Solar Opposites season 1, episode 8 recap – “Retrace-Your-Step-Alizer” what's done is done

May 10, 2020
Jonathon Wilson 0
Hulu, TV Recaps
3.5

Summary

“Retrace-Your-Step-Alizer” embraces all the things that Solar Opposites does well for a celebratory finale that’s also a cheeky subversion of the idea of finales in general.

View all
3.5

Summary

“Retrace-Your-Step-Alizer” embraces all the things that Solar Opposites does well for a celebratory finale that’s also a cheeky subversion of the idea of finales in general.

This recap of Solar Opposites season 1, episode 8, “Retrace-Your-Step-Alizer”, contains spoilers. You can check out our thoughts on the previous episode by clicking these words.

Check out our spoiler-free season review.

Check out the episode guide.


Since the previous episode functioned as a kind of dramatic finale for the self-contained dystopian society that had developed inside Yumyulack’s terrarium, Solar Opposites Episode 8 feels in many ways less like a finale than a celebration. Of what, you ask? Well, of all the stuff that the show has been doing really well since the beginning.

“Retrace-Your-Step-Alizer” has the conceit of time travel, which helps to give it a grandiose feeling, but it also actively and explicitly undermines that idea by dropping a late reveal that most of the finale’s events were imagined. I suppose that’s quite typical of Solar Opposites at this point since it has rather enthusiastically played with tropes mostly as an excuse to subvert them. It would have been more surprising if it had ended with a straight face.

I suppose the question is whether undermining the episode’s gimmick also undermines it as a finale, though for once I don’t really take that stance. Solar Opposites has already been renewed for a second season and seems both popular and well-liked – with that in mind, its refusal to really end, and its willingness to make the joke that a big climactic ending was literally just a fanciful dream, is kind of on the money for me. It works as a subversion rather than a cop-out, even though it subverts by being a cop-out. You can’t hate on an episode that prompts that kind of elastic thinking.

Solar Opposites Episode 8 is also deliberately unclear about what, exactly, was imagined and what wasn’t, and by extension whose personal journey was sincere. This is a bit messy, but if we’re to assume everything else about the finale is intentional, I think we’re also to assume that some ambiguity was also a desired outcome. Since the beginning, Terry, Korvo, Jesse, and Yumyuluck haven’t had much in the way of traditional developmental arcs since they’re not really traditional characters – nor do they have traditional relationships. They’re still a family, in some sense, and they still more or less recognize that, but they’re also designed to occupy unchanging positions in an anarchic sci-fi setup that’s mostly an excuse for funny jokes, silly action, and riffs on popular culture.

“Retrace-Your-Step-Alizer” is still packed with these things, up to and including a fun diversion for the pupa. As a matter of fact, there’s probably more of it here than there is elsewhere in the season, or at least just as much, so I’d say it works as a finale on those terms. Though, as discussed, whether or not Solar Opposites Season 1, Episode 8 works as a finale or not is pretty much beside the point. It was the last episode of this season, sure. But it isn’t the end of the story – and I think most people will be happy about that.


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