Okay, let me address two things right from the jump. Actually, let's make that three things since I need to start off with a big MAJOR SPOILERS warning from the point forward because we're going to be discussing the Rick and Morty season 4 finale. The second thing I need you to know is that as far as we're concerned, Space Beth is the real Beth and Earth Beth is the clone. As for our reasoning, well, we're going to save that for a future post. Finally, let's get to the reason why we're all here. While I know it's not the most popular opinion out there, I think "Star Mort Rickturn of the Jerri" actually redeemed Rick Sanchez as a father. Somewhat. As much as it could redeem someone who makes it a practice of saying he doesn't have close family attachments because there's always another dimension's worth of replacements only a portal gun blast away. Of course, we've never bought into that idea and still see it as forced detachment that has something to do with a backstory we haven't been told that led to Evil Morty (a rabbit hole we choose not to go down at this time).
Now, we know one of the recurring themes over these past four seasons is that Rick was, is, and continues to be a really lousy father (and not that great of a grandfather, either). But the fourth season wrap-up really took things to an entirely new level, but not in the way a lot of people (including series co-creator Dan Harmon and episode writer Anne Lane) view it. See, it turns out that Beth left the decision up to Rick as to which daughter he wanted during a moment in "The ABC's of Beth" that we weren't shown until the finale. So Rick makes the decision, with one Beth flying off to have Star Wars-like adventures (Rick's not a big fan) while the other Beth remained on Earth and got back together with Jerry (Rick's not a big fan). Now here's where we break from the norm, but first? The music video for "Don't Look Back" that not only sets a mood but helps us make our point:
See, most people see Rick's move of both switching up the Beth tubes (yeah, that does sound creepy) and then having the memory "mind blown" from his brain as Rick being a crappy dad and punting on his responsibilities as a father. But why? In his own f**ked-up way, Rick tried to do the best he could as a Dad knowing full well that he hasn't earned nor does he deserve the benefit of the doubt. By sending both Beths out there to live their lives, he's finally giving his daughter the opportunities he wasn't around to help her with when she was little. She gets to be more than just "Rick's daughter" and "Morty's mom": she gets to be her own woman and live the lives she's wanted to live. For me, it was actually a positive, hopeful move on Rick's part, but in defense of everyone else around him? Rick's not known for his "altruistic efforts." I mean, he didn't hesitate to put a blast into the brain of Phoenix Person's beloved or tell him about it. And that's one of the milder examples.
Taking it to a deeper level, keeping the truth from himself has now forced Rick to deal with his daughter as a complete person and not just the aspects he chooses to like and respect. He essentially forced himself to confront being a father for the first time, and you know what he found? That sh*t's painful, and sometimes even doing the right thing after a lifetime of wrongs isn't enough to clean the slate. Maybe that's the punishment Rick deserves in all of this: making the kinda-right decision that benefits Beth and the family in the long-term, even if that leaves him alone in his garage: "The King of Shit" claiming his throne once again. Making him more vulnerable to the season-long mental breakdown that Evil Morty's been waging against Rick that includes Dr. Wong, but we'll save that for another time.