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The Untold Truth Of Evil Morty

The series "Rick and Morty" walks the line between nihilism, sci-fi parody, and themes of generational trauma that feel a little too real. The show asks, "What if you were the main target of a narcissistic abuser-slash-mad scientist, and what if that person controlled your reality? What if you couldn't escape, no matter where you went? How far would you go to end it once and for all?

"Rick and Morty" follows 14-year-old Morty, a stammering, naïve boy trapped in an abusive cycle by his narcissist alcoholic grandpa Rick, a scientist who lives with his family and conducts dubious experiments in their garage. Enabled by Morty's self-involved family, Rick drags Morty on dangerous adventures in alien worlds. Morty has to survive and maintain Rick's lies, taking on bigger and bigger secrets. Despite the harm inflicted by Rick, nothing changes. Rick repeatedly weasels out of accountability, and Morty continues to be exploited by his grandfather. 

Soon we learn we're following one of many Mortys living amongst many dimensions, unified by oppression. Unbound by time, space, or morality, Rick finds a way to produce an endless supply of Mortys for many Ricks to exploit across countless universes within the Central Finite Curve (CFC).

The only character in the show to take charge of their own destiny is Evil Morty, a Morty who uses Rick's twisted system to rise to power and escape the CFC. Evil Morty's appearances over four episodes impact the shape of the entire show, opening a portal in the episodic series to explore new plot arcs, and asks a new question: "What if things change?"

Fans love Evil Morty

Evil Morty is the closest thing to a villain on "Rick and Morty" and fans loved him the moment he hit the scene in Season 1's "Close Rick-Counters of the Rick Kind," posing as Evil Rick's Morty. Fans flipped out over the end of the episode when Evil Rick's Morty removes his patch to reveal complex electronics underneath. He crushes it beneath his heel as the Ricks discover Evil Rick was being controlled by remote transmitter. He outsmarts the Ricks and won our admiration.

Fans relate to Evil Morty's defiance. Why? Because people don't like to be told what to do. In fact, psychologists call the feeling or need to rebel against being told what to do "psychological reactance." Newton's Third Law of Motion states the same phenomena in different words — "Whenever one object exerts a force on another object, the second object exerts an equal and opposite on the first." 

Translation? If you push someone, they'll push back just as hard. Rick C-137 is motivated by pure psychological reactance, yet he doesn't anticipate that any Morty has the capacity to feel the same way.

Evil Morty is cool, calm, and incredibly clever. His rare appearances throughout the show hint of hidden plot arcs, a promise delivered on the wings of the final episode of Season 5, "Rickmurai Jack" that carries on through Season 6. 

Is Evil Morty really evil?

What is evil? Oxford Languages says evil is "a manifestation of profound immorality and wickedness, especially in people's actions." If Rick is the moral authority in "Rick and Morty," what's (belch) evil anyway?

According to Rick, a Good Morty is useful, so it makes sense Evil Morty is evil — he doesn't want to serve a Rick. Rick uses the CFC to trap Mortys in purgatory while inflicting damage to their psychological development. When asked if Rick might turn Morty Evil, developmental psychology researcher Kelly Sheehan said, "Children with a not-so warm, unresponsive, or absent caregiver often develop an insecure attachment. They learn the opposite: that they are essentially on their own and that the world is a dangerous place." Sound familiar?

Trauma is passed down from generation to generation. Sheehan said, "Kids don't develop in a vacuum. They are often aware and often internalize family conflict, their parents' (and grandparents') mental health issues, etc." Evil Morty is a reflection of his family's trauma. He didn't choose the situation he was born into, but he is choosing to get himself out. 

His actions are also his choice; he ruthlessly exploits and kills anyone in his way. He manipulates the political system (designed by and for Ricks, of course), only to abandon Ricks and Mortys alike to certain death when he finally escapes.

Do Evil Morty's motivations justify his actions? Nope. Evil Morty and Rick both treat others as expendable, but unlike Rick, Evil Morty has the capacity for empathy, which he uses to manipulate and exploit others for his personal gain. Maybe he's evil, maybe he's not, depending on who you ask.

Is Rick C-137 more evil than Evil Morty?

Insights into Rick's motives are limited for most of the show; Rick's a jerk, destroying everyone around him. A master of deflection, Rick is incapable of apologizing or admitting he's wrong without an insult right behind it. Let us not forget that he frequently drinks and drives his spaceship, often with Morty freaking out in the passenger seat. Rick lacks the self-awareness to resolve conflict, repair relationships or change, and he will go to any lengths to avoid facing himself. For evidence of this, observe the immortal classic "Rick and Morty" episode "Pickle Rick." 

Creating the CFC is an absurd extreme only a narcissist-slash-mad scientist could reach. Rick is a black hole, demanding endless admiration and attention to fill the void so he can temporarily live with himself. He feeds off his many families and enemies, shaping their realities around his twisted self-concept to ensure he always has the upper hand.

However, the end of Season 5 and beginning of Season 6 fill in some gaps in Rick's backstory. His wife Diane and young daughter Beth were murdered by Prime Rick, and Rick C-137's been chasing their killer ever since. We see a vulnerable side of Rick as he copes with unsettling changes as the architecture of his sense of control crashes and burns. 

Still, does one man's trauma justify his harmful actions? No. Not at all. Rick is the smartest man in the CFC and has all the resources and opportunities to explore healing and bettering himself instead of making his trauma everyone else's problem (at least within the CFC).

Evil Morty doesn't stutter

Evil Morty doesn't stutter. Literally every other Morty has a stutter splattered into the mix of their whiney prepubescent cringey cadence. Evil Morty delivers icy one-liners and velvety smooth soliloquies alike with a self-aware twist. In "The Ricklantis Mixup," Evil Morty drops one of fans' favorite lines — "This seems like a good time for a drink, and a cold, calculated speech with sinister overtones. A speech about politics, about order, brotherhood, power. But speeches are for campaigning. Now is the time for action."

Evil Morty doesn't stutter in a figurative sense, either. He's careful with his words, and he seems to have eerie knowledge of what others are thinking before they've had the thought. Nothing can touch Evil Morty, it seems. That is, besides the CFC.

Did Evil Morty originally have a stutter that he managed to change? As the only character to take charge of their own destiny, perhaps the lack of stutter symbolizes that Evil Morty changed that by himself, too.

Evil Morty could be our Morty in the future

Let's talk about the popular fan theory positing that the show is on a time loop. Could the show's main Morty — who we'll refer to as Morty Prime for simplicity's sake — eventually become Evil Morty?

Let's say Morty Prime continues on his current path with Rick C-137. So far, our Morty shows capacity for change and corruption (see "Look Who's Purging Now" for Morty's decline). If he continues to be pushed around by Rick, neglected by his family, and forced to do terrible things to survive (such as burying his own dead body in the backyard), our Morty could very well snap and go evil.

Is it possible? Before the end of Season 5, it seemed like a promising theory. Perhaps years of Rick C-137's abuse warps our Morty to the point of no return. He travels back in time, intent to destroy Rick and free his past self before it's too late.

However, the end of Season 5 seems to disprove this theory. Evil Morty succeeds in escaping the CFC into the true multiverse. He doesn't care that his plan killed everyone at The Citadel and has no motivation to return. 

Still, if Evil Morty is dragged back to his original universe when Rick resets portal travelers in the beginning of Season 6, perhaps going back in time isn't the wildest theory. Maybe Evil Morty has travelled back many times, giving him plenty of batting practice to build an ultimate master plan.

Evil Morty fan theories that were wrong

"Rick and Morty" fans are unique; they love potty humor, they love elaborate mysteries, and they love making up theories. Let's talk through some of the "Rick and Morty" fan theories about Evil Morty that turned out to be wrong.

First, let's look at the "Replacement Morty" theory. According to this line of thinking, the Morty we start the show with is replaced by a new Morty, and the original Morty becomes Evil Morty. This theory is based on the opening credit sequence — frog creatures chase down Morty while Rick bounces, abandoning the original Morty. However, after he's mercilessly brutalized by frogs, Morty survives and vows to take down Rick C-137, becoming Evil Morty.

Then there's the "Time Loop" theory, that states Rick is an old Morty stuck in a time loop. This theory is a fun example of cyclic self-hatred but holds little water. There's also the "Robot Evil Morty" theory, where Evil Morty is a robot controlled by the real Evil Rick. Some fans theorize that Evil Morty's eyepatch, as seen in "Close Rick-counters of the Rick Kind," connects to his own robotic circuitry controlled by the real Evil Rick. That would be really, really evil.

Finally, there's the notion that "Evil Morty Knows We're Watching." According to this theory, both Rick and Evil Morty are aware they're characters in a cartoon. Rick often breaks the fourth wall by speaking to the audience in meta-textural references. If Evil Morty is aware of Rick C-137's every move, he too would be aware he's on a TV show. We know that theory is wrong, because if it were true, "Rick and Morty" would be a dumb show and we refuse to accept that as a possibility.

Evil Morty influences Rick and Morty creators

Evil Morty controls more than just his own destiny. He's had huge control over the writing of "Rick and Morty," too.

Fans named Evil Morty after his first appearance in Season 1, but he's not actually called "Evil" until the end of Season 5. It turns out writers picked up the name "Evil Morty" from fans and used it unofficially in the writers' room for years before giving a long-overdue nod to fans' influence in Season 5's finale when Rick says, "I only know one man that ever hacked my portal gun, and it turned out it was evil you." Evil Morty laughs, "Yay! He's all caught up." 

Nods aside, fan theories impact the writers of "Rick and Morty" negatively, too. The writers follow fan theories, often sharing them with one another on Twitter, and they seem to enjoy proving them wrong in subsequent episodes. It makes sense — if a fan comes up with a great theory and the show uses it, intellectual property becomes murky. 

"Rick And Morty" fan theories are regularly sabotaged by writers, as painfully illustrated in a Tweet by showrunner Mike McMahan — "The fastest way to make sure your Rick & Morty fan theory is wrong is to tell me about it, because then I'll make sure it never happens."

Evil Morty can reprogram Rick C-137's portal gun

At the end of Season 5, Rick says, "I only know one man that ever hacked my portal gun, and it turned out it was evil you." This presents the question: What's the backstory of Evil Morty and Rick C-137? 

The fan theory that Ricks are just old Mortys could hold water — perhaps Evil Morty is Rick C-137 from the past and shares the consciousness that created the portal gun in the first place.

We learn Rick C-137 doesn't actually belong in his current Morty's original universe — he comes from a timeline where he valued his family over science, and an alternate Rick known as Prime Rick murdered his wife Diane and baby daughter Beth. Our Rick travels across time and space searching for Prime Rick, eventually taking up residence in Prime Rick's home to wait. This means our Morty is actually Prime Rick's grandson. 

Perhaps Rick encountered Evil Morty during his adventures prior to settling down with the Smith family on Prime Earth, and important portal gun knowledge was shared. But it seems unlikely that anybody else would know how Rick's portal gun works since he uncharacteristically never talks about it.

Another explanation is Evil Morty may be more technologically advanced than Rick. We'll have to wait and see what "Rick and Morty" reveals and what fan theories they write around.

Origins of Evil Morty

What are Evil Morty's origins, and who was his original Rick? One infamous fan theory sticks out — Morty C-137 is Evil Morty. This theory shook fans in 2016, and although seemingly disproved, it's worth exploring. It'll sound similar to the theory that Morty Prime becomes Evil Morty, but what if Evil Morty is Rick C-137's original pair?

Our Morty fled his home universe (the Cronenberg-ed Dimension, aka the Prime Universe) with Rick C-137 to Dimension C-131, in which the prior Rick and Morty had conveniently just died. Fans interpreted this as a sign that Rick C-137's original Morty was left behind long ago. 

The theory goes, perhaps Rick loved his original grandson and raised him, teaching him everything he knew. This supports confusing flashbacks of Rick's memories, showing him with baby Morty. We know that Prime Rick had been gone from Beth's life for 20 years before Rick C-137 reappeared, and Morty is 14. This means Rick's memories of baby Morty are not Prime Morty.

Rick abandoned Morty C-137 when he became too smart and technologically savvy for Rick's comfort. Morty C-137 used his formidable knowledge and resentment to take down Rick in the most insulting way possible — defeat by Morty. He rises to power, becoming Evil Morty. 

However, the end of Season 5 reveals that Rick C-137's wife Diane and young daughter Beth were murdered by Prime Rick. If Rick C-137 personally raised Evil Morty, that Morty was from a different dimension born unto a different Beth.

What does the Golden Portal mean?

At the end of Season 5, Evil Morty escapes the CFC, then uses his portal gun to create a golden portal. Many fans are latching on to a spicy theory about the golden portals and Diane. According to this theory, if Rick isolated the universes in the CFC to remain the smartest man alive, perhaps someone smarter exists in the true multiverse he'd rather not face — a nemesis like none other — his former wife, Diane. 

We know that Diane's murder drove Rick C-137 to his lifelong pursuit of revenge, but what happened to the other Dianes? There are infinite Ricks, Mortys, Jerrys, Beths, and Summers, yet we never meet a single Diane. The murder of Rick C-137's Diane seems to be unique — what's the deal with the other Ricks and Dianes? Who raised the Beths who were abandoned by Ricks?

The fan theory posits that Diane is much smarter than Rick, making her his ultimate nemesis. He isolated all universes with Dianes from the CFC, but now that Evil Morty has perhaps destroyed the CFC, Rick is free game. In the true multiverse, Evil Morty may meet a Diane who's pissed at Rick, with tech to bring her to Rick's domain. Some fans hope that Evil Morty was a red herring for the villain Prime Rick, who (fingers crossed) is a red herring for the ultimate big bad — Diane.

Fans worry about the Evil Morty plotline

"Rick and Morty" teased viewers so much with hints Evil Morty would return, fans grew impatient. Season 5 elicited juxtaposing reviews from fans, some criticizing its disjointed pacing and others criticizing its continuity. (We know it's hard to believe that "Rick and Morty" fans would ever complain about the show on the Internet, but it's astoundingly true.) 

Co-creator Dan Harmon shared a behind-the-scenes perspective with Newsweek, explaining the show's producer Mike Mendel (former producer of "The Simpsons") passed away in 2019, leaving the crew grieving and disorganized.

"I think Season 6 is better than Season 5, to talk in cynical fan language," Harmon said. "That's because there was a transitional period during Season 5...I'm referring to the loss of our producer Mike Mendel, who was a father figure to the entire crew. No one plans for the absence of the absolute hub of everything."

Harmon described the pitfalls of Season 5 better than any snarky fan: "I would compare it to a shopping spree after the death of a loved one, where you're determined to make life normal, but you're actually behaving kind of insanely."

Harmon assured Variety that Evil Morty will return. "You will definitely be seeing him again. I caution that we may not be seeing him soon," said Harmon. "But we've written Season 7 and we're working on Season 8 right now...I can say with 100% certainty that Evil Morty is coming back."

Is Evil Morty an anti-villain?

"Rick and Morty" explores the concept that people don't really fit into boxes of good and evil — after all, the Morty-est Morty is capable of causing the same amount of harm as the Rickest Rick under the right circumstances. If we scrap good and evil, does "anti-villain" more aptly describe Evil Morty?

Tvtropes.com's definition of "anti-villain" fits. According to that source, an anti-villain is a character whose "desired ends are mostly good, but their means of getting there range from evil to undesirable....probably well aware that what they're doing is 'evil'...strive to maintain a façade of good PR...often neutral...aren't exactly benevolent, but they aren't malevolent either."

Once the truth of the CFC is revealed, we question Evil Morty's evilness — wouldn't we all do anything to escape? We're saved from having to ponder that can of spaceworms because mere moments after these revelations, Evil Morty fuels his escape with the carnage, death, and blood of The Citadel. 

In some aspects, Evil Morty may be the lesser evil character. All other characters maintain Rick's status quo, enabling ongoing misery. Perhaps Evil Morty is a logical effect, caused by the destruction of unchecked Ricks. From that angle, Evil Morty is an anti-villain.

Anti or no, Evil Morty is a load-bearing villain for "Rick and Morty" and we're sure to see him shape the show moving forward. In an alternate universe, there is a version of "Rick and Morty" that never created Evil Morty, and that universe was Cronenberged by angry fans.