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Ricky and Morty – Rickmancing the Stone Review

"Rick and Morty: Beyond Thunderdome"

After toying fans with the April Fool’s “prank” episode, Rick and Morty is back properly for its third season and picks up where “The Rickshank Rickdemption” left off.

Rick, Morty, and Summer go on another adventure, this time to a post-apocalyptic Mad Max-like the world, so that Rick gather a powerful green rock known as Isotope 322. However, Summer adapts too quickly to this kill-or-be-killed world and Morty believes she’s acting like this because of their parents’ divorce.

“The Rickshank Rickdemption” was a hell of a start for the third season and there is no let-up with “Rickmancing the Stone.” This episode is very much a parody episode like “Anatomy Park” and “Raising Gazorpazorp,” embracing and subverting all things Mad Max (or at least all things Mad Max: The Road WarriorMad Max: Beyond Thunderdome, and Mad Max: Fury Road). There are the car chases, the Thunderdome death battles, and the crazy costumes, whilst the episode brilliantly subverts expectations.

The main theme of the episode is Summer and Morty struggling with the break-up of their family, with Summer becoming more bitchy and violent in the Mad Max world. As Rick says, she was bad-ass when she stood up against one of the hordes, but notices that his granddaughter takes a darker turn when fighting them. Whatever reality it is or version of Summer we see, the teenager is strangely able to adapt to post-apocalyptic worlds. One of the most fun twists was when the leader of the gang, Hemorrhage (Joel McHale) reveals his true face to Summer, showing he is not a disfigured man like Lord Humungus, with dialogue that felt like it was ad-libbed. Although it was unintentional, the bucket mask worn by Hemorrhage reminded me of the satirical British politician Lord Buckethead.

The episode also subverted the show’s own nihilistic philosophies. The show is famous for giving us quotes like “Existence is pain” and “Nobody exists on purpose, nobody belongs anywhere, everybody’s going to die.” In the episode, Rick creates a trio of robot doppelgängers to fool Beth and one of them states its desire to live, not merely exist. It was a moment that encapsulates Rick and Morty in a nutshell: dark, cruel, and hilarious.

When Rick introduces civilization and electricity to the gang, their focus on killing and pillaging is toned down, much to Summer’s annoyance. She’s committed to the nihilistic lifestyle.

Morty provided the biggest laughs in the episode after Rick gives his grandson what is essentially a steroid injection, but which results in Morty’s muscular arm having a mind of its own. Despite the arm only being able to communicate in hand gestures it forms a relationship with Morty, and it was hilarious seeing Morty saying something different to what the arm wants to do and Morty trying to interpret what the arm means.

Rick takes a back seat in the episode, acting more as the self-serving bastard that we all got to know and love. He relishes the prospect of watching some Thunderdome blood sports and has no problem eating human flesh. However, Rick was willing to abandon Morty and Summer, which seems out of character now that there has been two seasons of character development showing his love for grandkids, even if he doesn’t admit it. But we wouldn’t have gotten the robots if Rick stayed with his grandkids.

After the heights of “The Wedding Squachers” and “The Rickshank Rickdemption” “Rickmancing the Stone” is a solid standalone adventure but not the most memorable. It blends the sci-fi adventure and the personal troubles of the Smith kids. Mad Max fans will love it but it’s a shame audiences won’t get to see more of Morty’s muscular left arm.

Rating
8.5
Pros
  • Great for Mad Max fans
  • The subversions of Mad Max and Rick and Morty's nihilism
  • The relationship between Morty and his left arm
Cons
  • Rick's willingness to abandon Morty and Summer
  • Not as strong as other Rick and Morty episodes - just goes to show the quality of the show

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