The Adult Swim animated hit series Rick and Morty followed up the premiere of season fie with its second episode with the unconventional and erratic installment titled “Mortyplicity.” Engaging with parodies of films such as Multiplicity, Highlander, and Ex Machina, the second installment of season five provided fans of the series an interesting take on how the series can be viewed in hindsight.
“Mortyplicity” centers on the roundabout story of various groupings of the Smith Family created by Rick at the conclusion of season four in the form of clones or decoys in the event the Intergalactic Federation returning and hunting them down. This fact, unbeknownst to the rest of the family, leads to the chaotic turn when decoys begin to create their own decoy versions and a hunt between differing versions of Ricks, Mortys, Summers, Beths, and Jerrys ensue.
A popular fan theory that this show possesses is that due to the infinite realities that exist within the story world, viewers may be watching different incarnations of the original Dimension C-137 Rick and Morty. Rather, this episode counters the idea that fans are to assume that everything they are witnessing is happening to the canonical incarnation of these characters. While the episode does not confirm this theory outright, it provides a nice tease to fans that are convinced of this theory’s validity. With various Ricks suggesting the reveal of the desired exposition of Rick’s wife Diane or other canonical reveals, they are instantly murdered by other versions of the Smiths.
“Mortyplicity” offers a clash of numerous fan-favorite components to Rick and Morty. The second episode provides violence of levels of other previous episodes “Look Who’s Purging Now” and “Total Rickall” in the combination of silly, toilet humor that exists within numerous episodes such as “The Old Man and the Seat” and “Rixty Minutes.” Regardless, once more in season five, the idea of Rick creating decoys for his family members to protect them is another instance of him expressing his care and desire to keep them all within his life. While he does not and never openly expresses it, the want for Rick to create these clones is another signal to the growth within Rick’s character and acceptance of others within his own life.
In regards to the popular fan theory that viewers do not always follow the C-137 Smith Family at all times, the episode provides a throughline so far since the creation of these decoys through the incorporation of the suicide capsules within family members’ teeth and Rick’s signature drool. In “Mortyplicity,” a Rick decoy incorporates the usage of this dental suicide that each family member allegedly possesses, a thought-to-be gag joke at the expense of Jerry from Rick in the season five premiere. Furthermore, the signature drool or snot that hangs from Rick’s mouth has not been present in any of the versions of Rick in season five’s first two episodes, which might suggest fans are removed entirely from the canonical timelines of the C-137 dimension.
Previously, writers and producers on Rick and Morty reported that there will be heavy canon infused within this ongoing fifth season. While there have not been any outright expressions of this reveal, the first two indications and some of its underlying implications suggest a slow burn and build-up meet this supposed end. However, the series does often tend to enjoy the love to swerve its viewers and this is just another instance of creators Justin Roiland (Solar Opposites) and Dan Harmon (Community) crafting a unique intertwining story of dispensable infinite timeline versions of characters for the ultimate destructive and satisfactory parody of pop culture films.