Rick and Morty took its premises of alternate realities and clones to the extreme on Sunday night in Season 5, Episode 2 — "Mortyplicity." The episode is a mess of violent double-crosses as "decoy" versions of the Smith-Sanchez family foil each others' plots at every turn. Warning: there are spoilers for the latest episode of Rick and Morty ahead!
Season 5 has already teased some more continuity-heavy storylines from Rick and Morty, and this week's episode gave it to us. It started with a series of scenes where the Smith-Sanchez family was attacked or even murdered in various ways, followed by a brief explanation from one apparently legitimate Rick. He told his family that he had created "decoy families" set up to lure potential attackers in and give him some advance warning that someone was out to get him. He referenced "Space Beth" — the clone of Beth (Sarah Chalke) who was introduced in Season 4.
Naturally, this explanation did not sit well with the family, especially since they came to like Space Beth in her last appearance. However, the episode leaves little time to ruminate on any of this violence as it cuts between different versions of the family, leaving the viewer no time to determine when they're watching the "real" characters or not.
Dozens of Ricks, Mortys, Beths, Jerrys and Summers die in the 20-minute bloodbath that follows, with occasional breaks for a setting change or a double-cross. Some of the "decoys" even band together against the encroaching monsters while others treat this like a Highlander-type situation. Finally, the last of them fight to the death in an all-out battle royale.
The viewer may be left thinking that there will be no Ricks or Mortys left by the end, until the camera pans out to space, revealing the whole Smith-Sanchez family watching the carnage from above. Space Beth is even among them, suggesting that she may be reintroduced at last. They say that they were simply on a long vacation in space, and seem to imply that they're the "real" family.
Either way, they're the last ones left standing, so they will be the ones to go on in this absurdist take on the family sitcom. Rick and Morty is known for brutal stories undercut by deus ex machina events that reset the family dynamic each week, and this was no exception. The episode has gotten generally positive reviews so far.
You can watch Rick and Morty Season 5, Episode 2 on AdultSwim.com with a valid cable login, or purchase the episode on a digital store like Amazon Prime Video here. You can stream the show live on Sundays here via Hulu + Live TV, with a free trial for new users. Rick and Morty airs on Sundays at 11 p.m. ET on Adult Swim.