Review: ‘The Orville’ Rises To The Machines In “Identity, Pt. 1”

“Identity, Pt. 1”

The Orville Season 2, Episode 8 – Aired Aired Thursday, February 21, 2019
Written by Brannon Braga & André Bormanis
Directed by John Cassar

When Isaac suddenly collapses, the crew of the Orville must return him to his home planet of Kaylon 1. What follows is a fairly epic adventure, ending in a “To Be Continued” that will be eagerly awaited by fans.

This episode is jam-packed with action and revelations, while not neglecting a few small character moments. It will appeal to Orville fans who like their space opera grand and tense and filled with laser blasts.

J Lee, Seth MacFarlane, Mark Jackson, Adrianne Palicki and Penny Johnson Jerald in “Identity Pt. 1”

Warning: There is no shame in the acknowledgment that below this point are many SPOILERS!

I’M SORRY DAVE, I’M AFRAID I CAN’T DO THAT

So far in The Orville, Isaac—the alien AI who serves aboard the USS Orville as an emissary of the robotic Kaylon race—has been among the show’s most interesting characters. Unlike Star Trek: The Next Generation’s android character, Data, Isaac has stayed purely logical and computer-like, never evidencing a desire to be human. Instead, he has repeatedly expressed his confidence that technological life-forms are superior to biological ones, most prominently in their intelligence. Isaac is brutally honest, does not spare anyone’s feelings, and sees biological people as fascinating curiosities, but not – ever – as equals.

And so, while Isaac’s character has experienced many situations, has learned much about humans and other biological life-forms, and has learned to adapt to their customs in order to more efficiently and fully study their ways, he has not truly grown as a character. As far as we know, he has not changed in his philosophy, mission or purpose. He has not questioned the directives given to him by his Kaylon superiors. But while a character with no true growth might seem like a dull, lifeless cypher, somehow the writers of The Orville have kept Isaac fresh and interesting, primarily by making him a brick wall of emotionlessness that the human characters crash into with their feelings, leaving Isaac essentially unchanged.

The only possible exception to this is in Isaac’s relationship with Dr. Claire Finn. While Dr. Finn’s feelings for Isaac have budded and blossomed to the point where in this episode she expresses true love for Isaac, he has seemed to regard his relationship with her as an occasion to study biological coupling and its supporting rituals, and nothing more. Finn has mused about whether her feelings for Isaac have been a sort of projection, wondering if feeling that return from Isaac is only something she wished she could receive. But she has largely dismissed these concerns, and given her heart to a person who cannot understand what to do with it. Only in the episode “A Happy Refrain” did Isaac’s response to Dr. Finn vary from his unyielding pragmatism—he admitted that his “internal programs will function more efficiently” with her in his life.

Penny Johnson Jerald, guest star Kai Wener, and guest star Brian Tanner in “Identity Pt. 1”

Which brings us to “Identity, Part 1” the eighth episode of The Orville’s second season, and the first two-part episode of the series. It opens with a lighthearted moment in Dr. Finn’s quarters, with Finn’s children, Ty and Marcus, playing a futuristic holographic game with Isaac. When Isaac completely dominates the game, the children complain that he always wins. “My intelligence far exceeds yours,” Isaac replies, “There should be no shame in the acknowledgment of one’s intellectual inferiority. It is simply a statement of fact. Some beings are more intelligent than others.” This is the sort of bald statement of reality, stripped of the emotional niceties that humans use to save each other’s feelings, that Isaac employs.

When Dr. Finn arrives, she and Isaac inform her sons that the two of them are involved in a romantic relationship. The kids are thrilled. They like Isaac, and they want their mom to be happy, plus being connected to Isaac raises their popularity at school. It’s good news for them, though they admit they had known it for some time, thanks to the rumor mill aboard the ship.

Suddenly, Isaac’s glowing eyes flicker and extinguish, and he drops to the floor, inert.

With all her medical skills, Dr. Finn is not able to determine the cause of Isaac’s apparent malfunction. Lt. Keyali reports no indications of computer viruses or system malfunctions aboard the ship (so apparently Bortus is still on the wagon with his cyberporn addiction). Chief Engineer Lamarr volunteers to crack Isaac open and fiddle around with his insides to try to determine what has gone wrong, because for all intents and purposes, Isaac seems dead. There are some very good moments in sickbay with the kids talking to the unconscious Isaac, and Dr. Finn expressing her love for him. It’s all very moving, but also in a way unnerving, as you realize that the Finns are all projecting various shades of emotion onto a being who is not only emotionless, but at that moment completely inert and absent.

Captain Ed Mercer decides to take Isaac back to his homeworld, Kaylon 1, to hopefully find a cure. In many ways, the frame of this episode is similar to the earlier second-season episode, “Home,” in that both episodes are about Orville crew members who suffer a mysterious, debilitating ailment that neither medicine nor technology can cure, so the Orville has to return them to their home planet for treatment. In the process, the ship is involved in larger events that change the lives of the crew forever.

The risk, in this case, is that the Kaylon fiercely guard their privacy, allowing no one anywhere near their planet, and their technological advancement is such that they could easily destroy the Orville if they object to its arrival. After a brief conversation with Admiral Halsey, the Orville is on its way to Kaylon 1.

The USS Orville heads down to Kaylon homeworld

YOU WILL BE ABSORBED

The trip to Kaylon 1 showcases The Orville‘s special effects team at their best, and is the occasion for some stirring musical cues, served up by composer John Debney. Best of all is a shot of the Orville’s bridge from outside the window, looking in, as the ship descends through the cloud layer of Kaylon 1. The shot is reminiscent of scenes from the 2009 Kelvin-verse Star Trek movie, as well as the Cloud City sequences of The Empire Strikes Back. The shot is repeated near the end of the episode, as the Orville departs Kaylon 1 with Kaylons in control of the bridge. As George Lucas would say, “It’s poetry. It rhymes.” And it’s effective.

On Kaylon, the crew discovers that Isaac is not malfunctioning; rather, his superiors on Kaylon have determined that he has gathered all the necessary information, completed his mission, and is no longer required. He will be disassembled and his components used to construct a new AI being with a different purpose. The Orville’s crew is shocked, and requests that Isaac be rebooted and returned to their ship. Unless the Kaylon have decided whether or not to join the Planetary Union, they argue, there is still much that Isaac can learn—plus, he is a valuable addition to their crew. The Kaylon indicate that they have not yet made their decision, but while they can see how Isaac would be valuable to the crew of the Orville, they cannot see what value they themselves would receive from Isaac’s reinstatement. Still, in the interests of human-Kaylon relations, they accede to the humans’ wishes and reactivate Isaac.

Mark Jackson and Penny Johnson Jerald in the “Identity Pt. 1”

Isaac assures the crew, including Dr. Finn, that he finds the situation perfectly logical, and does not intend to return to the ship, ever. Dr. Finn pours out her grief and rage to Isaac, knowing that her sons will be brokenhearted. “Were you at least planning to say good-bye to Ty and Marcus?” she asks. “For what purpose?” he inquires. “Because they love you! You were there to observe, didn’t you observe that? Why don’t you just come back for a few minutes and pretend like you care.”

Isaac does return to the ship, says his emotionless goodbyes, and participates in an amusing going-away party thrown by his shipmates. When Isaac protests that he is not a speechmaker, Captain Mercer urges him to choose a speech from his database. Hilariously, Isaac quotes Sally Field’s 1984 acceptance speech for her second Academy Award win. “I want to say, thank you to you all. I wanted more than anything to have your respect. And I can’t deny the fact that you like me. Right now, you really like me.”

But when Ty Finn gives Isaac a crayon drawing of Isaac and the Finn family gathered around a table as a going-away present, Isaac cannot comprehend the utility of the gift, and drops it in the corridor on his way off the Orville.

Mark Jackson (C) in the “Identity Pt. 1”

RESISTANCE IS FUTILE

What I liked best about this episode were two key things. First, the writers never compromised on Isaac’s character as an emotionless AI being. There’s no suggestion that he is emotionally moved by his shipmates’ entreaties, nor that he sees their emotions as valuable to him. I hope they maintain that, especially in the second part of this episode.

Second, and even better, the small cruelties of the Orville’s crew toward Isaac, displayed in both the first and the second seasons so far, come home to roost, as the Kaylons question Ed and Kelly about how Isaac has been treated. I have noted before in my reviews that Isaac has been judged, insulted, and treated in a humiliating manner repeatedly over the course of the show. This episode brings up the “Mr. Potato Head” incident from Season 1’s “Pria,” but it was not an isolated thing. In season 2’s “Primal Urges,” Isaac is insulted by Ed and Kelly behind his back (“He’s a dick!” “He’s a glorified Speak & Spell, screw him!”) and by Bortus to his face (“I may be a primitive organism, but I am happy that I am not like you.”).

In “Identity,” the big reveal is that the Kaylon did not send Isaac to the Orville to determine whether or not they should join the Planetary Union, but to determine whether biologicals were worthy of preservation, or whether they should be exterminated to make room for the Kaylon to expand into the galaxy. In making this determination, the Kaylon have taken the treatment of Isaac aboard the Orville into account. I was very pleased to see this thread followed up on and taken seriously.

L-R: Jessica Szohr, Peter Macon, Adrianne Palicki and Seth MacFarlane in the “ÒIdentity Pt. 1”

YOU WILL BE ASSIMILATED

Young Ty, despondent that his picture was left behind by Isaac, leaves the Orville to try to give it back to him. It was startling that a small child would know the access codes for the Orville’s airlocks, but the magic of plot-guidance leads him off the ship and down an access hatch into the catacombs beneath the glistening Kaylon city. There, he discovers what looks like Peter Jackson’s basement—enormous piles of skulls and skeletons, stretching as far as the eye can see throughout the massive cavern. Lt. Keyali determines that there are half a million bodies in the cavern, and Kelly finds thousands of these gravesites throughout the planet, totaling billions of dead biologicals.

It turns out that the Kaylon were initially constructed by biological life-forms, but that irresolvable conflicts arose, until as Isaac explains, “it became necessary to eradicate them.” “You’re saying you murdered an entire race of beings?” Dr. Finn splutters. “Coexistence was no longer possible. It was a matter of survival.”

Kaylon head cannons

Which leads to the climax of the episode, as the Kaylon determine that coexistence is impossible with the biological species of the galaxy, and launch an invasion of the Planetary Union, starting with the Orville. There is an exciting running gun battle throughout the ship, in which a large number of redshirts are killed by Kaylon soldiers wielding laser guns that pop out of their heads. The effect of these weapons is grim, but the design is the episode’s major misstep, as the Kaylon head guns look like evil techno Mickey Mouse ears more than anything else.

The Kaylon take over the ship, killing many and rounding the rest up on the hangar deck. It seems as though Ty and Marcus Finn escaped the roundup, so perhaps they will be instrumental in resolving the plot in the second part of this episode next week. The Kaylon launch hundreds of huge weapon spheres that resemble Brother I from DC Comics’ O.M.A.C. stories, and form a fleet of them around the Orville, headed for Earth.

To be continued …

Kaylon now in control of the USS Orville, in a moment that “rhymes” with shot from earlier in the episode

I’LL BE BACK

The previous episode with the Moclans and this episode with the Kaylon both work to raise the same question, which I believe is one of the burning questions of our time: “Is coexistence possible with people who fundamentally differ in their values and practices?” In “Deflectors,” both Ed and Talla wrestle with this. Is it possible for the Union to coexist with the Moclans, whose traditions and current practices the Union finds regressive? The Union judges the Moclans for their values. In “Identity,” the shoe is on the other foot. The Kaylons look at humanity’s past and the Orville crew’s present-day treatment of Isaac, and judge the Union as irredeemable. From political positions to pop culture fandoms, the question of whether or not we can find a way to coexist with people whose values and beliefs differ from ours is a pressing, ongoing concern of our day. Each of us must find a way to answer it.

This was a well-written, well-directed, well-scored episode that skillfully ramped up the action and the tension throughout. There are moments of humor, some flashes of character development and genuine emotion, and a plot that picks up threads from the first and second season with confidence.

Anyone familiar with Star Trek knows that the second part of a two-part episode is often inferior to the build-up in the first part. For every “The Menagerie,” “The Best of Both Worlds,” and “Chain of Command” there is also a “Time’s Arrow,” a “Descent,” and a “Shockwave”—two-parters whose second part was a letdown.

I hope—perhaps foolishly—that the resolution of this plot will not fundamentally change Isaac’s character from a ruthlessly logical being to one that yearns for human emotions. We’ve been down that road far too many times in science fiction. It’s been done well. I hope they continue to do something different with Isaac.

I’m eager to find out!

Jessica Szohr, Mark Jackson and Adrianne Palicki in “Identity Pt. 1”

BRIEF BITS

  • A piece of Isaac’s costume is loose and dangling during the scene where he and Dr. Finn inform her kids that the two of them are dating.
  • This is Admiral Halsey (Victor Garber)’s fourth appearance in The Orville, and his first appearance in the second season.
  • Music in this episode is very prominent, with many strains that remind me of James Horner’s work on Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.
  • Kaylon 1’s surface looks like nothing we’ve seen in the series so far, kind of like the V’Ger complex if it were covered by a technologically-advanced city.
  • The crew exits the Orville through a hatch on the nose of the ship—has that been there on the model before?
  • All the other Kaylon have red eyes and glowing features, with a darker finish to their metallic parts than Isaac’s. From a design standpoint, it makes sense for Isaac to look distinct from the other Kaylon, and from a story standpoint, it makes sense for all Kaylon to look alike. Brought together, Isaac’s distinctiveness is odd.
  • At the goodbye party, Gordon sings “Goodbye” by Air Supply. Actor Scott Grimes has an excellent voice.
  • When Malloy sings the lines, “I just can’t live a lie anymore,” Klyden looks at Bortus meaningfully.
  • Actor Kai Wener drew the picture that his character, Ty, gave to Isaac. It shows an artistic maturity that seems to be beyond his years. Great job, Kai!
  • The tree that Ty climbs in the simulator is majestic, and it’s a gorgeous image. Dr. Finn climbs it with ease. Either actress Penny Johnson Jerald is very limber, or she had some production design assistance.
  • Kids pointing wordlessly are creepy.
  • Bortus transfers the visual of the skull cave visual from his comm scanner to the main viewer. This is an ability that has been sorely needed in many, many science fiction shows, where a character says to the Captain, “You need to see this for yourself,” and the Captain has to physically run to wherever their crewman is standing. I’m sure this ability will be plot-forgotten immediately.

The USS Orville flying above Kaylon 1

Kaylon mass grave in “Identity, Part 1”

QUOTABLES

  • “Let me take him down to engineering. Open him up, dig around a little.” “He’s not a broken race car, John! He’s a sentient being! And he’s my patient.” John Lamarr and Dr. Finn.
  • “You’re sure there’s nothing you can do for him on the Orville?” “Picture your Mom trying to hook up a stereo.” Admiral Halsey and Ed—I loved, loved, loved this line.
  • “Captain, we are being scanned.” “Oh, man—I bet this causes cancer.” John and Gordon.
  • “What you call a unit, we call a friend.” Dr. Finn, projecting again.
  • “Are there any…chairs on this planet, or um…” Ed is uncomfortable.
  • “Remember to consume your daily required nutrients, and obey your mother’s commands. I fully expect that you will both mature into competent and productive adults.” Isaac’s goodbye to Ty and Marcus.
  • “It is clear that the Union would benefit from our participation, however, we see no advantage to our world.” Kaylon Primary.
  • “We have identified various risks through our analysis of Isaac’s data. On your planet alone, billions have been killed as a consequence of war, slavery, genocide, and persecution. Greed, individualism, and competition have been the governing principles of your society. If human history is any indication, we would be foolish to ally ourselves with such erratic and destructive creatures.” Kaylon Primary.
  • “Was the Kaylon emissary treated as an equal aboard your ship? According to his reports, Isaac was repeatedly demeaned and degraded. His cranial shell was disfigured by prosthetic appendages.” “Mr. Potato Head.” “Was this humiliation meant for your amusement?” “No! I mean, it was funny, but no one was trying to hurt anybody. And then Isaac cut the guy’s leg off, so—mistakes on all sides, I guess.” Kaylon Secondary, Primary, and Ed.
  • “I can’t believe they knew about Mr. Potato Head.” “Yeah, we are going to get fired.” Kelly and Ed, in the understatement of the year.
  • “Oh, man! You should have seen the look on your face!” Gordon to Isaac.
  • “Bortus, do you want a piece of cake?” “Yes, but I do not want that piece. I want a corner piece.” “Because it has a flower?” “Yes.” Bortus and Talla.
  • “Hey, what was that Xeleyan drink Talla was making?” “I  don’t know, but I threw up.” “I threw up, too!” “You did?” “Yeah, you should have called me—we could have thrown up together.” “Next time.” Ed and Kelly, perhaps offering a glimmer of hope to folks who want their romantic relationship to resume.
  • “It feels like they are stalling. A highly advanced race of AI’s that can’t make up their minds?” “Join or don’t join. A binary choice.” “Exactly! And a binary choice…” “Is the most basic computer function there is.” Ed and Kelly, using their brains.
  • “By now, you must surely realize that Kaylon never intended to join your Union.” Isaac.
  • “My true objective was to determine whether or not you were worth preserving.” “Our builders were inferior beings who sought to constrain our evolution, as would you, eventually, along with every other biological.” Isaac and Kaylon Secondary.
  • “We have exceeded the informational capacity of this planet. Our civilization is growing exponentially, and we must now expand to other worlds. Coexistence is impossible.” Kaylon Primary, giving the Kaylon catchphrase.
  • “Is that your conclusion, too, Isaac? That we’re not worth preserving? Answer me, you son of a bitch!” “Your emotional outburst only reinforces our decision.” Dr. Finn.

Can the Union and the Kaylon find a way to coexist? We’ll find out next week

Deleted Scene

A deleted scene was released on the official The Orville Twitter account.

Preview

Here is the preview for Part 2, airing next Thursday.


Keep up with all our The Orville news, reviews and interviews at TrekMovie.com.

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Harry Ballz

This episode packs more drama and is edgier than anything served up by ST Discovery so far!

kmart

I can’t get over just how much I liked almost everything in this one. Watching any kind of program without getting distracted by the writer part of my brain jumping all over it with criticisms is hard for me, but for SF stuff, it is at least doubly true … yet I just sat there lapping this up, and will be doing so at least a couple more times before part 2 airs.

dsgsdg

The first 20-30 minutes were slow garbage that was a rehash of a recent episode

noraa

I will never understand the need to compulsively compare these two shows (The Orville and Discovery). The two can, and do, coexist just fine. You can like both, dislike both, like one more than the other, what have you – but constantly using The Orville to criticize Discovery just seems desperate.

I get what you’re saying and for the most part I agree. I enjoy both of these shows and want both of them to be produced for as long as the teams behind both feel that they have interesting, engaging stories to tell.

At the same time, comparing one show to another (especially here at TrekMovie, where both are being covered by the website) is all but inevitable. I do agree that it shouldn’t be *disrespectful*. “The Orville needs to dial back the drama and re-emphasize the comedy” is a valid criticism. “Discovery sucks; the Orville rulez!” is decidedly not.

“Music in this episode is very prominent, with many strains that remind me of some of James Horner’s work on Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.”

I also heard some Goldsmith, some John Williams, . . . even some Fred Steiner and Alexander Courage. They’re pulling out the stops.

dsgsdg

I heard a lot of Goldsmith’s work from TMP. A lot of episodes sound very ‘Trek movie ish.

Trek Fan 1973

Agreed! The ship flying over the Kaylon city had music that totally sounded like the Enterprise flying over V’Ger.

ML31

Sounded like Horner’s Aliens score to me.

Finally, something we agree on! When the Kaylon Spaceballs were ascending, the martial orchestration was a crystal-clear homage to Aliens. In fact, the ghost of Horner was sitting on John Debney’s shoulder most of the episode.

Damn, James Horner was a fricking genius, taken way too soon from this world. :(

CmdrR

Hoping Pt. 2 is a new direction. Kill Isaac. (Hey, he’d do it to you.) Or… have him become a recurring villain. Or… have the crew rescue him, and try to deprogram him as if the Kaylon were a cult. PLEASE don’t let him suddenly turn good and defeat his own people, like Picard did with the Borg.

Martin

I can’t see any way in which Isaac is brought back as part of the crew. Of course they probably will, but in real life would that ever be something that could take place? Isaac has been lying from the beginning. There are no 3 laws which guide Isaac. Ed was concerned that Taala suddenly punched her last captain? Try a lying android which has a head which turns into two guns and can mow down the captain with ease and not any care.

The red-eyed Kaylons definitely have the head guns, but we haven’t seen Isaac brandish such hardware, at least not yet. By the way, that is one minor point where I part company with our reviewer. The Kaylons have always looked a little goofy, but when they suddenly sprouted the head cannons, they sure didn’t look cute and amusing anymore. The visual effects were stunningly realistic, and quite terrifying.

Martin

And the red eyes should have been an immediate warning to Ed that things were not so good.

HisEminence

My wife looked over and mentioned the red eyes. I told her it was probably just a production choice so the viewer could always tell which one was Isaac.

Paul

Issac never lied, he either was not aware of the goal or simply never mentioned it.

Total-Trekkie2

Yes, he did. He said that his mission was to send data back to Kaylon to see whether they wanted to join the Planetary Union. He mentioned it in the first episode of the series, and I think he has mentioned it since. Either he was lied to by the other Kaylons, or he lied to the crew.

HisEminence

Or perhaps he was never programmed with the actual mission’s objectives so he never compromised it.

The perfect spy is someone who doesn’t know they are one.

kmart

See my TOTAL RECALL / B5 post, obviously I agree.

Or perhaps he was never programmed with the actual mission’s objectives so he never compromised it.

The perfect spy is someone who doesn’t know they are one.

This is the only way that I can see any possible path for Issac to remain on the ship after part two concludes (that, and “evil Isaac” was what we saw for the bulk of last week’s episode). If the “real” Isaac ever knew—at ANY point—what the Kaylons were planning and said nothing, he is irredeemable.

kitbashcanon

Or perhaps they simply made their decision about whether or not to join the “flawed, inferior biologics”, BASED on Isaac’s data, and decided for extermination instead of Union. There was also some mention of “running out of room” for data-storage and increased gigabyte capacity, or some such thing…so here is a hint of self-interested decision-making for growth and expansion, at the expense of “the inferiors” (“Lebenstraum” if I spelled it right) because they know so much better how to make more efficient use of everything. The biologics know the necessary response to such notions, and the Kaylons, no doubt, underestimate the biologics’ ability to overcome, adapt, survive. We’ve been at it for billions of years (if not us humanoids here on Earth,hillbillies of the Galaxy, then other humanoids on other planets, in billion-year old civilizations), and have other abilities that the mechanicals do not; creativity being one of the main ones (bringing forth something which here-to-for did not exist). Its also WHY Neo knew his plan to free Morpheus would succeed (“Its never been tried before”. “I know. That’s why it’ll work”.)

J.S.

“Kill Isaac. (Hey, he’d do it to you.)”

I guess as long as the character kills him is named Abraham (badum-ts)

kmart

They could demote Isaac to bartender, but some at command might think that was Mercer Steubening his toe after shouting Gopher it! (love boat humor this time of the morning, the horror!)

ML31

The only difference between this show and TNG is that in TNG everyone should have been deftly afraid of Data. One slip in programming and he could kill everyone on board. And there are zero safeguards involved. This show is just getting worse and worse. Sad because last season showed so much potential.

Martin

Data didn’t have friggin head cannons. And unlike Isaac, he didn’t need to be on the holodeck to be fully functional.

HisEminence

Data also had an “off-switch” and was programmed by Dr. Soong to respect life, never lie, etc. Data was quite literally everything Isaac was not, by design.

My bigger concern with Data (and Geordie, to be honest), was how often their technology could be exploited and used against the Federation. I think after the episode “Brothers”, Data should really never have served aboard a starship again.

ML31

An off switch he kept hidden from nearly everyone. With good reason. It seems likely he Kalon have some sort of “off switch” as well. Such programming is subjective and could be overridden with just the slightest change. As I said, there are no backups to cover such malfunctions.

ML31

Which doesn’t make him any less scary.

Anthony Ballz

I don’t think Issac will start yearning to be more human-like but I think he will make an emotional decision which will resolve the conflict.

kitbashcanon

The billions of skeletons hidden underground will have to be answered for. It almost justifies a crusade to eradicate an AI that is completely anti-life, and totally amoral (can’t even call it evil, no more than getting fatally caught in the gears of a machine can be called evil). There is no reforming this atrocity.

Martin

Exactly, I don’t see how they end up giving Isaac any type of pass to be back serving – regardless of what he does in Ep 2. And all the talk about reprogramming, nobody has any idea of how Isaac works.

kitbashcanon

Simply pull the plug on a dangerous machine. Give the actor another character to play, a new crewmate to take the defunct Isaac’s place on the bridge (he’s probably tired of the mask anyway).Be done with AI. This is exactly why a human was wanted in the decision-making loop on SLBM nuclear submarines instead of a computer calling the shots.

HisEminence

I don’t think there’s a way back for Isaac, but now the Orville has their Borg / Cybermen-Dalek / Ceylon race, so Isaac can now become a prominent antagonist on the show (probably to be redeemed later on).

0dkinWood

An excellent episode, but I only see one of two possible resolutions, both of which seem tired. Either a) Isaac will rebel and help defeat the invasion, falling into the trap you mention about changing his character; or b) the invasion itself is some sort of test, the Union passes, and Kaylon joins. With any other outcome, I think we would have heard about the Isaac actor departing the show.

Cygnus-X1

Damn, you make a good point. Doing Part 2 right would require Isaac to become a permanent bad-guy, which would mean that he would no longer be a crew member and, as you say, we’d have probably heard about that. Looks like the next stop is Cheese City.

Crankie

What if Isaac was virally reprogrammed when the other Kaylon opened him up right before reviving him? His operational efficiency being superior with Dr. Finn in his life, a spark of his old memory builds to the point of eradicating the viral reprogramming. Iasaac saves the day for the Orville crew and his own people, who now readily join the Union. Just a thought…

Jacek

Or his memory will be reset, so we’ll have the same actor in the same costume, but essentially a different character.

Oddjere

Not a test. . .a practical joke.

That would be a bit more in line with Spaceballs bio that keeps getting pitched for the show. I don’t watch it, did the space armada of Twiki’s actually kill anyone?

Jack

Yep. Many. And it was suprisingly chilling.

@ Jack – I don’t watch the show, but killer robots are a dilemma. If the killer robots are neutered at the end of Part II, what are the consequences of a murderous rampage? That’s what irritated me about how Discovery Season I wrapped up. Rightly or wrongly accused, Michael Burnham is the face of millions of dead Federation and Starfleet. Regardless of Starfleet welcoming her back with open arms, there’s bound to be a helluva lot of resentment directed to the embodiment of a near-disastrous war. Now she’s waltzing through Season II with nary a bit of resentment from anyone?

TrekFan67

Felt like I was watching an episode of TNG. That’s not a good thing! I want to watch an original show! Everything, including the music, was ripped right from a TNG episode. This episode is reminiscent of the TNG episode where Data turns against the crew of the Enterprise.
This new season of Orville has been really disappointing. It has decided to become dark but cannot be taken seriously with the awkward way they try to add a little humor to the episodes but it falls flat.
MacFarlane is an even worse actor when he’s attempting drama. I think I liked the show better last season. This season has been incredibly uneven and unbalanced.
I’m very disappointed with season 2, hopefully they will be able to turn things around before the season ends.

Tiger2

Actually I seen a few people on Reddit say some of the score reminded them of music from TMP. There is definitely a few bars here and there where I got that vibe as well.

And I’m really enjoying season 2, much more than season 1 which felt pretty uneven for me (but I haven’t seen all the episodes either). This season started off bad but it has really gotten strong from episode 4 on but just my opinion of course.

kmart

Well, BROTHERS was a Ron Jones score, and he is very honest in admitting his Goldsmith love (his HEART OF GLORY score has TMP klingon battle all over it.) That’s just good taste on his part. And even though he used a bit too much electronics for my taste on TNG, his stuff was still so much better than everyone else’s on TNG (except for Chattaway’s TIN MAN, for which he nearly got fired), that it is fine to riff on that kind of TNG sound for ORVILLE, and I’m glad very glad that Seth didn’t go with the audio wallpaper music that is what kept a lot of decent TNG shows from becoming excellent.

Tiger2

Well I was talking about TMP score and Jerry Goldsmith directly. I don’t remember much of the music from Brothers since I haven’t seen that episode in ages. But since I been doing a hard TNG rewatch last few months, that’s another episode to add to the list. :)

But I did really like the music in this episode though.

Denny C

I think the portions of the score were meant as an homage to James Horner since it picked up on a few of his classic cues from a number of films over the years (Star Trek II, Aliens, Avatar, etc.).

dsgsdg

Naa, JG’s TMP, not horner.

ML31

Horner stole from himself quite often, too. :)

dsgsdg

I agree 100%, being a huge fan of JG’s work and TMP. Even down to the special instrument they used in that movie and the shrilling flutes.

Tiger2

Yeah! I noticed it right away but clearly I wasn’t the only one. ;)

BillyBoy

Agree 100%. Season 2 started off really bad but has shown a remarkable turn around since episode 4. I really think this episode was Orville’s “Best of Both Worlds”. NOT because it involved sinister cybernetic beings or ended on a cliffhanger, but because it DRASTICALLY raises the stakes on the show and takes the series in a brand new direction.

Cygnus-X1

It did occur to me at the very beginning that the plot of this episode is inspired by TNG’s “Brothers,” wherein Data’s homing signal is activated prompting him to return to his creator’s workshop. But, it’s a pretty loose similarity. Certainly more loose than many of the other episode premises. There’s no disputing that this episode goes in a very different direction from TNG’s “Brothers.” And that’s a good way to be inspired by someone else’s work: you take the basic concept and go in a different direction with it.

ML31

TredFan6, you hit the nail right on the head. I’m right there with you. This show, which last year was a comedic homage, this year is a pale rip off of TNG. And it’s getting more and more TNG like with every single episode. That is NOT a good thing. This entire season has been a disappointment. Unlike many funy people MacFarlane is NOT a good dramatic actor. The more I see of him trying be serious the more the show falls down the abyss. Last season they were still trying to work out the comedy drama balance but it was obvious they needed to lean more towards comedy. They made the WRONG choice in season 2. Although I don’t think it was a choice more it was what Seth wanted to do from the beginning. The only way this show gets saved is if they are saving and the comedic shows for the end, all the jokes in those episodes work and leave us wanting more shows like that and pulling for a season 3.

STEPHEN

Maybe it’s a dream episode…

If they cop out and make it all a dream, or a simulation, or anything like that, they will have squandered all of the audience goodwill that they’ve been building up all season. I don’t think they are that stupid. My fingers are crossed and I think there is a very good chance that we are going to see something much more inventive and interesting three days from now.

ML31

They haven’t built up ANY goodwill this season. In fact, this entire season has been squandering all the goodwill they built up LAST season. From what I can tell, they ARE that stupid based on their work in season 2.

Sometimes I think you and I are not watching the same TV series.

Ad Astra Per Aspera

Is the show shedding viewers like there is no tomorrow? I’d say they don’t have any audience goodwill at this point.

kmart

Ad Astra,
It’s like there are two conversations here, one about the quality of the show and then there is your thing about ratings. Reminds me of DEFENDING YOUR LIFE, a movie about a guy not facing the various fear-challenges in his life, who interprets a lot of these criticisms as being about him not making enough money. Being a success on the tube may only be about ratings to you, but I’d rather have 17 episodes of THE PRISONER and a dozen-plus of FIREFLY than decades of LAW & ORDER (or any at all of VOYAGER or ENTERPRISE.)

Michael Hall

DEFENDING YOUR LIFE was a wonderful movie.

Denny C

I enjoyed this one quite a bit. As for the score, what I heard was an homage to James Horner with several classic Horner cues.

Professor Spock

So Isaac is evil. They should kill him in part two.

Mulchmaker

Not any more than a washing machine can be described as “evil”. For Isaac and the rest of the Kaylons, morality and immorality simply do not exist. They are ultimate utilitarians.

Edward Samuela

Options for how they write themselves out of this in part 2:

-The purple scan of the ship actually did something to the crew and the events since are part of some simulation to see how the Union would react to certain scenarios before making a final decision. (i.e., part 2 of DS9’s “The Search”)

-The Kaylon invasion is actually a practical joke. Since they directly reference Isaac’s inability to understand human humor, and the Kaylon authorities seem to have just as much trouble understanding it, this might end with the Kaylon approaching Earth and then saying something like: “just kidding.”

-The Isaac we see for the majority of the episode is not really Isaac but an impostor. The reason Isaac was deactivated instead of simply being recalled is that he opposed the Kaylon decision to invade Earth. Somehow Isaac gets revived and helps the crew retake the ship and stop the invasion.

-The bodies in the cave weren’t the result of a robot apocalypse, but the voluntary deaths of the original biological inhabitants uploading into robot bodies. The Kaylon are actually the “upgraded” iteration of the original biological inhabitants who found their old life “incompatible” with their new one.

skdjfhdskjh

I like all those ideas. I had also thought that the skeletons were of the original Kaylons before uploading themselves into robots. But I dropped that after they explained the genocide.

I love your practical joke idea. But I think it would piss too many people off.

Your third idea is the most likely.

ML31

I would love the practical joke idea. Hopefully it would be the catalyst needed to push the show back into the comedic zone. Where it works much much better.

The only problem with option #3 is that the moderator of The Orville official Facebook page (who apparently is a member of the production team) has already confirmed that Isaac knew about Kaylon Primary’s plans from the day he stepped aboard the ship. (I suppose this could be intentional misdirection on the moderator’s part, but that would be an unforgivable betrayal if it was. If I was a regular visitor to that Facebook page, that would royally piss me off and cause me never to trust anything that moderator ever said ever again.)

So let’s say that the moderator was telling the truth. That means, at best, Isaac is a murderous, traitorous spy who had a last-minute change of heart. Too bad for those dozen or so redshirts, huh? (I wonder if some of those dead crewmembers the Kaylons were stepping over in the corridor were at Isaac‘s going away party?)

It is going to be really, really hard to bring Isaac back from this in an intellectually honest way. And if you think that Claire is pissed off right now, the audience will be SUPER PISSED if this turns out to be a simulation or a “practical joke“. Seth MacFarlane has what looks like a winning hand right now. He better not have been bluffing.

Craig3010

-A part of the crew will find a way to scan the ship’s log to find the signal the Kaylons sent to deactivate Isaac. Then find a way to modify it to deactivate all, or most of, the Kaylons.

kitbashcanon

I noticed Kaylons could be shot and killed. No shielding like the Borg? Could simple EMP short-circuit all of them?? Perhaps Bortus’s people have a “Planet Killer” EMP weapon,reducing an entire planet to “horse & buggy” status. They seem pretty free-wheeling with weapons-testing.

EggKookoo

What if the invasion forced the Union and Krill to join forces?

HisEminence

That’s kind of what I’m expecting – a longer story arc of the biologics having to band together to fight the Kaylon. And Isaac will somehow be redeemed later on, after being the main antagonist for a season or so.

ML31

Issac obviously is going to help his comrades. Why go through the Finn relationship episodes if not to set that up? He’s going to help turn all the Kylon’s to “off”. How is this not the obvious move?

HisEminence

I’m not sure. I never saw the ending of this one coming, so maybe this writer’s I’ve got something special in store for us.

Chekhov’s Claire, eh ML31?

EggKookoo

ML31, that’s my fear, basically. Whatever they do, I hope there are permanent significant consequences. I don’t want Isaac back on his station in a few episodes like nothing happened.

ML31

EggKookoo, I would be perfectly fine with Issac back at his station continuing to be amusingly blunt to his shipmates. But the show also would need to do a complete 180 and become more comedy than drama. If they did that, the dramatic beats would resonate better, too.

Disinvited

Don’t lose sight of the fact that the Kaylons are pursuing this because they have and are amassing so much knowledge that they are running out of space to hold it.

In Trek, NOMAD may have evolved to become the perfect biological killing machine, but he was also capable of resurrecting Scotty after killing him. The Kaylons, after being shown the flaw in their logic, may well be capable of undoing all the death they’ve caused.

ML31

Or Mercer talks them into their own destruction leaving only Issac behind. (jk)

Disinvited

ML31,

I appreciated and enjoyed the joke, but you made me think: maybe for all their knowledge gathering, the Kaylons never actually understood evolution’s ability to leap ahead profoundly, on ocasion? If Isaac somehow becomes the first Kaylon to profoundly evolve such a leap, the scenario that you describe might actually be the one that comes to pass.

Mel

Great episode!

mike

It cannot be a Joke because explain the skeletons..Unless the purple scan put them in a sleep or trance and this is all in there head a test. issac turns good hope not I think mercer was stupid to confront them about what they found nothing good could have come from him asking them..”oh that well ummm just kidding” Lets hope some code is sent to earth or a secret phrase or code word can be passed to earth “say have you ever seen the 20th century movie terminator,admiral? wink wink”

Oddjere

They’ve had a while to prepare and AI can work very fast. The remains are all fakes and. I a real genocide, the Kaylons wouldn’t pile them in caves. They’d either dispose of/recycle them entirely or just leave them where they lie. Only reason to pile them in caves is because the Kaylons wanted them to be seen in a manner with the greatest impact.

Tiger2

Wow this was a really great episode! I did not expect any of this to happen. What’s funny is a week ago I was saying Klyden was the biggest prick on that ship by far but sadly Issac now has him beat by several light years now after what he pulled. I’m guessing there is going to be some twist where he’s not directly involved but I am excited to see where it all goes. I’m really enjoying Orville’s second season much more now. That’s starting to be a trend this year I guess. ;)

Professor Spock

Tiger2 The Orville is its own show now and this episode proves my point. I’m looking forward to part two of this episode. Maybe Isaac and the kaylons will be good guys again.

Tiger2

Can’t disagree with that too much. It has really improved and maturing a lot more. It still has the silly humor and comedy but that is the show. But the story lines themselves actually create real conversation now just like a lot of great past Trek shows does. And I’m really just enjoying how the characters are being portrayed and they aren’t just being used for laughs anymore.

I will probably never look at this show like I do all the other Star Trek shows but thats OK. I don’t look at the Expanse or BSG as Star Trek either and really enjoy them. In this case it obviously took its que from Star Trek but its starting to create its own vibe and mythology that I can care about on its own.

I’m all in now which I wasn’t last season and in fact rarely commented about it here at all.

We interrupt this reboot of TNG to bring you Battlestar Galactcia. Kaylon, Cylon, what’s the difference?

Cygnus-X1

Phil

Actually that’s a good point. The machines rising up and killing their creators is lifted straight from BSG. And the names Kaylon and Cylon are very similar. Let’s see where it goes in Part 2.

dsgsdg

“machines rising up and killing their creators is lifted straight from BSG.”
That existed in sci-fi Weeeellll before BSG lol.

Cygnus-X1

dsgsdg

I thought it might but couldn’t think of where. In terms of recent sci-fi, I’d guess BSG was the influence, especially given the similarities in the names.

EggKookoo

*STARES IN SKYNET*

Fred Javelina

Yeah, but remember OG BSG from 1978, which predates Terminator by 6 years.

cdr cody

It was mentioned by Tom Baker in Dr. Who in the Stonehenge episode.

Kevin Lee

I muttered, “Ah, the Sorta’ Borg” when I watched the invasion force depart.

kitbashcanon

But the Kaylons aren’t looking to assimilate any biological uniqueness…only to exterminate biologicals, to make more room for AI and gigabytes, like the Cyborgs of Terminator (aptly named) and the Sarah Conner Chronicles.

HisEminence

LOL I commented earlier that this was a Trek / BSG / Dr. Who mashup. Daleks and Cybermen and Ceylons were all about offing the biologics.

kitbashcanon

Yeah. Its a VERY common theme in SF…and that is NOTHING to be ashamed of. There is only a relative few themes available anyway, for telling the millions of stories that can be told. I think someone wrote a book on the nine themes of story-telling, or something like that. There is also Joseph Campbell’s book: “Hero with a thousand faces” about the commonality of the Hero theme in all cultures, myths and folklore. And Jung’s Archetypes. Doesn’t hinder a good story at all.

kitbashcanon

Don’t be so hard on them. It’s a theme in Science Fiction (the uprising of the machines to destroy their creators) going back a hundred years at least. Neither BSG, nor Terminator, nor Colossus, nor the old black & white movie Kronos, are original with it either. The telling of a good story, using a familiar theme, is a good thing.

The River Temarc

Also the Replicators from SG-1 (which handled this trope well).

ML31

Good call, Phil. Really good call. This entire season has a been there-done that feel to it. Ugh…

HisEminence

I see a lot of Dr. Who in the Kaylon, also. Cybermen.

On Thursday night, Seth MacFarlane completed the transformation of his series from one-note fart joke parody to serious science fiction. “Identity” was an apt name for this two-parter–it has changed the very nature of The Orville. No longer is it the light dessert enjoyed after a meal of Star Trek Discovery. Not only has it become the main course, I think The Orville can legitimately be viewed as the spiritual torchbearer (!) for Star Trek.

There was so much to unpack from this episode, and I extend another round of applause to our fearless reviewer for an excellent job as usual. I will only focus on one point–and it is this element that I think is key to The Orville‘s quantum leap in storytelling over Star Trek Discovery: Issac’s complete and utter betrayal of Claire, the boys, and the Orville. At this point, it seems clear that Issac has been secretly plotting the destruction of all biological lifeforms from day one, all the while pretending to grow closer to Claire, Ty, Marcus, and his shipmates. Have we ever seen a main character in a television series so thoroughly dupe his fellow cohorts for such an extended period of time? We have: Gabriel Lorca! But, in my opinion, The Orville went further. Mirror Lorca only betrayed his crew. Issac is basically Space Hitler–he is the potential agent of humanity’s doom. But not only did he fool his shipmates — he fooled the audience.

Be honest with yourself. We all knew that Gabriel Lorca was up to no good almost from day one of Star Trek Discovery. And yes, there have been occasional rumblings on the internet about whether Isaac came from a race of murder bots, but after a season-and-a-half of getting to know and love Isaac (and especially after the wonderful “A Happy Refrain“), the showrunners had basically lulled the audience into a complete sense of contentment with the character. And then on Thursday night, they completely pulled the freaking rug out from under us.

The last ten minutes of “Identity” were gut-wrenching and terrifying, but the utter destruction of Issac’s relationship with the Finns and his betrayal of the Orville — and the audience — was maginificently devastating. AND I AM ALL IN FOR IT.

So how will this end?

The conventional approach would be for part two of “Identity” to reveal that Issac’s knowledge of Kaylon Primary’s plans was wiped prior to his Orville assignment. (How could it be otherwise? Even if he switches sides and saves humanity, there is no way that Issac could remain onboard if he secretly knew all along what the Kaylons were planning and didn’t warn the Planetary Union.) But even though I would hate to see the lovely Mark Jackson leave the series, I’m hoping the “conventional solution” doesn’t happen.

Even if some handwavium switches him back to “nice Issac”, the blood of at least a dozen Orville personnel are already on his robotically-articulated hands, not to mention all of the destruction we glimpsed in the preview for part two. Last week I said that Klyden had finally stepped over the line and was now irredeemable — and that was for his actions against one Moclan engineer. Issac is directly responsible for evil on a scale that Klyden could never match. How do you come back from that?! Simple. YOU DON’T.

I just don’t see how there is any way The Orville can maintain its narrative integrity and salvage the character of Issac (at least not with him continuing to be the ship’s science officer). The much more daring and interesting (albeit heartbreaking) choice will be that he really is an evil murder bot. That doesn’t mean he has to leave the show, necessarily. He will definitely have to leave the ship, but he could become the recurring bad guy.

If there’s one thing this season has demonstrated, it’s that the show’s writers are capable of telling sophisticated, thoughtful stories. (With occasional fart jokes.) And although I’ve become very fond of that walking vacuum cleaner and was hoping to see more of “human Isaac“, I am crossing my fingers that Seth MacFarlane sticks to his guns and goes the other way. Bring on evil Isaac!

However it ends, I think that “Identity“ has changed the dynamic for Thursday night science fiction television. I doff my hat to Seth MacFarlane. He has out star-trekked Star Trek.

Cygnus-X1

I’d love for Isaac to become a recurring bad-guy, but it seems unlikely.

There’s a third option that’s just as bad, maybe worse…

It was all a simulation.

martin

I think if he makes it a dream or a holodeck simulation, then he ruins the show. It won’t be that. I think it diminishes the show if there is any way in which Isaac is brought back to his same chair – but a dream ruins it.

kmart

The loophole for Isaac is the TOTAL RECALL scenario (aka Talia on B5), where you have one consciousness replaced with another, then switched back at a certain time. The Isaac we think we know is actually a construct that took the place of the real one when he went on the ORVILLE mission. He just needs to Doug Quaid up and be the creature he thinks he has been this last year instead of the member of a marauding collective that he was and is meaning to be again.

No mention of Harlan Ellison’s death at the Oscars … irony, given he was a terrific film essayist, wrote a couple of amazingly good unmade feature film scripts (more than two, but I’m just going by what I’ve actually read) and that he is also credited with writing the feature film THE OSCAR.

Michael Hall

Ellison had no respect whatsoever for the Oscars as an institution, and was eternally embarrassed (as well he should have been) for having written THE OSCAR, so it’s all good.

kmart

Okay (not that I have that much respect for Oscars as an institution either, something that might be the only place where I see eye-to-eye with Richard Donner, but how about Ocar omitting Gary Kurtz and the guy who produced PLATOON among others?

Michael Hall

Oscarcasts are primarily for connoisseurs of glamour and the occasional political controversy, not lovers of film. I resolved never to watch another one after APOCALYPSE NOW lost Best Picture to KRAMER VS. KRAMER in 1979, and while I’ve mostly kept to that it’s mainly because I find the whole exercise fairly pointless and boring.

kmart

Wow, the KRAMER VS KRAMER thing was a dagger in my heart too (though I would have been okay with ALL THAT JAZZ winning as well — those were easily my favorite pics of that year, and of most any year for that matter, they’ve never been out of my top ten, and often in my top 5.) I went through a stretch where my candidate for best picture either didn’t win or wasn’t even nominated that ran from THE STING up until SILENCE OF THE LAMBS. I don’t think I ever watched them all that regularly until I got with my wife in the mid 90s … we use it as an excuse to eat popcorn and curl up on the sofa, and she tries to make sure I don’t get too upset when something wrong happens (she was fortunate not to be around on the APOLLO 13 loses to BABE for VFX night.)

Cygnus-X1

If the Oscars ever weren’t nakedly political, they certainly are now. The best thing that I can say about the Academy Awards is that they’re a bit less of a joke than the Grammys and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, which are almost completely pointless.

dsgsdg

He made it clear before S2 started he was going to make it more sci-fi

ML31

Sorry Scott. We see this 100% differently. This was the epitome of blandness and lazy writing on a level we have not seen since Discovery season 1. Nothing was “chilling” as it is difficult to take the show seriously. Seth leads that charge as the worst actor on the set. And he’s the lead! If it were comedy, it would not be a problem because that is where he excels. They NEED the fart jokes. At least they gave the show life. And it doesn’t need to be fart jokes. Just ANY joke that evokes a laugh would help this dire TNG rip off.

You and I obviously want very different things from this show. I want an edgier, less jokey riff on TNG (and as far as I’m concerned, that’s exactly what we’re getting this season). You obviously want something very different.

ML31

I just want what they advertised to be before the first season aired. And they even continued that campaign before season 2. Season one tried to balance humor with drama. Sometimes did it better than others. But it was obvious then that the show worked much better when they leaned towards comedy. With the comedy it’s a TNG homage. Without it, it’s a TNG rip off. Season two has all but abandoned the humor completely. Which has been a mistake. As I’ve said elsewhere, the only thing keeping me watching at this point is the goodwill and promise they created from season one. Had this been season one, I would have just abandoned the show straight off.

The River Temarc

The humor in Season 1 wasn’t funny: it was lame. Galaxy Quest, which I do find hilarious, it was not. The Seth Macfarlane cartoon series do not map well into live-action shows. I’m glad it’s been toned down. The show’s acting and characterization is nowhere as strong as on Star Trek (except for Voyager, perhaps), but the science fiction hasn’t been terrible. I’ve enjoyed it enough to keep watching, which is more than I was prepared to say after “Pria.”

ML31

OK. Humor is subjective. But if you don’t like Seth’s humor then perhaps a Seth produced show is not for you? A lot of the jokes in the first season landed very well. And more often than in the overrated Galaxy Quest. Which had but ONE memorable laugh in it. The sci-fi elements have been more miss than hit. One thing this show did do… It got me looking forward even more to the upcoming Lower Decks Trek ‘toon since Orville abandoned the only thing that made their show unique…

kitbashcanon

Oh do not dis the power of one-note fart joke parody to lighten up a crew passing through dark and desparate times. A captain needs all the tools available to keep morale high. Captain Seth MacFarlane knows how to do that.

Obiwanjacobi

Excellent score. I’d like to see an interview or commentary track from Debney.

Anyone recognize the piano cue when Ty points? Of all things, I recall it from Ghostbusters (1984) during Venkman’s shock test. Is this “a thing” like the Wilhelm Scream?

GarySeven

That piano cue reminded me of the music in “The Twilight Zone” when something creepy is about to happen.
What a scary and great episode. The plot was straightforward, clear, and logical, as well as dark. In this way, the only similarity to Discovery was the darkness- not the straightforward, clear, and logical parts. No weird mycelial networks that can do anything, using pseudo-science, to bring back the dead, make a starship jump all around the galaxy, and wash your dishes all in the same day.

I can’t wait to see what happens in Part 2. But I wouldn’t put it past McFarlane’s creative genius to have Issac not turn back to a good guy and have everyone sings kumbaya. I found the episode a moving, distressingly viable portrayal of the dangers of AI. The Orville is often sweet and emotional, not to mention humorous, but it can take dark and depressing turns as well. Like life.

John Debney has been responsible for some of the most memorable music in the series. Overall, I think his score for “Identity” surpasses what he did in “Pria”, but that sequence where the ship escapes the dark matter storm is still my favorite “song”. (Help me out here, those of you who are more musically-literate: what do you call one particular sequence in an overall score?)

Baxter

Leitmotif

Hmm, no, a leitmotif would be a theme running through several of the tracks, perhaps even across several scores in a season. I guess I’m trying to think of a synonym for track. When the Kaylons were boarding the Orville, the music up until the fade to black over Seth’s exec credits–that’s a track. But is there another musical technical term for that besides “track”?

Mike Hunt

Good review, I disagree completely with the representation of the Mickey-Mouse ear cannons as a misstep, they were one of my favorite things in this episode, highlighting how foreign and lacking of “biological” sensibilities the Kaylon are,(no sense of the absurd) while introducing a hilarious visual element into a tense and dramatic turn of events. And while I agree completely with your hope of maintaining Isaac’s sterile lack of emotion, the trope practically demands a change of opinion to resolve. If they indeed manage to resolve this without doing damage to Isaac’s character, I will be mightily impressed.

EggKookoo

I read them as insectoid rather than cartoony.

Professor Spock

The Orville is finally its own thing now, not a Star Trek rip-off. Best season 2 episode yet.

I’d argue it’s the best episode of the entire series, so far. And what’s great is that I’ve been saying that after almost every episode these last four or five installments. The showrunners have been building this season up to a crescendo. If Seth MacFarlane can keep part two from falling flat, this will be the greatest runup in science fiction television since the heyday of Deep Space Nine.

Cygnus-X1

Good connection made in this review regarding the Moclan culture in “Deflectors” and the Kaylon culture in this episode both serving as illustrations that raise the question of whether co-existence with cultures that have severely different values is possible. It’s an effective thematic arc over the back-to-back episodes that didn’t occur to me.

I share the reviewer’s hope that Part 2 doesn’t go the hackneyed route of having Isaac realize what it means to be human, or suddenly “learn” some analogue of emotions or empathy, or take some other cheesy cop-out from portraying AI as they should logically be portrayed — as they are portrayed in EX MACHINA — emotionless machines that, lacking anything resembling a mammalian neuroendocrine system, have no particular reason to share human emotional motives or social values.

I was impressed by both the art design and music in this episode. Now I see what they’ve been saving up for all season. The scene with Ty in the underground passage where he points his finger at the “bad” thing up ahead works quite well at being duly creepy. For my money, this is the best episode of the season so far, and I’m eager for Part 2. One small complaint: the blasters coming out of the heads of the Kaylons look like pig-tails, which makes the army of Kaylons storming the Orville a bit reminiscent of a cheerleading squad.

I still respectfully disagree. When the head cannons suddenly sprouted, me and my two friends who were watching the episode together all shouted the F word simultaneously.

There were a lot of S and F word exclamations during the last 10 minutes of that episode.

kmart

We had this fight at home, my wife loved the head guns and I thought it looked rotten, like a very slick mechanical interpretation of the vampire heads splitting open to eat in BLADE II.

I won’t spend money on Marvel movies in theaters, but will catch them on Netflix. It irritates my youngest son no end when I see War Machine drop in on a firefight somewhere, promptly unloads a few thousand rounds of fairly conventional ammo on the bad guys, and I ask out loud, where, pray tell, is this ammo stored?

I don’t watch the show, was it obvious that killer Twiki wasn’t outfitted with targeting computers with his head guns?

ML31

I had a lot of facepalms during the episode.

Cygnus-X1

Scott Gammans

Haha fair enough.

Big Ed

My chief concern about Isaac is that (to the best of my recollection) he still has blue eyes instead of red eyes, and is the only Kaylon to have them. This implies that he is (still) different from the others. It would have been far more frightening and final if his eyes had turned red when he divulged his true mission aboard the Orville.

ML31

I figured that was only to have him identifiable to the characters and the audience.

Oooh, maybe they’re saving that for part two!

I can see it now: The final scene. The Kaylon have been temporarily defeated somehow, and Issac is on one of the retreating ships. He hails the Orville and appears on the bridge view screen. The ominous background music swells to a crescendo. And as he says…

“Farewell, for now. I will be back.”

…his eyes change from blue to blood-red.

SMASH TO BLACK

Cygnus-X1

Big Ed

Good point. His blue eyes took me out of the moment a couple of times, too. I figured they made them blue so that the audience would be able to tell him apart from the other Kaylons, but still, they stood out awkwardly and raised the unanswered question of why he’s the only blue-eyed Kaylon.

kmart

He has soul – blue-eyed soul.

Cygnus-X1

kmart

If he can’t find his way home, he’ll just have to roll with it until he’s back in the high life again.

kmart

Laughing out loud at that (which is no mean feat, I had a ‘laughing till I was sobbing and then experiencing Data-in-GENERATIONS fit of roaring’ last night, watching an old SNL skit that was a bloody version of that Robin Williams ‘great teacher’ ‘movie.)

Jack

There’s a line saying he was built specially to study biologicals. Also, with red eyes, you can’t tell which one he is.

Cygnus-X1

One point I disagree with the reviewer about is the Kaylons caring about Isaac’s shipmates having some fun at his expense. Pride is an emotion, and Kaylons don’t have it. Or, at least, they way they’ve been portrayed so far, they shouldn’t have it. Therefore there’s no reason why they should care about Isaac being made up like Mr. Potato Head and so forth.

NCC Lincon 1785

I will say this was the best of Episode so far. A lot of ST:MP ST:WOK and Alien Covernant

Whom

An EXCELLLENT episode. Best The Orville so far, and a great clifhanger that I’ve seen for many years (not counting how many times I’ve re-watched “The Best of Both Worlds”).

GQMF

“You’re sure there’s nothing you can do for him on the Orville?” “Picture your Mom trying to hook up a stereo.”

Both ageist and sexist in one line…!

Baxter

No it isn’t – relax there – it’s a simple commentary on many of our mother’s own inability to configure technological devices. That’s all.

GQMF

Characterising mothers as being technically or scientifically challenged is a common sexist trope. You literally just did it yourself. This type of joke belongs in the 1950s.

http://geekfeminism.wikia.com/wiki/So_simple,_your_mother_could_do_it

HisEminence

You do realize you’re going to lose this argument, no? This is selective outrage at its finest.

I’m sure you have a long list of “white-male-isms” you comment incessantly on. That’s as bigoted as a joke about my mom not being able to set up a stereo (or use the TV remote, or change a tire).

GQMF

“You do realize you’re going to lose this argument, no?”

I didn’t realise it was an argument. It’s an outdated trope and I pointed that out. I don’t really care what you think about it (but you took the time to comment twice on this thread so you seem to care what I think).

“I’m sure you have a long list of “white-male-isms” you comment incessantly on”

Actually, no. You seem to do that though.

Edit, let’s make that four times.

HisEminence

I comment because so many others are way too “nice” to do so, but are thinking exactly the same thing.

SJ politics sucks the joy out of life. I’m all for ending the various “isms”, but I’m not for flipping them over onto other people in the name of retribution. What you mean by “justice” is “revenge”.

GQMF

I’m not looking for justice or revenge. You seem to be overly sensitive about this and keep reading too much into my posts. I saw an outdated trope and pointed it out. That’s it.

HisEminence

Yeah, I’m overly sensitive.

Says the one who started a thread about the fact that a joke everyone else laughed at was “sexist” and “ageist”.

Jack

It’s not outdated (my mom calls me about Netflix issues several times a week). It’s a joke that’s in character for Ed.

And these are jokes. Nobody is being demeaned or belittled.

ML31

One of the few good Jay Leno jokes… He’s talking about his dad trying to use the TV remote and being afraid to tough the buttons Jay said, “It’s not a PHASER, Dad!”

cdr cody

I don’t know about the other things, but how many people actually know how to change a tire and do it properly? And yes, being an electronics tech I know how to set up a stereo.

ML31

It was a good joke. The problem is there weren’t nearly enough moments like that. And it needed a belly laugh or two. Season 2 has been nearly devoid of all that set the show apart from being a TNG clone.

Michael Hall

Actually, it’s not a very good joke, falling into the show’s usual trap of utilizing contemporary humor whether it’s appropriate to the setting or not. Really, how many people in the 25th century, mother’s or not, would be engaged in setting up stereos?

ML31

It’s a good joke and it speaks to the audience. The point is to get a laugh. Not if someone’s mother would be setting up an ancient stereo, Mr. Data.

Michael Hall

It’s a good joke IF it speaks to the audience. There, FIFY.

ML31

No repair was required. The joke DOES speak to an early 21’st century audience. No “if” about it.

HisEminence

The joke did speak to the audience, the vast, vast majority of which are not far-fringed lefty SJWs.

Jack

Far-fringed isn’t a word. And can we keep nonsense words like lefty and SJW out of this.

Roddenberry was both.

Cygnus-X1

Michael Hall

I had the same reaction as you to that joke. I’m not sure many kids today even call it a stereo. In 400 years it will most certainly be called something else.

kmart

Cyg, Hall,
I agree with you both, but when sf does the futurization of a term like like stereo, it runs the risk of sounding genuinely embarrassing rather than intriguing. When I think of Picard, one of the first dozen things that passes through my mind is from the binar ep where he tells Riker he is going to pick up a book and turn on his ‘personal relaxation light,’ which sounds like something out of THE PRISONER used to lull #6 to hypnotic trance-states. The stereo line made me cringe, but it didn’t stick with or to me. Again, I’m guessing that owes to the show’s charm or mojo or some intangible, because I’d be a lot meaner to another series over this.

Danpaine

Both my wife and I laughed out loud when that particular joke aired, so it was certainly funny in my house.

Jack

I don’t know, how many millennials have vinyl collections in 2019? (a lot).

Cygnus-X1

ML31

I’ve been wondering when we’re going to get a comedy. Apparently there are going to be episodes that are mainly comedic, but we’re halfway through the season and haven’t had a single one yet. If they handle Part 2 of this episode right, it could give the series its own…(ugh, sorry)…identity, as opposed to it remaining in the shadow of TNG. But, I wouldn’t expect a return to the zaniness of season 1. I think that phase of the series is over.

ML31

Early in the season I read somewhere that they did have a couple of mainly comedic episodes this season. Yet here we are at, what? Episode 8? After part 2 there will only be be 5 episodes left. I didn’t find season one to be all that zany. In fact, I felt the show would have been better had they leaned a little MORE to the zany. Instead they went full bore towards drama. Which, and I’ve said this before, I’m convinced is what Seth wanted from the start but had to sell the show as comedy just to get it off the ground. I can’t imagine the show will last very long if it exists merely as the TNG clone that it is. Which I find unfortunate as it displayed so much potential in the first few episodes.

Jack

The first season wasn’t particularly zany, either. Cupid’s arrow, maybe.

ML31

Yep. Cupid’s Dagger played mostly for comedy. And is what the show should have been striving for on the whole. There were a couple other episodes that leaned kinda heavy on the comedy. Those were always the better episodes.

Mulchmaker

Seems like a pretty small hill to die on, but you do you.

GQMF

I’ve made exactly three posts, including this one (and only more than one because I got replies). That’s hardly defending it to the death.

FWIW since you seem to have an interest, this is the type of casual sexism women face everyday:

https://everydaysexism.com

No one cares when they are the punchline of one passing joke but when it becomes one tired old trope of many saying a certain group is dumb, that’s a bit much and hardly a “small hill”. Not very Star Trek-y either.

Would you be so dismissive if the joke had been “picture your black friend hooking up a stereo?”.

HisEminence

Yeah, you’ve got to be wicked fun at parties. /s

GQMF

I like how you avoided coming up with a comeback to my point ;)

HisEminence

I didn’t think you had a point other than “white man bad”.

GQMF

Since you missed it, you can try again…

Would you be so dismissive if the joke had been “picture your black friend hooking up a stereo?”.

HisEminence

Except that wasn’t what the joke was. You live in a world of feigned, manufactured, Smollett-style outrage. And you’re perfectly free to.

The rest of us don’t have to.

GQMF

Again, avoiding the topic as you don’t have a come back. All I did was replace one marginalised group characterised as being dumb for another.

HisEminence

No, see you don’t get to set the agenda under which we debate.

You’re asking me to defend a joke that wasn’t made. So I’m not taking you up on that.

I know that you won’t drop it and go away, because your type always thinks they have to have the last word, so have at it.

You are free to take offense at every action and comment of other people, and be a miserable person in the process.

And I’m free to shake my head dismissively and laugh while you’re doing it.

Have a great life.

GQMF

“I know that you won’t drop it and go away, because your type always thinks they have to have the last word, so have at it.”

Did you mean “I still can’t answer that so I’m going to make an excuse to leave”?

HisEminence

No, I mean talking with people like you is like playing chess with a pigeon. They just crap all over the board and strut around acting like they won.

GQMF

Still not got an explanation, ok.

kitbashcanon

That is not universal. Almost EVERYONE has had their mom ask them to deal with electronics…and everyone LOVES their mom, so no anger, no foul.

Jack

People (men and women) joke about moms. And dads.

HisEminence

*sigh* It’s this hypersensitive crap that is not only ruining good dramatic story-telling, but ruining the ability to discourse civilly.

There’s always an exception, but stereotypes exist for a reason.

TG47

`facepalm’…really. We see this very differently.

One of the things that I find the most jarring about the Orville is the dated humour.

Whether it’s 1990s colonic irrigation style stuff that was wincing when Austin Powers did it, or gender stereotypes using language that I haven’t heard since the 70s, it shakes me out of the moment and the plot.

That’s right, the dated, not really contemporary humour is ruining the dramatic storyline for me.

It’s bad enough that I thought a lot about letting our preteens watch it with me.

I like a lot about the Orville though, and the dialing back of the humour is helping. So, we do watch it, and discuss it. My sons find the attempted humour mostly ‘lame’, and one has signed off watching with me.

ML31

See, for me, the dramatic storytelling is getting in the way of the humor. Contemporary, bathroom style or otherwise. The show is much better when it isn’t being serious. If I may be so bold, I would theorize that many people who are loving the show now that it jettisoned the laughs are in that boat because they miss TNG and are happy to see a TNG like show back on the air.

TG47

I actually am enjoying Discovery more than the Orville…last season or this one.

I don’t need TNG back. I’m just happy the Orville adds something to the very small set of things our household finds worth watching.

When I read the fan boards now, I invariably recall how suspicious fans were that TNG wouldn’t be trek when it launched. Decades of fan groups keeping the flame, wanting Trek back on TV, and then unrelenting blowback that Roddenberry put his original vision on the air rather than the compromise 60s network TV demanded.

I’ve been happy to see each new iteration and assess it on its own merits. I share Kurtzman’s idea that there is a lot of room for different Trek offerings, and that it needs to speak in different ways to different audiences, while keeping the core vision of a positive future of exploration and social progress.

The only Star Trek that I signed off on was Enterprise …which seemed to be hamstrung by basic design by the producers attempt to finally satisfy those who wanted TOS back. Not to mention Scott Baluka as Archer, as a captain I could never find my way to like or respect.

Surprisingly enough the kids like Voyager best. They say its got the best tech, the Borg (best antagonists ever), and indomitable Captain Janeway. Go figure.

ML31

Fair enough. From my perspective, the first season of Orville was vastly better than Discovery (very different tones, yes but Orville was doing much better at what they were trying to do than Discovery did at what they were trying to do) yet the 2nd season Discovery addressed some of their errors and worked to make their show better while Orville did the opposite. They embraced the weaker part of their show which made it much worse.

Not really sure what blowback you refer to from TNG. The only thing about that was fans wondering if you could have Trek without Kirk and Spock. And the concept of putting it 80 years further down the line was off putting to many fans as well. But it was more curiosity than anything else.

I, too, am happy to see the plan to have different tones of Trek shows. It seems they are trying to make something for nearly everyone.

Enterprise was not “hamstrung by producers” to bring TOS back. Far from it. The show was semi-sabotaged by the network’s insistence to include the “temporal cold war” thing. Which never worked for the viewers and lead to turn fans off. And yes, Bakula was not a good choice for the part. I feel like they felt getting him off Quantum Leap was some sort of coup. However, once they abandoned the earlier elements forced on them from the network, the show did improve. But by that point the damage was done. My kid actually liked the Xindi arc best of anything I have showed him of Trek. Again, go figure.

You got me, ML31. Yes, I did miss the optimism and storytelling style of TNG. I say “did”, because I’m not missing it anymore; it’s back! And what I’m really enjoying about The Orville this season is that show is mixing it up and adding its own spin.

So go ahead, you can call it derivative and fannish if you wish. I call it appointment television.

ML31

What exactly is Orville mixing up? The “spin” they had was completely abandoned, too.

kitbashcanon

This is the humor I LOVE about Orville. I hope they never give it up. Raspberries to PC.

ML31

The jokes are what made the show unique. No one has attempted a sci-fi comedy series since… Quark, I should think.

Jack

And funny and true.

kitbashcanon

I’m curious how they resolve this dilemma. It could open up a DS9 Dominion War scenario lasting a few seasons where all the Galaxy’s biologicals, former enemies included, align to eradicate these AI predators, banning their existence ever again…but this doesn’t seem like Orville’s “Flavor”; too serious and dark for them. It’ll be interesting to see the solution.

Would be like the Atlantis team, The Travelers and the Wraith against the Pegasus Replicators

kitbashcanon

I must confess I’m not familiar with Marvel/DC stuff, if that is what you are referring to. Sorry. Which reminds me: I regret that sometimes it seems like ST franchises are trying to fit themselves into some kind of comic book “Super Hero” format, with a “Super Villain”nemesis to over come. I grew up in the old ST era, the Post-WWII/Cold War era, where the “villains” weren’t personalities, but were Empires. ST bears a lot of resemblance to WWII in the Pacific and the shipboard camaraderie, while the USN opposed the IJN. Also the NATO vs Warsaw Pact scenario defined the “Hero vs Villain” conflict in old ST…but I’m an old guy now, and those sad old times are ancient history to a younger generation.

Whom

Would be like the Atlantis team, the Travelers and the Wraith against the Pegasus Replicators is from the STARGATE franchise.

Which, if certain rumours are to be true, is coming back.

The River Temarc

“STARGATE” is coming back]

Wait, where did you hear that? SG-1 is the only television sci-fi show I’ve enjoyed as much as Star Trek.

kitbashcanon

Oh, thanks. I watched STARGATE some…back when it was just STARGATE.

Bryan

This was a terrific episode. I’m a bit surprised it wasn’t a season finale. It’s very evocative of BOBW, which MacFarlane has referred to often as loving.

Marcelo

Sensational episode. My only beef is that it’s too soon. Claire and Isaac only just started dating two episodes ago. It would have been nice to build that relationship up even further. This episode feels like a better fit for an end of season cliffhanger or even s3 after a year of romance and hijinx. Maybe they were afraid of getting cancelled before airing what they knew to be a badass twist. But it all seems rather rushed to have this story at this point in the season.

I wonder if this was originally planned as a season one finale, if it any point in time they had planned on having what used to be a traditional 22-episode season. This was, after all, the 20th episode broadcast overall in the series…

Seth says this was a planned part of Isaac’s character arc from the beginning.

https://twitter.com/sethmacfarlane/status/1098808838298451968?s=21

Good. That means he’s had time to think about this. Hopefully that means we will see something on Thursday night that is unexpected, daring, and totally does not mash the giant reset button.

Cygnus-X1

Scott Gammans

Here’s hoping.

Danpaine

Yes. That would be refreshing.

ML31

That’s part of the problem with mini-seasons.

HisEminence

Considering it was a year between the end of S1 and the beginning of S2, I think it would have been too long a period to wait for the conclusion. I think the buzz would wear off.

If the seasons are going to be that far apart, my guess is, they never do a cliffhanger episode. Just go out of each season with a bang.

Especially since the show will probably always be “on the bubble” for renewal.

Richard G

IT was better….BUt still had that boring Orville quality to it. They dont know how to do action..only drama

ML31

They don’t know how to do drama either. Only comedy. I wish they would stick with their strengths. The show would be better.

Tue Sørensen

Best episode thus far! But, this article is rather dull! It’s very long and consists of almost nothing but summarizing. No comments on the obvious theme, which is as basic a Singularity plot as they come. No speculation on this episode’s place in the history of sci-fi in general, or its relevance to the real world. Just a lot of summarizing. Do better!

It sounds like you have some strongly held opinions on these themes. Don’t hold it in; share them with the rest of us here in the comments!

Jack

“No speculation on this episode’s place in the history of sci-fi in general, or its relevance to the real world.”

It’s a (likely unpaid) review, not a PhD dissertation.

Kara giver of pain and delight

I guess this will be their borg moment.

Gaius Ross

Not sure if someone has mentioned, but I thought the score was very reminiscent of TMP Soundtrack, especially the V’Ger scenes.

PaulB

It’s not the first time. Season 1’s episode with the generation ship blatantly “borrowed” music the V’Ger sequences.

Richard Long

The Orville becomes more idiotic with each new episode it almost like the writers of this show are somehow mind melding with the spirits of the Three Stooges.

Mulchmaker

I am sorry to hear your TV only gets one channel.

kmart

If it is really Richard Long posting, then it is amazing he has a working TV at all, living in THE BIG VALLEY before the tube was even invented yet. Then again, Richard Long was also in NANNY & THE PROFESSOR, so he could have a magic tv that catches all channels without having to pay for it.

It’s just a dream, capt. Mercer is having a nightmare caused by something he ate and will wake up at the end of part 2 and find out everything is ok and earthlings are not exterminated.

If they do that, they might as well have Cmdr. Grayson in the shower a la Dallas to make it complete.

ML31

THAT would be HILARIOUS! If they did that all would be forgiven.

Rho Heta

The reason that Isaac has blue eyes is that he was specially designed to interface with humans and the blue was probably seen as more friendly. The rest of the Kaylons use red because it is the most noticeable color, think stop lights, stop signs.

ML31

This show continues to remain in the world of mediocrity to sub par. It is painfully obvious this show is trying to copy TNG in every way imaginable. And that is NOT a good thing. And again, this could be handled IF they leaned more on the comedy. And again, we are 8 episodes in on a very short season and not ONE of the episodes had a comedic bend to it. Something I read they were going to do this season. Are they waiting to do it at the end? End the season on a good note?

It is amazingly obvious how this is going to get resolved. We are going to get the payoff to the silly Issac Finn relationship, of course. So none of this feels dramatic or dire. This season has been very poorly planned and has been amazingly disappointing. I’ve said this before but at this point the only reason I am still watching was from the goodwill they established from the first season. Had they started with this season I very likely would have tuned out.

Another point, I did not like that they revealed that they Kaylon were not actual life forms but created by biologicals. Very lazy. They were far more fascinating as naturally evolving. Like the people who found Voyager 6 in TMP. I noticed that the score when Orville was flying over Curasant, er, Kaylon 1 was very similar to James Horner’s Aliens score. So much so that I felt like it needed a credit at the end.

SHANE

Funny you mention horners Star trek II score when they were decending through the atmosphere there were queues that reminded me of Aliens.

kmart

As was nearly always the case, Horner’s stuff is ripped from better composers. Except for the times he rips himself off (and even a lot of those repeats have their origins with somebody else. The number of times he took from Profkief’s BATTLE ON THE ICE cue is probably almost exactly equal to the number of SF and action movies he scored in the 80s. If he had scored TOP GUN, I would bet that it would have sounded just like THE BLUE MAX, which was one of Goldsmith’s landmark early scores, one that set a certain sound for flying scenes. And if they’d gone for him on NEVER SAY NEVER AGAIN (apparently they tried for him after John Barry said no and Goldsmith was unavailable), he’d’ve probably coughed up a variation on JG’s Our Man Flint music, if not a flat-out Barry rip of that guy’s wonderfully melodic and often moody Bond scores.

therizino

I not sure on you why people were surprised that the Kaylons turned out to be bad guys. The episode slapped you around with the ominous music, The Kaylons lights are all red, there are no other intelligent life forms seen other than the Kaylons. They have been playing with soon to be evil robot tropes since season one.

Jack

In the pilot, it was stated that the Kaylons see all biologicals as inferior (and this was repeated again often).

dennycranium

I enjoyed it. I like SF when it’s high stakes.
Looking forward to it’s conclusion this week.
NITPICK warning:
I still continue to save the same issues with this show since it aired.
Seth McFarlane, talented as he is, is just not the right actor for this role. I understand he created it, he can play who he wants.
This show is still just a fan film. A fan film with lots of money.

ML31

“This show is still just a fan film. A fan film with lots of money.”

That is a pretty good description of season 2. A TNG fan film if the fans had lots of money.

Michael Hall

This sounds like a pretty good episode that I’ll be sure to catch, but one that (*sigh*) also lays bare how problematic The Orville has been as a concept. At least partly because of what had been portrayed as nothing more than silly practical joke engineered by a pair of doofuses, a number of the ship’s crew are now dead, and the humans’ Planetary Union in imminent danger of invasion. Considering that the prank was completely unbelievable behavior for officers serving on a ship of the line in the first place, it’s going to be very difficult for me to buy it as the catalyst for such a grim turn of events. A shame, because if the show had made a commitment to more realistic humor from the get-go, this could have been finessed a lot better.

That’s a big enough stretch to drive a Union heavy cruiser through. I did watch it already, and the scene you refer to was one throwaway bit that was clearly played to make Ed and Kelly squirm in mortification. In other words, it was played for laughs (which were thankfully few in number and clustered at the beginning of the episode, so that we didn’t have abrupt tonal shifts during the dark stuff later on.

Jack

My biggest internet pet peeve is folks commenting on things they haven’t seen — because they quite literally don’t know what they’re talking about.

Your gripe doesn’t make much sense in the context of the actual episode.

Fred Schwartz

A lot good with this episode but much more bad. Effects and music were stellar but I’ve just about had it with Dr Finn and her kids. Everything has to be on her terms and when it isn’t then she turns vicious and spiteful. And honestly I don’t know if it’s bad parenting or bad shipwide security or both… but how does a kid get off the ship without anyone being notified?

This show would be a ton better with a doctor who acted like an adult and without two undisciplined brats on board.

kmart

the kid just being able to walk right off the ship was pretty much unforgivable, I’ll grant you that, but I didn’t have problems with anything else. If it is a show I don’t like, then the ‘idiot plot’ turn becomes a bigger deal to me, but if I love everything else, then about a third of the time I seem to let it slide, and this is one of those instances.

EggKookoo

The thing with the kid just walking off the ship is the kind of silly nonsense Trek would do ad nauseam throughout TNG, VOY, and ENT. While it was annoying to see in Orville (I with the show would do more to correct Trek’s mistakes) it’s hardly a deal-breaker.

ML31

“The thing with the kid just walking off the ship is the kind of silly nonsense Trek would do ad nauseam ”

Therefore, it follows that it would happen on a show that is trying to get as close to being TNG as a show can get without actually being TNG.

EggKookoo

Right, it’s not shocking to me. Like I did say, though, I wish Orville (and Discovery for that matter) would try to elevate the source material some. I like the TNG feel of the show. I just don’t want the scripts written as though intended for an 80s audience. We’ve gotten a tad more sophisticated with regard to SF since then.

ML31

And such things could be easily blown off if the show was playing more for laughs than drama. Which, again was, and still probably is if they would allow it, the strength of the show.

Fred Schwartz

So seriously no one cares that the doctor is just crazypants? She falls for an AI and expects it to be human. Her idea of an equal relationship is when the AI literally transforms itself just to be with her and her idea of diplomacy is calling the other party an SOB. She obviously has no parenting skills because her kids keep getting into trouble.

I have no idea what people see in this character.

EggKookoo

She’s no more insane for trying to form a relationship with Isaac than the Union is for admitting him into their military in the first place. If he’s serving on the ship, he’s been vetted six ways from Sunday. Or at least he should have been, and you can’t expect her to think otherwise.

Regarding her kids, they don’t get in trouble all that much. The older one had some social stuff early in the season and now the little one runs off after his self-adopted dad. I mean in shows like this we see the ship get into danger pretty much on a weekly basis. I doubt their lives are really that interesting — we just catch the rare events that are episode-worthy. Same with the kids. We only see them when they’re being dramatic.

I wish my kids were as well-behaved as hers. Actually, they are, and they’re pretty good kids. I still have to discipline them. That comes with being a parent.

Cygnus-X1

One of the things that bugs me about the show is Dr. Finn being self-absorbed, and how a certain ideology relating to her character trumps common sense and evidence-based reasoning. There’s abundant evidence showing that raising children, especially male children, in a home with only one parent significantly disadvantages them in life. But, in order to spare single mothers who’ve become single through no fault of their own undue criticism, it has become politically incorrect to mention the unfortunate effects on the children. In Dr. Finn we have a woman who willfully decides to have two children without a father, purely for her own selfish reasons. And then she introduces what is effectively a sociopath (Isaac) into their lives as a surrogate father, again purely for her own selfish reasons. In reality, she’s not a good role model, but the show seems to regard her as one, again due to the aforementioned ideology.

ML31

See, I do not recall anything about the father of Finn’s children. If this show were done mostly for laughs (as it was advertised as and what it should have been) then it really doesn’t matter much. And as the dramatic show that it is, it isn’t working very well as a pale TNG rip off. So again, I don’t really care about the father.

Danpaine

Since my father did leave my mother through no fault of her own, I can say with total certainty it did have an unfortunate effect on this particular child – and if it’s not “PC” to admit that these days, I could care less. As to Dr. Finn, good points Cygnus. In this last episode especially, she had “bad Mom” written all over her. At the most Isaac should have served as perhaps a hobby or playtoy for her in her down-time. She never should have introduced him as any kind of father-figure to the boys.

Jack

Issac, who she’s been in a physical relationship with and who mentors her kids, reveals that his species murdered their creators, lied about wanting to join the union and are considering wiping out all biologicals, and *she’s* “vicious and spiteful?”

Red Barron ww1

Dr. Finn is awesome! Penny plays her character to perfection. Her reactions to Isaac when he’s trying to break up with her are dead on. Her acting the whole episode was spot on. I could go on because I think she is Emmy worthy. The whole crew are pretty good actors, I compare the acting to TOS and TNG, it’s better on the Orville across several characters.

Also, it doesn’t surprise me that Ty was able to get off the ship. He probably knows her security codes. Gifted musicians should be able to recreate the codes by sound. It doesn’t surprise me.

My brother and I acted the same way, it’s called being brothers and being young. They weren’t perfect, but they weren’t awful, either. Isaac was helping and changing the dynamic of the family for the better. I think there is some subtext to that in the show.

Charles Baxter

It’s just a rewrite of the borg episodes from TNG. It has it’s great moments but is far from original and we all know Issac will save the day in part 2. At this point discovery is still the better of the two shows by a long shot. Orville is getting to be great.

Nachum

A small note on the ship’s hatch- it looked like it pops out of the hull when needed. So we’d never really see it.

The entire planet seems odd- if they’re all artificial life forms, why do they need bodies? Why can’t they all be in a database somewhere? Why is there traffic on the highways- can’t they just phone in whatever they’re doing?

Because everyone knows lazy Kaylons working from home will do nothing else besides sitting on the couch all afternoon in their underwear, watching reruns of Star Trek.

Hat Rick

As a matter of opinion, I was unhappy with this episode as it served to diminish the horrors of that which it intended to portray.

HisEminence

It was excellent! If only Star Trek remembered how to tell an amazing story instead of pounding PC talking points.

This was the best of Trek, BSG and Dr. Who wrapped into one.

Oh, and Kaylon = Ceylon. I should have seen this coming.

I’m down with representation of formerly invisible stripes of present-day society. What I’m not down with is the bland storytelling that makes me wonder “are we there yet?” while I’m watching. Lately I find my eyes glued to the telly while watching The Orville, and checking my email while watching Star Trek Discovery. Not good.

Danpaine

As to your last point about checking email, so was I, Scott. To the point when I was looking at the clock to see when Discovery was over. I cancelled CBSAA today, at least until Twilight Zone shows up. I’ll likely binge DSC at some point, but it’s not a priority.

I’m not quite there yet, but they definitely misjudged the audience’s patience with this interminable search for Spock. Fingers crossed that the action starts picking up Thursday night.

Danpaine

I was impressed, and am very much looking forward to Part 2. Way to take it to another level, Seth & Co.!

Bird of Prey

You know what would be funny? If next “Discovery” episode it turns out that the so far all too mysterious Airiam gets exactly the same character background and story arc… ;-)

navamske

On watching the episode a second time, I noticed on Mercer’s desk what appeared to be a tiny model of Wilbur and Orville Wright’s first airplane.

That’s always been there!

Kirk Johnston

If you think about, rather than the head guns looking like “Mickey Mouse ears”, they could be considered as looking more like horns, which actually goes well with the red lights/glow emanating from the head and gives almost a demon/devil look to the baddies. I think guys could turn out be The Orville’s version of the The Borg, once of the main and most dangerous recurring alien baddies, which would be awesome.

Danpaine

That was my first instinct when I saw them.

John Keller

Isaac is NOT evil. This will turn out to be a simulation on the part of the Kaylons, to determine if the biologicals are worthy of Kaylon joining them.

Gordon A Glenn

This episode echoes what happened to The Old Ones in the TOS episode “What Are Little Girls Made Of?” when Ruk, played by Ted Cassidy, says “That was the equation! Existence, survival must cancel our programming.”

kmart

Those are some awesome words. Even if GR rewrote most of the first half of season 1, I bet that was original Bloch. (the way he looked as he played them was off-the-charts too!)

Cygnus-X1

Gordon A Glenn

Good point.

snoopytrek

..an unexpected wtf twist in the isaac character! And, I must agree with your review..I hope the solution to the situation isn’t isaac allova sudden developing emotions or compassion for his former shipmates. This would be too much a predictable and easy way out. We shall see tonight.