Rick and Morty is the fan theory equivalent of an all-you-can-eat buffet. With a universe and concept that is both expansive, self-aware, and abundant with possibilities, if you think hard enough, you'll find an explanation for almost anything that happens on the show.
A recent Reddit theory by ShadowmasterK is a prime example of this. On the face of it, the theory seems to be searching for meaning in a trait that is commonplace in all cartoons. But when you look below the surface, it begins to make sense in a way that poetically reflects the great oppositional perspective on our existence — absolute purpose versus complete coincidence.
Maybe there is a god, maybe we are divine beings who share universal consciousness, maybe we're all celestial manifestations of another dimension, with this universe acting as a portal to eternal bliss. Or maybe our existence is sheer fluke, the result of billions of years of mutation that accumulated with semi-intelligent, insignificant flesh and bone hurtling through the dark abyss of space on a molten rock travelling at 1,000 miles per hour.
The 'Rick And Morty' Immortality Theory
Wait, back to the Rick and Morty theory. ShadowmasterK believes that, in the pilot episode, when Rick injects Morty with the serum that repairs his broken legs, he also injects him with an anti-ageing serum, making Morty practically immortal. The universe canon for this lies with a dimension Rick refers to as a place where "their technology was so advanced that they had halted the ageing process and everyone there was young."
The coincidence argument, hell, the logical response to this is that characters don't age in animation anyway. But this is #RickAndMorty, a heavily meta show with a fondness for poking fun at the troupes of fiction and popular culture. This subtle reference, way back in the beginning, could well have been deliberately included by Dan Harmon and Justin Roiland.
Does Rick Choose Death Over Immortality?
But there's something even more interesting to take from this scene. Whether or not Rick injected Morty with the serum, Rick could stop his ageing process, but he chooses not to. The inevitability of death is something he does pay attention to, after all he did transfer his brain into a younger clone of himself in "Big Trouble In Little Sanchez," creating the high-school sensation, Tiny Rick.
So why doesn't Rick just use the serum? The answer may be found in a Reddit AMA with co-creator Harmon, who, when asked an innocuous question on what drink is contained in Rick's flask, gave a delightful "absolute purpose" response:
"I tend to assume vodka and I know it seems unlikely that Rick wouldn't use sci-fi tech to somehow augment whatever he drinks but I think in rick's mind part of the 'addiction' to the flask of good old fashioned booze is that it anchors his identity, and I think he knows that if he augmented the booze or the flask, then why not just whip up a very rudimentary nanobiotic alcohol dispenser in his body or inject himself with a plasma component that just amounts to always having a certain blood alcohol level, and I think the reason he doesn't do that is because he's a little afraid he'll lose sight of who he is."
According to Harmon, the most intelligent man in all of existence can see the importance of maintaining his identity — it's the reason he keeps the flask instead of using any number of inventions to make things easier. The same can apply to anti-ageing. Rick may feel that if he used the serum and become immortal, he may lose sight of who he truly is.
There is another difficulty, too. By being immortal (or at least not dying of natural causes) certain situations could become even more dangerous for Rick. If he did live forever, he'd be extra screwed, facing an eternity behind bars following his arrest at the end of Rick and Morty Season 2.
Or, you know, all of this is a meaningless coincidence.
Is Morty immortal? Or is this over-thinking?