"The Rickshank Rickdemption" is the first episode of the third season of Rick and Morty. It is the twenty-second episode of the series overall. It premiered on April 1, 2017. It was written by Mike McMahan and directed by Juan Meza-León.


Rick executes an intricate plan. Summer and Morty have an argument about their grandpa that spins out of control.


The episode starts out with Rick and his family sitting in a booth at an old fashioned American diner, Shoney's, talking about Rick's escape from space prison. Rick smells a rat and orders Jerry to fold himself over 12 times. "Jerry" only manages to contort himself into six folds, revealing that this is in fact a simulation based on Rick's memories. A Galactic Federation agent named Cornvelious Daniel sitting in the next booth introduces himself, and reveals that he has been sent to gather information from Rick's mind via a brain-link. The agent makes it clear that Rick's brain will be liquefied at the end of the session, so he might as well revisit his memories one last time.

Meanwhile, Morty and his family are back on Earth, which is now being run by the Galactic Federation. Jerry now works at an unspecified occupation, while Beth has lost her own job due to the Federation's advanced medical knowledge. Unhappy with their current way of life, Summer decides to save Rick, and digs up the portal gun buried by Rick in the backyard next to his own alternate-dimension corpse. Morty tries to dissuade Summer from doing so, but when the family's robot butler Conroy turns hostile and attempts to confiscate the portal gun, Morty transports them all to his "Cronenberg World" family, which he and Rick C-137 abandoned previously. After they arrive, Conroy is destroyed by Jerry Smith (C-137) and Summer Smith (C-137). Morty and Summer join them, along with Beth Smith (C-137), in a feast of broasted Cronenberg. The cataclysm endured by that Earth gives Morty proof to Summer that Rick does not care about anyone, especially his family. At this point, Jerry (C-137) smashes the portal gun, preventing Summer and Morty from leaving. Agents from the Council of Ricks show up to investigate the compromised portal gun, immobilizing Jerry (C-137), Beth (C-137), and Summer (C-137). As Summer informs the agents that Rick C-137 has been captured, the agents dispatch a Rick Council Seal Team to assassinate Rick C-137, while Summer and Morty are captured. At the subsequent kangaroo court aboard the Citadel of Ricks, both Summer and Morty speak out against the council in Rick C-137's defense, and Morty reveals that he never gave up on Rick and was just trying to protect his sister from the dangers of life with Rick involved.

Back in the brain-link simulation, Rick stops by a McDonalds drive-thru, and orders Chicken McNuggets with Szechuan sauce. Rick then shows the agent a memory of how he lost his wife and Beth to an explosion, driving him to invent his first portal gun. The agent collects the code of the portal gun and uploads it to the brain-link server. The agent then attempts to leave the brain-link, but his communication device fails. Rick reveals that the "code" uploaded was actually a virus giving him control of the entire system, and that the "memory" they visited was a completely fabricated origin story. Rick transfers his consciousness out of the brain-link into the physical body of the agent.

At this point, the Rick Council Seal Team shows up and kills all of the aliens and Rick D-99, a SEAL Team Member shoots Rick C-137’s old body in the head, destroying it. Rick manages to transfer his consciousness from his agent body to Rick D-99. Quickly afterwards, another SEAL Team Rick shoots the agent body, killing Rick D-99. Rick C-137 (in his new body) kills the rest of the agents and interrogates a surviving Rick, which the surviving Rick tells him that Morty and Summer is on the Citadel. Rick thanks the last surviving Rick and shoots him in the head. Shortly afterwards, Rick rapples up on a rope and leaves the Galactic Federation Prison and makes his way to the teleportation control room of the Citadel of Ricks by switching his consciousness into a high ranking Rick. He teleports the entire Citadel back into the middle of the federation prison, resulting in a heated battle between the two sides. Rick C-137 infiltrates the Council chamber and kills most of the Council of Ricks before ending up in a standoff with the final member, attempting to use Summer as a hostage. With a clever bit of trickery, Rick and Morty combine efforts to save Summer and escape back to Earth, but not before Rick returns to the prison's control room and sends the Galactic Federation's currency plummeting to zero. With the economy in shambles, the Federation follows suit, sending the whole galaxy into chaos and resulting in many aliens leaving Earth.

By the time Rick, Morty and Summer return home, Jerry is once again unemployed while Beth is simply relieved that her family is home safe and sound. Unhappy with his father-in-law's return, Jerry demands that Beth choose between himself and Rick, leading to the two deciding on divorce.

Once Beth and Summer leave the garage, Rick reveals to Morty that he had himself captured on purpose in order to take revenge on both the Galactic Federation and Jerry for crossing him. By eliminating Jerry, Rick now takes on the role as undisputed patriarch of the family, and Morty will be forced to continue on adventures with him as both Beth and Summer view Rick as a hero. Rick explains that all he wants out of all his plans is to get Szechuan Chicken McNugget Sauce, which was discontinued by McDonalds years ago. Understandably, Morty is visibly horrified by the revelation.

In the post-credits scene, Birdperson's corpse is reanimated with cybernetic parts and renamed "Phoenixperson". He and Tammy fly off into the distance, presumably to take revenge on Rick.


Major Characters

Minor Characters



Episode notes


  • The episode was uploaded as a continuous looping stream on Adult Swim as part of an April Fools publicity stunt.
  • The episode ending where Rick explains his motives for being the undisputed patriarch of the family towards Morty plays on the "Pilot" ending, where Rick is seen to be growing crazy, drooling in saliva as he explains his motives, Morty is shown to be horrified and lying on the ground, and the rapid light bulb flashing return.
  • Throughout the episode, Rick says he needs to "take a dump/shit" 3 times, which comes inline with the statement Rick says beforehand: "Comedy comes in threes".
  • This is the first of two episodes where Summer could be seen with her hair down.
  • Morty and Summer's charges include "operating an unregistered portal gun, radicalising a Summer" and "conspiring with a traitorous Rick".
  • The "fly code" for Rick's garage transformation is 'right left right right right'.
    S3e1 Fly Code

    Fly code.

  • In his ending crazed rant, Rick makes the statement that it will take him "9 more seasons" until he gets to his McNugget Sauce, once again breaking the fourth wall.
    • This is also similar to the "6 seasons and a movie" statement from Community, another show created by Dan Harmon.
  • As of the end of the episode, Rick Sanchez (C-137) resides in the body of Quantum Rick of the former Council of Ricks.
  • A major hint that shows that Rick Sanchez (C-137) has taken over a body is the saliva on the bottom of his mouth that is absent on all the other Ricks. If one is able to spot that, they could tell that Quantum Rick's body was taken over before it is revealed by Rick (C-137) himself.
  • Morty mentions that he and Summer once awkwardly discovered a mannequin leg that belonged to Jerry. This is a reference to an actual mannequin leg that is owned by co-creator Dan Harmon.
  • The name of Seal Team Rick is a play on the name of the assault team Seal Team Six. The many parallels, including both targets being seen as radical "terrorists", both assault team operating under government command, and both teams were told to assassinate/kill the target, among many other things. They were the ones tasked by the US Government with the assassination of Osama Bin Laden.
  • McDonalds took the Szechuan Sauce joke with good humor and even sent Justin Roiland a bottle of the sauce in a customized package direct from Dimension C-1998M, a dimension where it's always 1998.[2]

Series continuity

  • Throughout the episode, Earth is inhabited by new aliens, which continues from the events that occur during the end of The Wedding Squanchers.
  • Summer realizes they can escape Earth when she is reminded that her original Rick, from Season 1's "Rick Potion No. 9", is buried in the back yard, along with his portal gun.
  • This episode returns to the "Cronenberged-Earth" (C-137) last seen in "Rick Potion No. 9", Rick and Morty's original universe, which they abandoned after wrecking it. Morty re-encounters his original family, even pointing out that the Summer in that universe is his actual sister.
    • Morty apparently knows the portal gun coordinates for Cronenberged-Earth, yet in all this time he made no attempt to save his original family from it. Unless, of course, it was just a coincidence, since Morty didn't have much reason to pick this world for saving himself and Summer from Conroy, and in the same scene we see him randomly shoot another portal leading to a realm of giant farting butts.
  • The Council of Ricks returns, last seen in the Season 1 episode "Close Rick-Counters of the Rick Kind".
  • In the cold open to the episode, Rick proves he is in a computer simulation by asking a character to do something impossible - in this case, for Jerry to fold himself 12 times. Rick did something similar in "M. Night Shaym-Aliens!", when he asked simulation characters to do increasingly complex things in order to freeze up the system.
  • A picture of Doofus Rick was seen in the cabinet, in the shot, where Morty chased Summer, telling her about the "goulish overkill".
  • The air date, April 1st, 2017, is almost exactly "a year and a half" after The Wedding Squanchers (October 4, 2015), as stated by Mr. Poopybutthole at the end of the episode.
  • There is a major continuity error. The point of Rick's interrogation is to obtain his Interdimensional Portal technology. However, during the Pilot, Ricks travels through Interdimensional Customs, which is run by the Galactic Federation, and they must therefore already have the technology.
    • Although it could be that Rick's technology is far-more advanced and is clearly portable, in comparison to the Federation's stand-alone portals that have only been seen as a gateway from A to B.
    • Not Necessarily, since that was Galactic Federation from dimension 35-C not Replacement dimension. Also note the Federation Portal was blue and only changed green after Rick made modifications while Morty was holding off their pursuers in a firefight. If the Galactic Federation in Rick C-137 Current Residential Dimension then they most likely have a similar less advanced version of Portal technology relative to Rick. (Similar to how the United States Government have a more "primitive" teleportation device relative to Rick tech as revealed in Season 3 Finale)

Cultural References

  • The title is a reference to the Stephen King novella and 1994 film The Shawshank Redemption.
  • Rick chooses the restaurant Shoney's as a safe space in his memories, indicating that the Smith family live somewhere in the Southern United States, where the restaurant chain is based.
    • However, a tweet from Justin Roiland[3] identifies the location of the Smith residence being outside of Seattle. This might mean that Rick lived in the Southern United States at one point in his life, or that he spent a significant amount of time in the region.
  • The brain-link's simulation somewhat resembles the "memory puzzle" sequence from Fallout 4.
  • The promotion for the Szechuan dipping sauce was a promotion for the 1998 Disney film Mulan. In spite of the movie's success, the sauce was discontinued by McDonalds and Rick has been trying to get more ever since.
    • The reference to Mulan also reinforces Rick as an antithesis to the film's heroine. While Mulan selflessly worked hard to protect her nation's government in the face of sexism, Rick effortlessly toppled two governments for a selfish reason.
  • Rick mentions a "one-armed man" during his rant, a reference to the elusive antagonist of the 1960s TV series The Fugitive.

Mabel and Dipper Mortys.

  • Another Gravity Falls Easter egg appears. In the Citadel of Ricks, two Morty's bear a striking resemblance to main characters Mabel and Dipper Pines. The Dipper Morty is even seen wearing the actual Dipper's hat.
  • Birdperson's transformation into Phoenix person may be a reference to the X-Men character Angel, who was transformed into a more sinister version of himself called Archangel. It's also a reference to how Anakin Skywalker was remade into Darth Vader in Star Wars.


View a full transcript of this episode here.


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  1. Saturday cable ratings: Surprise ‘Rick & Morty’ premiere gets solid numbers: 4.4.2017. Screener. Retrieved on April 11, 2017.
  2. Justin Roiland (30 July 2017). Tweet Number 891521911460470784. Twitter. Retrieved on July 30, 2017. “Holy shit.”
  3. Justin Roiland (04 September 2016). Tweet Number 772269394084802560?lang=en. Twitter. Retrieved on September 15, 2016. “@DangerRobinson_ Washington state- outside of Seattle”

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Season 1 PilotLawnmower DogAnatomy ParkM. Night Shaym-Aliens!Meeseeks and DestroyRick Potion #9Raising GazorpazorpRixty MinutesSomething Ricked This Way ComesClose Rick-counters of the Rick KindRicksy Business
Season 2 A Rickle in TimeMortynight RunAuto Erotic AssimilationTotal RickallGet SchwiftyThe Ricks Must Be CrazyBig Trouble in Little SanchezInterdimensional Cable 2: Tempting FateLook Who's Purging NowThe Wedding Squanchers
Season 3 The Rickshank RickdemptionRickmancing the StonePickle RickVindicators 3: The Return of WorldenderThe Whirly Dirly ConspiracyRest and RicklaxationThe Ricklantis MixupMorty's Mind BlowersThe ABC's of BethThe Rickchurian Mortydate

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