With the recent announcement that season three will likely hit the airwaves sooner than expected and with fourteen episodes to boot, Rick and Morty's third offering could be their best season yet. Season two ended on an especially high note when - and this is a MASSIVE spoiler - Rick gave himself up to the Galactic Federation to save his family.
What can we expect from season three? Here are some of the stuff I want to see.
Obviously, this article is going to have spoilers for the entire show, so proceed with caution.
1. A Big, Honkin' Jailbreak
As interesting as it would be to see Rick squandering in jail, it would be too tedious if the entire third season revolved around that plot. Rick and Morty thrives on multiple environments, crafty alien species, and deconstruction of sci-fi adventures that housing it in one location is just not the way to go.
I'm hoping for a explosive premiere where the Smiths bust him out of jail. This is after their extensive musing on whether Rick is worth the effort, of course. The Smiths would have varied reactions to this: Beth could be of two minds after realizing her father left her once again. She'll likely be torn between saving him and leaving him to rot out of anger. Alcohol will most certainly be involved. Jerry would likely oppose the plan to free Rick. Ultimately, it's Morty who convinces his entire family and Rick's allies to save him. This could cause complications now that Earth is officially under the Galactic Federation's watch. Even if they freed Rick legally, the latter has to content with the government spying on his home and that's not schwifty.
2. Exploration of Rick's Past
We know Rick's life is strewn with complication and questionable decisions. He constantly throws caution to the wind with the implication that he is above consequences. In reality they might just be his way of coping. Deep down, he's severely depressed and suicidal. I don't think there's one answer - let alone an easy one - that Rick has done to earn this kind of self-loathing, but getting a sneak peek at his past would be a shoe-in for an episode or two. Importantly, why did he run from Beth? Was it to protect her from his criminal life or something inherently selfish? I don't think it's necessary to know every aspect of Rick's life (got to keep a little mystery), but the show has built enough of a reputation on Rick's behavior that we're well into appropriate territory to start telling.
Another subtle hint is that a couple of episodes sprinkle images of a younger Rick holding a baby Morty. If this is the same Rick, then this contradicts the explanation that he only came into Beth's life a year prior to the show. Then again, we don't know when he left, but it's ingrained enough into backgrounds that something is very off about it. This Morty might be crucial to Rick's Gordian Knot of a life.
3. The Earth's Reaction To the Galactic Federation
The show has largely kept Rick and Morty's adventures separated from Earth. There have been exceptions, but neither plots have ever collided. "The Wedding Squanchers" completely throws that out the window as the Galactic Federation has now registered Earth as part of their government. When the Smiths return home, they find a changed world.
With that gate opened, season three can open up new sets of stories they weren't able to pull before. How will reoccurring Earth characters like Mr. Goldenfold or Morty's love interest Jessica react with aliens walking their streets? Will the people of Earth embrace it or resist? The Smiths might take it better just for enduring the nonsense Rick puts them through, but the rest can only lead to chaos.
The resistance could be a factor, too. We never did find out what happened to Summer's spy “friend” Tammy or Squanchy. Last time they were engaged in a bloody battle between the two factions. You know the rules: unless you see a corspe, they're not dead yet! Imagine the Smiths family getting caught up in a revolution Rick's been fighting all his life.
4. More Summer Smith, Please
Summer had an expanded role in season two, but I can't get enough of her. I think she's a wonderful character who brings her own flavor into Rick and Morty's adventure. I'm not saying she should be the third wheel to Rick and Morty's duo - the show IS called Rick and Morty - but Summer still has the least character development or personal insight out of the main Smith family.
This isn't to say she's flat. Summer had to struggle being an unwanted child when her parents got pregnant at seventeen. She found out in season one, leaving her angry and guilt-ridden. Morty did cheer her up and she seem to have gotten over it, but I'd love to see her deal with it again and maybe explain her motivation. Summer's proven she can be pragmatic in hazardous situations, imagine working her issues into the plot.
And we never did get to see her react when she found out Tammy was a spy. Food for thought.
5. Return of Previous Characters
A previous interview with the crew promised Meeseeks' return, but there are plenty of other one-shot wonders that has the potential for a sophomoric reunion. Mr. Poopy Butthole is a perfect example. After Beth shot him thinking he was a parasitic alien, Mr. Poopy Butthole's been recovering with his usual brand of enthusiasm. We've yet to witness the aftermath of his emotional recovery other than his decision not to sue the Smiths. How on earth did a bizarre character like him even ended up as the Smiths' family friend? He was never seen in past episodes. I guess part of this can be explained away as Rick and Morty living in an alternate universe after episode six's “Rick Potion No. 9.” Then again, maybe that's the joke. I mean, his name is Mr. Poopy Butthole, how serious can you take his origins?
Speaking of "Rick Potion No. 9", will we ever see the original Smiths family that graced the first six episodes of the show? When Rick and Morty fled to a similar alternate dimension to live out their lives, they left the Smiths behind to fend for themselves in an apocalyptic Cronenberg Universe. I'd imagine that Jerry, Beth, and Summer would be radically different than the ones we know. I'm also putting up a vote for Snowball/Snuffles, Morty's now sentient pet dog. We have to see how the dog colony's been doing. Gearhead could return, possibly dead set on revenge for what Rick did to him back in “A Rickle in Time.” Is Morty Jr. still kicking around or did he die from his rapid alien age? Maybe a Morty Jr. Jr?
The possibilities are endless and fortunately for Rick and Morty, that is a very literal playground for the writers to play in.
6. What Is the Deal With Eyepatch Morty?
Eyepatch Morty gets his own section because he's the meat and potato of unanswered questions in the Rick and Morty-verse.
Rick and Morty has been content to let sleeping dogs lie; refusing to recall past episodes outside of minor clues and reoccuring secondary characters. They wanted to every episode separate and accessible, keeping the greater arcs out in favor of small, self-contained stories. I'm content with season three following the same route, but it's high time to unlock some of the bigger secrets of the show.
Possibly the biggest mystery in the entire span of the show, Eyepatch Morty was the brains behind all the Rick killings in “Close Rick-counters of the Rick Kind.” We don't know why he did it; his reveal as the mastermind was only known to the audience, occurring during the last dwindling seconds of the episode. He was last seen being carted off home alongside the thousands of Mortys with the assumption that he's a regular Morty like any other.
Due to his ingenious and quiet nature, this Morty has the potential to be one of the most dangerous and fascinating addition to the show. It would be amazing for season three to return this plot.
These are my personal hopes and guesses. What about you guys?