Hulu’s Solar Opposites has always felt like the neglected cousin of Rick and Morty. A little bit less funny, a little bit less ambitious, but still a good time. There is no denying some of the comedic gold of season 4 of Solar Opposites, but it doesn’t amount to anything particularly memorable outside a small handful of creative gags.
This season follows the Opposites as they attempt to live “normal human lives.” To no one’s surprise, they fail miserably at doing so, getting into their usual hijinks. Although the season’s premise would imply that it’s something different from previous entries — and there are a few differences in the characters’ arcs — it’s still the same fish-out-of-water humor with the characters failing to understand what makes humanity human.
To address the elephant in the room, there is a shadow looming over this season — the damning allegations against series co-creator and former star Justin Roiland. Thankfully, Solar Opposites recast the role, and does so in a way that is about as graceful as one could ask for. A gag in the very first scene of the season sets the stage for Dan Stevens’s take on Korvo, and then they just run with it — embracing the inherent silliness of the concept.
Season 4 of Solar Opposites has some great comedic moment
As usual, this series is at its best when it creates outlandish scenarios for its wide cast of characters. This season contains what might be some of the best one-off episodes of the show. An episode called “The Stockiverse Ray” has an ingenious concept that keeps the laughs going. Other episodes contain plenty of funny gags. However, herein lies the issue with the season. Although the individual adventures are great — they don’t really come together into a cohesive whole.
Interestingly, the portions of the show that were once the highlight — the cutaways to “The Wall” — now feel like they’re done out of obligation more than a genuine need to keep telling that story. What started as a way of subverting expectations has now become the expectation, and it’s lost anything that feels fresh. It’s a shame — the satire here was always the sharpest, but this season’s subplot feels like a missed opportunity.
At a certain point, one begins to wonder if Solar Opposites has reached a point where it’s narratively spinning its wheels. Thematically, this season largely feels like a retread of the ideas that have been explored in past outings. And despite the season’s desperate attempts to expand the world in different directions, it seems to be running out of narrative steam — even if the creators’ comedic minds are still firing. While the situations are still consistently funny, we’re not given enough of a reason to care.
That being said, the show still will win its fans over by the end by giving us more antics with the unorthodox family. Much in the way that classic television sitcoms worked, the reason that people keep coming back for more is because they love this group of oddballs. And this season doubles down on that in a way that is entirely satisfying.
Even if season four of Solar Opposites feels somewhat scant when it comes to its storyline, it makes up for it where it counts: the laughs. Having already been renewed for season 5 (in addition to a Valentine’s Day special that will come out early next year), it will be interesting to see if the show is able to regain its narrative momentum while preserving the comedic creativity of some of the better episodes in this batch.
Solar Opposites streams on Hulu beginning August 14. All eleven episodes reviewed.