'Rick and Morty' season premiere a glorious return

Mulan Szechuan Teriyaki Dipping Sauce isn’t the only thing Rick brings back

aerickandmortycourtesywarnerbrostelevisiondistribution

"Rick and Morty" released the first episode of the third season in a style reminiscent of "Lemonade."

Courtesy Warner Bros. Television Distribution

Besides a recent resurgence in demand for McDonald’s 1998 promotional “Mulan” dipping sauce, the season three premiere of “Rick and Morty” revives what cult audiences of Justin Roiland and Dan Harmon’s animated science fiction sitcom love — the unexpected.

Indeed, Roiland and Harmon announced the release of the “The Rickshank Redemption” on April Fool’s Day. Adult Swim winkingly posted a link to the new episode’s surprise livestream on their Twitter account — an unorthodox promotional tactic reminiscent of the release of Beyonce’s album, “Lemonade.”

If the season three premiere of “Rick and Morty” is the “Lemonade” of animated science fiction buddy adventures, then it is clear viewers will enjoy more than a surprise scheduling scheme. The episode welcomes the “Rickiest” Rick and the “Mortyest” Morty yet. “The Rickshank Redemption” starts where fans left off 18 months ago at the end of season two. Rick, Morty’s brilliant and cynical scientist grandfather, must escape from galactic prison and return to Earth, which has been taken over by a federation of aliens feeding human inhabitants plates of mood-enhancing pills.

Morty’s simple dad, Jerry, is having the time of his life. On the other hand, Beth, Morty’s mom and Rick’s daughter, struggles with abandonment. Morty and his sister Summer agree they are miserable and squabble over a solution — literally and figuratively digging up old skeletons in the backyard in the process.

Meanwhile, an alien investigator (Nathan Fillion) investigates Rick’s memories for an illegal and powerful substance Rick created to travel through different dimensions. This is inconsequential fun for Rick, who is just as hysterical as he is manipulative, ironically warning that he left behind his ability to improvise while escaping through the investigator’s brain.

For the most part, the premiere episode is unsympathetic to new viewers, but still wholly loyal to and satisfying for old fans. However, a new viewer can still just as easily fall in love with the constant fourth wall breaks, darkly hilarious existential crises and an apparent return of Bird Person — not even a spoiler for this complex and nugget-filled episode.

Trusting the internet to find its way toward a highly-anticipated surprise premiere fans have awaited for 18 months is fitting for “Rick and Morty” — it is a show that demands this sort of gumption and follow-through. Rick returns for more off-the-wall adventures, and he wants that Mulan McNugget sauce, even if it takes him nine seasons to get it.   

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