Rick and Morty's third season may have lived up to its promise of being the darkest season yet, but Sunday's episode, "The Ricklantis Mixup," finally had some long-term consequences and answered some exciting fan questions.
The episode stuck with this season's theme of smaller, contained adventures. Instead of following the main duo — known as Rick C-137 and his grandson Morty — the episode follows Ricks and Mortys in the Citadel, which is a collection of Ricks from across the multiverse who came together to help one another. Rick C-137 destroyed the Citadel earlier this season and chose to adventure to Atlantis instead of donating to the restoration of the Citadel at the episode's inception.
Season three's past episodes focused on the adventurers' impact on their family, but episode seven focused on Rick and Morty themselves — just parallel-universe versions of them.
Most of the episode isn't anything too special or original. The Citadel shows multiple story arcs, including a Stand By Me-esque journey with four Mortys, a crime drama with a dirty cop Morty, a presidential election with an underdog and a factory using the only happy Rick's memories to flavor cookies.
Most of these characters die, and each story seems to reiterate different ways the Ricks see the Mortys as expendable. But fans had been waiting for two years for this season, and no season three episode had any lasting impact until Sunday night's climax.
A charismatic Morty, the underdog of the election, wins the presidency of the Citadel after surviving the assassination attempt of his fired campaign manager Morty. After having a number of influential Ricks murdered, President Morty gives a short, ominous monologue before familiar music plays.
Some fans may have recognized the music from the end of the episode "Close Rick-Counters of the Rick Kind," where it was revealed — though only to the audience, in a bit of dramatic irony — that an evil Morty controlled an evil Rick cyborg. As the music plays, we see all the characters who were killed floating in the vacuum of space, dumped by their own brethren. It is then revealed the Morty who worked for the elected president had learned the evil Morty and President Morty were one and the same.
The episode's payoff is worthwhile and adds some excitement to the remaining episodes of the season. No villain in the series has made a full return like evil Morty has. This may be an indicator of the season not only building up to a dramatic end, but that some other villains, or important characters, may make a comeback.