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Why The Portal Gun In Rick And Morty Doesn't Make Any Sense

Adult Swim's "Rick and Morty" relies on the audience's ability to imagine a world where, thanks to Rick Sanchez's incredible mind, anything can happen. The series utilizes tropes from science fiction and plenty of pop culture references – like when four different versions of Morty made a reference to "Stand By Me" – to give the show its signature brand of irreverent humor. Each episode follows Rick and Morty on a different wacky misadventure that forces them to use various gadgets and zany schemes in order to get home safely. 

One of the most fascinating tools Rick employs on a regular basis is a portal gun that spits out green gateways to other worlds. Rick's portal gun is one of the character's identifying features, along with his white lab coat, spiked blue hair, and constant burping. It's a source of amusement for Rick and his grandson, who frequently use it for silly, selfish purposes, but it also provides an easy escape when the characters get in over their heads. The handheld device is featured prominently throughout the show and yet, how it operates is still a mystery. The portal gun is undeniably cool, but the way it works doesn't seem to add up.

How does Rick get portal gun fluid?

Rick and Morty are always taking off on new adventures, on occasion to retrieve something Rick needs for one of his projects. The series has noted that the portal gun uses a specific kind of fluid to operate, which is shown to be difficult to produce and also extremely volatile when made incorrectly. 

Season 3, Episode 7, titled "The Ricklantis Mixup," shows one version of Rick dissolve when he tries to use "bootleg portal fluid" in his portal gun. A store of portal fluid is seen in the bowels of the Citadel, but the exact nature of the portal fluid has not been explained. Rick has been known to use all kinds of fuel to power his machines, like the time he used an entire alien race to power his spaceship's engine in "The Ricks Must Be Crazy," so it really makes you wonder what exactly gives the portal gun its potency. Knowing Rick, it could be literally anything!

Rick is uncharacteristically tight-lipped about how the portal gun works

Fans of "Rick and Morty" know that Rick loves nothing more than to explain his inventions. He seems to relish in verbalizing his ideas because it signals his unprecedented genius to those around him. Rick's off-the-charts inventing skills have gotten him out of some seriously sticky situations, and he is always reminding the other characters that they come running to him the second they have a problem. Rick never misses an opportunity to explain the sheer breadth of his knowledge. However, when it comes to the secrets of his portal gun, he has remained reticent.

A main plotline in the Season 3 premiere, titled "The Rickshank Redemption," is the attempts of an alien race to invade Rick's mind to access information about how the portal gun works. In order to keep his secrets safe and escape, Rick massacres quite a few extra-terrestrials. Rick's never had a problem committing violence, but he's certainly determined to ensure that the mysteries of inter-dimensional travel don't get out. It seems like the portal gun is one of the few inventions that Rick isn't compelled to brag about openly. The portal gun seems to be a hot-ticket item among his enemies, as well as a source of concern for other versions of Rick and Morty. Hopefully, viewers will eventually get to see how the portal gun works, but it would also be on brand for "Rick and Morty" to ultimately leave it a mystery.