Dark humour. Unapologetic commentary on the obdurate nature of the society’s elite. Crazy adventures. Not so original settings. All these are inherent parts of a Rick and Morty episode. On those grounds season 3 does not disappoint.
Episode 1 (The Rickshank Rickdemption) shows us quite a bit about Rick’s past, a visit to the Citadel of Rick and a series of deceptions where Rick outwits different versions of himself. Several references to other movies and TV shows including Stranger Things and Hunger Games are made. It ended with Jerry and Beth splitting much to the delight of the viewers and Rick himself. And then there was a long gap before we got the next episode, The Rickmancing Stone. Jerry is totally disregarded and Summer starts actively and voluntarily taking part in the adventures that follow.
It is quite clear that Rick and Morty episodes are not totally original works as far as the stories go. It takes inspiration from various popular existing works and presents them in the most whacky way. And it does so with great expertise.Hence when we are presented with a world that is very reminiscent of the wastelands of Mad Max: Fury Road we barely notice the lack of originality for we know that the meat of the show lies somewhere totally different. The episode deals with relationships with subtle ridicule on a like mother like daughter note as Summer tries to get used to her new life with Hemorrhage, the leader of the warriors. As expected she becomes miserable after a while, whereby Rick decides that it is time to go back to their own planet. As he does so he takes back the stone that had been powering the entire land. There is also a subtle hint as to how scientific progress is making us weak and lazy.
The third episode is probably the one that all were waiting for: Pickle Rick. It is a unique episode in the sense that Rick’s doesn’t involve any of his grandkids. In an attempt to escape a family therapy session Rick transforms himself to a pickle. Beth gets a hint as to what the situation is and takes away the syringe containing the serum that would bring him back to normal. What follows is Rick’s display of his scientific knowledge in a way that looks less like science and more like superpower. After ending up in a gutter he kills the pests within and starts taking control over their bodies, using his knowledge on neurology, and builds himself up with those. Talk about going overboard…
With every passing episode the show seems to be trying to imply that Rick is OP to the point where he hardly needs to do anything. The same ‘flaw’ (if I may say so) was noticed in the last season of Sherlock (played by Benedict Cumberbatch). The hurdles that are put in his way are as if to entertain us and prolong the inevitable rather than test his capabilities. Perhaps that is exactly what the writers had in mind. Rick’s real competitor might truly be himself or rather a drunk version of himself. In the Vindicators 3 we see a drunk Rick putting the Vindicators along with his sober self and Morty through a series of fatal tests to prove how irrelevant he thought the Vindicators to be. However the joyride that he creates for Noob-Noob which Morty misinterprets as Rick’s suppressed feelings for himself and his later realization of the truth does make us laugh at Morty and pity him at the same time.
The Whirly Dirly Conspiracy is one crazy episode though not just because it is a Rick and Jerry episode. Yes. Who even thought that the ever-repentant weakling would get to embark on an adventure with Rick! But it so happened that his concerned son Morty had asked Rick to take Jerry out so that the latter would feel important which in turn would prevent him from, as Morty feared, killing himself. The result was a memorable joyride where Rick confesses having engineered Jerry and Beth’s breakup and Jerry teams up with aliens and plots to kill Rick by taking him outside the immortality zone, where anybody can engage in outrageous acts which under normal circumstances could prove to be fatal. Things get pretty dark when the immortality force-field gets turned off and an alien kid accidentally ends up killing his sister. Permanently. But it would not be a Rick and Morty show if one was allowed to reflect on this petty incident for more than just a moment, would it? Parallely back at home a Beth and Summer adventure is going on. However it is not given enough build-up time to be considered relevant to the main plot.
So all in all the season seems to be full of energy. The authors have maintained enough variation in the stories and worlds to be not called repetitive. Though Rick’s cockiness and sarcasm is preserved always, there are times when we feel that his philosophical utterances are becoming overwhelming to the point where the show starts to feel like a TED Talks episode. The psychedelic visuals, resulting from entering the wormholes, despite being visually pleasing, are in reality irrelevant. The spoofs are witty and funny in the most entertaining way. Rick and Morty continues the trend of being one of the wildest shows out there and stands among the very best ones.
Credits – Adult Swim/Cartoon Network