I’m obsessed with Rick and Morty. I have been since the pilot episode. I knew right away it was my cup of tea. It can be hit and miss on occasion, with way more hits than misses. Season 3, Episode 3: Pickle Rick may be the episode to date. It’s a masterpiece. Pickle Rick fits the plot of a full-length Hollywood blockbuster into a taught 22 minutes, without missing a beat. I don’t know if the common viewer understands how difficult that is. If Pickle Rick was a full-length studio movie it could be the best science fiction/ action/comedy of the last decade.
They fit what would be the entire first act into one hilarious scene that pretty much explains everything and sets the plot in motion. Rick Sanchez, the smartest man in the world, possibly the universe, has turned himself into a pickle. He is resting on his workbench calling for his grandson Morty. The family is about to go to a group therapy session and Rick now in pickle form is unable to go. Rick says he did it as a challenge for himself and has no clue how to turn himself back. He thinks it could take days.
Morty notices a syringe dangling from a string on the ceiling, a scissor wired to cut the string once a timer goes off. Ricks true intentions are clear, he didn’t do it as a challenge. He did it to avoid therapy. Rick denies the accusation, claiming the syringe is an unrelated project. Morty’s mother Beth, naively believes her father. She removes the syringe from it’s precious position above Rick as a safety precaution. Beth then puts the syringe in her purse and the family is off to therapy. Rick is both literally and figuratively left in a pickle.
We are thrust into the second act moments later when the cat jumps onto the workbench. The cat knocks Pickle Rick off the bench and he rolls into the driveway. Rick thinks he is going to wither away and die but is given deliverance by a summer storm. The downpour isn’t all good for Rick, at first it saves him, but the rain is soon strong that it sweeps him off the driveway, and he rolls deep into the sewers.
I won’t give away the rest of the episode but it somehow turns into a mixture of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Die Hard for the rest of the second act for Pickle Rick. Interposed with the Rick storyline is the family trip to therapy. The writers somehow address real family issues facing the family. Most of which is the dynamic between Beth and her father Rick, and the effect it has on the children. Simultaneously infusing laugh out loud comedy into the exchange making it fun the entire time.
The third act is summed up in the last two scenes and the end is both satisfying and hilarious. I struggle to find a single flaw with the episode, it may be a perfect episode of television. The thing about Rick and Morty is…this isn’t their first perfect episode. But it’s probably the best one to date. Obviously, this is debatable and previous episodes such as “Total Rickall.”, “Look Who’s Purging Now.”, “M. Night Shaym-Aliens” all have a claim. Debating the best Rick and Morty episode is like debating the best Led Zeppelin Song for me. I love so many it becomes impossible to choose.