Liam Hoofe on Rick and Morty and Szechuan sauce…
The surprise premiere of Rick and Morty season 3 last weekend has sent the internet into meltdown [read our review here]. Fans have started a petition to bring back the Mulan Szechuan sauce and are now waiting in eager anticipation for what the rest of the season has to offer.
‘The Rickshank Redemption’ saw Rick escape from his prison and return to earth, reclaiming his seat as the alpha male of the house with Jerry and Beth potentially getting divorced.
At the end of the episode, in a crazed rant reminiscent of the one at the end of the very first episode – Rick began screaming at Morty about how the Mulan Szechuan Sauce is now his character arc, and how he cares about nothing else but bringing that back. Some people on the internet have theorised that this was to show that Rick had finally gone insane, that the alien invasion of his memories has finally pushed him off the edge; others are simply writing it off as a one-off gag that will not be mentioned again, at least, not in a serious manner. I have another idea though. The Mulan Szechuan sauce is Rick’s Rosebud.
In ‘The Rickshank Redemption’, we see Rick travel back to 1998, where he shows the interrogator a memory of him making concentrated black matter – the fuel that helped him develop his portal gun. During this memory, we are also introduced to Rick’s wife, Diane. Rick then reveals that the whole backstory was fabricated, but even if it was I believe there may have been some truth in it.
At the end of season 1, we find out from Bird-Person, that Rick’s catchphrase ‘Wubba-Lubba-Dub-Dub’ translates to ‘I am in great pain, please help me.’ Bird-person, a long time companion of Rick’s then confirms to Morty that Rick is indeed in great pain, and has been for some time.
It has been hinted at on several occasions that Rick has some pretty severe demons, but exactly what they are, and what caused them we don’t know. Back in 1998, however, Rick appeared to be a fairly optimistic individual – a stark contrast to the Rick we know and love today.
It is safe to assume then that whatever catastrophic event that changed Rick’s life and took him away from his family, happened shortly after 1998. Rick doesn’t want the Mulan sauce back because it tastes good, he wants it back because it reminds him of the last time he was truly happy. What if Rick only invented the portal gun in a last-ditch attempt to recapture his old life, and that, realising it is impossible (perhaps he has even tried preventing the life changing event from happening), he has just settled into the nearest timeline he could find, one where he can spend time with an actual family who, despite his flaws, still care for him nonetheless. Reliving those moments, which were perhaps previously inaccessible, gave him a glimpse of those days, and made him realise that perhaps if he could just get hold of the sauce again, then perhaps he could find some inner peace, somewhere. Now that would be a character arch worth exploring.
Rick and Morty has also never shied away from more philosophical ideas, especially existentialism and a myth often brought up when discussing this is that of Sisyphus – the greek myth that tells of a man who is doomed to push a rock up a hill, only to see it roll back down again, time and time again. When Rick screws up the whole planet in season 1’s ‘Rick Potion #9’ Rick just jumps to another timeline and starts again. He does this in such a nonchalant manner that we can safely assume that it is not the first time he has done this. There is a fair possibility that Rick, like Sisyphus, is just repeating the same task over, and over again – continuously jumping from timeline to timeline, inevitably screwing each one up despite his best efforts. The very first episode even begins with Rick drunkenly talking about blowing the world up again. On top of that, what if all the other Rick and Morty’s we see – especially the more messed up ones, are just a result of all of Rick’s other failed attempts. No other Rick we meet appears to be any younger than the one we know, which is a little strange considering there are apparently an infinite number of possibilities.It could also explain why he becomes so desperate to cling to his teenage body in season 2’s ‘Big Trouble in Little Sanchez’. Perhaps he is unable to go back before the event that ruined him. This would be enough to send a man insane and perhaps the sauce will provide him with a constant, a glimmer of hope that, despite all the inane destruction and life switching, reminds him that there was once a happy time, and all of this will eventually take him back there.
Or perhaps, of course, the Szechuan sauce just tastes damn good and Rick really does just want to bring it back, which is probably the most likely outcome. Whatever the reason for the sauce, it does look as though we may finally get to find out some of Rick’s backstory in season 3, and I for one, can’t wait.
What do you think of Liam’s Rick and Morty theory? Do you have any other ideas? Show us what you got in the comments below, and let Liam know on Twitter, here- @liamhoofe