During his crazed rant about szechuan sauce at the end of the season three premiere on April Fools Day, Rick told Morty that this would be "the darkest year of our adventures," and the show's kept that promise all the way through. We've had a close look at how Rick's dysfunction and self-hatred have seeped into every aspect of the Smith family's lives, but season three's penultimate episode "The ABC's of Beth" took us back to see exactly where she and Rick's relationship (and, by extension, everyone else's) turned sour.
When Beth was a little girl, Rick created an imaginary playground that any parent would kill for; a world where the floor is made of rubber and the rainbow water is breathable. Young Beth also brought a friend named Tommy in and abandonded him after pushing him into a river of honey, a fate which placed his father on death row after he was convicted of eating his son.
So a stuck Tommy did what amy sane person stuck in honey would do: mate with one of the animals and eat the baby. Beth and Rick revisit Froopyland to discover that the once harmless world is now inhabited by Tommy's monster offspring. At least we got a shitty elementary school play out of it.
After a forced trip to Jerry's apartment via Rick's bubble gun (put some airholes in those bubbles!), Morty and Summer find out that Jerry is seeing a Krutabulon warrior named Kiara who is teaching him to use telekinesis and to hunt an alien race in hiding on Earth. He's also using this as an opportunity to speed into a new relationship to make Beth jealous. All the apartment furnishings and new powers in the world can't break Jerry's insecurities, which he projects onto Summer and Morty.
He tries to break it off by telling Kiara that his kids are racist (long story short, he's the closeted racist and beta male sexist here) and she tries to kill them all before Jerry and Kiara realize they're using each other to get back at their exes. There's all sorts of human and alien blood on their hands.
Rick and Beth leave Froopyland as soon as things gets too weird, you know, after the baby eating. Beth confronts Rick about putting more effort into Froopyland than he did into their relationship and Rick counters with Beth's budding sociopathic tendencies as a kid through all the messed up toys she asked him for (My personal favorite? "A pink sentient switchblade").
Beth decides to return to Froopyland and try to make things right with Tommy, but winds up going through the same narcissistic motions as her dad, which leads to her killing everyone in Froopyland and convincing Rick to clone Tommy, return him to his family, and clear his dad's name. BUT AT WHAT COST??
Beth's experience in Froopyland and sudden revelation that she's more like Rick than she realized leave her a little shaken. After Rick grandstands about how the universe is an organism that shakes off and consumes everything that exists within it, he offers Beth a choice: stay behind and accept her life or be cloned so she can indefinitely run off on whatever adventure she wants. In classic pre-season finale fashion, we see Beth, Morty, Summer, and Rick ordering pizza as a family with no idea as to whether or not Beth cloned herself and left. Summer and Morty really have slim pickin's when it comes to parents, huh?