The Orville, Episode 9

In another somewhat dull episode of The Orville, all the crew members fall in love with each other. This one was more focused on humor and relationship stuff than real adventure or thoughtful things.

The blue alien that Kelly cheated on Ed with ends up on the ship as a forensic archaeologist, to determine which of two warring species has a true ancestral claim to a contested planet. While he’s on the ship, his hormones cause anyone he touches to fall in love with him–or anyone else he’s touched.

It was fun seeing Captain Mercer go all gaga for the guy he hated just moments ago, and the slime blob sex scene was interesting/messed up. But, there wasn’t much thought provoking–and yes I know it’s a comedy show, but it’s gotten its self a reputation to upkeep in my eyes!

Using the love pheramones to resolve the thousands of years old dispute was obvious and also silly. Though it was humorous seeing those two previously enraged enemies holding hands and googoo eyeing like teenage lovers, in reality after a few days when it wears off they’ll be even more pissed at each-other that it happened at all.

Still better than Discovery, though.

The Orville: Episode 8, into the fold

In the first really boring episode of the series, Dr. Claire and her two sons attempt to go on vacation, but are instead sucked into a fold in space and shot out a thousand lightyears away, and crash land on an alien planet.

It sounds interesting in principle, but instead it’s just endless bickering children and diseased cannibals.

I guess the ‘moral’ of the episode is you should appreciate your parents and how much they care for you. But it is shown in a really dull way.

The kids are separated from Dr. Claire, and have to be taken care of by Isaac, who with his robot ignorance, shows us what parent/child relationships are like by asking very blunt questions like ‘why are you such little shitstains to your mom’, to paraphrase.

In the end the kids feel bad and apologize for being jerks.

Also Dr. Claire is locked up by a survivalist alien who tries to feed her, but won’t let her go outside because of the poison water and hoards of diseased that will try to kill and eat her. To repay him for his kindness, she tricks him into going to her ship to search for medicine (which he does, because he is worried she will die) then when he gets back she kills him. How kind.

On the plus side this episode was real light on the stupid humor.

The Orville, episode 7, Nosedive

Oh, sorry, Nosedive is actually the title of the black mirror episode the writers were copying inspired by.

On this week’s episode of The Orville, the crew goes to a planet which, through paralell evolution, is somehow exactly like 21st century Earth, except a bit different. Okay… that is a bit silly… well, a LOT silly, but I’ll go along with it. The over-abundance of knowledge and care that these characters have for 21st century north america (not 20th or 22nd or any of the other surrounding centuries or other areas and cultures, just 21st century western world…) is possibly only irritating to me… but, what the hey, it’s a comedy show.

The crew stop by this planet searching for some missing anthropologists who have blended in to the society in order to observe it. The society, we quickly  find, is exactly like the dark future of that one black mirror episode, and everything is ruled by social media. This one is a bit more intense, in that there are no laws or anything, other than voting. It is a complete democracy. So, not only was this a riff on ‘social justice’ but on democracies imperfections.

The ideas were interesting, but the execution left me a bit confused. Even though the anthropologists have been learning about this society for years, supposedly, the crew goes down and tries to fit in without even 5 minutes of research. They don’t have their badges that literally everyone wears, they don’t understand money, they don’t understand how anything on the planet works–which, I get it, is a narrative function so the writers can easily explain to the viewer how things work through the character’s ignorance–but it’s dumb, REALLY dumb, for a science ship who’s one job is to explore new worlds, to have no idea what they are blissfully floating down into.

So, because of this lack of research (and common sense, or any kind of awareness that they are in a place that is not their home) John Lamar humps a statue of a respected founder, someone films it, puts it on the internet, and people start downvoting him.

Only problem is, when you reach 10  million downvotes, you are ‘corrected’ ie, lobotomized.

So, John has to go on an ‘apology tour’ to try to get people to stop downvoting him. He is a complete ass though, and can not even pretend to care about anything that is going on, and just gets mad at the situation. (also earlier got mad because the guy who’s trying to help him won’t explain what things like an ‘apology tour’ are… imagine someone asking “What is a crime? What’s jail?” Of course you’d think they are insane…)

Anyway, at the last minute the crew on the Orville manipulates the ‘main feed’ with videos of John playing with dogs and doing other nice things, and he doesn’t get enough votes to be killed.

At the end of the episode, we see the character from Black Mirror planet, who helped the crew save John, back in her own house watching the Main Feed where the latest person of interest is being interviewed. She reaches for the downvote button, but then instead turns off the tv… Okay.

So, it seems the message here is… don’t be a part of social media? I was expecting her to instead hit the upvote button, as a way to end the cycle of negativity and harassment of people who did something as simple as not getting up for a pregnant woman they didn’t see standing behind them on the bus. But, no, the message is ‘social media bad.’ Or possibly ‘voting bad.’

I think the real message we should take away from this episode, is that blundering into a society you have no idea about and expecting everyone to accommodate your ignorance with out consequence when you start pissing on people’s beliefs, traditions, and way of life is the actual bad thing here.

At least a thought provoking episode though!

The Orville, Episode 6

And we’re mostly back on track! This week, the crew of the Orville have an exciting (and mercifully short) space battle with the Krill, and find themselves with an intact Krill shuttle-craft. The decide to use it, and some kind of holograph disguise thingy, to infiltrate a Krill ship and find out what makes them tick, specifically, their religion.

Seth is slipping back into his ‘reference humor’ a bit this episode. After making it aboard the Krill ship, Captain Mercer can’t think of a Krill sounding name and introducing them as Chris and Devon. Got a good laugh from me. But later, when they find the Krill temple, and that the Krill god is called Avis, its repeated car insurance jokes for the rest of the episode, because Avis is also a car rental/insurance company in North America, Earth, four hundred years in the past. Half the people watching probably don’t know that. But a space pilot 400 years in the future sure does. Okay.

But, then we get treated with the Krill form of ‘worship’ which involves stabbing a severed human head with a ceremonial knife over and over. Just when this show starts to get too goofy, they throw something dark or serious at you…

Turns out the Krill have a fancy new bomb on board and are going to blow up a defenseless farming planet with it. Ed and Gordon have a plan to stop them, but it will kill every Krill on the ship… and there are a bunch of Krill children aboard. What do they do? Can they kill alien children in order to save hundreds of thousands of human lives?

Well, they don’t  have to because they find away to kill everyone but the children, and save the farming planet, and save the one Krill woman that they talked to, and get back to the Orville safe and sound with nothing lost by anyone. Okay.

Yes, it’s a light comedy show, but when you set up the Hard Decision, it’s a bit of let down when they don’t actually have to make the decision.

Looking forward to next week!

The Orville, episode 5, Catcalling in space!

So far this is the first episode of the series that was a bit of a letdown for me. I guess even in the far future of space travel, its just fine and normal to comment on the appearance of every woman you come across, even right when she’s about to die.

The Orville receives a distress call, and finds a mining ship stranded on a comet about to crash into a star. The Captain, Priah, is blond and sure is pretty and all the characters make sure to comment awkwardly and creepily on exactly how pretty she is, in every scene she is in.

With Priah safely aboard, Captain Mercer finds they are from the same place on Earth, and gets to like her and shows her around the ship, where she is ogled and catcalled by everyone she encounters. In the 25th century. What progress.

Kelly is suspicious of Priah, and thinks something is up. Mercer thinks Kelly is just jealous of him hanging around with SUCH A HOT BABE and they have arguments about it. Even after Priah saves their ship from destruction, Kelly still doesn’t trust her.

Meanwhile, Gordon tries to teach Isaac what a practical joke is, by sticking Mr. Potato Head pieces all over his head to give him a face. I raised an eyebrow that anyone would know what a Mr. Potato Head was four hundred years from now, but okay.

Isaac retaliates with his own practical joke: amputating Gordon’s leg while he sleeps. This got a big laugh out of me, and that he hid the leg somewhere was even funnier. The call back later when the leg comes crashing down from the ceiling in the middle of a conversation is great EXCEPT why cant anyone pay attention to obvious details?? The leg that fell down was a full leg all the way up to the hip, and Gordon’s leg was only amputated at the knee. It is just so lazy not to use the right kind of leg in your own damn show that you presumably wrote and were aware of.

Later we find that, of course, Kelly is right, and Priah is actually from the future, and is a dealer in rare artifacts from the past. Priah plans to take their ship (which should have been destroyed, and them all dead) to the future to sell to a collector. This wont mess up any timeline, because the ship should have been destroyed.

This is a really neat idea, and this comedy show constantly has more interesting sci fi concepts than Star Trek Discovery and their universal mushroom (I’m serious.)

On a final annoying note, the Orville shoots a missile at the wormhole Priah has been using to go to and from the past, and this somehow makes it collapse and it collapsing somehow makes Priah disappear and it is implied she is erased from everyone’s memory too? Very dumb and annoying way to end an episode.

Overall, though, still enjoying this show a lot!

The Orville, episode 4

In another great episode, the crew encounters a huge ship, so huge it contains a whole city and farmland and sky within. The crew soon finds out that they are dealing with a generation ship with a people who have forgotten they are on a ship.

This may be an idea that seems played out for someone who’s read a lot of sci fi, but seeing this on TV is just great. The ship is heading for a star, and they’ve got to convince the people that they need help before they can be helped.

Another thing I thought was great about this episode is we get to see how tough the first officer, Kelly, is. There is a pretty hardcore scene where she is being straight up beat and tortured, and though she is cracking some pretty funny jokes, it is not a funny scene. It is brutal and feels real. And–as Hollywood looooves to do when it comes to women who are captured or being tortured–I’m glad to say she was not sexualized in any way. What another relief!

At the end of the episode, the ship turns out to have a retractable section that opens to allow the people to see the stars for the first time. It was a really cool, and emotional scene.

Once again, a Seth MacFarlane comedy show is showing up CBS’s Discovery. Just let that sink in a minute… then go watch it!

The Orville, episode 3

I was only last week thinking about one of my favorite Star Trek episodes, ‘measure of a man’, the entirity of which takes place in a courtroom, and thinking how that kind of story could never be on TV these days. And then I get an episode like this episode of The Orville. On a comedy show… ???

Bortus’s egg hatches, and its a baby girl. The only problem is, Bortus’s people are all males. Any rare females that are born have a special procedure done to make them into males. Bortus, of course, wants the ship’s doctor to perform the procedure on his new child. Ethical dilemmas ensue.

And the entire episode is debating on whether it is right to change the sex of the child. Whether the Union has the right to stop another culture (species too, but let’s not go there) from doing what they think is right for their own child.

On a comedy show.

I can’t help but think that Seth is secretly giving a big ol’ middle finger to the Hollywood establishment with this series. Sort of showing them up by having actual good storylines, that make you think and care more than these big budget spectacles do, on his goofy comedy show.

This is real sci fi. While Star Trek: Discovery has aliens blowing eachother up and space ships fighting all over, this goofy comedy show is showing up with actual ideas and interesting concepts.

This is how it’s done.