The Rick and Morty episode “Full Meta Jackrick” features an incredibly intricate joke that truly demonstrates the show’s genius. Rick and Morty has long-established its competency in weaving elaborate narratives laden with meta-humor. Rick and Morty season 6, however, featured possibly the show’s most meta episode yet, with an overarching joke as complicated as it is subtle.

Rick and Morty season 6, episode 7, “Full Meta Jackrick,” follows the titular adventurers trapped in a complex, self-aware narrative loop, journeying through the Meta Reality. The episode is a sequel to Rick and Morty season 4, episode 6, “Never Ricking Morty,” featuring the return of the villainous Story Lord, and the continuation of the self-aware story-telling deconstruction. One character introduced in “Full Meta Jackrick,” however, might be the most meta Rick and Morty joke to date.

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Rick and morty full meta jackrick road of trails

During “Full Meta Jackrick,” Rick and Morty meet Joseph Campbell, who aids the pair in the quest. The episode, however, does not explain that Joseph Campbell is a real figure who theorized a structure of the archetypal Hero’s Journey, also known as the Monomyth. Joseph Campbell determined a 17-step template that many folk and religious tales follow in approximate order. Rick and Morty‘s “Full Meta Jackrick” follows Campbell’s template identically (via UFO_T0FU).

Campbell’s first step, “The Call to Adventure,” is depicted in the opening scene as Rick explains the situation to Morty. Step 4, “Crossing The Threshold,” is illustrated by the pair flying through their own Rick and Morty season 6 title sequence in an impressively meta moment that prompts a nauseous Morty to become aware of the show’s construct. Another reference sees Morty pointing out a signpost for a path marked “trials” while in pursuit of the character Previous Lee. Rick says “If he took that he’d end up a hero,” referring to Campbell’s sixth step, “The Road of Trials,” which is another stage Rick and Morty themselves traverse in “Full Meta Jackrick.”

Each of Campbell’s steps is within “Full Meta Jackrick,” with some explicitly identified by characters. Story Lord remarks, “I love a good refusal of the call,directly referencing step 2. Joseph Campbell tells Morty that he “atoned in the blizzard, which is step 9, “Atonement of the Father/The Abyss.” Finally, at the end of the episode – written by Alex Rubens, who also wrote the Rick and Morty Die Hard parody – Rick calls himself the “Master of both worlds. This is Campbell’s penultimate step, before the pair transition to step 17, “Freedom to Live,” or, more specifically, freedom from the fear of death, which Rick celebrates throughout the ending of “Full Meta Jackrick.”

Why Full Meta Jackrick’s Story Joke Needed To Be So Meta

Rick and Morty in Full Metal Jackrick

Including Joseph Campbell in a Rick and Morty episode that is simultaneously recreating his Hero’s Journey theory on narrative storytelling is the most meta joke from the series to date. Not to mention that Rick roundly dismissing all the meta-humor throughout makes the whole episode both funnier and more subversive. “Full Meta Jackrick” demonstrates an unparalleled attention to detail, even by Rick and Morty standards.

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The early Rick and Morty seasons arguably succeeded because they have a strong rewatch factor, encouraged by the complicated narratives and detailed intricacies. This lasting appeal fostered a cult fandom in the old seasons of Rick and Morty, during which there were far fewer episodes, but far more complex stories. With “Full Meta Jackrick,” Rick and Morty returned to form with an episode that demands multiple viewings in order to fully comprehend its intricacies.

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