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The Rick And Morty Season 5 Episode 8 Moment That Changes Everything About Morty

"Rickternal Friendshine of the Spotless Mort," the eighth episode of "Rick and Morty" Season 5, takes place almost entirely within the brain of Birdperson (voiced by series co-creator Dan Harmon), the onetime best friend of Rick (co-creator Justin Roiland) who last appeared in the Season 4 finale, "Star Mort Rickturn of the Jerri." In that episode's climax, Rick defeats and kills Birdperson — renamed Phoenixperson at that point due to his revival as a villainous cyborg. "Rickternal Friendshine of the Spotless Mort" opens with the rest of the Smith family going on vacation, leaving Rick home alone. He decides to use that time to work on reviving Birdperson, no longer a cyborg but a sort of stitched-together Frankenstein's monster version of his former self.

Rick's AI computer determines that Birdperson's conscious mind has retreated into itself, and Rick decides to enter into Birdperson's memories in order to rescue his friend's very being. Along the way, Rick meets up with a younger, 35-year-old version of himself. Though that version of Rick is but a memory, and not a true alternate reality version of Rick as has been showcased plenty of times before, the imagined version of the scientist is nevertheless sentient to an extent, due to Birdperson remembering Rick as particularly intelligent. Rick and remembered Rick then team up to rescue the real Birdperson from his unconscious memory palace.

Upon the two Ricks teaming up with one another, Rick explains some particulars of his present-day life to his remembered past self, including "Shrek," of all things. The ensuing conversation, however, soon diverges from ogre talk and includes a bombshell that recontextualizes Rick's very relationship with his family.

Morty isn't actually Rick's grandson — sort of (It's complicated)

After explaining the "Shrek" movies, Rick offhandedly tells Birdperson's that "Morty loves them." Memory Rick doesn't recognize the name Morty, given that he's Rick at an age before having a grandchild. When Rick describes Morty as his grandson, however, memory Rick reacts in disgust to protagonist Rick living "with a version of our dead daughter."

In a discussion thread about the episode on Reddit, user u/Wommby pointed out that this line has potentially major implications, in that it reveals that the version of Rick most often featured in the show isn't directly related to its main version of Morty.

Variants of Rick and Morty from throughout the show's multiverse are something of a "Rick and Morty" staple. In fact, the Rick and Morty introduced in the series pilot eventually move to a parallel universe immediately after the death of its version of Rick and Morty, effectively replacing them and living with alternate universe versions of everyone they once knew in their home universe from then on.

That said, memory Rick revealing that the version of Beth he fathered is dead implies that even the Beth that Rick lived with during the series pilot wasn't his biological daughter but a multiverse variant. Morty too, then, being the daughter of that Beth, isn't directly related to the primary version of Rick, but essentially adopted from a universe into which the main Rick presumably traveled to spend time with a version of his daughter in the wake of what we now know was her death.

This reveal could reverberate into the story of "Rick and Morty" moving forward just as easily as it could remain an Easter egg for attentive viewers as the series approaches its Season 5 finale.