"Pilot" is the first episode of the first season of Rick and Morty. It is the first episode of the series overall. It premiered on December 2, 2013. It was written by Dan Harmon and Justin Roiland, and directed by Justin Roiland.
In the middle of the night, an obviously drunk Rick bursts into Morty's room and tells him he has a "surprise" to show him. While driving his newly-built flying vehicle, Rick explains that he made a neutrino bomb: he has decided Earth needs a "fresh start," and to that end, he wants to destroy humanity, planning to start over with Morty and Jessica as the new "Adam and Eve." Morty tries to "take control of the situation" by taking the wheel of the vehicle. Rick eventually decides to land the vehicle, and when he does, he says it was all a test to get Morty to act more assertive. He passes out, and the bomb announces that it is armed and (presumably) activates.
The next morning, Morty falls asleep at breakfast. His mother Beth is concerned, and Morty's older sister Summer, explains that he was out with Rick. This causes an argument between Jerry and Rick. Rick points out that he thinks school is an utter waste of time; before leaving the room, he compliments the breakfast which Beth made, causing her to cry tears of joy and stop being angry with her father, much to Jerry's annoyance.
At school later that day, Mr. Goldenfold administers a math test, and Morty falls asleep, sinking into a dream filled with numbers. The dream quickly, however, evolves into a sexual encounter with Jessica, in which she asks him to play with her exposed breasts. Mr. Goldenfold unwittingly finds himself on the receiving end of Morty's subconscious fantasy. Later, Morty is accosted by a bully named Frank; appearing out of nowhere, Rick uses a freeze-ray to stop him and convinces Morty to skip History because he needs "an extra pair of hands" in another dimension. Rick and Morty then leave school, leaving Frank frozen and teetering in the hallway. Walking by (and not realizing that he is frozen), Summer tries to impress Frank, but the front of his foot cracks, and he topples, shattering into pieces on the floor as Summer screams.
On his lunch break, Jerry visits Beth while she is performing heart surgery to invite her to lunch, but she declines. He then proposes that they should put Rick in a nursing home, eliciting an aggravated response from Beth who lashes out at a nurse.
In an alleyway, Rick opens a portal in a wall, and Rick and Morty both step into it, emerging onto a hillside in a colorful and oddly-shaped world. Rick tells an awestruck Morty that they are in Dimension 35-C, and explains that he needs mega-seeds from mega-trees for his research. When Morty expresses his anxiety about the strange situation, Rick tries to calm Morty down with a speech about facing your fears, but he is suddenly interrupted by a strange arachnid-like beast which chases them as Rick openly proclaims that he has never seen anything like it before and that they are going to die. After escaping the monster and passing by several other monsters, Rick interrupts another set of objections by Morty, directing Morty's attention to a grove of mega trees at the bottom of a steeply walled valley. After refusing to answer Morty as to what the nature of the mega seeds is, Rick gives Morty some grappling shoes with which to scale the wall. Morty steps over the edge and falls off the cliff, as Rick neglected to tell Morty to turn the shoes on.
Meanwhile, Beth and Jerry are still arguing about whether or not to put Rick in a retirement home. Beth is upset, believing that Jerry is trying to rob her of her father, who has only recently moved in with them, while Jerry believes that Rick is a terrible influence on Morty and needs to go. After a brief interruption by Beth's assistant, Davin, Beth counters Jerry's argument, saying that Morty was having trouble in school before Rock moved in with them; the fact that Morty has a friend is more important to her than any potential detriment. Morty's principal, Gene Vagina, calls, asking them to come to the school and talk to him.
Back in Dimension 35-C, Morty lies on the ground at the bottom of the cliff, his legs terribly broken in more than three places. As Rick lectures Morty on the folly of failing to turn on the shoes, Morty yells at Rick for his indifference, and for his singular focus on the mega-seeds, rather than his injuries. Rick then leaves Morty, disappearing into a portal for a number of seconds before returning and injecting Morty's legs with a serum which cures Morty's broken legs. With his legs fully functional again, Morty uses his grappling shoes to get the mega-fruit, while Rick explains that he traveled to an alternate dimension in which technology, among other things, has halted the aging process. Unfortunately, he continues, he spent so much time in the alternate dimension that his portal gun has exhausted its charge. As Morty panics, Rick explains that they'll have to go through inter-dimensional customs and that, in order to keep the seeds hidden, Morty will have to smuggle the mega-seeds through customs in his rectum. Morty objects, but Rick persists, as years of smuggling have rendered him unable to do the same.
Meeting with Principal Vagina, Jerry and Beth are informed that Morty has attended school for a total of seven hours over a two-month period. In addition, the principal tells them that Rick is the one who has been removing Morty from school.
Having reached customs, Rick and Morty discover that the insect-like security guards have a new machine that "detects stuff all the way up [someone's] butt." Rick yells at Morty to run and pushes the guard to the ground, and they both make a break for it as the guards close in on them, passing by various creatures from other dimensions. Rick destroys several things in the customs to slow security down and also assaults two aliens who are bystanders. Using the grappling shoes and other methods of avoidance, the two manage to get to a portal, but Rick has to enter the coordinates of their home dimension. As the guards begin to shoot at them, Rick tells Morty to shoot back at them, telling him that they are robots. When Morty shoots one of them, however, he finds that they are not robots but living organisms. Rick explains that he was using a metaphor: the guards are bureaucrats and he does not respect them. During the firefight, a Wilhelm Scream can be heard. Finishing the coordinate input, Rick pulls Morty through the portal into the school cafeteria; Morty lands in front of Jessica, impressing her. Unfortunately, Jerry, Beth, and the principal catch them.
The spouses start moving Rick's stuff, all of which is in the garage, into a moving van, intending to move him into a nursing home. Rick argues with his daughter and son-in-law, who reveal that Morty has a learning disability. Rick then asks Morty to state the square root of pi and the first law of thermodynamics, both of which he promptly and correctly recites. He explains that having adventures is the best way for Morty to learn, and tells them that, later in his own life, Morty will be doing amazing things as a result of their adventures. husband and wife relent, happy and content that Morty is learning. Rick then tells Morty that none of what he told his parents is true: his super-intelligence is temporary, one of the side effects of the mega-seeds breaking down in his rectal cavity. As the other side effects take hold of Morty, he loses his brain function and control of his motor skills, and Rick starts rambling about the future adventures they will have: "Rick and Morty, forever and ever, a hundred years, Rick and Morty..."
- Mr. Goldenfold
- Gene Vagina
- Frank Palicky
- Jessica's Friend
- The Hookah Alien
View the full episode transcript here.
- In this episode, Rick reveals that he's an Atheist as he tells to his granddaughter Summer that there's no God.
- Beth tells Jerry that she works as a heart surgeon, to which he replies, saying "Well, yeah, on horses." Beth then starts to get really angry at him, but then Jerry quickly stops her, saying "Let's not rehash the fight." This would be the beginning of a running gag in the series, where Jerry would constantly express disappointment in Beth's job, thinking that she's not really a real surgeon, only working on horses and not real people.
- The houses in Dimension 35-C are colorful and wacky, bulbous houses that are of a similar style of how many buildings and houses are depicted in Dr. Seuss' Cat in the Hat books.
- This is the only episode not to have a post-credits epilogue.
- Due to this episode being the pilot, Rick's voice sounds slightly different and is not yet finalized. His voice has a few similarities to Doc Smith's from The Real Animated Adventures of Doc and Mharti.
- All the answers in Morty's math test are 10.
- Rick says "Morty" 108 times in the episode.
- When Principal Vagina mentions that there was no evidence that a Latino froze Frank Palicky, Rick's surname Sanchez is ironically a traditionally Latino surname.
- At the end of the episode, when Rick was talking about his adventures with Morty, while he was having seizures, the garage door closed by itself.
- In Mr. Goldenfold's class, there's one particular background character in his class who has a T-shirt with a blue Bart Simpson head on it. The student is best visible in the scene were Morty is fondling Mr. Goldenfold and reappears as a recurring background character.
- In the beginning of the scene inside Interdimensional Customs, we see various silhouettes standing around a large room. Here are some of the famous characters that can be spotted in this scene:
- Tom Servo, Crow T. Robot, and Gypsy from Mystery Science Theater 3000.
- Big Bird and Mr. Snuffleupagus (Snuffy) from Sesame Street.
- The Xenomorph from Alien.
- The alien from the game Space Invaders.
- A Wilhelm scream is heard when Morty shoots one of the aliens with a laser, while Rick is trying to set up the portal and go back home.
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