Every so often, Rick and Morty peels back the tragic, drink-addled onion that is Rick Sanchez and teases out more of his backstory.
One of the most pressing questions is that of Rick’s wife (and Beth’s mother). She is never seen on-screen and has only been mentioned a handful of times – but the season five premiere has dived deeper into their untold history.
Fans have long since put two-and-two together after a "memory projection" during an interrogation of Rick in a previous season yielded an informative flashback. During the scene, a past Rick is confronted by a Rick from the future who wants him unmoored from the domestic life presented by his wife, Diane, and their daughter, Beth. The future Rick then launches a bomb which kills both Diane and Beth – but Rick reveals that this event never happened and was a ruse to trick the Galactic Federation from getting too deep into his memories.
But what of Diane? Did she ever exist in-canon – or was she just a figment of Rick’s imagination? Season 5 has an answer-of-sorts.
During a showdown between Rick and his laughable nemesis Mr. Nimbus, Nimbus reveals that he and the lovable mad scientist go way, way back. Nimbus says Rick needs his nemesis to stick around as a reminder of how far Rick has fallen.
"If Diane were alive today, what would she think?" Nimbus asks Rick. His reply? As always with the show, it’s wonderfully meta. “Don’t try and establish canonical backstory with me,” Rick snaps back.
Knowing Dan Harmon and his creative team’s love of subverting audience expectations at the best of times, it’s unlikely we’ll hear more about Diane any time soon, but Nimbus’ words clearly cut deep. Sooner or later, that dam is going to burst – and the show might finally find time to explore what really happened with Rick and the woman he loved who may or may not be called Diane.