Rick and Morty Season 3 Review - * Spoilers *
What up my glipglops? BigEyes geeking IN!
The long awaited third season of Rick and Morty has come to a close, leaving our hearts still wanting after yet another mere 10 episode long season. Why so short? For the same reason the newest season took so long to be released: co-creator Dan Harmon and the other writers of the show are perfectionists, taking longer than most do to write their scripts. It was said in an interview that they had lost their minds working on season 3 in particular, trying to meet the standard the two previous seasons had set the bar to.
Season 3 kicked off strong with "Rickshank Redemption", which premiered on April Fools Day 2017 with zero notice, reminding us that Harmon and other co-creator Justin Roiland are masters of keeping their fans guessing with a "backward" April Fools prank. This may be a salute to the massive prank that the SOUTH PARK writers pulled on us during the 90s with promise of revealing the true identity of Cartman's father on April 1st. Instead, they got us good and aired a special of the farting Canadian duo: Terrance and Phillip. Young me was too upset to enjoy the episode, but I digress.
The first episode wowed fans and gave them exactly what they wanted, and more, and then took it away. Rick was finally given this tragic backstory that would allow fans to connect and understand why this character is the way he is, but Harmon is too sadistic of a troll to let that happen. Turns out the whole story was made up, and then Rick proceeds into an insane rant about Szechuan sauce. After watching the rest of the season, it seems that the writers have decided to show who the characters are through their actions instead of by what has happened to them, which is a much more organic way of developing them.
Ah, the Szechuan sauce, what a cultural phenomenon. Rick and Morty has for sure become a force to reckon with, plum flavored chicken nugget dipping sauce that was once used to promote a Disney movie 19 years ago can be brought back if a popular cartoon character rants and raves about it. All of this came out of one episode! It is likely the power of that came due to the hype for the show before it aired, and the long period of time waiting for the second episode.
When Beth announces that she and Jerry are going to get a divorce at the end of the first episode, it actually sets up the overarching story of the whole season. Because of this, we get to see how each of the main characters in the family deals with the divorce. For the first time we are getting true character development with each of the Smith family members throughout. Rick, who normally goes to extremes to run away from his problems, goes as far as to turn himself into a brined vegetable to get out of family therapy. Summer starts throwing herself at men and huffing paint. Jerry continues being pathetic and dates women out of his league trying to make Beth jealous.
Not forgetting Morty, he has had the most development out of any of the other characters--he has really come into his own this season. Originally, the writers introduced him as mentally challenged in the first season, but he has certainly gained a lot of emotional intelligence over time. All of his adventures with Rick has taken their toll on him, and he is beginning to act as the adult most of the time.
The show goes on exploring into plenty of other concepts in emotional health that I honestly wouldn't have expected of Rick and Morty based on the previous two seasons, but I like the way it is going. As mentioned previously, the writers took time needed to make this season what they considered good, and it shows. How each of the characters are dealing with the divorce is realistic and relatable, giving the viewers more than just laughs to take away from the show.
Beyond the emotional development, this season we also get some dark social commentary on modern society in many different forms. We see demonstrated what is sacrificed to live in domesticated suburbia, the dangers of extreme personal definitions of mental health, and how classism can be used to gain power; all things that people deal with everyday, but don’t necessarily acknowledge or like to think about. Yet here those things have been put in front of us, perhaps there to lighten the mood on these depressing subjects.
What Rick and Morty has become is a lot more than your average American adult cartoon show. There are realistic lessons to be learned (that are not neatly tied up at the end of every episode), actual character growth, and meaningful reflections of our times given to us to think critically about. Rick and Morty season 3 raises the standard for what you could expect of a cartoon for a mainstream audience, and is definitely worth checking out.
As for the next season. I expect, and am looking forward, to seeing Evil Morty as a more present villain in the next season.
Wubba lubba dub dub!