With Season 2 of Adult Swim’s newest hit show wrapping up, many people have been going back and analyzing the show as a whole, comparing the first episodes to some of the (shocking) later ones. It’s become increasingly obvious that creators Dan Harmon and Justin Roiland have been slowly building this strange new world they’ve created into something stunningly original and masterfully told, blending silly jokes with honest-to-god worldbuilding and creating something awesome. Like Community before it, Rick and Morty is filled with secrets, character quirks, and running jokes/ plotlines, some going unnoticed by fans for several seasons. Rick and Morty’s fanbase in particular has been rabid in their search to find hidden clues, easter eggs and references in the show, leading to some very interesting fan theories and speculations on where the series may be headed.
Take Morty for example, who’s gone from a nervous, hormonal wreck of a teenager to a jaded cynic over the course of two seasons. In the pilot episode he was visibly freaked out by aliens, transdimensional travel, and weird sci-fi gadgets, yet in last week’s episode, “Who’s Purging Now,” he straight-up wrecks more than a dozen cat-people after releasing his repressed rage. Some fans speculate that Morty will eventually grow up to be a replacement Rick, drowning his familial and romantic woes in the numbing mixture of booze and science. And with his acceptance of the weird alien worlds that make up his universe, as well as his more aggressive moments in Season 2, it’s starting to look like the fans may be right on this one. I can easily see an adult Morty piecing together bits of scrap and alien tech, mumbling to himself about how much his family sucked while he wistfully looks at a portrait of Jessica. And given how Rick’s really the only semi-positive (or at least confident) male role model he’s had, it’s entirely possible that Rick and Morty will be be exploring these themes in future seasons.
But Morty’s not the only character who’s taken some interesting turns. Jerry and Beth have also gone through plenty of character development, as we’ve found that their dynamic isn’t as straightforward as we were initially led to believe. Beth’s lack of a father in her life has manifested in a borderline hatred of her husband Jerry, who both deeply admires and fears her, to the point of imagining her as a Xenomorph Queen. He’s a generally submissive person who never fails to reach new lows — whether it’s jacking up the phone bills to talk to “Taddy Mason,” or the penis removal debacle that left the galaxy (and Beth) hating his guts. It’s both hysterical and tragic; I suspect we’ve barely even seen the beginning of the depths to which he’ll sink.
Overall, the whole show seems to hinting at some sort of imminent tragedy or dysfunction in the household, most likely occurring in Season 3. It could be anything from a Beth and Jerry breakup, to Rick (temporarily, of course) dying and leaving Morty to fill in his shoes. Hell, given the show’s insanity, anything could happen. But make no mistake: something’s got to give here. Beth’s patience with Jerry’s worminess and general ineptitude has pretty much reached its peak, unlike Jerry’s never-ending descent into self-loathing madness. Morty’s already left Rick on more than one occasion, even taking his portal gun and fleeing in “Get Schwifty,” so it’s not unlikely that all these events will culminate in something awful for the Smiths.
In the end, who knows? Dan and Justin could make an episode where Rick and Morty do nothing but eat shaved butter and they’d still find a way to make it entertaining. Perhaps everything they’ve done is an elaborate troll on the fan theorists and it’ll all turn out to be nothing in the end. But given the show’s proclivity for character development, continuity and dark storytelling masked with zany humor, I’m willing to bet that’s not the case. Whatever happens though, I’m sure it’ll be awesome, heart-wrenching and downright (possibly cruelly) hilarious.