“Rick and Morty” Season 3 Leaves Fans Wanting More (Spoilers)
by Israel Gomez
Adult Swim's wildly popular animated sci-fi sitcom “Rick and Morty” finally wrapped up its third season on Sunday Oct. 1.The third season, which aired a year later than expected, placed a heavy focus on character development. However, it is the show’s traditional witty comedy that ensured that season three lived up to most fans’ expectations.
The series revolves around the misadventures of 14 year-old Morty Smith, an awkward and seriously stressed out boy, and his grandpa, Rick Sanchez, a cynical, alcoholic scientist regarded by aliens as “the smartest mammal in the universe.” The show’s success can be largely accredited to the chemistry between the two characters. While Rick is a wildly anarchic character who travels between universes, Morty keeps the show grounded as he worries over crushes, his family, and high school. Their dynamic has worked for two previous seasons, but season three saw the development of Morty from helpless sidekick, to a bold character tired of Rick’s antics.
Prior to the official return of season three on July 30, Adult Swim unexpectedly aired the premiere episode of the season as an April Fool’s joke on April 1. The episode, aptly titled the “The Rickshank Redemption” as a reference to the 1994 film “The Shawshank Redemption,” follows Rick’s escape from a galactic federal prison. After single-handedly tearing down the galactic government and returning to Earth, Rick manages to drive a wedge between Morty’s parents. Beth, Rick’s daughter, ends up kicking her husband Jerry out of the house because he does not want Rick to live with them. This sets up a broken family story arc for the season. At the end of the episode, Rick reveals that this was his plan all along, and proclaims his victory to Morty as the “de facto patriarch of your family and your universe.”
As the season goes on, Beth and Jerry’s divorce has a significant impact on Morty. After gaining a mutated, giant arm in episode two, Morty goes on a killing spree as a champion gladiator in a Mad Max-esque version of Earth. His rampage proves to be therapeutic for him, and he makes many breakthroughs in regards to his parents separation during the battles. Morty’s sister, Summer, also experiences maturity growth in this episode, but her character unfortunately becomes a background character for the remainder of the season.
In the fourth episode, in a nod to the “Saw” movies, Morty has to solve deadly puzzles that blackout drunk Rick created to take down a group of egotistical heroes called The Vindicators. Morty makes it clear he’s had enough of Rick’s games and rants at him throughout the ordeal. In the sixth episode, we see a version of Morty unhinged by the distress Rick brings him. A detoxifying machine literally expunges Rick and Morty of their toxins, and Morty becomes a successful playboy stock broker as a result of leaving behind his anxiety. Although he’s eventually reverted back to normal, the action-packed episode emphasizes Morty’s growth as he protects his family from Rick.
However, the season finale did not completely wrap things up. The end of “The Rickshank Redemption” teased viewers with the return of Rick’s deceased best friend, Bird Person, as an evil cyborg (Darth Vader style). Unfortunately, he did not end up reappearing in the season. Episode seven, “The Ricklantis Mixup” took viewers to the Citadel, a recurring location in the series that serves as the capital of all versions of Rick and Morty in the universe. The episode saw the rise of Evil Morty, a version of Morty who seeks to gain control over all Ricks. The finale also doesn’t dismiss the possibility that the family Morty is working so hard to protect may all be clones.
Season three ultimately left fans with more questions than answers. Hopefully, the fanbase does not get too impatient because creators Dan Harmon and Justin Roiland have made it clear that they will be taking their time getting to season four. In the meantime, you can go start season three and finally understand why everyone went crazy over McDonald’s limited Szechuan Sauce event.