WARNING: The following contains SPOILERS for Rick and Morty, season 4, episode 5, “Rattlestar Ricklactica.”

The mid-season finale of Rick and Morty, “Rattlestar Ricklactica” was filled with a large amount of snake puns. This was to be expected, given the serpentine nature of the episode. In the episode, Morty discovers a planet inhabited by alien snakes that had evolved into a human-like society. Like all good Rick and Morty episodes, the basic (if zany) premise quickly developed into one crisis after another, and hilarity ensued.

The plot of “Rattlestar Ricklactica” centered upon how Morty’s attempt at a good deed spiraled out of control, after he accidentally made first contact (i.e. was bitten) by the first astronaut from a society of evolved snakes. Feeling guilty over having killed this world’s first astronaut (despite Rick’s assurances that they were a bunch of fascist jerks), Morty sent a replacement snake back to the snake planet. The end result was the snakes uniting under one banner and a lot of time travel jokes as their own robots rebelled against them.

It is a credit to Rick and Morty’s writers that they were able to wring so many jokes out of an incredibly silly idea. Yet, such is the magic of Rick and Morty — the series frequently takes ideas that sound stupid on paper and tackles them in incredibly intelligent ways. Not every snake-based pun in Rick and Morty, season 4, episode 5, was a gut-buster, but many of them were clever — and so nuanced, some viewers may have missed them.

Rattlestar Ricklactica

The title of the episode itself, “Rattlestar Ricklactica,” was a snake pun (it’s a play on rattlesnake). It was also a reference to the classic science-fiction series Battlestar Galactica. Amusingly nothing in the episode was a direct reference to the show, beyond the show being based around a war between humans and robots similar to what broke out on the snake planet.

Snake Jazz

Perhaps the only accomplishment of the snake planet that survived the episode, the usually nonchalant Rick fell in love with the jazz music produced by the alien snakes, which he discovered while scanning their planet. Consisting of rhythmic hissing, the music was oddly soothing and Morty listened to it to calm his nerves at one point. Snake Jazz was also a hit with Summer and her friends, who danced to it at a slumber party.

The Snake Language

The snake aliens are absurd; they look like snakes dressed in human clothing. Their language, appropriately, consists entirely of hissing. Whenever the snake aliens spoke in the episode, their official language was presented without subtitles, so only a series of hisses are heard. This resulted in several minutes of the episode passing without any intelligible dialogue, but with some hilarious pantomimed action onscreen. The written language of the alien snakes is also indescribable, with their alphabet consisting of only the letter “s” and even their complex equations being rendered in a special “snake math” where all the symbols are vaguely snake-shaped squiggles.


The Rick and Morty episode contains an homage to one of the most culturally influential movies of the ’80s. When a war broke out between the snake people of the future and the robots they created, the snake robots sent assassins back in time to kill Morty before he could become the salvation of the snake race. These future robots were created by a company called SerpaCorp, which seems to be a take on both Cyberdyne (the company that created Skynet in the Terminator movies) and every generic evil corporation with Corp at the end of its name. Serpa, naturally, is taken from the word “serpent.”


The Terminator references kept rolling as the episode continued. Rick and Morty eventually had to travel back to the snake planet to destroy the robots before they could be created and sent back in time. According to Rick, the modern day company that eventually became SerpaCorp was SnakeNet; a clear play on SkyNet from The Terminator.

Ford’s Snake Theater

In another bizarre turn of events, “Rattlestar Ricklactica” includes a scene based on the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln — with snakes. After Rick invented Snake Time Travel and translated it into Snake Math, he left a book about it at Snake MIT in the year 1985. We were then treated to a montage showing how the first time-traveling snakes used their discovery. The first one traveled back in time to Ford’s Snake Theater to prevent the assassination of Snake Lincoln, in what was likely a tribute to The Twilight Zone episode “Back There.”

Snake Berlin

Sadly, the survival of Snake Lincoln did nothing to avert World War II on the snake planet. Indeed, it somehow caused Snake Hitler to win World War II. This led to a strange scene, even by Rick and Morty standards, where we saw hordes of time-traveling snakes attempting to save or kill Snake Hitler as he was taking a shower after giving a speech. The short scene also shows us more of the space snake language (written entirely with the letter “s”) and we see that the symbol for the Nazis on the snake planet was four stylized snake heads, bent at right angles from one another.

The snake jokes in the Rick and Morty episode “Rattlestar Ricklactica” reach diminishing returns by the episode’s end; however, the episode’s climax more than makes up for the repetitiveness of the snake puns. Jerry’s own redemption arc storyline, devoid of snake puns, offers some reprieve from the onslaught of serpentine wordplay. The mid-season finale offers viewers a glimpse at a possible new family dynamic for the Smiths going forward; viewers will have to wait until Rick and Morty season 4 returns to see how Jerry’s newfound dignity plays out.

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