Rick And Morty Episode Structure Breakdown For “Pickle Rick” S3 E3

Clashing Personalities Driving Characters’ Conflicts

Rick’s aversion to confrontation and self-destructive tendencies leave Beth surprisingly standing by him. Beth will do anything to keep her emotionally unavailable father, who was gone for a long time, in her life and admires Rick for not needing anything from anyone. Beth models after Rick, leading to issues connecting with her family. Timid Morty has no control over this whole mess, except over saying painful truths. Ignored Summer is vying for attention without pity. 

A Plot Premise

Rick becomes a pickle. Rick wants to avoid therapy, but he needs to get his serum before he dies.

B Plot Premise

Beth takes her kids to therapy. Beth wants to focus on the impact her divorce has had on her kids’ behaviour, but she needs to deal with the deeper problem of her relationship with her father.

Cold Open

Morty brushes his hair in the bathroom. Morty is dressed in fancy clothes and looks ready to go somewhere important. Morty hears Rick calling his name and instructing him to go to the garage. Morty tentatively follows. Rick tells Morty to flip the pickle. Rick is the pickle. Morty stares. 

Act One

A Plot [Scene Order: 1, 2, 4, 6]

(1) Beth comes into the garage with Summer, both of whom are dressed fancy, to urge Rick and Morty to hurry up for family counselling. Rick claims to have forgotten. Summer asks if Rick can change back, but he says that he cannot. Morty sees a syringe over Rick set to go off when they leave. Rick lies about it being anti-pickle serum. Beth takes the syringe. The family leaves.

(2) A stray cat attacks Rick. Rick lands on the floor and rolls out of the house’s garage on the driveway under the scorching sun. It starts to rain and the water sweeps Rick off into the sewer. Rick bites himself to secrete pickle juice to lure a bug to him. Rick then bites a bug’s head. Rick uses his tongue in the bug’s brain to move it around as a vessel to get himself through the sewer.

(4) Rick sets up a workable bug body. Rick decapitates an attacking rat and uses its blood to lure out other rats. Rick uses rat parts to upgrade his fighting suit and kills off the rest of the rats.

(6) Rick defeats the top rat. Rick builds a jetpack with a mask and flies out of a toilet from the sewer. Rick is running around checking rooms and parkours his way into the elevator. Three Russian men start shooting at him. Rick realizes he broke into a secure compound. Act break.

B Plot [Scene Order: 3, 5]

(3) Beth, Summer, and Morty are at the therapist’s office. The doctor lets them in. Beth praises Rick on his science, but Morty dismisses this by mentioning the pickle thing. The doctor asks about this, which puts Beth on the defensive. Beth admits Rick is eccentric and unpredictable.

(5) Beth agrees Rick is not perfect, but is confident that his work is important. Summer points out this “important work” entails Rick lying to avoid being here. Beth does not want to doubt Rick, but Summer and Morty are certain the syringe has the anti-pickle serum Rick lied about. The doctor suggests Beth and Rick’s relationship punishes outward emotion and vulnerability, which is deteriorating Beth’s marriage and her kids’ emotional expression. Beth swears at her.

Act Two

A Plot [Scene Order: 1, 3, 5, 6]

(1) The agents at the compound try to capture Rick. They keep Rick talking to track him. Rick has booby traps set up everywhere and kills everyone who comes after him. The agents talk to a prisoner, Jaguar, and offer him and his (dead) daughter freedom to kill Pickle Rick for them.

(3) Jaguar and Rick fight with heavy gunfire and lasers. They both bring up their daughters, Jaguar wanting to talk to his, and Rick not, while curing their wounds in parallel. Rick threatens the other agents and tells them Jaguar is dead. The main agent offers up other people’s money before he kills the others in the room with him, steals the money, and books it to a helicopter. Rick is already there with (alive) Jaguar and activates a trap. The whole compound blows up. 

(5) Rick finally shows up to therapy. Beth asks about the syringe when Rick requests it and the doctor asks why he lied. Rick tells the truth. Rick feels powerful, yet cursed. The doctor offers an explanation: Rick uses intelligence to justify sickness and that he would rather slowly kill himself than put in the duller work for self-care as it is not akin to an adventure with high stakes. 

(6) Rick apologizes about lying once everyone is in the car. Beth and Rick bond over laughing about her kids and therapists in general. Ricks asks for the syringe. Beth returns it. Rick reverts back and makes plans to hang out with Beth over a drink. Summer and Morty liked the therapist.

B Plot [Scene Order: 2, 4]

(2) Beth projects her anger onto Morty and Summer about the anti-pickle serum topic.

(4) The family tries to act out the doctor’s exercise to express their feelings with “I” statements.

Post-Credits Stinger

Rick and Morty are tied up to a large piano about to die at the hands of a concert pianist playing Moonlight Sonata. Just in the nick of time, Jaguar comes back and kills the pianist to save them.

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