Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim officially won April Fool’s this weekend when it suddenly, without any advanced warning, sprung the long…long awaited Season 3 premiere episode of the Dan Harmon series Rick and Morty on an unsuspecting populous.
Ever since Season 2 ended about 18 months ago, audiences have been clamoring for the show’s return. The closest we got to more Rick and Morty was this hilarious, totally real trial transcript read in the voices of Rick and Morty (Be warned: Very NSFW). So Adult Swim decided to release their own Mr. Meeseeks to helpfully solve our problem by airing the new episode on a loop for hours on April 1st.
MINOR SPOILERS BELOW
The episode picks up seemingly with last season’s cliffhanger already resolved as Rick explains how he escaped his capture by the Federation after turning himself in to protect his family.
Of course this is Rick and Morty, so it turns out Rick’s escape is merely an illusion created by the Federation in an attempt to steal Rick’s secrets. Of course Rick is like a Plumbus in that everyone knows what he does, so there’s no reason to explain it. So extracting his secrets proves a far harder challenge than his captors hoped.
Meanwhile, on Federation-occupied Earth, Beth believes her father has once again abandoned her while Jerry has found his true calling working for the Federation. He has no idea what his job even is, but he’s apparently excelling at it.
But surprisingly, after even Morty has given up on Rick, it’s Summer who still believes in him and is determined to get him back. Morty reminds her of the show’s single darkest and effed up moment. Rick is the man who once made such a complete mess of things by accidentally turning much of the population on his and Morty’s original Earth into Cronenbergian monsters and then nonchalantly abandoned that world to settle on a close enough alternate universe.
This isn’t the only previous story line revisited in the episode; we once again encounter The Council of Ricks, and another familiar face is resurrected in the post-end-credits stinger. But, in the final scene, just prior to the end credits, we get a glimpse of a Rick we may have never seen before, one that harkens back to a remark made earlier in the episode that not only is Rick the smartest man, but he’s also the Rickest of all Ricks. And, if it’s any indication of what Season 3 will bring, along with the regular Rick and Morty going on wacky adventures with Summer sometimes along for the ride, we might see a major change in the show’s family dynamic. Oh, and also the promise of possibly 9 more seasons of Rick chasing his personal Holy Grail, McDonald’s limited time only Szechuan Chicken McNugget dipping sauce they introduced as part of a tie-in with Disney’s Mulan and then tragically and unceremoniously discontinued.
Unfortunately, if this promo for Rick and Morty is accurate, we probably have to wait until this summer to see the rest of Season 3 because there are no more prank-based holidays on the calendar between now and then to drop another early episode on us.
If there’s such a thing as a bad Rick and Morty episode, I can’t recall having seen it. This was a very fun and hilarious premiere. Ever since last season’s cliffhanger, I wondered whether the show would even address the cliffhanger at all when it returned or just move on. Fortunately, the writers found a way to respect the surprisingly moving drama of the finale while also handing the audience a lovely cup of fart.