Adult Swim’s highly anticipated Rick and Morty season 4 premiered last night, and included a major twist in its after-credits scene. The shortened first half of Rick & Morty season 4 kicked off with “Edge of Tomorty: Rick Die Rickpeat”. The premiere picked up more or less where the season 3 finale left off - with Jerry back in the fold and everybody attempting to settle into a rhythm as a family, much to Rick’s chagrin. Following a brief mental escape, the mad scientist opted for a more literal one. Dragging Morty along - albeit more willingly - Rick sought to gather an abundance of jewels known as Death Crystals. Revealed to show how the beholder will die based on present actions, Morty soon becomes obsessed with a future in which he dies within the loving embrace of his perpetual crush, Jessica.

That perceived destiny takes Morty down an increasingly dark path - one that starts with inadvertently killing Rick and then willingly refusing to resurrect him in order to stay the course. The journey also seems him engage in a number of “Akira-type situations” previously teased in the Rick and Morty season 4 trailer. Morty deals with school bullies and, ultimately, achieves god-level status after waging war on both police and military forces. Even courts of law or public opinion provide little in the way of obstacles to Morty’s mission, with him steering a judge to suicide and winning the country over with an oddly tuneful noise. The only thing that comes close to knocking Morty from his set path is the offer to go skinny-dipping with Jessica, only for him to recommit to the long-game. Ultimately, however, Morty is brought down by a clone of his Rick - who has teamed with a wasp and hologram version of himself.

Sharper than a sting to the eye from Wasp Rick, however, is the revelation is the post-credits scene, which reveals that Morty’s vision wasn’t quite what he thought. Free of the Death Crystal’s thrall and attempting to return to some level of normalcy at school, Morty overhears a conversation between Jessica and her friends. Discussing what they want to do with their lives after they graduate, Jessica’s friends are unsure what careers they want to pursue. Jessica, however, has already mapped out her future with as much assurance as Akira-Morty. She wants to work in hospices, tending to the dying and the extremely lonely. Even more than that, with little-to-no genuine compassion, she wants to cradle them in her arms and tell them that she loves them. Rather than actually take the time to get to know the terminal patients, however, Jessica is content with merely reading who they are from nametags - most likely due to the rewards offered by her dying grandmother.

Aghast, Morty realizes that not only was the vision he had strived for not rooted in the same emotions he had attributed to it, but it was all the bleaker and more desolate. As such, he resigns himself to the next adventure with Rick - even if it means being coated in gasoline and spiders. The results prove to be the traditional brand of comedic nihilism that the best Rick and Morty episodes often revel in.

It also ties directly into the themes that the characters Rick and Morty discuss towards the end of the episode - that life shouldn’t be lived simply to guarantee a certain outcome but instead should be a compromise between living in the moment and looking to the future. Though Morty will likely not be so quick to turn down the offer of skinny-dipping with Jessica next time, whether or not these revelations and lessons carry over fully into the remaining Rick and Morty season 4 episodes remains to be seen.

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