Cat person: "Oh, well, for millennia, our society has been free of crime and war, living in perfect peace."
Rick: "Oh, I know what this is! You’ve been able to sustain world peace because you have one night a year where you all run around robbing and murdering each other without consequence."
Cat person: "That’s right."
Look Who's Purging Now is the ninth episode of the second season of Rick and Morty.
Rick and Morty are out for a little flight through space when a giant space bug splats against the trash car's windshield. Rick discovers that they're out of wiper fluid in the process of trying to clean it and decides to stop at the first inhabited planet in hope of picking some up. They arrive on a planet of cat people and Rick discovers that tonight is night of the festival where all crime is legal and the community kills its undesirables or just whoever. Rick compares it to The Purge, mentioning that a few planets actually have this gimmick. Morty immediately decides he wants to be anywhere else come sun down but Rick has other plans. Rick, ever the edgelord, decides to stick around after getting the wiper fluid and some candy bars, much to Morty's intense chagrin. After some back and forth about the ethics of Rick enjoying what amounts to a live snuff film and Morty's refusal to acknowledge his own violent urges Rick gets his fill and prepares to take off. Right before they leave Morty spots a teenage cat girl about to be murder/raped and demands they intervene to save her. After blackmailing Rick into compliance Rick lands on one of the girl's assailants and shoots another. Morty introduces himself to the cat girl, Arthricia, while Rick fends off a mob of psychotic villagers wielding scythes and pitchforks. After a few more shots Rick gets really into killing people; which he points out is totally justified since they're saving a little girl, Morty suggests the three of them wait out the purge in the safety of the clouds. As they ascend Morty attempts to strike up a conversation with Arthricia by asking questions about the Purge. Back on Earth, Jerry tries to start a conversation with Summer who shuts him down hard because she can see he's just lonely and wants attention.
Arthricia gets fed up Morty's constant stream of purge related small talk and suddenly remembers her grandmother is still down there. They go to her house and Arthricia and Rick go in to get granny. The sound of Rick's ray gun going off alerts Morty that something's up but before he can do anything Arthricia comes out with the gun and forces Morty out of the car. She apologizes before flying away leaving Morty and a now liver shot Rick mostly defenseless among the psychos. Back on Earth, Jerry is making continued entreaties to Summer for conversation to little result when they get a call from Rick on the space phone. Rick instructs Summer to go into the garage/Rick's workshop and input a specific code into a red box after she's moved said item outside. All of this is relayed as Rick and Morty fight a pitched battle with half a dozen murderous cat people. Jerry interrupts throughout asking who it is and generally making nuisance of himself. Despite Jerry, Summer manages to get the code and the message.
On the purge planet, Rick suggest that Morty tap into his repress rage to help them survive the night. Morty angrily denies having repressed rage. They arrive at a light house who's single occupant declaims any personal involvement in the purge/festival. Rick explains that they just need a high spot to send out a beacon and the custodian agrees to let them use the tower on the condition that one of them listen to his play. Rick volunteers Morty for the part of theater critic and the tale commences ... in a dry monotone. Meanwhile, Summer, followed by an ever whingeing Jerry, enters the garage and types the code into the box. Said box unfolds and launches a sphere through the ceiling.
On the purge world we rejoin Morty as he hears the end of the story and compliments it. When prompted for criticism Morty politely points out that there isn't really any reason for the story to jump back and forth in time. This immediately incenses the would be playwright who storms to the top of the lighthouse and demands they leave at once. A bit more angry back and forth and Morty wigs out and pushes the custodian down the stairs killing him. Rick points out that Morty unrepentantly purged the old guy. Then Rick's beacon device beeps and he says they are about to get home. In the Smith garage Summer asks her father what he really wants he admits that he feels like he's losing her, she's growing up so fast, sappy stuff. They have a tender moment which Jerry ruins when he mentions that she isn't paying rent and she realizes everything has been leading up to Jerry asking to borrow money.
Rick consoles Morty on killing the old man by telling him it's just that time of year which isn't really consolation. Before they have time to hash out Morty's issues they are surrounded and saved at the last minute when Rick gadget arrives and deploys Iron Man grade power armor. Rick commences slaughtering but Morty hesitates long enough to get dog piled. Crushed under the weight of bodies and being brutally if ineffectually attacked Morty finally snaps and begins a frenzied killing spree. He and Rick leave the killing fields to find the space car. They discover it but Morty gets distracted killing festival goers and people who are running for their lives. Rick manages to drag him back to the task at hand and they confront Arthricia. Before they can shoot her she makes a plea that she only did this in a bid to kill the elites who sponsor the festival every year. Rick, ever the anarchist, wants to hear her out but Morty is to keyed up and demands they kill her now. Rick tells him to take it down a notch at which point Morty threatens to purge him too. Rick tasers Morty unconscious and asks Arthricia about the people in charge. Cut to rich cat people at a feast commemorating their own greatness or something. Rick and an armored up Arthricia show up and while Rick admits that he's got no stake in the fight he's also a fan of pay back. Arthricia begins killing everybody in a display of ferocity to match Morty.
Later, as the sun rises, Rick and Morty prepare to leave and Rick chastises the cat folk for not having a society that meets everyone's needs. The following exchange between the survivors suggest that what they build won't be any better than what Rick and Arthricia just destroyed. On the ship Morty laments that he's got serious issues based on his homicidal behavior but Rick informs him that the candy they got at the beginning of the episode was laced with something that increased aggression. The final shot of the episode zooms in on the candy wrapper to show us that Rick was lying and it was all Morty.
This is a Morty driven episode. Morty's altruism/libido are the incitement for the main plot but it's his rage and resentment that are really on display. His family all insult and manipulate him, he's a nobody in his school, and his Grandfather is slowly scarring every part of Morty's psyche. These trends and the trajectory they set Morty on won't reverse any time soon and the events of this episode don't help. In the B plot, Jerry's neediness and self pity are contrasted with Summer's callous attitude and usefulness. Summer is instrumental in saving Morty and Rick in spite of Jerry.
While this episode doesn't tell us much we don't already know about these characters it goes along way to cementing the patterns that will matter in the season two finale and season three opening.
IRON NODER: TOKYO DRIFT