“The Road Not Taken”
The Orville Season 2, Episode 14 – Aired Thursday, April 25, 2019
Written by David A. Goodman
Directed by Gary Rake
The Kelly from an alternate timeline has to try to get the band back together to save the galaxy in this second part of The Orville‘s second season finale. The fact that an episode constructed entirely out of parts of other science fiction shows, movies, and stories can still be watchable and enjoyable is a testament both to the skill of the writer and the appeal of this cast.
Warning: It is a period of civil war. Rebel SPOILERS, attacking from a hidden base, threaten to make a dark time for your life. If SPOILERS bother you, do not scroll below!
An Old Hope
The Orville does not start with a promise to seek out new life and new civilizations, nor does it promise to boldly go where no one has gone before, so perhaps it’s unfair to hold them to that concept. But part of what makes a story interesting is the novelty brought by the creators of that story. Caribbean-American poet Audre Lorde once said, “There are no new ideas. There are only new ways of making them felt,” and I would say that it’s the responsibility of storytellers to make old ideas felt in new ways. “The Road Not Taken” succeeds enough in this regard to make it worth watching, but it certainly feels as though it is mostly walking roads that have been taken so many times before.
The episode opens with two masked men trudging across a frozen, snowy landscape identified as Sarin IV to break into an abandoned Union Listening Post. They are there to steal supplies, primarily a food synthesizer. Suddenly, they are attacked by a small Kaylon ship, which lands and disgorges three Kaylon, whose head cannons pop out and start firing. Unexpectedly, their heads detach from their bodies and start flying on their own, firing with stormtrooper-quality accuracy. The men dodge into a battle-scarred Union shuttle and reveal themselves as Gordon Malloy and Ed Mercer, both looking scruffy as nerf-herders and considerably worse for wear. “I thought we’d be safe here, least for a while,” says Gordon, in contradiction to the furtive, hurried way he was acting before the arrival of the Kaylon. “No such thing as safe anymore,” Ed replies, and we cut to the same shortened opening titles as last week’s episode. I miss the longer titles.
The Kaylon Strike Back
It turns out this is not the Ed and Gordon we have come to know and love in two seasons of The Orville; rather, these are a version of those characters created by a divergent timeline, spawned at the end of last week’s episode when Young Kelly turned down Young Ed’s request for a second date. My 12-year-old daughter’s comment: “Moral of the story, never turn down a request for a second date!”
As the shuttle makes for space, a Kaylon ship picks up their trail and chases them through the cliffs and caverns of a nearby ice moon in a thrilling sequence evocative of Firefox, The Empire Strikes Back, Firefly, and eighty other sci-fi stories. It’s done well, the visuals are beautiful, but every maneuver is something we’ve seen before, many times. Escaping, the shuttle engages its quantum drive, and there’s a nice shot looking aft, back down the shuttle’s flight path, which was something cool and unique.
We discover that it’s been nine months since the Kaylon assault against biological lifeforms began, the assault that our Ed and our crew were able to thwart at great cost in the two-part “Identity” story earlier in the season. But in this timeline, that victory over the Kaylon never came, and the Kaylon have wiped out half the known galaxy in the time since. I felt guilty not telling them that I know a guy who can do all that with a snap of his fingers…
Return of the Kelly
While Ed and Gordon use the synthesizer to make a Twinkie, their shuttle is suddenly intercepted by a cool-looking, large scavenger ship that is a cross between Stargate: Atlantis‘ Daedalus and a certain beat-up Star Wars light freighter of some renown. Should we be afraid of scavengers? Gordon freaks out that “they’re gonna cut off our skin and wear it like a suit!” Thus, we borrow the reputation of Firefly‘s fearsome Reavers for a little anxiety – but only for a moment, since as soon as the shuttle is tractor beamed into the scavengers’ landing bay, we discover that these scavengers are Dr. Finn, Lamarr, and Keyali, and they have Kelly Grayson as their leader. This is the Young Kelly who dumped Ed after one date seven years ago, now aged appropriately to be our Kelly’s counterpart. Alt-Kelly wears the coolest jacket, ever and shows a lot of cleavage, so you immediately know this is an alternate timeline.
This Kelly is searching the galaxy to put together the alt-versions of the prime Orville’s crew, on a mission to change the timeline back to the way it should have been. However, it’s not entirely clear why Alt-Kelly needs these alt-versions of our crew to pull this off. Certainly, neither Alt-Gordon nor Alt-Ed wind up contributing anything significant to the plot or resolution than almost any other characters would have done.
Alt-Kelly explains the divergent timelines to an incredulous Alt-Ed and Alt-Gordon, and then lays out her plan. The memory wipe that Prime-Claire performed on Young Kelly didn’t work because her brain was deficient in a key protein. Alt-Finn says that this was an easy thing for her Prime counterpart to have missed, and it’s something that can be corrected. If she travels back in time and makes certain the memory wipe is successful, then Young Kelly will accept Ed’s date request, and the timeline will be restored.
But where can they get this protein? There’s an anti-Kaylon resistance that has just barely escaped being wiped out, and LaMarr knows where one cell can be found. In the scavenger ship’s Millennium Falcon-esque cockpit, they quantum drive to a heavily forested planet. Taking the Union shuttle down to what I will call “Endor” for no reason at all, the alt-crew hike through a tall evergreen forest to the front door of what I will call the “Imperial Death Star Shield Generator Facility” for no reason at all. When Lamarr knocks on the door, an eyeball-sentry pokes out of a round eyehole in the center. Instead of saying “Jabba no wonga” it turns out to be a protuberance of Alt-Yaphit who recognizes the alt-crew and leads them into the rebel base where they meet the rebel leader, Alt-Alara Kitan! It’s great to see Alara, who in this timeline seems to have had a romantic relationship with Alt-Lamarr that ended resentfully. She gives them the protein, but there isn’t much time to catch up as hordes of Kaylon attack the base. The rebels buy our alt-crew time to escape by spending their lives in a futile firefight, with Alara left behind to lead the charge in what we can only assume was her last stand.
The Phantom Shipwreck
Our alt-crew try to escape in their shuttle, but it is occupied by a single Kaylon, head cannon at the ready. Ed and Kelly kill the AI lifeform after a cringeworthy discussion of who likes to be “on top,” and then our crew returns to their scavenger ship so they can flee from another set of Kaylon vessels, through another trench system, again reminiscent of Firefox, The Empire Strikes Back, and Firefly, etc. Gordon does come up with the novel solution of hiding in a black hole’s event horizon, resulting in a sequence that is as gorgeous as it is scientifically bonkers. The time dilation allows them to watch the Kaylon search for them repeatedly outside the black hole, only to give up eventually and leave. When they emerge, two full days have passed. “Wow! How was your weekend?” Malloy asks.
With the protein in hand, the alt-crew leave the event horizon of the black hole (!) and head for Earth, where the Orville herself is lying crashed, seven miles deep in the Pacific Ocean. The sight of a denuded, crater-pocked Earth, stripped of its atmosphere, and a shattered Moon is horrifying and heartbreaking. As for the USS Orville, it is surprisingly intact for a ship built for the vacuum space now under the crushing pressure of the world’s deepest trench. And it turns out the ship isn’t entirely empty as Alt-Bortus remained on board during the evacuation and kept the ship’s systems functioning, hoping to one day rejoin Alt-Klyden and Alt-Topa on Alt-Moclus. But Moclus has been destroyed, Alt-Keyali explains, confirming what Prime Ed had warned the Moclans about in “Sanctuary.”
Attack of the Clone
This all leads to what should be the episode’s pivotal emotional moment. In this alternate timeline, Ed has never been a ship captain, but Kelly and the crew insist he take command. When he sits, Kelly just to his left in the first officer’s seat, the rest of the crew at their Prime timeline stations, the music and the camera angles tell us this is the way things should be, but it left me cold. The episode already established that the key difference in the prime timeline was Isaac’s relationship with Dr. Finn’s kids, and not anything unique to Ed’s leadership. Could anyone really say to Ed Mercer that “commanding a starship is your first, best destiny.” This is not to say Seth McFarlane’s performance is lacking, but rather that the Mercer role has so far shown us little that makes the character particularly suited to the command of a starship.
One of the key reasons to do “alternate reality” versions of known characters is to shine a light on heretofore undisclosed aspects of their personalities or to throw their personalities into sharp relief by showing us far different versions of their prime selves. When Q shows Picard what his life would have been like if he hadn’t been a risk-taker from the start in TNG’s “Tapestry,” we intuitively know that the blue-uniformed Lt. Picard had wasted his potential. In this episode, when Alt-Ed says he had commanded a Union outpost, but so far not a starship, there is not really any feeling that his potential had been missed.
There is no doubt Mercer is a nice guy, and fiercely loyal to his friends. He is relatable and has an everyman quality to him. Ed’s most distinctive characteristic is his relationship with Kelly, his first officer. This episode doesn’t tell us anything about the character that we didn’t know before, but it does reinforce this relationship more than ever, Ed loves Kelly, in any timeline. In this timeline Ed and Kelly are able to admit their love; it remains to be seen if this character growth will transcend timelines.
Revenge of the Finn
Using the internal mechanisms of the Kaylon they shot in their shuttle, the alt-crew piggyback on the Kaylon “Connectome network” to retrieve Alt-Isaac’s memories of his research on the Aronov device, but in the process, they alert the Kaylon to their location. With the Kaylon bearing down on them, they have to bring the Orville to a dead stop and channel all available power into the Aronov device in order to enable it to send Alt-Dr. Finn back in time. With the Orville about to explode from overloaded power, Alt-Ed proposes marriage to Alt-Kelly, and she says yes. The Orville explodes.
Seven years ago, we see Young Kelly wake up with a hangover the day after her first date with Young Ed. She gets some coffee, and after her first sip disappears, dropping the coffee mug, shattering it. Zap! She’s gone. A few seconds later, zap! She’s back, lying on the floor like at the end of the last episode. Then, zap! Alt-Finn arrives before the timelines have a chance to diverge and fixes Young Kelly’s memory wipe. Then Alt-Finn and all her paraphernalia disappear, showing us that nightmare timeline has been erased and the universe has been rest. Young Kelly wakes up to the sound of Young Ed’s no-game date request call. This time, just as she originally did, she says she’d love to go out with him again, and the episode ends.
The Orville Awakens
“The Road Not Taken” works as an episode, despite its highly derivative nature. The dialogue is fun, the special effects are vibrant and exciting, and these characters are pleasant to watch. The story itself gives us nothing new, but it retells the familiar beats in a pleasant enough way.
As a whole, the second season of The Orville marks a shift in the balance between humor, character, and drama from the first season. The humor has become more subtle, and more in service of the character and the drama, and that has been a good change, making for a more solid, entertaining show. What The Orville did well in the first season they are doing even better in the second season, exploring thoughtful questions in a deeper, more substantial way than is common on television. If the stories, visuals, and music have been deeply derivative, they have at least been high quality, and for the most part have worked as homages rather than rip-offs, making The Orville a sort of tribute show to ’90s science fiction in general, and Star Trek: The Next Generation in particular.
Looking ahead, The Orville has not officially been renewed for a third season, but the writing is on the wall: I believe it will happen. What they need to do moving forward is to maintain the high production quality and the deep exploration of difficult topics, but work towards more innovative storytelling. And they need to develop the character of Captain Ed Mercer, who after two full seasons of this show is still fairly anonymous as a Captain. I look forward to seeing how they grow.
- Alt-Ed and Alt-Gordon plan to hide out near the Calivon, a dangerous species who are “close to an even match” for the Kaylon. The Calivon were seen in the first season episode “Command Performance.”
- Alt-Ty and Alt-Marcus are onboard the scavenger ship for no reason that the story can figure out. Alt-Ty pushes a button to activate the tractor beam. Alt-Marcus asks if the Alt-Orville is deserted. And that’s it. These kids can actually act when given a script, so I say use them well or don’t include them in the episode at all.
- Just like I’m not sure how a ship designed to survive in space can also survive underwater, I have no idea how engines designed to propel a ship through space can also propel a ship through water.
- The cited protein beta secretase that affected Kelly’s failed memory wipe is an actual, real-life protein believed to be associated with memory retention.
- The abandoned, battle-scarred corridors of the Alt-Orville are eerie.
- The stirring music accompanying the launch of the Alt-Orville from the bottom of the Marianas Trench is very reminiscent of the “Stealing the Enterprise” music from Star Trek III: The Search For Spock.
- Ed and Kelly share a drink in the empty bar – thankfully, when this Orville barely survived a space battle and crashed into the bottom of the Marianas Trench, not a single bottle of booze was broken.
- When Alt-Isaac’s personality occupies the severed head of the other Kaylon, his eyes are Isaac-blue, rather than other Kaylon-red.
- “There’s an ice moon orbiting the planet. I could take us inside, give us time to reset the drive.” “What do you mean, ‘inside’?” “I mean, like – not ‘outside.’” Gordon and Ed.
- “That’s a much more appealing version of events, but it’s not reality.” “Yes it is. In an alternate timeline.” “Is this one of those crack-house ships I’ve been hearing about?” Ed, Kelly, and Gordon.
- “Because I was Captain?” “Yes.” “I stopped the Kaylon?” “Right.” “I had to swim with my shirt on until I was 20.” Ed and Kelly.
- “Yaphit, it’s me, John.” “John? John who?” “From the Orville! We served together for years!” “Oh yeah, right! Sorry! Piece of me got blasted off last week, little bit of my memory was in it.” John and Yaphit.
- “You will surrender.” “You want the top or the bottom?” “I like to be on top.” Kaylon soldier, Ed, and Kelly in the most cringeworthy dialogue of the episode.
- “So, what have you been up to the last seven years?” “I’ve been pretty focused on my career, actually.” Kelly and Ed, demonstrating that Alt-Ed is the same exact person as Prime-Ed.
- “I don’t even see any fish.” “The Kaylon were thorough.” Claire and Kelly – this is a point I’m glad they made – the Kaylon hate biologicals, and animals are biologicals.
- “Are we the only ones onboard?” “No. One life sign, five decks above us.” Good thing Marcus asked that question, then!
- “Talla, want to open this jar of pickles?” Ed has his “signature line,” I guess.
- “If what I am told is true, and we are able to restore the timeline, then that is your chair.” “I’ve never captained a starship!” “Oh, yes you have.” “Sit.” Bortus, Ed, and Kelly.
- “We need to get inside Isaac’s brain.” “Isaac is on Kaylon. When we returned him, he was disassembled.” Ed and Bortus – this was what the Kaylon were going to do to Isaac in the prime timeline, but Ed and Kelly stopped them from doing so.
- “Am I a terrible person, that part of me wants this timeline to continue? In the middle of this nightmare universe, I’ve felt this weird sense of comfort, being with you.” “Well, maybe we’ll fail, have to go find someplace to live in secret.” “Some nice little house on a deserted planet. We could have a couple of kids, a boy and a girl.” “We’d have to learn how to farm, how to cook.” “Look at the sunset every night.” “Look at you every morning.” They kiss. “You know, Gordon’s probably going to have to live with us.” “Shut up, you’re ruining it!” Kelly and Ed in the best exchange in the episode.
Keep up with all the The Orville news, reviews and interviews at TrekMovie.com.
I loved “most” of the story-line and the amazing visuals. That ice-moon sequence was amazing. Battered Earth and the Moon – creepy.
Hiding in the event horizon of a blackhole: absurd. Why ruin such a fantastic ep with something like this. The ship can’t handle underwater pressure, but can come to a full stop where light can’t even escape, and then accelerate from rest out of the event horizon as though it’s a non-event. No gravitational, debris or intense radiation issues besides a torn apart planet?
Also, has it really been 9 months since the Kaylon attack?
Or did they attack earlier in the alt-timeline?
I fell asleep on it, but wouldn’t hiding in the ergosphere of a black hole be safer and still as effective? You can get back out of the ergosphere, assuming you have something of equal mass to throw away (like another ship.)
I think Kelly said that it has been 6 months or something since the date that she initially arrived in the future.
The kids look the same in the alternative timeline…
They are only 6 months older than in the last episode. Children optically age faster than adults, but not so fast that it is unrealistic that they haven’t changed a lot.
Good point about the inconsistency in the structural strength of the ship. Water pressure, even several miles down, should be a cakewalk if the ship can withstand that proximity to a black hole.
Season 2 was really great! I already really liked season 1, but season 2 was a big improvement nevertheless. I think the best thing about the series is that the characters are just so damn likeable. So even when a plot might be a bit generic, the episode is still really fun and engaging as your are rooting for the characters. And the series just is so pretty looking. The special effects are great for a TV budget and everything is just so bright and shiny looking most of the time. I like that!
Considering they have Andre Bormanis on staff, and that was a homage/ripoff from Star Wars, I think they used absurd science on purpose, to mirror SW. I laughed at it. :-)
Once again, if it were lighter in tone NONE of that would matter.
The Orville is a Great Show. I believe it pays Homage to Star Trek. But also needs to held to it’s own Merrits. Here is hoping for a season 3
Yes! Well done and on to season 3!
I was pretty disappointed with this one. It was a pretty generic plot, but my biggest issue was that we didn’t see the “real” versions of any of the main characters. The season finale should be about something that actually matters. Not about alternate versions of the characters in a world that gets erased anyway.
Interesting Legate Demar…
It didn’t bother me at all to see the alternate universe versions in a season finale.
It would however be unfortunate if this were to be a series finale.
It worked for SG1.
It doesn’t matter that this alternate timeline IS the main timeline, and that Earth, Moklen (however you spell that), and countless other planets have been destroyed?
Another good summary and review, Denes!
I agree that the Orville addresses more serious issues than most television shows, and that is a delightful tradition that it follows from Star Trek. Well, …Discovery, not so much.
But I hold a different opinion about Ed as a captain. I think he’s a fine captain. He makes decent decisions; he cares about his crew, and he has a good moral compass. Ed isn’t a “super captain”- he doesn’t have the genius tactical skill of Kirk, or his out of-of-the-box thinking; he doesn’t have the intellectual firepower of Picard. But he’s not supposed to. He’s a decent, competent captain, commanding a decent, ordinary ship, and I think that’s what his role is supposed to be. Decent, but not amazing. Personally, I find it a nice change of pace to have a show about a captain and a ship like that, one that is relatable. It is less epic than what we have known in other shows, but there’s something refreshing about it. At least for me.
“the Orville addresses more serious issues than most television shows, and that is a delightful tradition that it follows from Star Trek. Well, …Discovery, not so much.”
I really don’t get this, we have had episodes of Discovery on the nature of sentience, deep looks at ptsd, pain and suffering of a being we don’t understand and identifying with it, what does it mean to be human, what does it mean to be torn between identities, letting your fear control you, living with regret over unforeseen consequences… and that’s just the first season. I could go on into Season 2.
Just because the episode doesn’t hand it to you on a nice TNG-esqe platter and flat out give you the message, in big blinking lights, doesn’t mean it’s not there, or it’s not accessible.
Of course you’re right, but that’s not going to stop a Discovery basher from doing so at any given opportunity.
Exactly. Also, while I liked the episodes about astrology and Moclan women, the Orville also got bogged down in a literal pissing contest. Bitchin’ stuff, that.
You’re right, those weren’t the best episodes. Like we know McFarlane hates non-scientific, ‘New Agey’ stuff, but the notion of astrology ‘forcing’ anyone seemed a bit much. Yet the writers always manage to include enough ‘charm’, that even the occasional lame episodes can still be entertaining and worth watching.
Yes, MysticalDigital I would agree that Discovery has had ambitions to cover weighty issues.
And that is one of the things that made me consider it Trek, but of a different kind…especially in season 1.
But its not just that it’s not ‘handing things on a platter’ that gets in the way.
It’s been very inconsistent and incoherent in both its character development and it’s plotlines. And it appears that for many fans that has been an insurmountable impediment even as it’s attracted your group of friends.
I feel that the writers of Discovery on one hand ask us to pay attention to very fine details and continuity points, but on the other ask us to get so swept up in the emotions that we ignore huge gaps or unresolved points and risks. And it’s clear that these aren’t in the end intentional red herrings.
For me, especially when dealing with extraordinarily sensitive and difficult issues such as PTSD, there is a duty to do it well and not milk it for melodrama or shock value. I’m doubt that those with experience of trauma or close to someone with a trauma disorder would find Discovery’s portrayals to have been sensitively done.
Season 1 went for the horror, but didn’t fully resolve things. Season 2 started off very well for the first half (and is all the better on binge rewatching now). The back end of the second season is very, very rough. The drawn out suffering led to my spouse signing off after ‘The Red Angel’ and leaving me to watch the rest of Discovery’s season on my own.
Also, as the Shuttlepod Crew has pointed out, its not just that Discovery breaks canon, it breaks it’s own canon that is establishes a few episodes earlier. There’s a heavier burden on the writers for continuity with a serial format, but Discovery hasn’t fully taken this on.
Yes, the writers room crises and showrunner changes can explain these problems in Discovery, but let’s not pretend that they haven’t hurt the product, no matter how great the acting or production values.
The Orville by contrast has had a steady group of very experienced TV writers. There have been some additions, but no shake-ups. It’s on a steady upward trajectory.
The Orville also has had a policy of having an entire season of scripts in the can before production starts. During production, they refine scripts. Even though they aren’t going for a long-term novel like Discovery or The Expanse, they are writing that way.
Listening to Kurtzman’s interview over the last few months, it’s clear that for both the new Picard show and for season 3 of Discovery, he is insisting on a full season of scripts being finished before production starts.
With the number of new Trek shows in development, it may be the only way he can stay on top of everything, but it will also avoid situations where production design has to make up for writing problems e.g. having to change the church windows 22 times because the writers keep changing the story that they are supposed to tell.
I think that moving to the Orville’s approach of writing a full season in advance is really promising for the future of the Trek shows.
“its not just that Discovery breaks canon, it breaks it’s own canon that is establishes a few episodes earlier. There’s a heavier burden on the writers for continuity with a serial format, but Discovery hasn’t fully taken this on.”
It’s easier to look the other way on continuity problems with episodic format, because the stories are separate and it just doesn’t feel as jarring when inconsistencies happen during the same story.
“I really don’t get this, we have had episodes of Discovery on the nature of sentience, deep looks at ptsd, pain and suffering of a being we don’t understand and identifying with it, what does it mean to be human, what does it mean to be torn between identities, letting your fear control you, living with regret over unforeseen consequences… and that’s just the first season. I could go on into Season 2.”
Yeah, and it was all done badly.
According to you, which doesn’t say much.
Actually, according to more than just FrostUK. But that’s neither here nor there.
Though the writers have also gone in the direction of placing the Orville right at the centre of the biggest events in its setting with its pivotal role in the Kaylon war and Krill relations.
So arguably they’ve moved a bit away from the idea that its just another ship in the fleet. ‘The Best of Both Worlds’ did much the same for the Enterprise in TNG, but then they’d already stated it was the flagship so it was a bit different.
My sense is that The Orville is the tradition of the ‘everyman’ in the midst of extraordinary events.
It’s an ordinary ship, with ambitious but solid and committed officers.
Orville’s officers are not presented extraordinary, genius ‘the best of the best’, youngest ever…which is what Discovery, and many Trek shows often portray in their core cast.
Ordinary, but principled officers rising to respond to extraordinary circumstances is the the concept.
The exception to this middle-of-the-road ship is that a Kaylyn, Issac was assigned to the ship.
That however makes sense. Military observers from non aligned states don’t usually get the most high profile of sensitive placements.
The other exception is Bortus who is struggling between Moclan traditions and the diverse values he has been exposed to in the Union fleet.
Great review again Denes—here is hoping that you’re right about a renewal and you will have the opportunity to continue doing these in season three. One minor note: Earth’s atmosphere was most definitely not stripped from it (although it seems implausible that the planet could have been so thoroughly decimated of all biological life without losing its atmosphere).
If it doesn’t get picked up for season three I say that CBS picks it up and puts it on All Access with Star Trek.
You can’t mix matter and anti-matter cold! And even if it worked, it would blow both shows back in time. Do you want to live through DSC s1 again? or THE ORVILLE pilot?
Besides, I don’t want to give CBS Alcoholics Anonymous any of my money, especially after CBS PR jerked me around for nearly half a year when I was trying to do a DSC article.
The Orville pilot was 20 times better than anything we saw in season 2.
Do you understand that’s a horrible thing that you’re saying?
The music in the opening reminded me of THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK as well as the setting from the opening of that film. It also reminded me of 2009’s STAR TREK’s setting where Prime Spock and Kirk meets Scotty and Keenser.
Good episode. Nice ending too. The black hole thing was a bit too much and took a lot of liberties, created holes in the story about the ship. I hope we get another season to close the Kaylon arc.
She never had the coffee, though. I hope that doesn’t make a difference…
Its amazing how every borrowed concept had to be pointed out but when Disco recycles TOS story elements and characters its somehow okay.
Whats up with Adrienne Palicki? When we see her bare legs or in tight clothes she looks anorexic.
I’d say the other way around. The Orville gets a free pass every time it borrows from Star Trek or another sci-fi, but when Discovery borrows from TOS, it gets it much, much worse. It’s an echo chamber mentality. You don’t hear anybody comparing Seth MacFarlane to a drug addict or called a hack.
Of course, any criticisms of the Orville are immediately shut down by TPTB on here while people are allowed to borderline racist and homophobic comments about Discovery Without so much as a warning.
You’re so right. It’s one of the reasons I don’t come here much anymore.
Ad Astra there is a good deal of criticism of the Orville here, but as this is a Trek site, not as many posters engage on The Orville reviews.
I can’t see a bias from the mods towards the Orville.
In terms of inappropriate comments on the Discovery threads, yes they exist. But so do voices, including yours and mine, that call them on it. The mods do issue warnings, and review and remove posts.
That said, I appreciate that the mods are not taking all criticisms of certain characters or storylines as being coded for sexism, racism or homophobia.
For example, Voyager’s Janeway isn’t my favourite captain. If anything, I’d been hoping for a long time for a female captain, but she didn’t at all represent the kind of female leadership that I had hoped to see. (Although at this point, I can better appreciate her for who she was meant to be.)
It would have been completely wrong to assume that my criticisms of Janeway were code for sexism 20 years ago.
The problem is that some people, not many but some, hear a criticism, legit or not, of anyone who is not a white male and just automatically decide it’s racism, sexism or some sort of bigotry in disguise. Which is a very very poor assumption to make. I personally find it hypocritical of those folks, but it’s a free country I guess.
She’s slender, lean, and toned. No crime in that. We’re not really supposed to have opinions on women’s bodies these days, didn’t you get the memo? (If we were, I’d remark on the oranges she’s smuggling in her chest, but I’ll keep that to myself for now.)
Dr. Zaius, listen to the shuttlepod episodes here, you’ll change your opinion afterward. I feel like Discovery gets picked apart unfairly but this show since its inception has been given pass after pass after pass.
“Just like I’m not sure how a ship designed to survive in space can also survive underwater, I have no idea how engines designed to propel a ship through space can also propel a ship through water.”
That very question arose in the first 15 minutes of “Into Darkness”.
The engines are not rockets, they push against the fabric of space/time. You find that in space or under water.
They didn’t use the quantum drive until they were well above the Earth.
It’s not clear what the principle is behind the manoeuvring thrusters, but they definitely switched drives during the ascent.
Rockets don’t “push” against anything. They move in an opposite and equal “reaction” to matter leaving it in the other direction.
Yep, and it was never satisfactorily answered there, either.
They operate on the principle of “Step on the gas, go forward.” What’s hard to understand about that?! :)
Of course, since Kelly is following the original timeline, she (and all others) will do exactly as they did ‘originally’ and 7 years hence are destined to repeat this scenario over and over ad infinitum. But would that mean this present ‘timeline’ doesn’t continue past that 7 year period, like a string that has a loop tied in the end of it? This would be like Tom Cruise in ‘The Edge of Tomorrow’ reliving the same day over and over, but not having accumulated memories, so he’s destined to do the exact same thing again.
Me thinks so.
Oh crap, that means no season 3!
And it means they’ll just re-run season 1 and 2 over and over…
How can one watch The Orville in the UK?
Fox and Sky have it , but that is quite costly to set-up . The cheapest seems to Amazon Prime Video – https://www.amazon.co.uk/The-Orville-Season-1/dp/B078995K78
Re: Isaac’s Hero Arc
Just wanted to remind you that that was altKelly relating the original version of Isaac’s role in the Kaylon attack which she did not personally experience first hand and had distilled from tales others related to her. I don’t believe there was even a scene showing her socializing with Isaac so that we could presume she has anything close to a complete picture of his motivations for joining the Union.
Not denying Ty played a role. Only denying that altKelly could possibly have a complete understanding of what it or other factors were in Isaac’s decision.
Re: Underwater Physics.
Newtons Laws of motion still holds even 5 miles down. Next, you’ll be telling me you are shocked to learn that Polaris missiles could be wet launched from American subs underwater.
Polaris missiles don’t start their engines until they are out of the water.
Which does absolutely nothing to negate my point that there’s nothing about water (nor buoyancy) that suspends Newton’s Laws of Motion for the Polaris Missile as it exits the sub’s launch tube and pierces the water’s surface with the velocity the sub, functioning as the missile’s hydrosphere first stage, imparts to it.
If your point was a liquid oxygen missile’s underwater ignition would somehow make for a better analogy to the Orville’s thrusters, I’ll take it under advisement. But note: there have been absolutely no indications in the episodes to date that either are what the Orville’s reaction thrusters are employing.
Good review. There are multiple music queues here from many sci-fi. Watch the space scenes, tons of Star Wars movie queues. Many other TNG and TOS/Movie queues as well as the Search for Spock. It was all over this episode – which was awesome to see/hear.
My wife said the alternate title of the episode should be called “Yesterday’s Orville”.
I am disappointed that the show hit the reset button at the end and there were zero lasting consequences. No forward movement. I like the Orville, but it is a nice, safe show that takes no chances……much like 90’s Trek.
I’m not sure there are not any consequences.
It was Prime Kelly’s thoughts that ultimately brought Young Kelly to the future. Alt Kelly final thoughts were of marrying Ed. I would not be surprised if Dr. Finn implanted memories in Young Kelly rather than wiped her memory or that the memory wipe failed again and the even somehow tied Kelly together in all three time periods.
I could very well be wrong, but I don’t think McFarlane just hit the reset button here.
It took a bit of a chance in season 1 when they wanted to be 1/3 comedy 2/3 drama. But for season 2 they went .000001% comdey. The boring and safer route.
The medical device on Kelly’s forehead was very similar to the one used on Chekov in Star Trek IV. Nice homage.
Macfarlane’s ego vanity project hasn’t been cancelled yet?
I don’t think it’s an ego/vanity project at all (cough, cough Axanar). It’s probably, despite a few missteps, my favourite show on TV right now. And I watch a lot of TV.
No, cus, um, lots of people like it! You’re welcome.
TNG was Roddenberry’s ego vanity project. What of it?
No, Par asked Roddenberry for a Trek TV sequel after the box office success of THE VOYAGE HOME. If he’d declined, they’d have done it without him.
Considering the first two seasons of TNG, they should have done it without him.
But nevertheless, Gene did use the opportunity to resurrect his GENESIS II PAX and QUESTOR android vanity projects in Trek guise.
There’s probably a story to tell regarding why he left out Gary 7?
“Alt-Ty and Alt-Marcus are onboard the scavenger ship for no reason that the story can figure out.”
Kind of like Alt-Sisko and Alt-O’Brien being on Terok Nor. Amazing how they ended up there all the way from Earth.
Answer – don’t ask too many questions. Suspend disbelief and enjoy the ride.
Your statement about this story is my main issue with The Orville, “retells the familiar beats in a pleasant enough way.” There is nothing exciting about this show. Its like a lamer retelling of TNG stories that were old in the 90s.
I have never failed to predict the “twist” of each episode.
I find the humor off putting.
I still watch week after week, but its not appointment TV. I am not waiting for it longingly, I just notice it on the DVR after a few days.
Red Dwarf is a million times better.
Rimmer: “Red alert! Red alert! Go to Red Alert!”
Kryten: “Are you absolutely sure, sir? That would mean changing the bulb.”
It seems that humour is less universal than we sometimes think A34.
I don’t watch the Orville for its humour, but recognize what it is from a bit of cultural distance.
Both Red Dwarf and The Orville are targeting their humour to their national markets. Lexx was an odd Canadian-German production that veered from dark humour to pure farce.
Despite loving British humour, I understand that it doesn’t resonate with a large slice of the American audience and vice versa. Canadians offer yet something different that intersects both, but isn’t either.
“I don’t watch the Orville for its humour, ”
That’s good because season 2 didn’t have any.
“I find the humor off putting.”
You found humor in season 2?
>> I have never failed to predict the “twist” of each episode. <<
Interesting. I feel its the opposite. The Orville has had numerous twists I NEVER saw coming and completely blindsided me. I never expected it would turn out Issac had been a plant aboard the Orville the entire time. I assumed "Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow" would end with a reset button that put events back the way they were, as happened 95% of the time in Trek episodes, and was shocked when Kelly created an alternate timeline. I had no idea Halston Sage would return for the season finale.
Discovery, on the other hand, has extremely poor "twists" I can see coming a mile away: Ash Tyler turns out to be… A KLINGON IN DISGUISE! Well, duh. We figured there was something up the moment we met that guy in a Klingon prison. Captain Lorca turns to be… LORCA'S EVIL TWIN IN DISGUISE! Well, duh. That guy was a creep from day one and we never trusted him. The Discovery is hailed by… THE USS ENTERPRISE!! Well, duh. I figured they needed some kind of famous "hook" and wouldn't be able to resist using Pike and Spock in a show set during that era, no matter how much Alex Kurtzman swore otherwise.
Billy Boy, I heard people predict Lorca being evil twin Lorca but I dismissed it because I never thought a real serious TV production would do something so monumentally lame.
Is there a place where we can leave feedback for the moderators/administrators of this site?
I find the “haters are going to hate” comments, whatever the issue, as unconstructive and derogatory in nature. This was seen in at least one post early in this thread.
When an issue is discussed, and someone dismisses their point of view without any argument/facts/ as per of a respectful dialogue, but just says something like “they’re just going to hate because they are haters” or some variation of that argument, I think it only hurts this site in terms of tone and substance. I have an idea, I think that anyone who leaves these kinds of things should be warned and banned if they continue. I mean, it’s easy enough to identify this. It’s the kind of thing that leads to the worst aspect of the internet.
Oh, never mind, I found the feedback section and left a comment there. Thank you.
But it was worth saying here GarySeven, and I appreciate your saying it.
Basically, it can become a kind of gatekeeping…which is definitely offside on this board.
The odds of a ship crashing to Earth and just happening to land in the deepest spot on the planet are…kind of low.
Also, why wasn’t Bortus able to raise the ship if they were able to do it so quickly?
Bortus is a Bridge Officer and didn’t have the engineering knowledge to repair the ship by himself . The Orville probably chose the safest nearby place , the ocean to crash-land in . And the deepest part to hide from their pursuing enemies .
Re:The Orville probably chose…
The Orville didn’t choose anything. Bortus did. He stayed behind to pilot the ship so that the escape pods could safely evacuate without a pilotless ship drifting into them.
But he’s just the driver of the race car – not the pit crew.
I’m in agreement with you , Disinvited . Sorry for the syntactical desinteguation .
Anywhere less remote, the Kaylons would have found the Orville and destroyed it.
The thing that has really surprised me this season are how impressive some aspects of the production are, specifically the CGI VFX and the Music. Both of these elements are often more captivating and vibrant than those on Discovery which I still find somewhat murky and flat. Less impressive are the sets, costuming, makeup, props, etc. But I still can’t help but watch the series in awe because it so accurately recreates the style of TNG so well. That style extends to the way it tells a story, most plots are centered around character with time given for each scene to breath instead of rushing from one thing to the next. The allegorical storytelling has rarely worked as well on The Orville, most of the time the story writing lacks the cleverness of Star Trek, solutions are often easy and convenient and ultimately miss the point or have been done before. It’s still a show that has the visceral joy of Star Trek, which is fine, but it’s never as clever as it thinks it is. That extends to this episode, which again is mostly retelling a very simple sci-fi story with characters we enjoy watching in an environment that’s fun to live in. More spectacle than substance, but still very entertaining to see these characters in new settings. But the biggest thing I noticed about this episode was how comfortable each actor seem to be in their characters. Most of the time it really looks like The Orville cast should be given a few more takes before printing, but this time the actors really played their characters perfectly. Seth and J. Lee have seen the most noticeable improvements since they started. I think this show could probably use a bigger budget if Season 3 happens, and Seth should probably layoff the Kelly/Mercer relationship stories which do seem more interesting to him than the audience. And the show should probably find a path toward better consistency, right now we lurch from huge action episodes to small bottle shows that are often clumsy or under-developed.
I’m in agreement with you , Michael K . Production-wise ‘The Road Not Taken’ was impressive . But the 1st season introduction of The Orville stamped this series as a light comedic space-ensemble clone . Though over the course of 2 seasons , we have seen proficient dramatic and thoughtful episodes , good writing and praise-worthy values . If this Series continues , it has come to that crossroad , where the producers and writers will be asking themselves , do we go deeper or do we just keep it light ?
The obvious answer is not to “keep” it light, but to go BACK to being light. I’m pretty sure Seth wants this to be a serious show so he can continue with his Picard fantasies. But it is obvious that the show is more original with the comedic elements. Some might like it as a TNG clone, sure. But that just makes it less original. It feels more new with the humor. That is the way it should go. But I don’t think that is what Seth wants. I hope someone will force the show back to the humor side. Season 1 was better because of the jokes but even then I felt it needed to lean a tad more towards the funny side of things.
Hope there are more Seasons to come. Second season was better, I like the way they make the show in real colour & action, unlike the newer most noisy almost animated filming that Seeing & hearing cannot follow. Really likeable characters & just when you see & feel the peak of some drama or action …a one liner get a laugh might happen. Very creative 👍👍
I’m a bit surprised by the mixed reactions to the season finale. Apart from the plot not making sense and some other logical inconsistencies, the main shortcoming of this episode is that it didn’t have a meaningful overarching theme relating to the characters, unless you consider the destiny trope respecting Ed and Kelly, which is pretty stock and not developed. “The Road…” is a plot-driven episode as opposed to a theme-driven episode. It’s a story about undoing the time-trouble mess done at the end of the previous episode, “Tomorrow…” and not much else. We get a glimpse of what the galaxy looks like with the Kaylon running rampant, as our protagonists seek out the object (not quite a MacGuffin, in that its acquisition ends up being very consequential to the plot and story) that they need to set things right. As has been pointed out, this particular fix to the time-trouble is completely arbitrary, as tends to be the case in time-travel stories. Our protagonists could just as well have sent someone back to just before the incursion to tell LaMarr and Isaac to be careful with their experiment, thereby preventing the incursion to begin with. But, instead, they decide to send Finn back to inject Kelly and yada yada — problem solved, story over. At any rate, I think it’s the absence of a meaningful overarching theme to the story that has left some viewers a bit disappointed. All of the events that we see in the story happen to alternate versions of the characters we know, and as such, the entire two-episode story arc ends up being meaningless and inconsequential in the end. As Kelly tells us, it never existed, which is also why the story doesn’t make logical sense — if alt-Finn never existed, then she didn’t go back and fix the time-trouble mess, which means that she does exist, and so on. I think what makes “Yesterday’s Enterprise” the better story is how much we care about Tasha’s role in the whole thing — undoing her meaningless death by the tar monster — the love story between her and Lt. Castillo from the Enterprise C and the noble sacrifice of the crew going back to fight a losing battle for the greater good of humanity and the Federation. The plot of “Yesterday’s Enterprise” is just as illogical as the plot of “The Road…”, but the human themes distract us from that and give us something to care about, and the plot is ultimately consequential with respect to the characters that we know, as opposed to the whole story just being a series of events that never happened.
Not knowing whether or not there will be a 3rd Season, they really seemed to pull out all the stops to make something that could serve as a series finale as well as a season finale. It was great to see Alara again and the references to previous episodes and characters. Well done!
I really liked the finale. It wasn’t perfect but it actually ended up being pretty entertaining and a fun ‘what if’ story. I really love alternative timeline stories.
I thought the episode was good, but I’m hoping they can move on from the Ed and Kelly, will-they, won’t they. I think all episodes would be stronger if they’d just become professionals together.
The whole thing reminds me of the period in science fiction literature where any books not targeted at 14 year old boys were obliged to have a middle aged, recently divorced male lead, who ideally has to work with his ex in a professional manner.
A few authors have described being pushed in this direction in the 1980s. Apparently, this is what editors took for three dimensional characterization.
But one Gregory Bedford series with this premise was enough for me…
I think the show worked better when they hated each other. Them getting along is way too TNG-y. It’s boring. Also, Ed being annoyed at her fostered some really good jokes.
Most successful comedies follow the Shakespearean form which requires that they end in a wedding. You can’t have that without star-crossed lovers.
I wouldn’t say that. I can think of plenty successful comedies that didn’t end in weddings.
If you take out the nods to Shakespeare, you remove the nods to STAR TREK and Seth doesn’t seem interested in producing a show like that.
Seth seems only interested in being lead on a Star Trek show. This was as close as I guess he figured he would come.
The show may be derivative of others but it’s still way more enjoyable than anything offered by Discovery.
..”awwww dammit, jim! That was the season finale!?!” “Unfortunately so.. bones.” “Perhaps to tenure your disappointment, you could experience ‘discovery’, doctor.” “F@#% you, spock!”
Watched the two-parter last night finally – very much enjoyed it. And very much hoping for a season three. This show has a nice rhythm for me.
” firing with stormtrooper-quality accuracy. ”
That’s exactly what I thought seeing it. It’s fine in a Star Wars. It would even be totally fine here if Orville maintained it’s light and comedic nature. But not for this season since they have made the awful decision to go deadly serious on us. Computers who are incapable of hitting their targets just don’t fly in the tone the show has taken. Once again, showing that the lighter tone was the way to go.
“The humor has become more subtle, and more in service of the character and the drama, and that has been a good change, making for a more solid, entertaining show. What The Orville did well in the first season they are doing even better in the second season, exploring thoughtful questions in a deeper, more substantial way than is common on television. ”
Cannot disagree more with this. The humor has become an endangered species on the show. And worse, while the jokes have become fewer and further between the last few episodes the jokes didn’t even LAND! Not only are there fewer of them but the few that are there aren’t working. The change to move away from the humor has severely hurt the show. It is less solid and less entertaining. All the exploration of thoughtful questions could easily still be there even with the gags. We saw that in the first season. And being lighter has the added advantage of not requiring EVERYTHING to make perfect sense. It’s been said many times already but Orville without the jokes is just a pale TNG rip off. With the jokes it’s an entertaining TNG homage. The irritating thing is that FOX is STILL promoting it as if it is a comedy. To sum up, this 2nd season has been an epic failure. The producers don’t seem to have a clue about what worked from season 1 and what didn’t. What was a fun idea has turned into a bland retread. We can only hope someone with influence comes to their senses when season 3 rolls around. If it doesn’t I suspect season 3 might be the last.
Even if some of it might be ‘predictable’, was impressed that you could still feel the ‘suspense’. The show really seems to be coming into its own, and personally find it as enjoyable, and kinda has the same bright ‘sheen’, as ST Next Gen.