The much-anticipated season 3 premier of Rick and Morty delivered yet another quirky and action-packed episode on July 30th. The official premier featured the second episode of the season, as the first episode was aired in a surprise premier on April 1st as a joke from the Adult Swim network. Beth and Jerry’s divorce is front and center from the beginning of the episode and leads into the violence that ensues.
Summer and Morty have become dependent on Rick for a distraction from their broken family. Of course, Rick is ready and willing to exploit this dependence; in the last episode, Rick revealed that he had been planning to drive his daughter to divorce Jerry so that he could be the alpha male in the household and take his grandchildren on adventures at will. The world the trio steps into this time ends up being a post-apocalyptic, Mad Max-esque adventure.
The inhabitants of the planet are called Deathstalkers, who run around destroying everything in sight as they search for gasoline. Surprisingly, Summer takes control of one group of Deathstalkers after they chase down her, Morty, and Rick. Though Rick initially tries to convince Morty to leave Summer behind because Morty has “infinite sisters” throughout the cosmos, he ultimately decides to stay in order to pursue a glowing green rock called Isotope-322.
While Summer explores the wasteland of what used to be Seattle, Rick must come up with a plan to steal the Isotope-322. Queue the incredibly dangerous task he can give his grandson—a gladiator-esque battle in a Thunderdome, known to the Deathstalkers as the Blooddome. Rick injects Morty with a serum containing another arm’s DNA which causes his muscles to grow outrageously large. The arm kills several scavengers in the arena, and the bloodshed helps Morty work through the pain he is feeling from his parents divorce. Healthy coping mechanisms in this family, right?
Both Summer and Morty refuse to leave the planet that is helping them escape the pain that awaits them at home. Rick, being Rick, readily grants them this wish and instead builds robots of his grandchildren at home so his daughter does not know her children are gone. Ultimately, the robots don’t work out, and Summer and Morty decide to go home. Morty’s arm returns to normal, Summer finds love, and Rick restores energy to the Deathstalker world with the Isotope-322. But when the world begins to mimic their home, they quickly realize that there is not point to living in a “home” that isn’t home as they know it. The trio returns home, they replace their robots, and a brief emotional moment is shared between Beth and Morty. Summer takes it upon herself to visit Jerry, who is stereotypically living in a roach motel room, to offer him life advice. Hopefully we will see more development between those two in the next episode!
Overall, the episode carried a tone of conflicting emotions brought out by Beth and Jerry’s divorce. The real kicker of this episode is the brief glimpses into Rick’s sentimental side. He has constantly reminded everyone that they are replaceable, but in this episode he briefly acknowledges that his daughter’s divorce is affecting him as well. He may not like to admit it, but he is concerned about his grandchildren and the life his family has on world C-132. Because his family is struggling, he is struggling too, but the episode depicts him coping without going on a complete bender as he usually would. Perhaps this season being the darkest one yet involves a deeper look into Rick’s character and a chance for him to experience some development outside of being the crazy drunk grandpa.
No matter what unfolds this season, we’re glad to have Rick and Morty back! The series continues on Sundays at 11:30 EST on Adult Swim.