WARNING: The following contains major spoilers for “Promortyus,” the seventh episode of Rick and Morty Season 4.
Throughout the four seasons of Rick and Morty, it’s hard to deny they’ve been heroes of sorts, protecting the galaxy and keeping it free from tyranny. Of course, it often comes at their convenience and is usually because Rick treats the cosmos as his own playground, therefore, he doesn’t want anyone messing with his sandbox. That being said, when viewers see them go up against the Citadel, the Council of Ricks, and Evil Morty, they can’t help but cheer for the dysfunctional duo. However, in “Promortyus,” both admit they’re not heroic; they’re careless terrorists who leave massive trails of death and destruction in their wake.
The crisis of conscience occurs as they deal with the planet Glorzo. Rick and Morty have alien facehuggers attached to them, and when they’re freed from the creatures in the first act, they try to get back to their ship. They put the facehuggers back on to blend in and realize they’ve been working with the alien species to send a rocket to blow Earth up. Eventually, they escape in their ship, dragging the rocket around with them and causing chaos.
The havoc stretches all throughout the metropolitan society, with Rick and Morty blasting buildings and causing explosions on a Zack Snyder or Michael Bay level. What makes this worse is the fact that audiences don’t know if all these aliens are bad or not. However, it doesn’t cross the duo’s minds as Rick describes this as fun, even begging Morty to give a “Yeehaw!” as he shoots them. The two want to enjoy the kills, which Rick admits feels like popping bubble wrap. It’s sadistic and comes to a head when they approach two towers, eerily reminiscent of the World Trade Center.
The scene’s very quiet and they move away from them, making it clear this would have been “cheap” and “low-hanging fruit.” Morty says they’re better than “pulling a 9/11,” but he endorses them doing a “Pearl Harbor” by blowing up warships in the sea. Morty indicates this is inbounds, and as Rick claims he’s the “god of death,” they bask in what’s clearly an act of intergalactic terrorism. They could have left the planet a long time ago, but instead, they commit genocide. Morty even jokes their targets should “have been a better species,” which is arrogant and insensitive.
After heading home, they rush back as they realize they left Summer on the other planet, and it’s then they see what they’ve done. The place is a smoldering mess, and they’re thrown back by Beth asking them why they’d consider their actions classy, and why were “9/11 and Pearl Harbor” the only options for them. Rick makes a joke about asking the Saudis for that answer, but it’s humor masks responsibility, or lack thereof, since he now understands.
“Maybe we went too hardcore on these guys?” Morty asks.
“Why do you think we never go back to a place we’ve already been?” Rick responds. “Do you know how many adventures we get out of Purge Planet or Gear World. I don’t sequel. It’s called integrity.”
As much as Rick wants viewers to think this is true, he knows they’ve been cruel. Whether they are prisoners or victims, both know they don’t have to retaliate in full. They can’t help but admit to themselves they’re terrorists just as much as their enemies.
It comes full-circle when they don Gundam suits to cut a bloody path through more aliens in order to get to Summer. They even joke about using flamethrowers and laser whips rather than swords, revealing they’re addicted to violence and war. Rick and Morty are even told as much when they rescue Summer and blast off, blaring loud music that kills more aliens. Some of the dying species make it clear they had nothing to do with the vendetta against the humans and that Rick and Morty are truly monsters. Sadly, the show’s ‘heroes’ can’t defend themselves because they know it’s true.
Created by Dan Harmon and Justin Roiland, the second half of Ricky and Morty Season 4 airs Sundays on Adult Swim. Seasons 1 through 3 are available to stream on Hulu.
Rick and Morty Season 4 just confirmed that the dynamic duo aren't really heroes; they're careless terrorists who enjoy death and destruction.