In one of the greatest anti-April Fools jokes of all time, the long-awaited season three premiere of Rick and Morty dropped with absolutely zero warning or fanfare beforehand. In true Rick and Morty style the episode was not only shown once but continuously repeated both online and on the Adult Swim channel in the US until midnight on April 1, replacing all scheduled shows that day and encouraging multiple viewings of the episode. What’s more, the episode matched the sky-high expectations that had been set after the solid cliffhanger to season two all the way back in October 2015, in a clever, funny and of course totally bizarre episode that is one of the series’ best yet.
In one of the greatest anti-April Fools jokes of all time, the long-awaited season three premiere of Rick and Morty dropped with absolutely zero warning or fanfare beforehand.
The episode picks up showing the consequences of previous episode ‘The Wedding Squanchers,’ with the Galactic Federation taking control of Earth and Rick being held in the Federation prison. Despite one of the darkest predicaments of the series so far, the show continues its traditional blend of dark themes, emotional beats, mind-bending sci-fi and toilet humour making Rick’s escape from prison as clever as it is funny. With more twists and turns in one episode than most shows have in one season, the show clearly enjoys teasing viewers with events such as Rick’s past briefly shown before pulling the rug under the audience yet again.
On top of that the episode manages to incorporate several of the key developments of previous fan-favourite episodes, with the Citadel of Ricks and the Cronenberg dimension all finally making a return and slotting seamlessly into the plot. What’s more, everything is neatly and satisfyingly resolved by the end of the episode, while also featuring a brave new development in the Smith marriage that sets up an interesting dynamic for the remainder of season three. For a twenty-five minute long animated comedy to deliver all this in one episode is simply astounding and a fine example of how Rick and Morty is one of the most inventive and well-written shows on television.
It must also be noticed that this surprise episode was the perfect way to launch the new season of a show like this. For a show as genre-defying and witty as Rick and Morty, a surprise launch on April Fool’s day which much of the world initially took as a joke perfectly mirrors the show’s many irreverent twists and turns. Coupled with an internet fandom that has been speculating premiere dates and escape theories for months, to suddenly deliver the episode they have been craving for so long with no forewarning at all seems like a knowing wink.
Of course, I could not finish a review without mentioning the impact of that Szechuan sauce scene – only a show as bizarre and unconventional as Rick and Morty could make a limited 1998 variant of McNugget sauce worth thousands of pounds on eBay: ‘I want that Mulan McNugget sauce Morty!’