After a longer than expected wait, fans of Adult Swim’s Rick & Morty finally got to dive into Season 3 proper last night. With the popular cartoon becoming an internet sensation during its downtime, expectations are high for an impressive third season. With Rickmancing the Stone – did the show manage to deliver.
Rickmancing the Stone picks up some time after the events of the Season 3 opener (Shown way back in April). With the shadow of Beth and Jerry’s divorce hanging over the family – Rick, Summer and Morty find themselves using every opportunity to escape the troubled family dynamic. Landing in a Mad Max-like world, the inhabitants have reduced themselves to BDSM Deathstalkers – racing cars and promoting battles inside the Blooddome. Where the initial mission was to get some elusive materials – it quickly snowballs into a much grander affair, with Summer, in particular, finding her place in this world with remarkable ease.
The big story in this episode was the fallout from the divorce bombshell. It’s fair to say that it touched on every aspect of this weeks episode, slowly creeping up in relevance as the family struggles to overcome the new status quo. It’s an interesting direction for a show that, in the past, has remained hands off when it comes to serialisation. It’s clear that Season 3 is going to be a different kind of beast than anything which came before – it just remains to be seen how effective this ends up being.
Right now it works. Because really, this episode was watching all the family members come to terms with this grief in their own way. Morty’s juiced up arm allowing him to vent inner frustrations at the way Jerry has been acting, while Summer sought all out escape in the arms of her bucket-headed lover. Even Rick was affected by the ongoing situation; attempting to replace Morty and Summer when it became obvious they were seeking all out escapism. It led to one of the episode’s funniest moments, as Beth attempted to reach her own emotional end-game in the solace of robot clones (Utterly oblivious to the situation). The fact that they grew enough by the end of the episode’s end to become self-aware was a nice mirror to everything else going on in the episode.
Rick’s actions this week showcase just how incredibly detailed the character is. On the one hand, telling Morty and Summer that they’re replaceable – while on the other quietly dealing with his own grief over the ongoing divorce. His attempts to stop a potential reunion between Beth and Jerry were equally nuanced – showcasing that his grand master plan (Which he spelt out at the close of the season opener) is still very much in effect. Morty and Summer still look to him for guidance, but he’s ill equipped to deal with that – and it leads to some of the episodes best moment.s I’m curious to see just how far the show will go in making Rick THE reason for keeping Beth and Jerry apart.
Summer’s character also really shone in this episode. Her arc was the most distinctive – as she went from outright rejection of Jerry through to lovingly embracing him in the end. It’s her increasingly large spiral that forces the gang to stay in the wasteland – setting in motion the wider events of the episode. It was nice to see the focus taken off Morty – who largely played comic relief throughout. Not that his fighting arm was less than hilarious – it provided him with a very direct outlet for his anger issues – but really it wasn’t the main drive of this episode.
Overall, it was a great episode and more than worthy of the wait. It’s good to see the show paying off earlier seeds it planted – giving fans the growth they expect. Hopefully, the more serialised approach to the show doesn’t rob it of the enjoyment that fans have come to enjoy. It’s nice to see development – but sometimes we just want classic Rick & Morty adventures. This week it worked – but we have tow ait and see if it can balance high expectations with deeper storytelling.