I term it ‘The Dark Knight’ effect, wherein a follow-up to something that is considered a ridiculously high benchmark ends up suffering the brunt of being regular, or substandard, or basically not meeting the high expectations of viewers set by its predecessor. For regular shows, episodes like ‘Pickle Rick’ are a rarity: a season highlight, often even the finale or a standout episode. However, things are bound to be shaken up when we talk about ‘Rick and Morty’, where ‘Pickle Rick’ was only the third episode, and the other two standouts are not the finale or the pre-finale, but the premiere and the seventh episode.
As for this episode, a curiously funny thing about this episode is its title, ‘Vindicators 3’, seeing as though there hasn’t been a ‘Vindicators 1’ episode until now, with the Vindicators barely receiving a mention in Season 1. To add to the funny, it is revealed during the episode that the Vindicators did assemble a second time to face Doomnomitron, but did not invite Rick and Morty for the mission due to “personality conflicts”. However, Rick and Morty makers have got us covered since soon after, a comic book titled ‘The Vindicators’ was released for fans, along with a video that the makers put out about Worldender, and how big of a threat he is. Not going to lie, they had me with that one, hilariously so. Onwards to the plot now.
Rick and Morty are in their garage at home collecting alien worms that Rick states would mean the end of the world if their DNA found its way into the planet’s foodchain, right when the two receive a beacon for help from the ‘Vindibeacon’. While Rick is immediately in disdain about the entire concept of superheroes to begin with, Morty is thrilled and revokes his right to choose one in every ten RnM adventures to take Rick on this one. Just when they are about to leave, a bird picks up one of the alien worms trying to escape: a serious ‘uh-oh’ moment that may or may not have any implications on future episodes.
Cut to the base of the Vindicators, who are a team of inter-galactic superheroes tasked with keeping peace across the galaxy. The group includes Supernova, a celestial being with her powers stemming from, well, it’s in her name, Crocubot, a crocodile-robot hybrid, Alan Rails, who has a tragic history and the power to summon ghost trains, Million Ants, who is literally a million ants put together in the shape of a human, and finally Vance Maximus, renegade star soldier. As you would have already guessed, several of them are hilarious twists on DC and Marvel superheroes.