Rick and Morty Season 5 is here, and it kicks off with an episode that will please fans of all kinds. The premiere episode, "Mort Dinner Rick Andre," sets a promising tone for a season of high expectations. However, it also maintains the Season 4 air of flippancy without which Rick and Morty wouldn't be Rick and Morty.
Season 5, Episode 1 pays off some of the most interesting teasers from the Rick and Morty trailers — the "horny ocean man" bothering Jerry (Chris Parnell), Morty (Justin Roiland) and Jessica (Kari Wahlgren) growing closer and Rick (Roiland)'s disdain for "cyberpunk birds." As usual, these spectacles are even more exciting in context, and this year's trailers did a good job of teasing the big hits without giving it all away. That includes the very gradual direction in which the Smith-Sanchez family is developing this year.
Without spoiling anything specific, the most exciting thing about this year's season premiere is that it is unquestionably a Morty-centric episode. It focuses on the teenager's emotional conflict and relegates Rick to the background more than ever. This plays well, especially since the show has been hit with the label "toxic fandom" over some viewers' idolization of Rick and dismissal of his faults.
In many ways, this brings the show back to its roots by focusing on Morty's desire to be a normal teen and yet his reliance on Rick's technology to set him apart from his peers. This through-line has been interrupted at times in Rick and Morty's run so far, especially in season 3 when Morty was more focused on appeasing his divorcing parents by any means necessary.
However, that's not to say that Jerry and Beth (Sarah Chalke) are completely settled now either. Fans of their awkward dynamic will get their fill in this premiere, and those who cringe at it may find themselves looking away from some scenes.
Perhaps the most important thing for fans to know before seeing the premiere, however, is that this episode hints at the revival of some continuity-rich storylines that were completely missing from Rick and Morty Season 4. If you're one of the many fan theorists interested in Rick's origin story or the "Evil Morty" plot, then it seems like Season 5 could be just for you.
There are some characters and cliffhangers that fans will be sad to see missing from the Rick and Morty Season 5 premiere, but the show has nine more weeks to address them and make everyone happy. For now, "Mort Dinner Rick Andre" is an excellent start to the latest installment of the U.S.'s most relevant sitcom. Rick and Morty Season 5 premieres on Sunday, June 20 at 11 p.m. ET on Adult Swim. You can stream the show on Hulu + Live TV, with a free trial available here for new users.