by Ryan Fine
Warning: This review contains spoilers for this episode and previous episodes of Rick and Morty.
The wait for the third season of Rick and Morty felt incredibly long, and after waiting two years for new episodes, it’s a little hard to believe that it’s already over. As with any show, some of these episodes were better than others, but for the most part, we got through yet another season without any real duds.
This finale follows suit. The political jabs are plenty and the humor is possibly at its best point of the season. “The Rickchurian Mortydate” doesn’t always feel like a proper conclusion to this part of the story, but after a few too many Rick and Morty-centric episodes toward the middle of the season, it’s at least nice to see the entire family involved again.
The story begins fairly typically: The president of the United States is concerned about an alien “goo-gah” that has infested the Kennedy sex tunnels under the White House and calls on Rick and Morty to eradicate it. After seemingly neutralizing the threat with ease, the two get bored of being ordered around by the president, so they teleport home to play Minecraft instead.
When the president catches wind of this through an illegal spy satellite, he calls Rick and Morty to confront them. In response, they make some vaguely threatening comments toward him before peacefully hanging up. The president angrily and unconvincingly declares independence from Rick and Morty.
At a mall back home, Summer is out shopping with Beth. She puts on an incredibly revealing outfit insisting it’s just for fun, but Beth encourages her to actually buy it. Beth explains away her new radness as a symptom of settling into the divorce, but Summer’s comment that she’s “like a different person” causes some residual suspicions from the previous episode that Beth may unknowingly be a clone of her original self. She calls Rick who tries to reassure her, but only ends up making her even more terrified.
Meanwhile, the situation with the president escalates further as Rick and Morty try to prove to him that he actually does need them. They do this not for their own safety or because they really care what he thinks about them but just to get on his nerves. In this petty form of assistance, Rick and Morty become ambassadors to an alien species, and by the time the president learns about this, they have already solved the entire Israel-Palestine conflict with something called the “Pretty Obvious If You Think About It Accord”.
This episode is full of unsubtle criticisms like this toward the real-world presidency. Not our current president – that angle has already been taken by just about every other show – but the entire institution of the presidency. It implies time and time again that America falsely believes itself to be in charge of the world and is rife with foreign policy issues that should have been solved a long time ago. It’s not rare to see political satire on TV, but it’s another thing entirely to watch a 60-year-old protagonist literally lob bombs at the president of the United States. Despite the fact that this man doesn’t seem to be based on any actual president, this is a pretty bold thing to show on American television.
Even as Beth’s plot picks up and she falls in love with Jerry again on the fly, she seems no closer to confirming for herself whether or not she is the real Beth. Morty skips out on the battle with the president to hide from a potentially murderous Rick with his newly reunited family. Of course, Rick finds them anyway and brings a huge gun with him, cuing an emotional speech from Beth as a last-ditch plea for him to let her live even if she is a clone.
Rick just rolls his eyes, then reveals that Beth isn’t a clone after all and he brought the gun so he could kill Jerry instead. Considering that Rick would do just about anything to mold the family into whatever form is most convenient for him, this comes as no surprise. Rick puts down the gun, annoyed that no one understands him, and the season ends at the dinner table with Beth commenting on how things will be “more like season 1” from now on.
As a season finale, “The Rickchurian Mortydate” isn’t necessarily great or terrible. Sure, the family is back together now, and there is the obligatory cameo from Mr. Poopybutthole that now seems to be a traditional conclusion to any Rick & Morty season. But for a final episode it’s pretty tied up in its own individual plot, and more importantly for the season as a whole, there are still some major loose ends from the Citadel of Ricks that are disappointingly never sewn together.
That said, as a standalone episode, this is one of the best of the season. It’s incredibly brave in its main adventure, and even its side plots are full of suspense. This season has done very well in introducing its first slightly serious episode, but it has also done well in proving that it’s still a comedy show at heart. Regardless of where the story has ended up, “The Rickchurian Mortydate” is entertaining enough to hold over until next time. And that’s a very fortunate thing, because as Mr. Poopybutthole reminds us after the credits, it’s going to be a really long wait for season 4.
Featured image from Rickipedia
Rick and Morty Season 3 Finale: "The Rickchurian Mortydate"
At the end of the third season of ‘Rick and Morty’, there are still some big questions that have yet to be answered, and in that sense, it doesn’t entirely feel like the season is over yet. However, the episode makes up for this with its sheer entertainment value. It rails against American politics in a way that goes beyond simple satire and creates more interest in the other members of Morty’s family than ever before. With a closing episode this good, it’s clear that a fourth season – whenever it may happen – is still something to be excited about.