TV REVIEW: Rick and Morty S3 E3 ‘Pickle Rick’ (Contains Spoilers)

The sight of Pickle Rick atop his infamous garage work bench in the promos for series 3 has had fans in an absolute tizz since it first hit our screens after the début of Episode 1 back in April; why is he a pickle? How is he a pickle? Will anyone else become fruit or vegetables? Just what the chuff is happening?! Memes and theories swirled around the internet for months, and luckily the episode exceeded all of my expectations and then some!

One of the great things about this episode is pretty much everyone’s reaction to Pickle Rick; from the Smith family, to the shady foreign embassy dudes, to the (masterfully voiced by Susan Sarandon) Dr Wong. No-one is particularly surprised that he’s a pickle, in fact in stark contrast to the general public’s reaction, it’s a standard Tuesday for the Smiths at this point. Dr Wong has plenty of time to adjust to the idea of a sentient pickle as it’s pretty much all they talk about in the therapy session, and the shady embassy guys immediately think he’s a pickle of local legend (the name of which I don’t know how to spell, so I’m not even going to try..!) It’s the why of it that’s the fascinating part; Morty sees through his plot to avoid family therapy immediately, and I think it says a lot about who Rick is that he felt he had to go to this sort of length to do so. I’ve talked before about how occasionally we see that, despite his nihilistic view of life and relationships and apparent disdain for everyone, he does genuinely care about his family. For a start, that he chooses to stay with the family (although they’re not his original family) alludes to the fact that he sees at least some positives in these relationships, but I think the fact that he felt the need to turn himself into an item which is unable to manoeuvre itself around rather than just tell Beth he doesn’t want to see a therapist is very telling. I mean, he’s a grown man, he absolutely can choose not to attend if he wants, but he obviously doesn’t want to upset Beth by simply not going (luckily for us as an audience!).

Essentially this episode is a parody of action movies, more specifically Die Hard & John Wick, I think, and boy howdy does it deliver on that front. This is a particularly gruesome episode (who knew that, even in animated form, a guy licking a brain would make me heave?!), with cockroaches, rats and humans getting offed in quite spectacular ways. Here’s a sentence I never thought I’d type; the animation in this episode was right on the money, particularly in the sequence in which Rick battles a bunch of horrendously ugly rats (with insanely bloody results) and the scene in which he shoots a laser through the heads of three men standing in line. The escalation of the action is masterfully handled, from the first few moments of lonely pickledom and the resultant incredible boredom, to Rick’s makeshift sewer body factory, to the insane Die Hard inspired embassy showdown. Rick’s ingenuity is on full display, as he builds himself a working body from cockroach and rat bits, enhanced with bits and pieces he finds in the sewer, as well as creating a frankly amazing laser weapon in the embassy (it’s hilarious to me that such a powerful item runs on one battery).

The juxtaposition of Pickle Rick’s action-packed blood-drenched adventure to Beth, Summer and Morty at therapy is just perfect; I’ve seen complaints that the therapy scenes were a little boring and lacking in anything but a little character development, but I think that’s exactly why it’s so perfect. We needed this to accentuate the point of Dr Wong’s monologue; Rick needs the thrill of adventure in his life, because anything less exciting feels like work to him. The ambiguity of the ending to the therapy session is particularly intriguing from a Beth point of view; whilst Rick had one of his incredibly rare moments of clarity and actually managed to squeeze out an apology, we see in the car that Beth is still very willing to forgive her father for basically anything he does, actively ignoring her kids’ keenness to continue therapy in a bid to impress him. You have to wonder whether the divorce is affecting Beth more than she’s willing to admit; I mean, we’ve seen from the excellent series one episode Rixty Minutes that, even when achieving her dreams, she’s miserable without Jerry, and she hasn’t really had any means to distract herself or explore this like the kids did in the previous episode. I’m very interested to see where Beth goes from here, as she’s a character that hasn’t really seen much in the way of development throughout the show.

There are so many more things I want to talk about regarding this episode (the more I think about it, the more sure I am that Pickle Rick is the best episode of Rick and Morty to date), but I’ve already waffled on for quite a while, so here are some final thoughts; the voice acting in the episode was top notch, and I especially loved Peter Serafinowicz’s evil embassy guy. There’s something so menacing about his deep and fancy British accent, and I love it. The comedy, too, is right at the top of the Rick and Morty game, some of my favourites bits including the coprophagia “What’s courageous about eating a hot dog?” joke, “Perpendicular! PERPENDICULAR!”, “Get that parkour!” and Beth’s use of the word ‘nobs’. Even though the episode has a distinct lack of Jerry, it more than makes up for it in laughs, action and sheer awesomeness.

GS Rating: 5/5

Reviewer: Stacey Taylor (@StaceysParlour)

More from the world of Geek Syndicate

%d bloggers like this: