Rick and Morty Season 3 Premiere Recap
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Rick and Morty Season 3 Premiere Recap

"The Rickshank Redemption" starts season 3 off with big changes and szechuan sauce

Rick and Morty Season 3 Premiere Recap
Adult Swim.com

Like a giant alien head challenging the earth to an American's Got Talent style reality TV show, the season three premiere of Rick and Morty came out of nowhere to the shock of everyone. The Rickshank Redemption continues directly from where we last left off, with Rick in prison and Earth under Federation control. With so much to cover, I was worried that the show might take more than one episode to tie things up, but luckily, Justin Roiland, Dan Harmon, and all the other fine folks at HQ were not only able to cover everything in one episode, they also managed to pack it with some of the more poignant and funniest moments in the series run thus far.

Nothing like breakfast at Shoney's before a psychological interrogation.

Rick and Morty wastes no time with its season premiere. From the very beginning, this episode comes out firing on all cylinders. So much happens in just twenty-two minutes that it's nothing short of ingenious the amount of jokes and new plot developments that the show-runners ae able to pack in, yet never feeling too overstuffed.

Starting with a fake out of Rick recapping an unseen escape from the Federation prison to the family at Shoney's, Rick quickly figures out he's trapped in his own head via Federation agents trying to get the secret to his interdimensional portal gun. Rick is surprisingly willing to give the agent what he wants, and they travel back into Rick's memories of 1998 -- of course, they have to stop at McDonald's for some chicken nuggets and Szechuan sauce. If you didn't know what Szechuan sauce was before -- a promotion for Disney's Mulan -- you'll be craving it by the end.

It really was an amazing sauce.

With Rick is coaxed into reliving the memory of his greatest scientific achievement, we get a rare glimpse into Rick's tortured past, at least, ostensibly. It turns out Rick didn't actually invent the portal gun: Rick did. That is, "the Infinite Rick," other Rick's from the Citadel AKA: The Citadel of Ricks and the Council of Ricks. Apparently, the Rick's confront other Ricks from other dimensions right before they invent the portal gun, inviting them to join the Citadel and the Council of Ricks. It sounds more confusing than it is.

The younger Rick -- who used to wear blue pants -- turns the invitation down, seemingly content to give up science and be a family man, but then another portal appears and a bomb is dropped through, killing his wife, whose name we finally learn as Diane, but not much else, and a young Beth.

It's never the wrong time to eat szechuan sauce.

Except maybe none of that happened. We find out the entire memory is fake, of course, and part of a plot by Rick to use a virus to take control of the Federation's mind control tech so he can zap his mind into any other living creature and escape. Sadly, he had to leave his improv comedy skills behind, which turns out to have been more valuable than you would think.

From there, the show does what it does best, following Rick on an ingenious journey, causing chaos and a lot of death, while using science and even turning both the Citadel and Federation against each other. It's fast, fluid, and never stops being hilarious. I also appreciated how Rick manages to, in just ten minutes, eliminate almost all of his enemies. It's a big shift for the series that works as both a good wrap-up and a jumping-on point for newcomers. It reminded me of the Venture Bros special, "All this and Gargantua Two," in how it ties up most loose ends while also creating new opportunities for future stories. Especially in the scene after the credits.

It's a lot worse than it looks.

It's hard to believe that with all this happening, there could possibly be any time for a b-story. But while Rick is causing the downfall of the galactic government, all of the family, except for Summer, seems pretty content with the Federation's occupation of Earth. You know things are bad when Jerry is happy, and with a new job -- although he still doesn't know what he does -- and pulling down a six-chewable income, Jerry is once again the lead patriarch of the family.

Pills and robot butlers. What's not to love?

Summer, however, still wants to try and rescue Rick, but Morty tries to convince her that saving Rick won't help them. Even though this is later revealed to just be Morty's way of protecting his sister, it seems that Morty is still broken hearted over Rick's abandonment of them on Tiny Planet. They find another portal gun by digging up the dead Rick in the backyard, leading to a nice callback when Morty takes summer to the "original" universe, with feral versions of Jerry, Beth, and Summer. Morty tries to convince Summer Rick isn't the hero she thinks he is by showing her some of the aftermath from their adventures. It's a dark reminder that the worlds and realities we see on Rick and Morty continue to live on even after the credits role, and the results aren't always pretty. It's great to see Rick and Morty more and more calling back and acknowledging its continuity, and makes me think we haven't seen the last of this Cronenberg universe, especially since, technically, it's Rick and Morty's original home, and reminder that the universe we've spent the most time in during the series isn't technically the original one.

You ever wonder what cronenberg monster tastes like? I imagine it's lean.

One thing this episode shows more than any other is just how much, well, not necessarily smarter, but how much wiser Morty has become over the course of the series. While he's still dim-witted and naive, Morty has obviously learned a lot from his adventures with Rick. But his feelings towards Rick still fluctuate between fatherly respect and outright hatred. This is highlighted when he actually tries to kill Rick by shooting him with a gun Rick gives him. It turns out to have a note on the side, telling Morty to shoot him during a standoff between Rick and the leader of the Citadel of Rick's, but it's clear Morty didn't read the note, so he really did try to kill him. This builds upon a revelation in last season's Purge episode, where Morty learns he has a lot of pent-up, murderous rage. Rick and Morty's adventures have made Morty wiser, but it also seems to be bringing out a much darker side of Morty. Rick doesn't seem too concerned about it, but one can't help but wonder if this won't come back to bite him later. Could Morty ever be pushed too far?

Turned his unibrow into two brows.

Rick ends up crushing the Federation by changing the value of their currency to be worth zero of itself, leading to one of the darkest moments of the show's run thus far, with the Federation president's suicide and disintegration of society. Just to Rick's liking.

Beth and Summer idolize Rick as a hero, and it would seem Morty's attempts to convince Summer that Rick doesn't care about anyone but himself was misinformed. It would, except at the end of the episode, after Rick has not only toppled both the Citadel and the Federation, and has managed to get Beth to finally divorce Jerry after being forced to choose between them, and Rick reveals to Morty that everything that has happened was a part of Rick's plan to become the de-facto patriarch of Morty's family.

What does he need a mace for? Wait... nevermind.

Rick's rant at the end to Morty is similar to the same rant he gave at the end of the first episode of the series, but somehow, it's even darker. Rick straight up says that this will be the darkest season yet. He claims that all he really wants is to rule over Morty's family, do whatever he wants, and of course, get more of that sweet, sweet Szechuan sauce. More than any other, the show wants you to believe that Rick really doesn't care about anyone or anything.

But, doesn't he? It's difficult to believe that those moments of seemingly raw emotion that we saw of Rick at the end of season two weren't at least a little bit genuine. When Rick was eavesdropping on the family on Tiny Planet, why would he act so regretful and ashamed, especially since there was nobody around for him to have to put on a show for. This leads me to believe that, like much of what Rick says or does, the truth lies somewhere in between.

This picture sums up my reaction to the surprise season premiere.

One of the most interesting things to note is when Rick shows the Federation agent the "fake" memory of his wife and daughter being killed after he refuses to join the Citadel, Rick claims that he fabricated the memory as a trap for the agent. But was it completely fabricated? I think there may be more truth to what we saw than Rick may admit.

Young Rick makes and important decision... to no longer wear blue pants.

Which leads me to one of the most interesting takeaways from this episode. Let's say, hypothetically, that what we saw was indeed what happened to Rick, and that both Beth and her mother had been murdered, and that's what led him down the path to becoming who he was. Then that means that the Rick that we have followed throughout the series up to now must be from a universe where Morty was never born. Could not having a Morty in his life have made him the "Special kind of Rick," he says is? Without knowing the whole truth it's impossible to say. But it does make one wonder what other secrets Rick might be hiding and what kind of universe he may be from.

Rick and Morty's Hardee's commercial. Even when they're selling out they're still awesome.

As a wrap-up of everything that came before and as a season premiere, The Rickshank Redemption more than lived up to the eighteen months worth of hype. It managed to close almost every plot thread while creating new, exciting possibilities for the future. With so much to talk about, I almost forgot to mention the animation. Rick and Morty remains to be one the most brilliantly animated shows on television with so many great details like the note on the side of the gun and the myriad of visual gags, especially at the Citadel (fans of Gravity Falls look especially close during the Citadel scenes.)

Season three proper won't start until summer, and the wait is going to be unbearable, but if The Rickshaw Redemption is any indication, it's going to be the best (and darkest) season yet.

Pheonix Person is much better than Cyber-Bird. Stop trying to make Cyber-Bird happen.
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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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