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Recap / Rick And Morty S 3 E 3 Pickle Rick

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Pickle Rick: I turned myself into a pickle, Morty! Boom! Big reveal — I'm a pickle. What do you think about that? I turned myself into a pickle! W-what are you just staring at me for, bro? I turned myself into a pickle, Morty!
Morty: And?
Pickle Rick: And? What more do you want tacked on to this? "I turned myself into a pickle, and 9/11 was an inside job"?
Morty: Was it?
Pickle Rick: Who cares, Morty? Global acts of terrorism happen every day. Uh, here's something that's never happened before — I'm a pickle. I'm Pickle Rick!

Original air date: 8/6/2017

Rick turns himself into a pickle to get away from family therapy. He eventually ends up in the sewers where he constructs himself limbs with rat parts. He accidentally winds up in a secret facility where he fights his way out. Meanwhile, Beth, Summer, and Morty spend time at therapy to discuss Morty and Summer's issues at school, only for it to end up talking about Beth's problem with her father.



  • Air Quotes: Rick tries to claim that he wouldn't attempt to bail out of therapy, though as a pickle he couldn't do the air quotes.
  • Air-Vent Passageway: Pickle!Rick is using the duct system to move through the building.
  • All for Nothing: Rick turns himself into a pickle to avoid therapy, but the events of the episode ultimately force him to attend the therapy session anyway.
  • All Therapists Are Muggles: Rick obviously sees Dr. Wong as this. While she only witnesses Rick in his pickle form, she's still able to calmly deconstruct his view of his intelligence as both a blessing and a curse and sums up the act of turning himself into a pickle as a general aversion to whatever he finds to be dull or mundane, even at his own personal risk.
  • An Aesop: Fixing your familial or personal problems isn't some high-stakes adventure and the only way you can do it is to accept that it's banal and tedious.
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  • Anti-Villain: Jaguar, a Punch-Clock Villain who is just doing what he can to save his daughter. When Rick finds out that the secret agency lied and Jaguar's daughter is dead, Jaguar quickly switches sides and seeks his freedom.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Jaguar saving Rick and Morty from Concerto in The Stinger.
  • Blatant Lies: Rick certainly did not turn himself into a pickle to get out of therapy, and the syringe full of fluid hanging directly over him attached to a pair of scissors attached to a timer set to go off after everyone else leaves is certainly not a cure for being a pickle.
  • Booby Trap: Rick built one which kills an agent who enters the room.
  • Boxed Crook: The Russian boss employs the imprisoned Jaguar to get rid of Rick in return for the freedom of Jaguar's daughter. Or so he thinks.
  • Broken Pedestal: The kids have started to realize that their mother might not exercise the best judgment in regards to Rick. On the car ride home, the kids also start to realize the full extent of their mom and grandpa's toxicity and how they'll do anything to avoid addressing it.
  • Buy Them Off: The leader of the Russians offers Rick $100 million worth of bonds if he let it go. Rick is not interested.
  • The Chain of Harm: Discussed by Dr. Wong. She quickly surmises that Rick equates showing emotion and vulnerability as showing weakness and stupidity and would dismiss or belittle Beth if she ever showed genuine emotion with him, so Beth learned to be caustic and guarded with her own kids, which caused Morty and Summer to act out in school due to not being able to talk openly about their feelings about the divorce at home.
  • Character Witness: In The Stinger, Jaguar ends up saving both Rick and Morty when the latter two are tied up to oversized piano keys.
  • Comically Missing the Point: Throughout the episode, Beth remains convinced that Summer sniffing pottery enamel and Morty peeing in his desk is the only issue, and Dr. Wong is a quack for not talking about it. She firmly denies any observations that the kids act out because they live in a family where showing emotion and vulnerability is, well, not rewarded, so they've learned to channel their negative emotions (like their upset over the divorce) into unrelated destructive behavior (like desk-peeing or pottery-sniffing).
  • "Could Have Avoided This!" Plot: Discussed. Beth and Morty immediately figure out that Rick turned himself into a pickle to get out of family therapy (though the former outwardly denies thinking this for most of the episode), and Beth takes the syringe that Rick claims he doesn't need. When Rick has to show up at therapy anyway, to get the syringe with the anti-pickle serum, Dr. Wong asks why he was trying to get out of seeing her. He responds that he doesn't believe in therapy. She concludes that it's because therapy isn't thrilling like the adventure of turning into a pickle and enduring a Humiliation Conga to change back and that ultimately he has to decide if he wants to put in the work to heal his family. In the end, Rick hasn't taken her advice; he takes Morty on another adventure that nearly gets them killed, if not for Jaguar. Then he claims that you don't go to therapy because you need a Deus ex Machina like Jaguar.
  • Didn't Think This Through: Even discounting the fact that Beth stole the syringe which would turn him human again, Rick failed to consider that something might move him from his unsecured position on the desk, screwing up his whole plan. All it takes is a stray cat to send him on a wild adventure.
    • Not to mention that Beth could have just easily dragged his helpless, limbless pickle body along to therapy.
  • Dramatic Irony: Beth deflects Dr. Wong's observation that she tends to keep her feelings closed off, by saying it's better than making your problems other people's problems. Smash Cut to Rick shooting up a mansion he only wound up in because he refused to go to family therapy.
  • Dual Wielding: When Pickle!Rick gets his new Frankenstein's Monster body, he straps on a pair of bracers that shoot screws and Exacto blades. The blades can be used as swords instead of launched too.
  • Energy Weapon: Inside the secret facility, Rick MacGyvers a camera and several other electronic bits into a powerful laser that cuts through several inches of low-density matter. He uses it to gorney effect as a weapon.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Rick fakes Jaguar's death, then tells the agency he wants money to be donated to Jaguar's daughter in exchange for their lives. When he finds out Jaguar's daughter is dead, he calls the agents liars with disgust.
  • Everything Is Racist: Beth tries to knock Dr. Wong down a peg by calling her surname racist as if her having a Chinese surname is somehow an offensive thing that Wong chose to call herself.
  • Face Death with Dignity: The agent director calmly accepts his death just before the building explodes.
  • Fatal Flaw:
    • Dr. Wong points out that Rick's adrenaline-junkie need for adventure shows that he has little regard for his life, in that he'd rather put himself in a dangerous situation than do something Boring, but Practical, like therapy. Rick's silent Death Glare shows that he knows this, but he refuses to shed that flaw or change in any way.
    • Beth's is revealed to be her guarded behavior. That she emulates a father who views emotion and vulnerability as a sign of weakness and stupidity, who would belittle and dismiss her if she ever expressed genuine emotions to him, so she learned to avoid opening up since she associates it with getting hurt. This spills over into how she treats her kids, since she'll sooner belittle and dismiss them than address the emotional issues that cause them to act out.
  • Forced Transformation: Rick purposefully turns himself into a pickle and initially has difficulty going places.
  • For Science!: Rick initially tries to justify him turning himself into a pickle as just him wanting to experiment, though, in reality, it's just a way to get out of family therapy.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: Just before Morty points it out, the syringe timer can be seen above Rick when Beth and Summer enter the garage.
  • Gorn: This is definitely one of the bloodiest episodes yet. The scene where Rick slaughters an entire horde of rats is almost at DOOM (2016) levels of brutal.
  • Hard on Soft Science: Why Rick does not believe in going to see Dr. Wong. The latter then analyzes Rick's passion for scientific adventures and aversion to therapy as an aversion to routine, and that while therapy may not be as deep or entertaining, it is safer and more immediately beneficial to those who work at it.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Jaguar, the super-soldier unleashed to deal with Rick, eventually ends up helping him escape. In The Stinger, he saves his life once more.
  • Ignored Epiphany: There are hints that Dr. Wong got through to Rick as he sincerely apologizes to Beth and is wearing a seatbelt (one of the only times he does so). However, he and Beth quickly resolve to get drunk and forget the whole session.
  • Ignored Expert: Beth and Rick don't attempt to take anything they were told by the therapist to heart, even though she understood them and their struggles perfectly. While driving home they both mock her and ignore Summer and Morty, who enjoyed the session and want to go again. Rick then takes Morty on a high-stakes adventure in The Stinger, which leads to Concerto nearly killing them in a Death Trap. After Jaguar rescues them, Rick claims that meeting someone like Jaguar is why you don't go to therapy.
  • Instrument of Murder: The giant piano in The Stinger.
  • Ironic Echo: When left drying out in the sun as a pickle Rick states that it's the super genius equivalent of dying on the toilet. Later on, Dr. Wong compares his boredom with therapy to the boredom she'd have using the toilet because it's tedious and not exciting.
  • Jerkass Ball: Beth is aggressive and surly at the counselling session, cursing at the therapist when she runs out of excuses and again at both her kids when they call her out on it. This is justified in that Beth makes it clear she didn't want to take the kids to therapy and had to because their school made her.
  • Kirk Summation: The therapist gives what seems to be a non-aggressive one to both Beth and Rick, basically boiling down to telling both of them that maintaining healthy relationships may not be as exciting as scientific adventures, but it ultimately will pay off for people who put the time in. The therapist then goes on to admit that some people would literally rather die than be bored, and Beth and Rick's interactions on the ride home imply that both of them are indeed this.
  • Lame Comeback: Dr. Wong manages to emotionally corner Beth and correctly analyze her and her father's toxic dynamic. As she's completely right, all Beth can do is swear at her. When Dr. Wong does the same thing to Rick, he notably has no witty response.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Rick's attempt to avoid therapy results in him getting his plan screwed up, forced to fend for himself in the sewers, fighting off Russians and a Super Soldier, nearly dying and being forced to attend the therapy he was avoiding. On another level, he's forced to rely on others despite his wish to be in complete control of his destiny.
  • Le Parkour: Pickle!Rick reaches the elevator button by doing some of these moves.
  • Like Parent, Like Child: This is the first episode we really see that Beth isn't the best mother even without Jerry around, due to internalizing her father's belief that showing emotion and vulnerability is a weakness, and she caustically belittles and dismisses her kids (just like Rick does) to deflect any blame from herself.
  • Love Is a Weakness: Dr. Wong quickly and correctly surmises that a core component of the family's dysfunction is Rick and Beth internalizing that showing emotion and vulnerability is just a sign of weakness or stupidity — that caustic indifference is a sign of strength and intelligence — so the entire family has learned to redirect their negative emotions into unrelated outlets. (Like Rick turning himself into a pickle to avoid going to therapy, or the kids acting out in school due to being upset by their parents' divorce but being unable to talk about it at home.)
  • MacGyvering: Rick uses his teeth to kill a cockroach, manipulate its brain with his tongue, and fashions it and others of its kind into crude limbs. In this form, he jerry-rigged a whole assembly line to nail on rat limbs manipulated using the brain of a fresh kill, returning him to a quasi-humanoid form. And in this form, he flies a Jet Pack (also made from rat corpses and sewer junk), then takes out a heavily-guarded mansion of government agents using office supplies fashioned into a portable laser cannon.
  • Meaningful Look: Jaguar gives one to Rick in The Stinger before dashing away.
  • Mook Horror Show: Pickle!Rick slaughtering the rats.
  • MST3K Mantra: Invoked by Rick, when Morty keeps asking why Rick would turn himself into a pickle. Subverted when it is revealed that Rick did it to avoid going to therapy.
    Rick: Morty, stop digging for hidden layers and just be impressed. I'm a pickle!
  • Mundane Utility: Rick invents a method to transform himself into a pickle solely to escape going to therapy with the family.
  • Never My Fault: Beth tries to deflect any of her problems the therapist shows her on her own children's problems (Summer was caught huffing pottery enamel while Morty peed himself in class).
  • Ninja Log: When the henchmen storm the room and shoot the pickle, it turns out to be a dummy while Rick was operating out of another room via speakers.
  • Noodle Incident: Whatever happened in The Stinger with Rick and Morty opposing Concerto that led to them being tied up and placed on a giant piano.
  • Obligatory Earpiece Touch: One agent does the hand movement to his ear when confirming to his boss that they killed Rick.
  • Oh, Crap!: The agency director once Rick announces he's coming for him.
  • One-Hit Polykill: After Rick turns a bunch of office electronics into a tiny laser cannon, the first thing he does is punch holes through the heads of three security guards at once.
  • One-Man Army: Even starting as a limbless pickle, Rick can fend for himself, with his MacGyvering allowing him to work his way up from cockroaches, to rats, to special agents.
  • Organic Technology: Rick originally has one made of cockroach bodies to move, but later constructs limbs made of rat parts. Concept artwork reveals the rat suit could have looked even more outrageous, akin to a Mech Suit.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech:
  • Red Herring: It was believed before airing that the family therapy might have something to do with the divorce with Jerry, which is why Rick tried getting out of it (and may or may not have still thought this, it's always hard to tell with Rick), but it was actually about some problems Morty and Summer had at school. Later on, it also seems that Rick just didn't want to go to therapy in general, regardless of the subject.
  • Reusable Lighter Toss: Rick tosses his cigarette from the helicopter onto a puddle of oil on the rooftop which in turn ignites a fuse and bang goes the villain.
  • Rube Goldberg Machine: Rick's anti-pickle serum is suspended by a string through a pair of scissors connected to a timer. Later, he builds such a machine to decapitate a rat.
  • Seen It All: Morty's reaction to Pickle Rick is to immediately start looking for the motivation behind this transformation, rather than be impressed by Rick's feat of science. Beth has the same unfazed reaction to seeing her father as a pickle.
  • Self-Imposed Challenge: In-Universe, Rick proclaims the reason he turned himself into a pickle was to challenge himself. Obviously the completely unrelated syringe hanging above him which contains something other than an anti-pickle serum has nothing to do with this.
  • Self-Surgery: Rick and Jaguar both graze each other in a firefight and seal their own wounds. Jaguar by burning gunpowder in it, and Rick by rubbing mustard on it and stapling on a pickle slice.
  • Sherlock Scan: All it takes is an offhand comment from Summer that "grandpa turned himself into a pickle to avoid coming to therapy" for Dr. Wong to figure out the root cause of the family's dysfunction, and spends most of the session gently Pulling the Thread to help the rest of the family see it too.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Rick's storyline parodies many action movie cliches, in particular, those of the John Wick series.
    • Pickle Rick making a triple headshot with one laser beam references Deadpool making a triple headshot with a single bullet.
  • The Shrink: Dr. Wong is one, who does family therapy as well. Beth takes Summer and Morty to see her because Summer was huffing enamel and Morty peed himself by accident in class.
  • Slashed Throat: Concerto's fate in The Stinger, courtesy of Jaguar.
  • Snowy Screen of Death: The monitors at the Russians' control room go static one after the other during Rick and Jaguar's fight.
  • Somewhere, an Entomologist Is Crying: Rick breaking a cockroach's neck causes it to go limp, and cracking its head open shows pinkish brain. Real cockroaches can keep moving for a while after their heads are entirely removed, and their brain matter is milky white.
  • Spikes of Doom: A Trap Door with spikes kills two of the Russian agents.
  • Spoof Aesop: Don't go to therapy, or you won't get saved by Jaguar from having your head crushed by a psycho pianist.
  • Stealth Pun: Throughout Rick's adventure, he was in a pickle that whole time.
  • The Stinger: Rick and Morty have somehow been captured on one of their adventures by a villain named Concerto, who ties them up on top of a giant piano that will kill them by smashing their heads in when he plays the right notes. Just before he can do so, though, Jaguar pulls a Big Damn Heroes moment by slitting Concerto's throat from behind, saving the duo.
  • Stock Scream: When Rick mauls a group of guards with a laser gun, one of them lets out a Howie Long scream.
  • Taught by Experience: Morty is rightly suspicious that Rick is up to something even before learning that he's a pickle, and quickly discovers that Rick has engineered this situation to get out of therapy.
  • Therapy Is for the Weak: Rick is not at all interested in therapy.
  • Three-Point Landing: Pickle!Rick does this after jumping out of the toilet.
  • Thrill Seeker: Why Rick would far rather go on adventures than go to therapy.
  • Throat-Slitting Gesture: The agent director uses this gesture to signal his men to bust Rick's hiding spot.
  • Toilet Humor: Dr. Wong's two specialties are family therapy and Coprophagy. Beth, Summer, and Morty never seem to quite key onto this, and are constantly caught off guard by references to her other specialty.
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight: Rick walks through Dr. Wong's door as a pickle with prosthetic limbs fashioned from rat carcasses, and she simply greets him and continues with the therapy session. The planet had recently been occupied and visited by hundreds of alien races with even weirder public events happening before that, so it's certainly possible she's been desensitized to random weirdness. She also counsels people who eat poop, so she’s likely capable of dealing with all kinds of bizarre subject matter.
  • You Dirty Rat!: Enforced. A behind-the-scenes interview reveals that the rats were intentionally made to look gnarly and rabid so the audience wouldn't feel bad about Rick massacring them.


Video Example(s):


Rick and Morty: Pickle Rick


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