Ep #: 25
Air date: Aug. 13th, 2017
Synopsis: Rick and Morty are summoned by the Vindicators to aid them in their greatest mission yet!
The Vindicators, a group of the most powerful superheroes in the known galaxy, contact Rick and Morty to join them in their latest assignment. Rick is unimpressed with the group, deeming them a bunch of Drama Queens who aren't as noble as Morty sees them as. The two had one previous off-screen adventure with the team last summer, but Rick refuses to heed the call this time around. That is until Morty evokes his right to choose every tenth adventure.
At the Vindicators meeting, Rick keeps interrupting as he criticizes the lame superhero gimmick they got going. The Vindicators obviously recall the best of comic book superhero team ups: the Avengers, the Justice League, and with the recent success of their film series, likely Guardians of the Galaxy. Their team comprises of roguish Renegade Starsoldier, Vance Maximus; the no-nonsense Supernova who can command the powers of the collapsing stars; Million Ants who is a man in command of, well, a million ants; the cyborg crocodile man Crocubot; and a guy who commands ghost trains, Alan Rails. There's also the rookie superhero Noob-Noob, but he's often relegated to janitorial role. Yeesh, no wonder Rick makes fun of them.
Their enemy Worldender has struck again, setting up base that requires intensive hacking skills, something Rick can provide. Rick and Morty discover that this is the third major adventure the Vindicators have gathered for; they missed out on the second one because they weren't summoned. Worse, they were likely invited to this one so they could fill up the ranks previous members had before they were all killed during Vindicators 2. Apparently there are "personality conflicts." No guesses on who fits that description. Morty is embarrassed and tells Rick to please shape up for his sake since the Vindicators means so much to him.
The next day, Morty and the Vindicators are greeted by Rick passed out on the conference table from too many booze and explosive diarrhea. Noob-Noob, pumped for his first mission, is stuck cleaning up the mess. Fortunately the Vindicators still like Morty or at least Vance does, giving him a Vindicators jacket and a pep talk.
The team enter Worldender's base to stop the evil menace, but the more Rick keeps insulting the crew, the less Morty carries whatever fleeting respect he has left for his grandpa. The Vindicators soon get the shock of their lives: someone already killed Worldender for them! If this mysterious third party wrecked Worldender in a matter of hours, then they're a greater threat to the galaxy than even their previous arch-enemy. The base traps the heroes in and with Rick's portal gun back on the Vindicators base, he, too is stuck with these dweebs. Just as well, Worldender's killer was Rick all along!
Rick was so drunk last night that he had no idea that he did the Vindicators' job for them. When he had time to kill afterwards, he used Worldender's base to create an elaborate death trap. The Vindicators must figure out the puzzling obstacles Rick left for them or die, just like the Saw movie series. Vance anxiously tries to find an escape route, but ends up as the first victim from one of Rick's many traps. The Vindicators are about to pummel a worldender of their own in Rick's direction until Morty figures out the first puzzle to get them to the next round. Morty really shines in this scene, able to deduce Rick's traps and essentially read him like a book.
The second round forces the team to pick a planet from a planetarium projectile and "face the darkness within themselves." Crocubot easily concludes it's Dorian 5, a planet the Vindictors destroyed in order to defeat a previous villain. Morty is a bit disturbed his heroes whom always preaches the value of good and evil pulled a morally questionable decision.
It becomes increasingly clear this was Rick's plan all along: to deconstruct the Vindicators and reveal these shining role models are flawed, awful people who've done awful things and largely kept them under wrap. Aside from destroying an entire planet, there's been a severe issue within the workplace. Rick and Morty bare witness to Alan Rail, Million Ants, and Supernova arguing over a torrent love affair. Supernova's marriage to Alan was on the rocks when she fell in love with Million Ants. Alan won't stop antagonizing the couple about it, so Million Ants angrily kills him. On the plus side, Morty figures out this whole setup occurred because Rick was jealous that Morty admired the Vindicators more than him. He keeps this in mind for the next round: Rick, in defiance of his usual criticism, declares there's only one person in the team he admires the most. Morty thinks it's him. It's actually Noob-Noob. It still counts as a win, so no one dies.
The platform they are on rises up to take them to the exit. Supernova is about to kill Rick and Morty for the deaths of her teammates, but Million Ants tries to talk her out of it. As sentimental as she is to her lover, Supernova ends up killing him so she can finish the job and keep the Vindicators legacy going. She's interrupted when the platform takes them to the top of the base where Rick has planned a party for the survivors. Supernova takes advantage and blends in with the crowd to escape. When Morty points this out, Rick shrugs it off, knowing this isn't the first time someone tried to kill him and run off. Morty takes off his Vindicators jacket, having lost faith in yet another childhood memory.
The after-credit ends with Gearhead trying to whoo some girls until an alien invasion occurs. Instead of living up to the Vindicators name, he runs off.
"Vindicators 3: The Return of Worldender" is standard Rick and Morty. I suppose a breather was in order after the last three episodes reconstructed the continuity and focused on the heavy aftermath of the central cast. Unfortunately this episode offers little meat. Rick's attempt to reveal the truth behind someone's terrible actions (often through his own brand of terrible actions) has been a constant calling card of his for a while and the Vindicators' dark secrets are nothing new. Morty's reactions are the most interesting: here he is, already used to Rick's shenanigans and cynically trying to prevent the man from screwing it up any further, yet disappointed that his heroes are not who they seem. He's not surprised by the end, but the Vindicators were one of the few remains of an innocent time Morty could look back on fondly without any sort of trauma attached to it. With that gone, it's slowly another thing in his life that Rick has destroyed, even if it meant exposing some serious truth bombs. It's largely predictable and at this point, kind of tiring whenever they attempt to deconstruct a popular movie, but unlike Alan's powers, it isn't a trainwreck.