Alright, I decided to write this review because reading other reviews on the web I didn't feel like they did the episode totally justice. There's a lot of depth to this episode and also a powerful message, and I feel it deserves at least some attempt at an analysis.
The more I'm watching Rick and Morty the more I'm getting convinced it's just Star Trek buried under layers of disturbing content and gore. And that is definitely a good thing. Rick and Morty as a series has its own style and its own jokes, but at its core it's a show about depicting reality as it is and showing us everything happens for a reason. Even when it comes to the things that are totally bonkers and reprehensible (something you'll see a lot of watching Rick and Morty), it's probably still a good thing that it's there, because without it the world wouldn't be real and simply cease to function all together.
"Rest and Ricklaxation" serves as a thesis statement of this case, in addition to the earlier "Rixty Minutes" which also fought to make this point clear. In "Rest and Ricklaxation", we see a dream unfold that seems appealing at first sight: what if we were able to get rid of the parts ourselves we didn't want? What if we could get to live as our idealized versions? Though it may seem great at first sight, it may not be all that fantastic as it appears to be.
In the current episode, after a traumatic event, Rick and Morty both split in two different personas: the toxic and "healthy" versions of themselves. The toxic version contains every "bad" character trait Rick and Morty want to get rid of, the healthy version contains what they see as their "good traits". For Rick this means that he splits off his alcoholism, vulgarity, narcissism and insanely inflated ego as toxic, whereas Morty splits off his low self-worth, anxiety, depressive feelings and self-detestation. What remains are the idealized versions Rick and Morty have of themselves: Rick is a meek but cold being, whereas Morty turns into a shallow sleazy person.
A case can be made that this episode shows us that our idealized version of ourselves are never able to obtain what we want them to. This happens to both Healthy Rick and Healthy Morty. Healthy Morty ultimately never gets the girl he so very desperately wanted and Healthy Rick is so meek and devoid of ego that he is in no position anymore to protect himself from threats, let alone protect the world around him from them. Thus the dream is better than reality and getting everything you want isn't nearly as good as it seems. But what I think is the most interesting is that this episode makes the case that your idealized version of yourself is not ultimately something you WANT to be living as. For both Rick and Morty, a dynamic starts to exist that moves their Healthy and Toxic version back to their counterparts. Thus, the toxic naturally moves towards the healthy and vice versa. We see this most obviously with Rick: Toxic Rick moves towards Healthy Rick because of his need to keep Morty safe; Healthy Rick moves towards Toxic Rick because his sense of responsibility tells Toxic Rick that he needs Healthy Rick to survive. But, even though it is delayed the same thing ultimately also happens to Morty. After getting a phone call from Jessica, Morty purposely does not hang up the phone, leaving him to be traced by Rick and reunited with his Toxic self. Thus, Healthy Idealized Morty moved back to Toxic Morty. Why? Because Healthy Rick simply needs, and also wants Toxic Morty to be able to feel good: without the "bad", insecure, anxious side of him he is not able to feel the good feeling of love Healthy Morty so desperately craves.
With this, I think the episode teaches an important lesson that has been made in other episodes (most notable ST:TNG "Tapestry"). Though it sometimes seems like things could be better differently, such as a better life to be lived by an idealized version of ourselves, this simply does not exist. The good and bad both function in tandem and always move towards each other, being part of each other. I think that is the point of this episode, and it is deliver beautifully is all I can say.
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