U “Rick Potion No. 9” Rick accidentally “Cronenbergs” the world, a sci-fi blip so irreversible that he and Morty escape their reality to take the place of the dead Rick and Morty in a near-identical alternate reality. Right off the bat, this episode introduces the concept of a multiverse of infinite realities, introduces the idea that Rick can inhabit any of them at will (and has done so before), and turns Morty from naïve and submissive to jaded and angry. This is an important point for Rick and Mortyforever redefining what the series is and what we can expect from it.
The events of Rick Potion #9 have been looming and suspenseful throughout the series. There is an obvious effect of introducing Rick’s ability to travel from universe to universe, as well as Morty’s more cynical characterization. But the series continues to directly recall the episode in a more literal sense, repeatedly referencing the fact that Rick and Morty buried themselves in the backyard, or showing us how the Cronenberg dimension they left behind is still post-apocalyptic.
The sixth season premiere of Solarix revisits what happened in Rick Potion #9 in the most literal way, when Rick accidentally sends all the travelers in the portal back to their places of origin, sending Morty back to the universe he and his grandfather quit after they Cronenberged everything. Also, the episode ends with another gross callback, with Rick, Morty, and the rest of the Smith family hiding versions of themselves in the backyard of yet another new universe.
“Solaricks” is something of a prequel to “Rick Potion #9”. The final episode marked the point of no return, where so many dark truths about the multiverse were revealed to us (and Morty) that reverberations of it will be felt throughout the series forever. It’s only been about nine years, but the Solaricks finally come to terms with what Rick Potion #9 created, confirming that all this crap happened and that it matters to these characters and their world(s).
It’s a big deal because, for now Rick and Morty always contained threads of continuity, he flirted with it more when it was convenient, with a wink to the Cronenbergs, visiting the Riks citadel, or the periodic reappearance of Evil Morty. More often than not, he aggressively resisted it in favor of silly, one-off adventures with no lasting impact. The series has no problem breaking down the fourth wall at every turn, so much so that there was even some pretty open derision when the idea of canon lore came up, as in “Never Breaking Morty” which quips and quickly dismisses possible future scenes and endings Rick and Morty, incorporating fan-favorite characters like Mr. Misiks and Evil Morty, which immediately shows an awareness and aversion to the serialized elements that many fans wanted. Rick himself has made it clear that he despises backstory and lore, dismissing Rick’s Citadel as a place that “works by canon” and, in The premiere of the third seasonleading a Galactic Federation agent to believe that Rick’s origin story is one of those clichéd murder-revenge family trials like first popularized by Charles Bronson.
The avoidance of knowledge and consequences reached its peak in season five, a season that did its best to shy away from anything that might be too sincere, bypassing character and world development in favor of absurdist spectacle. We received a Oven a parody, a Thanksgiving episode about Turkish super soldiers, a Voltron a parodyand lest we forgetgiant, talking sperm. It was all very silly and not particularly funny, which made for a worse season.