Rick promised, threatened really, that season 3 of Rick and Morty would be the darkest year of their adventures yet. This week’s episode proved Rick could be right. “Rickmancing the Stone” was a spoof of the Mad Max movies, including the Oscar-winning hit Fury Road and the less celebrated Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome.
Summer (Spencer Grammer) and Morty (Justin Roiland) joined Rick (also Roiland) in a dimension that was a post-apocalyptic hellscape, pursued by a high-octane caravan. Mad Max fans surely recognized Immortan Joe and Wez. Rick was going to leave until he spotted the marauders’ big green gem, so he let the family distract them while he made off with the stoneful of Isotope 322.
Here are five ways season 3 of Rick and Morty just got darker. At least this’ll tide fans over until next week’s epic “Pickle Rick” episode!
— sofia (@remedykarlie) July 31, 2017
When Morty fought in the Thunderdome (they call it the “Blood Dome,” you know, for legal reasons), Rick gave him a strength injection that would help him fend off combatants. It only made is left arm bulk up, but it was enough to make Morty the champion of Blood Dome. Morty got to work out his rage at his father, Jerry (Chris Parnell), for giving up on his family and separating from Beth (Sarah Chalke).
The divorce also made Summer violent. Faced with the post-apocalyptic mob, Summer didn’t hesitate to kill the leader, making her the alpha. She seemed at home having an army at her command and dating Hemorrhage, a Lord Humongous type — at least, until her relationship with Hemorrhage became as mundane as Beth and Jerry’s.
Thought it couldn’t get worse for Jerry? He’s separated from Beth, living in an apartment next to a corner frequented by hookers. But when he’s all alone and the wind blows, you can hear it whisper “loser.”
The wind just whispered "loooooser" and now I woke my parents up from laughing too hard. #RickandMorty
— Kyler Clodfelter Art (@KylerClodfelter) July 31, 2017
With Jerry gone, expect to see different characters pair off this season.
“Typically most of Beth’s stuff often in the first season was with Jerry at home,” Chalke told Rotten Tomatoes before the season began. “Then in season 2 they get to go off planet, and then in season 3 they really start to pair everybody off. There’s more opportunity to go into those relationships which has been really cool.”
Justin Roiland put one of his obsessions in the season premiere script. His nostalgia for McDonalds’ 1998 Mulan Szechuan McNugget sauce got deeper and deeper since it aired on April 1. People on eBay were selling photos of a sauce packet or in one case an actual sauce packet recovered from a car. It seemed the only way to quell this obsession was for McDonald’s to deliver the sauce. So they did.
McDonalds literally sent us a bottle of the Mulan sauce with a Rick & Morty label. This is insane. https://t.co/7kee9VJ5ux
— Rick (((and Morty))) (@RickandMorty) July 30, 2017
Roiland missed his chance to stockpile Szechuan Sauce in 1998. If he had, he might’ve blown through it all by Y2K. Now he’s got a fresh jug.
“I missed the window,” Roiland told Rotten Tomatoes. “I was going to get a big case of it from my friend Angel who worked at McDonalds at the time and I slept on that. I was a few days too late. He’s like, ‘Yeah, it’s gone, man. I was going to get you a case.’ I don’t know if I would’ve eaten it all by now.”
Holy shit. pic.twitter.com/vNEIfHTmNU
— Justin Roiland (@JustinRoiland) July 30, 2017
An obsession became reality, and that may drive down the market for $14,000 packets sold on ebay. Co-creator Dan Harmon kept it real, lamenting that while people are getting rich off a Chicken McNugget sauce, there are kids who can’t afford school books.
“There’s an inner city schoolkid reading that,” Harmon said. “[He’s] like, ’14 grand for Szechuan sauce. OK, I’m going to go back down into the subway and bang a bucket for change so I can have a science book.’”
Fans always gave the animated sci-fi comedy a lot of leeway for far-fetched ideas, but airing in 2017 makes it all seem a little less crazy. Just look at the excitement for Sunday’s “Pickle Rick” episode. Rick turned himself into a pickle and no one questions this! To be fair, “Pickle Rick” is incredible, and debuted at Comic-Con 2016, but Harmon thinks the election made everything weirder.
“Regardless of your politics, the election lowered the need for suspense of disbelief by 10 percent,” Harmon said. “Something changed that makes it now more feasible that this guy just turns out to be a time traveler or a giant cockroach or something. The answer is because frankly the national psyche had a tectonic shift of what’s possible, because we thought we understood how the world worked and we got rocked a little bit.”
Nothing’s changed for Rick and Morty season 3, but it’s coming out in a new world.
“We were done before we found out anything was possible,” Harmon confirmed.
Rick and Morty airs Sunday nights at 11:30 p.m. on Adult Swim.