“The Matter Transfer Array” makes a funny and energetic introduction, even if it suggests a better show to come a few episodes down the line.
This recap of Solar Opposites season 1, episode 1, “The Matter Transfer Array”, contains spoilers. You can check out our spoiler-free season review by clicking these words.
As a show co-created by Justin Roiland and very much in the same vein as Rick and Morty, Solar Opposites has its work cut out in terms of first impressions and early objectives. Its pilot, “The Matter Transfer Array”, has to prove itself both the same but also different; familiar enough to put fans at ease but distinct enough to stand out in the adults-only animated canon.
Because of this, Solar Opposites Episode 1 feels like a bit of a mixed bag. It’s very funny while also seeming as though it might be much funnier down the line. The character beats work but would probably work better if we knew more about the characters and how they interact with each other and the world. There’s a welcome immediacy but also the sense that things could have been better bedded-in. And so on, and so forth.
Divided up between two subplots, one concerning Terry (Thomas Middleditch) and Korvo (Justin Roiland) and their efforts to create a real-life version of a beloved children’s TV mascot, and one concerning Jesse (Mary Mack) and Yumyulack (Sean Giambrone) kidnapping a classmate, shrinking them down and pouring diet Coke on their exposed brain, “The Matter Transfer Array” is spinning a lot of plates. I’ll try and keep Rick and Morty comparisons to a minimum throughout these recaps, but it’s virtually impossible here, as we’re introduced to Korvo, who speaks in Rick’s exact voice and has his same lofty ambitions and sense of superiority.
But Solar Opposites Episode 1 also works to distinguish itself a little. Rick’s scientific genius is replaced with alien technology; his superiority complex is replaced by a general sense of detachment from their human neighbors, which gives the core cast an intriguing relationship with morality. It’s also something shared among them; whereas Rick is the only genius in Rick and Morty, the whole family of aliens are aliens, so we get fun and vaguely terrifying subplots in which Jesse and Yumyulack try to navigate high-school tropes without kidnapping and shrinking their peers. The fact they don’t manage it replaces the traditional lesson being learned with something darker and a bit different.
There’s still a lesson learned, though – perhaps the funniest joke of Solar Opposites Season 1, Episode 1 is Korvo realizing that he’s the one who needs to learn it. Among all the slapstick alien hijinks, there’s enough visual inventiveness and sharp humor in “The Matter Transfer Array” to suggest that Solar Opposites knows what it’s doing, and I’m interested to see where it decides to go next.
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Jonathon is the Co-Founder of Ready Steady Cut and has been Senior Editor and Chief Critic of the outlet since 2017.