Welcome to the darkest year of our adventures,” Rick famously said this past summer. Oh boy, have things been dark and they keep getting darker. RICK AND MORTY Season 3 is all about diving into the often twisted psyche of the show’s cast. From shockingly poignant family therapy in “Pickle Rick” to disturbing realizations of toxic emotions in “Rest and Ricklaxation,” this season makes a pointed effort to dig deep.

Plus, taking into account “The Ricklantis Mixup” or rather “Tales from the Citadel,” we can safely say this season is all about psychological thrills and shifting moralities. Let’s take a look at how the season has taken both the characters and fans on a psychological trip and what we can expect from the final few episodes!

Rick and Morty Season 3: “Pickle Rick”

Rick getting absolutely schooled by Dr. Wong, family and coprophagia therapist from Rick and Morty Season 3.

Here is a quick summary of the episode: After noticing Morty and Summer’s strange behaviors following her divorce, Beth sets up a family therapy session to resolve their issues. To avoid going, Rick gets himself into a literal pickle. However, he lies to Beth, saying it was a mistake.

Unfortunately for him, Beth and Morty notice a syringe with mysterious liquid poised to fall on him exactly at the time the family is supposed to leave. Suppressing her feelings (and lying to herself), Beth takes the syringe and goes to therapy without Rick. Eventually, Rick finds his way to therapy after falling into the sewer and battling swarms of rats and taking down a secret agency.

This episode features one of the best psychological breakdowns of Rick and the Smith family, ironically. The juxtaposition of the family’s mundane therapy session and Rick’s wild adventure gives the most weight to what therapist Dr. Wong has to say in the end.

It is evident from the beginning that Beth is at family therapy for Morty and Summer’s issues. Specifically, Morty peeing his pants in class and Summer huffing enamel. Beth thinks their behaviors have to do with protesting the divorce. However, Dr. Wong sees a different problem from the family’s passing comments about Rick, and goes in that direction, much to Beth’s frustration.

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In the end, the truth comes out when Rick shows up. He admits that he lied about turning himself into a pickle to avoid therapy because he does not respect it. However, it is interesting to note that Rick was a lot more compliant with Dr. Wong’s questions than Beth was initially. While Beth tried to push the focus onto her kids, Rick sees no point in avoiding the questions. It is not clear if this is because he subconsciously recognizes the need to talk things out or because he is just near-death and exhausted.

In any case, Dr. Wong draws a direct connection between Rick’s “unquestionable intelligence and the sickness destroying [his] family.” Rick’s belief that he can do whatever he wants when he feels like it makes his family think intelligence negates emotional vulnerability and communication. Dr. Wong perceptively notes that Rick switches between viewing his mind as an “unstoppable force and as an inescapable curse” when really, he is always in control of his own mind.

In her final clap-back, she accurately pierces into why Rick does not respect therapy: because it is not an adventure. It is work, like brushing your teeth: “there’s no way to do it so wrong you might die.” Yet, she understands some people, like Rick, would rather die.

Hilariously, Rick cannot say anything to Dr. Wong because she is entirely correct and professional. Even when he insulted her career, she took that into account when evaluating him. Rick is used to dealing with people that are either impressed, terrified, or in conflict with him. When faced with Dr. Wong, whose job it is to be neutral and fair, he has nothing to say. We can see the effects of Rick’s worldview being broken down for him in later episodes, like “Rest and Ricklaxation.”

Rick and Morty Season 3: “Rest and Ricklaxation”

RICK AND MORTY SEASON 3: Toxic Rick harassing Toxic Morty

“Rest and Ricklaxation” is another one of the blatantly psychological episodes in this season. After what was supposed to be a “quick adventure,” both Rick and Morty break down emotionally. Looking more haggard than they ever have, Rick and Morty swear off adventures for a while.

This episode as a whole brought up significant implications for both Rick and Morty’s mental and moral states — particularly because the toxic versions of Rick and Morty are subjective. The machine took out what Rick and Morty disliked about themselves. They became their understanding of “mentally healthy,” which isn’t necessarily objectively true.

To relax from their high-stress adventure, Rick and Morty go to an intergalactic day spa. After sampling various treatments, they go into a psychological detox chamber to remove their “cognitive toxins.” Suddenly, Rick and Morty find themselves in a slimy hellscape and try to figure out what is going on.

Quickly, Rick realizes that he and the Morty with him were the toxins that got removed. The detoxified Rick and Morty leave the spa with their personalities almost completely altered. Meanwhile, the toxic Rick and Morty suffer in the detox chamber.

Rick and Morty Season 3: Rick’s Mental State

Interestingly, while Rick and Morty are talking during their breakdown, Rick comments, “I was not in control of that situation at all.” This is pretty much a direct connection to the therapy session in “Pickle Rick.” Dr. Wong noted that Rick sees his intelligence, and what he does with it, as circumstantial. It is something that affects him, not something he uses. Similarly, while Rick chose to go on this adventure, he ends up feeling like he had no control.

Granted, it is probably because this adventure was a lot more involved than he had anticipated, but on some level, he is fulfilling Dr. Wong’s assessment of him. After Morty asks him why he does this, Rick speculates that maybe it is because he “thinks [he] deserves to die.” He quickly ends the introspective moment, but the rest of the episode goes on to answer why he may feel that way.

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The few things toxic Rick says when we first meet him can explain partially what Dr. Wong evaluated about Rick. Toxic Rick begins to brag about his intellect and claims that he “control[s] the universe” and is “surrounded by inferior pieces of shit.” These are the feelings that Rick thinks are toxic about himself. On some level, Rick recognizes his ability to control himself and the situations around him.

However, he thinks that is arrogant and narcissistic. So, another part of him, the part that Dr. Wong observed, wants to believe he is not an agent of his own actions. Instead, he is at the mercy of his own overwhelming intellect and extenuating circumstances.

Later on, detoxified Rick figures out how the detox chamber worked. After slapping detox Morty during an argument, he realizes the chamber was based on their subjective beliefs. How does he know? He lost his “irrational attachments.” Meaning, Rick believes his care for Morty is actually unhealthy. Thinking about it, that is pretty darn sad.

Rick believes he would be “healthier” if he did not care so much about Morty. Still, detoxified Rick feels a strange obligation to accept his toxic side. This could either mean that he thinks it is healthier to accept and deal with his flaws, or that he wants to carry on his toxic mentality.

Rick and Morty Season 3: Morty’s Mental State

Morty, on the other hand, feels no obligation to his toxic self. However, it is more apparent that Morty’s conception of health is further off the mark. While he loses his self-loathing and compliant self, he also loses his sense of compassion. Towards the end of the episode, after reabsorbing his toxic self, Morty apologizes to Jacklyn, detoxified Morty’s girlfriend, for lying about who he was.

Jacklyn replies, “You were not a fourteen-year-old boy from the midwest who ran away from his family and capitalized on his lack of conscience by becoming a stockbroker?” Morty realizes he was honest about that.

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This means that Morty feels like his conscious, or his excessive mindfulness of others, is “unhealthy.” At least for him, it seems to hold him back. Detoxified Morty had a much easier time at school, becoming incredibly popular. However, he ended up pushing away Jessica, who didn’t like his newfound confidence, bordering on callousness.

The reason Morty thinks his conscience is toxic might be because he does not differentiate it from his self-doubt or lack of confidence. Therefore, he did away with both in the detoxifier. In the end, he accepts his toxic self back, maybe because he realizes it helps balance out his single-minded drive to succeed, as shown by his WOLF OF WALL STREET-style growth.

Rick and Morty Season 3: “Tales from the Citadel”

Newly elected President Morty overlooking The Citadel from Rick and Morty Season 3.

Speaking of Morty, let’s talk about “Evil” Morty, or rather “President Morty.” In Tales from the Citadel,” Evil Morty makes a reappearance. The Citadel of Ricks is rebuilding itself after our main Rick destroyed it along with the Galactic Federation. Since the Council of Ricks has been murdered, an election is taking place. Among the many Ricks, a single Morty is running. Shockingly, he wins. However, we find out that he is the ruthless Evil Morty from “Close Rick-Counters of the Rick Kind” in Season 1.

In that episode, the main Rick, Rick C-137, stands accused of murdering 27 Ricks from alternate timelines since he is a “rogue Rick” not with the citadel. The reality is that Evil Morty was controlling his Rick to frame Rick C-137. Evil Morty was not only the one murdering the Ricks but also using “Rickless” Morties as cover by torturing them and using their disturbed brainwaves as cover. As president, Evil Morty readily murders whoever undermines or questions his authority, and he could become a ruthless, cunning leader of questionable motivation.

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Given that RICK AND MORTY takes place across the multiverse and alternate dimensions, we can psychoanalyze the heck out of the infinite selves of the characters. Ricks seems to take his infiniteness as something like godhood, particularly because he was the one who invented interdimensional travel. On the other hand, Morties seem to take a passive, nihilistic approach. Much like the advice the main Morty gave Summer in “Rixty Minutes:”

“Nothing matters, we’re all going to die.”

However, Morties also seem to lean towards violence. The main Morty in “Look Who’s Purging Now” had no problem murdering a whole bunch of people. While he was horrified with himself, he found relief in the idea that a drug influenced him in the candy bar he was given.

But the audience knows that he was able to do it without the drug since the candy bar did not have it. Morties are capable of horrible acts and immoral behavior. The question is: what will push a Morty too far? We know that the main Morty thinks he is better off without a conscience. We do not currently know Evil Morty’s backstory.

What About the Rest of RICK AND MORTY Season 3?

From a psychological perspective, we have to wonder, what is the difference between all these Morties and all these Ricks? Also, how will the main Rick and Morty’s mentalities and moralities continue to shift? As we just saw in “Morty’s Mind Blowers,” Morty seems to care less and less about what is morally correct. After finding out that Rick erases his memories whenever he feels like it, Morty has no problem physically attacking him. The Morty from previous seasons would not have so readily resorted to violence.

These tensions between Rick and Morty connect to the final confrontation of the season. The main Rick is already likely to confront Evil Morty in the season finale, “The Rickchurian Mortydate.”  What happens is anyone’s guess, but from what we know, it’s probably going to be explosive. It is safe to say that whatever happens will be ripe for psychoanalysis.

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