This Rick and Morty review contains spoilers.
Rick and Morty Season 3 Episode 2
Can you believe it? Here we are, a mere 63 (give or take) years later, having been blessed with the second episode of Rick and Morty season 3. And you know what? It wasn’t quite the tour de force that the premiere was, but this was still a very well-plotted, pretty funny episode.
The first thing I’m pleased about is that the show is sticking with the Jerry and Beth divorce. My two main complaints about season two were that it seemed far less interested in character/world development and that watching Jerry and Beth argue all the time was getting tiresome; their relationship was so incredibly dysfunctional that not reaching a breaking point was beginning to feel unrealistic. The divorce handily does away with both problems!
It’s cool how “Rickmancing the Stone” doesn’t just continue the divorce plot, but is built around how everyone is coping with it emotionally. It shows us how the series can adapt and build stories around this shake-up in character dynamics, rather than just relegating it to the background or quickly resolving it. In this case, it results in a solid and extremely dark plot where Summer and Morty get out their aggressions about the divorce by murdering lots of people in a Mad Max post-apocalyptic universe.
It’s especially dark for Morty, who’s equipped with a giant, bloodthirsty arm for the bulk of the episode. We’ve seen him kill quite a lot of beings over the last two seasons, but this feels more disturbing, probably because he’s doing it with his own (possessed) hand, brutally beating people to a pulp or tearing them apart. It works for the plot, anyway (though, holy shit, Rick assisting him in murdering that last guy is some deeply dark business).
I like how Rick feels quite like who he was back when we first met him in season one: a selfish prick motivated by little more than curiosity and a desire for scientific power. Here, he’s willing to pretend to assimilate into Mad Max world and throw Morty into a Blood Dome (parody version of Thunderdome) just to get his hands on an energy rock thing. He even makes good on his word (at least temporarily) to abandon Morty and Summer in Mad Max world because they’re making his life more of a hassle than they’re worth. Finally, and most cynically, he remakes the entire post-apocalyptic society by reintroducing modern comforts and domesticity, because he’s so certain (and correct) that it will result in the dissolution of Summer’s relationship with a Mad Max warrior guy named Hemorrhage, this being the simplest, fastest way of getting her to go back to their home dimension.
This arc for Summer, who at first finds love through nihilism and brutality, only to eventually become a beleaguered wife not unlike her mother, is one of the funniest aspects of the episode. On that subject, “Rickmancing the Stone” does great on character and plot, but is probably the weakest when it comes to humor. It got funnier as it went on, but the really great jokes were slow to start.
Not to say I didn’t laugh out loud numerous times! Again, all the suburbanizing of Mad Max world stuff was inspired (“We noticed that you’ve been putting scrap metal in the blue bin…”). My favorite joke in the episode was the bourgeoisie guy, so fancy he had both a genital washer and a taint washer. And everything with the Rick, Summer, and Morty stand-in robots was brilliant; Robot Morty’s existential rant at the end was incredible. Also good was Hemorrhage rattling off the history of the universe, replete with all manner of cheesy post-apocalyptic terminology (“boom-booms,” “the before-fore times”). (Hemorrhage, by the way, is played by Joel McHale and it’s always good to hear his voice.)
Still, overall, “Rickmancing the Stone” is strongest on its plot. It reinforces the continuity of this season and the storyline spirals off into unexpected but earned directions. Like the best episodes of Rick and Morty, when you look back at it, you realize that so much stuff took place in such a short amount of time. That it all holds up is no small feat.
Oh, and I feel bad for Jerry. Poor Jerry.