'Rick and Morty' Season 5 Episode 2: What is the Asimov Cascade?

Rick and Morty got audiences questioning their own existence as an army of Smith family clones bit the dust in season 5 episode 2.

The show was self-referential as ever, pointing out its own absurdity and taking aim at TV tropes along the way. The episode, titled "Mortplicity," ended with an open idea that we may have seen the last of the real Rick and Morty for good.

We were also introduced to a complicated concept which sent fans straight to Google to find out more about the "Asimov Cascade" theory.

What happened in Rick and Morty season 5 episode 2?

The episode opens in typical fashion with the Smith family gathered around the breakfast table, discussing how Christian God is real and they're planning to take him out, "mob-style." Before the opening credits roll, this family are unceremoniously murdered by squid aliens.

We then jump to another version of the Smith family, running around the house chasing a small starfish man called Mr. Always-Wants-to-be-Hunted who just wants to be hunted. Incredibly, this 17-second gag proves to be incredibly important by the end of the episode.

From here the action gets pretty frenetic with Rick revealing to Morty, Summer, Beth and Jerry that he's been making decoy clones of the rest of the family, who are now being hunted and killed by squid aliens.

Rick and Morty at peace Season 5
Cloned versions of Jerry, Beth, Rick, Morty and Summer at peace in a still from season 5 episode 2 of "Rick and Morty" Adult Swim

Rick goes to check on another decoy family he's made, only to find that decoy has been making more decoys, and so on and so on. The kicker is that no one knows if they're a decoy or not, a point that Summer joyously makes to Rick. Each time we're led to believe we're watching the original family, they're murdered in some imaginative way by either the squids (who turn out to be the Smith family) or by more decoy clones.

The writers had to think outside the box when it came to murdering Rick and Morty's family. Some of the killings here included squid assassinations, laser combustion, evaporation, living room shootouts, flame throwers, a drive-by shooting, and even a cuckoo clock through the heart.

While more decoys are introduced, a truly unsettling version of Rick and Beth resembling a creepy scarecrow-potato hybrid reveal that the quality of each decoy family becomes poorer with each iteration. At which point a friendly wooden robotic family come and save the day on their mission to save decoys rather than kill them.

Still from Season 5 Rick and Morty
Rick investigates whether he is a clone in episode 2 of "Rick and Morty." Season 5 of Rick and Morty airs Sundays at 11 p.m. ET on Adult Swim Adult Swim

Wooden Jerry's cowardice proves deadly for a Smith decoy safe haven created by the wooden family. Multiple killings later we finally encounter a family we believe to be the originals who were hiding in puppet costumes which Rick says are "too cute to murder."

One final Smith family fight sees one set of the Smiths emerge victorious. After Rick proclaims that he loves his family and that he's changed, Mr. Always-Wants-to-be-Hunted returns to get his vengeance on the family, murdering them all and claiming they should have hunted them.

We then cut to another Smith family returning to earth from an adventure in space. We've no way of knowing for sure that this family are the originals but since there can't be many decoys left, audiences might have to assume these guys are the real deal.

What is Asimov Cascade in Rick and Morty?

After Rick figures out what's going on with the decoys creating and killing other decoys, he tells Morty, Beth, Jerry and Summer that they're looking at a possible "Asimov Cascade."

He explains via a handy whiteboard in his car that when squids started killing other decoys, that led decoys to check on other decoys, only to discover that their decoys were making other decoys, leading them to seek out and then kill other decoys. Summer then points out that Rick said decoy too much in his explanation.

There's no way of stopping the chain of events of the Asimov Cascade and they're living under Highlander (1986) rules now, meaning "there can only be one."

Asimov Cascade may be a reference to the writer of I,Robot, Isaac Asimov who made the laws of robotics. Anyone who's read Asimov's book or watched Will Smith's movie I, Robot will be familiar with the three laws, known as Asimov's Law. The third law may apply to the decoys in this episode of Rick and Morty, as it states: "A robot must protect its own existence." In this case, even though it's at the detriment of all other decoys, the Smith family decoys are hellbent on protecting themselves.

When is Rick and Morty season 5 episode 3 out?

The next episode of Rick and Morty, titled "A Rickconvenient Mort" will air on Adult Swim at 11 p.m. ET on Sunday July 4, 2021.

Still from Rick and Morty Season 5
Rick launches a beacon in a still from season 5 episode 2 of "Rick and Morty." Adult Swim