Rick And Morty Season 6 Feels Like A One Big Bottle Episode

We are approaching the halfway point of the huge 70-episode order for "Rick and Morty," and even in its sixth season, the adult animated sitcom is as big as ever. The Adult Swim show co-created by Justin Roiland and Dan Harmon has cemented itself as the seminal adult animated comedy of this generation, but with its longevity and success comes one big question — does the show change and evolve its formula by embracing serialization, or does it reset every year so nothing changes and there is more show?

So far, the answer is somewhere in the middle of these two. Each season has explored some new aspect of the characters, and we have seen some change, particularly in Jerry and Beth's relationship; yet any time the show does something game-changing, it backs down.

This is to say, any time "Rick and Morty" seems to change up the formula, it is worth taking it with a grain of salt. So far, season 6 has presented a new side of "Rick and Morty," one that is devoid of the story's biggest reset button, but full of character moments. In some ways, this season feels like one big bottle episode.

A fresh approach

Season 6 opens with a big piece of serialization, picking up right where the last season left off — with the destruction of the Citadel of Ricks as well as Rick's portal gun. Though the show has got back on track since then, it hasn't exactly been the same as it was before. So far, each episode has called attention to Rick not having his portal gun and being unable to just teleport away whenever he wants.

It is entirely possible, and rather likely, that Rick will fix the portal gun sooner rather than later in this very season, but right now this is a really big change to the show's formula. The multiverse was one of the biggest aspects of "Rick and Morty," and one of its biggest appeals early on. With the excuse of the multiverse, any single scenario was possible, any wacky creature, weird world, and huge revelation was just one portal away. Of course, this also meant that any significant plot development or even character development was devoid of meaning, because you could just go to another universe and hit the reset button. 

Without the portal gun, season 6 of "Rick and Morty" has focused on making character development drive the sci-fi plots, whereas before it was the sci-fi plots driving the character elements. Take episode two, which has one big sci-fi concept of being trapped in a video game that will reset soon and kill you, but makes it all about Rick coming to terms with his relationship with Morty and what they both get out of their adventures. Likewise, season three uses Beth's own self-realization and insecurities as a way to explore the idea of clones and what it means to fall in love with yours.

Let's keep this party going

Without Rick's portal gun allowing the show to bail out of any consequence, season 6 of "Rick and Morty" has slowed down and focused on lower stakes but bigger character moments. The problem with sitcoms is that nothing really matters because the show has to go on. No one can be happy, no one can really grow, because there has to be more show with the same formula. Even if "Rick and Morty" eventually hits the reset button, it is at least opening this new season with a significantly different formula that highlights a different side of its excellent writing, the characters.

Those who came to this show for the wacky situations and multitude of sci-fi locations may be disappointed, but after almost a decade, of pop culture references and parodies, it was about time "Rick and Morty" used one of the oldest TV tropes in order to give this story a fresh and meaningful makeover.