Welcome back to Rick and Morty, everyone.
Rick and Morty kicked off again yesterday afternoon, with an Adult Swim livestream beaming out the episode to everyone who had been patiently waiting for the last couple of years. The first episode already aired over April's Fools, and has been viewable since on Netflix and other services like Hulu, but the season didn't resume a proper schedule until yesterday.
Titled "Rickmancing The Stone", the second episode of the season kicked off with the entire Rick and Morty family essentially abandoning Jerry in one way or another, following on "Rickshank Redemption" where Jerry forced Beth to choose between him or her eccentric genius grandfather.
Beth made that choice in a heartbeat, not even entertaining the idea of a temporary separation, and that's where the series resumed: with Jerry left alone, hovering awkwardly in a driveway with his possessions.
Rick and Morty has gradually leant more into Beth and Jerry's relationship as the seasons have developed. Their martial tension started out as a dark, harrowing joke to close off a scene or an episode, but as the episodes have gone on it's become more of a foil to explore the effect on Morty and Summer, while also humanising Rick to an extent.
But given that no character in Rick and Morty is even remotely close to being fully emotionally developed, the trio of adventurers do exactly what you'd expect: drop a portal in the middle of a garage and run off to an adventure, while Jerry watches. That adventure takes them to a Mad Max themed wasteland, where Summer adopts a Furiosa-style attitude and takes a sawn-off shotgun to a nearby tribal leader.
The evolution of Summer has been a breath of fresh air for Rick and Morty. She acts as a go-between the two main characters, giving Rick someone he can riff on Morty with, while also acting as a foil for Morty to work things out with his grandfather, or his parents. The family is still closer to the literal definition of nuclear than the familial term, but Summer has gone from a thorn in Morty's side to almost a core character in her own right, particularly as Jerry's arc separates him (and Beth by extension) further from proceedings.
There were some fun little twists throughout. Summer has a relationship with a jacked bloke wearing a tin bucket, whose relationship evolves to the point where she takes the bucket off to discover a fairly ordinary looking dude with, of all things, a moustache. To cover Summer and Morty's absence from home, and partially to stave off Beth's loneliness, Rick knocks up two prototype robots to take the place of the kids. They end up reminding Beth of what the family used to be, however, and just before they return Robot Morty gains sentience and decides he wants to live, audibly overriding his restraints in front of a confused Beth.
Morty's arc, meanwhile, involves getting injected with the muscle memory of a wasteland fighter killed in a raid. That results in some old fashioned gratuitous violence, as Morty's jacked limb goes on a quest to write some decade-old wrongs. It ends up with the drowning of the person responsible, except Morty's arm shrinks before the job is done, so Rick helpfully offers to finish the job.
"The longer you wait Morty, the more it's going to feel like committing a whole murder ... see Morty, now we're both accountable," Rick morbidly suggests, not that murder has ever presented a moral quandary for Rick before.
Rickmancing The Stone won't be held in the same acclaim as Total Rickall, the improv mania of Rixty Minutes or the Inception-style nature of The Ricks Must Be Crazy. But it carries on from the season opener without losing a beat, which is all fans could ask for.