Did anyone of you watch the season finale of season 2? Yes it's real. It ended with him turning himself into the federation. Season 3 starts with what has happened since. Pretty cut amd dry folks
I believe it's an authentic episode, as for Ricks character I don't think it's the "real" Rick. C-137? Is what I think Morty stated their dimension was. It never showed his change of mind or consciousness from the Captain Rick to the Board Member that saved Morty and Summer.
I heard it was streaming online from a friend and hopped in mid episode for fear of missing it. That said, I'm curious to see if anyone else thinks the beginning of the episode might have actually been the end of the episode. Think about it. Maybe I'm grasping at straws though..