Rick and Morty returned last night for its third season and one thing was made abundantly clear: the Szechuan sauce joke wasn’t going to die off anytime soon.
[Warning: The following contains spoilers for the first two episodes of Rick and Morty’s third season.]
In the first episode of Rick and Morty’s third season, Rick is being subjected to an infiltration of his mind from the Galactic Federation. The officers involved in the attack, including a lead investigator voiced by Nathan Fillion, want to know how Rick created his portal gun. While Rick attempts to mislead the investigator, distracting him with fake memories, unrealistic scenarios and, naturally, McDonalds’ Szechuan sauce.
The scene is part of an ongoing joke that Rick and Morty co-creator Justin Roiland has been referencing since April Fool’s Day earlier this year. When Roiland and fellow co-creator Dan Harmon released the first episode early as a treat for fans, people became infatuated with the joke. The joke became so widely acknowledged on Twitter that even Mike Haracz, a chef at McDonald’s, confessed he would look into seeing what the company could do.
I'll see what I can do— Mike Haracz (@Mike_Haracz) April 3, 2017
Leading up to the official premiere of the third season last night, McDonald’s began teasing its own announcement. The caption, “SOS 073017 2130EST TWTR 3x.5GAL” seemed to suggest that McDonald’s would be doing a giveaway of the sauce in question on its Twitter account at 9:30 p.m. ET.
McDonald’s tease came just one day after Justin Roiland tweeted out his own credulous realization that the company had sent him some Szechuan sauce to celebrate the premiere of Rick and Morty. According to a letter from Haracz, Roiland was the first person to receive the Szechuan sauce, but the company confirmed it would be giving the sauce away to a few other special fans the night of the premiere. The letter, which can be read in the tweet below, includes some pretty genuine references to the show and ends with a casual “stay schwifty.”
In the episode, Rick explains to the investigator, McDonalds’ Szechuan sauce was a limited edition treat the fast food provider released as part of a tie in with Disney’s 1998 movie, Mulan. The only place they’ll be able to revisit it, Rick tells the investigator, is in his memory while his brain is slowly melting.
Fast forward to one of the more heartbreaking, albeit fake memories Rick has created for himself in which he’s talking to another infinite version of himself from the future. As Rick watches a fake version of his wife and daughter blow up before his eyes, the result of a bomb dropping through a portal, the investigator comments on the Szechuan sauce he’s scarfing down.
“This sauce is fucking amazing,” the investigator remarks. “You said it was from a movie?”
That’s how the scene ends, but the question remains whether the Szechuan sauce joke will remain an important part of the season. Now that the premiere has come and gone, it’s hard to tell, but anything is possible. For now, we can all rest knowing that Roiland — and a few other lucky Rick and Morty fans — finally got their hands on the sauce they hold so dear to their hearts.
Rick and Morty airs Sundays at 11:30 p.m. ET on Adult Swim.