Peace, Death: Apocalyptic Sales Associate

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I have a soft spot for interpretations of the afterlife, especially those subverting traditional imagery of hell. So, if you’re reading this and thinking “Rad-Lands, you pinnacle of post-apocalyptic perfection, why are you talking about a game that has nothing to do with sandy deserts or radiation?” the answer is because Peace, Death is about general apocalyptic motifs, contains parodies of Mad-Max and Fallout characters, and it’s pretty fun.

Here’s the premise: You are a reaper, one of billions living in the underworld. You can’t afford food, so you start working at Apocalypse Inc. as a customer service rep. Your boss is Death. The other three horsemen of the apocalypse are always plotting against him, sometimes inviting you to help in their schemes. On the factory floor, you have the simple job of deciding if a person goes to heaven, hell, or purgatory based on their face and personal effects.

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From left to right: Death, Harvey Weinstein, Chaos Space Marine, Pestilence

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Rick and Morty and the Subtly of a Giant Arm

THIS DISCUSSION IS SPOILER HEAVY
You can watch the episode in question at AdultSwim.com until August 6th

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Since Rick and Morty had a Mad-Max style episode, I think it’s time to step beyond our normal comfort zone of Mad-Max and terrible B-movies and talk about it. This episode had some serious hype behind it following the April 1st season premier. After flushing three years of world building down the drain and alienating a member of the main cast in a series of increasingly intense action scenes, the second episode of Rick and Morty’s third season, “Rickmancing the Stone,” had a lot to live up to. Adult Swim published a behind the scenes preview of this particular episode portraying exactly what you’d expect from a Mad-Max parody: Cars, rusty shotguns, and lots of BDSM gear. Did “Rickmancing the Stone” live up to the hype?
In my opinion…not really.

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Before we get into why I think this episode fell short, I’ll give credit where it’s due. The art direction in this episode is fantastic. A lot of post-apocalyptic artwork falls into what I call “Apocalyptia Generica,” a style that never quite becomes its own, but rather falls between Mad-Max and realistic urban warfare. For a perfect example of this, see Wasteland Angel.

“Rickmancing the Stone” certainly avoids being generic. Everything has a uniquely 80’s sci-fi style with brilliant and vibrant color schemes. Every single wastelander has a unique character design, even when there are dozens of them on screen at time. I would seriously take any establishing shot in this episode as a desktop wallpaper.

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