Review: ‘The Orville’ Fights For Peace In “Blood Of Patriots”

Review: “Blood of Patriots”

The Orville Season 2, Episode 10 – Aired Thursday, March 7, 2019
Written by Seth MacFarlane
Directed by Rebecca Rodriguez

As the USS Orville arrives to begin peace negotiations with the Krill, they give asylum to an old friend of Gordon Malloy’s, who is accused of terrorist attacks against the Krill. Malloy’s loyalty is pulled between his oaths to the Union and his debt to his friend.

“Blood of Patriots” succeeds as a stand-alone episode, delivering plot and character moments on its own terms decently. But it falls short as an installment in a serial adventure.

Peace talks with the Krill in “Blood of Patriots”

Warning: When in the course of a television review it becomes necessary to use SPOILERS, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires a warning. So, spoilers below!

 

This past week, I’ve been asking Trek fans, “How do you follow up ‘The Best of Both Worlds, Part 2’?” And the answer they’ve given—to a person—is “Family.” That’s not just a trivia question or a proof of fan credentials. It’s a truth, a glimpse at part of the genius that made Star Trek: The Next Generation‘s third and fourth season the unstoppable engine of quality that they were. Where do you go from a gigantic, fast-paced, action-packed two-part episode? You go deep on the consequences of the two-parter, you dive into the characters in a meaningful way, to show that what happened in the two-parter meant something.

“Identity, Parts 1 and 2” were The Orville‘s first foray into feature-length storytelling, and while it didn’t quite reach the heights of “The Best of Both Worlds,” it was an impressive story, well told. The battle sequence at the end of Part 2, reportedly the longest space battle in television history, was thrilling, leaving the viewer just trying to catch their breath. So, did The Orville learn the lesson of “Family”?

Yes and no.

Yaphit gets a medal in “Blood and Patriots”

LIFE, LIBERTY, AND THE PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS

“Blood of Patriots” opens with a ceremony investing Lt. Yaphit with the Sapphire Star for heroism. This is a great little bit of continuity to “Identity,” when Yaphit performed his heroic actions. This scene indicates to the viewer that this episode is connected to “Identity” and promises that the consequences of that episode will receive treatment here.

That promise is reconfirmed when the celebration is interrupted by a call from Admiral Perry (Ted Danson), who orders Mercer and the Orville to rendezvous with Krill ambassadors aboard the vessel Davoro’kos (“bringer of blood”) at Tarazed 3 to begin negotiations toward the signing of a Lak’vai pact—a precursor to a formal peace treaty, an assurance of good faith.

Arriving at Tarazed 3, the Orville detects the Krill ship, and something else: a damaged Krill shuttle, fleeing the Davoro’kos under fire. The shuttle requests emergency docking aboard the Orville. Crashing into the shuttle bay, the tiny ship turns out to contain an old friend of Gordon Malloy’s, Orrin Chambers, and his daughter Leyna. Chambers is a Union officer who claims he and Leyna have been detained in a Krill prison camp for 20 years and just recently escaped. The Krill claim that Chambers is responsible for the destruction of four of their warships—three in the month since the cease-fire with the Union. Chambers is allegedly responsible for over 1200 deaths, and the Krill want him back for interrogation and execution.

Mackenzie Astin plays Chambers as a man who is fiercely proud and deeply injured, and maintains just enough of a sense of nobility to keep us wondering whether he is being falsely accused. Scott Grimes – who is usually leaned on heavily for comic relief on The Orville –  mostly plays Malloy for the drama here, letting us see his deep friendship with Chambers and the loyalty he owes to a man who saved his life at the cost of 20 years of abuse at the hands of the Krill. Kudos to both of them for solid acting throughout this episode.

Mackenzie Astin guest stars as Chambers in “Blood of Patriots”

LONG TRAIN OF ABUSES

The Krill come aboard the Orville to demand Chambers’ extradition, but Mercer wants them stalled until he can figure out whether there is any validity to their claims. This leads to an extended sequence in which Talla Keyali not only subjects the Krill to greater and greater humiliation, requiring them to divulge personal information, give urine samples, and eventually submit to rectal examinations. The “pee corner” of the shuttle bay, one of the last episode’s small jokes, makes its return here. I found this sequence unfunny and unworthy of the second season’s more mature tone.

Chambers has suffered greatly in Krill custody. Malloy tells Mercer that Chambers’ wife was killed in a Krill attack on Outpost 73, when Chambers saved the lives of Malloy and a number of others by pulling them to safety, after which he and his daughter disappeared. Chambers has paid the price for that sacrifice for 20 years. His rage and agony are well-played and feel real. He is opposed to a cease-fire with the Krill. “You make a deal with tyranny, it only gets worse.”

The episode doesn’t pull any punches. It lays out the stakes very clearly—a lasting peace with the Krill could save billions of lives according to Admiral Perry, but it means sitting down at the table with people who have already killed and tortured tens of thousands of Union citizens. And the Krill worldview justifies these killings. They see the Union as “godless heretics by nature,” and Gordon calls them “…butchering, fundamentalist fanatics! We shouldn’t even be talking to them!” The overarching theme of the season—the question of whether or not there can be tolerance between people who differ so strongly in their worldview and values—is expressed vigorously here. We also saw this theme expressed with the Moclans in “Deflectors” and “Primal Urges,” with the Kaylon in “Identity, Parts 1 and 2,” and with the Krill in “Nothing Left on Earth Excepting Fishes.” What are the limits of tolerance? Can intolerance be tolerated? What if “they” seem bigoted to “us”? What if “they” have hurt “us,” badly? It’s an important theme, and I’m glad the show is taking it so seriously, and treating it at such depth.

The Davoro’kos departs the system for no reason, promising to come back in 12 hours, and demands to receive custody of Chambers upon their return, or there will be no Lak’vai and no peace.

Ted Danson as Admiral Perry in “Blood of Patriots”

A LITTLE REBELLION NOW AND THEN

When Chambers learns that the Union admirals are considering extraditing him to the Krill if he is found guilty of destroying those ships, he asks Malloy to help him steal a shuttle. Malloy is torn between his loyalty to Orrin and his oaths to the Union, not to mention his loyalty to Ed Mercer and the crew of the Orville. In a way, this theme contrasts with the actions that Isaac took in “Identity.” But even though there is a bit of a misdirect, trying to make us think that Malloy is going along with Chambers’ plan, his loyalties are not in serious doubt. Mercer needs to figure out how Chambers could have destroyed four Krill ships without any apparent weapon, and Malloy goes along with Chambers’ plan to help him figure it out.

This involves running through the halls of the Orville, shooting Talla with a stun pistol, and stealing a throat lozenge—er, I mean shuttle—to rendezvous with the Krill ship. Chambers’ daughter Leyna, who has seemed terrified all episode long, resisted a medical examination, and has not said a word, suddenly turns violently on Talla, holding a knife to her throat. Talla flips her into a wall with her Xeleyan strength, and Leyna bleeds duck sauce from her nostrils. Dr. Finn identifies her immediately as an Envall from Lakar B, a species whose blood becomes explosive in a nitrogen-rich atmosphere like that aboard a Krill ship. The crew deduces that Chambers had launched containers of Leyna’s blood at the Krill ships using the Krill shuttle’s torpedo launcher, destroying them. But the Union lozenge has no torpedo launcher! Chambers has taken Malloy on a suicide mission.

Talla confronts Chambers and Gordon in “Blood of Patriots”

WALL OF SEPARATION

As the Orville speeds to intercept the lozenge of death, Orrin reveals his plan and the container of Envall blood to Malloy. “What is that?” Malloy asks. “Justice,” answers Chambers. “Looks more like egg nog.” I laughed when I first saw the design of the “quantum storage cell” that Chambers steals to safely transport the blood. Lamarr explains that it uses a small antigrav field to transport quantum plasma from one place to another, but it looks for all the world like it a pneumatic suction container, which does the same thing at bank drive-thrus across the country.

Gordon refuses to go along with Chambers’ plan, a fistfight ensues, Gordon destroys the shuttle’s controls, and Chambers sets the blood for detonation. Gordon has to don a space suit to escape the lozenge via spacewalk, and Chambers refuses, blowing himself and the lozenge to smithereens. The Orville arrives just in time to retrieve Gordon via tractor beam.

The Lak’vai is signed, in a ceremony with a flourish of little speeches that neatly bookends the episode with the award ceremony at the beginning. And the episode closes with a touching little scene between Ed and Gordon, in which Ed reveals that he needs his friendship with Gordon because he can’t reveal his doubts and insecurities with any other member of the crew without undermining their confidence in his leadership.

The USS Orville tractors Gordon in “Blood of Patriots”

WE HOLD THESE TRUTHS

“Blood of Patriots” is a solid episode that picks up one of the major threads from the two-part “Identity” story: the new cease-fire with the Krill, who are ostensibly the Planetary Union’s main rivals in their part of the galaxy. Is this enough for “Blood of Patriots” to credibly pick up the consequences from the previous episode? In “Identity,” Captain Mercer was forced to seek the assistance of their longtime enemies in the face of a common foe. That shows that “Identity” meant something, right?

Sort of. But then we see Captain Mercer issuing orders to Isaac on the bridge of the Orville, and Isaac carrying them out efficiently, as if Isaac’s betrayal—leading to the deaths of dozens of nameless redshirted members of the Orville’s crew, along with the USS Roosevelt and ultimately the crews of many Union vessels—never happened. Even though The Orville still remains a show built around the standalone episodic structure, the show skillfully built up to “Identity” with a series of character moments throughout the second season. All indications were that it would take time for Isaac to fully regain the trust of the crew and for this issue to not even merit a mention in “Blood of Patriots” is a serious misstep.

Nevertheless, “Blood of Patriots” is an affecting and effective episode when judged on its own merits. It does carry on the main theme of the season in a compelling way, and while it feels padded at times with too many transitional shots of the Orville in space, it is competently directed. I disliked playing the Krills’ humiliation at the hands of security for laughs, but perhaps this will come back to haunt the Orville like their demeaning of Isaac did in “Identity.” Here’s hoping.

Talla delays the Krill in “Blood of Patriots”

BRIEF BITS

  • The episode title comes from a famous quote by Thomas Jefferson, “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.”
  • Yaphit is the second Orville crewmember to receive the Sapphire Star award, following Alara Kitan, who earned it in the first season episode “Command Performance.”
  • Terazed Three is an actual, real-life location in space. According to wikipedia, Terazed is a common name for the star Gamma Aquilae, in the constellation Aquila.
  • The music in this episode is tense and excellent. As the Orville approaches Terazed Three, the music reminded me of the approach of the Enterprise to the Reliant in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, and the battle music reminded me of John Williams’ Return of the Jedi score.
  • Talla gets two chances to showcase her Xeleyan strength in this episode, ripping off the door of the damaged shuttle, and flipping Leyna into a wall while at knife-point. More of this, please!
  • It has been 30 days since the events of “Identity, Part 2.”
  • 20 years ago, Gordon had a mohawk. Sadly, when we see an old photo of Malloy and Chambers together at the end of the episode, we don’t get to see Scott Grimes in full-on Mr. T mode.
  • The holographic game we saw Isaac playing with the Finn boys in “Identity, Part 1” is called Bolodon discs.
  • Talla teaches Leyna to play the pelpifa, a Xeleyan instrument that combines musical tones with holographic patterns.
  • Gordon shows Leyna the movie Planet of the Apes – how would the climax of this movie make any sense to someone who had never been on Earth?
  • Gordon drinks scotch, neat. Talla drinks a Xeleyan rum.
  • The Krill ambassador is played by Berman era Trek alumnus John Fleck. Best known for the role of Silik on Star Trek: Enterprise.
  • This was Ted Danson’s second appearance as Admiral Perry, the last being “All the World is Birthday Cake.”

John Fleck as the Krill ambassador in “Blood of Patriots”

NOTABLE QUOTABLES

  • “Maybe we could offer the Krill something else instead [of Chambers]?” “Like what?” “Free back rubs, or something?” “Yeah listen, I gotta get back to this.” Gordon and Ed
  • “You know what scared me the most? The knowledge that someday, years down the line, there would come a time when her absence would feel like the norm, when I would resign myself to her loss, and my life – the life that I accepted as real – would be the one without her in it. And now that is my reality.” Orrin in a touching speech
  • “So basically all this guy’s done is steal a bunch of pens from the office. What are we missing?” Ed Mercer
  • “I’m sorry. It’s not easy to put duty before a friendship, especially when someone dies.” “Orrin died a long time ago, back in that Krill prison. The man who died in that shuttle was someone else.” Ed and Gordon

Scott Grimes in “Blood of Patriots”


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Professor Spock

I’m happy the Planetary Union and the Krill agreed to a ceasefire. Maybe they will sign a peace treaty soon. Both of them are strong enough to fight the Kaylon. I feel bad for Isaac; his race are Savage creatures. Another great episode from The Orville

Dan

It was less “Family” and more “The Wounded” where Bob Gunton plays a Starfleet Captain gone rogue, killing Cardassians who are violating their treaties with the Federation, and Chief O’Brien has to talk him down and bring him in before Picard is forced to destroy his ship. Notable for O’Brien beaming aboard Captain Maxwell’s ship while its shields were up.

navamske

The problem with stunt-casting is that when you see (e.g.) Admiral Perry, you think, “Oh, there’s Ted Danson.” I had the same problem with Whoopi Goldberg on TNG.

Athus

Good show, too bad it seems to be getting cancelled.

Not yet renewed is not the same thing as cancelled. Fox typically doesn’t announce their full slate of renewals until May.

DetroitBORG

The Orville was renewed early in season 1 because of the production demands for a sci-fi show. Without a renewal before this season ends, Season 3 seems to be in doubt.

And yet, they’ve gone ahead and secured California tax credits for the next season… so I don’t think it’s all doom and gloom yet.

ML31

Where is news of that? If it is getting canceled they did it to themselves with their amazingly weak 2nd season.

Who cares

All sci-fi on Fox is doomed. Genre and network are enough to guarantee it.

I thought I read on this site a few weeks ago it was already renewed for Season 3?

Galrand64

Cancellation means nothing anymore in these days of Hulu, Amazon and Netflix. Many shows have found new life on these services. Shows have also jumped to other networks (i.e. Brooklyn Nine-Nine), so even if Fox cancels it, it doesn’t necessarily mean it will be going away.

There might be a couple of things working in the show’s favor:
1. Fox might renew it just because it’s Seth MacFarlane and he’s made the network a ton of money, so they might want to keep him happy.
2. They cancelled Firefly and might not want to make the same mistake.

Danpaine

Nice review, Denes. I also got a chuckle out of the “Run all the red lights,” line. I think the review was spot-on – a solid yet pedestrian episode, with great acting by those who play Talla, Gordon and Chambers. For those pining for more humor in this season 2, I’m with you on this one. There were a number of instances (imo) where laughs could have been inserted without sacrificing the tone of the episode, but alas they weren’t taken advantage of. I think perhaps it would have served the continuity of the show better if Isaac were to be off-screen for a couple of episodes following “Identity,” with a line or two referring to him as perhaps ‘taking time to recalibrate in his quarters’ or something – agreed that he shouldn’t be on the bridge in a sensitive position like nothing happened, yet. I do like how The Orville continues to explore many of the moral conundrums facing society, relevant yet not too heavy-handed and not at all preachy or boastful in its delivery. To me the show seems to know to stay in its own lane, subtle, and keep it light, which I appreciate. And it’s one heck of a good-looking production with excellent musical scores, imo. Enjoyable episode, looking forward to next week. And, great shout-out to Planet Of The Apes, a classic indeed.

ML31

Once again, a weak episode. Seems season 2 is filled to brim with weak episodes. This show has TOTALLY lost it’s way. Unless, of course, being a cheezy TNG clone was the goal. And I really believe that is what Seth wanted it to be from day one. Still waiting for what I read were a few comedic episodes. Only a few left and we still haven’t seen one.

Regarding the reviewers comment about following up Best of Both Worlds with Family… That was a bad comparison. Again, the problem with Family was I honestly didn’t care how Picard felt after being assimilated nor did I care about his brother and that old man brother wrestling match was just embarrassing to watch. Even the brilliant charisma of Patrick Steward couldn’t save that turd of an episode. And I don’t even expect Orville to do any kind of follow ups to anything. If they do, OK I guess. But this show didn’t set itself up to be serious drama. It set itself up to be an uneven mix of comedy and drama. A mix that even in the beginning it was obvious would have been better off leaning a little more to the comedy. It is just unfortunate they have abandoned the comedy altogether. If they continue this trend, next season may be my last watching the show.

You didn’t care about exploring how our heroes were affected after the events in “The Best of Both Worlds”? Do you only watch science-fiction shows for the pew pew pew pew?

Olaf

Seems that way. Family was a great episode, especially Jean-Luc’s interaction with his brother Robert!

Danpaine

Agreed. Family was a great follow-up to BOBW.

ML31

No, it DOESN’T seem that way. Not at all. Again, Family could only work if Picard was someone the audience cared about. Since I never really cared much about Picard that means I couldn’t care less about his irritating brother or home life.

Well, it seems we understand your views on TNG characters ML31, but please do not generalize that to the entire audience.

In fact, it seems to be fairly well established that there was and is a large Trek audience that cares very much about Picard as a character…which is why TPTB and Patrick Stewart are about to produce a new vehicle for him.

ML31

All I did was explain how wrong Olof’s interpretation of my comment was. You have done the same thing I did. Presented an opinion. The only difference is you presented your opinion as a generalization by speaking for the bulk of fandom. And for the record, your conclusion is only one possible conclusion. There are plenty other logical possibilities.

ML31

In order to care about how the characters were affected from BoFW one needs to care about the characters themselves to begin with. The question you raised makes no sense. The “pre prew” can be fun but it means little if there is no meaty story behind it. TNG had some pretty meaty stories but none of the better ones were character dependent. In fact, the worst episodes of the entire show nearly all were ones meant to flesh out the existing characters. Family falls into that category. It’s about the characters only. Characters that are dull and lifeless to begin with. Why would I care about Picard and his annoying brother?

Get ‘im, everyone! ML31 is obviously a crossover from the Terran Empire, because it seems clear he watched a completely different version of Star Trek: The Next Generation from the rest of us.

;)

Cygnus-X1

Scott Gammans

Yeah, I’ve been through that with ML. We have very different values about TNG. I do agree with ML that TNG is primarily a theme-driven show and many of the show’s best episodes rely on thought-provoking concepts relating to science, politics, ethics, morality, metaphysics and the human condition in an objective sense, rather than character development in an emotional sense. TNG, like its predecessor, TOS, is a show more for the head than for the heart. But, TNG does make a foray into character-driven shows early on, with episodes like “The Measure of a Man,” which brilliantly combines the intellectual appeal of an inquiry into consciousness with the emotional appeal of its effect on Data as a conscious being. And TNG does have some character-driven episodes, like “Family,” that work very well. Though, obviously, if you don’t care about the characters then you’re not going to care about their development. The main difference between the character development in TNG and DS9 is that the development of some characters — Picard, Riker, Beverly, Geordi — is limited to single episodes after which the character is reset, and we don’t see the character grow or change much over the course of the series. Data and Wesley are the notable exceptions, and to a lesser degree, Worf, in TNG.

I get it. If you only care about the action in action-adventure stories and view characters as interchangeable props that service the plot, then I suppose one would not care a fig about a character’s backstory, motivations, and desires. Seems like a limited perspective though.

ML31

No Scott Gammans. Obviously you DON’T get it. You are speaking in absolutes. A show with terrible and boring characters you don’t care about can still be watchable for the situations those dull people are in. A show with fascinating characters can work even if their situation is not the most intriguing. Obviously the preference is for fascinating characters and engaging situations together.

The problem TNG had that the other spin offs didn’t was that it was created by Gene Roddenberry himself. He wanted humans to be “evolved” and in his mind, that meant perfect. Unfortunately in the world of story telling his idea of perfection equaled dull. Everyone HAD to get along. Everyone HAD to have no flaws. This changed in the other shows. Who had more compelling characters in their casts. The limited perspective in this case, came from Gene Roddenberry himself. Not the audience.

Jeff

I thought the “magic explosive blood” was a real TNG-style bit of ridiculous sci-fi (as in, waaay too convenient). And everyone’s OK with Isaac now?! He was responsible for how many Union ships being destroyed and crew members killed?? WTF??

Galrand64

And the crew of the Enterprise went back to normal when Picard came back even though he had helped the Borg (not by choice) destroy the fleet at Wolf 359. And he retained command.

Disinvited

At the beginning of the Part 1, Isaac was deactivated remotely by his Kaylon creators, i.e. given no opportunity to exercise choice in the matter, and he was executed in a most undignified matter.

Later the Kaylons reveal they are irrational, in that they could not brook their creators being able to deactivate them. They found it so distasteful they committed mass genocide of their creators to prevent its eventuality ever arising. So what’s the 1st thing they, Isaac’s Kaylon creators install in Isaac? A remote deactivation switch! Something which Isaac, as a Kaylon, must find equally distasteful to the point one would expect that he would eventually turn on his creators, which he does – not to mention for all the hot air they blow about treating Isaac with dignity on top of the remote death they give him a most undignified one, a pratfall.

In a hero’s fall from grace arc, one way the flawed hero redeems himself is he sacrifices his life with no expectation of resurrection. Isaac does this. He makes the supreme sacrifice for his friends, he makes the choice to self deactivate, death for him.

I don’t know what further act you would have him do to redeem himself? Just because the gods smiled on him and resurrect him does not lessen the fact Isaac made the supreme sacrifice. How many times does he have to die for his sins to satisfy you? And I remind you, Isaac did not resurrect himself. His fellow crewmen thought his selfless act made him worthy of it.

Now if you want to harp on something about his being back on the bridge, how about that, like TNG’s Data before him, both androids are revealed to have remote features that can be activated and will severely impede their abilities to perform their duties optimally? And both are put right back at their stations with no discussions on how best to deal with these features in the course of performing their duties? What if the Kaylons find out Isaac has been reactivated and remotely kill him again in the middle of his performing some vital Union function? What if Data receives some signal that his homing circuits misinterpret as a recall in the middle of battling the Borg?

Ariella_Stark

I have one question regarding this episode that I thought felt unresolved. What the heck happened with the chick that pretended to be Orrin’s daughter? They put the force field around the room but then never mentioned her location again. Did her blood actually cause part of the ship to explode and the Orville now has a huge hole in its side kept at bay only by the field they placed over the room or…? Did I miss something?

alphantrion

I guess they probably cut the scene out. Perhaps they thought having her explode would be overkill or they want to bring the character back somehow so they didn’t want a definitive ending for her.

Talla told the computer to extract all nitrogen from the room.

So, no boom, but how they managed after that is not explained.

Ant

Maybe they handed her over to the Krill.

Carefully.

The crew have just been through a horrific, traumatic ordeal. Multiple crew members killed. Probably most of Talia’s staff gone.
And the ep starts with everyone in a cheerful mood in the crew mess…..

The ep was a good story as a standalone airing at a later date. This episode should have been more dramatic. More internal conflict. More like MASH (which it wants to be like).

TD-0013

While the various things Talla subjects the Krill to are indeed undignified, the scene keeps to the comedic (even sophmoric at times) roots that MacFarlane is famous for, as well as what makes the Orville different from OG ST:TNG.

If this type of humor is stripped away from the series in the interest of “maturity”, then we’ll be left with a carbon copy of ST.

Disinvited

Dénes House,

I don’t believe any ET watching THE PLANET OF THE APES with a human would need to know anything about the STATUE OF LIBERTY to recognize it as clearly a giant statue of a human, from a civilization prior to the contemporary ape civilization that the movie depicts?

kmart

This one just didn’t do it for me at all., I was on the verge of dozing off a couple different times. Maybe Gordon just can’t carry a storyline.

T F

“Throat lozenge”? Is there a reference I’m not understanding here, or is it just not funny?

Denes House

Probably both. :) I think the Orville shuttle design looks like a particularly uninspired minivan, or a throat lozenge.

Ernie

Season 2 is so much better than Season 1. The vast majority of the slapstick/potty humor is gone, which would suck if it wasn’t replaced with good stories. Season 2 stories are every bit as good as ST:TOS. Like Discovery, The Orville really seems to have found its footing in its second season. I hope they keep going with this.

ML31

Wow… We couldn’t disagree more. Season 2 is so much WORSE than season 1 BECAUSE the humor is gone. Season 1 worked solely because of the humor! The weak episodes were the ones that took themselves more seriously. They went from something new and daring to ‘been there, done that’. It’s very disappointing.

Cygnus-X1

Expecting a deep dive into Isaac’s character is something that would never have occurred to me after “Identity,” a two-parter whose storytelling was ultimately so disappointing as to substantially lower my expectations for this show.

That said, I found “The Blood of Patriots” an entertaining episode with decent storytelling, up until it takes a turn for the stu-pid at the end, which is becoming a recurring feature of The Orville. Roger Ebert, in his movie reviews, referred to stories that rely on characters being excessively dim-witted (relative to the diegetic logic of the story) as having a “stu-pid plot” or alternately an “idi0t plot.” “The Blood of Patriots” qualifies for Ebert’s criticism toward the end, when Gordon keeps chatting with Oren after the latter has revealed his nefarious plans and the fact that he’s been lying to everyone about his own actions all along. Gordon, at this point, has already fired his stun weapon at Talla, his crew-mate, thereby establishing that he has no compunctions about stunning someone he cares about. As Gordon holds Oren at gunpoint while the two are aboard a shuttle speeding toward their mutual oblivion, the former should immediately stun the latter upon hearing the latter’s confession, and then steer the shuttle back to safety. Instead, of course, Gordon chats with Oren for 20 seconds or so while fumbling with the shuttle’s controls, allowing the criminal to jump Gordon and nearly get them both killed. Why does Gordon keep chatting with Oren instead of stunning him? So that the ending can be more action-packed and work out in such a way that Oren dies and Gordon is altogether rid of him and the conflict that he represents. It’s a tidy, cliche ending that ruins the episode and had me yelling at the screen: stun him! stun him! just stun him! stun him! stun him! STUN HIM! for 20 seconds.

Cygnus-X1

Another logic problem in this episode is that Oren’s excuse, that he didn’t know about the cease-fire with the Krill because he was in one of their prisons, is actually valid. If Oren didn’t know about the cease-fire, then his act of destroying Krill ships could be justifiable. He’s been tortured at their hands, and when he finally escapes, he kills any Krill that he happens upon. That course of action might not get the social-progressive seal of approval, but killing an enemy whose been torturing you is certainly understandable. And a strong case could be made that Oren, already likely suffering from severe psychological and psychosomatic disorders, deserves no punishment for his actions. Of course, we later learn that Oren wouldn’t have copped a plea, even if he’d been offered one, because he was bent on killing more Krill. But when the story turns on whether or not Oren did what the Krill accuse him of — and if he did it, then he must be remanded to them for more torture and eventual execution — it’s a false choice and a hole in the plot. The admiral and Mercer, both, should have looked into the issue of whether Oren should have or could have been aware of a cease-fire that was announced while he was being tortured in a Krill prison.

kmart

It’s like they’re not even thinking anything through most of the time. Wouldn’t these issues arise when the story is getting broken?

Cygnus-X1

kmart

Honestly, this sort of incompetence in storytelling befuddles me. It’s obviously not limited to The Orville. The BR Trek movies are replete with it, as are the TNG movies, as are other movies and TV shows. I just don’t get how a studio can spend tens and hundreds of $millions to produce an episode or movie from a script that no one seems to have proof-read. An essay graded by an average college professor gets more thought and attention than these scripts seem to, and the professor obviously gets paid a tiny fraction of what the producer and director get. Is it owing to Hollywood nepotism? That studios are hiring people based on relationships rather than talent? Is it that a sycophantic, yes-man mentality has been inculcated such that no one wants to risk their job by pointing out that the story doesn’t make sense? I’m just a simple caveman sitting at home, and these errors stick out to me like a sore thumb. I honestly don’t get how these big-time Hollywood people are so oblivious. I guess so long as a product is profitable, there’s typically little incentive to make it better. And when it stops being profitable, the studio will simply discontinue it, and the producers will blame it on things other than themselves.

kmart

Well, part of it as you say is the ‘don’t argue with success’ aspect, but that alone isn’t it, because otherwise rewriting wouldn’t be the runaway growth industry it has become in the last 40 years. A lot of the issues we seize on are not story problems that require jettisoning the whole concept — though at least a few probably deserve that fate anyway — and yet those course corrections aren’t made. The whole point of doing a group story break is to get professional immediate feedback as well as creative input, and unless you’ve got a single lunkhead showrunner who only has the writing staff around to act as props that nod up and down (and I don’t buy into that for the most part either), I just don’t see the why of the way these issues get missed.

Every once in a while, I can see a room full of pros missing something, but not on a regular basis. My basis for that is a real howler that had the potential to derail the pearly jewel of FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE, my favorite (and easily the best) Bond film. They were screening the finished film when one of the makers’ kids pointed out that a guy appearing in one scene had been found killed in an earlier scene at St. Sophia mosque. And somehow an entire production had managed to miss this fact, on script, during shooting, and even viewing rough cuts! That seems inexplicable to me, yet the story has come from various sources (including I believe the film’s director), so pro folks can and do miss stuff singly and in a group.

Cygnus-X1

kmart

Groupthink, I suppose.

despair. com /products/meetings?variant=2457301507

ML31

That sort of incompetence in storytelling would not be an issue had they dropped in a lot of jokes along the way. Then the point could still be made but the lighter tone removes the flaws in plotting.

Depends on one’s idea of what’s good humour.

I don’t think the 1990s sophomoric potty humour audience has a sufficiently large overlap with a Trek-type geek audience to make a viable market for a network show.

TOS had a tongue-in-cheek campy edge that overcame plot silliness at times.

However, when Discovery (season 2) goes for the trippy mycelium or a bit of camp with S31, it seems a lot of TOS fans are calling them out for not being serious enough…

ML31

Of course, humor is subjective. I am not a humor snob. To me, funny is funny be it intellectual wit or fart jokes. If it makes me laugh I’m happy with it. Obviously TPTB don’t consider the Trek fanbase to be enough to put a show on network television or CBS would have done just that. Fox determined that such a show needed a twist that could reach out to more than just the Trek world. So when Seth sold them (and I’m assuming that is how he sold the show as it was marketed as such) a humor laden TNG show, they were on board. TOS had one humorous episode. Period. There were others that had slightly more humorous elements than others but none were as straight forward comedic at the Tribbles. It hardly relied on humor. The opposite, in fact.

It’s not just TOS fans who are calling out STD for their silly handling of section 31 and Space Hitler. Many across the board do not seem to like what they are seeing. Not sure where some get this idea that TOS fans all like and dislike the same Trek elements. That does not appear to be the case at all. I could go on and on with paragraphs for why the “campy” section 31 does not fit with the rest of the show. But that can be saved for another time.

kmart

People who laughed themselves silly at TVH were groaning through TFF, so context matters. Now TVH does have that ‘yes/no/yes/no/yes and so do you classic bit, but a lot of the laughs there aren’t that good, while TFF, which has a couple gems ‘I liked him better before he died’ and the ‘you can talk shakahree till you’re green in the face’ with a perfect beat by Shatner following, is mostly remembered for deck signs and Scotty hitting his head and the fan dance.

ML31

Actually after laughing at NOTHING in TVH I found that the humorous elements in TFF worked quite well. The no yes no yes thing was eye rolling. Scotty talking to the computer induced facepalms. But the “I am sorry. Were we having a good time?” stuff from the campfire was enjoyable. And Scotty hitting his head on the beam still makes me laugh to this day. The fan dance? Eh… Not so much. That felt like it was a left over element from TVH. But then TFF wasn’t very good. But was still better than its predecessor.

PS… Shifting gears I just wanted to say that I do agree with you that From Russia with Love was the best of the Connery Bonds.

Vulcan Soul

I’m not watching The Orville but this review and last week’s make me actually curious. It sounds like this show not only has much more to say about contemporary issues than Discovery, but most importantly does so in a much more mature and useful fashion, considering both sides, challenging preconceptions and giving a complex characterization of antagonists rather than the laughable cartboard cartoons of Discovery. This sounds more like Star Trek VI than Ming the Merciless! I really dislike juvenile jokes like the ones this show got known for, but the juvenile writing of Discovery overall makes me seriously reconsider.

Danpaine

VS, to me yes, it is much more in tune with contemporary issues, in a more mature and importantly, less heavy-handed way. It’s messages are clear, subtle and light, yet relevant. At least that’s what I’m getting out of the show. YMMV, but my wife and I enjoy it immensely.

VS yes, the Orville has it’s moments, and is worth a solid try.

Which is why I really appreciate that Trekmovie has adopted it enough to review it and create a space for our discussion of it.

It is still struggling with unevenness, and it’s a different unevenness than the early seasons of TNG for example.

But every so often the Orville impresses me by looking at things in a way just slightly skewed from what Trek would have done, and challenging the thinking.

I pretty much agree with all of the points that you made in this review, Denes, but I was really, really disappointed that there seems to have been no consequences for Isaac (other than his effective exile from his home planet). Even moreso than the fact that he is back at his station on the bridge like nothing ever happened, I could not believe that he was at the ceremony for Yaphit. A ceremony where our favorite space blob was awarded a medal for his heroism battling the Kaylon!

Isaac should have spent the rest of the season confined to quarters or at least not back at his usual post. Everyone on the ship should be avoiding him like the plague. Hell, Talla told Klyden to walk the other way if they were ever in the same corridor, and he’s merely an ignorant bigot; Isaac is indirectly culpable for the deaths of most of Talla’s security team, not to mention poor Ensign Airlock and the crews on all of those destroyed Union starships!

But nope, there was Isaac, front and center at the medal ceremony and surrounded by the crewmates he didn’t help murder, AND EVERYONE IS FINE WITH HIM BEING THERE.

I am just going to pretend that this episode never happened, and cross my fingers that we see some serious Isaac shunning in the remaining episodes this season (either that, or some serious heroics that rehabilitate Isaac in the eyes of his crewmates). If that doesn’t happen, I think it will seriously impede the audience from taking the show seriously. That would be hugely disappointing – with the shift in tone for season two, Seth MacFarlane obviously wants the show to be viewed in the same light as TNG. But unless there is a huge course correction, and soon, the plotting of Isaac’s character will have been seriously mishandled.

Cygnus-X1

I think it will seriously impede the audience from taking the show seriously. … …unless there is a huge course correction, and soon, the plotting of Isaac’s character will have been seriously mishandled.

I’m trying to think of something that sounds less glib than “too late,” but nothing’s coming to mind. It seems the producers have already decided to treat Isaac basically as a human character with some relatively minor idiosyncrasies. He’s warm and fuzzy and has feelings, just like a regular person. So, then, why is Isaac interesting? Because he looks and sounds different, of course! Hooray for diversity!

Not being taken seriously could work in the show’s favor if it decides to go back to being a comedy, but that seems unlikely at this point.

ML31

“Not being taken seriously could work in the show’s favor… ”

Not being taken seriously already DID work in the show’s favor. But I think it obvious by now that Seth sold the show as a comedy to get it on the air and ultimately shifted it to become his personal TNG fan film. With him playing Picard.

It seems the producers have already decided to treat Isaac basically as a human character with some relatively minor idiosyncrasies.

A human wouldn’t be welcomed back with open arms so quickly, either. Imagine if Himmler suddenly had a change of heart near the end of World War II and took actions that saved millions of lives. I’d be grateful for his help, but I’d also look at him askance for the rest of his life every time I recalled all the awful things he did before his change of heart.

I hate to admit it but I’ve swung around to ML31’s viewpoint on this subject. It’s bonkers that Isaac is not only allowed to remain on the Orville, is not only manning his usual station on the bridge, but is also socially reintegrated with the crew.

Yeah, I’m going to just have to try to let this go and move past it, or I’ll never be able to look at The Orville the same way again. I enjoy the pew pew pew as much as the next guy, but without believable characterizations and consequences for actions taken, the notion of “plot” becomes meaningless.

Cygnus-X1

Scott Gammans

I agree. I made the same point about the show pressing reset on Isaac in Identity, Part 2. None of his characterization in Identity, Part 2 really makes sense, if you think it through. And it didn’t make sense in “A Happy Refrain,” either. But, for whatever reasons, the show’s priority with that character is apparently to go for a (wait for it) happy refrain that panders to the audience rather than using him for meaningful drama. And, as you and ML both said, the happy refrain route could work if the show were mainly a comedy. You still need some sort of logic to a comedy, in order to keep the audience in that world, but it can be more relaxed and whimsical. But, when the show is taking itself seriously, the plot holes and internal logic problems just don’t play well and it has nothing to fall back on. Further, the show is setting the audience up in one episode to expect meaningful character development and then breaking that promise in the next. And all of the action and CGI in the world won’t hold my attention when it’s in service of a lame, meaningless and nonsensical story. I appreciate that MacFarlane loves TNG — so do I. But, he doesn’t seem to have the knack for that kind of show. He should either stick to comedy or hand the writing over to someone better equipped to make The Orville the kind of sci-fi drama that he wants it to be.

Disinvited

Scott Gammans,

Your example would have more impact on me if I didn’t know the US employed war crimes guilty Nazis after WW II to save us from the godless Commies.

Both incredibly stupid acts. And the US didn’t deport the survivng employed Nazis until 2014 but continued their Social Security payments!

Obiwanjacobi

When I saw Issac on the bridge, I immediately wondered if an actor’s contract requires screen time to get paid? I agree with all here that the character Isaac has no place on active bridge duty, even after 30 days. Perhaps they could not shoe-horn him into the episode any other way?

ML31

I see no problems with him being on the bridge or being an active member of the crew. He’s a great character.

And yet you are on record stating that Data was an existential threat to the Enterprise on TNG. This makes no sense. Data didn’t have built-in head cannons or participate in a biological genocide against the Federation.

Disinvited

Scott Gammans,

While both have OFF switches, Isaac’s is far more easily accessed by Yaphet than any TNG crewman can get at Data’s.

Data, may not have engaged in genocide, but a model indistinguishable from him did, and Data joined that model in war crimes against the Federation.

ML31

Both points I was about to bring up. Further, it didn’t take much to get Data to turn. In fact, some of them were predetermined in his programming. Soong only knows what else might be predetermined for him. In that sense, Data is more scary than Issac. If people are totally fine with Data then it stands to reason they should be totally fine with ISSAC. The only difference for me is that I find Issac to be an interesting character. More so than I ever found Data to be. And as such, I’d rather not see him admonished of removed from the bridge.

Cygnus-X1

Data turned to the dark side in “Descent,” because Lor zapped him with some kind of mind-ray that affected his programming. Data’s normal programming, it was established early on in TNG, includes a directive that he cannot harm human life, nor by omission of action allow humans to be harmed. Isaac, on the other hand, served aboard the Orville for a year and a half essentially as a covert agent for a hostile race of beings considering whether to exterminate humanity. Isaac, then, went along with the Kaylon after they’d decided to exterminate humanity, only to switch sides and betray his people when his robotic heart-strings were tugged by the sad face of a little boy. So, there’s a significant difference between Data and Isaac in terms of how their respective characters are defined by each show and in their respective motivations.

ML31

Yes. The difference is Data can be programmed (or even zapped) to do anything. And has been pre-programed as well for who knows what. The point is, at worst Data is just as fallible as Isaac.

Cygnus-X1

ML31

The difference is Data can be programmed (or even zapped) to do anything.

Geordi was similarly “zapped” by Romulans in “The Mind’s Eye” and “programmed” to try to assassinate Picard. The point is not that a crew member who has been mind-controlled to do bad things is no longer trustworthy after s/he recovers from the mind control. The point is that Isaac was essentially indifferent about exterminating humanity from the start, and he doesn’t (or shouldn’t) have feelings or programming to fundamentally preclude him from harming humans. Rather, Isaac has a sort of ill-defined, capricious fondness for certain humans (like Ty) but not for others (like the Orville security personnel whom the Kaylon murdered). That’s the difference between Isaac and Data.

And [Data] has been pre-programed as well for who knows what.

We know what because we were told at the beginning of the series that Data’s programming precludes him from harming humans or allowing them to be harmed.

The point is, at worst Data is just as fallible as Isaac.

That’s not the point. Or, at least, it’s not my point. My point is that, with respect to humanity, Data is programmed to be a good-guy whereas Isaac has no such ethical commitment.

ML31

Was Geordi “programmed” to act in a dangerous way? Is Data capable of ignoring such programming if it goes counter to everything he has learned? No. To both.

“We know what because we were told ”

Exactly. “We were TOLD”. Told by who? Data? Is that the person you can trust for that sort of thing? Has anyone ever cracked him open to confirm all this? Nope. In all the years, for some goofball reason, no one has tried to reverse engineer Data nor has anyone tried to see if there are any nefarious codes floating around in there.

“Data is programmed to be a good-guy”

You don’t know that. There has been zero confirmation of that. Issac displayed something Data never did. The ability to grow beyond his programming. To question it. In a way, Issac is far more human than Data ever was.

Disinvited

ML31,

Re: Reverse Engineering Data

You are wrong. Starfleet tried. Picard wouldn’t let them and argued the legal case to fully emancipate Data which stopped them.

Data, however, did reverse engineer himself, enough to create his daughter, Lall. And, no doubt, what he learned from that allowed him to perform the memory download to B-4, who we and they have every reason to believe lacks Data’s 3 laws just as Lore did. Data even was certain B-4’s more primitive positronics couldn’t possibly make use of all of it but wanted to give him every chance – every chance to update the Remans as it turned out. But this goes to your point as far as we were told Data’s never shared his research with Starfleet’s cybernetic division even when he let them help with Lall’s deterioration. And Picard has no compunction about letting B-4 fill Data’s vacant spot!

And even if Cygnus wants to make a semantic argument about Data, he can’t deny he was replaced by B-4 who tracks Isaac even closer than Data did.

ML31

Why did no one decide to do it when this android showed up and said, “I want to be a Star Fleet officer.”? Doing so only years later felt idiotic. Sorry, but there is enough evidence to NOT allow Data to man a station on a Star Ship. We accept it as viewers and don’t question it because we aren’t supposed to. Data is “clearly” one of the good guys, right?

Cygnus-X1

In “Descent, Part 1,” we see a Borg in the Enterprise brig activate some device on his forearm that sends some sort of signal to Data, causing his emotions to spiral out of control, which is how Lore managed to control him.

The control over Geordi that caused him to act badly is comparable to the control over Data that caused him to act badly: both characters were controlled from without, whereas Isaac was not. Isaac’s bad behavior was consequent to his normal programming, or his normal self. It’s a significant difference in the characters’ ethics and how trustworthy they are. That’s as best as I can explain it. I’m not doing the nonsensical tit-for-tat on this. And, Disinvited, I wasn’t making a semantic argument. I was making a causal argument. Enough with the unfounded accusations.

Disinvited

Cygnus-X1 & ML31,

As I recall, Lore didn’t use a mind ray but offered Data his emotion chip, and then used his greater experience with emotions to corrupt Data. It was never clearly stated but I always imagined Lore had monkeyed with the chip because he seemed to be able to limit the emotions Data experienced when he tempted him – I mean they all didn’t seem to flood into Data all at once but rather one emotion at a time and Lore seemed ever ready to exploit them as they came.

The only ray I recall was something Picard and crew concocted to reset Data’s Positronic brain so that his ethical subroutines could overide his emotions which were ruling him: familial love, brotherly loyalty, etc.

I’m now going to check the online dialogue transcripts to see what we remembered correctly:

Lore said he kept Data’s emotion chip installed in Lore’s positronic brain and then used what he learned from it to download emotions into Data, i.e. they indeed were Data’s emotions. Data found his emotions powerfully addictive, and in addition to Lore’s experience with emotions, he used that addictive quality to manipulate Data to the point of overriding Data’s ethical subroutines.

Geordi’s visor could see a carrier wave that Lore was using for Data’s downloads. He believed Lore shutdown Data’ ethical program and they could reboot it with “phased kedion pulse at the right frequency” which Picard did.

Cygnus-X1

Watch it again. The Borg in the brig activates a device on his forearm to control Data’s emotions. And prior to that (from the Wikipedia summary): Geordi’s VISOR allows him to see a carrier wave being beamed from Lore to Data and they hypothesize that this is the source of Data’s emotions and Lore’s control over Data.. Data never tried the emotion chip until GENERATIONS, as I recall.

So, Data is being controlled from without by Lore. At the end of the episode, Data expresses regret to Geordi for hurting and almost killing him, to which Geordi responds, “Data, that wasn’t you.” That’s the difference between Data and Isaac. The AI who acted as a covert agent for the Kaylon for a year and a half, and went along with their plan to exterminate humanity, which resulted in a number of Orville crew members being killed — that was normal Isaac. He wasn’t being controlled by some external agent. It calls Isaac’s allegiance and loyalties into question in a way that doesn’t apply to Data normally.

Disinvited

Cygnus-X1,

If Isaac “…wasn’t being controlled by some external agent.” then how did the Kaylon deactivate him?

Cygnus-X1

If Isaac “…wasn’t being controlled by some external agent.” then how did the Kaylon deactivate him?

This has no bearing on Isaac’s ethics and loyalties. The Isaac who was disloyal to the PU and the Orville was the normal Isaac. That he was shut off remotely has no bearing on that point.

Disinvited

Cygnus-X1,

Re: shut off remotely has no bearing on that point.

It most certainly does. According to the Kaylons, it was an action they could not tolerate from their own biological creators – the whole reason for their genocidal program against all sentient biologicals. Why do you believe Isaacs’ creators taking such an action against him, nay building him with such a capability was anything but a method to coerce him? If Isaac was totally aligned with the program (pun intended) why wouldn’t he drink the kool-aid when ordered to do so? Why did the Kaylons feel the need to be able to do to Isaac what had been done to them?

And why do you believe, Isaac is a Kaylon in all things but hating his creators for deactivating him without consulting him?

And all that bull about Isaac needing to be treated with dignity. Where was the dignity in that pratfall? What kind of dignified deactivation was that?

Disinvited

Cygnus-X1,

Re: Data never tried the emotion chip until GENERATIONS, as I recall.

I thought when I said Lore was keeping the chip in Lore’s head that I made it clear that I was wrong about that.

And the Borg told Data that Lore was downloading emotions into the Borg as well. I believe we were meant to believe these were Data’s too but it was never explicitly stated.

Re: Data is being controlled from without

And Isaac was deactivated from without proving he likewise could be controlled.

This is why I see this as a nuanced semantical argument, and I wasn’t accusing you of anything other than being blind to the clear parallels, if not with Data’s, then B-4’s enlistment in Starfleet – there’s absolutely zero reason to believe B-4 operates on any sort of ethical level as high as Data’s when Picard puts him on the bridge.

In BROTHERS, when Soong, who we presume gave Data the 3(?) laws you believe he obeys, issues the recall, Data violates those laws – not to mention Starfleet ones.

But, even more importantly, this established that the Federation and Data both knew he was subject to external influence, and apparently neither bothered with even a board of inquiry as to how to take precautions to harden him and/or Starfleet against it which allowed a bad actor, such as Lore, to take advantage of it, later?

But you believe, his continuing to serve in Starfleet no questions asked after endangering the boy in sickbay with this recall flaw is just peachy keen and nothing like Isaac’s reinstatement?

Cygnus-X1

Picard was also controlled from without by Ferengi in Season 1’s “The Battle.” Under abnormal circumstances, anyone can be controlled, and therefore nobody is trustworthy and nobody should be serving aboard the Enterprise (or the Orville).

In conclusion, as I said at the beginning, Data’s ethical programming precludes him harming humans or allowing them to be harmed under normal circumstances. Isaac obviously has no such programming and therefore differs significantly from Data in his ethics and sense of loyalty. As such, it makes more sense for Data to have resumed his service aboard the Enterprise after his bad actions in the “Descent” two-parter than for Isaac to have resumed his service aboard the Orville after his bad actions, which are revealed in the “Identity” two-parter to have actually occurred covertly all throughout Season 1 and through half of Season 2, and which Isaac discontinued for no specified reasons, and which the PU and the crew of the Orville have no particular reason to believe that Isaac will not revert to in the future.

Disinvited

Cygnus-X1,

Isaac, was born with a remote death activation. Picard was not. The two are not equivalent. As Socrates illustrated, Picard has the choice to drink the poison when the state decrees it. Isaac had that choice removed from him in his creation. Isaac was being treated and constructed in the propertied ways of a slave.

And again, you are putting faith in Data’s “do not harm humans” ethics placed their by his creator which were demonstrated not to be as rock solid as you keep claiming. In BROTHERS when that same creator activated a remote recall, installed as Isaac’s remote function was in him, which endangered the life of the human boy in sickbay, Data was operating as his creator intended so you can’t keep claiming he wasn’t operating “NORMALLY” in ignoring laws you claim he can’t violate.

Disinvited

Cygnus-X1,

I think both Data and Isaac, should have been submitted to a hearing on how their service would deal with the problems introduced by their revealed “remote” features. But that’s not how either show chose to deal with it, and so both just let them walk right onto their posts, even though either’s remote being activated again in the middle of serving in a crisis, such as battle, would prove to be disastrous.

Disinvited

Cygnus-X1,

“… would prove to be disastrous.” should be “… could prove to be disastrous.

Disinvited

Cygnus-X1,

Re: In conclusion

I find it rather alarming that you do not seem to notice the arc that in the beginning of this tale Isaac was deactivated not by his choice, and in the end he saves the day by making the choice he was denied to sacrifice himself to save his friends. He had absolutely no hope that the Union would find a way to reactivate him or even choose to do so when he pulled his plug, but you keep writing that selfless act off as if it wouldn’t be a mitigating factor in his reinstatement?

How many times does one have to die for their sins before redemption is achieved in your philosophy?

Cygnus-X1

My point is not a value judgment of Data as being a better person than Isaac. That is beside the point. My point simply concerns loyalty and trustworthiness. It doesn’t matter if (and this is also an assumption on your part) Isaac acted badly because he feared (with his non-existent emotions) for his own life. What matters is that Isaac’s loyalty lay with the Kaylon for a year and a half, until he arbitrarily reversed it. As such, the PU and the Orville have no particular reason to trust Isaac. Unlike Data, there is nothing about Isaac’s normal make-up that precludes him harming humans or his loyalty reverting back to the Kaylon at some point. And that is why Isaac, at the end of “Identity, Part 2,” isn’t as trustworthy as Data at the end of “Descent, Part 2.” Again, Geordi’s line says it all: “Data, that wasn’t you.” But, it was Isaac. Might Isaac prove himself trustworthy to the PU at some point in the future? Maybe. But, his trustworthiness is relatively low at the end of “Identity, Part 2.” Lower than Data’s at the end of “Descent, Part 2,” which is the point I was making.

Disinvited

Cygnus-X1,

At the end of BROTHERS, there is nothing inherent in DATA’s revealed remote recall that would prevent him from acting, again, in unethical ways to heed it. His actions in DESCENT only compound that threat as it reveals him to still be remotely accessible via his uninstalled emotion chip for more unethical behavior than that. Nobody, took any steps to ensure Data was hardened from his built-in remote access flaw so that his ethics could be trusted in his continued service at the end of BROTHERS.

In fact, Soong died so quickly that he couldn’t possibly have dismantled his recall device, which is why it was a mystery as to why Starfleet didn’t at least try to activate the recall to halt the two androids antics in DESCENT?

And again, what of B-4? They had absolutely zero expectations that he would start behaving in an ethical manner or that Data’s ethical routines could even run on an older version of the positronic brain – not to mention the Reman mods to it, but there he is on the bridge, proof that your contention that they thoroughly tested Data’s ethical programming prior to enlisting him in Starfleet is just an assumption on your part.

Isaac’s emotions or lack thereof have no impact on the observed fact that Kaylons find their deactivation by others extremely distasteful to the point of planning to commit mass genocide of any biological sentients that may be capable of achieving it and/or using it to enslave them. You may not be aware of it but you keep arguing in your other points that Isaac IS a Kaylon. So which is IT? If he’s a Kaylon then deactivation can be used to enslave him – Kaylon Primary said as much about his biological creators.

Ming on Mongo

Loved the part where the door of the crashed shuttle is stuck and Talla is told to open it…. “I’m on it!”, and then she casually rips the entire door off its hinges, and sets it aside like it was a sheet of cardboard (too cool)!

NX01

This episode, like many of The Orville, felt two dimensional. First of all, someone who is a POW for 20 years is brought on board, and pretty much immediately given a new uniform and allowed to continue as though nothing happened? Really? Second, how is someone who was a POW for 20 years supposed to know about a cease fire and that blowing up the enemy violated that?

The whole thing felt contrived and hollow, like so much fanfic out out there.

ML31

Again, if it were more comedic, none of that would matter.

I’m afraid I must agree. Seth obviously wants The Orville to be taken seriously as a drama, but nonsensical characterizations and paradigm-changing actions in one episode that have no consequences in the very next episode do not help him make his case.

ML31

Had the show leaned more towards the silly and the light for the bulk of the season, then did the recent two parter exactly the same way, I think it would have carried a TON more weight as a more serious episode. If more episodes leaned on the comedy, the more serious ones would work better. I am stunned that Seth & Co don’t see this. He’s probably too thrilled with pretending to be Jean-Luc to admit it.

kitbashcanon

Well said, ML31. Maybe there should be 2 or 3 comedic episodes for every straight drama episode, and an epic 2-parter per season. That would be a good formula.

ML31

That sounds like a good radio for this show.

Danpaine

Agreed, ML. The lighter they keep this, the better.

NX01

Agreed. And to be fair, I don’t care all that much. I enjoy the show well enough, but it’s not something I’m heavily ‘invested in’. It’s an hour in familiar territory where I don’t have to watch re-runs of something else.

Obiwanjacobi

During the gratuitous ship flybys, I thought there were some new hull plating and other details, especially near the front of the ship. Was this some CGI continuity resulting from spacedock repairs after the Kaylon battle in “Identity”? Or am I just seeing what I want to see?

It was hard to see anything with all of the CGI lens dust. *grumble*

(In case you’re wondering what I’m referring to, watch the Orville fly away from the camera in the final shot of the episode, right when Seth MacFarlane’s executive producer credit appears. On the Hulu copy of the episode, it’s at time index 47:40.)

Obiwanjacobi

Agreed! Kinda took me out of the show since there didn’t seem to be any justification for lens dust in deep space. “They just showing off” I thought while watching.

Cygnus-X1

Maybe the camera crew were rooting around in a comet just before the take.

Michael McGrath

Best show on TV the Orville