Rick and Morty season 5 episode 6 recap: giving thanks to petty feuds

Rick and Morty in the latest episode.
(Image credit: Adult Swim)

Is the President of the United States Rick’s greatest rival? I know it’s been in our face this whole time, but for some strange reason, I’m just realizing it. 

'Rick and Morty’s Thanksploitation Spectacular' is another chapter in the growing feud between Rick and the President. So far, we’ve seen the two go head-to-head in 'The Rickchurian Mortydate,’ and while this episode focuses on another one of their petty fights, it does enough to differentiate itself from past encounters, showing us the true meaning of its ill-timed Thanksgiving episode. As the creators put it, that meaning is “to sit down and eat and shut up for one meal.”

This episode starts with Morty once again fudging up another of Rick’s plans, which of course puts him on the President’s radar. It’s here that Rick reveals his brilliant plan to (once again) turn himself into a turkey, so the President can unknowingly pardon him on Thanksgiving. Yes, that is a thing that we do in America.

However, this isn’t the first time that Rick has done this, so we get to enjoy some convoluted scheming from both sides on the same level as Rick and Morty season 4's nonsensical heist episode, 'One Crew over the Crewcoo's Morty'. 

The President vs Rick

I never grow tired of Keith David’s excellent portrayal of this ridiculous character. What’s funnier still is the fact that the show has now positioned the President as the only character that can really go toe-to-toe with Rick. 

Apparently, capitalism, taking advantage of your country, and being a global figurehead are enough to rival Rick’s genius. Rick’s got a superweapon? Well, then the President got 50 scientists to make him a superweapon. If Rick is going to turn himself into a turkey to get pardoned, then the President is… well, you get the idea. These escalating spats between Rick and the President are reminiscent of the chicken fights from Family Guy (the irony), only with a little more substance.

The premise of Rick turning himself into something weird is already enough to get a laugh in this episode. Seeing the President match Rick at every turn with plans just as unhinged as Rick’s own, though, is even more hilarious, especially when it seems to be at the detriment of the very country he’s trying to protect. 

RIP to my hometown of New York City: you didn’t deserve to be cannon fodder for the French and its robotic Statue of Liberty in this episode.

After a few intricately animated turkey-on-turkey fight scenes, you think you know what you're getting with this episode. Instead, the writers throw a few welcome curveballs into 'Rick & Morty's Thanksploitation Spectacular'.

Rick and the President’s feud ends up being put on hold, as we learn turkeys were the real enemies all along. Seeing one of the creatures turn into a human is not something I saw coming in this episode, but Rick and Morty’s writers always work best when they're pulling off something unexpected. 

The writers clearly have a good time as they use this new development to poke a bit of fun at the American political process. They also find a genuinely solid way to mend fences between Rick and the President, for however long that lasts. It’s towards the end that this episode starts to feel like an actual Thanksgiving episode, which is a weird thing to say considering we’re in the middle of July. The show puts forth its own interpretation of the holiday that's honestly just as bad as the reality.

Well, I guess Thanksgiving came early in the sense that this is another enjoyable episode of Rick and Morty. The other characters get left in the background a bit this time, even Morty. There’s not much for the Sanchez family to do here, other than help move the plot along, and make some obvious commentary on the nature of Rick and the President's relationship. 

That just shows how strong the Rick character remains after all this time – he can carry the story of an entire episode on his shoulders, and still show Rick and Morty at its best.

Rick and Morty airs every Sunday on Adult Swim in the US, and every Monday on Channel 4 in the UK. Australian viewers can stream it on Netflix each Monday.