The fourth season of Rick and Morty ends with significant spinoffs from past years. But not necessarily what fans were expecting. Assuming Justin Roiland and Dan Harmon are planning to give us this great Rick confrontation against Evil Morty (and I begin to doubt that based on the events of “Never Ricking Morty”), that won’t happen anytime soon. Instead, season 4 ends by tying the loose ends of season 3 start and end, which could just be the best finale of Rick and Morty’s season. “The ABCs of Beth” and a follow-up on this wonderfully ambiguous ending where one version of Beth leaves her family to seek new life among the stars and the other returns to her humble life. As we quickly learn, a Beth freed from the responsibilities of motherhood and marriage is just as fearful as her father. It’s really cool to see that side of the character. More than ever, it’s clear how Rick is inside Beth, both good and bad.
Even better, the decision to bring back this version of Beth translates into a very meaningful story that does more than any other to really advance the momentum between Rick and his daughter (s). In the end, it becomes clear that the goal was never to really answer the question of whether Beth is real. Even Rick doesn’t know because he has taken the coward out. Instead, bringing the two Beths together is a way of forcing the two characters to recognize how toxic Rick really is and ultimately to go beyond hating / imploring his approval. This episode teases a new continuous family dynamic where the two Beths coexist and have the potential to play a much more active role in the series. In general, Season 4 hasn’t been very useful in presenting Beth (or even Jerry, for that matter), but these last two episodes really make up for the time lost. As for Rick, it’s fascinating to see how this episode directly reflects the season 3 finale, “The Rickchurian Mortydate”. Again, Rick is the big loser of the season. His grip on his family has loosened again. He basically chased everyone, to the point where his only companion is the disembodied remains of a very bloodthirsty Phoenix person. It may not be as low as it was in “Auto Erotic Assimilation”, but it is close. It will be very interesting to see how season 5 resumes from this point. Will there even be room for traditional Rick / Morty adventures? Could Beth take Rick’s place in this regard? I could see it all build to reveal that Evil Morty manipulates events so that the most dangerous Rick in the multiverse is alone and isolated, but honestly, it’s much more annoying than a status quo where Rick has to finally deal with consequences of a life of crappy behavior.
Balancing all this father / daughter drama is a welcome dose of wacky humor and spectacle. The fight between Rick and Phoenix Person alone is one of the most epic and choreographed action sequences in the series to date. It’s hilarious but brutal in its intensity, in part because Rick is very clearly the villain here. It’s also fun to watch Morty and Summer bond and help save the world with the combined power of invisibility and the indestructible Wrangler jeans.However, it’s Jerry who tends to steal the show in every scene. He is at his most pathetic in this episode and once again has the lion’s share of the best lines. You must love the gain of his little puppetry and the way Jerry manages to fight his way to save the entire planet. It all ends with a frankly incredible post-credit scene. We absolutely need an Invisible Garbage Truck Jerry spin-off series. Too bad he seems to have killed this franchise before it could even start. Good game, Jerry!