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Rick & Morty Season 6 Can Finally Redeem Rick | Screen Rant

After 5 seasons of the Adult Swim hit’s antihero seeming to be completely irredeemable, Rick & Morty season 6 can now prove that Rick is a decent person after all and provide the character with a compelling arc in the process since the season 5 finale explained his tragic backstory. Until near the close of Rick & Morty season 4, the popular animated sitcom followed a fairly reliable formula when it came to one of its eponymous stars. In seasons 2 and 3 (and early season 4) alike, Rick got standalone episodes dedicated to him that expanded on the character’s mysterious backstory and offered some evidence that he was a good person underneath all his amoral actions.

After these episodes, it was back to business as usual for Rick & Morty. For the anarchic show, 'business as usual' meant Rick massacring an entire planet in Rick & Morty's most underrated episode ‘Promortyus’ (season 4, episode 7), killing countless characters for the sake of short term gains in almost every episode and generally disregarding the needs and emotions of everyone other than himself. Rick & Morty’s season 4 finale saw Beth turn her back on her father in what looked like the first moment of real resistance to his amoral behavior, and this soon signaled a sea change in the show’s attitude toward the character.

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Throughout Rick & Morty season 5, Rick was rendered more sympathetic not by directly revealing the source of his misanthropy, but because the character was clearly working toward being a better family member, support, and friend. The source of the character’s angst (which a lot of canny, eagle-eyed viewers managed to work out years earlier) was not as important as Rick’s season 5 commitment to improving himself. One season 5 outing even finally made Jerry and Rick friends, something that would have been unthinkable only two seasons earlier. In the process, Rick & Morty proved that the series didn’t need to reveal Rick’s backstory to put the character on the road to redemption. Then, Rick & Morty did reveal the devastating backstory in the season 5 finale, and it was every bit as tragic as fans suspected. Now, after years of accepting (and reveling in) his dark side, season 5 of Rick & Morty has proven that Rick & Morty season 6 will be able to redeem its titular antihero.

Throughout Rick & Morty season 5, Rick is paired off with Summer and Jerry and treats them better than ever before, seeing them as people (if not necessarily his equals) by the end of their respective episodes. Rick & Morty season 5 promised more family-wide adventures for the Smiths after years of Rick and Morty getting each episode’s main story and the rest of the clan being limited to a B-story, but this format change also brought character development for Rick in the process. Rick respected the Smiths as a family unit in his adventures with the whole clan and was no longer found acting like the smug self-important character that many fans started to hate by the end of season 4. Instead, he seemed to have taken Beth’s criticism in Rick & Morty's season 4 finale to heart and committed to becoming a better version of himself — something that proves the character can still be redeemed in season 6.

Morty gained independence in Rick & Morty season 5 and the change was a welcome one after years of the agreeable teen acting as something of a doormat. Morty’s doomed romance with Planetina proved he was a mature character with a backbone and a heart, but these solo adventures also helped Rick & Morty’s other title character. As proven by his improvement throughout Rick & Morty season 5, no longer having a lackey in the form of Morty made Rick a more rounded character and proved he was capable of change. This made for some compelling growth for the seemingly immovable Rick and means Rick & Morty can expand on this soon in the next season.

While some of Rick & Morty season 5’s more playful episodes still paired up Rick and Morty against killer sperm and mutant turkeys, for the most part, the more serious episodes kept the pair apart and deepened both characters as a result. Attempting a lighter story with the duo divided made Rick & Morty season 5 episode 9 a less well-liked outing, and so the series would do well to keep the pair apart for their darker adventures going forward. This approach lets Rick & Morty tell sadder and more emotionally involving stories while pairing the leads up means the option of purely comedic episodes is also always available.

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Admittedly, many fans guessed Rick’s backstory reveal seasons ago. However, the revelation that a version of Rick was responsible for his wife’s death makes his self-hatred understandable. Meanwhile, his commitment to improving his treatment of others throughout Rick & Morty season 5 shows that Rick was already on a good path even before the backstory made him more sympathetic. Season 5 revealed why Rick was hated by other Ricks, but by revealing why Rick hated himself, Rick & Morty took away the excuse that the show has always had for his worst actions, and in doing so tacitly admitted that Rick needed to grow as a character.

Rick & Morty Season 6 will open with Rick’s backstory now being officially known to viewers and Morty alike, meaning the show can stop teasing this edgy element and focus further on how the loss impacted his character and stunted his development. Rick & Morty never had to dive into the psychological toll that losing his wife had on Rick because the very existence of Rick’s wife was playfully avoided on Rick & Morty, but laying out the character’s tragic past in concrete terms means the show can now delve into the hard work of making his recovery compelling. Rick may be worse or better than ever in Rick & Morty season 6, but now that viewers know his story, the potential for his redemption arc is far greater than it has been earlier on in the show’s run.

More: Rick & Morty’s Biggest Season 5 Twist Proves The Show Hates Fan Theories

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