episodes, it will be interesting to see if Harmon and Justin Roiland (Solar Opposites) once more delve into the outlandish while simultaneously exploring character relationships on a grander scale and ultimately how the show’s canon can progress from here.