Rick and Morty: “The Rickchurian Mortydate” Season 3 Finale Review

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I feel like there’s an extended version of “The Rickchurian Candidate” somewhere out there that Dan Harmon had to scrap to fit the half hour timeslot. While filled with ideas that could have been really impactful, the episode practically smashes them together to try and create something cohesive. It doesn’t totally work, and it leaves a lot of questions on the table for season four.

The outwardly hilarious A-storyline of the season finale sees Rick and Morty called to the White House for a mission they compare to that of the Ghostbusters. They get bored halfway through and leave to go play Minecraft. This damages the president’s ego, prompting him to try and show the pair how little he and the US need them. Their failures stroke Rick’s ego enough that he thinks he can sneak into the Oval Office and demand the president take a selfie with Morty, leading to a well-choreographed animated battle royale using both Rick and the president’s full arsenal.

But the B-storyline in the background is where the meat of the episode, though undercooked, comes from. Beth realizes she’s changing due to her divorce. It freaks her out to the point where she calls her father to make sure she’s not a clone. But of course Rick wouldn’t tell her even if she was, and then would have to kill her. Suddenly petrified, she runs back to Jerry, who finds a way to ease her, prompting them to get back together.

The storylines converge when Morty leaves the White House to go be with his reconstructing family. But Rick, as he is now, isn’t invited. Something has to change before the family will accept him with open arms. And now that he’s laid waste to the White House, it’s not like he’s particularly welcome in this reality.

So what does season four look like, then? Well, according to Beth, “streamlined” and “more like season one.” Is that what we want? Is that what Harmon thinks we want? Rick and Morty has matured and evolved along the way over these first three seasons, not always for the better, but it’s certainly kept the show from getting stale. The family working through the divorce was approached in a really interesting way, while insane high-high-concept episodes like “Pickle Rick” are flat-out genius. What is Rick and Morty going to try and get back to to be better than all that? I’m personally more interested in what season four’s progressions look like, not the show trying to be something it used to be. But who knows? Maybe Harmon and co. will realize that when they sit down to write the next batch of adventures. We know they’re definitely not afraid to give themselves the time. But with a finale as uneven as this one, hysterical in spots and rushed in others, it’s hard not to wonder about the quality of season four. Hopefully the wait will be worth it. Finale Grade: B / Season Grade: B+

By Matt Dougherty

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