After Rick inevitably figures out how to fix the collar and saves himself, his triumphant outcry is, “Yes! Fuck you God! Not today, bitch.” Back to the atheistic status quo, right? Maybe not.
Rick established his atheism in the very first scene of Rick and Morty. “There is no God, Summer,” he says in the “Pilot”. “You gotta rip that band-aid off now. You’ll thank me later.” But the rest of Season 2 after “A Rickle in Time” traces Rick’s downward spiral as he becomes progressively more suicidal until attempting to kill himself at the end of “Auto Erotic Assimilation.” More pious people might attribute his misery to a lack of faith, but I’m more interested in why Rick denies the existence of God but totally accepts it when he meets the Devil?
Rick and Morty depicted the Devil only a few episodes prior in “Something Ricked This Way Comes.” So Rick totally knows that the Devil exists and yet he still denies the existence of God — even though God must exist in a universe of infinite variation, right? Could Rick’s existential crisis be wrapped up with him knowing they’re all on a TV show, and that “Devil, but no God” is a common TV trope?
Ultimately, “A Rickle in Time” is kind of a middling episode that gets bogged down by its convoluted premise, but it still offers this pivotal moment in Rick’s story.
“At some point I got it in my head we needed to blow minds,” Harmon told the Wall Street Journal in 2015 about their approach to the Season 2 premiere. “It’s a fine episode, but I don’t think the difficulty in writing and producing it translated into customer satisfaction.”
Might we see a deeper exploration of Rick’s faith, or lack thereof, in Season 4 and beyond? We sure hope so.
Inverse’s Rick and Morty Retrospective series takes a critical look at every episode of Rick and Morty ever working backward from the worst to the best. Join us as we search for finite meaning in an inherently meaningless infinite universe.
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