Rick And Morty season 3 episode 2 “Rickmancing The Stone” is essentially one long tribute to Mad Max – here’s how the show made the post-apocalypse fun. Rick And Morty is a series that often pays homage to classic movies and TV shows; the basic premise is essentially a parody of Back To The Future and season 3 alone saw extended nods to Die Hard, Guardians Of The Galaxy and Stand By Me.
Season 3 had a darker tone than previous years, due to Jerry and Beth deciding to divorce. Rick And Morty season 3 episode 2 is set in the aftermath of this decision, with Jerry leaving the house and Summer deciding to take her anger out on the inhabitants of a Mad Max-style alternate dimension during one of Rick's misadventures. “Rickmancing The Stone” feels like a mixtape of all the post-apocalyptic action movies of the 1980s, including Mad Max 2 and Escape From New York.
While Mad Max is a franchise filled with great action and a fully realized world, they’re rarely funny either, which isn't really a surprise, considering the bleak world they take place in. Rick And Morty season 3 episode 2 has a lot of fun with the genre though, taking the classic tropes and turning them on their heads. The Death Stalkers at the center of episode 2 are a roving gang of punks wearing S&M gear, with their leader Haemorrhage being a direct homage to Lord Humungus from The Road Warrior. Morty is also forced into bloody combat in the Blood Dome during the episode, taking inspiration from Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome.
“Rickmancing The Stone” also takes clear inspiration from Mad Max: Fury Road, with Rick, Summer, and Morty being chased by a very Immortan Joe looking villain in the opening chase. While the show has fun playing with the visuals of the Mad Max series, the episode itself uses the wasteland to explore the emotions Morty and Summer are feeling in the wake of their parent's divorce. Morty uses the Blood Dome fights as a way to vent his frustration over Jerry’s lack of action and Summer is attracted to the nihilistic lifestyle of the Death Stalkers as an escape from reality. Showrunners Dan Harmon and Justin Roiland have always had a great sense of balancing tones, so while they revel in the bloody violence of the setting, both the humor and the emotions end up serving the characters too.
Rick And Morty season 3 episode 2 even ends with a mirror of the ending from the previous episode, where Beth announced she and Jerry are divorcing, with Summer leaving Haemorrhage in the exact same way. An actual Mad Max-style post-apocalypse would be pretty miserable, but “Rickmancing The Stone” did a great making it seem kind of funny.