1. This Wasn’t the Intended Finale and It Felt Like It
No, I’m not suggesting that Sunday night was a fake-out and that a real finale might air around Christmas. Dan Harmon said they “finale-ified” this episode once they realized they wouldn’t be able to make the intended 14 episodes this season. And it showed.
Beth’s “clone or no” arc moved far too quickly over just an episode and change, as did Jerry’s return to the fold and Morty’s switch from enjoying an adventure (and Minecraft) with Rick to not needing him. It was a good episode, but not a great finale.
2. The Family Has Evolved… or Regressed
The season ends with the Smith family back together, except that Rick now resides as the lowest-status member of his “idiot family.” He’s possibly out of the family completely. They look happy for now. Is it a sign of growth?
On the surface, yes. Beth and Morty have realized they don’t need Rick. Everyone seems to have accepted Jerry’s place, including Jerry. But then Beth makes a meta comment about returning to a season one family. It seems so out of place, since her father makes the meta comments. Considering how often she mimics her father (sometimes gleefully, like in Froopy Land), she could easily become the Rick stand-in for the new “streamlined” family in season four. Poor Jerry.
If this leads to a relatively stable family in season four, then I’m for it. I’d prefer a more stable family full of screwed-up people to one that hates itself.
3. More Silliness and Less Meaning
Season three was the weakest so far. I still really enjoyed it, but it was too driven by selfishness and existence-questioning. To be fair, they warned us that it would be the darkest season (and it was by far the most violent). But “Rick and Morty” shines when it’s about wild sci-fi adventures that feature a screwed-up family, rather than a screwed-up family that goes on adventures.
Morty’s “nobody exists on purpose, nobody belongs anywhere, everybody’s gonna die. Come watch TV” quote from season one hits so much harder because of the stark contrast, not because he says that every episode.
4. I Want a ‘Rick and Morty’ Version of ‘Mr. Hankey’s Christmas Classics’
We now have three seasons’ worth of weird, often nonsensical songs. From “Flu Hatin’ Rap” and “The Rick Dance” in season one, to “Get Schwifty” and “Goodbye Moonmen” in season two, to season three’s “Terryfold” and “Fathers and Daughters (Doo-Doo in My Butt),” there’s clearly enough talent to put together a whole musical episode. Perhaps an Interdimensional Cable 3 where Rick and Morty watch Cronenberg World’s equivalent of MTV?
5. Hunker Down for a Long Wait
“Venture Bros.” fans, who have enjoyed only six seasons in nearly 15 years, likely have little sympathy for “Rick and Morty” fans complaining about the gap between new episodes. But the wait for season three, about 18 months for the premiere and 22 months for the rest of it, still seemed interminable. The lack of updates about the schedule didn’t help.
The creators are “still learning how to do the show efficiently.” I don’t have high hopes for a quick turnaround, especially since they intend to make 14 episodes next season.
Mr. Poopybutthole closes another season by gleefully making light of the wait, saying he might have a Santa Claus beard or grandchildren when season four drops. I hope a bearded Mr. Poopybutthole, part of some guerrilla marketing push, becomes a herald for the premiere.