In the latest episode of Rick and Morty, we get a fascinating insight into how both Rick and Morty’s personalities work. We also got to see Rick’s true feelings for Morty, which have been the subject of much debate since the series began. Sure, there was that one episode where Rick was willing to sacrifice his life for his grandson. But then there have been other episodes where Rick just doesn’t seem to care about anyone but himself. Today we finally got to put all those debates to rest.
This article has spoilers for Season 3 Episode 6 of Rick and Morty.
When Rick and Morty were detoxed, the machine turned them into what they each believed was the definition of being healthy. The detox machine removes what the individual believes is toxic about himself or herself. In Morty’s case, that was all his insecurities and lack of self confidence (and some of his ethics too, it seems). But he viewed his bond with Rick as a healthy part of himself and it wasn’t removed.
Rick, meanwhile, believed that his narcissism, loneliness, anger, and other similar traits were toxic and unhealthy, so they were removed. But he also believed that his care and attachment to his grandson was unhealthy, so it became part of his “toxic” self as well. It really was kind of heart-melting when Toxic Rick said to Toxic Morty: “Grandpa’s here.”
The fact that this was relegated to Rick’s toxic side doesn’t mean that Rick doesn’t truly care for Morty. In fact, we now know for certain that Rick cares deeply for his grandson. Jessica even said that Rick was calling her drunk and crying every night because he wanted Morty back.
But Rick also has a lot of emotional issues and believes that this type of caring is unhealthy and an “irrational attachment.” He viewed his love of Morty as a bad thing, while Morty viewed his love of Rick as a good thing.
It’s possible that there’s a positive spin to put on Rick’s belief that his bond with Morty is unhealthy. Maybe he realizes that his love for Morty puts Morty (and his entire family) in harm’s way. (He did mention in a previous episode how many times he’s abandoned his daughter.) Maybe Rick thinks that because his love for Morty ends up putting Morty in danger, it’s not a positive aspect of his personality. At the beginning of this episode, Rick himself mentioned that he wasn’t sure why he was doing this and maybe he was just on some kind of weird suicide mission. And if the fan theory that this Morty isn’t Rick’s original Morty, but Evil Morty was, that might be yet another reason for Rick to believe deep down that his care for his grandson is toxic.
Whatever spin you put on it, we did get to put an end to the debate about whether Rick cares for his grandson. Yes he does, very much.