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The Ending Of Rick And Morty Season 6 Explained

Spoilers for "Rick and Morty" Season 6 ahead.

Every season of "Rick and Morty" is a self-referential tour of chaos through various movie spoofs, genre tropes, and — occasionally — real drama. Season 6 is no exception to this rule, though it does introduce some fun twists to the formula that help keep things fresh. After the relative mixed bag of Season 5, some viewers may have feared that the series was headed for stale territory. The good news is that "Rick and Morty" Season 6 is a stellar return to form, delivering high-concept episodic stories and just enough big-picture narrative to tie it all together.

After the world-changing developments at the end of "Rick and Morty" Season 5, the two titular heroes (?) are left stranded in space. Evil Morty's grand scheme effectively demolishes Rick's trademark portal gun, and things look pretty grim until Space Beth arrives to help them get home. However, the ensuing chaos from the Citadel incident also brings an old enemy to the forefront — Rick Prime, the man responsible for killing Rick C-137's wife and daughter in his home dimension. We learn that Rick Prime is actually our Morty's real grandfather, and that C-137 shacked up in their dimension in the hopes of tracking the villain down.

Of course, in true "Rick and Morty" fashion, this storyline isn't returned to until the season finale, when the hunt for Rick Prime starts to heat up again. Here's everything you need to know about the end of "Rick and Morty" Season 6.

The Robot Rick twist

In the penultimate episode of "Rick and Morty" Season 6, there's a bit of a change in the multiverse's meanest scientist. After a typical shouting match at the start of the episode when Morty accepts a sword from the Knights of the Sun, Rick announces that he's going to be "like, 22% more agreeable" for one episode. Morty is understandably wary of this unusual spurt of kindness from his grandpa, and he repeatedly asks what the catch is. Rick assures him that there is no catch, but in the next episode, we discover that's a lie.

The Rick present in "A Rick in King Mortur's Mort" is actually a robot created by the real Rick, who has been toiling away in one of his secret basement labs trying to track down Rick Prime. He assures Morty that the robot was only present for the one episode, and that it was Morty calling him "boring" that pushed him to make the change. C-137 looks about as rough as he ever has when Morty discovers him in the basement, as the physical and emotional toll of hunting his nemesis has clearly worn him down.

The tragic part is, the whole family seems far better off with the robot Rick. His 22% increase in love and kindness has a profound impact on everyone's overall happiness, which makes it all the more upsetting when we learn that it was just one of Rick's self-serving tricks.

More presidential antics

The "Rick and Morty" Season 6 finale sees the return of one of the show's most prominent side characters, U.S. President Curtis (Keith David). Usually stuck somewhere between malicious villain and incompetent fool, Curtis appears this time to avert global destruction when Morty drops his new lightsaber at a "perfectly vertical" angle — it goes straight through the floor and keeps on going, heading right for the Earth's core. Curtis helps stop the lightsaber, but it soon becomes apparent that he wanted it for himself all along. He takes it back to his "Star Wars" themed space White House to play with.

"Rick and Morty" has parodied just about every major sci-fi franchise known to man, and it's taken plenty of digs at "Star Wars" over the years, but "Ricktional Mortpoon's Rickmas Mortcation" spends a surprising amount of time on the spoof. Through Morty and the president, the writers actually discuss the nuances of the ever-passionate "Star Wars" fandom. It's more thoughtful than most of the show's parodies, and it reestablishes the president as a supremely silly character.

As is the norm when Curtis shows up, Rick is enlisted to help him save the world (or, more specifically, America). However, things go a bit south this time, and the lightsaber gets dropped again. While Rick's inventions do ultimately help them retrieve the lightsaber safely, his own ego causes his first plan to backfire.

Rick C-137's experiments

Intercut with the whole lightsaber fiasco in "Ricktional Mortpoon's Rickmas Mortcation" are some scenes of Rick doing experiments in his lab. It's been a while since the Season 6 premiere, "Solaricks," so you'd be forgiven for not recognizing what he's doing. The device he analyzes (by repeatedly blowing it up) is one of the attack drones present on Rick Prime's space station, which Rick and Morty visited in the Season 6 opener. Apparently, Rick acquired one of the robots to run tests on, though it's not entirely clear what information he gleans from this.

We also see Rick analyzing the dancing Rick from Rick Prime's space station, who's revealed in the post-credits scene of "Solaricks" to in fact be the man himself. Whether or not Rick C-137 knows this is unclear, but his scientific analysis of the man's bouncing butt bears fruit. In true "Rick and Morty" fashion, these scenes evoke some classic movie moments, with Bruce Wayne's Joker investigation in "The Dark Knight" jumping to mind in particular.

Through all of this, Rick almost appears to be running on autopilot. He clearly hasn't shaved or bathed in quite some time, and it seems that his revenge quest is once again consuming him. Unfortunately, the answers he finds aren't as simple as he'd like them to be.

Too many leads

Using all the data collected from Rick Prime's space station hideout, Rick C-137 is able to pinpoint where the villain is. He celebrates at first, until his computer starts highlighting numerous other possible locations. Enraged, Rick lets out a frustrated cry. He's hit so many walls on this hunt before, and it seems that he's just hit another one. The confusing thing here is what Rick says later. When he shows Morty the multiverse scans revealing Rick Prime's many locations, Morty asks if he's seeing every place the villain could be. "I wish, Morty," Rick replies. "It's all the places he is. Welcome to my darkness."

Does this mean that Rick Prime has a bunch of clones across the multiverse? Or that he uses some kind of time travel? Or perhaps that he stays on the move and jumps around so frequently that it's impossible to ever pin down his true location? We don't find out for sure, and it's likely that Rick C-137 himself doesn't actually know. As he tells Morty, he's spent most of his life hunting the guy, and he's hardly any closer to victory.

Hunting Rick Prime

By the end of "Rick and Morty" Season 6, the hunt for Rick Prime is front and center. For five seasons, Rick C-137 hardly even mentioned his vendetta against the evil doppelgänger. That could be because he was keeping his intentions a secret, or it could be — as is suggested in the montage at the end of Season 5 — because he simply gave up hope. But after getting so close to the culprit in the Season 6 opener, Rick is back on the case in full force. And this time, he's taking Morty with him.

In an effort to mend fences with his grandson after the whole robot reveal, Rick invites Morty into his lab and shows him what he's dug up on Rick Prime. He quickly becomes manic (evoking the show's first season) and grimly foreshadows what may happen as they hunt the villain together. "Hunting him destroyed me, Morty," Rick says, "but now we're going to do it together. You and me. It's going to take over your life, Morty."

If the flashbacks from the end of Season 5 are any indication, Rick's right. Chasing Rick Prime almost killed him the first time, and it's unclear if it'll go any better now. But at the very least, it should be entertaining to watch.

Rick and Morty at odds again

Despite Rick bringing Morty in on his revenge quest at the end of Season 6, the two characters still seem somewhat at odds. All the goodwill built up by robo-Rick's kindness is erased when the twist of his true nature is revealed, and Morty once again feels tricked and manipulated by his grandpa. At the end of Season 5, he demanded that Rick start treating him more like an equal, and for a while, that seemed to be going well. But now, with the hunt for Rick Prime once again consuming Rick C-137, things appear to be regressing.

Series co-creator Dan Harmon has warned against too much character development in "Rick and Morty," as it runs the risk of ruining the balance that makes the show work. However, while Rick may be reverting to his old ways, things aren't back to the way they originally were. Morty has become more of an equal party in their adventures over the last two seasons, and that power has made it harder for Rick to manipulate him. Rick bringing him into the hunt for Rick Prime will be a test for their relationship, and it should be interesting to see how their dynamic plays out as they pursue the villain.

The new Smith family dynamic

By the end of "Rick and Morty" Season 6, the Smith family looks a good deal different than it did at the start of the show. After a truly wild ride over the past few years, Jerry has reached a kind of equilibrium. He's still not the sharpest tool in the shed, and he'll be the first to admit that, but he's regained some respect in the eyes of his family and is far less pitiful than he once was.

Of course, the biggest change in the Smith family dynamic is the consistent presence of Space Beth, who's become a kind of cool aunt to Morty and Summer. She's also introduced a ... um ... curious element to Beth and Jerry's relationship, which seems to be going ... well? Ethics of sleeping with your clone aside, the relationship between the three adults appears to have had benefits for them all.

With the balance among the rest of the family at what might be an all-time high, Rick becomes the outcast. His decision to replace himself with a robot seems selfish and manipulative, but it might actually suggest a greater degree of self-loathing. Rick sees that his family is happier, and he doesn't feel like he can be a part of that new, happy normal. Instead of trying to get on board with the whole happy family thing, he hides away in the basement and sends a robot out in his place, isolating himself from the people he's grown closest to.

Old habits and self-destruction

It's no secret that Rick C-137 isn't a good person. He's a vindictive, narcissistic, nihilistic man who manipulates everyone around him. The flashbacks we get at the end of "Rick and Morty" Season 5 don't redeem him, but they do provide a lot of context for why he is the way he is. We see how his life was torn apart by Rick Prime, how he dedicated his life to exacting vengeance, and how decades of failure and subsequent violence transformed Rick C-137 into a cold husk of his former self.

At the start of "Rick and Morty," C-137 might be at his lowest point. But as the series moves forward, he gets some of his mojo back. Though he hates admitting it, he does build meaningful connections with his family, especially with Morty. We see fewer depressive episodes, less binge-drinking, and more wacky adventures. Unfortunately, Rick takes some backwards steps in the Season 6 finale.

The way Rick looks and talks in his underground lab evokes his darkest moments from the early years of the show. It's clear that Rick Prime's resurgence has sent him on a spiral, and this time, there's no telling where it will lead him. As he shakes Morty at the end of the episode and yells about his need for vengeance, we can see his self-destructive tendencies resurfacing. The character's apparent alcoholism hasn't been as prominent in the show during more recent seasons, but it could potentially come back to the fore now that Rick is at his lowest ebb.

If you or anyone you know needs help with addiction issues, help is available. Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website or contact SAMHSA's National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).

Rick Prime remains an enigma

Though Rick Prime's shadow looms large over "Rick and Morty" Season 6, we still don't know much about the guy. That's probably because Rick C-137 doesn't know that much. His only real interaction with Rick Prime was when he came to dimension C-137 to offer him access to his portal gun technology, which Rick refused. Then he murdered Beth and Diane with a surprise bomb attack, and the rest is history.

But who actually is Rick Prime, and what does he want? It's implied that he was one of the first Ricks, if not the first, to develop multiversal travel. His name would seem to back that up. It's also clear that he's incredibly calculated and psychotic, even beyond the levels of normal Ricks. And when we see him in the modern day, he looks exactly the same as in the flashbacks, as if he hasn't aged at all. Still, that only completes part of the puzzle that is Rick Prime.

Why did he leave his family in the first place? Does his role as Morty's actual grandfather have something to do with him being "the Mortiest Morty?" And what's his overall plan, if he even has one? It's likely that Rick C-137 cares a lot more about Rick Prime than Rick Prime cares about him, but we don't really know what the villain's deal is yet.

No sign of Evil Morty

One character who fans may have expected to see at the end of "Rick and Morty" Season 6 is Evil Morty, the schemer who makes a dramatic escape in the Season 5 finale. He's the reason Morty learns about Rick's tragic backstory, and the reason his portal gun is disabled. At the end of Season 5, Evil Morty transcends the Central Finite Curve — the subset of universes in which Ricks reign supreme — and ventures into a new beginning. Wherever he goes, it must be far away indeed, as there's no sign of him anywhere in Season 6.

To be fair, that makes complete sense. Evil Morty's only ambition was to get away from Ricks, so why would he come back after completing that goal? It's entirely possible that his story is now over, and that we'll never see him in the show again. With Rick Prime becoming the show's main antagonist, there's less room for Evil Morty anyway. Still, it would be fun to see him pop up again in the future, even just for a cameo. Who knows, perhaps Rick C-137 could enlist his help in the hunt for Rick Prime. Or maybe, just maybe, he and Rick Prime could team up to become the most powerful Rick and Morty combo in the multiverse.

A familiar face pops up in a post-credits scene

As has become standard, Mr. Poopybutthole makes an appearance in the post-credits scene of the "Rick and Morty" Season 6 finale. In the time since we last saw him, the little yellow guy has gotten swole, though apparently not swole enough for serious squatting. We see Mr. Poopybutthole training in a gym, which he says has been his way of bouncing back from his divorce. Unfortunately, he sustains a major injury while working out. Mr. Poopybutthole just can't catch a break, it seems.

At this point, the fan-favorite character's fourth-wall-breaking appearances have become quite normal. We expect to see him show up, discuss the season that was, and suffer some devastating event after every finale. This tradition seems to have removed Mr. Poopybutthole from the main continuity of the show. Since he's often shown watching the series just like we are, he's probably in some far-off dimension. However, that doesn't mean that he couldn't be brought back into the main story at some point. In fact, knowing "Rick and Morty," you can probably count on it.

What's next for Rick and Morty?

"Rick and Morty" is going to be around for a few more years at least. The team behind the show are already at work on Season 7 and Season 8, creators told Newsweek. There's also a Season 9 in the pipeline, showrunner Scott Marder said. "We're getting ahead and it's awesome, really exciting," he told Newsweek. "We're overlapping like two or three seasons in the records so from our perspective, it's a real kaleidoscope."

The Season 6 finale gives us a pretty good idea of what the next season may entail. In the final scene of the episode, Rick flies into one of his classic fourth-wall-breaking rants, declaring that the show's next installment will be all about Rick Prime. "Rick and Morty Season 7: Hunting my nemesis," Rick declares. "Maybe trying to stay healthy while doing it, juggling plates, not every episode, Morty. It could be all happening in the background, who knows?"

It's the same brand of noncommittal fan teasing that the show has become known for, but it also paints a pretty clear portrait of what the big-picture story threads of Season 7 will be. We'll probably still get mostly one-off episodes, like Rick says, but he and Morty will also be working together to hunt Rick Prime. With luck, we'll learn a bit more about him, our own Rick and Morty, and the larger multiverse along the way.