Rick and Morty Finally Solves Its Last Great Mystery — Sort Of
The Season 7 finale provided an unprecedented dive into Rick’s fractured psyche, with one big catch.
Despite espousing the nihilistic belief that the infinite multiverse is a chaotic place devoid of meaning, Rick Sanchez went through all the feels in Rick and Morty Season 7. After years spent hunting down the man who murdered his wife across all realities (an evil variant of himself called Rick Prime), Rick finally got his bloody revenge in Episode 5. Now, as the season comes to a close, one final episode shines the spotlight on Rick’s dead wife Diane, revealing more about her character than ever before.
In the process, Rick and Morty Season 7 Episode 10, “Fear No Mort,” concludes what in hindsight feels like the show’s most personal and thoughtful season yet.
“Everyone's always searching for love and the deeper meaning of life,” Spencer Grammar (who voices Rick’s granddaughter Summer Smith) tells Inverse. “We're having these beautiful adventures, but where are our hearts? Where's our intention? This season has done a great job of incorporating a lot of groundedness to an actual story about the human condition.”
Rick and Diane
Rick and Morty’s Season 7 finale peels back the layers of Rick to show us a hopeless romantic still angry at the universe (and himself) for losing the only thing he ever loved after the co-dependent duo gets lured into a Fear Hole located in a Denny’s bathroom that manifests your greatest fear.
Morty jumps in first, and Rick quickly rescues him from monsters in the darkness. Later, a version of Diane comes crashing into their living room. Jaws drop. It’s equal parts heartbreaking and hilarious when Rick and Morty instantly realize they’re still in the hole. And yet, this fake Diane is still the closest we’ve come to learning about Rick’s mythical wife.
“I myself am a newlywed,” says Ian Cardoni, who voices Rick as of Season 7. “Exploring Rick's relationship with his wife is interesting as an actor to bring those elements and bring some heart into the role.”
And so, despite insisting that she and everyone else isn’t real, Rick can’t help but spend half the episode falling back in love with his wife. This might seem out of character, but a closer read of Rick and Morty suggests he’s always been a bit of a softie.
“In rewatching some episodes recently, I realized I’d missed the hopeless romantic aspect to this show,” Grammar says. “Rick did truly love Diane, and fundamentally his story is about trying to find a way to get back to her and somehow make amends for his past.”
Diane and Summer
When Diane is around, Rick makes some ducks talk just to amuse her. He isn’t that kind to anyone, not Morty, not Birdperson, and not even Beth. After Diane and Rick outdrink an alien to death, he holds her hair back while she barfs into a trash can. “I should die more often,” she jokes. They share the same kind of dark humor, and you can see how Rick gets his playful side from her — and how it colors his relationships with the other women in his life.
Earlier this season, Rick dropped a bombshell to Summer when she expressed jealousy over Morty’s special treatment: “Morty’s a dog!” he yells. “People have cats because their affection is earned. I treat you like an equal because I respect you. You remind me of your grandmother!”
Confident, capable, resourceful, and effortlessly charming, Summer has always been one of Rick and Morty’s best characters. For Rick to vocalize that mutual respect radically shifts their dynamic, and it shows how much Rick has grown over the years. He is so close to admitting that he loves his family.
“Rick needed to say that more than Summer needed to hear it,” Cardoni says. “That scene is a glance into Rick's deeper inner life. The respect that he acknowledges for Summer is a look into the respect that he had for his wife.”
Will Diane ever return?
We don’t know much about Diane to this day, but Rick still bases the voice of the AI in his space cruiser and garage after hers as a sort of loving self-torture. The way Rick and Morty’s Season 7 finale presents Diane feels authentic in a way that hints at more to come. She may have been little more than a fear-based echo or projection of a dead woman, but maybe there’s still a chance to bring Diane back for real.
“Hopefully, we will see more of those glimpses beyond just a voice off-screen as the voice of his car,” Cardoni says. “She was a person of real importance with agency and individuality. Rick found a kindred spirit, and they were best friends. We see another side of him through her, and I think that's really cool.”