Rick & Morty’s Season 8 Promise Will Be Hard To Deliver Upon Thanks To Season 7’s Best Episode
7 mins read

Rick & Morty’s Season 8 Promise Will Be Hard To Deliver Upon Thanks To Season 7’s Best Episode


  • Losing Rick Prime creates a void in Rick & Morty’s canon plot, leaving the show without high-stakes narrative tension.
  • Season 8 needs to find a compelling replacement for Rick Prime’s arc to maintain viewer engagement and interest.
  • The show can surprise fans by turning seemingly mundane standalone episodes into major serialized story arcs in season 8.



Although Rick and Morty season 8 was always going to have a hard time topping the Rick Prime storyline, the show’s promise of more upcoming canon episodes makes this even more difficult to achieve. In Rick and Morty’s season 5 finale, the anarchic animated comedy series finally revealed Rick’s tragic backstory. His wife was killed by an alternate version of himself, Rick Prime, and Rick then fruitlessly devoted his life to hunting down and killing this villain. This understandably took a toll on him mentally and turned him into the cynical antihero that viewers grew to love throughout the series.

Rick and Morty’s season 6 premiere brought back Rick Prime, while the season 6 finale saw Rick double down on his attempts to locate the character. It seemed inevitable that Rick and Morty season 7’s ending would see the duo face off and Rick would emerge victorious, but the series soon derailed this assumption. In season 7, episode 5, “Unmortricken,” Rick and Morty teamed up with Evil Morty to escape a trap set by Rick Prime. In a genuinely shocking twist, Evil Morty disarmed Rick Prime and left Rick to finish him off. Rick beat his nemesis to death.

Rick Prime’s Death Makes Rick & Morty Season 8’s Canon Story Promise Harder

Losing Rick Prime means Rick and Morty has no high-stakes canonical plot

While Rick Prime’s death seemed like it could have been a fake-out, nothing in the season’s subsequent episodes proved this. Between them, Rick, Morty, and Evil Morty really did defeat and kill Rick Prime and they did it with half of season 7 left to spare. This opened up the question of how Rick and Morty season 7’s Rick Prime death would impact the series since the show’s longest-running plot was suddenly over. According to co-creator Dan Harmon and showrunner Scott Marder, season 8 will feature just as many canon-centric outings, but it is hard to see how.

In an interview with Variety, Marder and Harmon claimed that season 8 would be equal parts standalone adventures and canonical, serialized episodes. However, Rick Prime’s death makes that much harder. Since the show’s early seasons, Rick’s main motivation was to kill his long-time nemesis. That plan has now been rendered irrelevant meaning Rick and Morty season 8 has no larger canon storyline to follow. While Rick Prime’s death was a perfect ending for this story, it wasn’t replaced by an equally compelling plot. While Marder teased Evil Morty becoming a major villain, this is not necessarily a good replacement.

Rick & Morty Season 8’s Canon Plot Needs High Stakes

Rick and Morty must find a story as compelling as Rick Prime’s arc

Ever since the bombshell revelations of the season 5 finale, Rick and Morty has focused on the only character who could seemingly defeat Rick and the villain who made him the way he is. As such, the next big canon arc needs similarly high stakes. Evil Morty seems like an obvious candidate since he is also a villain who is closely connected to the show’s eponymous duo, he also has almost unlimited powers, and he also has a dark vendetta against Rick. However, Evil Morty made it clear that he didn’t have any beef with Rick in the ending of “Unmortricken.”

It is tough to see how Rick and Morty season 8 could justify bringing back Evil Morty as a major villain unless the show’s title characters antagonize him, and this would be hard to pull off. Although Rick and Morty’s season 7 finale teased more character development for Morty, he is not as fully fleshed out as Rick. Similarly, Evil Morty has been around for a long time, but he got his ultimate revenge on Rick in the season 5 finale. To reignite the battle between these characters, Rick and Morty would risk doubling back and replicating season 5.

Rick and Morty can’t rehash Evil Morty’s storyline without adding a new twist to this plot. Evil Morty has already defeated Rick and Morty and later teamed up with them to beat Rick Prime, meaning there are fewer novel ways to rearrange their dynamic. That said, Rick and Morty season 7’s Summer episode proved the show can use supporting characters in surprising and effective ways, so Marder and Harmon might be teasing an entire story from Evil Morty’s perspective or a plot where he needs help from Rick and Morty. Regardless, he shouldn’t be season 8’s main villain.

Rick & Morty Season 8 Has 1 Great Serialized Episode Opportunity

Any episode in season 8 could turn out to be a major turning point

There is another way for Rick and Morty to create compelling new villains for the show’s overarching story and this is the approach the show should take going forward. Per Harmon, “The kind of canonical things like searching for Rick Prime… come out of the ether, and then they acquire this gravity, and then they become a canonical serialized story.” In season 8, the show could reveal that any number of seemingly mundane plots are actually high-stakes parts of the show’s canon. Some internet theories took this approach to season 7, arguing that Mr. Poopybutthole could be the next major antagonist.

While Marder and Harmon did reject the Poopybutthole theory, they also noted that its approach was valid. Any storyline from a random standalone episode of Rick and Morty could be revealed to be a major part of a later canonical story arc. This means that season 8 can use the show’s fans to generate tension and fake-outs. Rick and Morty‘s original premise saw Rick drag Morty and other members of the Smith family into his latest intergalactic lark. As season 8 starts, the show can return to this low-stakes, episodic routine, only to later reveal its underlying canon plot.

By bringing back Rick and Morty’s old formula, season 8 can lull viewers into a false sense of security before surprising them by revealing that a seemingly inauspicious character has huge ramifications for the show’s universe. Evil Morty’s debut didn’t hint at the huge role he would eventually play in the series, which explains why viewers assumed that Poopybutthole might turn out to be a secret antagonist in the show’s near future. The silliness of Rick and Morty disarms viewers and leaves them unsure what to expect, meaning season 8 can start out like a lighter, simpler sitcom and only reveal its secret depths over time.

Rick and Morty

Spencer Grammer , Kari Wahlgren , Chris Parnell , Sarah Chalke , Ian Cardoni , Harry Belden

Release Date
December 2, 2013


Streaming Service(s)
Hulu , Max

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