Continuing with the talk on the variability of the third season of the eccentric Adult Swim sitcom, ‘Rick and Morty’, we have at our hands the second episode which really kind of proves the point. Not that it is a bad episode by any means, hardly any ‘Rick and Morty’ episode is. However, compared to the ingenuity of the season premiere, and the dizzying highs that the show rises to in later episodes, ‘Rickmancing the Stone’ proves to be rather standard RnM. Although to be fair, it is a more emotionally grounded episode, exploring a rather dark theme with the trademark brand of Rick and Morty humour. You can catch up with the eventful happenings of the previous episode or undertake a quick recap, here.
If I am to quote it in a nutshell, this episode puts Summer and Morty under the microscope, examining in a darkly comical sense, the reaction each has to their parent’s divorce and how they deal with it, while Rick is still up with his shenanigans in a parallel dimension that puts a hilarious twist on the post-apocalyptic world from ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’. The episode begins with Jerry finally confronting Summer and Morty about the divorce before moving out of the house. Summer is immediately discerning and woefully dismissive of his presence as she asks Rick, unsubtly so, to rabbit out from there to avoid dialogue. Morty is slightly more accepting of Jerry and bids him a half-hearted farewell before leaving himself to go behind Summer and Rick.
Rick takes both of them to a post-apocalyptic parallel Earth where they are chased by a tribe of savages called the Death Stalkers. Summer behaves unnaturally weird and violently kills the leader of their tribe to become the leader herself, and while this initially irks Rick and Morty, Rick lets it pass for his pursuit of the isotope 322, the reason for him traveling to that version of the Earth, learning that the Death Stalkers worship it as a piece of rock for desecration.
While Summer increasingly gets involved with the cult, Rick urges Morty to fight in the blood dome, a ring where the people of that world fought till the death, by injecting his arm with an enhancement from another arm of an unknown deceased person. The hand, as it turns out, has a consciousness of its own, and proceeds to slaughter fighters inside the dome, along with embarking on a pursuit with Morty to avenge his family’s and his death from the men who killed them.
As Morty slowly embraces the fighting arm, he lets loose some of his own rage against his father leaving without showing resistance or taking a stand like a man. In the heat of Morty’s fight, Rick goes on and steals the isotope rock but is caught almost immediately, barely escaping to Earth. He then puts in android replacements of Morty and Summer to fool Beth, making for some of the most humorous bits of this episode. His plan fails as the androids do not perform to expectations, reminding Beth of her family and making her emotional, leading to Rick disabling them and going back to Planet Mad Max to get his grandkids back.
Meanwhile, Summer proceeds to marry Hemorrhage, the leader of the Death Stalkers to fully embrace their scavenger lifestyle, while Morty and the “arm” avenge the death of the unknown man whose arm it was before he died and his family. At this point, I honestly wish I could be an unassuming reader to have chanced upon here, unaware of what this show was about, having the laugh of his life. However, for people who know this show in their veins, this is all serious stuff!
Rick turns up in time to tell the savages of the importance of the isotope rock and why he stole it, who then request Rick to stay back to teach them how to use it. Three weeks pass, and the savages use the rock to power entire block of the city they live in, as we see Summer growing weary of the scavengers now getting used to the life of comfort, softening them, while she spent all her days scavenging, deciding to accompany Rick and Morty back home.
It is then revealed that all of it was Rick’s plans to help Summer and Morty come to terms with their parents’ divorce, and give them an outlet to vent, while at the same time providing them with some powerful insights on relationships. Sounds nothing like Rick Sanchez, but it is true. Morty learns the virtue of moving on and not living in denial, no matter what others do as he bids farewell to the “arm’, and Summer who was earlier dismissive of Jerry, reconciles with him at the motel he is staying it, suggesting “never to look back” and stand his ground. A truly, truly bizarre sequence of events involving a post-apocalyptic Earth and scavengers that occupy it, proving therapeutic for the kids in the Smith family: that’s ‘Rick and Morty’ for you.
Post Credits Scene
Simply a humorous bout where the showrunners pull off another downer for Jerry. I would have almost felt bad for him had this scene not been so outrageously, self-deprecatingly funny. Jerry receives his unemployment check in the mail, and is immediately threatened by a growling coyote to hand it over, uninterested in the food Jerry offers him. When Jerry does, hilariously claiming that his suffering was the coyote’s nourishment, he chews it and spits it out, making Jerry’s life even the more miserable, as he nonchalantly walks out. The blowing wind seems to whisper “loser”, as Jerry is left standing alone.
Although a step down from the season premiere, ‘Rickmancing the Stone’ holds its own in being an emotional revelation of an episode, as both Summer and Morty get more than they bargained for and start to come to terms with their changed family structure, and Rick being, well, Rick. To be fair though, you don’t commend anything less simply because it is overpowered by something excellent. Sure, it is bound to lose some of its shine in the process, but it’s still solid gold, if not diamond. Even that’s a good thing though: ‘Rickmancing the Stone’ is a carefully devised breather episode between two of the most explosive ones of the series.