One of the great joys of Rick And Morty’s staggeringly inventive new season has been the subtle developments across all the main characters. Morty’s a little taller and more world-weary; Jerry’s staring his own failures dead in the eye with heart-breaking earnestness; Beth seems both haunted and relieved by her separation. But Rick has oscillated wildly, famously declaring in the season premiere that his series arc was a quest for McDonald’s Mulan nugget sauce, even while episode after episode he has revealed greater depths of character, empathy, and even affection for his family.
A new ScreenPrism video investigates whether all that adds up to an emotional maturation for Rick. It can be maddening trying to pin him down. The video is a sequel to last week’s analysis of why he’s such an asshole, and it’s thoughtful and rigorously researched, taking the show’s sci-fi conceits seriously. The truth is that Rick is intentionally hard to get a bead on; every time he shows a genuine emotional attachment to his family, he immediately undermines it, perhaps because he realizes it’s pointless in the greater context of the universe. This tension creates a cycle of caring and uncaring, of pretending to have a heart and then genuinely showing that he has one. The only question is whether or not we should be rooting for him to get out of this state of flux, and also whether he’s ever going to get that sauce.