This SOLAR OPPOSITES review contains spoilers.
Solar Opposites Episode 3
I have a lot of respect for how Solar Opposites is shooting for the stars with its stupid plotlines this early in its existence. It’s so charmingly goofy and weird that this is a series about aliens crash-landing on earth and, instead of obvious sci-fi stuff (though there’s still plenty of sci-fi stuff in there), only three episodes in we’ve watched the aliens pal around with a sitcom character, run to be presidents of their local homeowners’ association, and now one of them is becoming a famous magician.
It’s cool “The Quantum Ring” shakes up the character dynamics a little bit with Korvo mostly on his own, leaving behind the rest of the family. It basically is a Korvo episode; we get some Terry/Jesse/Yumyulack scenes, but Korvo is definitely the focus. This is fine, because, as I mentioned in my spoiler-free review of the season, typically the series sticks with a Korvo/Terry, Jesse/Yumyulack setup (with a side of Pupa), so it’s good to see that the series holds up when the characters are arranged in different configurations and, further, that one character by themselves can carry a plot.
Of course, it helps that this time much of the runtime is shared with the Escape from New York–style drama unfolding in Yumyulack and Jesse’s shrunken human wall terrarium. The way Solar Opposites has introduced this running subplot is an extremely odd and novel use of serialization. It’s awfully strange for a series to introduce you to what is supposedly its core protagonists in the first two episodes, and then, two episodes later, ask you to sympathize with the lives of a whole other batch of characters, dealing with very different conflicts in contrast to what’s going on with the goofy, pop-culture-obsessed, aliens (though the wall people also throw out their fair share of pop culture references).
The show pulls it off by how it just barely teased this plot in the first episode and then teased it a little more in the second, but without ever giving enough away so that you could tell where it might go. Did anyone guess in the first episode that the shrink ray was going to eventually lead to a mini-Mad Max universe? And that the dude with the red shirt in the second episode would end up being the protagonist of that universe? Solar Opposites is a much sillier series than its progenitor, Rick and Morty, but it’s really cool how the creators have pulled this sleight of hand (magic reference!) with the serialization to do more dramatic (though still ridiculous) stuff.
It’s bolstered by the absolutely incredible cast. It’s kind of amazing just how many exceptional voices are packed into this episode. Andy Daly, Christina Hendricks, and Alfred Molina all help sell the reality of this new mini-world. Outside the wall, the addition of Tiffany Haddish as Korvo’s computer is also a welcome addition.
“The Quantum Ring” is another hilarious episode, too. Korvo’s plot being based around the always-funny world of magicians means all the jokes are propped up by a solid comedic bedrock. Again, the series demonstrates its affection for really stupid pop culture references, this time giving nods to the Now You See Me series (“Presto! Now we’re abracafamily!”) and the novelization of The Prestige (in reality, The Prestige was a novel before it was a movie, but it’s definitely funnier to imagine otherwise). I’m also a big fan of the dramatic, unbleeped profanity in this show. Jesse saying, “Where is he getting this bullshit?” and Korvo shouting “Fuck you, computer!” both made me laugh out loud. I gave the previous episode a perfect score and I like this one even better. It’s got a hilarious premise; it deftly introduces us to a completely new world and new group of characters; and it’s full of tricks! Tricks, tricks, tricks, tricks!