Season 3 of Rick and Morty is off to an amazing (second?) start with Rickmancing the Stone. This episode brings to the table everything there is to love about Rick and Morty: a wacky science fiction shell that serves as metaphor for real world themes and some wonderful comedic moments.
Rickmancing the Stone picks up where The Rickshank Redemption left off as the family deals with Beth and Jerry’s divorce. The treatment of Jerry in this episode is amazingly harsh and takes up very little screen time. Jerry only exists on screen for long enough for his family to show they don’t care about him before disappearing into the backdrop. In fact, the screenwriters seem just as happy to remove Jerry from the screen as the family is to remove Jerry from their lives.
The meat of the episode focuses on Morty and Summer trying to deal with the divorce in a Mad Max-esque post apocalyptic world. Both story arcs are fun and fulfilling to watch. Summer’s nihilism and desire to shoot radioactive creatures leads her into a romantic relationship with a member of the Deathstalker tribe. Meanwhile, with the help of a new murderous arm, Morty takes out his frustrations on challengers in the world’s version of a Thunderdome.
Rickmancing the Stone is far more about Morty and Summer than it is about Rick. Rick initially accepts the kids’ new hobbies as distractions while he attempts to steal a giant glowing rock (because it is always giant glowing rocks with Rick). But once his job is done, he splits his time between convincing the kids to come home and tricking Beth with Summer and Morty robots. The robot scenes were some of the best in the episode, as the Mortybot slowly gains sentience.
This is a very fast-paced episode. There is not a lot of time spent on establishing each plot. Summer and Morty dive into their own plots with very little buildup. Given the speed, it is surprising how satisfying the episode is. Morty’s story-line in particular feels very rushed, yet his moments having a conversation with his hand were both heartwarming and enjoyable. Summer’s transition from an excited cannibal to an angry working spouse was also very enjoyable to see.
Thematically, Rickmancing the Stone focused on dealing with traumatic events through anger, denial, and acceptance. Summer and Morty deal with the trauma of the divorce by working out their aggression on others. Morty’s arm deals with trauma by exacting revenge on those that hurt it. The radioactive civilians stayed behind during the nuclear fallout that destroyed their civilization while the bandits established a new type of life that rejects God and focuses on personal power. In the end, Summer and Morty accept the reality of the divorce and realize that it’s time for their father to move on.
Rick and Morty fans will not be disappointed with the second episode of Season 3. Despite the hype of a long wait after Episode 1, Rickmancing the Stone delivers on all fronts. The dialogue was clever and the thematic ties between the science fiction world and the characters’ real life struggles were poignant. This was an episode worth waiting for.