How Rick & Morty Season 3 Episode 1 Changed The Series Forever

Justin Roiland in Rick and Morty season 3

Here’s how Rick And Morty season 3 episode 1 “The Rickshank Rickdemption" changed the course of the series forever. Rick And Morty follows the animated, interdimensional adventures of alcoholic scientist Rick Sanchez and his grandson Morty. Due to Rick’s selfish, nihilistic behavior, these adventures often spiral out of control in horrifying ways, leaving Morty and his family with severe mental scars. Rick And Morty’s mix of sharp comic writing and fascinating sci-fi premises quickly saw it become a huge cult favorite.

Fans had a long wait between Rick And Morty season 2 and 3, with the final scene of the second season finding recurring character Mr. Poopybutthole breaking the fourth wall to tease the show might not be back for "a year and a half." Season 2's finale “The Wedding Squanchers” ended on a major cliffhanger, with Rick turning himself into the Galactic Federation to save his family. Adult Swim would later shock fans by suddenly airing Rick And Morty season 3 episode 1 on April 1, 2017, on a loop with no promotion. In a meta twist, this also matched the “year and a half” Mr. Poopybutthole had previously warned fans would have to wait.

Related: Rick & Morty Theory: Evil Morty Is Rick’s Original Morty

Rick And Morty season 3 proved to be worth the long wait, with “Pickle Rick” and “Tales From The Citadel” being two of the best episodes of the entire series. It can’t be denied the show took a darker, more melancholy tone in the third season, which was established firmly in Rick And Morty season 3 episode 1. “The Rickshank Rickdemptation” subverted expectations at nearly turn, opening on a scene where Rick recounts his epic offscreen prison escape – only to reveal it’s all a simulation in Rick’s mind by the Galactic Federation.

Justin Roiland and Nathan Fillion in Rick and Morty season 3

“The Rickshank Rickdemption” moves at breakneck pace, revisiting the Cronenberged-Earth where Rick and Morty abandoned the original version of their family in season 1, and Rick takes revenge on the Council of Ricks after rescuing his grandchildren. Rick is reunited with his family in what should be a happy ending, but this is cut short when Jerry refuses to take him back, leading to Beth divorcing him.

In the final scene, a crazed Rick reveals to Morty he let himself be captured on purpose to take revenge on all who crossed him, including Jerry. Rick details to his horrified grandson that while he might be viewed as a hero after freeing Earth from the Galactic Federation, it was really a ploy to force Morty to be his sidekick indefinitely. While Rick might have flashes of emotion, this scene revealed once and for all how twisted he is. He essentially broke his family apart for his own needs, with the aftermath of Jerry and Beth’s divorce playing a big role throughout season 3.

Rick And Morty season 3 episode 1 also showed Rick’s tragic origin story and finally revealed Beth’s mother, only to reveal - in a move seemingly designed to annoy fans - its a total fabrication. Rick And Morty season 3 episode 1 changed the series by truly revealing the dark heart of Rick Sanchez, who is in many ways is more of a monster than the various alien creatures he clashes with. This accounts for the more downbeat tone of season 3, and the various existential insecurities Morty, Beth, Summer, and Jerry face during the third season.

Next: What To Expect From Rick & Morty Season 4

Batwoman and Tommy Elliott
Batwoman: 11 Unanswered Questions After Season 1, Episode 3

More in SR Originals