UPDATE- at the time of this writing, only one episode had aired. Episode two, Rickmancing the Stone has dropped and it's glorious.

We thought this day might never come. We wondered if maybe the first two seasons were perhaps the delightful hallucinations of a fever dream. Maybe we’d awakened to a disappointing reality in which Rick and Morty didn’t exist and all we had were the memories of animated existential crises slowly fading until all that remained was the dull ache of what might have been. Until, finally, on this most hallowed of days,  our heroes have returned and the sun shines over the kingdom once more.

Season three of Justin Roiland and Dan Harmon’s cartoon masterpiece, Rick and Morty, is finally here. For those of you who missed the April 1, event in which the first episode was streamed on a loop for twenty-four hours, this was your opportunity to pick up where season two left off.

The second season ended on a mix of emotions. On one hand, we finally see the first cracks in Rick’s impenetrable shell. He exposes himself, for the good of his family, and gets himself locked up in an intergalactic prison. For a character who usually thinks only of himself, who is willing to cast anyone close to him beneath a runaway train just to get what he wants, we finally see that maybe he really does care about them. It left us wondering what was next for the titular characters and their family. The future, for Rick, was uncertain.

This week’s episode opens and immediately it seems that things are looking up. Rick is reunited with his family as they sit around the table of a chain restaurant. But things quickly get weird when Rick commands Jerry to fold himself several times. It becomes clear that Rick has not escaped prison. He’s still in the hands of the intergalactic government and they’ve invaded his mind in search of the secret of his portal gun.

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An actual photo of how it feels to be watching Rick and Morty again.

Meanwhile, back at home, Morty and the rest of his family exist under the bootheel of that same government, subsisting on a literal diet of pills. Things have never been more dire, and that’s saying something considering the dark places the show has taken us over the last two seasons.

Over the next twenty minutes, Roiland and Harmon weave a tale that shows the true genius of our geriatric, alcoholic hero as he reveals a masterful plan to take down the system from the inside, allowing himself at long last to pursue his true goal, the reclamation of McDonald’s Mulan Szechuan sauce.

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The events of Rickshank Rickdemption set in motion a domino effect that will impact not just Earth but the entirety of the multiverse. Things, from here on out, will never be the same.

If you haven’t yet seen this episode (I realize the odds of that are slim) it is currently streaming online at Adult Swim.

The true season premiere will take place next week when we get to see the first, as yet unseen, Rick and Morty content. If the show’s track record is to be trusted, and we have no reason yet to doubt them, it’s sure to be ridiculous and wonderful. Stay tuned.  

Bonus:

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Rick Sanchez isn't the only thing released from a dimensional prison today. McDonald's, after pressure from the internet hive-mind (and assuredly recognizing a good marketing opportunity when they see one), sent the show's creators a half gallon of Szechuan sauce and promises limited availability to other lucky folks. 

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Tags: Rick and Morty , Season Three , Rickshank Rickdemption , Premier , Adult Swim