“Oh, it gets darker Morty; welcome to the darkest year of our adventures.” The highly anticipated third season of Adult Swim’s “Rick and Morty,” which ended on Sunday Oct. 1. lives up to the promise made by the titular Rick in the first episode of season three, “The Rickshank Redemption.”
The season premiere aired on April Fools’ Day, months before the rest of the season, as a prank by show creators Justin Roiland and Dan Harmon, who intended to heighten the excitement for the rest of season three. Needless to say, their attempts succeeded. “The Rickshank Redemption” left viewers with a plethora of plot lines to be explored further.
While certainly enjoyable, episode two, “Rickmancing the Stone,” is in no way remarkable. Morty and Summer attempt to deal with their parents’ divorce by leading second lives in a post-apocalyptic world similar to that from Mad Max: Fury Road. Sandwiched between two episodes with much darker overtones, “Rickmancing the Stone” was a fun way to re-immerse the audience in the world of the characters Rick and Morty.
In the aptly titled third episode, “Pickle Rick,” Rick turns into a pickle in order to escape a trip to family therapy, and is eventually left alone, helpless on the garage workbench without an Anti-Pickle serum. The ridiculous comedy of errors that follows is a darkly hilarious episode like no other.
The fourth episode of this season, “Vindicators 3: Return of Worldender,” takes a look at the relationship between the two protagonists as they join forces with Morty’s personal heroes, the Vindicators—a clever parody of team-up superhero films similar to The Avengers. The audience sees Morty step outside of his role as the “dumb sidekick” when he has to deal with a trap set up for the Vindicators by a jealous and drunk Rick. Not only is this episode fantastically funny, it’s also an important episode for character development for both Rick and Morty.
Another highlight is episode six, “Rest and Ricklaxation.” This episode takes a look at the more corrupt aspects of the show’s characters. After a particularly stressful adventure, Rick and Morty take a trip to an alien day spa where they have all of their toxic traits removed; traits which then take on a dangerously literal “life of their own.” In the end, the characters and the audience realize that Rick and Morty are not the same without a balance of both positive and negative traits.
Episode seven, “The Ricklantis Mixup,” has been applauded by critics and fans alike as the best episode of the season, and maybe even the best “Rick and Morty” episode thus far. Not only that, but it has also maintained a steady 9.9 rating on the Internet Movie Database, an incredible feat for any singular episode of a television show.
As Rick and Morty embark on a nice, self-contained adventure to Atlantis, the viewer is brought back to the Citadel of Ricks, last seen in the first episode of season three when it was destroyed by Rick. The episode brilliantly revives the “Evil Morty” plot line from season one episode 10 “Close Rick-counters of the Rick and Kind,” and the fate of the Citadel hangs in the balance as Evil Morty rises to power.
The season finale, “The Rickchurian Mortydate” was surprisingly lighthearted and fun compared to the rest of season three. Rick and Morty have become somewhat of a personal team of ghostbusters for the president and are sick of being treated as such. Much like the finale of season one, no one is dead, no one is in the custody of the Galactic Federation and the Smith family isn’t falling apart, leaving countless directions for the show to take in the future and ending the season on a strangely hopeful note.
Who’s to say whether or not this will set the tone for season four; as Rick once said, “Don’t jump a gift shark in the mouth.”u