Review: ‘The Orville’ Casts A Funny, Romantic Spell With “Cupid’s Dagger”

Review: “Cupid’s Dagger”

The Orville Season 1, Episode 9 – Aired Thursday, Nov. 10
Written by Liz Heldens
Directed by Jamie Babbit

In “Cupid’s Dagger,” the crew of the Orville are assigned to broker peace talks between the Navarians and Bruidians over a dispute where both claim ownership over a planet. When an archaeologist by the name of Darulio (Rob Lowe) is tasked to decipher the true ancestral claim to the planet, tensions escalate not just between these two warring species but among the crew of the Orville – especially between Captain Mercer and Commander Grayson, for Darulio was the navy blue alien that Grayson slept with that broke up their marriage.

It’s always great when a show adds to the mythology of its universe, even when expanding on little details. It’s even greater when a show subverts expectations of that mythology, taking a plot or character element and turning them on their head. “Cupid’s Dagger” does both of these and does them surprisingly well. It takes what could have been a throwaway moment – i.e. the very first scene of the series where Mercer catches Grayson cheating on him – and incorporates an ordinarily disposable character (the person Grayson cheated on with Mercer) into the main narrative in a funny, subversive, but satisfying way.

Rob Lowe plays Darulio, in one of the better guest star appearances from a well known actor on the series so far. A lot of the episode is crafted around Darulio and the strange effect he is having on the crew. It creates some hilarious moments, such as Dr. Finn finally succumbing to the romantic advances of Yaphit, and it also helps create the episode’s main source of conflict. Mercer is supposed to be brokering some kind of peace deal with the Navarians and the Bruidians, but he’s too caught up with his romantic feelings for Darulio. Yes, the one guy he hates the most for sleeping with his ex is someone he’s fawning over like a high school senior getting nervous about asking their crush to the homecoming dance.

It’s honestly one of the episode’s highlights to see Seth MacFarlane’s Mercer, who has spent the entire series up to this point ostensibly hating this guy, giggling over Darulio and stressing out over which outfit to wear when they meet for drinks. It is also refreshing to see no attention paid to Mercer falling for another man. It’s played very flippantly, and the episode gets automatic points for that. It also cleverly acts as a character tool, fleshing out Mercer and Grayson’s ongoing interpersonal quarrel.

MacFarlane’s Mercer is also slowly but surely becoming a more assured captain. Even after learning about Darulio’s presence on his ship, Ed was still able to keep his cool during his first meeting with the Navarians and Bruidians before the pheromones kicked in. Halston Sage also deserves some praise as her Lt. Alara carried a lot of the plot along, with her being the one character that put the pieces together and both figured out what was going on with the pheromones, and came up with the solution. 


If the episode has any flaws, it’s that the resolution felt very predictable and cliche – of course Darulio’s pheromones are going to come into play when the Navarians and the Bruidians approach full-scale war. It would have been nice if Darulio’s turn – from being ambivalent about the harm his pheromones are causing and then becoming concerned – was handled with a bit more aplomb.

Even if that is the weakest part of the story, it still provides for even more humor as the episode, well, climaxes. You never saw two adversarial alien species make out while settling their differences on Star Trek. I also must give credit to the episode’s writer Liz Heldens for not ignoring that Darulio’s pheromones took time to have an effect on our characters when it came to the resolution. Nurse Park’s idea to advance along the pheromone process was a smart touch filling in what could have been a glaring plot hole. It also allowed MacFarlane to show characters we haven’t seen before, such as Nurse Park, play a pivotal role as our lead heroes were stricken with love. Like Nurse Chapel had a recurring role on The Original Series, I hope we see Nurse Park again.  In many ways “Cupid’s Dagger” felt like a homage to The Original Series episode “The Naked Time,” showing our characters slightly incapacitated while still furthering along important character arcs.

Even though The Orville is structured around episodes being stand alone, Heldens was able to cleverly pick up a number of character narratives that have been built through the season. This is even done in subtle ways such as a gag at the beginning where Bortus was cut off from showing off his ability to sing, calling back to his claim to be able to sing in “Majority Rule.” The karaoke scene was the show’s best opening teaser so far. It shows the camaraderie among the crew, not that different than the camaraderie between officers on a naval ship. You can still watch “Cupid’s Dagger” without having seen any of the rest of the series, but they are now finding ways to reward regular viewers as well.

While the resolution was a bit predictable, “Cupid’s Dagger” was still a hilarious subversion of a plot device. It not only added to the mythology, it also advanced several character arcs and relationships. At the end of the episode, it feels like Mercer and Grayson are one step closer to not only working better as a team, but also as friends. I also give the writers kudos for leaving the ending a little open-ended when it came to the question if Darulio was in heat when Grayson cheated with him. It’s moments like that, including the bit with Nurse Park, that adds nuance to the show, despite its attempts at broad humor. “Cupid’s Dagger” is another win for The Orville, an episode that cast quite a spell on this audience member.

Random thoughts:

  • Also returning from the pilot was Victor Garber as Admiral Halsey.
  • Thanks to a series of funny scenes with Dann (played by Family Guy and American Dad voice actor Mike Henry), the Orville’s elevators now have music.
  • Alara catching Dr. Finn and Yaphit under the influence of the pheromones may be the show’s horrifying moment so far.
  • We also learned Yaphit sleeps in a pool and his mother has now become his brother. Talk about awkward Thanksgiving dinners.
  • Show’s first epic space battle was impressive with the VFX team knocking it out the park.
  • The karaoke scene was the show’s best opening teaser so far. It shows the camaraderie among the crew, not that different than the camaraderie between officers on a naval ship. Just don’t interrupt Bortis when he’s about to sing.

Clips from “Cupid’s Dagger”

Preview for next week’s episode, “Firestorm”

‘Orville’ behind the scenes book

You can now pre-order The World of the Orville by Jeff Bond at Amazon. This new official behind the scenes book comes out January 16, 2018. Here is the official synopsis:

Filled with alien species, exotic worlds, futuristic technology and awe-inspiring spaceships, this lavish companion to The Orville takes you behind the scenes through concept art, on-set photography and technical schematics to explore the show’s production design, costumes, makeup prosthetics and visual effects. This is the ultimate guide to this new space-faring epic adventure.

Keep up with all the The Orville news, reviews and interviews at

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I admit, I am on board now. The last few weeks have been entertaining. The humor is less in your face then in the beginning.

I don’t know now how to feel about Orville beyond strained indifference. There hasn’t been a single episode I loved, and while a lot of the early humor fell flat, it at least gave it a unique flavor. Without it, the show just feels like a pale generic clone of 90s Trek with none of the charm.

90s Trek had charm?!?!? Orville sounds pretty much 90s Trek but with purposeful comedy.

‘90s Trek has charm in spades, and it was its own. Orville is at its best when it is not lazily trying to copy it.

Of course it had charm. It’s that charm that made those shows so good, it’s that charm that made even bad episodes watchable, that made even Voyager and Enterprise, the two weaker shows, rewatch able even today.

@Lorca’s Tribble

I would disagree. It was Stewart’s acting chops that made the bad episodes watchable.


I concur. And I’ll even say I think he inspired the others as well with his work ethic.

90s were the Golden Age of Trek. The Orville is rekindling that glorious time for Trek. Kudos.

If you like rape and sexual harassment played for laughs, sure.

Cupid made people fall in love. I don’t know of any objections based on the little story of Cupid’s arrow. Cupid was fictional. And so is this.

Are we going to make fiction conform to date rape laws? Because if so, why not make them conform to other laws as well? That would make some murder mysteries rather less than readable. Sorry, Agatha!

Yes I agree. The humor works better when it feels organic to the scene and not called out. While I do think the episode was designed as a homage to “The Naked Now” I appreciated that they made it relevant to their premise by having scenes unique to The Orville. Ed sleeping with Darulio was an unexpected way to help move past all of the “Kelly is an adulterer scenes” we tend to get. As for Ed suddenly becoming gay premise, which could be controversial, I liked it because they seemed like they wrote it well. None of his friends had a problem with it and he never got upset at the idea that he slept with him because of the pheromones. Even though based on his friends responses it may have been the first time for him. Even the line about him feeling weird in regards to the whole situation felt real. As for the ending of the episode, I think we all knew the pheromones were going to play a part of it but I didn’t know the kiss itself was coming. Still not sure how all of it was supposed to work long term but I think that’s not really the point of the Orville.

“As for Ed suddenly becoming gay premise, which could be controversial, I liked it because they seemed like they wrote it well.”

Quibbling here. But he didn’t suddenly become gay. He was attracted to Derulio. Not the same thing. And people in the show seem less fazed by the attraction to a male than they are by it being Derulio.

I undserstand that but it could have been portrayed terribly. Instead they handled it well by portraying him as being attracted to Durilo. It gave the situation more realism since prior to that moment we had believed that he was straight.

I also meant to post that I didn’t mean he had become gay but rather he had a gay sexual relationship. I wasn’t very clear on that and I do apologize. As for Ed’s sexuality now its maybe a little more complicated but everyone seems ok with it. There was no judgement on anyone’s part. Ultimately I think this attempt at discussing sexuality is better than the episode that focused on transgender rights. While I believe they were trying to a good thing by talking about it I didn’t feel like they knew quite what they wher doing. Where as this episode they seemed like they were better informed.

*Sorry for the double post.*

You apologized twice in one post. You must be Canadian.

The difference being that Kelly and Ed were intentionally roofied so that Darulio could have some fun. And in the meantime they turn Dr. Finn into a deranged stalker to completely undermine her character. Lastly, by using Darulio to drug the fighting parties into compliance with Union demands for peace, they have completely discredited the Union, as who will trust them not to pull such shit again.

Alan I have seen you comment this on every singe review and comment out there. Give it a rest. No one cares. Its fiction. Move on.

@J CON — and history tells us that fiction has no impact on society?

Fairplay to Trekmovie for giving full coverage for Orville deapite its vocal detracters. I look forward to watching it.

You are in favor of non-consensual sex are you?

Since when is fiction supposed to be subject to the latest laws regarding sex? Are people supposed to stop liking things because some legislative majority enacted a law? Can we stop catering to those who think of Trek fans as anal about this kind of then? Oops — did I say a bad word? Is this badthink? Is this double ungood?

The bad word is, of course, “then,” instead of “thing.” ;-)

What are you talking about, dude? Rape is bad. It has nothing to do whether it’s illegal. Your post makes it sound like you’re super upset you’re not allowed to roofie people. I *assume* that’s not what you meant, but there are only so many ways to interpret “some legislative majority enacted a law.”

Are you on acid? Re-read my post. At no time did I advocate anything similar to what you are saying — except in fiction. Fiction is fiction.

If anyone “roofied” anyone in real life, it would be illegal.

But this is about a fictional show.

I’m tired of people who can’t or won’t distinguish reality from fiction.

Next I’ll have to tell people that killing giants is wrong versus the story of same in the Bible.

No one is arguing that immoral things can’t or shouldn’t happen in fiction. That would be profoundly weird.

But when you take something as serious and immoral as rape and portray it in fiction as a joke, that is bad. Particularly for a show that (a) aspires to address social issues and (b) wants us to take its characters seriously between the comedy.

None of which has anything to do with whatever you were saying about legislatures making laws. Which AGAIN, makes it sound like you think the laws are bad. AGAIN, I don’t think that’s what you mean, so you should think really hard about what you’re saying and why it so poorly represents what you actually believe.

No. You can make a joke about almost anything. And if or I you do so indecently, others have their say.

I don’t care for censorship of jokes on the basis of someone’s idea of appropriateness.

Go ahead and criticize the joke. But I can ridicule you if you do, for being politically correct and asking that I be as well.

You and I and McFarland can say what we each damn well want within the actual bounds of the law.

I increasingly despise political correctness in the creative arts.

They’ve definitely hit their stride. Looking forward to the rest of the season.

Darulio Bill Cosby’s two characters using pheromones to have sex with them and people are okay with this?

I’m with you, Theo. In Darulio’s culture, it’s considered rude to say no to sex? Is THAT the message we want to send to our society right now? In a culture where predators use coercion to obtain sex from vulnerable people, how is an episode that celebrates that practice acceptable? I seriously expected more from MacFarlane, who for all his comedy faults has been way out in front on the sexual assault issues in Hollywood.

Both @Theo and @ Denes House bring up some good points about the potential negative ethical questions this story brings up. I guess I felt that the pheromones just sped up the process. Almost like an amplifier for feelings that were present in an individual. Had the pheromones not be present they still would have felt that way it just would have taken longer for them to realize their feelings. So in short I always felt they were engaging in consensual behavior. I can now see how some people might view it differently based on the things both of you wrote. I do agree about the rudeness part of saying no being weird. I just assumed it was only rude if both parties were willing. As in we both want to have sex right now so why should we have to wait? To do so would be “rude.” However you are right that the story doesn’t make it abundantly clear.

As for MacFarlane’s role in approving this story we should keep in mind it has been done twice in Star Trek. I know that in TNG characters did sleep together because of it. Tasha Yar and Data to be more precise. Neither story has received any notable criticism over the years as a result of what happened so maybe nobody thought this one would either. Doesn’t make it right by any means but it may be why it made it on the air. Orville after all does have a lot of things that are “lifted” from Star Trek. Should this have been one of them? I didn’t mind it at first but now I am not so sure. Thanks for telling the other side of things. I appreciate it.

He’s an alien who isn’t from Earth AND comes from a different culture. If you watch that and pull the message “it’s rude for someone to turn you down” then you probably aren’t mature enough to watch television.

Furthermore Darulio was clearly in the wrong and that was acknowledged despite that this was just the nature of his species.

Granted I feel like the characters should have been more upset at what happened to them or at least some ham fisted explanation about consent ect ect ect

And then look at the situation. The only people he has sex with in the episode are the two people he’s roofied. That’s show a predatory impulse . But it is shrugged off since the effect is temporary. And then there’s the fact that Anara used his drug to remove the ability of consent from the two warring parties, thus severely damaging the Union’s diplomatic rep reputation. Who exactly is going to trust the Union not to drug them in order to get the outcome the Union wants at negotiations.

Whatever the hell happened to “IDIC,” or whatever the version of that is in this pseudo-Trek universe? Why are we so hell-bent on making people conform to current ideas of what love is when “infinite diversity in infinite combinations” essentially throws our current norms out the window?

The defenestration of current societal norms is exactly what Trek is all about. We either buy into it, or we sort of say, “It’s complicated.” But what we probably shouldn’t do is make made-up stories about made-up universes a paradigm of what we would prefer to see in our own (personal) universes.

It’s complicated — very much so.

I think this episode was the best episode of “The Orville” yet.

It’s not a message. It’s a show.

Please stop with the advocacy of repression of creative expression in the name of being anti-rape.

The rape of Persephone was about something but it wasn’t an advocacy of rape.

The rape of the lock, by Pope, was about something but it wasn’t an advocacy of rape.

Et cerera.

You have the right to your expression of your opinion, but so do artists, including writers.

Please see that.

Incidentally, you have full rights to say that this episode may trivialize rape — whether or not it does so. I say it does not, because it does not pertain to real life.

Hypothetically: Suppose McFarlane made an episode that apparently sided with the Nazis in Space Nazi kind of way. What would people think? Should we put the producer in stocks for public ridicule?

(Should we invoke Godwin’s Law now already? ;-) )

“in a Space Nazi kind of way.” As corrected.

Actually, in Discovery, this has already somewhat happened, with the eating of humans involved as well. But this was certainly not glorification … even though, to be frank, the Klingons were destined to become quasi-allies of the Federation in the 24 Century.

As to which I could see the quibblers ask why there wasn’t ever the equivalent of Nuremberg trials depicted in Trek lore for the horrors caused by the Klingon race.

For that matter, what about the Eugenics Wars? No punishment for the horrid fictional people responsible?

Oh god, I can just see the potential responses that would advocate that. (Insert quote from McCoy about saints and angels preserving us.)

Are you suggesting that Star Trek (or Starfleet) is ambiguous about whether genocide is okay? Or eating people?

Absurd. No further reply to you is necessary nor will it be provided.

Starfleet has shown situational morality from the very first episodes. Assaulting an officer, mutiny, theft, murder, inciting interstellar war, gross & frequent violation of the Prime Directive, use of weapons banned by all major interstellar powers, unprovoked attacks on less advanced civilizations including mass murder, all of these and more have been just shrugged off without consequence for any characters.

God, people need to lighten up! The show is a breath of fresh air after VOY, ENT, and certainly the turgid STD. And this episode? Comedy gold that hits all the marks, indicating they’re making the necessary course adjustments to make it a success. Braga- all is forgiven!

“Braga- all is forgiven!”
As long as he sticks to Orville and mocking 90s Trek, freeing up Trek to return to Wagon Train to the Stars, I am on board with this.

Well give me a call when Trek does wagon train to the stars again.

Agree. I’m loving the Orville. Gave up on Discovery after 2 eps. But the Orville feels like TOS to me updated to current times.

@JKP — it feels nothing like TOS. It has TNG all over it, stuck in the 1990s as it always will be. If you think that feels like current times, then respectfully, you should get out more.

@curious cadet
It feels like TOS to me in that they aren’t trying to take themselves too serious. Which TNG (and everything since) did. It’s just entertainment. It’s light and hopeful. The people are flawed and more interesting. I hated TNG, it never felt like the trek I grew up on. It always felt artificial to me, like it forced the story-telling to fit within really constrained parameters.

The Orville may have the look and visual style of TNG, but it has the story telling style and soul of TOS – it’s about people and it entertains, just like TOS. It’s the first Trek(-like) tv I’ve even cared about in 30 years.

TOS took themselves seriously a lot. People have such amnesia and forget the dark turns the show went in in favor of the comedy. I guess you must get a kick out of rape and sexual harassment if you can enjoy this show.

Difference between “too serious” and “seriously”.

And what kind of straw man BS is that rape comment? I think you are the one taking things too seriously…

At least Discovery doesn’t turn rape and sexual harassment into punchlines. Name a Star Trek show that ever made fun of non-consensual sex? Seriously, TOS is more progressive than this, and it was made 50 years ago.

Alan if you don’t like the humour don’t watch and then moan about it. I found it funny as did many others. Its not meant to be progressive or serious its a comedy.

@J Con — I think you’re missing the point of the criticism of THE ORVILLE in the context of this site. Most of the pro comments about ORVILLE are in context of it being “the true successor to Trek”. In that regard, it is clearly taken to be a progressive and serious program. The producers have even stated as much. Further, in a general context it is dangerous to casually deal with such subjects as comedy, but disguised both in style and intent as a dramatic endeavor.

Did you miss the 2 Kirk episode Alan? Or Spock’s little speach to Rand about how the evil Kirk was somehow “attractive” when it was trying to violently rape Rand?

Every comment you make shows how little you know about Trek.

Just a reminder that when DS9 did much the same plot with “Fascination,” it was considered one of the show’s low points.

@Dr Image

Exactly! This discussion went to places I never in a million years would have dreamed it would go. The Rob Lowe guy is a different species with a different culture and…. it’s just a tv show played for laughs. Geez…..

I’m a fan of both Orville and Discovery. Both are fine shows, but Disco has absolutely got the edge over Orville in many ways. Bigger audience for starters, not having the volitile and unpredictable talent of Seth (“I can go from brilliant to idiot in 0.0 seconds”) MacFarlane for another, not being on “cancel anything sci-fi as soon as it starts getting good” Fox for yet another. Nick Meyer and Rodd Roddenberry on staff, plus the talented Karen Beyer in the wroting staff, great actors like Jones, Isaacs, and so much more.

It wasn’t funny and romantic, it was a story about people being drugged and having sex with people they wouldn’t have if they were not drugged. Sex without free will and consent is rape. Dr. Finn was had sex with someone she has spent the entire season saying no to only because she was drugged. HAHA, how funny and romantic is not the response to sex without consent. You have learned nothing from what women have been saying about Harvey Weinstein, Louis CK, et All.


Pheromones, for sexual beings, are NOT drugs but a natural part of their sexual reproductive cycle, i.e. their sexuality.

Re:Sex without free will and consent is rape

World governments can barely incarcerate stray pets as it is. You would impart worldwide economic chaos forcing them to incarcerate all animals that enter heat and cause the reproductive cycles of their species’ to initiate, under this new lack-of-free-will definition.

I think you are confusing the lack of free will inherent for all parties involved in a natural initiation of the reproductive cycle with one or the other party’s consciously being responsible for forcing the issue.

@Disinvited — wow. There are not two sides to this argument. Even cats in heat choose whether to mate with a particular cat or not. I’m not going to explore this particular tangent of yours at all.

Curious Cadet,

Re: not two sides to this argument.

As the writers represented it, there’s NO argument. Darulio is in heat. He’s not making a choice to produce pheromones or artificially inducing their potency.

Now if you want to say this somehow makes a case for Roddenberry’s TMP Deltan celibacy contracts, then I’m all ears.

But as I see it, Darulio’s right up there with Kirk using his human pheromones to bed all those sentients outside his species, or possibly explores the same area as the Dauman’s tears but she made a choice to produce and apply those, whereas Darulio is just experiencing a natural cycle which he has no control over.

Now if you want to claim that Darulio is constantly aware of his being in heat and is consciously taking advantage of it, that’s simply not how they were having the character portray it.

Darulio specifically targets Ed and Kelly only as his victims, no one else. Its clear he knows what he is doing, roofying people, and thinks that there’s nothing wrong with that. And everyone else reacts with a shrug. In the meantime, this drug is used to manipulate the ambassadors who showed up in good faith. How exactly is anyone going to trust the Union when they drug your representative when they don’t comply to union demands?

I agree with Alan. This was a direct attack. Notice how Darulio never even tried to touch Alana when she was questioning him, although it could have helped him get away with it. He was clearly targeting Ed and Kelly. I guess Rob Lowe is okAY with playing Kevin Spacey.

So throw Darulio in a 21st Century jail, then. Or an 18th Century gaol. Or have him tried in Salem. But are people actually realizing that this is supposed to be a tale set in a fictional universe, or are some critics using this episode as a hobby-horse to advocate for their particular views on “roofies” and marginally intended sex?

Notice that none of the people involved were coerced into sexual relations. Note that Darulio said that the feelings induced were real, not false. If this is true, then essentially, in the real world, every distillery and every brewery and every “mary jane” grower in the world would be guilty of facilitating rape.

We should probably be more understanding that such application of rape laws probably will not apply.

“If this is true, and if Darulio’s race’s natural tendencies are as described, and if “roofie” laws are, in the Orvilleverse, as advocated, then essentially, in the real world, every distillery and every….[etc.].”

As corrected.

Also, is part of the problem that you don’t know what roofies are? That you’re not sure how they’re different from alcohol or a joint?

Are you actually suggesting by implication that you or I know how this fictional Darulio’s fictional pheromones work?

Do they work by the same mechanism as alcohol, by “roofies,” or by some form of Cupidic interaction yet to be discovered? Who knows?

Did Cupid facilitate rape?

Can we get real and/or fictional as appropriate?

@gliberty — add to the fact his wry smile at the end when asked if he was “in heat” when he cheated with Ed’s wife. He clearly knows what he’s doing, and excuses his behavior on biology — which makes him a sexual predator. The fact the “Union” evidently tolerates this kind of behavior makes it quite clear THIS IS NOT STAR TREK, as so many on this forum claim. Star Trek has shown us time and again the FEDERATION takes seriously the needs of its member. A Deltan crew members “oath of celibacy” for instance. But it goes beyond that — Medusans travel obscured from other members of the Federation because they may cause them to go insane. What if they used Darulio’s excuse of, hey I’m sorry our appearance caused you to go insane, but hey, “biology” — and how about “it’s considered rude not to look at us”. Then there’s the application of this pheromone as a diplomatic solution. Yes it all makes for silly diversion in a hour of television, a la FAMILY GUY in space, which is neither politically correct nor morally responsible. However, this is in no way passes for even the worst episodes of Star Trek.

I think I will stop comparing The Orville with Star Trek.

Oops — I never have.

The Orville is pseudo-Trek. Not Star Trek. I think I will see it that way.

Bore off. Its a comedy. If you dont like it dont watch it. I found it funny as did many others. The idea of rape didn’t even cross my mind. Stop looking for ways to be victimised and offended.

@J Con — as I stated earlier — the producers themselves don’t see this is a mere comedy. And you sir, don’t speak for the entire planet.

Watched it for the first time yesterday. Pleasantly surprised. This very much feels like the spiritual successor to TNG, much more than Voyager did. I’m missing the Trek Universe (canon), but the story-telling fits.

@FLB — TNG would have NEVER told this story. If you can’t figure out why, then I think you missed the point of Trek altogether.

You should rewatch TNG Cadet cause Troi faced actual sexual and mental/sexual assault on multiple occassions. Not to mention the whole “perfect mate” episode when a woman in stasis programmed to “love” the first male she saw without any free will whatsoever was accidentally awakened and saw Picard. Far from being offended at this sexual slavery Picard and his people delivered her to her abusers, and in fact convinced her to go against her will.

Take off the BS colored glasses and see reality.

Although it’s not the best episode of the season, I thought the episode was entertaining, advanced character arcs, pushed towards the resolution of at least two, and had some great one-off moments. I had no idea that was Mike Henry as the elevator guy! This episode would not have worked earlier in the season, but the show has been on long enough now that they could get away with doing it now. Lots of people hate Star Trek’s comedy episodes, so the fact this episode – the most overtly comedic episode the series has given us thus far – has gotten mixed response is not a surprise or shock. If you don’t like it, the trailers and promos for next week suggest a more serious episode.

@AI2 — wouldn’t have worked earlier? I can’t imagine why not. It’s exactly what FOX likely wanted all along. It was an hour long dick joke. Worse yet it was an hour dealing with Ed’s incessant droning about how his ex cheated on him. And by all accounts it will continue into next week, despite this seeming resolution. Man, somebody really did a number of MacFarlane to think this running gag is something his audience can all relate to.

@Curiious Cadet

Every week you write about how this show is low brow, poorly conceived and jus plain bad overall. Why do you keep watching something you obviously think is so very terrible? Why put yourself through the hour (or 41 minutes if you dvr it) of agony? Just don’t watch anymore. Problem solved.

Yeah, it looks like Dr. Finn will just shiv or shoot any man who doesn’t do what she wants. I guess that’s the reason she’s a single mother. In a relationship she’s a psycho. How’s that for character development?

I’m gueesing that it won’t make the Hugo shortlist, but “Cupid’s Dagger”was still a goofy, fun hour of television. Maybe that’s the Orville sweet spot, finally.

Goofy fun if you are into rape, sure.

Yawn. Boy, are you busy responding essentially with the strawman over and over again.

Agreed. (My goodness, if you are the actual JMS, do I have things to say to you — mostly very complimentary. ;-) )

Much better now that they are going with more subtle humor and staying away from the dick jokes. But this episode seemed flat and draggy. It was very reminiscent of the first season of TNG. That’s not particularly a good thing.
MacFarlane was better in this episode but every time he opens his mouth, I picture “Brian” from Family Guy. Takes me right out of the moment.

Yeah, now they’ve slipped in the idea that roofying people for non-consensual sex is no big deal, beause it’s ‘temporary’, that Dr. Finn probably is a single mother because she’s a psycho in a relationship and that The Union has no qualms about using drugs on other parties to ensure any diplomatic dispute ends up in the Union’s favor.


So the ORVILLE’S Live+SD ratings stayed the same this week, after sliding 0.2 last week, but the audience share continues to slide, down 200,000 viewers, which was down 300K from the week before. So this seems to be the ballpark ORVILLE has carved out for itself.

This show gets better with every episode. And the music they snuck in was as subversive as the plot. Bobby Goldsboro’s “Leaving the Straight Life Behind” (in the elevator scene) was easter egg gold!

In short: yikes.

So, after the awful pilot and first episode, I was beginning to appreciate THE ORVILLE somewhat.

Now? Pretty much back to square one.

The episode took two of the worst, and least plausible, plot points from the early episodes and, instead of quietly abandoning them as we’d been led to think, put them front and center in the most offensive way possible.

From an organizational behavior perspective, it’s an awful, awful idea from perspective to have spouses — not say nothing of ex-spouses — leading the ship. And even if they were (arguably) drunk here, this episode shows why. The emotions involved undermine sound leadership. The military would never, ever permit this. It’s not even funny from a humor perspective; it was becoming Johnny-One-Note.

As for Yaphit, I mean, my God, the timing couldn’t have been worse; this month we’ve had Harvey Weinstein AND Kevin Spacey, and we’re seeing a major character get drunk and take advantage of someone who’s clearly said “no”; if being drunk wasn’t an excuse for Kevin Spacey’s assault on Anthony Rapp, why does it become one here? Even if you say “Dr. Finn was drunk too,” it’s just not funny in light of this week’s events.

A few posters are comparing this to “The Naked Time.” But IIRC, Kirk managed to function in “The Naked Time” even though he had been exposed to the mind-altering chemical; being captain was treatment enough. That increased our respect for him as a leader. The same was true of Riker in “The Naked Now.” This accomplished precisely the opposite. Put Alara in command of THE ORVILLE; she and Bortas the only one capable of making tough decisions on the ship.

@The River Temarc — what I like is how they infected the warring leaders with the pheromones and thought that was somehow a good solution — even to commend the nurse for doing it.

As for the Yaphit bit, one has to wonder if this episode wasn’t shot earlier, and FOX pushed it back in the lineup because it was so weak, until they all forgot what it was about? Also the space battle might have required so much time for the special effects that it pushed it back this far. Then again, with the revelation at the end, it’s hard to imagine Ed could possibly continue to milk the anger he has over his ex cheating on him in every previous episode, though next week’s preview seems to have him right back in that saddle. So who knows, the players seem to have an alarming paucity of moral character, and Ed seems to be a mysoginist. So who knows …

Its a terrible decision. Why would anyone engage in diplomacy with the Union now, knowing that if the Union doesn’t approve, they will happily drug whoever they might be mediating for or in dispute with into compliance. How do you think that would play in our world?

This is far worse, though. This episode suggests that predatory roofy use to engage in non-consensual sex is no big deal because it ‘wears off’. And the use of drugs on Ambassadors to gain diplomatic advantage is A-OKay according to the Union.

Alan Alaric Roi You are very annoying. We get your point. Stop repeating it..

I was really hoping to hear Bortis’s rendition of My Heart Will Go On lol. The Orville has been amazing, better Trek than current Trek!

I disagree.

Well then feel free to go back to your dumbass mushroom spore drive then and I’ll continue enjoying The Orville while you watch your failing Discovery.

@TM11 — please elaborate on how DiSC is failing.

Only around 2 million viewers per episode is terrible, had they not already paid for the show by making a deal with Netflix it might’ve been cancelled and not renewed for another season, cause if they relied solely on viewers subscribing to All Access it would already be done for. It may go on for a few more seasons if it can keep paying for itself but it’s definitely not going to have much success. Discovery is nothing more than Star Trek In Name Only and way more people have a problem with it than they did the reboot films and that’s saying something. Discovery is failing but of course CBS won’t admit it and they will milk it for every last penny. I have no idea why these studios and networks are trying to compete with Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, etc. by having their own streaming service it’s a really stupid business decision. You have to pay for CBS All Access to watch Star Trek and now Disney is gonna make it where you have to pay for their streaming service to watching Star Wars and Marvel content and D.C. is following suit as well, no one is going to pay for all those.

@TM11 — prove any of the “facts” you are presenting. What you have offered here is an opinion, and an uninformed one at that.

Nowhere did I say they were facts, they’re observations. And how is it uninformed? CBS flat out said they have about 2 million All Access subscribers, but of course they are gonna spin it and not admit any negative things about that.

Actually they had over 2 million subscribers before Discovery started. Discovery’s launch boosted subscriber numbers significantly, the words “record setting” were used. That also does not count the Canadian numbers or the Netflix viewers in 188 countries. Far from failing Discovery got an early renewal & pre-production on season 2 has already begun.

I like The Orville too.

Given your past political rants, that’s a compliment to current Trek.

@Michael Hall so my political views discount my opinion? Don’t even get me started I could say the same about you and your political views but I have enough integrity not to, like for example at least I don’t advocate for killing millions of unborn children. Spare me your BS cause I could go on all day about how liberalism is as evil as the devil himself.


By upbringing and personal philosophy, I find the prevention of human potential extremely distasteful. But I fail to see how anything of value can be added to the science of the debate about allowing that end by introducing nonsense words such as “unborn children.”

Childhood can not be achieved in potential humans if they are unborn.

Unhatched chickens are eggs, not chicks.

You are just throwing around a couple of words transparently paired for merely visceral appeal that isn’t contributing anything to intelligent discourse of the topic as no thinking person in a capitalistic free-trade economy is going to count their chickens, or children, before they’re hatched.

They’re not nonsense words. Just because they haven’t been born doesn’t mean they’re not alive, they don’t magically come alive when they’re born they’re alive well before that. Also the fact that you refer to them as “potential” humans is sickening, they are humans. If a pregnant mother is killed their unborn child is also killed making it a double murder. Also I’d like to point out how hypocritical you are by stating that you find the prevention of human potential extremely distasteful, yet that’s exactly what abortion is preventing human potential.


Re: my political views discount my opinion?

Hall never said that. He specified your politically tinged “rants.”

rant /rant/


a tirade.



a long, angry speech of criticism or accusation.

We know exactly what he meant, and had I been a liberal how much do you wanna bet he wouldn’t have a problem with my political rants then?

This show is still on? TNG fans are in their element, I guess I shouldn’t be surprised!

TNG fans are in denial. This show looks like TNG but it plays like it spits on everything TNG was about.

I think the episode might have gelled better with people if Yaphit had actually declined the sexual advances of Dr Finn and come up on top as being more “honorable” but then it isn’t very clear in the episode but I think he was also suffering from the effects of the pheromones. I think the reason Seth McFarlane didn’t think too much about the sexual situations in this episode could be the fact that in this future people are not stuck up too much on sex or they are just more relaxed and tolerant towards sex with all species.

“in this future people are not stuck up too much on sex”

Except that most of the early episodes dwelled on the fact Kelly slept with the blue alien.

Technically only Captain Mercer was dwelling on this, and he is mellowing a little bit on the issue as time goes on.

@alphantrion — tell yourself whatever you have to in order to sleep at night. These characters were drugged into having sex with each other, when some clearly did not want to. No matter how you slice it, even in a future where people are not “stuck up” on sex, it will NOT be OK to drug someone to have sex with them. And MacFarlane has not been mellowing, he literally makes comments in every episode to the point of bordering on misogyny. He even takes a jab at his ex in the previews for next week.

You say it was drugged, but from my point of view, maybe it was a natural phenomenon for Derulios species, much like Pon Farr is for the Vulcans. The only troubling aspect here was Derulio saying that it was rude for his people to decline sex, maybe this is again a specific thing related to his species, but it can rub us the wrong way. So what you are trying to say is that all his species are practically rapists? There can be different species out there with different ways of life or totally different dispositions, we shouldn’t judge them only based on our human values. (By the way, I also am against any form of drugging or unconsensual sex, I don’t condone it.)

Except the only people he had sex with were the people he specifically roofied. I can’t imagine that was accidental.

Nope. The other characters have commented on the blue alien thing as well.

In the future women will take the blame for men feeling inadequate about sex. Oh wait…

He wasn’t affected, he was just a carrier. The question is did she gun him down like she did the last male who didn’t tend to follow her commands?

I kept waiting for the blue guy to get arrested for rape. Apparently in the 24th century you can drug people for sex.


Pheromones are a natural part of a sexual beings’ reproductive cycle — NOT a drug. Being pheromonally attractive is not against the law any more than flowers and candy smelling good. Imagine the absurd chaos of arresting millions of mammalian pets across the planet for drug crimes for entering heat.

@Disinvited — just stop.

He’s not part of the service so even if you push the idea that the pheromone release makes him liable, it isn’t like he has some kind of, ‘my oath of celibacy is on record, Captain’ moment.

I’ve read a few of these comments, and initially I have to admit I was troubled — after being very surprised — by the idea that this was considered to be a series of n/c events, and actually talked about it with my wife, who is usually very sensitive in noting these issues. She thought about it for a long while (it usually takes her very little time to form an informed opinion, she’d have been a formidable person to have on a debate team), and then she said that she didn’t see it that way either — and then she went on to say that if it had struck her that way, she would not have kept watching the show (which she enjoyed immensely, more than any of the others she has watched or just half-listened to from the other room. We may even rewatch it, which hasn’t happened with any ORVILLE ep thus far.)

So I’m reverting back to my original take, that this was a fun show, probably one of the best ones, and the non-consensual aspect is a texture that will remain an open wound to some, and a point of ‘hmm-Idunno’ to me. I DO think it would have been better if Yaphit, as someone posted, had somehow resisted the impulse (being non-humanoid, you have a good basis for that, even if he was still a ‘carrier.’ Would like to have sat in the writer’s room for that call, to see if it even got discussed.)

The stuff I read indicating that ORVILLE is one of the only shows on TV that both the Left and the Right watch equally seems even less likely with each passing week … can’t believe the Right is going to be at home with Cap’s responses, even the closeted Rights.

On the topic of the ‘making of’ book by Jeff Bond … since I STILL haven’t gotten my vfx interview for my article (over 5 months in the emailing/calling at this point), I’m guessing it is definitely not happening. They’ve said VFX is swamped trying to finish the last few shows, but presumably that has been the case for the previous 5+ months, during which time Bond would have been interviewing these folk, and during which time (before the show even aired), FXGUIDE ran an article on the miniatures INCLUDING b-t-s pics of the models. So it is very hard for me to take seriously that Fox actually wants much press on this show. I started off asking about cinematography and VFX — both CG and miniature — and art direction (specifically, the show’s visual futurist), and got whittled down to just the VFX supe who mainly seems to look after the CG stuff so far as I can guess, but he hasn’t responded to two months of inquiries (it took more than 3 mths just to get his email address from Fox.) Anyway, am expecting nothing more on this front.

To clarify – It took 3+ months to get Fox to put somebody from the production company into the loop — fox dragged on that. As soon as the woman from Seth’s company came into the email, I got the VFX guy’s contact info. Just trying to be specific for the record.

By way of comparison on other FOX shows I’ve covered, one email was enough to get me very good and detailed cover stories (featuring multiple interviews) on SLEEPY HOLLOW series, GOTHAM and FX’s LEGION.


That’s my interpretation too. I think a lot of people are just ignore the dialogue and painting this with the current hot issue topic,

Besides, Captain Mercer is the law on his ship. If he felt Darulio caused him to act outside of his free will, and by that implication the others as well, he could have thrown him in the brig. But Darulio was free to go.

It simply wasn’t written as without consent as others are twisting it to be.

I mean the alternative is to declare all pheromones roofies and require all Union sentients to undergo pheromone circumcision to remove their undue influence on conscious choice.

@Disinvited — well then you should have no trouble with the Medusans, who normally travel obscured from other members of the Federation because they may cause them to go insane, ignoring that precaution and traveling in full revealed form using Darulio’s excuse of, “hey I’m sorry our appearance caused you to go insane, but hey, ‘biology’” — and by he way “it’s considered rude not to look at us”.

Curious Cadet,


I am unaware of anything in that episode establishing that a Medusan was capable of independent movement?

I think the Darwin principle would quickly kill off any Medusan who attempted to explore the universe as you presented. Sooner or later they’d have developed appropriate camouflage to make their exploration of it safe for their person.

But yours is a totally apples and oranges comparison. The writers painted the pheromones as not inducing aberrant feelings that didn’t exist prior, but rather enhanced positive “real” feelings that were already there.

I will give you one thing though, it does seem as equally incredibly stupid for the Blue Aliens to not make the medical personal of the ships they board aware of the effect their heat might have on medical personal, at least, that’d be treating them. I would think the last thing you’d want while the heart surgeon is operating on you in an emergency is for them to decide they need a hug more than they need to stop your hemorrhaging?

@Disinvited — missed the point. You’re wrong on this.

Curious Cadet,

Re: missed the point

No, I think in your apples and oranges comparison that you missed that the Medusan effect was actually a physical toxin that induced complete organ failure which produced the systems that you described.

Curious Cadet,

Re: You’re wrong on this

Let me get this straight. You site a founding episode where the main character observes:

MIRANDA: Shall I tell you what human companionship means to me? A struggle, a defense against the emotions of others. At times, the emotions burst in on me. Hatred, desire, envy, pity. Pity is the worst of all. I agree with the Vulcans. Violent emotion is a kind of insanity.

And your solution calls for her to demand that the rest of the universe should get lobotomies?

@Disinvited — EOD. I have no idea what counter-argument you are proposing at this point.

Curious Cadet,

Miranda, a telepath, is describing her extreme mental abuse caused by the natural thought emanations from humans.

I believe fans of TNG describe it as “mind rape.”

Loved the teaser. Was laughing pretty hard when “My Heart Will Go On” started playing, though I knew they’d cut him off right before the singing started. The bits with Dan in the elevator were pretty good as well. But that’s all I enjoyed in this episode. This was the first strike out for me on the season, but am still enjoying the show. This was the first episode I didn’t just not enjoy, I actually really disliked it. Not quite sure why, I just felt while watching it that it was too forced or contrived or something along those lines. Can’t quite put my finger on it, but it just felt off most of the time I was watching it.

I keep thinking Bortus is the best character on the show. He seems the best established [writing-wise and character-wise] and the best acted.

I tend to agree. “SILENCE!” was probably the funniest line in the episode.

Michael Hall

That was funny. And when he rears back and opens his mouth to begin singing, aaaaand we’re saved by the bell. I laughed out loud.

I was really thinking we’d hear a very high pure choirboy voice come out when he sang, the sort of contrast you get (but in reverse) when Jim Nabors talks like Gomer Pyle but then sings like a full-throated deep-voiced male.
Probably my favorite moment in the episode.
The Worf connection has been pretty clear in other post-TNG things too, like Gerrold’s STAR WOLF, which has a giant toothy named Brik who is clearly cut from similar cloth.


I tend to agree, too.

And I think it’s a safe bet that Bortus was influenced by TNG’s Worf, in both appearance and temperament—the big, muscular, deep-voiced manly-man whose extreme sincerity makes him almost zany in his straightness.

This episode is HILARIOUS!!!

I haven’t laughed this much at a TV show in a long time.

Whoever wrote it, whoever directed it, they should do more episodes. They hit this one out of the park.

The most prominent Trek-link in this episode is that it’s inspired by TNG “The Naked Now” (which was inspired by TOS “The Naked Time).

You must get a kick out of non-consensual sex.

Alan Alaric Roi

I don’t know what you’re talking about, and I don’t want to know.

And I have to say that Seth MacFarlane is settling into his character nicely. He’s genuinely funny in this episode, and his performance supplies a substantial portion of the humor. The rest of the cast does a great job, too. Killer episode.

The problem with there being hundreds of hours of Star Trek out there is that it’s hard not to just dismiss an episode that could be crassly dismissed as, “The Naked Time” meets “The Naked Now” meets “Fascination.” Very hard. I’ll give them credit for shoring up the least appealing plot line where a wife’s infidelity was so boringly one-sided, and MacFarlane’s acting was a little better than usual. I can’t say I wasn’t annoyed to see Penny Johnson Jerald follow up a strong outing for her character by having sex with the goo guy. What’s worse, we never even see a resolution after she goes into her jealous rage.

That bothered me too, not following up with Gerald

True, but this show did have one unique feature. Star Trek never used roofying people for non-consensual sex for laughs. And it never suggested that using drugs on parties involved in a diplomatic dispute was a good idea. Not sure how the Union is going to get its rep back.

I do wonder if the any of the same people praising this story right now were in the vocal majority decrying “Fascination” as beneath Star Trek. Orville gets one point for not playing Ed’s lust completely for laughs, and then gets so many more taken away for the resolution of the battle and everything in Finn’s storyline.

@Ian — MacFarlane didn’t play Ed’s lust completely for laughs? Did we watch the same show?

The fact that it’s passed off by the crew as odd only because of the specific person he’s attracted to, not the fact that he’s male deserves at least a tepid acknowledgment. But no, it’s not exactly “Rejoined.”

This is the first episode that I have watched since the pilot
It was fun.
I might watch another one down the road,The Orville has not become Must See TV for me at this point.

Agree. Must watch? No. Generally entertaining and a fun way to kill an hour? Sure.

It doesn’t seem to be “must see TV” for much of its audience. It’s live ratings keep sliding down around the 1.0 mark in the key demo, and hovering around 3 million viewers, meaning it’s not a top viewing priority for much of them. About the same number of people do watch it, eventually, with much of that happening in the 7 days afterward in DVR viewing, but the advertisers don’t care about those numbers. There’s some small percentage of viewers watching online, but commercials can be avoided on Hulu, and otherwise don’t command as much interest by advertisers given it’s mostly on mobile platforms where commercials can be easily ignored.

All things considered, FOX is really rolling the dice on paying for a second season as long as the audience flounders around 1.0 live ratings, even if they do eventually entice 6 million viewers after the initial broadcast. My guess is another 13 episode order which they can cancel if the ratings don’t improve, after a hiatus promoting the series online in an effort to build an audience for live broadcasts.

This was, to me, the best episode of “The Orville” yet. Keep them coming. (Pun not necessarily intended.)

The Orville has an entertaining chemistry. For what it’s worth, it is among the *few* TV series I’m compelled to set aside whatever; grab the remote and watch on its airing schedule.

Last week I mentioned that I think the show works better when they lean more towards the laughs be them forced or organic. David Goodman replied telling me to catch the next episode. It was exactly what I was hoping this show would be nearly every week. A lot of good laughs and a Trek-like story that worked just fine. While so far some episodes worked better than others they have all been at least somewhat enjoyable and a couple that have been downright fun to watch. IMDB suggests season one consists of 13 episodes. Really hoping the season two is a full 22. I think this crew can do it while still maintaining a good ratio of really good to less good episodes.

As with most of this show so far, this was a very enjoyable hour to sit through. Loving it.

I was so, so disappointed that we didn’t get to hear Bortas sing. Ah well, perhaps next week.

Overall, I enjoyed this episode very much. Although The Orville and STD are two very different shows I really like them both very much and hope they both stay around for years to come.


I’m thinking not getting to hear Bortus sing might become a running gag.

I, too am enjoying both. Although truth be told I like Orville better than Discovery. There is room for all kinds of sci fi our there.

@Lyle — that’s one point on which I can agree, that little tease does leave me wanted to know more about Bortas’ singing ability.

While I am not as enthusiastic about ORVILLE as you are, I agree it is very different than DISC, and serves as a silly distraction from the grind of daily life. As long as it can be viewed through the same filter as FAMILY GUY, it works. Where I disagree is with those who think this series is more STAR TREK than DISC, including some of the producers statements implying that as well. It has consistently around 6 million combined viewers who enjoy it, so no need to wish for it to go away for those people. But I do wish it wouldn’t take itself so seriously with the cast, writers and sets they created for what’s being otherwise marketed as a comedy — as it then fails to deliver for me, many others, and as any kind of incarnation of STAR TREK.

Curious Cadet,

Well, I’ve always held that TNG was more GENESIS II/PLANET EARTH/STRANGE NEW WORLD and QUESTOR than the Trek that I knew.

And to that angle, I detect certain refinements of what I’ll call “TNGisms” introduced into Trek in ORVILLE.

Per TVByTheNumbers — ORVILLE continues its downward slide in the L+SD ratings, dropping to match its seasonal low of 0.9 and around 3.2 million viewers.

Hopefully FOX will be able to draw in a more dedicated same day following to support the series next season. Despite having a strong time-shift DVR following, unfortunately that doesn’t pay the bills on a series as expensive as ORVILLE.