The latest Rick and Morty episode featured Rick on one of his most insanely-driven missions yet - to surprisingly tragic results. Following the Rick and Morty season 4 premiere - which featured two distinct yet overlapping storylines - season 4, episode 2, “The Old Man and the Seat”, was divided into three separate threads. Morty and Jerry found themselves on a quest to shut down an app that the latter had co-developed with Glootie - who, as one of the Rick and Morty episode’s many guest-stars, was voiced by Taika Waititi. That particular mission crossed streams with a war between Beth and Summer which stemmed from said app. Meanwhile, Rick’s journey was a self-described solo (and not directed by Ron Howard) adventure.

The origins of that adventure came from a simple need to relieve himself. And, described by Summer with misplaced excitement, Rick had a special place wherein he could do just that. Rick being Rick, that secret locale was a seemingly untouched planet - where he had not only established a base but fashioned a lavatory designed just for him. Unfortunately, he soon found signs that someone other than himself had used the facilities. What followed was an epic vendetta as Rick sought to discover the identity of the trespasser - ending a violent rebellion and incurring a swarm of new enemies in the process. Ultimately, Rick’s quest led him to Tony, an alien office worker who quickly confessed and readily accepted whatever fate Rick had in store.

It was at this point that the toilet-based hijinks quickly took a turn for the poignant - when Tony revealed he had previously lost his wife. Though Rick would rally against the idea, the information clearly struck a nerve. As fans will know, a huge part of Rick’s backstory is the loss of his own wife. While Rick is not above using that to his advantage - once using false memories of the event to escape intergalactic prison in season 3 - the overall feeling of loss remains rooted in emotional truth. And that was only exacerbated by the surface level connection of them being “shy poopers”. Rick and Morty has always excelled at blending the outlandish with the heartfelt. That combination was in full force here, albeit also sprinkled with a layer of gross-out humor.

Rick was shaken enough by the similarities to leave without killing Tony. What followed was a succession of events where Tony pushed back against Rick’s resolve, determined to form a friendship, and Rick unable to follow through on his murderous intent. The worst form of revenge he could manage was trapping Tony in a hallucinogenic sequence, simulating heaven and an all-too-brief reunion with his wife. The same method would later be used when a post-credits scene revealed Jerry’s ideal (and simplistic) fantasy. In regards to Tony, however, it actually revealed more about Rick.

Rick is defined as being a grumpy, unstoppable force of nature. But fans occasionally get a peek beneath the surface. This isn’t the first time Rick was revealed to have a heart, but the new episode assuredly sees the mad scientist’s soul laid the most vocally bare. Fans have seen Rick willing to sacrifice his life for others. They have even seen him attempt suicide following a painful loss. But following the reveal that Tony had died - and it was therefore too late for either friendship or revenge - it marked the first time we heard Rick’s internal monologue and how he truly feels about himself out loud. Besides learning the truth of Rick’s famous catchphrase, that is.

As the smartest man in the multiverse, Rick proved the famous adage that above a certain I.Q. life is unbearable. As he sat on the central toilet, Rick merely endured the barrage of taunts originally designed for his latest nemesis and lost opportunity for human connection. As such, it will no doubt be added to many a list of all the times that Rick and Morty broke fans’ hearts. Such a moment will likely not stick, however, with the next Rick and Morty episode no doubt offering a new adventure with which to distract himself.

Next: Rick & Morty Season 4, Episode 2’s Credits Scene Reveals Jerry’s Dream