Rick Sanchez may have broken the Fourth Wall yet again to tease something for the Rick and Morty Season 4 finale — or was his throwaway line about the talking cat just another joke that’ll never get explained? Normally we might not read so much into it, but combined with this episode’s post-credits scene, it seems like Episode 4’s horny dragon and talking cat still have a significant role to play in Season 4. They might even be the final additions to what we might as well call Rick Sanchez’ Legion of Doom.
“Claw and Hoarder: Special Ricktim’s Morty” aired Sunday night. The basic premise is that Rick buys Morty a horny dragon named Balthromaw from the magical realm of Draygon as part of a deal they make in the opening, but after Rick goes on a bender with the dragon, he and the beast have a more natural — and deeply sexual — soul-bonding experience. The wizard who sold the dragon brands the beast a slut, leaving Rick, Morty, and Summer to infiltrate a magical reality where none of Rick’s gadgets work.
The B-plot follows Jerry on a brief adventure to Florida with a mysterious talking cat, and upon his return home, Rick receives a series of texts from Jerry begging for help.
“Your dad’s been texting me this whole time?” Ricks says looking at his phone. “He’s at an airport with a cat. Okay, that sounds — wow. You know, I better check on him. Big season finale right there, you know?”
On some level, Rick is just trying to ghost a thirsty dragon looking to “hang out,” so he makes a big deal out of Jerry’s texts as an excuse to leave right away. Most of the time, when a character breaks the Fourth Wall on Rick and Morty, it means something — even if that something is just noting a commercial break or thanking the viewer for watching. Like when Mr. Poopybutthole accurately predicted the timing of the Season 3 and Season 4 premieres in the Season 2 and Season 3 post-credits scenes.
Normally, we wouldn’t read too much into a moment like this, but taken with everything that comes after, the whole story builds up a lot of suspense and intrigue. Throughout the episode, this random talking cat that appears to Jerry just wants “to have fun” and he likes to “keep it moving.” Why do they go to Florida? “Because they don’t ask questions,” the cat says. “They play volleyball, they party, and they have fun.”
Yeah, this cat is suspicious — and he’s running from something.
“You’re overthinking it!” the cat says. “The point of a talking cat is to have fun!” This is yet another meta moment, as if series co-creators Dan Harmon and Justin Roiland are speaking directly to the viewer, tantalizing us with a mystery while chastising us for over-analyzing a show that’s meant to be fun.
The cat says he’s from outer space, but when Rick performs a brain scan on the cat, he views the cat’s memories via a pair of goggles. We hear explosions and people screaming, the sound of a baby wailing, but we never see what happened. Whatever it is, it’s so bad that Jerry vomits, Rick almost kills himself, and Rick uses Mind Blower technology to erase the memory for Jerry.
In the episode’s post-credits scene, a human man tries to lure Balthromaw into some soul-sex work, but the dragon destroys the man’s car. That’s when the talking cat shows up to say he’s ashamed of the reason he can talk. The two decide to “bond” and fly to Florida. This cat did something terrible to gain the ability to speak, and because he speaks without his lips moving — like Garfield — some fans have likened him to the sinister “I’m Sorry John,” a fan-created story featuring an alt-reality Garfield who became a demon and consumed the souls of mankind. Is this cat a demon that devoured souls to gain the ability to speak?
This cat did something terrible to gain the ability to speak, and now he’s team up with a scorned dragon who might want revenge on Rick and Morty. If this cat really is a demon, what happens when he soul-bonds with a dragon?
In some circles, these post-credits scenes are called “tags.” In a group video interview with Variety, Summer Smith voice actor Spencer Grammer mentioned a “tag” she was “still obsessed with.” Justin Roiland said, “We have a tag in Season 4 that’s going to tee some shit up in Season 5.” Immediately after, Roiland comments that the Season 4 finale is “really good.” Could this be the tag they’re talking about?
Season 4, Episode 5 likely won’t provide the closure we’re looking for, but ever since Evil Morty’s return towards the end of Season 3, we’ve been left wondering when he’ll make his move against Rick. Perhaps Evil Morty will assemble characters like the talking cat, Balthromaw, Supernova from the Vindicators, and more of Rick’s enemies to fight him in the upcoming Season 4 finale next year?
One thing’s for sure: Something big is coming.
The Rick and Morty mid-season finale will air Sunday, December 15 at 11:30 p.m. Eastern.