Now that Beth and Jerry are finally separating, Morty is taking their divorce pretty hard. As Jerry’s moving van idles in the driveway, Morty makes sure he’ll really get to see his dad every other weekend. Summer, on the other hand, barely says good-bye, jumping immediately into the next portal Rick opens. Morty reluctantly follows. Beth says a quick good-bye to Jerry before retreating back into the house, leaving her soon-to-be ex-husband to face his moving truck with only the wind’s taunts for company.
Through the portal, Rick, Summer, and Morty wind up in a Mad Max: Fury Road-esque car chase with a scavenger gang called the Death Stalkers. When Summer, in full action-hero mode, manages to take out their leader — he’s basically an Immortan Joe stand-in — a Death Stalker named Hemorrhage asks Summer, Rick, and Morty to join them. Rick and Morty beg off, but then Rick notices the gang’s giant glowing rock, which is made of a material called Isotope 322.
At the Death Stalker’s camp, Morty expresses concern over Summer’s behavior since the divorce, but Rick just shrugs off Morty’s unease. He then tells Morty about his plan to steal the Isotope 322 — but he’ll need Morty as a distraction. With that, Rick enters Morty into the “Blood Dome” and gives him a boost for the fight: a giant, punch-happy arm made up of muscle memory DNA from a deceased wasteland fighter. Once Morty enters the Blood Dome, his uncontrollable arm takes out challenger after challenger as he helplessly apologizes for each murder.
Meanwhile in “what used to be Seattle,” Hemorrhage uses post-apocalyptic sci-fi slang to tell Summer what happened to the world. (It’s got something to do with the “boom-boom,” “boomy holes,” and “rady rays.”) Back at the Blood Dome, Morty finally comes around to the aggression of his fist. As the oversized killer arm — which Morty has named “Armothy” — claims another victim, Morty works through his feelings about Jerry leaving the family by pounding a lot of intimidating men to death.
It’s revealed that Rick has already stolen the Isotope 322 rock, which enrages the Death Stalkers. Rick snags a vehicle and takes off, while Summer and Morty team up with the Death Stalkers to try and stop him. Rick gives his grandchildren a choice: They can stay in this new dimension forever, or return to Earth (in whichever dimension we started in, or whichever dimension we’re following at this point). Summer and Morty decide to stay with the Death Stalkers.
Back in our normal dimension, Rick tries to hide the fact that he left Summer and Morty in a post-apocalyptic murderscape from a distraught Beth. Rick being Rick, this lie involves robot proxies of Summer and Morty who act just a little too excited about their parents’ divorce. When Beth appears to regret her decision, Robo Summer and Robo Morty comfort her before she decides to go call Jerry.
Back in the Blood Dome, Armothy has a sense memory of watching its family burned to death and compels Morty to follow the guy who did it on a revenge mission. After Armothy burns him to death, he sets his sights on the royal leader who apparently ordered the attack. At the palace, Armothy leads Morty on a brutal killing spree as they make their way up to the room of Armothy’s family’s killer. Marty become suddenly nervous: If they carry out the revenge mission, Armothy will have fulfilled its purpose and may disappear, much like Jerry. In realizing this fear, Morty accepts that Armothy must move on, and so must he: “We both gotta see our stuff through. I gotta deal with my parents’ divorce and you gotta … you know, do what you gotta do.”
Elsewhere, Summer and Hemorrhage have a romantic moment. Summer asks if she can see his face, which he keeps obscured under a bucket. Hemorrhage demurs, saying no one has ever seen his face and lived to tell it — because they always end up making fun of his mustache and he has to kill them. Summer convinces him to take the bucket off and he turns out to be a particularly nebbishy blonde guy. Hemmorhage babbles about what it means to be fake, and Summer kisses him to shut him up.
In the castle, Rick appears and tells Morty he needs him and Summer back home. Morty attempts to summarize the lesson learned — letting go can be a good thing — and Rick helps Morty finish killing the guy who Armothy wanted to kill. Speaking of letting go of something important, Rick also gives the Isotope 322 rock back to Hemorrhage and demonstrates its use as an energy source. He even offers to stay and help the world rebuild itself.
Three weeks later, electricity has allowed the wasteland to become a boring suburb. Summer is dropping her groceries in the driveway, arguing with her neighbors, and fighting with Hemorrhage, just as Beth and Jerry were back on Earth. Finally understanding why Beth decided to divorce Jerry, Summer announces that she and Hemorrhage are taking some time apart. Summer, Rick, and Morty leave for Earth, and Rick steals the Isotope 322 rock on his way out.
Back on Earth, the Rick, Summer, and Morty robots prepare to be replaced by the real deals, although Robo Morty attains disturbing sentience in its last moments. Summer, Morty, and Rick enter and hug Beth. Summer asks if she can go visit Jerry and Beth says, “Sure.” Morty tells Beth he realizes now that if Jerry really wanted to be there, “He’d stop at nothing to make it happen.”
At the motel where Jerry’s staying, Summer gives him the skull of the first mutant she killed as a reminder to him to “not look back.” It’s a pretty sweet gift, I guess?
“Rickmancing the Stone” meanders a bit and seems to have more on its mind than it can totally work out. Rick going back for Summer and Morty after abandoning them lacks the emotional punch we’ve come to expect from the show, and I’m not sure if Summer’s arc totally tracked (going from denial to participating in a strained relationship rang a bit hollow and seemed like more of a Beth arc). As a means of laying out thematic elements that will play out through the rest of the season, it’s plenty enjoyable, but it wasn’t a standout episode of the series for me. Still, new Rick and Morty is new Rick and Morty, so who am I to complain?
• We’ve got a bunch of new stuff in the opening credits, including a world where faces are butts and butts are faces. As in previous seasons, only some of these scenes will ever actually come into play in the show itself.
• “Hemorrhage” is an exceptionally hard word to spell.
• The tag with Jerry giving a wolf his unemployment check just so the wolf could humiliate him was my favorite part of the episode. “This is just paper that only has value to me. Unless my suffering … is your nourishment?”