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'Rick and Morty' Season 3 returns with a blood-soaked 'Mad Max' family therapy session

'Rick and Morty' Season 3 returns with a blood-soaked 'Mad Max' family therapy session
From Mashable - July 31, 2017

There's a new patriarch in Season 3 of Rick and Morty, and he's somehow less capable of dealing with human emotions than the radioactive mutants of Episode 2's Mad Max universe.

It's telling that both Summer and Morty find more comfort in this nihilistic post-apocalypse than in their own toxic family environment back home.

The long-awaited and delayed season picks back up in media res where the premierereleased all the way back on April Fools' day to everyone's surpriseleft off. We return to the dysfunctional Smith family as they reckon with the consequences of their biggest threat yet.

This time, though, it's much closer to home and harder to defeat than the Intergalactic Space Federation. 'Rickmancing the Stone' instead opens on a house divided by the monstrous acts of the evil puppet master known as grandpa Rick.

The overarching question this season's arc appears to ask is: What happens when a mad scientist with no moral compass takes over, in his own words, as "the defacto patriarch of your family and universe?"

Spoiler alert: It is not a talk therapy session. But it's the warped Rick and Morty version of it.

Hovering awkwardly at the garage door with a moving truck behind him, disgraced father Jerry Smith asks for permission to say goodbye to his own children. Rick begrudgingly allows it, but warns him to do so from the driveway since "the killbots are live and I took you off the whitelist."

Morty, clearly racked with guilt at knowing the role he played in his grandpa Rick's takeover, tries to console his father with meek promises of weekend visits.

Meanwhile, an unburdened Summer conceals her murderous rage behind the facade of being, like, totally whatever about this whole divorce thing. She begs her grandpa for an excuse to leave, before disappearing with him into a portal without looking back at her pathetic father.

The three unhappy musketeers quickly find themselves in a desert car chase to find the super potent Isotope 322. Morty, too much Jerry and not enough Rick, ca not seem to shoot straight. Summer, channeling her inner Furiosa and grandpa Rick, assimilates to the brutality with ease.

In fact, their trip into the hyper-masculine Mad Max universe proves to be the perfect battleground for both kids to work out their issues with the flawed male role models in their lives.

After Summer annihilates the car of Fury Road's supervillain, Immortan Joe, he drags his legless body across the desert. "Kill me," he begs her. "Ok," she sighs, shooting him execution-style. "But not because you told me to."

But shotgunning her issues with patriarchal figures in the face is not enough to keep Summer from seeking male approval wherever else she can find it. Rick shows genuine (if fleeting) respect for her total lack of concern for her own life and wellbeing.

Then a new masculine ideal quickly swoops in to replace her father and constant need for validation. She goes rogue, running off with her new apocalypse boy crush and leader of the Deathstalker gang, Hemorrhage.

In the midst of their blood-soaked scavenging date, Hemorrhage shows a brief moment of vulnerability. Touching the smiling face of a young boy on a billboard, he remembers who he was before the Boom Booms mutated him and his world.

Summer looks down at the billboard's scene of a happy-go-lucky family. Wanna piss on him? she asks, essentially uttering the "you had me at hello" moment of her most long-lasting romance.

But all in all, Summer's not coping with her parents divorce in the healthiest way. And when Morty voices this concern to Rick, he does little more than remind him that they have infinite Summers to choose from if this one goes haywire.

As it turns out, SumSum (Rick's new pejorative for his niece) is not the only one to receive some therapeutic murderous wasteland healing. When Rick realizes the Deathstalker crew she's teamed up with has a whole rock of Isotope 322, he changes his tune about staying in the world longer.

As Rick is wont to do whenever Morty protests his decisions, he regurgitates (or, more aptly, burps) Morty's own concern for his sister back at him by convincing his grandson that Summer's rampage is actually supes cathartic.

Increasingly, Morty's not buying the bullshit Rick's laying down. But he still winds up serving as the distraction his grandpa needs to snatch up the Isotope rock.

Rick injects him with the muscle memory of a disembodied arm that definitely never missed bicep day. To Morty and Rick's surprise, though, the term "muscle memory" proves more literal than expected.

After sucker punching Rick in the face, Morty's super jacked arm makes a beeline for the nearby BloodDome fighting ring. At first, Morty is appalled by the actions of his sentient limb, begging the perpetual onslaught of mutants to stop lining up to die horribly at his own hand.

Morty tries one last time to distance himself from culpability, before a flip switchesand wasteland combat therapy kicks in. "Why would you want this to happen?" he yells to the arm at first, before turning to the dude who's face he's pummeling clean off.

"All you had to do was go away! Stop standing in the driveway talking about custody and either tell her you want to stay married or get on with your life but whatever you do stop being a baby and act like a man!"

Having returned from her scavenging, Summer catches her sibling's breakthrough on his own daddy/granddaddy issues. "This is my brother!" she cries in a rush of pride, before remembering her 'deal' this episode. "Not that family means anything! she corrects.

But when her new cannibal boyfriend assures her that this family between the two of them matters, she's all swoons.

Then a mutant finally realizes the sacred green glowing rock is gone, and all hell breaks loose.

In the episode's second car chase, though, the tables have turned. Summer tries to convince Rick to surrender to her new family lead by bae Deathstalker. Meanwhile Morty, now also emphatically team Deathstalker, urges his grandpa to stay so he can keep working out his issues with singlehanded decapitations.

"Listen both of you kids need to get out of this environment so we can properly deal with your parents divorce!" Rick spits back at them, once again warping Morty's moral reasoning to fit his needs in that moment.

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