Rick and Morty

April brings a lot of things, sometimes it’s May flowers other times it’s practical jokes. April is an inbetween month, bridging spring and summer and old with new. Either way, April is a month of new beginnings, new laughs and, apparently, new television.

The most surprising joke to come out of this year’s April Fools Day is the surprising release of the first episode of “Rick and Morty” season three. Around 8 p.m. on Saturday, AdultSwim began a looping stream of the episode, with little to no indication that it had been released.

This was a large shock, due to the history of the series and its development of the current season. Season two finished its run back in October of 2015, and fans have been awaiting new episodes. As time has gone by, there’s been a noticeable desire from the fans for new content.

The creators of the series, Dan Harmon and Justin Roiland, both spoke about the status of the show, and mostly were in unison that the extended amount of time it was taking to craft the series was for the fans. It was to make sure that season three was the best it could be.

And oh boy, did the premiere episode deliver on that promise. Not only did the episode managed to jam pack the jokes, but it also managed to craft a compelling and emotional twist that reinforces the premise of the show. In 23 minutes, the episode is able to encapsulate the heart, soul and horror of “Rick and Morty.”

The new episode picks up a couple months after the end of season two, with the Galactic Federation in control of Earth, and Rick in one of their prisons due to a multitude of crimes. While Rick is being interrogated, Morty, Summer and the family are still adjusting to the new status quo. Morty and his father, Jerry, seem to be in a better position with this new government, while Summer and Beth, the mother of the family, both see inherent flaws in the new world order.

“The Rickshank Rickdemption” episode also manages to resolve the massive cliffhanger of season two, Rick being sent to prison with a distinct flare of Harmon’s and Roiland’s unique comedy. Rick reveals that he was in control of the entire situation, and manages to almost seamlessly escapes the prison, reestablishing his dominance of the story’s narrative. He has all the cards, all the chips and, apparently, has crafted the entire game.

The episode switches from the show’s offbeat, dark humor and genuine human emotions in order to add depth to both the titular characters of Rick and Morty, but that development also adds to the characters of the extended family dynamic, Summer, Beth and Jerry.

On a technical level, “Rick and Morty” has grown into a more developed and smoother animation style. “The Rickshank Rickdemption” reveals how the extra time the animators spent on the show pays off. There’s an interesting use of shadows throughout the episode, along with a greater sense of visceral action and a more cinematic quality. There are plenty of rapid, quick cuts in a succession that adds to the visual narrative of a prison escape.

April is ultimately a time of change and humor. “Rick and Morty” delivers on the comedy, but manages to reinforce the status quo of the series, providing that as some things change others will stay the same.