Okay, maybe it has to do with the fact that Dan Harmon & Justin Roiland's Rick and Morty is only one episode away from what is arguably its best season yet (no small praise). Maybe it has to do with all of the personal growth we've seen in Jerry, Beth, Space Beth, Morty, and (especially) Rick – thanks in no small part to the influence of Dr. Wong (Susan Sarandon). Whatever the reason, we can't shake this feeling that some nastiness is on the way with the season finale, "Ricktional Mortpoon's Rickmas Mortcation." We haven't seen the episode featured much in previous trailers/teasers (see a rare image below), and the two previews below vibe as if they're dancing around a much bigger story. So here are some down-n-dirty theories to throw out at you. We have three so far, but we'll be sure to update as Sunday inches closer:
(1) Dr. Wong is being manipulated by Evil Morty, Rick Prime, or another "big bad. Either that or Dr. Wong was replaced at some point. So what would the purpose be? To control Rick, Morty, and everyone they love. To get them off their game for a final strike.
(2) Rick is actually Rick Prime, and the family is going to be forced to decide if they want to keep this Rick or fight to find their Rick. What would be really f***ed-up is if everyone but Morty chose the "healthier" Rick to have in their lives.
(3) This season is taking place outside of the normal canon, having something to do with where Evil Morty traveled to at the end of last season and what it was he was truly leaving behind. A pocket dimension, maybe?
(4) Based on one of the previews below, it appears we'll be getting an extended tour of exactly what Rick has going on under the house ("cool sushi spot"). We're wondering if this is one of those moments when Rick loses something foundational to him.
Here's a look back at those two distinctly different but equally concerning promos for the season finale of Adult Swim's Rick and Morty, with the official overview for "Ricktional Mortpoon's Rickmas Mortcation" reading as follows, "Morty's always wanted a certain gift for Christmas, but never gets it. This might be the year that Rick finally caves." And while it's nice having two previews this week already, we can't shake this feeling that we're being distracted from the big stuff coming:
Rick and Morty Season 6: Ranking the First 8 Episodes
(1) Season 6 Episode 7 "Full Meta Jackrick" (directed by Lucas Gray and written by Alex Rubens): So why did this episode work so well? Because I'm a sucker for fourth-wall-breaking, meta encounters, found-footage films, and anything else that blurs the lines between the creative work and our reality. And what Harmon & Roiland's animated series offered us with its midseason return episode was about ten tons of pure, uncut meta. But what it did by doing that, even more so than in "Never Ricking Morty," is to educate the viewer on the complexities (and anxieties) that exist in the storytelling process. Perhaps the biggest compliment that I can give the episode is that it will be required rewatching to make sure that none of the references were missed because this was a well-crafted adventure.
(2) Season 6 Episode 8 "Analyze Piss" (directed by Fill Marc Sagadraca and written by James Siciliano): I appreciated how the episode flipped our expectations by taking what starts as a typical "Rick vs. Supervillain" episode scenario, pressing the pause button on it, and then using it as a springboard into an examination of Rick's very damaged psyche. From Rick coming around to the idea that he might be his own worst enemy (and to the idea of therapy) and "Flamingo Dad" Jerry showing serious character development, there was a lot to appreciate about this chapter. But the ending surprised me because I saw it as a chaotic yet positive one. Because while the family is still a long way away from getting to the heart of their issues and tackling them, we see them going through the messiness to get there… and doing it together. There's something twistedly noble about that. But Rick's comfort with Dr. Wong (Susan Sarandon) might be the headline-grabber in this one.
(3) Season 6 Episode 4 "Night Family" (directed by Jacob Hair and written by Rob Schrab): The only thing more shocking than the depths of Rick's stubbornness? That "Night Summer" is not only a badass not to be messed with but has also been biding its time in Summer's mind, waiting to strike. It feels like there's more to come with this one…
(4) Season 6 Episode 5 "Final DeSmithation" (directed by Douglas Einar Olsen and written by Heather Anne Campbell): Holy s**t! A Rick & Jerry adventure that doesn't end with us wanting to punch Jerry! On a number of levels, a nice personal game-changer between the two that sees them becoming… friends? Because this might be the first time I felt bad for Jerry after Rick hit him… and interestingly enough, so did Rick. Big difference compared to what went down with Cronenberg Jerry and Rick Prime…
(5) Season 6 Episode 3 "Bethic Twinstinct" (directed by Douglas Einar Olsen and written by Anne Lane): This might've been the strongest spotlight on Beth & Jerry's toxicity yet. Because instead of focusing on the couple, we got to see the impact it has on Morty and Summer, sadly bonding them closer in the process. But being able to see Rick as the caring figure trying to distract them from their parents' drama was a bit of a mind-blower, especially that moment when even "The Man with All of the Answers" couldn't figure out how to help his grandkids.
(6) Season 6 Episode 1 "Solaricks" (directed by Jacob Hair and written by Albro Lundy): We saw clues that it was going to happen in the previous season, but this was the one where the show decided to stop worrying and learn to love its own canon. And they did an impressive job of tying a number of previous storyline threads together in some very intriguing ways. And with Rick Prime on the scene… Evil Morty? Who's that again?
(7) Season 6 Episode 2 "Rick: A Mort Well Lived" (directed by Kyounghee Lim and written by Alex Rubens): Do you like your "Die Hard" satire with a healthy serving of "punch to the feels"? Well, this is the one you've been waiting for. From Peter Dinklage as the alien terrorist group leader Chans and Summer turning "Die Hard" into her own version of "Squanch," this episode would've been fine just on those points. But the "Roy" storyline that finds Morty fragmented into the game did a beautiful job of examining Morty and his role with his grandfather, and how much of himself he gives away with every adventure.
(8) Season 6 Episode 6 "Juricksic Mort" (directed by Kyounghee Lim and written by Nick Rutherford): Look, we love smartass, know-it-all Rick. But we also love those moments when he gets schooled by someone (in this case, uber-brilliant dinosaurs) who might actually know as much (if not more) as he does. And bonus points for the wonderfully passive-aggressive ways they help each other out as a way of spiting each other. But the best part? Interdimensional travel's back, baby!!!