While “Star Mort Rickturn of the Jerri” is primarily plot-driven, it’s still rife with meta jokes, but in a more fun way than the previous few episodes, which have focused around the somewhat embarrassing premise of how difficult it is to be a comedy writer. In this episode, the meta observations are limited to legitimately funny references to brand sponsorship – the Wrangler-sponsored Planet Remover shuts down after Summer throws Morty’s Wrangler jeans into the path of its laser, and Rick makes an offhand reference to the show’s current advertising deal with Wendy’s. Susan Sarandon also gets a fun line wherein she says, “I’m better than this job,” which is a reference to both the endlessly patient Dr. Wong and the fact that legendary actress Susan Sarandon is worth more than a three-sentence cameo on a late-night cartoon show. The only weak moments come when each member of the Smith family calls out their respective character arcs as they are completed. It’s not as inside baseball as the story train from “Never Ricking Morty”, but it’s still a joke specifically for writers.
“Star Mort Rickturn of the Jerri” is a strong finish for the season, and it’s easily my favorite episode of The Other Five. However, Season 4 was definitely front-loaded – the five episodes that aired last winter were all 5-star offerings, whereas this second half has felt somewhat less inspired and more bitter towards its audience. That said, Rick and Morty is still one of the best-written comedies on television, and I’m anxiously awaiting the next batch of episodes that hopefully won’t take three years to come out.