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TV Review: Rick and Morty (Season 3, Episode 3)

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"I'm Pickle Riiiiiiiick!" 

Ever since seeing Pickle Rick at the start of the Season 3 trailer, I've been eagerly awaiting context for the ridiculousness of it. To my surprise, this filler-appearing episode - in all it's surrealness - got deep.

As Morty (Justin Roiland), Beth (Sarah Chalke) and Summer (Spencer Grammer) are about to leave for family therapy, Morty finds Rick (Justin Roiland) on his workbench in pickle form. Assuming that he's done this to avoid going to therapy, they leave him there - taking the syringe of "anti-pickle serum" hanging above him (connected to a conveniently calculated timer) with them.

After all, Rick says he got pickled to challenge himself - and what's more of a challenge than navigating the family cat, being pushed on to a sweltering driveway, washed into the sewer system and left to fight rats and cockroaches to use their limbic systems as a form of escape? 

Ever the "smartest man in the universe," Rick - still a pickle - kills every rat he can see and somehow rockets himself into a sewer pipe, landing in a toilet. While trying to find a way out of the building, he parkours himself to an elevator's buttons before being approached and shot at by Russian-speaking agents.

Of course, Rick starts to lay traps to kill all the agents, until the Agency Director (Peter Serafinowicz) releases a imprisoned criminal called Jaguar (Danny Trejo), to kill him. Their fight was a highlight of the episode, especially where they both took a break to fix themselves up - Rick pulls apart a burger to staple a pickle to himself, which took the already ridiculous scene even further.

They begin to discuss their motives (and their daughters), and team up against the Agency Director to escape via a helicopter on the roof - with Jaguar flying, Pickle Rick nonchalantly drops a cigarette to the roof where the Director is to create an explosion that kills him.

Rick finally ends up at counselling - he needs the serum, but also knows he should be there. Not only has he selfishly avoided therapy in the first place, but turning up halfway through as a pickle diverts Doctor Wong's (Susan Sarandon's) attention to him. Throughout the episode we've seen Beth, Summer and Morty talking with Wong, there at first to address Summer sniffing enamel and Morty wetting himself at his desk.

Rick admits that he turned himself into a pickle because he doesn't believe in therapy - he's a scientist, so he just changes the world to fit him rather than the other way around. Although Wong's analysis of Rick seems a little too on the nose, it was nice that the B-plot was much slower paced than the main, and we did get a moment of Rick thinking about others for once as he apologised for his actions - pickle-related and other.

However, one can't help but feel bad for Morty and Summer this episode, as their problems are pushed to one side so therapy can be all about Rick. Not only that, but they both want to return to therapy, while Rick and Beth seem to be done with it, choosing to go out for a drink instead of paying attention to the needs of the children.

While it is rare (and kind of nice) to see Beth and Rick spending time together, it goes to prove even further how much Beth is willing to ignore Rick's behaviour as long as he's in her life. The last episode focused on how Morty and Summer were dealing with the divorce, but maybe we should be thinking about how Beth is taking it. Clearly, she's reacting worse than anyone else. Rick did say this would be the darkest season after all.

Although not as good as episode one, 'Pickle Rick' was an excellent example of the levels of gore and dysfunction within the family that the series can achieve. One of the most violent episodes of the show, whilst still grounding it's surreal plot with serious depth, we're keen to see how the divorce storyline will continue throughout the season.

Rick and Morty is available to stream on Netflix, with new episodes appearing weekly.

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