Rick and Morty starts off its third season on a series high with ‘The Rickshank Redemption.’ As the episode starts, Rick is recently released from space prison and enjoying dinner with the family at Shoney’s. Rick, being Rick, can tell that this is too good to be true, and realizes that he’s really in a simulation of his own brain’s memories.
A Galactic Federation agent, Cornvelious Daniel, introduces himself in the memory, letting Rick know his brain is about to be liquified, and he has a limited amount of time left to enjoy his memories.
Back on earth, Morty’s family is adjusting to life under the Galatic Federation’s takeover. Jerry now has an unspecified job and is paid in pills, while Beth has become unemployed thanks to the Federation’s ability to keep horses alive forever. It sounds like Jerry’s doing a good job providing for the family though — the Federation pays in pills.
Show your father some respect. He’s pulling down a six-chewable figure income.
Of course, Summer doesn’t give a damn and decides she’s going to rescue Rick. She digs up the portal gun that’s buried with Rick’s alternate-dimensional corpse in their backyard like a dog. Oh, Rick and Morty. Unsurprisingly, Morty, being Morty, tries to convince Summer not to use it. The family’s robot butler Conroy tries to apprehend the device, so Morty relents and transports himself and Summer to the universe from Rick Potion #9.
Morty uses their travel to make his point to Summer that Rick just doesn’t care about the worlds he visits and leaves in tatters. The ‘Cronenburg-world’ family isn’t doing so well. Summer even remarks that the version of herself in this world looks like she’s from The Hunger Games.
Dinner with this family leads Summer to her funniest line in this episode:
Cronenburg-world Jerry refuses to let Morty and Summer leave, and he destroys the portal gun in the process. SEAL Team Rick shows up to investigate, and Summer and Morty are captured.
The infamous Szechuan sauce scene sees Rick going down memory lane and deciding to stop first at McDonalds circa their Mulan promotion with the special sauce. At the episode’s end, Rick proclaims to Morty that this is his story arc — he’s determined to be reunited with this rarity of a dipping sauce. Even if it takes nine seasons, he’s committed to this bit. Knowing Rick and Morty, this will be a running gag.
Back in memory land, Rick and Agent Daniel go back to Rick’s memory of creating the portal gun — which is valuable knowledge the Federation seeks to acquire. Rick goes along with Agent Daniel’s demands, taking him to the memory and showing him the code that inspired the portal gun. However, is it surprising that Rick has actually been in control the whole time? Nah. Being the master of his own mind, Rick’s created a fabricated version of events, deceived the Federation, and transferred his consciousness into Agent Daniel’s Body. Because Rick, that’s how.
With his newfound body, Rick manages to hop around, eventually gaining control of a SEAL Team Rick member inside the Federation citadel where Summer and Morty are being held captive and put on trial. Is this all a little convenient? Sure, but Rick and Morty breaks the rules of animated comedies so frequently, that when it makes all the pieces fall into place, it feels perfectly executed rather than patronizing to the viewer.
Rick engages in a standout to save Summer’s life and rescue her and Morty. In the process, he manages to ruin the Galactic Federation, sending its economy toppling and making it cave in on itself. He eventually brings the kids home (later revealing he only kept them alive so that Beth would choose him over Jerry, allowing Rick to get revenge on Jerry for betraying him and turning him into the Federation.) Beth and Jerry decide to get a divorce, and Rick goes on a tirade to Morty about how their adventures are only beginning this season.
Rick and Morty loves playing by its own rules and throwing all sense of logic out the window, and season three starts off following previous season’s patterns. We may not know where Rick and Morty is taking us each episode, but we know it’ll be a fun ride. As long as there’s plenty of humor to go around, the show gets a pass for not playing by the rules. In fact, that’s likely the reason the show has become such a pop culture phenomenon in the first place.