DISCLAIMER: Mild spoilers abound for Season 3 of Hulu’s animated sci-fi comedy Solar Opposites.
Korvo might loathe everything about Earth and believe it’s a “horrible home,” but I’m digging Solar Opposites. The raucous Rick and Morty-esque comedy, hailing from the minds of Justin Roiland and Mike McMahan, is back for more sci-fi shenanigans. So, how does Season 3 fare compared to its predecessors?
Let me preface this by saying I love this show. I might prefer it to Rick and Morty because I find the characters more endearing. That said, Season 3 feels a bit disjointed. The Wall storyline is more captivating than the main plot. While Solar Opposites has always felt like two shows in one, this season’s transitions between The Wall and the Solar Opposites is more jarring than in seasons past.
The Wall plot is strong enough to carry a series feasibly. Perhaps that’s Roiland and McMahan’s intention — to conceal an action-packed, surprisingly poignant Snowpiercer-type storyline amid the chaotic comedy of the Solars. Pairing two seemingly opposite (Hey, Solar Opposites!) stories to give everyone something to enjoy.
Despite the disjointedness between the A and B plots, the writers execute The Wall story flawlessly, culminating in a heart-pounding cliffhanger that’ll irritatingly dangle before us until Season 4.
Meanwhile, the Solars plotline chugs along as usual, with a few character changes throughout the journey. Namely, Korvo abandons the mission to leave Earth and decides to embrace his new home. He even tones down the severity of his personality, adopting a somewhat more amiable nature.
It integrates a new dynamic into our leading quintet, ushering forth fun episodic stories and all the sci-fi sh*t. My favorite episodes include “Hululand,” wherein the Solars attend a theme park with rides and attractions named after Hulu shows. Solar Opposites has always been keenly self-aware, and Season 3 manages to up the ante by introducing Hululand.
While the incessant self-referential remarks and niche pop culture nods might annoy some viewers, I enjoy it. Of course, programs that drop little-known pop culture references feel like they’re tailored for me, as someone who routinely writes about TV. However, this aspect of Solar Opposites certainly won’t resonate with the casual viewer.
It’s hilarious that we have these aliens hailing from a distant planet obsessed with Earth culture, perhaps more than we are collectively.
Other strong outings include “99 Ships,” wherein we get more backstory regarding Shlorp’s explosion and what transpired afterward. It’s a surprisingly sweet episode highlighting the strength of Korvo, Terry, Jesse, Yumyulack and the Pupa as an unconventional family. “The Cubic Lattice Crystallizer” finds the Solars embarking on a vacation gone wrong, and they must resort to using sci-fi to save themselves.
The weakest of the bunch goes to the Silver Cops episode featuring the neighbor Korvo and Terry sent into space. While I’m all for misleading episode titles for comedic purposes, I wasn’t a fan of shining a spotlight on a relatively unknown character for the penultimate episode. It almost felt like a backdoor pilot. I would’ve been more invested if the storyline went to an already established supporting character in the Solar Opposites universe. However, I would like to see more of the Silver Cops.
Overall, Solar Opposites Season 3 brims with the sardonic, irreverent and snappy humor we’ve seen in previous installments, with a smattering of heart to keep us smitten with these characters. Despite the rough plot transitions, The Wall story is still as compelling as ever. Plus, the finale cliffhanger sets the groundwork for an intriguing fourth season, as the Solars try living a “normal life.” Regardless, it’s all escapism. Isn’t that the most critical aspect of TV viewing?
Solar Opposites Season 3 is now streaming on Hulu.