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Recap / Rick And Morty S 3 E 4 Vindicators 3 The Return Of World Ender

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Rick and Morty team up with a bunch of heroes to battle a villain called World Ender.


Tropes:

  • Absentee Actor: Jerry once again does not appear in this episode.
  • Affectionate Nickname: Million Ants and Supernova call each other "Snuzzles" and "Tittybean" respectively, notably only after Alan Rails dies.
  • Afterlife Express: Alan Rails has the power to summon ghostly trains by blowing on his ghostly whistle. They can smash through solid rock easily.
  • Air Vent Escape: Vance tries to get out through an air vent, but Rick anticipated that and he's killed by booby traps.
  • All for Nothing: The final test Drunk Rick sets up for the Vindicators was meant for Noob-Noob, to show he appreciates him for laughing at his jokes earlier. But Noob-Noob was not even present because he had to clean up the mess Rick made instead of going on the mission. Also, by the end of the episode, Rick doesn't even remember who Noob-Noob is, making everything he did while drunk and the deaths of the other Vindicators pointless from the start.
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  • All of the Other Reindeer: The Vindicators treat Rick as this, not entirely undeserved since he is a smart aleck.
  • The All-Solving Hammer: Rick snarks about Alan's limited offensive repertoire which consists of ghost trains and little else.
  • Already Done for You: Rick already killed World Ender while black-out drunk.
  • And Show It to You: Supernova rips Million Ants' queen ant from his chest and holds it for a few seconds before vaporizing it.
  • Artistic License – Biology:
    • Supernova and Million Ants allegedly had a baby that died in the womb... which was half a dying star and half a million ants.note 
  • Asshole Victim: All the Vindicators but Supernova are killed, directly or indirectly, by Rick's actions. However, the group is revealed to have extremely loose morals when it comes to accomplishing their goals. On top of this, all of them show some incredibly negative trait or do some terrible actions shortly before death.
    • Vance reveals himself as a vain coward and calls Morty's inclusion a publicity stunt, despite claiming he valued his membership, and insults him to his face. Then he gets killed by a Booby Trap while trying to escape.
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    • Crocubot reveals the Vindicators killed a planet full of innocents just to kill one shapeshifter among them. The others feel some regret for it, but Crocubot just seems proud that he knew the answer to Rick's question. Then he is crushed to death because it wasn't the right answer.
    • Alan Rails becomes violently jealous when he finds out his ex-wife cheated on him, even though they're long-since divorced. Granted, it's not clear how far Rails planned to take the thing before Million Ants kills him, but Rick had relatively little culpability in that situation.
    • Million Ants kills Alan Rails for trying to attack him, even though Supernova had already immobilized him. Then, Supernova destroys his central queen ant for objecting to executing Rick and Morty.
  • As You Know: Morty explains the importance of the Vindicators to Rick who would already know about it.
    Morty: Rick, the Vindicators only call when the universe itself is at stake. They're the first line of defense against evil. They're the guardians of the unguarded!
  • Bait-and-Switch: Morty is thought to be what Rick holds dear, the platform in the final test leading to a cutesy roller coaster where a recording of Rick tells Morty how much he means to him and how afraid he was that the Vindicators would take him away. Then Rick says they barely know each other and then finally refers to the ride's intended passenger by name: Noob-Noob, the Vindicators' janitor who laughs at his jokes.
    • On a production level, the Adult Swim promo for this episode makes the plot look like a standard Super Team story with Worldender as the main villain, calling him "the most fearsome villain of the Rick and Morty multiverse" and "imagine Thanos fucked Darkseid and had a baby."
  • Bat Signal: The Vindicators are summoned by a blinking Vindibeacon.
  • Black Dude Dies First: Rick lampshades that a whole lot of "heroes of color" died on the mission he and Morty missed. It's then subverted, as the only white non-Hispanic male on the team dies immediately when the real trouble starts.
  • Both Sides Have a Point: Rick is proven right in that the Vindicators aren't everything Morty thought they were (though his point was that they were incompetent glory-hounds rather than outright bastards), but the Vindicators were also correct in that Rick is impossible to work with and can easily cause as many problems as he solves. Reluctantly deciding to team up with him leads to the team's death.
  • Broken Pedestal: By the end of the episode, almost all of the Vindicators have been killed off by their incompetence and their infighting proves Rick right about their flaws. The Sole Survivor, Supernova, is a remorseless traitor who betrayed her teammates and tried to kill Rick and Morty. It's safe to say Morty doesn't look up to them anymore.
  • Butt-Monkey: Noob-Noob is treated as a janitor by the other Vindicators, being left out of the mission to clean up Rick's diarrhea.
  • Call-Back:
    • Morty gets to choose the adventure for one in every ten adventures he and Rick do, a deal they made in "Meeseeks and Destroy".
    • Rick previously made a neutrino bomb while blackout drunk in the pilot. Evidently Morty learned how to disarm it and several others, enough to claim that Rick has a roughly 60% success rate at making them while drunk.
  • Call to Adventure: Rick lampshades the trope by name when saying that he refuses to answer the Vindicators' "literal call to adventure".
  • Captain Ersatz: The Vindicators are one for The Avengers. Vance is a "sexy drinker" like Tony Stark while closely resembling Star-Lord. Million Ants is a more literal version of Ant-Man. Supernova resembles Starfire with a similar name motif and powers, with a splash of Raven in her too. Alan Rails may be based on John Henry Irons.
  • Captain Obvious: Million Ants announces that the strung up and badly injured World Ender is about to die, which Rick promptly mocks as blatantly obvious. In general, most of his "sensed" observations are fairly obvious ones.
  • Casual Danger Dialog: As Supernova Psychic Strangles Rick and Morty in an attempt to kill them, the two spend the time snarking.
    Supernova: It's the galaxy's faith in the Vindicators that keeps the galaxy secure!
    Rick: Yeah, I feel safer already.
    Morty: No doubt. Who do we make the check out to?
    Rick: I will say, we are getting some good licks in while choking to death.
    Morty: Right?
  • Continuity Nod: Morty says he is invoking his right to choose one in every ten adventures. This is what he got for winning the bet he made with Rick in "Meeseeks and Destroy".
  • Cosmic Deadline: Invoked. Blackout Rick, tired from a long night of activity, makes a third "trap" that simply challenges the heroes to sink five 3-pointers in five minutes. Also, instead of taking the time to accurately measure the contents of the punitive neutrino bombs, Rick "eyeballed" them, probably making them powerful enough to destroy the whole star system they're in rather than just the planet.
  • "Could Have Avoided This!" Plot: Rick was not invited to the Vindicators' last gathering, which ended with them killing an entire planet's population to get one shapeshifting villain. Rick points out he could have easily found the guy without such desperate measures. Of course, Rick may have refused to go even if invited, and when he comes along this time, he proves they had very good reasons to leave him out.
  • Crazy-Prepared: Morty just happens to have pliers on hand to disarm a neutrino bomb, apparently because Rick drunkenly improvising such bombs is fairly common.
  • Creator Provincialism: In-universe, Rick's test asks the Vindicators where they'd never go. Crocubot assumes it was a place where the Vindicators did something horrible. The answer Rick's test required was "Israel", a place most of the Vindicators have never heard of because they're not from Earth.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: Several are meted out through Rick's drunken antics, but the worst goes to Alan Rails, who's blown up from his insides by Million Ants, and then Million Ants himself, who is killed when Supernova crushes his central queen ant.
  • Dance Party Ending: Organized by Rick.
  • Darker and Edgier: In Vindicators 2, the one Rick and Morty weren't part of, at least three heroes were killed, and the surviving ones destroyed an entire planet to stop a shape-shifting villain.
  • Deadly Game: Rick set up a series of challenges for the Vindicators that are mostly meant to humiliate them, though by the third game he got lazy and simply has them play basketball (and they can't even do that without killing each other).
  • Decapitated Army: Million Ants can survive anything as long as the queen ant in his body lives. Destroy that and his ants scatter, leaderless. It remains to be seen how permanent this is, given that real ant colonies who lose their queens can create more, and the remaining ants of Million Ants presumably escaped to safety.
  • Defiant to the End: As Supernova chokes Rick and Morty with the intent to kill them, they begin bantering about her "keeping the galaxy safe" speech.
  • Department of Redundancy Department: Rick claims Crocubot is a living redundancy, asserting that both a crocodile and a robot are already cold and unfeeling independently.
  • Didn't See That Coming: Rick says this when Alan Rails is killed by his teammates in a lover's quarrel instead of a death trap. Unfortunately, Supernova thinks he is being sarcastic and blames him for Alan's death.
  • Easily Forgiven: Rick doesn't mind inviting Gearhead despite his betrayal, and Gearhead accepts even though their last encounter ended with Rick feeding him his own balls (in a manner of speaking). Rick lampshades this, pointing out that he winds up getting high with half the people who try to kill him.
  • Eureka Moment: During the second test (involving picking the one place where evil is that the Vindicators never mention), hearing Drunk Rick say "C'mon, guys, we're all thinking it. Don- (cough) Don't make me say it." has Morty realize (albeit somewhat reluctantlynote ) that the intended answer is Israel.
  • Even Evil Has Standards:
    • Even Rick is sort of worried that he might regularly go on anti-Semitic rants while drunk, and is relieved when Morty states all he does is ramble about defense budgets.
    • As much as he hates their guts, the episode suggests that Rick didn't mean for any of the Vindicators to die. He had a party waiting for them at the end of his game, seemingly in celebration of their success.
  • Fallen Hero: Supernova, by the end of the episode, is driven over the edge by the deaths of 3 of the Vindicators. As a result, she tries to kill Rick and Morty, whom she blames for their deaths (even though Morty wasn't the one responsible for any of them—and in fact tried to prevent them—while Drunk!Rick was arguably only directly responsible for 2 of them), and murders her lover, Million Ants, when he tries to talk her out of it. Though she was already well on her way to becoming one anyway after destroying an entire planet to take out one shapeshifting villain.
  • Foreshadowing: Rick's final challenge is for the Vindicators to place the one thing about their team that is worthwhile on a pad. Morty assumes it's a trick question, as Rick sees no value in them, while Rick guesses he might have meant Morty. Morty, however, wasn't part of the Vindicators when Rick made the recording. Noob-Noob is who he meant, as Noob-Noob was the only one who laughed when he cracked jokes mocking the Vindicators.
  • The Friend Nobody Likes: Rick is largely hated by the other Vindicators and is only tolerated due to being useful.
  • From a Single Cell: Million Ants can regenerate from any injury provided his queen survives. Unfortunately for him, that "single cell" can be targeted.
  • Go-Karting with Bowser: Apparently Rick gets high with half of the people who try to kill him.
  • Gone Horribly Right: Drunk!Rick's test was meant to prove to Morty that The Vindicators weren't all they were cracked up to be, but it worked better than even Rick could have expected: It was only meant to prove that The Vindicators were a bunch of incompetent narcissists, not that they were murderous psychopaths. Also, Drunk!Rick probably never intended to be caught in the death traps himself.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: Vance's fate is only shown through sounds effects (see There Is No Kill Like Overkill below) and the spatters of blood and bits of Ludicrous Gibs falling off the vent around his flailing legs.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: This is the idea everyone had when World Ender is defeated. It turns out to be Rick. Whether or not this makes them correct is a bit ambiguous.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: While Rick's contempt for the Vindicators is very much deserved, Morty realizes that at least some of Rick's grudge against them is jealousy that they (initially) have Morty's adoration. Rick himself admits this might be the case when they get to the final test and Drunk Rick's recording tells them to give him the one thing both he and the Vindicators value, which he assumes is Morty. The valued person that the test asks for is actually Noob-Noob, but only Morty learns of this, and the fact that Rick believes Morty might have been the answer indicates that Morty was still right about him being jealous, even if he wasn't in the moment when he set up the test.
  • Hijacked by Ganon: New villain, the World-Ender, gets replaced by the old Villain Protagonist, Rick.
  • Hot Skitty-on-Wailord Action: Between Million Ants and Supernova, resulting in their unborn child dying in the womb due to being half a million ants and half an exploding star.
  • Ironic Echo: Attempted by Supernova, mocking Morty's claim that "there is no right and wrong" as she kills him, which would have been more effective if Morty had actually said that.
  • Instantly Proven Wrong: When Morty asks Rick if he set up a Saw-type scenario for The Vindicators, Rick denies he would do something so hackneyed, followed immediately by the recording of Rick's blackout self excitedly stating that the traps he set up are just like in Saw.
  • It's the Only Way to Be Sure: It's revealed that the Vindicators once exterminated the population of an entire planet just to take down one shapeshifting villain. Though Rick points out that it wasn't the only way to be sure and that he could have developed a tracking device that would help the find the villain, had they bothered to call him.
  • Jerkass Has a Point:
    • The Vindicators may be self-absorbed assholes, but they weren't wrong on how difficult Rick is to work with.
    • Deconstructed with Rick. Morty does admit Rick was right about the true, unsavory nature of the Vindicators, but further points out that he's such an asshole that no one wants to give him the satisfaction of being right. Rick simply brushes this off, acknowledging how people would rather listen to someone they like (even if that someone is stupid) over someone they hate (no matter how smart or useful they may be).
    • Alan Rails does have a right to be mad at Supernova for cheating on him while they were still married. The only thing that make him a Jerk concerning it was bringing it up at an inappropriate time.
  • Karma Houdini:
    • Supernova murders Million Ants and was going to murder Rick and Morty, only stopping because of the party. She dances uncomfortably into the crowd and disappears. Rick apathetically allows her to leave, justifying it by stating that twenty people try to kill him every week and he winds up getting high with half of them.
    • Rick is responsible for the entire mess and gets away scot-free (as per usual). The universe even sees him as a hero because he happened to have destroyed a dangerous supervillain in the process, and Supernova did enough horrible things herself to be unable to rat on him.
  • The Load: Inverted. Rick is the one who put everyone in danger and does little to actually help them afterwards, and the Vindicators are at each other's throats too much to get out. As a result, Morty is the only person who consistently helps the group escape, despite being written off by both the Vindicators and Rick as a useless hanger-on who's only around for the press.
  • Madden Into Misanthropy: Rick's drunken antics cause the Vindicators to go crazy and start killing each other, eventually making Supernova a full-on villain.
  • Meaningful Name: The name "Vindicators" signifies both that they try to excuse their own actions and prove Rick's complaints to be right.
  • Men Are the Expendable Gender: Except for Noob-Noob (who is more like a glorified intern than a 'real' member) the male members of the Vindicators are slaughtered while the lone female survives to become a Karma Houdini.
  • Misplaced Retribution: When Supernova tries to kill Rick for the multiple deaths he causes (and the one she helped commit), she further decides to also kill Morty, who was the only reason anyone survived. Either Supernova genuinely thought being associated with Rick made Morty guilty, this was just a pretext to cover up her own misdeeds, she just revels in killing, or she was too angry to be thinking straight.
  • Mundane Utility: Million Ants and Supernova use their powers to make three-point shots in basketball.
  • My Greatest Failure: When faced with a Deadly Game where the answer is a location they never speak of, Crocubot deduces the answer is Dorian 5 due to the Vindicators exterminating the planet's population to weed out a shapeshifting villain named Doomnomitron. Unfortunately for Crocubot, the real answer was Israel due to it being a recurring subject of Rick's drunken rants.
  • My Significance Sense Is Tingling: Million Ants can sense incoming danger and the physical condition of other beings, though it verges on Captain Obvious at times.
  • Naked People Are Funny: Rick is sleeping half-naked on a table surrounded by his diarrhea after blacking out and killing World Ender, and making Saw-inspired death traps for the Vindicators.
  • Never My Fault:
    • Rick refuses to take any responsibility for the situation he himself engineered, as he doesn't think of blackout-drunk Rick as himself.
    • When Alan Rails realizes Supernova cheated on him with Million Ants, he starts a fight and is immediately killed by the other two. When Rick points out he had little to do with that particular death, Supernova insists that even that was entirely Rick's fault. Given that she was part of the tryst that led to that scuffle in the first place, she of course is full of crap, and really was more at fault for that one.
    • Supernova also blames Morty for her team falling apart, even though Morty had solved most of the death traps and Supernova herself had just murdered her last remaining teammate.
  • Never Trust a Trailer: A TV spot played up World Ender as the most terrifying villain the show's creators have ever made. In the actual episode... not so much. They conveniently leave out any actual footage of World Ender, showing only concept art of the character.
  • Noodle Incident:
    • Rick and Morty have gone on an adventure with the Vindicators before, and Morty is disappointed that the Vindicators have gone on a second adventure without them in the time between the first one and this one.
    • Drunk!Rick is apparently very concerned with Israel's geopolitical circumstances. The way Morty talks about it, Rick has clearly gone on more than one drunken rant about the subject.
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome: Over the course of one night while blackout drunk, Rick slaughtered his way through World Ender's lair, set up an elaborate game, and organized a party.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • When the Vindicators fall into the trap Drunk Rick made, Rick realizes he forgot his portal gun and can't just leave.
    • The Overly Long Gag of Vance's death is interspersed with two shots of the rest of the group watching in slack-jawed horror.
  • Only Sane Man: Morty is the only one in the group who actually gets stuff done, as Rick is decidedly unhelpful in getting past the traps he made to disparage the Vindicators and the Vindicators are too busy proving Rick right to do anything.
  • Other Me Annoys Me: Zigzagged. Drunk Rick is just Rick while he's blackout drunk and not actually another version of Rick from the Council of Ricks, but Rick refers to him as a completely different person, never addressing him as "I". He also comments on the poor work he did with the neutrino bomb, stating it's a miracle he's ever able to destroy anything.
  • Overly Long Gag: Vance get mangled various way in the vent for about 10 seconds... then his severed legs fly around for about 5 more (at least until Crocubot decides to cut it short by disintegrating them mid-flight).
  • Plot Tailored to the Party: A staple of The Vindicators. On the attack on World Ender's lair, Rails clears a path using a ghost train, and Million Ants slips through some bars to open the gates for the others. Rick's assigned specialty is using and disabling gadgetry, though, as he says, he can do anything he wants to, and indeed had already completed the mission while blackout drunk the night before.
  • "Pop!" Goes the Human: Million Ants shoves himself down Alan Rails' throat and explodes him from within.
  • Power Perversion Potential: Million Ants can have sex, with some rather detailed theorizing by Alan Rails on the subject.
  • Promoted Fanboy: In-Universe, Morty becomes this when Vance gives him an official Vindicators jacket. By the end of the episode, he's no longer a fan.
  • Psychic Strangle: Towards the end, Supernova strangles Rick and Morty this way.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Rick's tests for the Vindicators is supposed to be one long point about their flaws, with the solution to each puzzle being to admit terrible things about themselves, such as their lack of originality or pathetic-ness. Except Rick's so drunk that after the second test, the others rapidly devolve into nonsense. Morty then reverses it on Rick by summarizing his intentions in equally blunt terms.
    Morty: Drunk Rick's point is that none of you are very special or different. That's always his point.
  • Red Baron: Vance Maximus- Renegade Starsoldier, and Rick Sanchez- Tinkerer of Terror.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!:
    • Vance loses his cool and attempts to flee Rick's death chamber though an air vent. It does not end well.
    • Rick also decides to leave, only to discover that he left his portal gun behind during his bender.
  • Seen It All: Morty is shown to understand what Rick was thinking in his extremely drunken state of mind and easily solves the puzzles Rick set up. He notes that Rick always babbles about defense budgets and Israel when drunk and has gone through "too many" neutrino bombs, facts not even Rick himself was aware of. The only thing he was shocked by was that the one thing the Vindicators had that Rick claimed to value was Noob-Noob instead of the two other guesses, nothing or Morty himself. He isn't pleased when he finds out.
  • Shout-Out: Saw is referenced by name as being the source of Drunk!Rick's series of tests.
  • Spanner in the Works: Drunk Rick's Saw traps (apart from the "Israel" trap which nobody apart from Morty had any way of figuring out) were designed in a Batman Gambit-esque way to be nearly impossible to fail: if the Vindicators were actually as brave, selfless and so on as they claimed to Rick to be, no one should have had any chance of dying, to the point that he even had a giant party set up for them and Noob Noob at the end. It's only because they're cowardly, genocidal and paranoid wrecks that all but one of them ends up dead.
  • The Stinger: Gearhead (who took Morty's Vindicator vest at the party when the latter didn't want it anymore) is boasting to some cute Gear-girls about being a Vindicator when they all hear an alarm sound. Rather than going to help, Gearhead leaves his vest in a trash bin in the alley and runs away, only to trip up and break into a bunch of little gear-pieces.
  • Take That!:
    • Virtually every one of the Vindicators is a not so thinly veiled jab at numerous well-known superhero figures, with all of them being depicted as vain, selfish, and moronically incompetent. The entire episode may as well be one long middle finger to the superhero genre, and to the Marvel Cinematic Universe in particular.
    • It also takes a few pot shots at Saw.
      Morty: Is this a Saw thing? Are you seriously Sawing the Vindicators?!
      Rick: Morty, I'm a drunk. Not a hack.
      (cue Drunk Rick comparing the test to Saw)
    • The deaths of several Vindicators who were obviously Captain Ethnic, is a clear jab at Suicide Squad (2016), where the only squad members to die were the Native American Slipknot and the Latin American El Diablo.
  • There Is No Kill Like Overkill: After he sticks himself in the vent, Vance gets successively (from what we can hear) machine-gunned down, burned to a crisp, and chainsawed, until his legs are finally severed from his (probably mangled beyond recognition) torso and fall off the vent. Drunk Rick clearly doesn't fuck around when it comes to setting up booby traps.
  • Toilet Humor: Rick crapped all over the briefing room table at the end of his drunken bender.
  • Too Clever by Half: When Crocubot is asked where the Vindicators would never go, he confidently picks the logical solution to the actual questions, which was a place whose inhabitants they killed. However, he failed to account for who was asking the question: Rick, who did not know about said event, and was actually setting up a punchline to a political joke Crocubot wouldn't have understood.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Vance dies because he ignores Rick's warnings that the lair is most likely booby-trapped, and Crocubot dies because he assumes Rick's second test involves a personal failing of theirs Rick doesn't know about, ignoring Supernova's warning not to get ahead of himself.
  • The Un Reveal: It is seldom shown or even talked about how Rick and Morty joined the Vindicators to begin with.
  • Underestimating Badassery: The Vindicators use Rick as a Science Hero or a Gadgeteer Genius, when in reality he's powerful enough to single-handedly take on their nemesis while blackout drunk.
  • Unwinnable by Design: Morty thinks this of the last test, deducing that there is nothing The Vindicators possess that Rick holds dear, and that the bomb is designed to detonate no matter what answer is provided.
  • Unwinnable by Mistake:
    • The second test is meant to show the Vindicators something terrible and hypocritical about themselves, but because Rick reaches the "rambling incoherently" point of being drunk, the answer to the test is Israel. The Vindicators would never have passed this test without Morty's help, since none of them have ever been to Earth and have no idea what Israel is.
    • The answer to the last question, what The Vindicators have that Rick holds dear, is Noob-Noob for reacting positively to Rick's zingers. However, he was left behind for the mission, making the trap impossible to answer by intentional means. Fortunately, a deleted line reveals that the trap confirmed their answer by weight, and Morty's is the same as Noob-Noob's.
  • We Are "Team Cannon Fodder": The Vindicators treat Rick as just a Gadgeteer Genius who can get past the World Ender's automated security. In reality, he's capable of single-handedly killing the World Ender and his entire army, and setting up a Death Trap they can't force their way out of. All of this during a blackout bender. Rick also claims he could have easily tracked down the shapeshifting villain they destroyed a whole planet to kill.
  • The Worm That Walks: Million Ants is a sapient colony of one million ants that usually takes a humanoid form.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: The Vindicators think they're in a sci-fi superhero story like the Guardians of the Galaxy comic, with Rick Sanchez as just one more replaceable member with a specialty. They're not, and he's more than equal to the entire villain force and their whole roster put together.
  • Your Cheating Heart: Supernova and Million Ants started having an affair while she was still married to Alan Rails, which comes to a head during the 3-point shot "test" and leads to a fight that ends in Rails' death.

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