What it’s about: Rick and Morty gets increasingly meta about its place in contemporary pop culture.
- Rick and Morty is by now a latter-day phenomenon, eagerly awaited by hordes of fans attuned to its brand of offbeat, improvisational and almost misanthropic humor. It was always going to be hard to meet such lofty expectations, especially due to the unduly long wait for this third season.
- The third season of Rick and Morty still has the series’ offbeat brilliance, but it, I think is sometimes hampered by the tendency of some of its episodes to become pulpits for that grinding sense of nihilism that the creators want to contrive.
- The whole “everything is pointless and nothing has any meaning” theme is certainly an important one, but the show is at times overly fixated on developing that theme, and to indulge in its nihilistic impulses, at the expense of its essential oddball humor. Some episodes barely got a laugh out of me because they were so invested in developing the show as a dire commentary on the pointlessness of it all – case in point, the Vindicators episode.
- But at the same time, season 3 has some of the most scintillatingly brilliant episodes of the entire series. The Ricklantis Mixup, a tautly told story of the Citadel of Ricks, has a good claim to being the single best Rick and Morty episode to date, mixing storytelling, humor and good old-fashioned social commentary into one irresistible package. And who can forget Pickle Rick, an episode whose utter absurdity belies its thematic relevance to Rick’s character?
- I’m just annoyed at the lack of continuity development in the wider universe – so many of the plot threads and easter eggs that you would expect to be resolved in the season are left hanging. What happens to the citadel? Where is Phoenix Person? The season ends without any satisfactory development of the slow-burning plot threads, and at the end of the season we return to the pre-season status quo, with Jerry back together with the family. I’d thought the last episode would be a showdown between Rick and evil Morty, but I guess the creators weren’t ready to pull that particular card out.
Verdict: Rick and Morty continues to entertain with its blend of high-concept sf and oddball humor, but its creeping nihilism does take its toll sometimes.
I give this: 4 out of 5 Simple Ricks