Remember how I said that I couldn’t wait to see what choice Beth would make? Well, I honestly expected that she would take Rick up on his offer and spend at least half the final episode of season 3 traveling the universe while her clone stayed at home taking care of the kids. I didn’t expect her to hang around. I didn’t expect her to think she’s a clone even if Rick tries to tell her she’s not. And I did not expect her to rekindle things with Jerry.
While the episode title implies that Rick and Morty’s adventure to the White House is supposed to be the meat of the episode, I think it’s safe to say that there was a lot more going on that was far more important. The President’s mission/adventure was a complete distraction, which is half-expected with any adventure at this point. But what made this one stand out was how Rick and Morty both willingly admitted that it was such. By “blowing off America”, the duo catalyzed the plot and got us to the good stuff.
Rick continues to remind everyone that “infinite universes means that anything is possible and nothing really matters”. But aggressively pressing this point has put him in a position where his knowledge of the universe is what really doesn’t matter, at least not to his family. Beth, in particular, has realized in this episode that nothing can sometimes be the most important thing in our lives. Hence why her love for “simple” Jerry is reignited; Jerry is a nobody, a nothing. And while Rick firmly maintains that Beth is his daughter based on the fact that she’s smart, Jerry has no reason for loving her. His love is unconditional, and, though it means absolutely nothing in in the universe, it means everything to her. So, she chooses to stay and start a new life from scratch with her old family.
Of all the twists Rick and Morty has pulled thus far, this is by far the most impressive. Why? This show, as a whole, has developed an intricate plot that began with blatant deflection of emotion and ended its third season with glaring emotional awareness that most of us thought we’d never see from it. And rather than being a quick thought or nearly overdone gag, the development was a slow burn. Throughout the season we’ve seen noticeable changes in each character, for better or for worse, and this is the moment those changes really seem to matter—or, not matter, maybe. Here’s how I see it:
Beth, Jerry, Summer, and Morty all developed or discovered traits within themselves that were so incredibly close to parts of Rick’s personality that, by the end of season 3, it really didn’t matter if Rick was a genius. Morty became an asshole, but he’s still Morty. Summer is more aggressive and assertive, but she’s still Summer. Beth is entirely like her father, sociopath intelligence and all, but she’s still Beth. And Jerry is the Jerry he’s always been: a loser and simpleton. But it seems that the lack of development from that point is due to those traits being Rick’s two biggest fears (aside from pirates). But at the last second he shows Beth that being simple isn’t such a bad thing, which is a big change from what we’ve seen of him in the past.
And Rick is…still just Rick. He’s pushed his family into their own development, but he hasn’t considered or processed any for himself. Morty’s nod to Rick’s stubbornness in the finale confirms that Rick is that grumpy old man who is set in his ways. But if what Beth says is true and season four becomes reminiscent of season one, Rick is most likely going to have to change whether he likes it or not. He doesn’t have his daughter or grandchildren at his side to back him up anymore.
Rick is no longer in control. That’s what will make season 4 new and exciting!
Anyway, Mr. Poopybutthole came back for a cameo after the credits. I’d love to fangirl over the possibility of Rick and Morty returning around December, but I’m honestly more concerned about the biology of Mr. and Mrs. Poopybutthole and how they conceived a child. Back at it again with those distractions.