Fair warning: Contains spoilers.
With the popularity that “Rick and Morty” has gained over the last few years, creators Justin Roiland and Dan Harmon were aware that they had to bring a new approach to how everyone thought about the show, and that they did.
The famous (or rather infamous) dynamic duo, Rick and Morty, carried the show’s popularity through most of season one, but as season two aired, Roiland and Harmon knew they had to bring in more complex storylines and other characters to disrupt and question both Rick and Morty’s place in the show’s world. What season three does well is not only focus on the two main protagonists of the show, but deal with those around them such as family, alternative universe Rick and Morty’s, and even the President.
The season explored Rick’s character and his relationship to his family. The intelligent, often glorified space-traveling scientist finds little to no meaning for himself in the universe despite his extraordinary work. Does Rick’s family even need him? Are they better off living a normal life without Rick and his spontaneous, life-threatening adventures? These questions are in the spotlight throughout the 10-episode season.
After a superb first episode that brought fans to their feet, the main storyline of the season starts off in a “Mad Max” world that expands on character development. “Rickmancing the Stone” starts exploring Beth and Jerry’s divorce and how it affects the family. While Rick may be thrilled to get rid of his son-in-law, the rest of the Smith family does not take the divorce quite well. A dark undercurrent is brought to the series that reels in character drama and the gut-wrenching moments that make “Rick and Morty” a great show.
“Pickle Rick” was an entertaining, action packed episode that deals with Rick wanting to avoid a family counseling session with Beth, Morty and Summer by turning himself into a pickle.
The season continues on, making its way to each character and discovering their flaws and dependency on each other. Rick’s relationship with his family is disjointed and he is placed as an outsider to his family, having a hard time connecting to those close to him. A question comes up within this season: if nothing matters and anything is possible, then is happiness a fallacy bought into by complacency?
On the other side of the spectrum, we have Rick and Morty blowing off a top-secret mission for the President by playing “Minecraft” instead. It’s good to see that Rick’s relationship towards Morty is still strong throughout the season, even having Rick play a simple video game with his grandson.
We witness Rick taking down an entire space government. He can fight the President, alternate universe Ricks, the world, and all while trying to intervene with his daughters relationship.
The season comes full circle. Although many fans were disappointed to not see classic characters return in the season finale, this exploration between Rick and Morty’s relationship and their family is what was needed to make character progression. With Rick’s placement by the end of the season amidst his family, it will be exciting to see where Roiland and Harmon will take the show’s direction in season four when it releases a few years from now.