After an undeniably dark Season 3, “The Rickchurian Mortydate” hit the soft reset button on Rick and Morty to conclude the season, setting up a Season 4 that’ll look more like traditional Rick and Morty than anything we’ve seen this season.
In “The Rickchurian Mortydate,” Rick faces off against the President of the United States and Beth grapples with an existential crisis. Both situations resolve through apologies, and the show essentially goes back to how things were before the world-changing Season 2 finale.
When Rick and Morty get called to the White House to take care of an alien plaguing the Kennedy Sex Tunnels, they realize how irritated they are with the President’s ego. What ensues is a procedural story in which they dump the President, POTUS and Rick brawl, everybody reconciles, and everything goes back to normal. None of the stuff with the president matters, because this episode is all about the Smith Family.
After spending most of Season 3 focusing on the fallout from the Season 2 finale, it looks like Rick and Morty will return to its original form in Season 4.
Here’s why and how:
Beth and Jerry Got Back Together
At the start of the series, Beth and Jerry were just sort of background noise while Rick and Morty went off on their dangerous adventures. We didn’t get a sense of their trouble marriage until several episodes in. By the time Season 3 came around, we all wanted them to end this toxic, co-dependent relationship. She did just that in the premiere, and it impacted much of the ensuing season.
Between “Pickle Rick” and “The ABC’s of Beth,” Beth came to terms with the anxious fear she has about potentially losing her father again. But she also grew overwhelmed by Rick’s insane lifestyle. She longed for simplicity, which led her to rekindle her love for the dumb, simple Jerry and dependency he can offer.
In Season 3’s final moments, she says they’re all “a real family now” and refers to her and Jerry as “happily married parents.” Season 4 might look very familiar to fans of Season 1, but those two key differences are totally new.
Morty and Summer Seem Totally Fine
Morty and Summer began Season 3 in a tough place: devasted emotionally by their parents’ separation. But now — and not just because Beth and Jerry are back together — Morty and Summer are doing really well for the first time in the show’s history.
Season 3 presented us a more capable Morty than we’ve ever seen. He’s been instrumental in a number of key adventures and demonstrated his knowledge of the universe more than once. They couldn’t have survived Drunk Rick’s trap for the Vindicators, and Morty taking a stand in this finale to protect his mother is admirable.
Similarly, Summer’s relationship with her mother has improved tenfold. In the season finale, we see her shopping happily with Beth, which is a welcome sight after their horrific reconciliation when Beth transformed Summer into a giant, inside-out monster.
Everybody in the Family Turns Against Rick
Jerry has never liked Rick, Morty’s opinions towards his grandfather oscillate wildly, and up until the Season 3 premiere, Summer worshipped her grandfather until seeing firsthand what his selfishness does to the world. Partially because of paranoia that Rick might kill her if she is a clone, even Beth turns against him in the Season 3 finale.
For the first time ever, this intensely dysfunctional family seems totally normal. They embrace and love each other while realizing that much of their dysfunction is because of Rick.
Even Rick acknowledges he’s become the “lowest status character in [his] idiot family.” He threatens to leave for an alternate universe but doesn’t. Perhaps in Season 4, we might actually see Rick trying to win over the affections of his family? Rest assured, he’ll still be a total jerk, but maybe even Rick can become a better person.
“Things Will Be Like Season 1”
The nugget of meta-commentary that Beth delivers in the closing scene of Season 3 is telling:
“We’re a real family now. In many ways, things will be like Season 1, but more streamlined. Now Jerry and I are happily married parents and the idea that I was motivated by a fear of you leaving can be eschewed.”
This is probably co-creators Dan Harmon and Justin Roiland deliberately handing us the set-up for next season — unless they’re secretly looking to undermine our expectations, which is something they’ve totally done plenty of times before.
Summer makes a joke about Beth potentially being a clone, and everyone closes out the season laughing at Rick. That’s new, but it’s about time we all realized how despicable Rick Sanchez can be.
Rick and Morty Season 4 has no premiere date set thus far.
If you liked this article, check out this video about an Evil Morty fan theory.