Mike McMahan and Justin Roiland have delivered. This Solar Opposites season 3 review explores what makes this season the best yet.
Solar Opposites simply cannot escape being compared to Rick and Morty because Justin Roiland works on both shows, and they have similar animation styles. All things considered, Rick and Morty is still the better show. Prior to the recent season 5 Justin Roiland and Dan Harmon delivered 4 terrific seasons of laugh out loud humor with Rick and Morty. This show isn’t there yet, but season 3 of Solar Opposites is better than Rick and Morty season 5.
The main thing that makes Solar Opposites season 3 the best season of the show so far is that it’s the funniest. Each character is effectively utilized in fitting ways to make the audience laugh. The Wall’s storyline has always been more dramatic than funny, but it is still entertaining.
Changing the approach to writing Korvo opens up more time to be used on jokes. Also, Satire is used effectively to create relatable situations. Unfortunately, The Wall’s arc is paced poorly.
Solar Opposites season 3 is available on Hulu.
This Solar Opposites season 3 review contains spoilers.
Story: Funniest Season Yet
Season 3 is the funniest season yet. This is largely because the jokes take a more practical and down-to-earth approach, as opposed to the usual sci-fi based comedy. Humanizing the Solar Opposites a bit more allowed the writers to take a more satirical approach this season.
One episode that’s particularly funny is, “The Pupa’s Big Day,” which is a commentary on people that make a habit of waiting in lines for long periods of time. This situation is very relatable because most people have either done it at some point, or at least know someone that has. A recent example of this is gamers waiting in lines overnight to get Xbox Series Xs, or PS5s a few months back.
Another good episode is, “The Rays That Turn People Into Various Things.” When the Solar Opposites stop turning people that they don’t like into random things, their neighbors let loose, because there are no longer any consequences for being jerks.
This continuous arc has been carrying the show since season 1, when Tim led a rebellion against The Duke. The Wall is such a captivating setting, and it’s fun to imagine what it would be like to adjust to living under those circumstances. Some things to consider are having to make use of whatever Jesse and Yumyulack throw in there, the concept of higher and lower levels, forming a government, etc. It all comes together to form a great setting. Cherie’s brief Skyrim reference is very interesting because The Wall would make a terrific setting for an Open-World RPG.
The Wall’s storyline isn’t perfect in season 3 because Cherie and Halk take Tim down way too easily. Back in season 1 Tim set himself up as the hero that saved The Wall from The Duke’s oppression. He should be hard to take down, but Cherie and Halk waltz right into his office and find him debilitatingly sick. Tim dies later on, and Cherie easily establishes herself as the new hero. He had the makings of a great antagonist, but now all that potential is wasted.
Characters and Performances: A Changed Korvo
One notable change in this season is that Korvo is much more relaxed. In past seasons he has been the group’s strict and difficult to impress leader. There are still elements of that in season 3, but it’s not as much of a focus as it used to be. This is a welcome change because it opens up more time for jokes. Justin Roiland executes this change very well by selling it as a lifestyle change that Korvo is making. So, Korvo still feels like the same character, but his personality doesn’t overshadow the rest of the show.
Terry’s whimsical and goofy demeanor really shines this season. He has some funny concepts like his hobby of waiting in lines, his relationship with Malcolm Gladwell, his difficulty digesting Taco Bell, and his various overreactions. Thomas Middleditch keeps Terry’s pitch high to really drive the character home. It’s that demeanor that really makes the character, and it plays off of Korvo very well. Their contrasting personalities are perfect for this kind of show. It’s reminiscent of duos like Bart and Lisa Simpson, or Peter and Lois Griffin.
Cherie has a big role to play in The Wall’s storyline. Early on, she exacts her revenge on Tim but doesn’t get precisely what she wants. With Tim gone, she looks for trouble elsewhere by eliminating anything that could hurt her baby. Christina Hendricks does a great job drawing out Cherie’s aggression in her portrayal, in order to show how recent events have changed her. The Wall has made her vengeful and she hasn’t healthily come to terms with that.
Pacing and Editing: Tim’s Downfall is Rushed
The main point of criticism in this Solar Opposites season 3 review is that The Wall’s storyline is paced poorly. Tim’s downfall doesn’t take nearly as long as it should. The writers had set him up as a great antagonist. Then they completely wasted him. Cherie and Halk were getting ready for another war at the end of season 2. However, all they ended up doing is entering his office, finding him nearly dead due to lead poisoning, and capturing him. Tim later dies very uneventfully. This arc should have continued throughout season 3 to give Tim the ending he deserves.
Cinematography and Sound: Well Delivered Satire
As previously noted, there’s a lot of satire. This season is loaded with references to real-world things, which helps set up some very well executed jokes. One particularly good reference is setting up the storytelling of episode 6 like the little boy’s room from The Princess Bride. It serves as a funny and familiar way to watch the episode. Additionally, routines involving DoorDash, Beyblade, Uber, and more provide relatable humor to enrich season 3.
This season also has a very enjoyable soundtrack. Most notably “Once in a Lifetime” by the Talking Heads is a great choice for the montage in episode 11.
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