(WARNING: This article contains spoilers for Episode 301 of Rick and Morty. You have been warned).
AdultSwim did the unthinkable by releasing the first episode of the third season of #RickAndMorty on April Fool's Day, probably the biggest trick for a TV series to pull. Despite some backlash for pushing back an episode of Samurai Jack by a week, it was met with a highly positive reaction and left fans begging for more, as well as for that Mulan Szechuan sauce. However, there was one segment in that episode that plays a big role in the backstory of Rick Sanchez — one that will change the way viewers will see Rick forever.
Before we dive in, let's recap the whole event. We see Rick sitting with his family at a diner called Shoney's, only for it to be revealed to be a simulation. Galactic Federation agent Cornvelious Daniel tells him that they're communicating via brain-link, and that he might as well visit his memories that will provide the Federation all the information they need, since his brain will be liquefied after their session.
After a stop at McDonald's (where the Szechuan sauce makes its appearance), they head over to a memory of when a younger Rick was trying to perfect teleportation portals. Just as he's about to make a breakthrough, an older Rick from a different dimension appears in his garage and tells him about the wonders of interdimensional travel. Younger Rick dismisses the idea, causing older Rick to leave, warning him that all Ricks become the same, and that he's one bad day from becoming him.
After older Rick leaves, his wife comes in and younger Rick tells her that he's giving up on science. Just as his wife and his daughter Beth are about to enter the car, an interdimensional portal opens and a bomb drops in, detonating the house and killing Rick's wife and child. Rick then solves the equation on his driveway and jumps into the portal, Daniel takes a photo of the equation, only for Rick to hack into the computer and take control of Daniel's body. The rest of the episode follows him as he jumps from body to body, until he destroys both the Federation and the Council of Ricks.
Now, there is some speculation here. While Rick did admit that he fabricated the memory as part of his plan to get out of the brain-link, it's doubtful that everything was faked. Keep in mind that when one is looking back on their memories, only the tiny details can be changed. Whatever younger Rick wrote on the driveway could have been altered, but the visit from older Rick and the death of his family were real memories. What's even more messed up is that one of the many Ricks dropped the bomb in his garage, meaning that somewhere in the multiverse there was one Rick who was willing to kill his own family. This entire event ties into the popular belief that the Rick we've come to know and love is not from the same dimension as his Morty, meaning C-137 was not his original home to begin with.
At the end of the episode "Rick Potion No.9," we see that the entire world has been turned into monstrous beings called Cronenbergs (a reference to horror director David Cronenberg). The pair decide to escape to a new reality where they managed to stop the apocalypse but died shortly afterwards. Morty is petrified by the event, but Rick seems to be taking it rather well. This is a red flag that he has done this before, and enough times where it doesn't even faze him. There's a strong idea that after his family died, Rick traveled around until he found a reality where Beth has a family on her own, and he has been gone for many years. Driven by his grief over losing her, this started Rick's alcoholism and his pessimistic views on life.
It's pretty clear that he probably had to do some hopping around — why else would he have a memory of baby Morty? Chances are he ended up in a reality where he was still a part of Beth's life, meaning that he was able to see Morty in his early years, but then left for another dimension after he started getting attached. Whatever way you slice it, one thing remains true: Rick is a tortured soul who's afraid of losing everyone he loves. By drowning himself in booze and self-loathing, he's keeping away the version of himself that killed his family.
We'll learn more about everyone's favorite mad scientist when Rick and Morty Season 3 returns this summer!
What do you think of this theory? Why do you think Rick drinks and behaves the way he does?