This article contains spoilers for seasons 1-3 of Rick and Morty.
Rick and Morty season 4 is finally officially confirmed. Judging by how long it took them to get the last one done, we won’t be seeing more until we’re deep into nuclear winter. But it’s never too early to make demands the show creators will never see or put any stock in! So here is a list of the things Rick and Morty season 4 MUST do or else face my terrible and influential ire!
Rick needs a real challenge
There’s been a different core theme running through every season. The first one was about Morty learning the mindblowing truths of the multiverse, making him increasingly wiser, independent, and jaded. The second season was about Rick slowly recognizing that he cares for his family. In the third season premiere, Rick tossed all that mushy stuff out the window (or, at least, he pretended he did). Season three’s focus was on just how unstoppable Rick is. He can turn himself into a pickle, Morty, and still murder a whole building full of “Russian” gangsters. He can defeat the Vindicators’ arch-nemesis and then defeat the Vindicators themselves through a drunkenly slapped-together series of Saw-esque trials. In the finale, Rick openly verbalizes his invincibility in a rant directed at the President of the United States (“I’m Doctor Who in this bitch!”). When you have an all-powerful protagonist who can do almost everything, it makes sense to take a look at what that actually means for your show and its world.
However, now that season three has explored this fully, Rick is going to need something to actually challenge him. For realsies. Solid plots aside, season three did often have a hollowness to the proceedings because hanging over it all were the facts that, one, Rick is a living god, and two, that, if all else fails, he can screw off to another of the infinite realities. The character development in this season was mostly relegated to Jerry and Beth, which is fine for a while, but Rick is one of the leads and before long we’ll need something to make his adventures hold more weight, or else conflict in this series will become non-existent.
The return of Evil Morty(?)
It’s telling that the best episode of the season, “The Ricklantis Mixup,” reintroduced what has heretofore been presented as the most dangerous entity in the multiverse: Evil Morty. He handily took control of the Citadel of Ricks. Our Rick is the Rickest Rick of all so he poses a different challenge, but a Morty gaining dominion over a vast assortment of lesser Ricks is still an impressive and terrifying feat. If a real conflict is needed, bringing in Evil Morty is a surefire way to do it. I only hesitate to say that Evil Morty should come back straight away because we wouldn’t want the show to accidentally piss away its (so far) only credible antagonist (though I’d like to think he could be like Dr. Claw and keep getting away). Additionally, Rick and Morty is still a sitcom, mostly consisting of self-contained adventures. It’s not centered around one arc of fighting one villain and they only just brought Evil Morty back for the second time. Trotting him out regularly could diminish how menacing he currently is.
Bring Back the Citadel(???!)
If they don’t bring in Evil Morty to fight Rick and Morty directly, another option is they could at least check in on the Citadel and show us how Evil Morty is mucking things up. I’m not sure if it should be another full episode, however. Like Evil Morty himself, I expect the more time spent with the Citadel, the less interesting it will get, and the more cracks will begin to show.
The Return of Phoenixperson and Tammy
More likely and easy enough to suggest is the reintroduction of the hero (now villain) formerly known as Birdperson. Yes, Phoenixperson was just introduced in this previous season, but it was briefly in the tag in the season premiere. It was such a tiny appearance and it seems absurd to me to withhold a payoff for these characters for a whole season more. I also think they might as well bring these two back because, if I’m completely honest, they seem like a speedbump rather than a real threat. Rick destroyed the whole Galactic Federation without much trouble. It’s hard to imagine how much a mean girl and a rocket birdman could do. The real challenge, I suppose, is that Birdperson is one of Rick’s few friends (if not his only friend), so the real challenge there comes from having to fight one of the few people he cares about. Of course, there’s an implicit silliness in the fact that we assume there are infinite Birdpersons, including ones that never got turned evil, so what’s the big deal, really? But, whatever, I’m yammering. They set these guys up as future antagonists, so they may as well make good on it.
Fix the family stuff
There are multiple separate issues with everyone in the Smith family, but the crux of it is that Rick and Morty’s family dynamic needs a lot of work. Season three did a lot of cool sci-fi rigmarole, but seemed confused about where to go with Beth and Jerry’s divorce and, in the end, mostly ignored it, relegating it to a catalyst for, well, sci-fi rigmarole. The season ended with Beth, rather abruptly, deciding she genuinely loves Jerry now, putting Rick at the bottom of the Smith family hierarchy. It makes sense that everyone is willing to dump on Rick. After all, he spent much of season three berating the rest of the family, reminding them they know nothing and that he’s always right. But now we need answers to numerous questions.
What’s up with Jerry and Beth? It seems unlikely they’ll easily fall into being in love with no problems, but I’d hate to think they go back to being the same endlessly arguing dysfunctional couple they were before. Their relationship needs to make more sense and also not be completely annoying. Do we need more Summer? I think we probably do. She’s been revealed to be quite the badass more than once and yet she’s gotten very little in the way of her own stories. Most importantly, why is Rick still there? If he’s not getting any respect from the family, with the infinite options available to him, he needs a more concrete reason to hang around beyond it being annoying to change universes again. Every other family issue is an extension of this one.
If everyone has lost respect for Rick, how does this affect their adventures with him? Do they even want to put up with him anymore? It’s also worthwhile to consider the fact that, if no one is a tangible threat to Rick in the more conventional sense, emotional conflict might be the way to go if it’s made clear Rick actually does give a crap about mending things with his family.
I don’t particularly care if Beth is a clone
I believe some people want a definitive answer to this, but the finale put a very fine point on the fact that Rick would never reveal whether Beth is a clone or not and that uncertainty fits the show’s themes about how it shouldn’t matter one way or the other.
Hell, there’s even a chance Rick isn’t our Rick anymore as he may have ducked out and brought in a different Rick or a clone after having enough of getting kicked around by the family. I’m comfortable with all this. It makes sense with the magical unknowability of the multiverse and Rick’s ability to do anything within it. However, a story where Real Beth shows up and finds out, to her dismay, Clone Beth got back together with Jerry would make for a good storyline.
Bring back Mr. Meeseeks
They don’t have to do this. It could end up being lame. But everyone wants them to do it. Maybe they can figure out a way to do it. I don’t know, guys. Guys, I don’t know.
Rick must turn into a fruit
He was a vegetable, so, logically, he must next turn into a fruit. I’m thinking something in the citrus family. I’m leaning toward tangelo. Tell us which fruit Rick should be in the comments. However, you will be wrong. It must be tangelo.
Rick must burn down a McDonald’s
Mulan Szechuan Sauce has caused too much real-life pain and suffering and has made the Rick and Mortyfanbase look like a bunch of chodes. It is imperative that, going forward, the series draws a line in the sand by having Rick burn down at least one (1) McDonald’s. That can just be the whole episode. Rick’s like “C’mon Morty, we’re going on an adventure, Morty!” and Morty’s like “Aw, jeez, Rick, what kind of crazy shenanigans are you gonna get me into this time?” Then they burn down the McDonald’s and the show ends 20 minutes early. (NOTE TO FANS: DO NOT BURN DOWN A MCDONALD’S.) That’s all for now! Just make sure that, when the next season of Rick and Morty rolls around, the pile of irradiated debris that was your house still has a cable connection! Wubbalubbadubdub!