Did ‘Rick and Morty’ Just Kill the Original Smith Family?

By | July 3, 2021

Rick and Morty season 5 episode 2 spoilers follow.

From Crocubot and the Amish Cyborg to Mr. Poopybutthole’s cat, Rick and Morty is no stranger to death. This show decimates entire planets in the blink of an eye and even alternate versions of the Smith family have perished before too.

Think of the Council of Ricks or that Cronenberg Earth from season one. But even so, none of that quite prepared us for the relentless onslaught of death that ‘Mortyplicity’ brought us just two episodes into season five.

In the very first scene, the entire Smith family is shot to death by alien squids. Another Rick is then alerted to their demise, explaining that the first group were just decoys designed to die in their stead. But then they die too. And on and on it goes.

Each time we start to think that we might finally be with the original Smith family, death comes again. Eventually, it turns out that even the squids are just decoys in disguise. Countless decoys have been made by countless Rick decoys who believe themselves to be the real deal.

rick and morty season 5 episode 2

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By the end, this all comes to a head with one giant massacre which includes a few monsters and even wooden puppet decoys for good measure. But given that most of these copies are indistinguishable from the real ones, how are we supposed to know which Rick and Morty are the real deal? And did they even survive all this bloodshed?

It seems likely that C-137 Rick, the “real” Rick, showed up at the end with the rest of the Smith family in his ship. Not only do they seem very familiar with Space Beth, who we last saw at the end of season four, but the fact they’re traveling back from space appears to prove they’re the OG Smiths.

Earlier on in the episode, it was suggested that decoy families are limited to “standalone, terrestrial adventures.” So that means this version of the family can’t be fake because they are able to leave earth. Space Beth’s presence also confirms these Smiths are connected to earlier adventures that aren’t standalone.

So “our” Rick and Morty are fine, right? Probably, although it’s worth bearing in mind that this “rule” was established by another decoy. And the decoys weren’t always right either. Early on, a decoy Rick claimed that decoys couldn’t create other copies of themselves. So if the decoy was wrong about that, then perhaps they were also wrong about other things too.

Still, the Space Beth connection certainly implies that the final family is ours. And even if they’re not, does it even matter which Rick we follow anymore? This wouldn’t be the first time that the identity of the Smith family has been called into question.

After all, the original Beth, Jerry, and Summer are no longer with us now following the events of season one’s “Rick Potion #9”. It’s easy to forget now, but longtime fans will remember that the original Rick and Morty accidentally mutated the entire human race, so they replaced alternate versions of themselves in another reality and ended up joining different versions of Beth, Jerry, and Summer to create a new Smith family unit.

rick and morty season 5 episode 2

Adult SwimChannel 4

And remember when it was implied that Rick might have taken home the wrong Jerry back in season two? When we asked Chris Parnell about this, he conceded that it’s “entirely possible” this mix-up really did happen.

“I’m never completely clear, personally, on which particular family we’re with. I’m not sure it’s the same family we started with. I mean, I don’t know if these are clones of clones, or… I really can’t keep up with all of that. And whether or not it’s the right Jerry? Who knows? Maybe one day we’ll find out.”

Between all this and the Beth clone debacle from last season, it’s possible that we haven’t been seeing the “original” Smith family for quite some time. And given the lack of continuity that has often plagued this show, we should consider the possibility that each episode actually follows a different Rick and Morty throughout the multiverse.

Saying that though, the show’s newfound emphasis on serialised storytelling does imply that we’re following the same characters, for the most part at least. And even if “our” Rick and Morty did end up dying at some point in the decoy war, it wouldn’t be much of a stretch to pick things up with a new but very similar version of these characters plucked from another dimension.

In a universe full of infinite possibilities, the writers could still continue building on earlier plot threads even if it does turn out that “our” Rick and Morty are now dead. And maybe, just maybe, they could even bring back Mr. Poopybutthole’s cat too.

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Rick and Morty airs on Adult Swim in the US.

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