WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for Rick and Morty's Season 4 episode, "The Old Man and the Seat."
Over the years, Rick Sanchez has killed many people on Rick and Morty. Most of his victims are those who have annoyed him or tried to be his friend. Of course, Rick always has a deeper motive and many of these victims across various realities have been people he thinks upend or imbalance the Multiverse.
The latest episode of Season 4, however, drastically changes our understanding of the way Rick carried out this mission as we discover his deepest, darkest secret about the people who crossed him.
As Rick conducts investigations on the planet he comes to poop, we find out this is more than just a getaway. It's a spot for Rick to gather his thoughts, and as he tracks an intruder who used his toilet, we discover that he actually has a secret lair there. Rick uses a robotic animal that initially came across as native wildlife to open up a tree that is actually an elevator. It takes Rick down to a lab Batman-style where he has all kinds of tech at his disposal -- more than what's available in his lab back on Earth.
Rick connects the dots using fecal evidence and traipses across the galaxy to find Tony, a timid office worker who likes to poop in solitude like Rick. But when it's time to kill Tony, Rick just can't bring himself to do it because, like Rick, Tony's depressed over losing his wife. The genius lets him off with a warning, but back at his poop kingdom, Rick spots Tony taking a dump once again. He turns into a giant and confronts Tony, and is angry to discover the offender wants to offer Rick friendship. Tony sees Rick as a lonely kindred spirit desperate for control.
Rick sits on Tony and seemingly kills him as the alien is shown in heaven with God and his wife urging him to poop with them. Tony refuses, which leads to the revelation he's actually hooked up to one of Rick's machines a la The Matrix or Inception. So this is all a product of his subconscious. In reality, Tony's in a fluid chamber. However, Rick realizes this mental facade isn't working on Tony. When Rick pulls him out to scold him, Tony sees several other chambers lined up.
An indignant Rick explains he's been using a special chemical called Globaflyn to imprison people in their minds where they live their wildest dreams and leave Rick out of it. Tony immediately calls Rick's bluff, recognizing them as people Rick has refused to kill and, also, people he refuses to let into his life. In other words, Rick's been storing bodies for years in order to punish them but also, to remain free of interpersonal interaction. It's cruel but it prevents him from becoming the murderer we though he was.
In a petty fashion, Rick opens a portal and tells Tony this is his last chance because rejecting the heaven Rick is offering is a big mistake. Amused, Tony jokes to Rick he'll be seeing him, offering his hand in friendship even as Rick, ill-tempered and stubborn, pretends otherwise. Tony reminds Rick that he isn't a bastard or a killer, what he's doing is all part of his plan to never let anyone get close to him.
Tony says goodbye and departs, but not before letting Rick know it's not a sin to let people in and sympathizing with the scientist's desire to avoid being vulnerable or breaking down emotionally in the wake of his wife's death. Rick thinks this would be a sign of weakness but, as Tony points out, his secret is now out there -- Rick's a scared, caring human being after all.
New episodes of Rick and Morty air Sundays at 11:30 p.m. on Adult Swim.