Rick and Morty Season Three was well worth the year and a half wait. Having rapidly become one of the most popular shows on television right now, there was considerable pressure on series creators Dan Harmon and Justin Roiland to ensure the quality of their creation remained as consistent as it was in Seasons One and Two. Luckily, due to their immense creativity, they have produced some of the funniest moments of the series this season.
The main episode of note this season is ‘The Ricklantis Mixup’, which combines film parodies with world building in order to accomplish an episode unlike any other in the show. It is also of note that, aside from two in-show commercials featuring the dulcet tones of Jeff B Davis, every character in ‘The Ricklantis Mixup’ is voiced by Roiland himself, who manages to give them each unique personalities and motivations.
Other great episodes include ‘Pickle Rick’, which combines the most ridiculously over-the-top plot of the series with one of the more subdued and heartfelt. Meanwhile, ‘Rest and Ricklaxation’ examines the complicated relationship between Rick and Morty and how they each view this relationship.
Unfortunately, what could have been one of the strongest aspects of this season ended up as one of the weakest. The bond between Rick and his daughter Beth has been an important sub-plot of the show since the pilot, but it has always been relegated to the sidelines, as Rick’s adventures with Morty (and occasionally Summer) and Beth’s tenuous marriage with Jerry were the main focal points.
The penultimate episode of Season Three, ‘The ABCs of Beth’ is the first to feature Rick and Beth on an adventure alone. Unfortunately, the episode felt rather flat and rushed. While the episode had its funny moments (mostly provided by guest star Thomas Middleditch), the emotional side of the episode was not as powerful as it could have been. This carries over into the finale, where Beth’s relationship with Rick also plays a central role, but yet again feels somehow like it is missing something.
The most likely explanation for this is the reduced episode order of the season. Harmon and Roiland initially announced there would be 14 episodes but in the end there were only 10. As such, they would have had to cut significant amounts of material, presumably including material focusing on Rick and Beth.
The season was, despite this, fantastic overall and hopefully Season Four will include some more meaningful stories revolving around Rick and Beth – whenever it is that Season Four may air.