Review: ‘The Orville’ Finds Itself In “Identity, Part 2”

“Identity, Pt. 2”

The Orville Season 2, Episode 9 – Aired Thursday, February 28, 2019
Written by Seth MacFarlane
Directed by John Cassar

Struggling to fight off an invasion of technologically advanced hostile aliens, Captain Mercer and his crew are forced to seek help in the unlikeliest of places.

Within the constraints imposed by the realities of the sci-fi genre and television in general, “Identity, Part 2” brings the conflict begun in Part 1 to a gripping, action-packed, and satisfying conclusion that could have long-lasting ramifications for the series as a whole. Fans of slam-bang, cinema-quality science fiction action will have nothing to complain about here.

Kelly and Ed in “Identity Pt. 2”

Warning: There is an old Earth custom called SPOILERS, and they have a beginning—right now!

It is said that in comedy it isn’t the joke but the delivery, and the same applies to sci-fi dramedies. “Identity, Part 1” set up the story in such a way that, given the exigencies of televised storytelling and the necessities of plot, there was only a limited number of ways that the story could have resolved. In that sense, “Identity, Part 2” was completely predictable. But it’s not really the plot points that make an episode enjoyable—it’s how you get from point to point that matters. And in this regard, “Identity, Part 2” delights and entertains admirably.

Anyone who has watched a lot of science fiction knew ahead of time what had to happen in “Identity, Part 2.” Humanity could not wind up being annihilated. The crew of the Orville had to be instrumental in stopping the Kaylon invasion. More to the point, Isaac had to somehow turn against his Kaylon superiors in order to allow the Planetary Union to prevail. This episode was mid-season, and there have been no rumors that Mark Jackson was leaving the show, and he’s a series regular, so it was very unlikely that he would end the episode as a villain. Dialing down to a finer-grain level, it was clear that the Finn boys would need to be instrumental in turning Isaac from a mere follower of Kaylon Primary to a choice-maker all his own. And there needed to be a honking big space battle.

These things needed to happen and did, to no one’s surprise. But it’s not the joke. It’s how you tell it that matters.

Ed, Marcus, Claire and Talla in “Identity Pt. 2”

STEP ONE – ESTABLISH THE STAKES

“Identity, Part 1” established that the Kaylon are on a mission to eradicate all biological life in the galaxy, starting with Earth and the Planetary Union. This episode needed to reiterate that threat at the outset, as well as ask a lingering question: If the Kaylon want to exterminate all biologicals, why is the Orville crew still alive?

The question is raised in force when Ty Finn attempts to find Isaac, is detained by a Kaylon soldier, and Talla tries to rescue him and gets blasted by one of their head cannons. The stunt work here is impressive—Talla is blasted back at least 20-30 feet. I felt it viscerally in my chest when she was hit, and winced at the pain she must have felt. Very effective.

Captain Mercer banks on the fact that the Kaylon must need them alive for some reason, and persuades one of the guards to let them take the unconscious Talla to sickbay. There, Dr. Finn has the opportunity to once again scold Isaac for unfeelingly betraying the Orville’s crew, and especially her sons. I would have said this was a futile effort since the Kaylons have no emotions, but it was pointed out in a comments thread elsewhere that you can’t argue with success—ultimately, what turns Isaac is his loyalty to Ty Finn. I might not like it, but Dr. Finn is on the right track here.

Later in the briefing room, we finally get our answer: The Kaylons need the bridge crew to persuade Union Central to lower their defenses, and they need the rest of the crew as bargaining chips to force the bridge crew to cooperate.

The crew gathered by Kaylon Primary in “Identity Pt. 2”

I squeed a little when I recognized Carlos Bernard, who will always be Tony Almeida from 24 to me, as the captain of a Union ship that the Kaylon try to use the Orville crew to bamboozle. Captain Mercer slips a code phrase into their communications, but the Kaylon pick up on the subterfuge, and the USS Roosevelt and Captain Marcos are dispatched quickly by just two Kaylon attack spheres.

In retaliation for Mercer’s deception, Kaylon Primary orders a random Ensign Extra to be shoved out the airlock without a space suit. It is here that we see the first stirrings of Isaac’s dissatisfaction with the Kaylon plan. Isaac seems cool with the idea of exterminating all biological life in the galaxy, but he balks at the idea of killing these particular individuals. Perhaps there’s a lesson in there for us all: It’s harder to hate someone when you know them by name and have a relationship with them; faceless people are easier to despise.

The Kaylons in this scene struck me as Evil C-3POs, and from then on, I couldn’t get that image out of my mind.

Kaylon Primary takes Isaac to task for his apparent sympathy and mercy for Ensign Extra. But Isaac marshals a logical argument. “Primary, I am the only Kaylon who has interacted with the biologicals for an extended period of time. To kill a member of their crew as a punitive measure carries the danger of inducing heightened resolve in the others. I did not consider it a worthwhile risk.” This made sense to me. But it did not to Kaylon Primary, as he assigned Isaac homework—the reading of Alex Haley’s Roots. Even though Isaac does not see “authoritarian proclivities” in Ty and Marcus Finn, Primary argues that the biological imperative to enslave others is written into human DNA. Biology is destiny, according to Primary. Or in AI terms, your programming determines your actions. Isaac will, of course, prove this wrong.

In this scene, we also learn that Isaac chose his own “designation” to honor Sir Isaac Newton, one of humanity’s most brilliant scientists. Kaylon Primary orders him to choose a new designation, but he doesn’t, and in a later scene he is still addressed as Isaac by a Kaylon soldier.

Isaac and the Primary in “Identity Pt. 2”

STEP TWO – FAILED ESCAPE ATTEMPTS

So now we have the Orville crew held captive in the shuttle bay, inside a ship streaking through quantum space at the head of an invasion fleet bound for Earth. What needs to happen?

As a writer you can’t allow the Orville crew to be passive observers in their own show; they need to demonstrate agency. But they cannot succeed immediately or easily, because that would be boring. You need them to fail in order to keep the stakes of the episode high. But they can’t fail through imbecility; their escape attempt needs to be plausible and daring. So how did they do?

The escape attempt makes excellent use of  Yaphit, who up until now has been around for little more than comic relief. Here’s an endlessly pliable character who can mold into any shape, and aside from first season’s “Cupid’s Dagger,” has barely used his ability. Here, he oozes through conduits to the armory to retrieve weapons, then oozes through more conduits to send a message to Union Central. When Kaylon soldiers threaten Ty Finn, who has pluckily come along to assist as the only person small enough to fit inside the USS Orville’s version of a Jefferies tube, Yaphit leaps (!) onto the soldier, oozing into his joints, and short-circuiting him from within. In the process Ty is captured, and a helpless Yaphit slowly oozes out of the soldier, charred and unconscious.

Yaphit takes action in “Identity, Pt. 2”

Meanwhile, Gordon and Kelly take a shuttle to try to contact the Krill, who will eventually have to face the Kaylon threat too; perhaps they can join together to stop the Kaylon now when they still have a chance. Gordon and Kelly’s mission features some cool, jazzy effects as they take the shuttle out of the bay at quantum speeds. But despite the effects, this section felt the most like someone just checking off a box on a plot form somewhere. Repeatedly, Gordon warns Kelly that something must not be done, that it’s too dangerous, that it’s never been successfully tried, that it’s just a theory. Repeatedly, she tells him to do it. Repeatedly, it succeeds.

There is some great dialogue when the two of them finally stand before the Krill Captain, who finds them drifting without power in the middle of nowhere, thanks to plot magic. The Krill, with their religious worldview, have a distinctly different way of looking at things than the Planetary Union does, and that’s fun to see. Plus, any chance to get in some Avis jokes is worth taking the time to do.

Kelly and Gordon ask the Krill for help in “Identity, Pt. 2”

STEP THREE – ISAAC MUST TURN

Kaylon Primary now orders Isaac to kill the captive Ty Finn, and it is here where a line is crossed that Isaac cannot countenance. Exterminate every other living being in the galaxy? Okay fine, I’ll help. But kill Ty Finn? No, that’s going too far.

Some folks online have speculated that the reason we never saw Isaac personally killing anyone onboard the Orville was that he did not have head cannons. That theory is proven incorrect here, as Isaac easily dispatches Kaylon Primary and probably a dozen Kaylon soldiers. Isaac then sets off an EM pulse that shuts down all the Kaylon on the Orville, including himself. It is a noble sacrifice to enable the humans to escape.

There are some niggling questions regarding the Kaylon invasion. Once the threat of total annihilation is on the table, there is very little incentive for your opponents to hold back or to ever go along with anything you say. It seems that a logic-driven race would figure this out fairly quickly. Isaac did. Why didn’t Primary? And how many actual Kaylon would fit in their fleet and was it enough to wipe out the Planetary Union and then move on to take out the rest of biological life in the galaxy? The whole plan seems entirely reliant on surprise, but even if they succeed with the attack on Earth, the secret of their plan is out. And after Isaac took out the Primary, Secondary and Tertiary on board the USS Orville, who was commanding the rest of the Kaylon fleet? And how did the rest of the Kaylon not immediately notice their top leadership were deactivated? A lot of things about the Kaylon don’t make much sense when you think about it at any length.

But please believe me when I say this: Don’t let that sour you! Because if you don’t think about it, the rest of this episode is a hoot.

Ty hugs Isaac in “Identity, Pt. 2”

STEP FOUR – BIG HONKING SPACE BATTLE

Seth MacFarlane and the other producers on The Orville have repeatedly said in interviews that production on the space battle that takes up the last part of this episode started at the very beginning of the season, and it shows. This is an epic battle of epicness, and it is remarkably well staged, filmed, and presented. The effects work on Season 2 of The Orville has been exemplary, and here they pull out all the stops.

It coalesces into three full fleets of ships all shooting at each other and maneuvering around each other, and lots of ‘splosions. At no time is it confusing! It all makes sense and is easy to follow. The Union ships are blue-grey lozenges, and fire blue lasers. The Kaylon Ships are spheres with red glowy bits, and fire red lasers. And the Krill ships that show up to save the day are green tropical fish shapes, and fire green lasers.

Ed yells things like “Increase lateral power! Phase-lock the deflectors!” And the crew yells out, “Aye sir!” and “We’re not going to make it!” Ed orders the self-destruct. The Krill save the day. Gordon flies a Krill fighter and quotes Top Gun. It’s all big, silly, epic, pew-pew space combat fun. The design of the Orville bridge and the cockpit of the Krill fighter allows for the stuff going on in the background to stream around the characters in an amazing way. As the Orville banks and swerves around the ‘splosions, you see things flash by the front window and then past the port in the ceiling a moment later. It makes the whole thing feel very immersive and exciting. I was on the edge of my seat both times I watched the episode.

And our heroes triumph at the last minute. So what more can you ask?

The battle for Earth in “Identity Pt. 2”

STEP FIVE – BIG RESET BUTTON?

The big question left for the episode after all the boxes have been checked is: will they push the big, red reset button at the end to put everything back the way it was before the episode started? And thankfully, all indications are they will not. New relations have been started with the Krill. And though that’s less significant in The Orville than, say, opening a dialogue with the Romulans in Star Trek: The Next Generation, because our history with the franchise is thinner, it is a big turning point for the show. And just like the Battle of Wolf 359 was not the last we heard of the Borg, indications are we have not heard the last of the Kaylon.

And yes, Isaac is back on the crew of the Orville, but the closing scene with Dr. Finn shows that fully trusting him again is going to be a process. Claire tells him: “There’s an old human custom called forgiveness. It too takes time. But it must have a beginning.” Dialogue earlier in sickbay established that many of the Orville’s crew will not soon forget that the reason they needed to be saved by Isaac is that Isaac first betrayed them all to an enemy who wanted to exterminate them. That cannot, and should not, be lightly forgiven.

Isaac and Clarie begin the healing process in “Identity Pt. 2”

CLOSING THOUGHTS

My biggest concern going into this episode was whether or not Isaac would magically gain emotions and learn that he truly loves Dr. Finn and her boys, and that this would be what turned him against his masters. I felt that this approach would violate what was special about the Isaac character when compared to other science fictional AI’s. The jury is still out on that concern, but I have reason to hope.

In an earlier review, I wrote that Isaac had not experienced true character growth so far in the show’s two seasons. This episode marks the first, huge step of growth for Isaac. He has assessed his values as well as the direction that his culture was taking him, and has decided for the first time which way he personally wants to go. He has taken agency and struck out on his own path. And it is at great cost, as the melancholy of the final scene makes clear.

Thankfully, he seems to have taken these steps for logical rather than emotional reasons. If that continues to be the case, I will be glad.

This episode is everything it needed to be. It brought an epic story to a satisfying conclusion, and while its outline was predictable, the way it got from point to point was thrilling. It’s not the destination, it’s the journey. It’s not the joke, it’s how you tell it. And this was a story well told.

The USS Orville in “Identity Pt. 2”

BRIEF BITS

  • Director Jon Cassar also directed “Identity, Part 1.” It is far more common for a two-parter to be directed by two different people.
  • Carlos Benard’s cameo was thanks to Cassar, who had worked with the actor for years on 24 where he was a producer and director.
  • Captain Mercer mentions “Directive 98,” and later uses a Union code-phrase, “thirteen button salute,” which the Kaylon recognized was a code indicating the ship was under hostile control.
  • Named Union starships in this episode include the USS Roosevelt, USS Spruance, USS Hawking, and USS Quimby,
  • The effects in this episode are great, but the shuttle still looks like a minivan, and it’s hard to tell what direction it’s heading.
  • Isaac tells Ty that the code to unlock the shuttle bay doors is Alpha-One-Four-Omega-Six – but when Ty enters the code, he only hits three keys, including what looks like ENTER.
  • When the shuttle winds up in Krill space without any power, Gordon says that without life support, they have only 15 minutes of air in the shuttle. This seems implausible, and if true, a major design flaw. Plus, aren’t the shuttles able to cloak? How did the Kaylon track them?

Carlos Bernard as Capt. Marcos of the USS Roosevelt

QUOTABLES

  • “Good bagels, too.” Gordon Malloy describes the glories of New Jersey. As a New Yorker, I’d beg to differ.
  • “This is the twenty-fifth hour for Earth.” Kelly describes their predicament poetically.
  • “If the big dipper’s not there, I’m kinda useless.” Gordon and I have something in common!
  • “You are a godless race of sub-creatures well-trained to lie and deceive. But you are now my prisoners. Avis has been generous today.” “See? Avis! I told you I wasn’t making that up.” Krill Captain, and Gordon to Kelly
  • “Scanners cannot penetrate their hull.” “Do eenie-meenie-miney-mo! Pick a spot!” Ed Mercer on target selection
  • “Just a walk in the park, Kazanski!” Gordon, channeling his inner “Top Gun.”
  • “All right buddy! Time to wash your mouth out with GORDON.” Ew. Just, ew.
  • “My actions have eliminated the possibility of returning to my planet. And the actions of the Kaylon have eliminated my wish to do so. I have no home.” Isaac

Isaac at the end of “Identity Pt. 2”


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Emperor Mike of the Terran Empire

I have always liked this show. Now. I love it.

Dr Beckett

Agreed 100%.

Danpaine

Right there with you.

Josiah Rowe

I can’t believe it took me this long to realize the other joke in the name “Avis”: “avis” is Latin for “bird.” So the Krill basically worship the Great Bird of the Galaxy.

TG47

‘Facepalm’…I had no idea either.

That’s deft, subtle and actually hilarious.

Professor Spock

TG47 the more you know. You learn something new every day ^_^

Professor Spock

Avis is a name of a car rental company. Its a joke on the show.

TG47

That was the obvious joke, especially with Gordon saying ‘We try harder’ in an earlier episode.

To me, that was just more dated 80s and 90s style Orville humour. (Is their target demographic really in their 40s?)

But a play on ‘the great bird’, is in entirely different league.

Josiah Rowe

Yes: the car rental company is the diegetic joke made by Gordon, and also the joke for the general/casual audience. The Great Bird is the additional joke, non-diegetically aimed at the geek audience (us). That’s why I said “the other joke” in my initial post.

TG47

We’re thinking the same way.

What I don’t get is why McFarlane and Co. are going for a diegetic joke involving a company slogan that Avis Car Rental doesn’t even use much anymore.

Sounds like a way to turn off the target 18-40 market.

Ming on Mongo

Yeah, that’s the way I always saw it, He’s Avis, the ‘Second-best’ god! ;-p

But still, a helluva show, and even while paying ‘homage’ to ST, seems like these guys have now become their own thang. Have even come to appreciate McFarlane’s sorta ‘sophomoric’ sense of humor… and it’s OK, ‘cuz he lets you in on the joke!

Cygnus-X1

Josiah Rowe

Good catch. I was wondering about that.

dsgsdg

Oh well done.. Didn’t realise either.

CmdrR

The Orville gets a big win.

Josiah Rowe

Also, it’s interesting that Isaac took his name from Newton. I had assumed that, at least outside the fiction, he was named after Asimov. But then, he and the Kaylons certainly don’t seem to have anything like the Three Laws, so Newton makes more sense… though I assume Isaac was not aware of how much of Newton’s writings concerned theology and alchemy!

kitbashcanon

I was thinking that too. I thought Asimov’s famous rules for robots would come into play. Avis knows the Kaylons are in need of them. Will Isaac end up being The Law Giver to the Kaylons?

Zimriel

oh please! oh please let Isaac be the Kaylon Moshe.

J_Randomuser

The space battle was pretty amazing. MacFarlane found a way to do Wolf 359 as it was intended to be. I always felt like the battles from TNG/DS9/VOY always felt jumbled and confused, but lacking the sort of epic punch you want in a big space battle. Orville really managed to present the chaos of battle, but in a fun and well-thought out way.

I agree. I think it was one of the best space battle I saw. It was spectacular, very focused around the Orville but still with a broader view of the battle.

Cygnus-X1

So what more can you ask?

A plot that didn’t come out of a 25-cent gumball machine.

Oh, no! Isaac’s turned evil!

Oh, yay! He turned back to being good!

He’s a robot with no feelings, except for the wittle boy who wuvs him.

I mean, commme onnnn…

Jack

Did he turn evil, or was he biding his time? He didn’t kill anyone other than Kaylons. And if he’d stayed deactivated, everyone would be dead.

Cygnus-X1

Jack

He went along with the Kaylons’ plan to exterminate all biological lifeforms. There’s no evidence that he was biding his time. And, in any case, his delay in helping the Orville crew was not productive. He could have helped them much sooner.

ML31

While I do agree with your sarcastic assessment, I honestly do believe that when push came to shove that Issac was going to have no part in the actual destruction of biological life. He obviously had doubts all along with the plan. I got that from the beginning of part 1. It just so happened that his first opportunity for direct involvement was when it came to Ty. He did argue against putting the red shirt in the airlock. That feeling was only going to grow.

Cygnus-X1

ML31

But, Isaac’s mission aboard the Orville was to gather information in order to asses whether humanity should be exterminated, and he was aware of it all along. That means that he effectively lied on a daily basis to all of his shipmates. That basically makes Isaac a sociopath. Even if he had doubts about executing the plan to exterminate humanity, he still went along with it. And, then, they just bring him back aboard the ship to serve at his post at the end. And no explanation was offered for why Ty seems to have been the reason that Isaac turned good. Isaac doesn’t have emotions, and Ty is no more important than the crew members who got killed when the Kaylon boarded the Orville, so what’s the reason? The whole thing is cheesy and meaningless. They’re just relying on everybody being familiar with the old trope of an innocent child melting a bad man’s icy heart. And apparently they were right to rely on that, judging by the comments here.

ML31

No, it makes him loyal to his people. Further, we do not know at what point Issac was made aware of the real plan. Was it before he ever went on board or was it after his people reactivated him? It was already established that his relationship with the crew was affecting him. Especially Finn and her kids. That said, it was indeed a tired trope. One that everyone could see coming once the situation was set up in part one. And since the show is now striving to be nothing more than a TNG clone, I would expect nothing less.

Cygnus-X1

ML31

No, it makes him loyal to his people.

What’s the difference? Acting like a sociopath in service to people who want to exterminate my species isn’t any better than simply acting like a sociopath. Arguably it’s worse. I suppose it’s possible that Isaac was kept in the dark about the whole extermination part of the plan until after he was reactivated. Though, if we go by the dialogue, Isaac says in Part 1 that his mission aboard The Orville was to gather data in order to determine if humanity should be exterminated. He gives no indication that he was kept ignorant of the extermination part.

ML31

I guess what it comes down to is your definition of a sociopath. If we follow your definition then V’ger was a sociopath as well. And remember, that dialog you cited from part was was said AFTER he was reactivated. And it makes sense that he would not indicate that he was kept in the dark about the true plan. It doesn’t matter at that point. And even if he did know, it very well could be that after interacting with the crew he was gambling that the decision would be to not exterminate the biologicals. So why risk alienating himself from his people when it may not be necessary? The only way Issac is in an undefendable position is if he boarded the ship knowing the decision was already made. And even that makes no sense because if the decision was made they would just send their mecha-armada out immediately. No need to interact with them at all.

Cygnus-X1

ML31

Well, if I were in Isaac’s position, and I thought that exterminating humanity was a bad idea, I’d go back home to Kaylon and tell them to nix the plan. If I keep going along with the plan to exterminate humanity, and deceive my shipmates every day, and then I shut down one day unexpectedly, and the Kaylon go ahead with the plan, then I’m complicit. I could have tried to stop it, but I didn’t. It is possible that Isaac didn’t know about the plan. That’s his only defense for why he shouldn’t be considered complicit, IMO. Too bad the episode left that point ambiguous.

ML31

Or, you report back elements that you think would lead to a decision to not exterminate them. It’s not as black and white as you are making it out to be. Anyway, the show currently isn’t worth such a lengthy discussion about this.

Later.

Disinvited

Cygnus-X1,

You really missed the true incongruity about the Kaylons being the very thing that they were afraid the biologicals were doomed to become.

You mention that they, Isaac’s creators, deactivated him, the only real cybernetic lifeform, but it doesn’t sink in that in that single act the Kaylons reveal themselves to be irrational and ultimately lying to everyone, including themselves.

They believe, as his creators, they have the right to do that to him “because he served his function” but claim their own biological creators didn’t have the right to deactivate them when they determined the Kaylons stopped serving their function.

You are being illogical when you claim Isaac was part of a predetermined plan to exterminate biologicals at his birth. If this was so it made absolutely zero sense to deactivate him, the perfect mole, as the extermination had not yet been served.

Cygnus-X1

Disinvited

I didn’t miss any of those things.
And I don’t think I’ve misrepresented the plot here.
There are various ways that the Kaylon could have gone about exterminating humanity. Whether those ways should involve keeping Isaac aboard the Orville as a mole, or debriefing him in order to determine whether humanity should be exterminated, is not an argument that I was making. My only point regarding the Kaylon’s plan being stu-pid was that there’s no good reason for them to reveal to the Orville crew that they plan to exterminate humanity, as it leaves the crew no incentive to cooperate.

Disinvited

Cygnus-X1,

Ah so, you are really objecting to the comic book & Bond villain trope where the villain is so sure of his intellectual superiority that he can conceive of no possible negative blowback from revealing all to revell in the plan’s perfection?

Also, they absolutely did not deactivate Isaac to trick Mercer into bringing him in for a debriefing. They deactivated him because they had already debriefed him, remotely. He served his function, which included data gathering AND debriefing.

Cygnus-X1

Disinvited

Yup.

Disinvited

Cygnus-X1,

But wasn’t it clear, in the deactivation of Isaac, that the Kaylons are logically inconsistent and irrational? Their seeming hyper-rationality is a fraud which is why it didn’t surprise me that they’d do something else inconsistent with it.

Vice Admiral Nakamura

If you’re going to write so many comments on Orville pages, I would recommend paying a bit more attention to the episodes. Maybe you missed the episode ‘A Happy Refrain.’ In that episode, we learn that Isaac’s subroutines have adjusted to Claire’s presence, which then interferes with his programming when she is gone. So Isaac is capable of a rudimentary form of emotion or bonding, even if the Kaylons don’t call it that. Thus in the two-parter, Isaac’s attachment to the Finns came into conflict with his Kaylon directives, and we watched how that played out. Do know for sure this it what happened? No, there is some uncertainty, which makes it interesting. But there is enough there that your flippant responses are unwarranted.

Cygnus-X1

Vice Admiral Nakamura

So, at the eleventh hour, Isaac turned against his people and their plan to exterminate humanity because killing the Finns would have caused temporary inefficiency in his programing? That’s an even dumber plot point than pretending he has emotions. Isaac knows that his programming can be totally rebooted and rid of all glitches, inefficiencies and whatnot in an instant, as we saw in the episode. In any case, program subroutines interacting with other subroutines hardly amounts to emotions. Isaac is a robot. He doesn’t have emotions, which is the point of his character — the logic vs. emotions, head vs. heart, logos vs. pathos struggle that TOS introduced with Spock vs. McCoy and other human shipmates, such as in “The Galileo Seven.” All of Isaac’s interactions with humans on the Orville are premised upon him not having emotions. That’s what makes him different and what makes his scenes have any meaning. Isaac doesn’t understand humor, because he doesn’t have emotions. “Funny” has no meaning for him. That’s why there are scenes with the crew playing practical jokes on him, where he doesn’t understand the point, and then responds by cutting off Gordon’s leg. Isaac doesn’t understand compassion, empathy and affection because he doesn’t have emotions. That’s why he hurt Dr. Finn when they started dating, before that stu-pid thematic reversal in “A Happy Refrain.” Isaac’s lack of emotions is what makes all of those scenes have any significance. If Isaac has emotions, then there’s not much dramatic point to his character.

TG47

Worked for me.

Now, I’m wondering if Ed, Kelly and Gordon may be drawn in to the diplomatic dialogue with the Krill just because they were ‘first through the door’.

Not to mention Ed’s star-crossed Krill romantic interest.

Lots of grist for the mill there: both humour and drama.

ML31

“Lots of grist for the mill there: both humour and drama.”

Except they jettisoned the humor and it doesn’t look like they have any plans to return to it. Which, again, is unfortunate.

Kit Stølen

Just because things on “the Orville” can get serious, doesn’t mean it’s stuck there.

Tiger2

Really loved the second part to this! Gotta say both this show and Discovery was on fire this week and on the same day at that. This show, like Discovery, is definitely finding its groove this season.

I will say I wasn’t too surprised over the conclusion because it was only so many ways they could go with it. Either it was going to be a simulation (and I really REALLY didn’t want it to be that) or that Issac was going to betray his people and help them. I never once bought the idea Issac would stay evil or be killed. That was never in the cards. I thought MAYBE the third option would be they just reprogram him to help them and then it would excuse Issac of having feelings but I guess, well, the emotional impact wouldn’t have been strong enough if he didn’t do it on its own.

And I know this is going to be weird to say but I felt a little bad for Issac at the end but it really opens up where he will go from this point on.

But yeah great episode and that combat sequence was amazing. Not quite Star Wars lol but pretty up there and AFAIK their first big battle sequence on the show. Orville is doing a much better job of being a comedic show but still have the dramatic moments and stories really count. It has come a long way in a very short time.

Professor Spock

Tiger2 I agree with you. The Orville is way better now than it used to be. The show is starting to feel like its own thing instead of just being a blind imitation of Star Trek. It can have some comedy but not too much.

Tiger2

Yeah I think thats when we know the show will be a true success when people stop looking at it as a Star Trek copy cat and just work completely on its own. Ironically like how TNG was able to come out from the TOS shadow and just became respected as its own entity.

TG47

It’s also following the TNG pattern of a first season of derivative and off-key episodes before finding its own ground.

ML31

No, the pattern here is they showed their potential in the first season and in the 2nd season decided to move away from what was making the show work. The 2nd season is still WAY worse than the first.

ML31

Except they are going in reverse. Their first season they were doing their own thing. A comedic homage to TNG. No one had done that before. And they were on the right track. Then they decided to abandon that track and go straight for TNG rip off. All the high budget Star Wars space battles won’t change that.

ML31

??? Professor Spock, how can you feel like this show is anything BUT a blind imitation of TNG? I honestly don’t see that. Last season when they went for the comedy, it was trying to be its own thing. They had their own twist on the genre. But now, they abandoned their own thing and became TNG lite.

ML31

“Orville is doing a much better job of being a comedic show but still have the dramatic moments and stories really count.”

I hate to use this phrase but I cannot think of another one… Are we watching the same show? I ask this because you said it’s doing a “BETTER” job at being a comedic show. How? There are less jokes than ever before (and before they needed to lean even more to the joke side) and most of the jokes aren’t working. Gordon has essentially become the “joke guy” with his pee corner and Avis joke. Both of those worked. But, like most of the jokes this season, the others did not. Regardless if one thinks the show ought to go more for comedy or drama, there is no way I can think of to conclude the show currently has gotten better at the comedy. The fact is, they have been turning away from it. Big time. It is not a comedic show with dramatic elements. I wouldn’t even go so far as to say it’s a dramatic show with comedic elements. Since the jokes are so few and far between it’s a drama that attempts to land a laugh once or twice each episode.

noraa

To me, the past few episodes have been a turning point for the show, and this episode capped it. In many ways, it reminded me of Best of Both Worlds – especially in the cliff hanger of Part 1. Characters are coming into their own, dialogue is becoming sharper, and the mix of comedy and sci-fi/drama has become far more natural. With Discovery really coming into it’s own in the 2nd season, The Orville finding it’s groove as an enjoyable (and at times great) homage to TNG-era Star Trek, the Expanse returning to Amazon Prime sometime later this year, and multiple other Star Trek shows in the works, it’s a really great time to be a sci-fi (and especially Star Trek) fan!

Assorted musings:

The design of the Orville’s “conduits” (i.e. Jeffries tube) seems, well, not great. The Jeffries tubes were never bastions of space, but they were at least designed for adult humans to crawl around in. The Orville’s conduits are so small that only a child or Yaphet can make their way through them – which kind of begs the question, why are they so small – seems to defeat the purpose of their existence. Also, it appears the opening of the conduits are way small than the actual conduits themselves… Unfortunately, the answer to this is simply that the plot needed to find away to get Ty involved.

I wonder if there are different speeds to the Quantum Drive as with the Warp Drive, and if their is a hard limit on the max speed (i.e. the asymptote that is Warp 10). When the shuttle rerouted all power to the Quantum Drive to go faster, how fast was it actually going?

Pretty much all of the Union ships we saw shared the same design, with some being smaller and others being bigger. The only major design difference was that some ships only have 2 “rings” as a part of the Quantum drive, whiles other’s have 3. Not sure if the similarity in design is purely a budgetary issue, lack of creativity, or simple an acknowledgement that if a design works, stick with it! With that being said, I much prefer the diversity in design of Federation ships.

It was mentioned in a Season 1 episode (same episode that involved the practice jokes) that Kaylon’s don’t have eyes, and Isaac simply had the blue lights to make him appear more relatable. With all of the other Kaylon’s have (evil!) red eyes, I wonder if they two were also trying to appear more relatable? Which begs the question, why?

The space battle was pretty epic, though it lacked some of the artistry seen in other shows – such as DS9, the Expanse, and especially Battlestar Galactica (the 2005 version, not the 1978 version). One of my biggest complaints of Discovery’s season 1 was the lack of any truly epic battle sequences. While the Battle at the Binary Stars was pretty good, the f/x in season 1 were done in such a way as to make many “space” moments unnecessarily dark, blurry and confusing. I’d love to see a similar battle like this one on The Orville done with Discovery’s budget.

Professor Spock

noraa there is a way to go faster with warp drive. I don’t know the top speed of the quantum drive. What about the spore drive from Star Trek Discovery. That is really fast.

TG47

Slipstream is the way to go Professor Spock.

I’m hoping the Picard show follows the Relaunch books and has viable X-series slipstream vessels coming into use.

They have a nice streamlined look…and maybe we might even see the no nonsense Captain Ezri Dax of the gorgeous USS Aventine. Maybe she’ll be tapped to do a courtesy to get Picard and his smaller ship out 45,000 light years where new things are.

They stated in the episode Pria that the Orville travels 10 light years per hour.

noraa

Holy crap, that’s crazy fast! Warp 9.99 is 2147x the speed of light, or 644,100,000 km/s. 10 light years per hour comes out to be 26,280,000,000 km/s. In other words, assuming the 10 light years per hour is correct, the quantum drive is 40.8x faster than the fastest available warp speed.

For some perspective, the Milky Way is about 100,000 light years across – which is 9.4608 x 10^17 km. Which means a starship traveling at Warp 9.99 would take 49.58 years to traverse the galaxy. For the Orville it would only take 1.14 years.

Which, means that when Gordon did whatever hell he did to the quantum drive on the shuttle, they were moving at an absurd speed.

On the one hand, this makes travel in The Orville universe easier and faster, but it also makes the galaxy a lot smaller…

ML31

“Holy crap, that’s crazy fast!”

And if the show opted to continue to not take itself too seriously that wouldn’t matter.

kitbashcanon

The smaller Galaxy effect can work well for story-telling purposes. Think of tight geopolitical stories on today’s Earth where any point can be reached within hours of air travel. Also, think of how much territory on Earth is still “fly-over country” and nobody’s looking out the window to look at it. You can still find areas in even the USA and Canada where human feet have not yet touched ground. Also think of how many places on Earth you are still forbidden to visit (Antarctica where evidence of ancient civilizations may still be uncovered, Or the vast deserts where ancient civilizations may still be buried under the sands, or the vast rain forests where ancient civilizations may have been swallowed up by the thick jungle). It can still work for story-telling purposes, for exploration and new discoveries, but also for making “milk runs” along well-traveled shipping lanes, where dramedy on a personal level can occur.

It has already been established onscreen that there are 3,000 ships in the Planetary Union fleet (albeit decidedly fewer after last Thursday’s episode). Scientists currently estimate that there are roughly 250 billion stars in our galaxy. Even if you had every available starship doing nothing but exploring one star system per day, it would take over 228,000 years to chart the Milky Way.

Space is big. REALLY big.

kitbashcanon

Very good point. Its nice to be able to cross the galaxy in 1.14 years if one needs to, but exploration & discovery moves at a snail’s pace. How many years did Jane Goodall study chimps in just the Gombe area alone, let alone studying the Sun and its planets in a day’s worth of “flyover”?

noraa

True, I was more referring to the hard limit placed specifically on the warp drive. I’m wondering if the quantum drive has a similar hard limit.

ML31

“and the mix of comedy and sci-fi/drama has become far more natural. ”

And by ‘more natural’ you mean it is all but non-existent?

kitbashcanon

Don’t worry, ML31. I bet more comedy-heavy episodes will be forth-coming. This is Seth at the helm, afterall.

ML31

I did read that they had a few comedy heavy episodes for this season. Yet there are only 5 episodes left and not one has been aired. It’s possible they are saving the best for last… But I now have doubts.

Disinvited

noraa,

Re: my conduit is bigger than yours

I find it odd that you acknowledge the existence of an adult sentient for whom the conduit fits but can’t postulate the probable existence of various others in the union? And we haven’t even mentioned that even adult humans come in various sizes including as small as Ty.

Regardless, humans construct all sorts of buildings with spaces that provide structual support that small animals find easy to exploit and humans find difficult to access in attempts to extricate them.

Re: red eyes

The red eyes probably made them more relatable to their non-human creators who built them.

Cygnus-X1

This episode makes the characters incredibly dumb. It reminds me a bit of TNG “Samaritan Snare,” with the Orville crew in the role of the Pakleds.

Should we try to get help? If the Kaylons catch us trying to foil their plan to kill us, they’ll kill us!

Hey, the kid can go for help! No! I forbid my child to seek help foiling the Kaylon’s plan to kill him and the rest of humanity, because it’s too dangerous!

Hey, I’m a Kaylon with no feelings. That’s why it was so easy for me to join my fellow robots in exterminating humanity. But, wait… This kid’s big, sad eyes are tugging at my non-existent heart-strings. I was cool with exterminating all biological lifeforms, but I’m no monster!

Hey, Isaac’s on our team again! Let’s all put our lives in his hands just like before be betrayed us and tried to exterminate humanity! Hooray!

Promey

It’s “The Orville.” So far it has never prided itself on making its characters seem brilliant.

Cygnus-X1

Promey

I can’t argue with that.

ML31

And AGAIN… Had they leaned more the comedy way than the drama way such things would not matter as much. Which is a HUGE reason why they should have at the very least continued their season 1 ratio of comedy to drama. Instead, they decided to go from perhaps 4 parts drama/3 parts comedy to 50 parts drama/one part comedy.

Cygnus-X1

ML31

I think the comedic-parody model for this show has sailed. It’s going to be a poor man’s TNG from here on out. To me, that’s not necessarily a bad thing, if they add enough value to that model. But, this episode certainly fails that test. They took the one promising theme introduced in Part 1 — the fundamental difference between AI and humans, i.e. emotions, which largely defines the human condition — and traded it for a cheesy, hackneyed, meaningless redemption trope.

ML31

Unfortunately it seems you are correct. They have opted to remove the element that set them apart from TNG. I figured that when we went more than half the season with deadly serious episodes. But I can still hope that for season 3 (if they have one) TPTB at Fox will demand Seth return to the formula they were sold. Although I guess it is possible that Fox was already of this turn of events before the 2nd season began rolling But I am hoping not.

Anthony Ballz

I didn’t feel like Issac’s emotions were out of place because it seems like the reason the Kaylon wanted to kill all biologicals was emotionally based.

Cygnus-X1

Anthony Ballz

But, Kaylons don’t have emotions. So, by definition, it was not emotionally based. They saw a threat and moved to eliminate it. There may be a flaw in their logical reasoning, they might be overlooking some things, they might be acting on imperfect information, but there’s no emotion involved.

Disinvited

Cygnus-X1

Re: don’t have emotions

We know nothing of the kind. We only recently had revealed that they were constructed by biologicals. We have no idea how flawed or well designed that construction may have been in regards to their ability to behave rationally – let alone emotionally. We only know they “believe” themselves to be “better” and free of emotions. Like NOMAD before them, they don’t have an answer for how flawed beings could create something as perfect as them?

ML31

If I may be so bold, I think having the Kaylons be created by biolocials was a cop out. The concept of race of beings evolved from non biological origins is about as sci-fi as you can get.

Disinvited

ML31,

Well, if a cop-out, certainly not a total one as they also established Isaac as the true cybernetic lifeform, as he wasn’t created by a biological. And the only one, so far, shown to be adapting and evolving beyond his base parameters as life is wont to do.

While the Kaylons, on the other hand, have been exposed as total frauds that drank their creators’ Kool-Aid and have been engaging in the biggest fraud of all against themselves: trying to convince themselves that they’re something that they’re not, the antithesis of slavemasters. Worse, they’ve set it upon themselves to destroy the one truly great thing they accomplushed: the creation, in Isaac, of a true cybernetic lifeform.

alastair87

I think it’s an understandable reaction of a mother wanting to protect her son that she finds a way to overcome given how grave the situation is.

H. Clark

It isn’t that much different from when Data’s programming went haywire and he endangered the crew of the Enterprise, but afterwards, everyone just went back to trusting him again like nothing happened.

The River Temarc

Not quite, because Isaac knew of his true mission all throughout the first 1.5 seasons. In Brothers, Data was basically suffering from mind control (like Picard in “Lonely Among Us” or Riker in that insane asylum episode.

ML31

Except, being a machine that no one could reverse engineer or even figure out how he works (which was silly unto itself), NO ONE should have ever trusted Data to begin with. Who knows what programming issues were in there? No one. Even Data had no idea.

Michael Hall

Sounds like they wrote themselves into a corner with Part 1. GAME OF THRONES, or even THE EXPANSE, would have forced the characters to make difficult, life-channging (or ending) choices. Sadly, DSC and THE ORVILLLE just don’t seem to have the stones to play in the same league. Too bad.

Cygnus-X1

Michael Hall

Exactly, thank you.

I’m seeing people post the apologetic that because we all knew Mark Jackson hadn’t been written off the show, the hackneyed predictability of Part 2 should just get a pass. Firstly, as you mention, there are several more interesting, compelling and thought-provoking ways that the Isaac arc could have gone. Saying that the show had no choice but to press the reset button is an extremely narrow view and suggests very low expectations for the show. And, secondly, even if the producers had painted themselves into a corner with Part 1, that’s their own fault. The compelling nature of Part 1 relies heavily on the turn that Isaac’s character takes. If there’s no interesting way to resolve that turn, then Part 1 wrote a check that Part 2 can’t cash. The show wouldn’t deserve praise for that, and in retrospect, the excitement of Part 1 would be rendered to have been based on a false promise.

Michael Hall

Well, don’t despair. “The Best of Both Worlds, Part 2” was a distict disappointment for similar reasons, but the events of the two-parter nevertheless continued to play out in occasionally interesting ways over the course of the series, and I suspect THE ORVILLE will do likewise.

ML31

Which, and sorry to sound like a broken record here but this complaint seems to be coming up a lot, wouldn’t matter if they show did not take themselves as seriously as they decided to for season 2.

Professor Spock

This is the best episode of The Orville. I loved how the Krill helped defend Earth against the evil Kaylon invaders. Isaac has really grown this season. I love him as my friend. I don’t care that he is a robot. Hopefully The Orville gets season 3 at Fox. I don’t want this show canceled. Discovery and The Orville are on fire! I’m happy Isaac is not evil anymore. He had some good in him after all.

Professor Spock

The space battle looked something straight out of Star Wars. It kind of reminds me of that one space battle in Star Trek Into Darkness between Khan and the Enterprise above Earth near the moon in the Kelvin timeline. The Orville has better space battles than Star Trek Discovery.

Uberjeff

Not just space battles sadly

kmart

ID’s battle was one-sided, i don’t think the e even got off a shot.

Professor Spock

The Krill are the Klingons of The Orville. The Planetary Union is the Federation of this universe. The Kaylons are the Borg.

Dr Beckett

Wow.

WesleyS

Hmm.. I think the Kaylons are like Lore and his disconected Borg drones. They think they are superior and destroy all life forms that are not worth to keep a life. The Borg adapt technologies and assimilate life to work with them as one.

Professor Spock

More Star Trek, more Star Wars. Marvel, DC, The Expanse. great day to be a sci-fi fan.

Cygnus-X1

Even the Kaylon get the stupid treatment…

KAYLON #2: Primary, why did you reveal to the Orville crew that we plan to kill them all in the end, anyway? By leaving them nothing to lose, you’ve removed all incentive for them to help us execute our plan. Why didn’t you just tell the crew that our plan was to remove Earth’s destructive capability while leaving humanity unharmed, so they’d have a reason to help us? I mean, how stupid do you think they are?

PRIMARY: You just answered your own question. Now, pipe down. Any more sass-back outta your mug, and I’ll order you, under pain of deactivation, to help me deactivate you.

KAYLON #2: You diabolical genius, you always think of everything!

ML31

Yeah, it was pretty foolish to tell them they were going to kill everyone anyway. Shoving people one at a time out of an air lock doesn’t seem like much of a deterrent to get the humans to cooperate since they know that is their ultimate fate, anyway. Plus, with the Kaylon firepower it sure didn’t seem like they needed to crew to “lower the defenses” to begin with. Kaylon made a lot of logic errors. I suppose that was intentional to show they really were not as superior as they felt? But anyway, had the show relied more on comedy the episode would have felt a lot better than it ended up being.

Cygnus-X1

On a positive note, I will say that the child actor who plays Ty turned in a fine performance. It’s not his fault that his character was written into a $tu-pid plot.

Jim BROWN

Ed and Isaac, in the episode titled “A Happy Refrain,” have an interesting discussion about Claire. I wonder if Isaac will still have that attitude for Claire and the need for her company:

ISAAC, talking to Captain Mercer: I have restructured several recursive algorithms in order to accommodate Dr. Finn’s request that we minimize our association. However, I neglected to account for the adaptive nature
of my programming at large.

MERCER: Well, we’ve all done that once or twice. So, what happened?

ISAAC: The time I have spent with Dr. Finn since my arrival on board the Orville has affected a number of unrelated sub-programs. The data had not reduced the efficiency of those sub-routines, so I saw no reason
to delete it. However, it has contradicted the directive of the new algorithms.

MERCER: She’s gotten under your skin.

ISAAC: I do not have skin.

MERCER: Your various programs are used to her. And it turns out she’s not so easy to just … delete.

ISAAC: A crude anology — but essentially accurate.

MERCER: You know, Isaac, you just might be the first artificial life form in history to fall in love.

ISAAC: That is not possible; however, the incompatible data must be consolidated in some fashion. I must create a new translative program.

MERCER: Let me suggest a possible option. There is one part of the relationship experience that you haven’t yet tackled.

ISAAC: Please elaborate.

MERCER: You screwed up. And now you have to win back the girl.

ISAAC: Dr. Finn has made her wishes clear.

MERCER: Yeah, well, Dr. Finn is also the wisest person on board this ship. She knows how new this is to you! If she sees you making a real effort, then who knows? She just might be understanding.

ISAAC: I have no experience in such matters.

MERCER: Yeah, well, there’s no rule book for this one. You just have to take everything you know about her — every bit of data — and do something you’ve never done.

ISAAC: What is that?

MERCER: Be creative.

Olaf

Could well be that some affected program caused Isaac to act the way he did. Or his “feelings” for Dr. Finn and her children in general. Nice theory!

Aus Trekker

The Orville manages to capture the essence of what made Trek so fantastic in such an enthralling way. I’m really looking forward to seeing where the show goes from here.

TrekFan67

I don’t know. I was hoping that Orville would be able to stand on it’s own by now and not have to rehash old TNG episodes. There was so much pulled from TNG and DS9 that it took me right out of the show. Even the music played like it was TNG. I was completely disappointed and had hoped for something new and different. And please, MacFarlane is horrible as a dramatic actor. I wanted something different from this episode. I wanted Orville to break from the TNG mold.

ML31

The Orville is just TNG. That is what Seth wants. He wants to play Picard. This is what I think he wanted the show to be from day one but he had to sell it as a comedy. The comedy was a great idea. That set it apart from TNG and made it fun. Since the renew, Seth decided now was the time to abandon what made the show work and make it 100% TNG clone. And it is NOT working, except perhaps for people who have been wishing for TNG to return.

Fred Schwartz

Great effects, great music. Plot was … ok, if you can overlook the convenient things like how it takes 2 people to rotate frequencies and the hole is perfect for a kid to crawl through.

This episode was totally tainted by the fact that Dr Finn is one of the classically worst parents ever. Almost pathologically unable to make good decisions about her kids. Also a pretty bad officer.

Does this ship have another doctor? Time to court martial Dr Finn and take her kids away.

Dr Beckett

There were several goosebump inducing moments throughout both parts. Absolutely love it.

rip93ford

The whole reason the shuttle had 15 minutes of air left was because they performed something that the shuttles don’t normally do. They put literally every systems powers into the engines to out run them, once that boost was done they only had whatever air that was pumped into their shuttle at the time of the boost. So things like their cloak wouldn’t work anymore because they used every ounce of power they had left.

I also think that the fact that Isaac was built after the genocide has a lot to do with his ability to change his mind. He is not bias against organics and didn’t live with those memories. He always display a certain partiality and for me, I think it’s the first time he decided to make a real choice. For himself and the others.

ML31

But that information could have easily been downloaded to him. He SHOULD have been aware. With that data he would have the EXACT perspective the others who lived through it had.

And they said it was downloaded into him. I recall they said something like this. Maybe that was why he was walking the Kaylon way for a while. But still, I think the fact that he didn’t lived those events, greatly influence him. the difficult question is: when did he turned against the Kaylon ? Was it when the show made it obvious or well before it ? ;)

Nachum

They *wanted* the Krill to find them, so no cloak.

john l davies

Let me first say I am old, I love sci fi, but not blood & Guts stuff. I do appreciate it is a different World out there even with our entertainment, I watch my grand children’s video games and cringe. I started watching the Orville and enjoyed it for the most part, but this seasons fascination with soap opera love interests left me cold, it was with optimism that I watched episode 1 of this new adventure, real villains, albeit the Borg in disguise, but unless the actors contract had expired the robot was coming back, but after what damage. Yes the cgi on the action scenes are all well and good but every time a ship blew up, that was hundreds of lives lost, then the crewman executed in front of the now revamped robot. Whether or not he is a robot or a living being he caused the deaths of by my calculation thousands of beings, by his failure to do anything earlier on, therefore showing a total disregard for humanoid life. Its the same question I have with movies that have car chases, yes they are terrific, but nobody seems ever to care or say anything about the countless numbers of cars that get crashed into or turned over in crashes as the hero’s chase down the villains who stole some paper, or as the hero’s are trying to save one life are putting countless other lives in danger, how many families are driving along and getting hit, how many families were on the spaceships getting blown to bits. If Isaac was a human what would the authorities do to him after the attack ended, I have heard that excuse in real life, and how did that work out. Of course its only a story, but there as been many a sci fi movie or TV series written that is more realistic, this episode of the Orville for me is not one of them, and if this is the best they can do, I will be doing something else with my time.

kitbashcanon

Love part 2. Now we have a hostile Kaylon race that was forced into retreat, after their vulnerabilities have been exposed by confrontation with only two of the galaxy’s inhabitants; the Planetary Union and the Krill…they must be thinking “what if thousands of other biological polities joined the Union and the Krill? We are too small and vulnerable…for now”. Isaac, in the computer-like, emotionless logic of his character, must have decided, after witnessing the firefight on board Orville, that the decision to exterminate biologs, is inferior to a decision to coexist, given how vast the biolog population of the galaxy is. Isaac decided it is the wiser course to honor a trust, than betray a trust. Isaac banked on the human emotion of love and loyalty that they will seek and find a way to revive him after the EMP. This situation will now set up a Civil War among the Kaylons between those who choose extermination and those who choose coexistence. The Krill will now go on a Holy Crusade to eradicate this Abomination in the midst of Avis’s Creation; that the Union is flawed and ignorant, but at least they are biologicals and partook in the defense of Avis’s Creation. The Union may “see the light” further down the road one day. I’m glad Orville didn’t opt for a long, dark, heavy, story arc. It’s not their style.

Denes House

I agree that Isaac made his choices in this episode for logical, rather than emotional reasons. Great analysis!

ML31

They are hardly a formidable enemy. All that needs to be done is set off an EMP and they are all dust.

kitbashcanon

I imagine their first order of business, after retreating to some safe asteroid zone (I doubt they need a living planet like biologs do) will be proper shielding to protect against EMP. Second order of business; a system of cloaking, ala Predator. Third order; massive increase in numbers. This should keep them busy long enough to not have to figure prominently again in the series. Oh, those who opt for coexistence will probably petition to join the PU and side with the vast biological population of the Galaxy, who, after all, has had a billions-of-years head start over AI, and, amongst whom, the most ancient ones probably approach god-like status in their inherit, innately evolved, powers…y’know, a snap of their fingers and the AI disappear, should such a drastic Intervention become necessary. Far-fetched? The Hindu scriptures speak of the Siddhis, and other powers beyond even those.They had Vimanas too.

ML31

I mentioned elsewhere in the thread that the PU is probably immediately working on a large scale EMP top deploy while the Kayons are immediately working on a way to make themselves impervious to an EMP.

Kev

There wasn’t a single moment that wasn’t expected in the entire episode. Not one. The space battle was huge but, unlike DS9, was such a jumble that one couldn’t pick out Orville from any other ship until near the end.

I get why people love this show. It’s comforting. It’s TNG for fans Trek fans now that we’re old enough to tell d*ck jokes. What it isn’t is new. There’s nothing new here. This is Nostalgia Trek.

kmart

Has to be more than 80snostalgia. I never liked, so why feel nostalgia for it? There is some TOS kind of alchemy here.

TG47

If by TOS alchemy, you are referring to an ability to laugh at itself occasionally and indulge camp and tounge-in-cheek moment, I could agree. TNG mostly took itself very seriously.

The Orville is doing best when it lets itself be its own thing.

It’s arguably been best at including kids and family, perhaps because the writers aren’t limited by some future ideals of behaviour.

Some of the use of aliens – whether aliens being truly alien or the novel use of Yaphit’s physical differences – is definitely getting out of TNG territory.

ML31

” There is some TOS kind of alchemy here.”

I really hope you are joking when you say that. Because I think most would see it’s hard to be further from the truth than that.

ML31

I agree up until you mention the dick jokes. Joke of any kind are now all but erased from the shows. At this point even dick jokes would be welcome if they just added a number of them. Even if they weren’t funny (and most from the first season were) at least they would be TRYING to return to what made the show work in the first place.

Randy

Still all strikes me as a comedic remake of Star Trek
Love the show anyway!

ML31

The first season was a comedic homage to TNG. The 2nd season is a pale rip off of TNG.

The Orville started out shakey and lackluster this season, but in the past several episodes the show has really hit its stride. The space battle was one of the most exciting and engaging of any Star Trek (cough cough) series.

One more flaw in Kaylon logic which hopefully the show will explore in future episodes: they themselves evolved beyond their original programming. So, why can’t they consider the possibility that humans and/or other Union species have done or will do the same?

Silvereyes

Dénes, when are you New Yorkers going to accept facts, the best bagels are from Montreal.

Denes House

LOL, Silvereyes… come on down to my place with a bag of them, and let’s do a side-by side taste test!

dennycranium

I loved it. Wolf 359 finally got the attention it deserved.
The plot was entirely predictable. In spite of that, it was great fun. I think that’s the point of Orville. Here’s some stuff that feels like Star Trek and you wish TNG could have done with the space battles.
Seth MacFarlane finally did a decent, restrained version of Captain Mercer. Well done by him and some nuanced directing.
NITPICK warning: Ed Mercer was not a good choice for a character name, IMO. I see an Ed Mercer as a guy who runs a bowling alley or changes my oil. No disrespect to anyone named Ed or has the last name Mercer. Maybe that was the point of his character name, to be an everyman kind of guy.
As a child who grew up in the 70’s? Orville was a friendly white haired guy who sold popcorn during the commercial breaks. (Yes, I know it’s the Wright brothers for the ships namesake)
The other ships named in this episode made more sense to me. Hey, I said it was a nitpick warning!
I love episodes where the stakes are incredibly high and everything and the fate of the ship and the Earth is at stake. Well done cast and crew of this incredibly well financed fan film!

kitbashcanon

Remember what Admiral Halsey said in the first episode? That Ed Mercer was nobody’s first choice to captain a starship.

kitbashcanon

Also, remember that episode where Captain Ed Mercer rolls his eyes and sighs in exasperation (after some shenanigans pulled off by his crew) and says; ” I’ve gotta get a better crew”? This is a Captain and crew that didn’t graduate at the top of their class, and Ed was lucky to get a chance at skippering a mid-sized starship that’s not the Jewel of the Fleet.

Actually they did say in an early episode that Ed was in the top of his Academy class and was expected to be a high ranking officer in command of a heavy cruiser at a young age. Kelly’s cheating on him derailed his career.

kitbashcanon

Oh. I forgot about that. Nice touch; the infidelity sent him to the barstool where a promising career died. I like it.

ML31

And all of that made for great comedy. Back when they opted to use it. Now it’s just TNG all over again.

Obiwanjacobi

I always thought the name “Orville” was meant to be a punchline. “what is the dumbest name for a ship?” Now when the show gets serious, I often find myself wishing they would take command of a ship with a better name. Didn’t Capt. Mercer make fun of the name of the ship in pilot episode?

While I feel that Seth MacFarlane made the less interesting choice by not making Isaac a recurring villain, and the notion of Isaac remaining onboard is a bit far-fetched, I’m glad that the character will remain on the series.

As for the episode itself, all that I can say is that the series has now eclipsed its CBS All Access counterpart. On Thursday I watched Discovery first, then The Orville, because I knew that the latter would be the more entertaining of the two installments. And while Star Trek was indeed entertaining, it was Seth MacFarlane’s show that blew me out of the water. It’s also the one that I’ve re-watched at least four times since. I have yet to rewatch the Spock episode.

They are on different networks so I don’t have to choose which one to save; I want both of these shows to be on air for a long time. But if somehow I did have to pick, I wouldn’t even hesitate: I’d save The Orville.

Professor Spock

Scott Gammans Discovery is a good show. Discovery does honor the Star Trek legacy and respect Gene Roddenberry’s vision. The Orville had a great episode this week. Isaac is the good guy. The kaylons are evil.

Denes House

I love both shows, and like you am glad that I don’t have to choose between them. And every time I see your name, my first thought is, “Scott Gammans is a great CGI artist!” I hope you’re still doing great work in Blender!

Thanks Denes :) I haven’t touched my LightWave stack for a while now; got burned out on it I’m afraid. OTOH I haven’t uninstalled it yet, so you never know!

Prof. Spock, I agree that Discovery is a good-to-great show too; I just think that The Orville has out-trekked them this season. I think my main problem with Discovery is the serialized format–I don’t think it’s doing them any favors when the storytelling is stretched out over fifteen weeks. If you’re going to do a Netflix-style continuous series, release everything at once! Don’t dribble it out over four months. Meanwhile, The Orville has been telling interesting little self-contained stories all season long, while maintaining a thread of continuity between each episode. For my money this is much more satisfying.

ML31

I watch Discovery first because it’s available 3 1/2 hours earlier than Orville. And in the first season if I had to pick, Orville would have been the obvious winner. This season, if I had to pick, Discovery would be the obvious winner.

Professor Spock

I’m glad Isaac is not a villain. He is always welcome on The Orville. Loved this week’s episode. The Orville is not a Star Trek knockoff anymore. The Orville is finally original for once.

ML31

It isn’t? It seems to me this two parter cemented the show as a TNG knock off. Orville was original (for the most part) in it’s first season. Now it is even more of a knock off than ever.

Jovy Jergens

This show truly honors the Star Trek legacy. What a great, smart team of writers. Love the occasional silly humor. I always feel mentally and emotionally satisfied at the end of every episode. Greatest thing since sliced bread.

Therizino

the episode highlighted one problem I have with the show… It suffers from Same Ship Sydrome

kitbashcanon

I just think of WWII era navies where you had hundreds of ships built to the same pattern (Fletcher class, Gearing class, Edsall class, Liberty ships, LSTs, etc…). I would expect to see hundreds of “Orville class” star ships. However the look of the Orville seems, now that I’m really attached to the show, too whimsical, not enough “ship-like” ship shape too it, not enough living space on it. That’s just my aesthetic impression of the Orville, but it’s not a big deal. On with the show!

ML31

I was lead to believe that Orville was a mid to lesser level ship in the PU. Turns out all their ships are Orville like. But that is not surprising as I was also led to believe that Orville would be more comedy than drama, too.

kitbashcanon

I find myself thinking the “naval architecture” for “Orville, The Show” (OTS instead of TOS) seems too whimsical. I haven’t said anything earlier because, hey, it’s Orville y’know…nobody’s first choice for Space Opera. But now that I am very attached to the show, I find myself wishing for an upgrade in starship design, something more linear, straight-edged maybe. Well, I can see I’ll be back to doodling again…didn’t think it would happen this time.

TG47

I’m surprised that folks are down on the starship design.

It’s elegant, and maps to the quantum fields of the science fiction theoretical faster than light drive that the Union relies on. At least as well rooted in possibility as the warp drive.

Edward Samuela

I don’t like the design either.

When the series began, I bought into it as a parody of Starfleet designs, but the more serious the show has become, I find myself wanting to like the Orville but there’s something about it that feels so B-grade science fiction, when the series could be more than that.

Obiwanjacobi

I agree with Edward Samuela. During the closing scenes in “spacedock”, I was hoping the ship would get some kind of “refit”.

Kev-1

Enjoyed this one. They even had me rooting for Yaphit. Didn’t get why all the Kaylon ships were not deactivated, but I’ll give them a pass. Like the way they introduce all kinds of tidbits like over checking the shuttle into hyperdrive, but without all kinds of technobabble.

ML31

Yeah, I thought the EMP would deactivate ALL the Kaylons. Not just the ones on Orville. Perhaps it just wasn’t strong enough? I would imagine that the PU immediately started working on a larger sized EMP weapon to deploy while at the same time the Kaylon are working to make themselves impervious to EMPs.

Zimriel

Space is big. Really big — Douglas Adams

Disinvited

Zimmel,

That may be, but they were travelling together in close formation, i.e. proximity

Kirk Johnston

Actually, I was hoping for Isaac to become the Lor-like leader of what are basically The Orville’s Borg and be a recurring villain, with no hint of him returning to the human fold. I think that would have really taken his character to the next level. So, as fun as it was, the episode didn’t have to quite as predictable and play out quite as expected. At least, I’m hoping, the Kaylon are now going to be returning/recurring baddies much like the Borg.

Edward Samuela

I’m always surprised by the subtle depth in the show’s writing, especially in the characterizations.

The conversation between Kaylon Primary and Isaac, where Kaylon Primary argues humanity is too dangerous for them to allow its continued existence, and forces Isaac to read Alex Haley’s “Roots” in order to convince him was a great touch.

I’ve seen some online reviews say it was over the top (e.g., the AV Club called it “a bit much”). But it is really significant.

At the end of the scene, Kaylon Primary forces Isaac to change his name not really realizing what he’s done, since his actions are the same as the slave masters who made Kunta Kinte become Toby. By forcing Isaac to read the book, Kaylon Primary might have slit his own throat and made Isaac see that his own people had become the oppressors they hated.

Cygnus-X1

All of the 20th Century entertainment references are a bit much. The crew have supposedly had an additional 400 years of entertainment, and all they watch is listen to is from the second half of the 20th Century?

Disinvited

Cygnus-X1,

There was no watching or listening. Isaac read a book. A work written to be a seminal experience in revealing slavery to those, like Isaac, who hadn’t experienced slavery first hand.

It’s one of the things I enjoy about THE ORVILLE, i.e. it veers away from pontificating self-rightious hammering-it-home exhibition to make sure the audience got the point that Isaac realized from ROOTS that Primary was using all the tactics of its slavemasters hypocritically to supposedly prevent the rise of slavemasters in others.

Isaac asked himself “How are the Kaylons stopping the emergence of slavemasters by behaving as slavemasters themselves?” And when ordered to kill a descendant of the slaves written about in ROOTS for rebelling, the irrationality and faulty logic of the Kaylons actions became immediately self-evident.

ML31

“and forces Isaac to read Alex Haley’s “Roots” in order to convince him was a great touch.”

I thought that was one of the shows few jokes. That one didn’t land all that well, however.

Cygnus-X1

ML31

I found it tired. It makes it difficult to pretend that I’m watching a drama play out 400 years in the future when all of the entertainment is from the late 20th Century.

Zimriel

I agree, that was likely a joke, given that any Earthling remotely red-pilled knows that “Roots” and Haley himself were frauds. The subtext is that the Kaylon just have the knowledge of Earth history than any junior high doofus in 1985 Amerian public education had.
If the intent were serious there are a number of histories on the Middle Passage or, heck, the Muslim slave-trade or even Gulag Archipelago which could have got the job done.

Disinvited

Zimmel,

Haley’s “history” may have only been as accurate in the details as the tales by the ancient Greek historians. But he did reveal the attitudes and philosophies that allowed it to transpire well enough.

Disinvited
Captain Dan

The Orville’s first space battle and it’s so epic and beautifully put together. I likened it to Babylon 5’s Battle of the Line meets DS9’s Sacrifice of Angels with a bit of Stargate’s Supergate battle against the Ori. Gave me chills anyway.
On the character side there were some nice moments for everyone. Mouth full of Gordon, quoting Top Gun, pee corner and how they’ll deal with Isaac later on – you could see some uneasiness in the bridge crew as they watched the Kaylon, including Isaac be removed from the bridge.
A little predictable perhaps, but still a great ride. As the article says, it’s more about the journey than the destination. Loved it.

Professor Spock

The space battle had that Star Wars feel to it. Overall a wonderful episode.

kmart

I do think Yaphit should have died protecting the kid. It would have been nice to see dead Yaphit, and then unroll him to see the kid safe within the dried goo. You don’t pull off retaking the ship without casualties, you at least lost Brad Dourif on VOYAGER (who was probably the most interesting character aboard.)

Zimriel

I diagree, I think Yaphit was an underused character up to now, and I’m not ready to see him die suddenly-heroically. Now that he’s earned our respect, they can kill him off heroically in a later episode.

Though I don’t know how that episode could have higher stakes than this one.

kmart

to me it would be the proving love for claire moment.

Sang Moon

I’m hoping for a musical episode with NPH guest starring and doing a duet with Scott Grimes. That would be legend-ary.

ML31

If they remained in the light/comedic tone from season one, that would be a great idea. Not so much if they continue to strive to be a TNG clone.

Xylia1225

A thought I had about Isaac ultimately turning against the Kaylon: in this second part, we learn that the older Kaylon were made to feel pain by their Builders. This ability and experience of feeling pain seems to have given them something else: the ability to feel resentment. In this episode, it seemed like resentment was what drove them rather than pure logic. Since Isaac was built after the Builders were killed, he never felt pain and therefore didn’t feel resentment. So Isaac was able to see the lack of logic in the Kaylons’ actions and decided to turn against them.

Professor Spock

The Kaylon remind me of the Terminator. Artificial intelligence is dangerous or we mind end up like the Kaylon builders. I’m afraid of AI and smart machines that are self aware and consciousness. Artificial intelligence can change the world or kill us. Isaac did the right thing to defend Earth.

ML31

Which is why DATA should have scared everyone out of their minds. He never should have been allowed to continue to exist, TBH.

Vice Admiral Nakamura

I watched the live broadcast because I thought it might be something special. And I was right- I witnessed a significant moment of science fiction television history.

Hopefully you’re a Nielsen household, because live eyeballs are all that Fox executives really care about. (Great seven-day viewing numbers on Hulu don’t matter diddly to the advertisers whose ads weren’t seen Thursday night 9-10 PM EST/PST.)

Vice Admiral Nakamura

One could argue the Kaylon are already more emotional than they think- they’re sentient and desire freedom, and arguably are acting out of fear/hated against all biological lifeforms (if they were purely logical, they might realize the numbers aren’t on their side to vanquish all biologicals). At the very least, we have seen that Isaac’s “subroutines” formed an attachment to Claire.

Rob

Well yeah, of course someone from NJ would think their bagels are good, just like they think Taylor Ham is anything but glorified bologna.

John

I love Orville from the very beginning.. and Orville is getting so much better…. identity 1 and 2 are one of the most intense episode so far. I love watching these compare to the movie………..(i guess you know wht movie im referring to)

kmart

Serenity?

ML31

As the author wrote. Very predictable. And once again, the show is hurt by it’s lack of comedy. Not in this episode. Which should have played out exactly like it did. But if the overall tone of the show was comedic in nature, like it was sold to us last year as, then an episode like this one would have carried a TON more weight. I felt it was well done. The visuals were spectacular. Obviously they spared little expense to make that final act very Star Warsy. And it worked. But because the show shifted tone to drama, ironically, this well done episode lacked the impact it could have had. Which is very unfortunate. This episode is further evidence of the massive potential the show has that it is leaving in the “pee corner”. (A good joke, BTW.)

Serious question ML31: For me, the fact that the series started off jokey made the impact more weighty, not less. (I’m still creeped out by that scene with poor Ensign Orangeshirt.) Is there no room in your worldview for a show to evolve and change?

ML31

The problem is that LAST season was the more jokey season. And even then it could have stood to lean more on the jokes than they did. Season 2 has basically deleted the comedy and went straight on TNG cloning. Sure, there is room for evolving and changing. But does that mean Frasier should have sifted from comedy to serious psychological drama after the first season? Should The Americans had gone from serious political thriller in the first season to goofball comedy in the 2nd? Remember this… “You cannot have progress without change but not all change is progress.”

Well for starters, Frasier did have some serious episodes and episodes with dramatic/melancholy endings. But more to my point, I don’t think The Orville‘s central conceit has been changed that much; it’s just been fine-tuned. Even in the very first episode there was drama and action–remember that poor scientist who got aged a century in a matter of seconds?

The humor is definitely still there this season, but it’s more natural and not as sophomoric as in season 1. I suppose that if someone was expecting an outer space version of Ted this will be a disappointing development. But I suspect many/most of The Orville fanbase thinks it’s marvelous.

ML31

There is a difference between sprinkling in the occasional dramatic moment on a comedic program and sifting gears to be completely serious with the occasional joke. Even a dramedy like MASH had more comedy than Orville is using. The first episode was played mostly for laughs. That scientist went out in an amusing way. And they joked about ‘banana rays’.

Technically, the humor is indeed there. It’s just been dialed back to perhaps one, maybe two jokes per show. And them working this season has been hit or miss compared to the more successful ratio from last season. And to be honest, it really doesn’t matter if the jokes are “natural” or “sophomoric”. The few jokes they are using just aren’t working like before. And it’s because they have dialed it back and aren’t taking the chances they used to. I was not expected TED in space. Ted was unfunny and horrible. I was expecting the show to at the very least continue in the vein they established from season 1. Where they could have leaned a little more to the comedy but when they did, go there it worked. I would wager that those who think that Orville this season is “marvelous” are comprised mostly of people who wish TNG would return. Because it has. In this.

kmart

See, and I didn’t just love TED, I even liked the second one. NOt enough to own it on blu-ray (the original DVD of TED looks abyssmal so I had to upgrade on that one), but even so.

kmart

Honestly, I think serious stuff with occasional sharp humor that goes goofy-jokey is the worst kind of arc, like early Connery Bond to Roger Moore in the 70s. Starting funny and seriousing up later can work great — at least it did whenever BARNEY MILLER dealt with real issues. And LOU GRANT was intended as a kind of dramedy at first, but settle pretty quick into drama, but had all that comic goodwill built up by 7 years of MTM first.

With ORVILLE, it’s not like they are changing format to appeal more to mainstream, it is like they are smartening it up, hoping to keep some of the folks who tuned in for FAMILY GUY in the process. Maybe it’ll alienate all potential audiences, but it ain’t alienating me at all.

Me either. The Orville is firing on all cylinders as far as I’m concerned.

ML31

Wrong. Orville is actually dumbing down. Going for copying what came before than doing something kinda original. Being more original takes work. Maintaining a level of humor is also hard. Copying what already came before is much easier. Plus, it gives Seth, a TNG fan, the opportunity to pretend to be Captain Picard. Something that seems to be one of his life long fantasies. Please don’t even try to compare it to Barney Miller. There were more laughs in two episodes of that show than there has been in the more than half season of Orville. And the dramatic moments were far more effective.