There’s a reason the horror-comedy genre is so popular – the only real difference between things that make us laugh and things that make us scream is the tone in which they’re presented. The situation in last night’s episode could have been a hard-hitting animated episode of “The Twilight Zone,” if it weren’t for the fact that all of the main characters were voiced by Justin Roiland.
On the other hand, sometimes we laugh because it’s the only way to escape the existential dread of what we’re watching. In the first, when Mr. Frundles takes over the world, it’s horrifying. The lovable Mr. Frundles is essentially a zombie on steroids, infecting not only living creatures but inanimate objects, and at an incredibly fast rate. If it existed in the real world, humanity wouldn’t stand a chance. It’s a moment that reminds us of just how absurdly fragile life is on this show; a doomsday alien is just sitting in Rick’s garage, waiting for an ignorant Jerry to open his cage. An entire planet of living beings is destroyed due to a random event far beyond their control or understanding; the horror of it all is so overwhelming, and all we can do is laugh.
At the start of Season 3, Rick told Morty that it would be their darkest season yet, and he was mostly right about that. (The show definitely got a little nicer in Seasons 4 and 5.) But Season 6 opens with two delightfully screwed up plotlines, so it’s worth wondering if this will take Season 3’s place. Will season 6 be the most horrifying season yet? Looking forward, we’ll just have to wait and see.