Rick and Morty decided to do a riff on Ego the Living Planet. The show promised no science fiction shenanigans in episode 9, but that proved to be a major fakeout this week. “Childrick of Mort” proved to be an examination of Rick’s parenting style as a planet claimed that he was the father of her children. Now, it looked like a slight inversion of the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s interpretation of Ego, but midway through the episode, the entire thing gets thrown on its head. Rick isn’t really the father and he has to contend with some sort of cloud creature that’s kind of a jerk. The themes of parenthood run all throughout the Guardians of the Galaxy movies. This episode felt a lot like Rick’s entanglement with a hive mind earlier in the series.
Guardians of the Galaxy star Kurt Russell actually mentioned that director James Gunn wanted to explore parental relationships from the first moments with the script. "Realizing that a lot of Peter Quill's behavior, it makes sense when you think about some of the things that I did," Russell said during a press event for the film. "He didn't have to pitch that. He let me read it and I go, 'Well, I got it, I understand.' I really love the opportunity to play Ego the Living Planet. There's no parameters there."
Russell saw the positive effect his role might have on people outside of the movie. The relationship between Peter and his father is something many people deal with in the real world every single day.
"I supposed part of it was because I've seen in my life children whose father wasn't there," Russell said. "Parents who something horrible happened and they wondered what they were like. And in both cases, as human beings do, they built up an imaginary person in their mind. The idea of finally getting a chance to come together gives you the reality to deal with."
As ridiculous as the relationship between Star-Lord and his father was, Rick and Morty did an excellent job just highlighting how messy parent and child dynamics can be when you get right down to it. Both Jerry and Beth had to face their inadequacies as one longed for Rick's validation and the other with his ongoing self-doubt. Rick had to go knuckle to knuckle with a literal God and show compassion to his grandkids.
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