Rick and Morty fans have noticed a major staple of the series missing from Season 5 so far, and they're growing suspicious about what it could mean. After Season 5, Episode 4, "Rickdependence Spray" aired, fans on social media noted that Rick's infamous portal gun has not appeared in this season yet at all. Now, many are assuming that some kind of twist is coming, and they're sharing their best guess about what it could be.
Reddit user u/ActionFilmsFan1995 made the latest viral post concerning the absent portal gun, with the dire prediction: "Something is up." Some fans are now theorizing that a later episode will point out the missing portal gun and reveal that the whole season has been a simulation, or a dream, or some other non-canonical plot cul-de-sac. Others think it's a hint that Rick himself is trying to behave differently for the sake of his family.
Rick's portal gun has been the defining gadget of Rick and Morty, and the show has never been shy about using it before. It was the main asset that the galactic empire wanted to steal from him in the Season 3 opener, and the very reason that the multidimensional Citadel of Ricks was united. It was a pivotal plot point as recently as the Season 4 finale when Rick used it to take down the galactic empire yet again and rescue his family.
Some fans are speculating that the prolific use of the portal gun is the very reason it hasn't been shown yet in Season 5. They argue that the writers and animators are trying to branch out and show more sides of Rick's technology. Others say that the show is too meticulous for this to be an oversight or a casual aesthetic shift. The very production company that makes Rick and Morty is named Green Portal Productions.
There have also been plenty of opportunities where a portal gun would have come in handy. In the opening scene of the season, Rick allows his spaceship to crash into the ocean without using his portal gun to escape. They use the spaceship several other times as well, and more recently they even fly in a modified version of the family's station wagon rather than simply stepping through a portal.
"I think it's a character development thing," concluded user u/smartorcrazy. "Rick used the portal gun to run away from his family and other problems. But he's changed now, he cares about his family more (he even called Morty 'kiddo')." User u/TangMugs argued: "Yeah but the portal gun IS Rick and Morty. Like the dimension-hopping set the show apart. Now it's just like Star Trek meets Family Guy."
If the absent portal gun is a hint at dramatic events to come, there are only six episodes left to reveal them. Rick and Morty airs on Sunday nights at 11 p.m. ET on Adult Swim. You can stream the show afterward on the Adult Swim app, or purchase the season digitally here.