Rick and Morty writer and co-creator Dan Harmon broke down the Season 5 finale and its implications for the show going forward in this year's final "Inside the Episode" featurettes. The season arguably ended on a cliffhanger in many ways, and fans are frantically trying to predict what will come next. Warning: there are spoilers ahead for the Rick and Morty Season 5 finale!
Harmon helped narrate the "Inside the Episode" segment for Season 5, Episode 9, "Forgetting Sarick Mortshall", along with writer Siobhan Thompson who wrote that script, then joined writer Jeff Loveness, showrunner Scott Marder and producer Steve Levy in a similar segment for Season 5, Episode 10, "Rickmurai Jack." Thompson explained bluntly: "this is the episode where Rick and Morty break up," and she and Harmon looked at that separation from several different angles. She said: "Morty expects them to get back together again because that's what happens at the end of a Rick and Morty episode," but notes that Rick is the one to break that cycle.
Moving on to the finale, the two come back together briefly before "Evil Morty" puts them to the test. The featurette shows a somewhat parallel clip where Rick advises Morty to go with Evil Morty and leave him for dead, but Morty can't bring himself to do it. Harmon explained the intention behind it.
"The finale of Season 5 is a story about advancing the relationship between Rick and Morty to be one that involves a little more trust," he said. "What challenges can we throw at two people willing to commit to working together?" As he speaks, the screen shows one of the final moments, in which Rick pulls Morty to him so they can operate the two-person lever required to push their section of the Citadel out of harm's way.
While things seemed to work out in that moment, there's no doubt that these events will have repercussions on the show in the next season. Loveness said: "We had been delaying the Evil Morty thing for so long, I think, because that changes the show, once you do a revelation that big." In addition to the new canonical information it provided about Rick C-137, Evil Morty, the Citadel of Ricks and so on, the episode also "changes the show" by putting its titular characters in an unprecedented dynamic, which may not lend itself to the same simple episodic tales in Season 6.
Rick and Morty Season 5 is streaming on the Adult Swim app with a valid cable log-in or on digital stores for rental or purchase. There is no word yet on when Season 6 will premiere, but the writers have confirmed that they are as far ahead as the end of Season 7, so work is well underway.