Season 3 of Rick and Morty is fast approaching, and if you’ve been following the show’s spectacular run thus far you know we left off at something of an uncharacteristic cliffhanger. But things might not be as grim as they appear, especially if you’ve been paying close attention. (Spoilers ahead)
When we last saw Rick, he had turned himself in to the Federation to protect his family, and he was looking at a lifetime in prison. Rick has been known to get out of some tricky spots before, but a combination of his selflessness and resignation suggest that he can’t (or won’t) be getting off so easy this time.
The Save Point Guild has a theory that hinges on the show’s multiverse and two minor characters to explain why Rick won’t be rotting away in jail forever. The first of these characters is Krombopulos Michael, a bug-like assassin skilled at infiltrating heavily-protected facilities who Rick sells weapons to in Mortynight Run (s2e2). Twenty minutes later, Morty accidentally crushes him to death with Rick’s spaceship.
The second character is Mr. Poopybutthole, a red herring who first appears in Total Rickall (s2e4), an episode where parasites are retroactively inserting themselves into the Sanchez family’s memories. Mr. Poopybutthole is eventually shot after being mistaken for a parasite, and in the same moment is revealed to be real. After Rick’s imprisonment he makes a reappearance in the post-credits scene, now heavily addicted to opiate painkillers.
With this background out of the way, it’s time to tie this theory together:
Prior to Krombopulos Michael’s death, Rick drops Jerry off at a daycare center and receives what amounts to a coat check ticket to grab him later — and therein lies the switcheroo. The clerk hands over a ticket that says 5126 to the Rick we’ve been following since the beginning of the show (whose multiverse designation is C-137). When Rick finally collects Jerry at the end of the episode, a different Rick comes up to the one we’ve been following through Mortynight Run to ask “do you have 5126?” Morty realises he’s lost the ticket. They swap Jerrys and go their separate ways.
The one we follow into the scene is on the right. The “real” C-137 Rick is on the left. We think.
The upshot is that this means most of season 2 is probably happening in a different multiverse, as proved by this new universe containing Mr. Poopybutthole as a legitimate character throughout. Even better, the C-137 Rick we know and love is likely not incarcerated and is instead still selling arms to the C-137 Krombopulos Michael, who might still be alive and capable of using his unique skills to break the other Rick out of Federation prison.
Basically, there’s a slim but totally logical chance that everything isn’t horrible. It’s a lot to process but that’s sort of what you sign up for when watching a show with infinite timelines.