A deeper look into Beth’s world.
It’s great that we finally get a Beth centric episode. She’s easily the most damaged and fragile character among the psychologically complex bunch, and I’ve always wanted a chance to understand her better. Meanwhile, it’s also great we got more attention on Jerry, as he’s easily the best character of the show right now. The divorce really strengthens these characters, and “The ABC’s of Beth” is a chance for them to shine.
So it turns out there’s a lot of Rick inside Beth- they’re both alcoholic, egotistical, ambitious, and oh so smart. With the biggest difference being Beth has a pathological need to impress Rick, and she maybe allows herself to be tied down by family for a little bit. That might not be the case anymore by the end of the episode, but we will get back to that later. Most importantly, the episode allows us to see just how screwed up Beth really is, and how dysfunctional her relationship with her father is. I mean, Rick built a virtual world as a play pen just so Beth wouldn’t hurt the other neighborhood kids, and she also left her best friend Tommy trapped in said virtual world for decades, because she’s jealous of him. She’s also okay with the idea for Tommy’s father to take the blame.
Most importantly, Rick knows how psychotic his daughter, and in his own bizarre loving way, he allows things to happen. Just look at all the deadly gadgets he invented for her over the years. In many ways Rick understands Beth a lot, and he sees how much of himself is in Beth. They’re both too smart and restless for their own good, and Rick’s closing monologue really sums up their relationship. They’re not necessary bad people, but they’re just weighted down by the emptiness of the world around them. Of course, this doesn’t really excuse their behaviors, but it does allows us a better understanding on why they’re such sociopath.
And yes, I really love the ambiguous way the episode ended. We will probably never know if Beth takes up on Rick’s offer, and even if she did, we will probably never know when the clone Beth and real Beth switch back either. And maybe she never will. This is an interesting decision and add another layer of weirdness to the family where two members are already replaced by doppelgangers from another dimension. Regardless, it’s good to know that Beth at least made a decision.
The Jerry subplot here is just fun, and it’s something we need to balance out the bleakness over at Beth’s end. It’s an fun little journey to see Jerry being an idiot, and it’s even better to see how well-rounded Morty and Summer are when both of their parents are horrible people. Overall, “The ABC’s of Beth” is a great episode that digs deeper into Beth’s troubled history with her father. It allows us to understand why she’s the way she is, and the ambiguous ending is the best. It’s also great we get to see Jerry being an idiot again, as we are all geared up for the season finale.