Review: ‘The Orville’ Breaks Up The Drama In “Deflectors”

“Deflectors”

The Orville Season 2, Episode 7 – Aired Thursday, February 14th, 2019
Written by David A. Goodman
Directed by Seth MacFarlane

When a brilliant Moclan engineer comes aboard to upgrade the ship’s deflector system, it’s his personal life that will have the most lasting impact on the lives of many of the crew.

This Valentine’s Day episode of The Orville features storylines that advance the personal lives of Kelly and Cassius as well as Bortus and Klyden, and gives Jessica Szohr’s Lt. Talla Keyali her first meaty role. There’s barely a laugh to be found in an episode that shows that The Orville can do drama exceptionally well when they set their minds to it, and that demonstrates just how different The Orville is from Star Trek: The Next Generation, philosophically.

Adrianne Palicki in “Deflectors”

Warning: I don’t want to lead you on, it’s not fair to you. Below there be SPOILERS!

 

IT’S NOT YOU, IT’S ME

“Deflectors” is an apt title for an episode whose framing plot is about an upgrade to the Orville’s deflector system, but is also filled with people using every possible means of shielding themselves from being hurt by other people. It starts with a scene set in a lovely simulated recreation of 1945 New York City, as Kelly and Cassius enjoy coffee at a sidewalk cafe. Their light conversation soon turns emotional as Kelly dodges another of Cassius’ invitations to take some time off for a vacation with him. His insecurities flare up as Kelly implies that his job is less demanding than hers is, and in a conversation about their respective hopes for their relationship, Kelly realizes that the two of them want different things, so she breaks up with him.

What’s interesting about this dialogue is that both Kelly and Cassius are likable characters, and they express valid points of view. Neither one comes across as the “bad guy” in what plays out like a mature but difficult “DTR” (“define the relationship”) conversation any one of us could have had at one time or another in real life. Kudos to writer David A. Goodman, a veteran writer from Star Trek: Enterprise and author of Trek books including the forthcoming The Autobiography of Mr. Spock.

As the episode unfolds, Cassius makes repeated attempts to get Kelly to talk to him and perhaps reconsider, sending her text messages on her comm, sending her a cookie bouquet (is there an “Edible Arrangements” franchise aboard the Orville?) and eventually having a giant, sentient potted flower (surprisingly voiced by an uncredited Bruce Willis!) make his appeal on his behalf! These extreme lengths seem a little out of character for someone as famously even-keeled as Cassius, but they serve to emphasize the firmness of Kelly’s resolve. Her decision is made, she regrets the pain she’s causing Cassius, but she’s ready to move on. Again, it’s mature and relatable writing on display here, and both Adrienne Palicki (Kelly) and Chris Johnson (Cassius) play these scenes as emotionally healthy adults.

I NEED TO FOCUS ON MY CAREER

The spaceship portion of the plot involves genius Moclan engineer Locar coming aboard the Orville to test out an upgrade to the ship’s deflector system. From the first moments, Locar is aboard the Orville, it is clear that he and Bortus have a history together – Locar is Bortus’ “kodashik,” or ex-boyfriend. While Locar wants to talk things out with Bortus, Bortus keeps him at arm’s length, assigning Lt. Talla Keyali to serve as his liaison.

The tech stuff plays out exactly as you’d expect. Locar works with Lamarr and his engineering crew to install the upgrades in the ship, a stress test is executed in which the Moclan cruiser and the Orville engage in mock combat, it appears as though the upgrades fail, and then at the last moment, they kick in as designed, proving their usefulness. Easy peasy, and by the numbers. Along the way, there are grace notes, though, including engineering officer Jenny offering celebratory cupcakes topped with miniature Orville-shaped frosting bits to the crew, drawing predictable enthusiasm from Dann, and a funny, brutally-blunt Moclan response from Locar. And all the while, Locar’s glances linger meaningfully on Lt. Keyali.

I THINK WE SHOULD START SEEING OTHER PEOPLE

Soon, Locar confides in Keyali that he is attracted to her, an attraction that is forbidden in the all-male Moclan culture. As we learned in previous episodes, and especially in “About a Girl,” Moclans are not a uniformly all-male species – some Moclans are born female, but are almost always forcibly surgically transitioned to live as males, a process that Bortus’ mate Klyden insisted be done to his child with Bortus, Topa. In this episode, we learn that some Moclans are attracted to females. How this works out in a culture where, one way or another, everyone around them seems to be male, is not clear. But those who are attracted to females either hide their orientation or are imprisoned for life. Their families share their shame. “On Moclus,” Locar says, “mediocrity is the only behavior above suspicion.” It’s a powerful line, though it seems like a non-sequitur.

Keyali takes Locar into the simulator, running Kelly’s 1945 New York City program, and teaches him how to dance, human-style. The dialogue here is layered and enjoyable, featuring a great description of how slow-dancing works, and why it’s so intimate. It culminates in a kiss that requires the strikingly-tall Locar to bend almost in half to reach the lips of Lt. Keyali. When she is called away from the simulator to deal with Kelly’s Bruce Willis infestation, Locar is confronted in the simulator by Klyden, who has been following them. “I know what you are!” Klyden accuses.

When Keyali returns to the simulator, Locar is gone, and a computer search shows he’s no longer aboard the Orville. Keyali plays back the simulator recording, and sees a distorted figure confronting Locar and then vaporizing him with a weapon! This is now a murder investigation.

YOU DESERVE BETTER

In a tense briefing in the ship’s Conference Room, Keyali reveals that Locar was a heterosexually-attracted man, causing the Moclan captain to fly into a disgusted rage. He calls it “deviant behavior,” and accuses Keyali of making up spurious allegations against Locar. Keyali responds with righteous fury: “The only thing I did was accept him for who he was. If you people weren’t such a bunch of closed-minded, bigoted–!” Captain Mercer cuts her off and promises a full investigation.

It is clear that Moclan culture, with its strange practices and strikingly different view of sexuality from that of the Planetary Union, is difficult to reconcile with the culture on the Orville. We’ve seen this brewing from the first season, and in interviews, creator Seth MacFarlane has promised that there’s more to come: “the Moclans [are] a race that’s deliberately positioned as very problematic. Their viewpoints do not align with ours, but we have to find a way to coexist. There’s nothing more relevant than that right now.” And the crew of the Orville has divergent opinions about the Moclans. Ed has found their culture bewildering and dangerous, like when Klyden stabbed Bortus in a Moclan ritual of divorce in “Primal Urges.” Here, Ed is the voice that is trying to calm Keyali’s fierce judgment.

In a way, The Orville presents a more nuanced view of cultural differences than the straightforward toleration espoused in Star Trek: The Next Generation. That toleration is on display in “The Orville” at times, but there is also a deeper confusion, disgust, and anger that surfaces frequently. While progressivism in the 1990s was about accepting differences, in the “woke” 2010s, a progressive viewpoint embraces judgment, shaming, and cultural ruin for those who believe differently than the standard progressive view. In Lt. Keyali, writer Goodman presents a sincerely-felt, love-driven judgmental fury. In Mercer, we see someone trying to live out the 1990’s progressive approach in a more complicated world. And fascinatingly in Bortus, we have a person who grew up in a deeply-entrenched cultural framework who now has to question, over and over, whether or not he still believes it is just.

It is not clear what perspective The Orville will ultimately take on cultural pluralism: will they return to optimistic TNG-style relativism, embrace the fiery separation of 2010’s “woke” progressivism, or chart another course entirely? Time will tell.

LET’S JUST BE FRIENDS

The murder plot quickly unravels, as a little computer wizardry by Lamarr and Isaac reveals that the distorted figure in the simulator is Klyden, and while he becomes their prime suspect and confesses that he threatened to expose Locar’s deviations, he is a poor fit for the murder. In a powerful conversation in Bortus’ quarters, Keyali determines the key. To the surprise of no one in the audience who has seen TOS’s “Court Martial,” Locar is not really dead, but faked his own murder to avoid the shame of either exposure or suicide.

After a somewhat bizarre search of the ship (do they really think the 7-foot-tall Locar is hiding in bureau drawers or cabinets?) Locar is discovered in the shuttle bay, and Lt. Keyali reluctantly turns him over to the Moclan authorities, freeing Klyden.

Once again, the writing here is nuanced. Locar doesn’t come across completely sympathetically, casting guilt on Keyali for doing her job. While she had feelings for Locar, she can’t countenance the imprisonment of Klyden when he had not committed the crime for which he was accused.

When Klyden later approaches Keyali to thank her for saving his life, she explodes at him with hot tears. “You want to repay me? Here’s how. When you see me in the corridor, walk the other way. Locar didn’t hurt you, he didn’t hurt anyone. All he wanted was love. And yet, because of you, his life is over. For no reason, except your own prejudice. So as far as I’m concerned, you can go straight to hell.” It’s a brutally difficult scene that raised my estimation of Jessica Szohr’s acting ability by a dozen notches.

IT FEELS LIKE WE’VE GROWN APART

MacFarlane has indicated that the tension between Moclan culture and the pluralism of the Planetary Union will be an ongoing theme of this season of The Orville, and perhaps that will be seen nowhere as poignantly as in the relationship between Bortus and Klyden. Klyden is traditionally-oriented, secure in the righteousness of his own position, and willing to sacrifice everything to follow through on his convictions.

Bortus, however, is clearly rethinking everything he was raised to believe. In a final moment between the two of them in this episode, Klyden returns to their quarters, looking smugly satisfied, while Bortus gazes out at the stars. They look at each other wordlessly across the room, and then turn apart and go their separate ways. Will their marriage survive?

And it turns out that Cassius has accepted a teaching position on another ship, and he and Kelly parted with a handshake. Ah well, I liked his character and Chris Johnson’s performance. He will be missed.

BREAK-UP BREAKDOWN

This episode has the potential to be a turning point for The Orville. There was no potty humor, very few jokes, and a poignant, nuanced, difficult dramatic storyline. It featured layered scripting, foreshadowing and metaphor, and complicated but personal storytelling, competently directed. It showcased how seriously the show can take its characters and the situations they are in. There were a few chuckles, but not nearly enough to please some of Season One’s most ardent fans.

Is this the direction The Orville intends to go? If so, count me in.

BRIEF BITS

  • Moclan ship design has cool, deco-looking yellow-orange glowy bits, and the Moclan shuttle looks like a chunky computer mouse from the early 2000s. Cool designs.
  • In the combat test of the deflectors, Malloy employs some fancy evasive maneuvers, making me wonder why, if this is a test of the deflectors? Then I realized that maybe they want to put a strain on the ship’s power systems, like in actual combat?
  • The Keyali-Locar relationship suffers from TV show Rapid Onset Romance syndrome, but not fatally. You can see what they see in one another.
  • I did chuckle as Ed responded to Kelly’s woes about Cassius’ constant texting. When my wife and I first became friends, I was attracted to her long before she had any feelings for me, and I counseled her through a number of would-be suitors who wanted to date her. I can relate to Ed’s constant advice for Kelly to have nothing more to do with Cassius.
  • Seriously – can anybody enter the simulation room when someone else is using it? Where’s the privacy? This was an issue in “Primal Urges,” as well as a few other episodes. Don’t people even need to knock?
  • The song that plays in the 1945 simulation and over the closing scenes is “The White Cliffs of Dover,” by Glenn Miller and His Orchestra.
  • When Talla starts her investigation in the simulator she asks the computer to replay time index 1701.7. Which seems to be a nod to the designation of the USS Enterprise from Trek.
  • Bruce Willis’s giant alien potted plant, Groogen, is a Katrudian.
  • Locar (Kevin Daniels) had a brief previous appearance in the season two opener, attending Bortus’ Ja’loja.

QUOTABLES

  • “Sounds like you’re a pretty big deal back home.” “Yes.” “(chuckles) Okay. I like the honesty.” Keyali and Locar
  • Topa: “What is a relationship?” Bortus: “It is what comes before the egg.”
  • “Locar, cupcake?” “No.” “Are you sure?” “I have given you my answer!” Jenny and Locar – I love Moclan bluntness
  • “Hey guys – no torpedoes, okay? We said ‘no torpedoes.’ We said no torpedoes, right?” “I was right there when we said it.” “You were right there.” Ed and Kelly
  • “[Isaac] was going around the ship asking everybody what sexual positions are most pleasurable for biological life-forms.” “I was merely attempting to provide Dr. Finn with the most dutifully calibrated coital experience.” “Yeah, that’s what women want – dutiful coitus.” (Gordon and Isaac) “Hey! I’m trying to eat here!” (Lamarr)
  • “The galaxy is full of so many unhappy people. Why ignore something good?” Keyali
  • “Who are you?” “I am Locar.” “What’s wrong with your head?” “I am a Moclan.” “Oh. This is Betty. I got her for Christmas.” “That is not my concern.” Locar and a holographic girl with a doll – again, Moclan awesomeness.
  • “It is very uneventful.” “It’s about subtlety. Little nonverbal moves your partner responds to. Try leading.” “Leading?” “Use physical communication to tell me how you want me to move.” Keyali explaining human dancing. I loved this bit.
  • “Look, nobody’s saying this isn’t messed up, and we’re not trying to go all HR on you here, we’re just saying you should’ve told us.” Ed zings Human Resources departments.
  • Keyali and Bortus have a powerful scene in the armory. “You know, you’re right. I don’t understand the Moclan way. I don’t understand a screwed up culture that keeps people from being who they are under threat of personal ruin. I thought you’d be more evolved, especially given what they did to your daughter.” “I SAID! That. Will. Be. All.” chills.
  • “Any Moclan would be disgusted by what he is. Even you!” Klyden to Bortus.
  • “This has to be the most insane thing that’s ever happened on this ship!” “Well, one time I almost died because I humped a statue.” “Isaac once cut my leg off.” “And the Captain and Commander, they got put in a  zoo.” “And Bortus almost crashed the ship ’cause of porn.” “I see.” Gordon and Lamarr lay things out for Keyali.
  • “Why would Locar go through all this trouble to fake his own death?” “Because he knew his time was up. That Klyden was going to expose him. His life was over, and the only way out he could see was suicide. But on Moclus, suicide means banishment of all family, and he didn’t want them to have to pay for his… for his sins.” Another well-delivered line by Jessica Szohr.
  • “My brother says, no friendship is complete until your friend turns to you in despair.” Locar.
  • “You know, the more I learn about the Moclans, the more I see that our differences go right to the core of our values. How long can an alliance with a culture like that last?” Ed Mercer.

 


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CmdrR

A powerful episode that demands follow through. The show is definitely improving.

Hat Rick

There is a thematic grittiness about most modern shows that invites a break. That break is what The Orville provides.

Dep1701

A much more powerful handling of this subject than in its nearest Trek analog; TNG’s “The Outcast”. Of course, the latitude to push boundaries has changed since then. It also reminds me so much of TOS’ heyday where an obvious allegory to a real life issue was dressed up in Sci-Fi togs for easier digestion.

90s trek

Another good episode. They are committed to exploring the sexually repressed Moclans. This is good drama.

That being said, the damn Flower was so out of place though. This show’s greatest weakness is balancing tone.

KarmicJustice

Yeah, I can see that point of view. That lack of balance just cracks me up though, for me it feels like a splash of Deadpool with TNG.

AFS1970

I agree, this is what sets the Orville apart from Trek. But the lack of balance sometimes pays off later. The off hand remark about Bortas only urinating once a year became a whole episode.

This was a devastating and depressingly sad episode of The Orville… and I would argue the best of the series thus far. The fact that I felt the same way about last week’s episode (at least as far as thinking it was a series high point) just goes to show – at least for me personally — that The Orville is having a stellar sophomore season.

I really do not see how Klyden comes back from this one. It’s too bad that Bortus would get in trouble with the Planetary Union if he tried to divorce Klyden in the traditional Moclan custom, because damn, that dude needs some stabbing.

90s trek

I think eventually we’re heading to some sort of “exile” for Bortus for standing against his culture, as the Klingons would do with Worf now and then.

GarySeven

I think the reviewer made some insightful and powerful points about how there is the 1990’s (or even 1960’s TOS, in my opinion) progressivism on tolerance of differences, and todays “woke” progressivism where if you are not on board you are shamed, judged and attacked. And then the reviewer contrasts this with Bortus, by far my favorite character, who is embedded in a conservative culture and is wrestling with his first pangs of progressivism. These three different modes are very common today – as is Klyden’s traditional conservatism- and our society is wrestling with all of them- wrestling, with its intense fighting, being a good description.
The Orville can be really, really good. I’m grateful for it.
Great review; thank you.

Mcg

I do recall Picard and Crusher being disgusted with Worf when he let that Romulan die in “The Enemy’, back in TNG season 3. So they weren’t much more tolerant than The Orville crew.

Jack

Tolerance isn’t not criticizing, not disapproving or not questioning. But it’s also about not dehumanizing that other person or denying them rights. Worf wasn’t shunned or drummed out of Starfleet. So that’s tolerance.

And I don’t think the crew is intolerant here on Orville. Again, Bortus isn’t treated differently or thrown off the ship because they disagree. The Moclan society is, by definition, intolerant of the engineer’s attraction (and his acting on it) because they destroy his life, family and career over it.

This gets misunderstood by the whole “libs are not tolerant because they don’t tolerate intolerance” crowd. Tolerance isn’t the happy acceptance of everything.

Tolerance: the ability or willingness to tolerate something, in particular the existence of opinions or behavior that one does not necessarily agree with.

ML31

And yet a ton of that involves disapproving, criticizing and questioning. Something they did on TNG often and are even more openly doing on Orville.

The River Temarc

Also “Reunion,” when Worf kills Duras within the boundaries of Klingon law, and Picard still puts a reprimand on his record.

Latitude83

Nice to see some grown up reviews on here. IMDB apparently has no problem with blatantly homophobic reviews. I even reported one of them that referred to LGBT storylines as “grotesque” and they rejected my submission!

Boze

Aaand here we go: “…judgment, shaming, and cultural ruin for those who believe differently…”

Did it even occur to you that some people might indeed consider such storylines “grotesque”, and that their opinion is just as valid as yours? That review obviously wasn’t meant for you, it was meant for other people who find such storylines “grotesque”. It doesn’t concern you in the slightest. And yet you go out of your way to try and remove a review that was never meant for you – and you even have the audacity to complain that imdb was sane enough to ignore your report.

What was it that Picard said to Q? “The same old story is the one we’re meeting now. Self-righteous life forms who are eager not to learn but to prosecute, to judge anything they don’t understand or can’t tolerate.” So maybe look in the mirror every once in a while, before you go reporting other people for their opinion, comrade?

90s trek

We’re getting into “where’s the tolerance for intolerance” territory here. We don’t have to diseminate every bigot’s opinion on who they find grotesque. Some people get shamed because their ignorant opinions are shameful. I really don’t care if that’s too “woke 2010 progressive” of me, which is a distinction without meaning. I’m not worried about hurting a few social conservative’s delicate feelings.

Latitude83

Hi Boze. Of course I’m aware that there are bigots, homophobes and racists out there however my point is that mainstream platforms such as IMDB should not allow them to publish hateful comments on their sites. There should be accepted norms for what can and can’t be published. This is not an unusual concept after all, IMDB would not allow overtly racist comments to be published. Don’t get me wrong,, I l believe in freedom of speech but only up to a point. Hate speech must never be permitted as it could be harmful to people, in this case LGBT people.

I understand that you might not agree with me that LGBT people deserve to be treated with respect. I would ask you to consider if you think it would be acceptable to refer to an interracial kiss (such as the one on TOS with Kirk and Uhura) as being Grotesque? Do you think this kind of racial abuse would be allowed to be published? I think the big question here, (and this is always the question when it comes to LGBT debates) is whether or not you actually consider the LBGT community as being deserving of their rights not to be discriminated against.

It may only be a minor comment, but I think such comments need to be called out. There is no such thing as a comment that is not “meant for me”. All comments posted are in the public domain and have the same impact on everyone who reads them. If you are the subject of an insulting comment simply because it’s the way you are, it’s offensive.

I love your Q quote Bose but I would argue that you have rather misunderstood his meaning. I have a feeling his statement was far more likely directed at people such as yourself than to people like me! In any case – good debate LLAP! :-)

Jack

@Lattitude Well-said.

“and that their opinion is just as valid as yours?”

It isn’t.

kitbashcanon

Thanks, Trekmovie, for reporting about the Orville. I like it a lot, and since it really was nobody’s first choice in space opera (I was just put off about All Access, and settled for offerings on antenna TV), it proves to be a pretty good show in the end, IMO.

Jako

that was pretty deep stuff for a penis joke tng rip-off. wow! Very good episode!

Steve Butler

Orville won’t be renewed. I watch for a space adventure. There is very little. We must explore human and alien emotions.

Ben Adams

Aaaaalrighty then.

kmart

Why aren’t you happy, the other ship shot off its guns a lot. Isn’t that your kind of space adventure?

Michael Hall

‘While progressivism in the 1990s was about accepting differences, in the “woke” 2010s, a progressive viewpoint embraces judgment, shaming, and cultural ruin for those who believe differently than the standard progressive view.”

Some examples, please, of the “cultural ruin” which befell those unfortunates for merely having a different opinion? As opposed, say, to facing consequences for abusing their positions of power and authority, even when the individuals themselves have ostensibly progressive politics?

90s trek

Yeah, this line is a bit “trumpy”.

Cygnus-X1

Yeah, this line is a bit “trumpy”.

Please, don’t report the reviewer to the Social Justice Stasi. I’m sure they didn’t mean what you’re suggesting. We all make mistakes. Have some compassion.

90s trek

Actually, I was giving the reviewer the benefit of the doubt that it was just a poor turn of phrase in an otherwise good review. But if you truly believe a “social justice stasi” has their boot on the back of your neck, I doubt there’s much I can do to convince you otherwise.

Cygnus-X1

90s trek

The reviewer is not merely turning a phrase, but making an observation based on things that I have been seeing, hearing and experiencing for the past several years, via news media and in my own life. You obviously disagree that the observation has a real basis, and you’re right to doubt your ability to convince me to believe you rather than my lying eyes and ears.

90s trek

You invoked the Stasi. You have an uphill climb to convince me you’re being reasonable.

Cygnus-X1

90s trek

I’m not interested in convincing you if it’s going to be an uphill climb. You can feel however you like about it. I’d just refer you to the likes of Alec Baldwin, Jonah Hill, Liam Neeson, Camile Paglia, Christina Hoff Sommers and others that they’ve gone after and tried to ruin. They’ve even gone after Bernie Sanders, who’s the most high-profile, well-liked and staunchest ally they’re ever likely to have.

90s trek

None of those people have been taken away by any Stasi. They’re all free tonight, cooking their own dinner and sleeping in their own beds.

If your point is saying stupid things can hurt your career, well…. sure. So what. No one is entitled to be unconditionally loved by the public.

Cygnus-X1

90s trek

Do I really have to tell you that Stasi is a metaphor? It’s a difference of degrees that you’re making, not one of social dynamics. “Saying stupid things can hurt your career” is like the classic mob rationalization, “Don’t make us hurt you.” And, not all of the victims of the social justice movement can be reasonably judged as having said “stupid” things. Intellectuals like La Paglia and Sommers certainly don’t fall into that category. And, really, neither does Liam Neeson. Public reaction is not what we’re talking about here any more than it was in East Germany. I’m fine with millions of individuals each forming their own opinions. That would not result in people losing their jobs or being blacklisted for thought and speech crimes.

Cygnus-X1

Man, I seem to have used another flag word. No idea what it is.

Jack

90s Trek is winning the debate here. And saying things deemed stupid by public opinion can indeed hurt your career, because image matters to organizations. (Liam Neeson’s career will be fine, btw). This isn’t new. And it’s not about thought and speech crimes.

That’s just the way it works. Should it? No, not always. But there are plenty of examples (more, I’d argue) of conservatives going after people in the same way. There are constant demands on Twitter (which isn’t the real world, but it’s, sadly, getting there) to have people fired.

And there are cases where people like Martin Bashir were fired by mainstream orgs for statements they made on-air.

How was Paglia or Sommers destroyed, by the way?

That said, I think we’re all a little oversensitive. It’s one thing to disagree and another to demand a boycott. And a kneejerk Twitter posse rounds itself up fast, regardless of where it sits on the political spectrum.

But some things — calling for violence, death or the removal of rights for a particular group — are absolutely beyond the pale.

Cygnus-X1

Jack

Well, you’re as entitled as anyone else to your opinion.

But, you’ve largely missed the point of all this.

If you’re really interested, you can learn all about it by going to YouTube and listening to people like La Paglia and Sommers describe their experiences. And you’ll find a lot more like them.

Robin Sizemore

More Star Trek: TNG references. The Moclan captain was played by Wren T. Brown, an actor who was frequently a Klingon on TNG. Recognized his voice right away.

Therizino

While I liked the episode… I feel like I know more about the Moklans than about all the other cultures combined… including the alliance.

kmart

Well, even on TOS you only got details about Earth doled out occasionally, and even those weren’t always exactly revelations. “There are only twelve like it in the fleet,” tells you something about how special the Enterprise herself is, but how many decades till FC has Picard tell Lily there are 150 members in the Fed (far less than I expected — was figuring it was closer to the … what, 500 or so thrown away as being in Kirk’s time in the awesome Trek novel THE WOUNDED SKY?)

Of course, thinking about the Alliance and this vagueness now gets me to thinking of other possibilities, like ISAAC’s bunch using his trial duty aboardship as a precursor to a Q like hearing on whether humans even deserve to be in space — which, given Seth’s TNG fixation, might be possible. Would hate to see a clip show on ORVILLE, given that we get so few of them each year as it now stands, but it WOULD be interesting to see a lot of unflattering Alliance and pre-Alliance images of things humans let happen or turned a blind eye to or backed that cast them in an extremely bad light.

Horatio sanbone

Did anybody else notice that when they replayed the simulated recording she asked for it to play time 1701? I think that’s another little nod to its inspiration series.

GarySeven

I noticed “1701” also. If on purpose, it was a nice touch.

Tiger2

I got around to watching this last night and wow this was a really great episode. It bothered me in so many ways but in a good way I guess. And I’m sorry, I have not seen every episode but I really hate the Moclans. I know we’re not suppose to agree with with them but its not just about their prejudice but how they are so close minded they look down on anyone who thinks differently from them. But again that’s the point I know I just don’t understand how a species like this could even interact with so many others since they seem to believe their way is the only way. And I just hate Klyden. Couldn’t stand him before but after this one, definitely hate him. Moclans in general though are just an irritating people to me. But maybe I’m wrong and misjudging them. as I said I haven’t seen all the episodes, at least in season one.

Overall though, it was really good. Two great episodes in a row. The only thing I didn’t like was Kelly and Cassius breaking up. It just felt like it came out of nowhere. And Kelly went from ‘he’s great’ to ‘this is a horrible mistake’ from zero to sixty. I wasn’t invested in their relationship or anything, just felt rushed on how quickly they ended it. But I loved the flower scene lol. He was adorable.

The season started off a bit bad IMO, but its been really picking up the last three or so episodes. I think I’m invested with the rest of the season now where as I don’t think I ever was first season.

John Smitty

I think you’re kind of supposed to hate them, including Klyden, which to me says the writers, and the actor, are doing a good job. MacFarlane is a well known progressive/liberal, so it’s not surprising that he is portraying a very conservative culture in a negative light (i dont disagree with him myself, when Keyali told off Klyden that was glorious). Clearly a reckoning is coming between Bortus, Klyden, and Moclus

90s trek

This is my take as well. It’s the beginning of the arc. In order to show their culture overcome social injustice, the writers have to show injustice.

Whether Klyden will change, I have no idea, but I suspect he will.

Redcell

The more we learn about the Moclans the more I wonder how the Union tolerates their membership.

Or it says a LOT about how “not-the Federation” the Union is that they allow their worlds to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation, perform conversion therapy, and punish their citizens for their feelings and “impure” thoughts.

The Federation allows some sketchy things from different cultures in the name of diversity, even Vulcan wedding fights to the death, but they do have lines (e.g., Bajor’s possible return to a caste system would doom their admittance to the Federation). It just seems to me a future progressive society would NEVER put up with this in the name of not being “judgmental,” unless those values didn’t mean anything.

90s trek

I get the sense the Union knows as little about the Moclans as the viewer, and it’s implied at the end of the episode the Moclan’s terrible humans rights abuses will be a problem down the line.

That opens the other can of worms of how they ended up in a alliace with people they know so little about in the first place. I’m willing to grant them some creative license on that one, but there’s a trend as we saw in the First Contact episode a few weeks back. This society doesn’t really seem to have an interest in vetting the species they’re undertaking a relationship with.

ML31

All this talk about the Moclan’s and culture doesn’t mean much for me. The Moclans are a joke. The P.U. is a joke. The entire show works better as a joke. This episode kinda worked but the fact remains it is an outlier. The bulk of their dramas have been weak. At best they had some semi-interesting bits in them but, in the first season at least, the show had the comedy to distract us from the blandness. This season has been a tremendous dud. We cannot rely on the ONE superior dramatic episode to define the season. I am still wishing the jokes would return. Be them dick jokes or otherwise. Funny is funny and this show still needs to be.

Commodore Decker

What, again, is the mission of this ship, and why are the characters aboard it as opposed to a space station? No sense of adventure, folks. Good stories. Great stories. Go somewhere and explore something or dock the damn thing and use the holodeck for the settings. Right now in the show, the ship is about as interesting as an inert section of hull plating.

Josiah Rowe

Was it my imagination, or were the 1945 “simulation” scenes filmed on the same “New York Street” backlot used in Next Gen for “The Big Goodbye” and other “Old Earth” scenes?

kmart

I was telling my wife that we needed to see Benny from DS9 getting hassled by cops to really complete that street scene.

Cygnus-X1

Living in NYC as I do, I let out a mild utterance of incredulity when Talla said that the setting is supposed to be NYC 1945. It is a lovely looking street, but it reminds me of Hill Valley, 1955 from BACK TO THE FUTURE. NYC has never looked that idyllic.

kmart

I haven’t been to NY since I was six months old, so have very little (NONE) in the way of recollections, but I’d figure there has to be more of a ‘canyon’ feel with high-rises on most sides blocking the sun. I think that is why shooting L.A. for NY is still something of an art form, because there are so many ‘tricks of light’ giveaways that can blow the illusion. Even though there are lots of digital tricks pasting NY into the background, the END OF DAYS stuff shot L.A. for NY seem very, I dunno, TJ HOOKER looking?

I’d be interested in knowing if you’ve ever seen MADIGAN, a pretty good Richard Widmark movie from Don Siegel. It has that typical Universal Studios cheap-o RP late 60s feel, but most of the exteriors really ‘felt’ NY to my eye, and I was surprised to find it was mostly shot in SoCal and probably mostly on the backlot. Maybe they art-directed the color palette to something that somehow seemed EastCoast-y?

Cygnus-X1

kmart

Haven’t seen MADIGAN. The usual giveaways for a set trying to look like NYC are the light, as you mentioned, and the cookie-cutter, neatness of the buildings and streets. NYC is old and gritty. One of the reasons maybe it’s hard to reproduce the grittiness is the temptation to make things look better, more stylized, more aesthetically pleasing in a movie than they actually look in NYC. Grit with a purpose looks different than grit from 150 years of erosion, air pollution, random events and whatnot.

The River Temarc

They said it was New York City, not Manhattan. That means it could be Brooklyn or Queens or (gasp) da Bronx. Which are a bit more low-rise than Manhattan, ‘specially back then.

ML31

It doesn’t need to look 100% correct. It’s a simulation. People often look back on things not as they really were but more of a romanticized way of what they were.

kmart

That’s very true, ML, but the system would probably automatically generate a photoreal view, based on whatever the future uses in place of lidar and googleearth; you’d probably have to modify a regular program in order to romanticize it.

DevWolf

I will grant it some slack since its Valentine’s day. But by focusing so heavily on the intamate side of the relationships of characters, which is nothing new since its first season, they are alienating those who come here for escape and a laugh. A select few will enjoy those episodes but to many of us, this isnt what the Oroville was intended to be about. At its core, its a comedy spinoff Star Trek. However, its beginning to feel more like a show about a love boat now, which is starkly against the type of humor that got it the massive ratings it achieved even on its first episode. The valentine eposode on one in a line of them recently that has led to its dropping ratings within the audience as a whole since its second season. I hope they are not in too deep in the screen plays to get away from this trend. If it continues, the ratings will have a lot of ground to make up. And as we know with how Fox opperates (Firefly for example), low raitings to them spells cancelation. I love this show and I don’t to see that happen. But we have been down this path before and we know where it leads.

Judging from the previews for this Thursday’s episode, you will at least get your wish on the escape part. As for laughs though, I think the S2 ratio of humor to drama is here to stay, and I for one am all in.

ML31

I honestly do not understand FOX sometimes. They let The X Files endure amazingly low ratings until it caught on. Then others they give the ax immediately. There have to be reasons beyond ratings that determine this sort of thing.

ROGER ACHONG

These guys have to be careful some writing credit should be given to excellent Jeri Taylor who wrote this for TNG: The Castaway in season 5 ep 17.

90s trek

Close. “The Outcast”

kmart

Could probably stand to edit the ‘excellent’ part too, though OUTCAST was a good Riker show and probably the gutsiest TNG ever managed to get.

90s trek

Been a while since I watched it. It was pretty progressive for its time. Not sure how well it holds up these days.

Jack

Not great. Because of the casting, the genderless metaphor falls flat and it feels like Riker is trying to rescue a straight woman from a lesbian society — and the society is portrayed as unnatural (ex. they no longer have children biologically but in husks).

It feels like what the Focus on the Family folks predicted society would become if gays “win” their “war on the family” (not my words). They’d take over and nobody would be allowed to be straight.

And that’s what bothered me a little about this Orville episode. So far, all the problems in the (barbaric, unnatural) Moclan culture could be seen to stem from the fact that they’re all male and in same-sex relationships. And their relationships seem especially screwed-up and miserable. I get that this is supposed to work as a metaphor, but I don’t know hat it does. It’s 2019, do we really need metaphors to talk about sexuality and gender issues?

I’m not saying they should be portrayed as sunny, happy and perfect. But, again, it seems like the nightmare scenario some conservatives predicted would happen if gay folks were allowed to marry. And so far, nearly all the Bortus/Moclan episodes have involved something really lousy (forced gender reassignment, divorce through murder, porn addiction that nearly destroyed the ship).

SpiderBat

I think you hit the nail on the head for what bothered me most about the episode. As the de facto stand-in for gay culture on the show, the Borclans have been painted more and more as a backward and bizarre culture. And now we have the “hetero” Borclan as the victim in this episode. While I get that satire will often stand something on its head to make a point, not sure that’s what’s coming through here.

Cygnus-X1

The title of this article is confusing, as it suggests that “The Deflectors” is a comedy (which would be a break in the string of dramatic episodes leading up to it), but then goes on to say that there’s “barely a laugh to be found” in it. I saw this article posted before I’d watched the episode, and it led me to expect a comedy.

Cygnus-X1

The Kelly/Casius story is a bit weird, in that Kelly simply rejects Casius’s ambitions for their relationship without ever saying what she wants out of it. Was she just looking for someone to go to dinner and sleep with on weekends? It’s weird to dump somebody on the grounds of wanting different things without ever revealing what you want. It’s also kind of rude and inconsiderate. The least you can do when you end a committed relationship is to tell the person you’re dumping what you actually want, so that they can know whether and how your differences are irreconcilable.

The River Temarc

The idiotic relationship was doomed from the beginning. You can’t have a Sam-and-Diane plotline if Cliff is already in a relationship with Diane.

Cygnus-X1

Weird, I had three other posts that have disappeared. In one of them I posted a link to the Orville wiki. I’m guessing that one somehow flagged the two preceding it. Though, that seems like a weird algorithm.

kmart

Will be waiting to see these comments, for your take on the show. I didn’t even know there was an ORVILLE wiki, thanks!

Cygnus-X1

Well, one of them is back. The other two are still missing. One was just an FYI with the Orville Wiki link. The other was my review of the Klyden/Lokar/Bortus love-triangle, along with a somewhat fanciful speculation on where it could all go. Basically, Bortus gets fed up with Klyden and dumps him in favor of his old flame, Lokar (of the Hill People), whom he breaks out of a Moclan prison. Hell having no fury like a Moclan scorned, Klyden goes back to Moclus and joins the Moclan Sexual Deviancy Squad (MSDS), his singular purpose in life now to find and capture Bortus and Lokar, both fugitives from Moclan justice serving aboard the Orville. Bortus convinces Lokar to undergo conversion therapy to cure him of his attraction to women, but the therapy naturally doesn’t take. And in the process, Bortus realizes that he, too, is attracted to women, and his gay p0-rn obsession in “Primal Urges” was actually his own half-conscious attempt at conversion therapy. Now sexually liberated, Blokar remain living together and start dating people on the ship without strict adherence to any gender, sex or species, though they both seem to prefer females. Meanwhile, back on Moclus, Klyden has risen quickly through the ranks of the MSDS and devised a plan to capture the two deviant fugitives. . . .

kmart

That’s got everything save “Fleeing from the Cylon tyranny … “

Cygnus-X1

kmart

LOL!

90s trek

I hope the reviewer now sees that when you give the trolls and inch they take a mile.

HubcapDave

I’m still Team Alara, the replacement was quite good in this episode.

As for the time index, I think it refers specifically to the shuttle Galileo (1701/7)

ML31

Funny how the reviewer claimed this was a nearly laugh free episode when I found this had the most laughs of any episode this season. None as good as the ‘Issac dumps Finn’ moment from last week, but it had a number of jokes that worked and I was the happier for it. That is not to say, however, that it is back on track. It’s not. The show is still pretty low on jokes. And it was still in need of a couple of good deep laughs. And thus far, season one is still the vastly superior season.

On the flip side, the dramatic part of the show, often the weakest part of the show, was quite well done. The ominous ending worked pretty darn well. The problem is it was just a fleeting moment. The show still doesn’t seem to know what it is this season.

And for the record, I am glad Cassius is gone. The Ed-Kelly romantic endeavors don’t help the show any. Be it with others or themselves. I wish they would still hate each other. That was more fun.

kmart

Can’t wait till a thread goes up for the first part of the 2-parter. Looks like I guessed pretty right on Isaac after all last year. Be interesting to see if he Odo-ze up in part 2.

ML31

Looks like you guessed right. Was that what you thought would happen or what you would have liked to have happen? It’s still a pretty lousy idea and the 2nd half looks to be eminently predictable.

kmart

I didn’t imagine them attacking earth, more like quarantining it. This doesn’t seem like a lousy idea at all, and it has superb execution. I’m thinking of this as THE BEST OF ALL POSSIBLE WORLDS, myself. I imagine Isaac has to turn — either that or the world’s biggest and worst reset button is getting hit — but it’s more about execution than concept, so I am still over the moon and nervously awaiting pt 2.

ML31

You still didn’t answer my question. Was this what you thought they would do or was it what YOU wanted them to do? Or are both one in the same?

And BTW… I still think it was a lame idea. But it does feel like it comes straight out of Berman Trek.

kmart

I HOPED that Isaac would turn out to be the agent-in-place evaluating the humans for his group, and that he would find them wanting, leading to … well, I thought it would be quarantining man, sort of like Q hinting that he would do with humans in FARPOINT. In terms of specific story beats, I COULD say that I’m not going to give all my story points up … but to be honest on this general idea, I wasn’t very specific, and never jotted down a full story outline.

Now in terms of the ORVILLE doing an ALL ABOUT EVE version of BOBW with another sexy officer vying to replace Kelly, that I have two whole pages on, and I have five of my TNG premises that I actually pitched back in 91 adapted into ORVILLE premises last year, and three longer TNG treatments that I am occasionally messing with to see if they might work. Those I won’t discuss at all at this point, because for the first time in a long while, I’m actively looking for an agent again — even though the first time around, the agent I had did absolutely nothing except send some of my material to places that I told her had already seen it, resulting in scorched earth responses (I got to pitch at TNG on my own, w/o her ‘help.’)

0dkinWood

THANK YOU for this “…in the “woke” 2010s, a progressive viewpoint embraces judgment, shaming, and cultural ruin for those who believe differently than the standard progressive view.” This is absolutely true, and we see it more often every day, as the Left and its media accomplices are increasingly emboldened to dox, ban, and even physically assault any they claim is guilty of crimethink. In the meantime, they accuse the Right of doing what they are doing, and go so far as to fake incidents to support their lies.