WARNING: The following contains major spoilers for “Promortyus,” the seventh episode of Rick and Morty Season 4.
One of the biggest aspects of Rick and Morty has been their dysfunctional relationship, driven largely by Rick’s demanding and abusive ways. Last season, Beth — who is Morty’s mom and Rick’s daughter — wanted her dad to make an effort to improve this and be nicer to the boy, and as Season 4 rolls along, it’s clear their relationship has indeed changed for the better, which is illustrated in the recent episode, “Promortyus.”
When Rick and Morty jump into their spaceship and start shooting up the planet Glorzo to escape to Earth, they share a warm bonding moment when Morty mans the cannons. Rick asks him to make a “Yeehaw!” sound, as that’s what they do in these kinds of Star Wars-esque scenes. While Morty botches it, Rick commends him for the effort. It’s weird not hearing a barrage of insults for this, especially later on when they discuss terrorist acts like 9/11 and Pearl Harbor and what style they should employ to kill the enemy.
They’re strangely in agreement, and even when they don’t agree, they calmly rationalize things and work out what’s logical. They’re separating emotions from problems when they need to and seeing Morty not panic and meltdown while Rick remains calm is a breath of fresh air. Rick even opens up in a very vulnerable and honest moment: “It’s been a while since I’ve been able to let loose and have fun,” he confesses. He apologizes too for being antsy when they made their way to their ship, removing some facehuggers along the way. He says he’s sorry for taking it out on Morty and the kid tells him to keep opening up and don’t ever be afraid to “let him in.” Hearing Rick respond, “Will do, buddy!” is again a major turning point and shows their rapport is truly like best friends.
It happens again when they return to Earth and have lunch, making jokes about their adventures and later on at the end of the episode when they head home. Morty tells Rick to cool off by watching some interdimensional cable with him and Rick does so pretty easily. As you can see, the stubborn Rick listening to Morty so easily shows a lot of growth has occurred. Beth’s simply stunned and distrustful because she thinks they’re getting along too well which could lead to more disasters. In fact, earlier we see them annoyed Summer came with them, as they just want to spend time together. Still, they don’t care as long as they’re enjoying each other’s company, which was also the case when they were aboard the Story Train.
Morty bought the toy as a gift, and it seems he and Rick have been exchanging gifts, just buying things for each other because that’s what buddies do. There’s even a crazy moment where Rick kisses him on his forehead, clearly wanting to appreciate the time he spends with Morty. As they talk about consumerism and gift-buying, all that’s left for Rick is to say he loves the boy, and while it doesn’t happen there in earnest, it seems the show is building to that epic scene pretty soon.
Created by Dan Harmon and Justin Roiland, the second half of Rick and Morty Season 4 airs Sundays on Adult Swim. Seasons 1 through 3 are available to stream on Hulu.
Season 4 of Rick and Morty has revealed that the title two characters' relationship has changed for better.