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Recap: Rick and Morty Season 3, Episode 4 – ‘Vindicators 3: The Return of Worldender’

Rick and Morty misses the mark with obvious Guardians of the Galaxy / Avengers parody

Rick and Morty departs from its strong storyline centering on the divorce of Rick’s daughter, Beth, and her husband, Jerry, for a one shot episode paying homage (and poking fun at) flicks like The Avengers and Guardians of the Galaxy. Rick and Morty team up with the ‘Vindicators’ to save the world, but ultimately the show ends up losing itself in the process.

The show is no stranger to good action scenes — last week’s hilarious and preposterous episode ‘Pickle Rick‘ shows just that. What’s different about this week’s episode is the fact that it seems to take itself too seriously. An episode like ‘Pickle Rick’ is farcical at face value, but ‘Vindicators 3’ seems more like a parody of a parody.

The Vindicators as a team work like the typical archetypes from action movies, which Rick and Morty does the most to play up. Perhaps this would work better on a humorous level if the movies it was poking fun at were bad to begin with, but the show sets its sights too high trying to take Guardians of the Galaxy and The Avengers down a peg. There’s not a whole lot of laugh out loud moments in these action flicks, nor is there many in tonight’s episode (which is quite a change of pace, considering the first three episodes have been some of the series’ best.)

Rick gets drunk (because, Rick) and manages to overtake the Vindicators’ biggest villain in a single night. After defeating him, Rick sets a trap, capturing the Vindicators and putting them through a Saw-like series of tests. One would think that Rick and Morty would be able to camp it up and have fun with the Saw parody, but that, too, is rather ‘meh.’

Rick accidentally left his portal gun back at home, and so he and Morty must see this through to the end. What’s at the end? A party that drunk Rick planned, featuring a ton of guests and Logic (because this episode of Rick and Morty needed some kind of logic, I suppose.) In the end, the episode’s hero turned villain manages to escape at the last second, which surely means there’s more of the Vindicators coming in the future.

This episode was a rare miss, but it’s not unusual for the series to take a dip after three of its best episodes. Once the show pays attention to the real issues this season, it’ll likely return to its previous levels of greatness. ‘Vindicators 3’ is no ‘Pickle Rick.’ And why not? It’s missing heart underneath it all. Despite the laughs Rick and Morty gets, episodes like last week’s show that the series is capable of handling more sincere topics with poise and precision. This episode sadly doesn’t even give it a try.

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Written by Sam Bennett

Sam Bennett is the creator and editor of POParazzi. He works primarily in Washington, DC. You can contact him at sam@poparazzi.org and visit his portfolio at sam-bennett.com.

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