Rick, Morty, and Summer fall through a portal back into their garage after another adventure, just as Jerry shows up at the garage door to say goodbye to his children. Though Morty tries talking to his father, Summer ignores him and asks Rick to take her somewhere else, with Morty reluctantly joining them. Beth comes into the garage looking for Morty and Summer, but promptly leaves after seeing Jerry. As Jerry pathetically stands outside the house, the wind quietly calls him a loser.
Rick's portal takes him and his grandchildren to a diesel-fueled post-apocalyptic Earth, filled with dieselpunk cars, shotguns, and cannibals. Rick's main goal is to retrieve the powerful Isotope-322, but the adventure is sidetracked by Summer becoming enamored by this dimension, killing the leader of the Death Stalkers and forming an alliance with them. Though Rick and Morty initially want to go home, Rick sees the Death Stalkers have a large rock-form of Isotope-322 and decides to stick around so he can steal it. While Summer goes off to kill some people, Rick tries to get Morty to make a distraction by being a ringer in the Thunderdome (or Blood Dome, as the Death-Stalkers call it). Rick inserts a serum that extracts muscle memory from body parts into Morty's arm to give him combat skills, but "muscle memory" apparently includes the memories and personality of said body-parts, giving Morty a left arm with enormous strength that punches Rick before beating up and killing various Death Stalkers in the Blood Dome. Though Morty initially does this against his will, he soon begins venting his frustrations against Jerry for agreeing to the divorce through the arm.
Rick tries to get his Morty and Summer to leave before the Death-Stalkers notice he stole Isotope-322, but Morty's arm reveals the theft, forcing Rick to go on the run, chased by his grandchildren in separate cars. He tries to convince them that they are merely staying in the world because they do not want to confront their parents's divorce, but ultimately gives up and portals back to his garage, leaving Morty and Summer trapped (albeit not reluctantly) with the Death Stalkers. While in the Blood Dome, Morty's arm recognizes a soldier who killed his wife and children before torturing him, and proceeds to chase him away from the Blood Dome and kill him. With the arm wanting revenge against the soldier's boss, Morty is forced to come along. Meanwhile, Summer strikes up a romantic relationship with the new leader of the Death Stalkers, a guy with a bucket on his head named Hemorrhage.
Wanting to hide their absence from Beth, Rick builds some Morty and Summer robots to both fool and cheer Beth up, but they only succeed in making her cry and leaving to call Jerry. Morty and his arm, now dubbed "Armothy," prepare to take revenge on the soldier's boss. Morty tries to convince Armothy to hold off on revenge so he can continue to vent his frustrations toward his parents's divorce, but soon realizes that like Armothy he needs to learn to move on. He starts to choke the man to death just as Rick arrives to retrieve him, admitting it would be too much trouble to find a different Morty and Summer to cheer up Beth. He then helps Morty finish off Armothy's murder victim.
Rick and Morty meet up with Summer and Hemorrhage, offering up Isotope-322 and its powers as a peace-offering. Hemorrhage asks for his help in restoring society, which Rick agrees to, supposedly as a way to avoid dealing with his daughter's divorce. Three weeks later, the post-apocalypse has turned into something resembling modern-day suburbia, with Summer stuck in an unfulfilling marriage with Hemorrhage, one resembling that of Jerry and Beth's. frustrated, Summer agrees to return to her Earth with Rick and Morty, realizing Rick had planned the whole thing to teach her there was no running from her problems at home. As they leave, Rick steals the last of Isotope-322, ultimately sending the post-apocalypse back to where it started.
The trio return to their house just as Rick's robot Morty, made to distract Beth, gains sentience, trying to fight his programming and stay alive, only to have his programming overridden before the robots are destroyed by the originals. Morty remarks to his mother that if Jerry really wanted to stay he would have fought to make it happen: ultimately he either does not care or is not strong enough to do it. Summer visits Jerry and gives him the skull of the first mutant she killed, a creature who made the mistake of looking back while escaping, as a reminder that you should not look back.
In the post-credit scene, Jerry tries to retrieve his unemployment check from the mail but is confronted by a wolf that threatens him and chews up the check, apparently just to make him suffer. The wind calls him a loser again.
- Rick Sanchez
- Beth Smith
- Morty Smith
- Summer Smith
- Jerry Smith
- Mechanical Rick
- Mechanical Morty
- Mechanical Summer
- Mohawk Guy
- Blue Footprint Guy
- Eli's Girlfriend
- Lord Henderfinger
- Taint Washer
- Genital Washer
- Mohawk Guy
- Blue Footprint Guy
- Armothy's wife and children (confirmed fate)
- Lord Henderfinger
- Many unnamed mutants
- Many unnamed Death Stalkers
- 4 Lord Henderfinger's guards
- In celebration of season 3, Pocket Mortys' weekly updates will coincide with new episodes, including new avatars for players to collect. With the release of this episode came: Wasteland Rick, Wasteland Beth, Wasteland Jerry, Wasteland Summer, and Hemorrage as avatars, and Wasteland Morty, Giant Arm Morty, and Android Morty to catch.
- This is the second episode where Summer can be seen with her hair down.
- Rick breaks the fourth wall again by looking directly at the audience and remarking "We'll be right back," just before the first commercial break.
- This was the first episode of Season 3 to display a new intro scene.
- Though The Rickshank Rickdemption has this intro in syndication, its initial April Fools' Day broadcast lacked one.
- In an interview with the staff of Adult Swim, the character designers said that they wanted the inhabitants to appear like "'90s punkers" and "S&M", and having "BDSM gear". They also created very absurd characters, including one with "a gas mask [with] like a tube which goes to their crotch".
- Jerry has moved out since Beth announced their divorce in The Rickshank Rickdemption, and this episode goes over how badly the members of the family deal with it.
- The scene where Summer and Hemorrhage fight in the room next door, followed by Summer announcing their divorce, mimics the scene with Beth and Jerry from that episode.
- Perhaps unintentionally, Summer and Hemmorhage's marriage falling apart after a transition from a post-apocalyptic world to a suburban environment correlates with Jerry (C-137) and Beth (C-137)'s marriage becoming stronger in the post-apocalyptic world seen in Rick Potion No. 9, instead of ending in divorce as it did in the previous episode.
- The moving truck Jerry uses to move out is the same one he hired to try and move Rick to a nursing home in the Pilot.
- Jerry wears the same hat he wore for his and Beth's Titanic vacation in Ricksy Business.
- The rock stolen by Rick in this episode appears four episode later in Rest and Ricklaxation.
- Summer mentions going to "what used to be Seattle" with the Death Stalkers. This could be the first potential reference to where the family lives, especially given how Justin Roiland has stated through Twitter that the family does live in Seattle.
- This episode shows the different effects of grief through Morty's anger and violence as well as Summer's desire to have a male companion to replace her father. As usual, Rick fights pain with alcohol.
- This episode also shows how alienated people get when technology becomes more modern. This is shown throughout the episode. At the beginning, people are going on raids for food while at the end Summer is able to visit a grocery store. Entertainment changes from violent fighting to video games and disagreements shift from violent massacres to petty gossip. This provides a commentary on how people become detached from lives with less technology such as those of their parents or grandparents.
- The title of this episode is a pun on the film, Romancing the Stone.
- The setting is essentially a tribute to the Mad Max franchise, taking place in a barren wasteland with vehicles and tribes of barbaric marauders waging war on outsiders. Specific references include:
- A villainous character resembling Immortan Joe from Mad Max: Fury Road.
- Rick referring to the Blood Dome as "The Thunderdome," one of the main settings of Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome.
- The BDSM-style outfits specifically taking from Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior.
- Hemorrhage's design takes inspiration from Lord Humungus, the main villain from The Road Warrior.
- At one point a Death Stalker sprays their mouth with a pink paint, a nod to the chrome sprays used in Fury Road.
- One of the Death Stalkers attacking Rick shouts "My body is chrome!" This is a reference to the recurring "shiny and chrome" line from Fury Road.
- The road chases all borrow heavily from similar sequences in The Road Warrior and Fury Road.
- Summer's outfit towards the end of the episode is inspired by Tina Turner's Aunty Entity costume from Beyond Thunderdome.
- Eli (who happens to be the announcer for the Blood Dome)'s significant other's line, "One man entered, one man comes out in nine months!" is a reference to Beyond Thunderdome's "Two men enter, one man leaves" chant.
- Armothy is Rick and Morty's take on the "Evil Hand" trope.
- One of the city dwellers Hemorrhage shoots in the city is wearing an Atari t-shirt.
- Another one is wearing a Bart Simpson shirt and another is wearing Hello Kitty underwear. This all combines to show that in this reality the apocalypse happened during the late 1980s or early 1990s.
- A vape nation logo is present beside the Blood Dome.
- The English of the alternate post-apocalyptic Earth has evolved to replace words such as "explosions" with simpler words laden with repetition like "boom-booms" in reference to the novel Cloud Atlas. This is the second reference to Cloud Atlas, the first being in the episode Rixty Minutes where Jerry is an actor in the movie adaptation of that novel.
- Rick's nod to E. B. White is a reference to the fact that White revised a book called The Elements of Style, which dealt with extremely specific rules on which words to use where.
- At the end, Hemorrhage is wearing a Big Johnson t-shirt with E. Normus Johnson on it.
- When Rick produces android copies of Morty, Summer and himself, this is a reference to the TV series Westworld. This is made obvious when Rick instructs Summer to "Dial it back...By 15% and increase dynamic movement by 3" which is the same terminology as is used in the show.
View a full transcript of this episode here.
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