Rick and Morty: “Vindicators 3: The Return of Worldender” Season 3 Episode 4 Review

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Rick and Morty excels at dishing out harsh truths through its insane sci-fi lens. This week, Morty learned what heroes actually look like in a Saw parody that skewered the Marvel Cinematic Universe, because of course he did. While vacuuming up parasites in the garage, as one does, Rick and Morty receive a literal call to adventure to rejoin a group of intergalactic superheroes known as the Vindicators (a pretty direct Guardians of the Galaxy substitute), of whom Morty is a huge fan.

Rick’s cynicism in space leads the team to initially reject him, but in his place they make Morty an honorary member. Just to be clear, Rick and Morty doesn’t have a “Vindicators” or “Vindicators 2” episode; these characters are introduced here as a dig at the endless spewing of superhero sequels that rarely break the formula studio’s think works.

After blacking out, Rick rejoins the team for a mission only to discover that he, in his drunken stupor, has hacked the mission into his own personal Saw-like game for the team of superheroes, as well as Morty and himself now. This is hands down the strongest section of the episode. Not only is the comedy of a slammed Rick half-assing his plan to kill all these superheroes hilarious, it also spawns something in Morty in that Rick might be the only supervillain he’s truly capable of defeating, truly becoming the ordinary hero these superhero films wax poetically about. But Morty has to confront the fact that his grandfather isn’t a supervillain, he’s a being who does a lot of bad things, but a fairly sizable amount of good things too. Morty meeting his heroes eventually turns into an all-too-brief introspection on the nature of heroism. It doesn’t quite match with the highly pointed Marvel takedown the rest of the episode is, but it largely works in giving Morty something to grow into that feels fresh. Grade: A- 

By Matt Dougherty

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