Network: Adult Swim
Showrunners: Dan Harmon and Justin Roiland
Main Cast: Justin Roiland, Chris Parnell, Sarah Chalke, Spencer Grammer
Notable Guest Stars: Nathan Fillion, Tony Hale, Joel McHale, Danny Trejo, Susan Sarandon, Peter Serafinowicz, Christian Slater, Gillian Jacobs, Logic, Lance Reddick, Thomas Middleditch, Keith David
Episode Length: 22 Minutes
With an almost two-year gap between seasons, many fans were hesitant about just how well Rick and Morty would return to television. It was originally announced that this season would have 14 episodes, only to be reduced to 10 just a few months before airing. Beginning with a surprise release of the first episode on April Fools’ Day, season three of Rick and Morty resumed its run over the course of this summer, and the final result is a batch of episodes that venture some new ground for the show, for better or worse.
One of the most notable changes this season was the inclusion of an ongoing storyline, and here, it took the form of Jerry and Beth’s divorce. This is a fairly major point throughout the season, but in the middle batch of episodes, it seems forgotten. These episodes tend to focus much more on Rick and Morty themselves, and the divorce storyline is mostly thrown to side until the last few episodes, when it has to be given a resolution. It gets a bit of a predictable ending as well, and it’s moments like these (which includes the lack of Phoenix Person) where you can tell that the season was supposed to be a little longer, but wound up being cut short.
Even with sticking to 10 episodes, much of this season felt very hit-or-miss. This tends to happen in bursts, usually with an episode or two that was fairly unremarkable, followed by another episode or two that was easily some of the series’ best work to date. Many of these high-point episodes were ones that reinvented the show’s formula, and put a twist on what we’ve come to expect.
For example, “Morty’s Mind Blowers” focuses on Morty’s memories that he’s had Rick remove from his mind, and we wind up revisiting some older episodes as a result. Another episode, “Rest and Ricklaxation,” features the titular characters in an interesting twist on body swapping. Rick and Morty is at its best when it’s at its zaniest, while also sticking with its idiosyncratic humor.
If it sounds like I’m bashing the show at this point, let me make it clear that season three isn’t as bad as I’m making it out to be. Even the lesser-quality episodes of Rick and Morty are better than some of the best episodes of other shows on television, but the weaker spots just happened to be more noticeable this season. The show’s high points are also easily noticeable this season, though, such as episodes like “Pickle Rick,” where Rick spends the whole episode as a pickle, and “The Ricklantis Mixup,” in which Rick and Morty spend the whole episode in a fictional world full of other Ricks and Mortys.
These are just a few notable examples, and even some of the lesser-quality episodes display this sense of creativity, albeit in lower doses. As I mentioned before, season three of Rick and Morty is a bit of a hit-or-miss when it comes to each episode. While the misses are more noticeable here than they’ve been in the past, there’s still more than enough hits to make up for it. Fans of the show will find ample content in this season’s episodes, as we wait for what will likely be a good amount of time until the show’s fourth season.
How Does it Compare to Previous Seasons?: As a whole, Season 3 doesn’t quite hit the highs of the first two seasons, but it’s still one of the funniest comedies on television.
Best Episodes: “Pickle Rick,” “Rickmancing the Stone,” “The Ricklantis Mixup”
Rick and Morty Season 3 is Recommended if You Like: Nihilism, Aqua Teen Hunger Force, Absurdist Humor, Science Fiction
Where to Watch: All episodes of season 3 are available to watch on Adult Swim’s website.
Grade: 3.8 out of 5 Pickle Ricks
For more of our full season TV reviews, click here!