Rick and Morty: “Pickle Rick” Season 3 Episode 3 Review

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I’m not typically one to make bold, sweeping claims in my reviews, but damn, “Pickle Rick” might just be the best episode of Rick and Morty. Top five at the very least. That’s because everything the show does well was pretty much at the top of its game here. A simple gag of Rick turning himself into a pickle turned into a hysterical, ridiculous send up of genre cliches that ends with a serious and ultimately kind of sweet introspection on Rick himself.

In a lot of ways, “Pickle Rick” serves as an antithesis of sorts to the season premiere, which saw Rick at the height of his powers, being perhaps even a little too perfect in his mission and never really being challenged. That episode was more of a celebration of Rick, where this one, just two episodes later, is a dark peak into his psyche.

Rick turns himself into a pickle to avoid going to therapy with the family. He also loves the fact that he can even turn himself into a pickle at will, so he naturally shows off to Morty. But they discover the syringe containing the serum that’ll turn Rick back into a human before they leave, taking it with them out of spite. So begins Rick’s journey of slight guilt from a pickle with no ability to do anything to a father who’s ready to be there for his daughter in some way.

The journey includes reanimating parts of dead critters, a vague international conspiracy, and a prisoner named Jaguar just trying to see his daughter again. “Pickle Rick” is a delightfully insane episode of television, taking joyous pride in its weirdness and owning it in every second of its runtime. Though while it shows just how good Rick is at, well, everything, it also reveals himself as his own worst enemy. Upon escaping the secret government compound, the first place Rick goes is to therapy with his family, strutting in on his controlled rat limbs while the therapist (Susan Sarandon getting to say things like “Why did you turn yourself into a pickle?” and “Let me know if you know anyone who eats poop,” is just silly fun) goes deep into his emotional issues.

Despite being perhaps the smartest living being in the universe, Rick is all play and no work. Therapy is work, and thus he skips it. But he does care for his daughter, hence why he invites her out for a drink after turning himself back into a human. Rick and Morty rarely wears its heart on its sleeve, but this restrained moment of sweetness plays very well with the themes of the season so far. Like Morty and Summer did last week, Rick has to stop putting his issues on the back burner. Otherwise, next time he turns himself into a pickle, he might not have a real reason to turn himself back. Rick needs people as much as everyone else does. That makes this perhaps the most human episode of the show yet. A human episode starring a pickle, that is. Grade: A

By Matt Dougherty

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