Rick and Morty: “Rickmancing the Stone” Season 3 Episode 2 Review

Photo Credit:https://www.pastemagazine.com/articles/2017/07/rick-and-mortys-return-is-both-bleak-and-surprisin.html

It’s been almost four months to the day since season three had its surprise premiere on April Fools’ Day, which means that “Rickmancing the Stone” also pretty much qualifies as a season premiere. While “The Rickshank Rickdemption” solved season two’s dour cliffhanger in perhaps the most fun way possible, it also left us with the true dynamic shift that’s going to drive season three: Beth and Jerry’s divorce. And so, this second episode is about how Morty and Summer are emotionally dealing with their parents’ separation. Of course, Rick and Morty is not a family drama, so it’s enacted through an insane Mad Max parody.

Evading having to truly say goodbye to her father before he moves out of the house, Summer suggests to her grandfather an adventure to avoid facing the problem. As a result, they end up smack-dab in the middle of George Miller’s wasteland, being chased by spikey cars and a lot of folks in leather. But in running away from their problems, Morty and Summer start to assimilate in post-apocalyptic life, while Rick uses androids at home to keep Beth company.

Morty’s new muscled up arm, which has muscle memory from its previous owner, makes for a simple arc of him taking out his anger in the Thunderdome. The emotional changes Summer goes through are far more astute, taking her on a journey of void filling and mistake repetition. It’s no accident that after three weeks in this wasteland, she’s already in a toxic relationship that doesn’t suit her, which is exactly what happened to Beth with Jerry. In running away from her family’s problems, she repeated the same mistake. Summer’s arc here is another strong showcase for how intelligent and human Rick and Morty can be.

“Rickmancing the Stone” may not boast a barrel of laughs like the best episodes of the show, but as an exploration of what young adults can go through when their parents separate, it’s uniquely powerful. Rick and Morty may be an Adult Swim comedy about interdimensional travel, but there’s a meat to it, much like how BoJack Horseman isn’t just a Hollywood parody starring talking animals.

In fact, Morty’s somewhat haphazard arc when compared with Summer’s brings the episode down a bit. The show hasn’t shied away from making Morty into a complex figure in the past, but here he plays second fiddle to his sister. I’ve always been pro-Summer, who’s been a valuable asset to the show since its first season, but I wish we had seen more of the siblings working through their pain together. Maybe that’s asking a lot for a show with a character named Mr. Poopybutthole, but then the show does present these emotional challenges by choice, often rewarding them even.

Either way, “Rickmancing the Stone” more or less set the tone for the season to come, promising more of the show’s signature weirdness, self-aware comedy, and genuine emotional resonance. This may not be an individually amazing episode of Rick and Morty, but the season its laying the ground for already feels rich. I personally don’t feel the need to ask for more…yet. Grade: B+

By Matt Dougherty

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