Rick and Morty meets Mad Max in this deconstruction of the post-apocalypse.
The episode begins with Rick (Justin Roiland), Morty (Justin Roiland), and Summer (Spencer Grammer) returning from an adventure and greeting a newly-divorced Jerry (Chris Parnell). Morty seems disappointed with his dad’s behavior and Summer chooses to ask Rick for an adventure in order to avoid talking to Jerry. Rick obliges and Morty follows, leaving Jerry to be called a loser by the wind.
In another dimension, Rick, Morty, and Summer are driving away from a huge army of Mad Max: Fury Road-esque wasteland scavengers in vehicles because Rick seeks to steal a small shard of Isotope 322, a glowing green rock. While Rick is ready to leave after acquiring the shard, Summer stops running to murder the leader of the marauders. The other marauders, revealed to be the Deathstalkers, offer to let the trio join them. Rick’s going to say no, but then sees that they have a huge chunk of Isotope 322, and tells the kids to join the scavengers. Summer, showing gross indifference to life lately, agrees, worrying Morty that Summer isn’t handling the divorce well.
In the Deathstalker camp, Rick tells Morty his plan to steal the rock, part of which involves injecting Morty with the “muscle memory” of a disembodied barbarian arm, which ends up being sentient. Morty names it “Armothy.” Morty and Armothy quickly enter the Blood Dome (which is just a Thunderdome but without the trademark issues) and devastate all comers. Morty also starts to say things during the fights that indicate that he is angry at how his father is acting about the divorce.
Meanwhile, Summer goes hunting with a Deathstalker named Hemorrhage (Joel McHale) and starts to bond with him over his nihilistic and violent outlook. However, Rick steals the green rock and Hemorrhage orders his death. Rick tries to tell them to leave, but when Summer and Morty resist going, he leaves them and goes home. When Beth (Sarah Chalke) asks where the kids are, he builds duplicates of them to fool her. Back in the wasteland, Morty is now the champion of the Blood Dome, but Armothy starts killing people who murdered his original owner and family. Hemorrhage and Summer get closer and then start to get intimate after she indicates that she has no fear of death or consequence, becoming a couple. Morty and Armothy track down the Slaver that ordered the death of Armothy’s family and then drown him, with Armothy disappearing after believing the Slaver is dead. Rick comes back and the Slaver is revealed to be alive, but Rick helps Morty finish him off.
Rick and Morty meet up with Summer and Hemorrhage and shows them that Isotope 322 creates near infinite electrical power. Hemorrhage asks Rick to teach them more. Three weeks later, most of the Deathstalker village now resembles modern suburbs, with Summer’s neighbors more concerned about sorting recyclables than nihilism. Hemorrhage now mostly sits around watching television, driving Summer insane. She breaks up with him and leaves with Rick after he steals the Isotope 322 back.
Back at home, the robotic Rick, Morty, and Summer are playing games with Beth, but Rick sends out the signal for them to go to the garage. The Robot Morty tries to resist, claiming to have developed emotion, but ultimately gets overridden. Summer goes to visit Jerry and tells him not to look back. Later, a dog mugs Jerry for his unemployment check and the wind calls him a loser again.
At the end of the previous episode, Rick promised that Season 3 was going to be the darkest season of Rick and Morty. Then, they made us wait 4 months to see what that meant and this episode promptly delivered on that promise. The core of this episode is how everyone in the show is dealing with the fallout from the season 3 premiere.
Summer’s character in this episode goes from “stereotypical disaffected teenager” to “murdering nihilist.” Morty continues the theme of his rage issues from the last few episodes, but now they’re focused at his dad. Rick, while he tries to continue his nihilistic and hedonistic outlook, is clearly suffering from some emotional baggage over plotting to wreck his daughter’s marriage. Beth is uncertain whether she has done the right thing and Jerry is basically drifting aimlessly. Everyone is now basically a little more broken because of the end of Beth and Jerry’s marriage and, sadly, that makes for really good television.
Obviously, this episode is a parody of the Mad Max films and other such post-apocalyptic films like The Omega Man. However, in traditional Rick and Morty style it over-exaggerates the traits of the typical brutish survivors until they seem to constantly espouse nihilism and angst like teenagers at a Hot Topic, only to subvert that by revealing that they would immediately give it up for escapism and conformity if given half of a chance. Basically, their claim that everything is bullsh*t is itself bullsh*t. The short timeline of only three weeks makes it funnier, though it also reminds us how impressive Rick is by showing that he can create an advanced level of infrastructure for a society (they have televised sports and electric cars) in under a month.
Overall, this was a great episode and a great way to really establish that this season was going to feature some dark elements.
JOKER’S THEORY CORNER
Beth and Jerry are divorced as of this episode, exactly how Rick planned in the last one, but we immediately get a little bit of foreshadowing that it’s not going to last. When Rick and Beth meet in the garage, she quickly starts to become concerned about what the divorce is doing to the kids and questions whether it was the right decision. The key is that it’s prompted by Rick leaving the kids in the other dimension and escaping. In other words, Beth starts to realize that maybe she doesn’t want to be divorced because Rick did something wrong and failed to deal with it properly, just like he later does at the end of the season, resulting in Beth and Jerry getting back together.
If Rick planned everything to get Beth and Jerry to divorce, why is his plan failing? Well, it’s for the same reason that Rick accidentally destroyed Earth C-137 by turning everyone into Cronenbergs: Rick cannot properly comprehend love. Rick thinks that Beth is just something to be fixed and that giving her an optimal pair of children to show that everything is objectively going fine will somehow make her not feel insecure or irrationally still emotionally attached to Jerry. Sure, having a Summer and Morty that are perfectly supportive and attentive helps to slow the rising tide of doubt, but it can’t stop it, because Rick is trying to calculate something that, for him, is incalculable: The human heart.
LEAVING THE CORNER
Overall, I give this episode an
on the Rick and Morty scale.
Wubba-Lubba-Dub-Dub, I need a drink. See you in two weeks.
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