This SOLAR OPPOSITES review contains spoilers.
Solar Opposites Episode 4
One thing that makes Solar Opposites such a fun show is how relentless it is and this might be the most balls-to-the-wall episode yet. Korvo coughs up a red goobler, a sentient manifestation of his stress that then stalks him with intent to kill, while Jesse and Yumyulack try to fit in with the cool kids at school using sci-fi flowers that have grown out of their heads and emit pollen that makes everyone love them. Hey, we’ve all been there, right?
Sci-fi bonkers as “The Booster Manifold” is, there’s a core of human relatability there that makes it so it isn’t just hollow, insane antics. Obviously, wanting the cool kids at school to like you is something many of us can relate to and your own stress literally can kill you; it just doesn’t typically take the form of a little dude with Justin Roiland’s voice who shouts “Get fucked!” Even as it goes more off the rails, the episode doesn’t forget this is a character-driven plot, ending on a satisfying note as Korvo’s stress transfers to Terry and Jesse and Yumyulack don’t get the cool kid friends they want, but they do get to hang out with the freaks, who they fit in with better anyhow.
But I’m really just getting all that out of the way to focus on what’s so great about this episode: dumb jokes, shocking violence, and cussin’! I adore just how indulgent this series is with its goofiness, filth, and violence. You get great lines like “There’s a Coke Zero chance I wanna do that!” You get Korvo shouting “I fuck old people all the time, they love me!” before you even see the title card. And then, man, the whole thing sure does escalate into some stunning violence! It’s simultaneously offputtingly grotesque and exhilaratingly fun in how gleeful and inventive it is.
The plot of “The Booster Manifold” seems so dumb and, yeah, it kind of is. You’ll probably come away from this episode mostly remembering Terry slitting that teenager’s throat, or the Yumyulack funeral fake-out gag, or how Stacy G. is such a slut for Slenderman, or that c-word bomb drop, or “They told me to take my flat ass back to Planet Mexico” (my favorite line of the series so far), or “Spongebob Squarepants.” You’re probably not going to be singing the praises of the tight plotting.
But as dumb as this series deliberately aims to be, it’s still extremely smart in its construction. The plot just goes and goes, but it carries you with it all the way. You’re on board with the little stress monster gradually intruding more and more on Terry and Korvo’s life. You’re with Jesse and Yumyulack on their quest for popularity as they learn how the puberty flowers on their heads work. By the time Terry and Korvo are having a shootout in a Halloween supply store and teenagers are tearing the flesh from their own faces, you’re all in, and it’s been a fucking fun ride the whole way.
It’s also great that the Pupa keeps consistently getting plots; it’s like Maggie Simpson except they don’t regularly seem to totally forget the character is part of the show. I guess it’s just supposed to be a funny joke moment that, after its big adventure and escape from being sold to a rare animal collector, the Pupa almost makes it home only to get sent off to Kenya, but, considering this series has serialized elements, I found it confusing and wondered if this was part of some larger plot that would continue in the next episode (spoiler: it doesn’t). While we’re on the subject of minor plot issues, I had to rewind before I understood that the way Terry and Korvo cover up the murder of jet-ski-guy Brent is by sacrificing the jet-ski. It’s a bit unclear because the jet-ski is in the background and the shot goes by pretty quick.
Those are literally my only problems with “The Booster Manifold,” however. Otherwise, this is a damn good time from a funny series that really lets its uncensored freak flag fly.