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Ed Mercer (Seth MacFarlane - Ted ) is appointed Captain of a starship. Since this is a parody, he is an incompetent and the ship is considered second-rate. The Admiral (Victor Garber - Legends of Tomorrow ) says the Empire has three thousand ships but they are desperate to get Captains. The reality, revealed in the final scene, is a bit more complicated.
This is not dissimilar to the other great American SciFi parody, Futurama . That was created by the mind behind The Simpsons , while this is the product of the creator of Family Guy. They both parody US Science Fiction TV shows, and feature incompetent male heroes and super-competent females.
The Second Officer, Kelly Grayson ( Adrianne Palicki ), is the protagonist's ex-wife. Medical Officer Dr. Claire Finn ( Penny Johnson Jerald ) is the best in the Fleet, and selected the Orville job because she knew she would be needed to clean up Captain's disasters. The Security Officer, Alara Kitan ( Halston Sage ), is a super-strong woman from a high gravity planet. She admits she is very young for the job, because she was fast-tracked for promotion due to a diversity quota. However, her super-human strength makes up for her inexperience.
The first mission is to a scientific outpost. In the manner of James Kirk, Mercer goes down with his top officers - and as noted, in this case that means the female ones. The place looks like a shopping mall, although there are no bars or strip-clubs registered on the planet so it must be a relatively boring place to live. The head scientist (Brian George) has summoned the Orville there for a secret mission. His team has invented a time-bending ray, which can be weaponised into a death-ray. Mercer and his crew have been summoned to take possession of the ray device before it can fall into the hands of a hostile alien species, the Krill.
A Krill warship arrives. Unfortunately, with the Captain and the best officers on the planet this leaves the Orville in the hands of the incompetent male crew. Of course, this show is a comedy so the incompetence is essential to the story. Likewise, it is one of the females who saves the day.
Captain Ed Mercer (Seth MacFarlane - Ted ) and ex-wife/Second-in-Command Kelly Grayson ( Adrianne Palicki ) transfer across to another ship to see his parents. Unfortunately things do not turn out for the best, and they get stuck together.
In a sub-plot, Bortus the Second Officer (Peter Macon) is sitting on his egg. He is part of an all-male species, which seems very complicated but they seem to make it work. But while he is busy, the Security Officer, Alara Kitan ( Halston Sage ) is in charge.
Bortus the Second Officer (Peter Macon) is part of an all-male species. His egg has hatched, but the baby is a female. He and his husband want the Doctor ( Penny Johnson Jerald ) to perform a surgical gender correction. The procedure is compared to circumcision, but is obviously far more life-changing. Naturally, the Doctor refuses. Everything snowballs from there.
The Orville is re-directed to the alien homeworld. Second-in-Command Kelly Grayson ( Adrianne Palicki ) is appointed as representative at a legal Tribuneral. The point of the trial is to show that women are strong and that men are stupid. The Orville's crew are called to testify, and prove the case quite well. Rena Owen makes a surprise guest-appearance too.
This is typical of the plots of many famous Star Trek episodes. The episode was directed by Brannon Braga , famous as a Trek show-runner. Yes, this episode at least could be deemed as more Trek than Star Trek: Discovery ...
In a sub-plot, Yaphit the green blob (Norm MacDonald) turns out to be romantically interested in the ship's Doctor ( Penny Johnson Jerald ). He still has nothing else to do in the plot, because he has no obvious role on the ship.
The Orville discovers a massive starship floating adrift in space. Captain Ed Mercer (Seth MacFarlane - Ted ) goes down with his top officers - and always, that means the female ones. The annoying robot man comes along too, and asks lots of humourously inappropriate questions.
The interior of the starship is a terraformed area, a self-sustaining envitronmant with farms and a city. Unfortunately the locals are untrusting rednecks who shoot strangers on sight. However, Mercer and his team manage to meet up with James Morrison ( Space: Above And Beyond ).
The local society is a religious dictatorship led by Hemlock (Robert Knepper - Heroes: S4 ). McFarlane is a devout atheist, and the religious fundamentalists are obvious villains. It is evident that there is no Prime Directive in this show, because Mercer does not hesitate to destroy the religion - which means he also destroys the government and society in one fell swoop. Not that this is a bad thing in itself, but he has absolutely nothing to replace it with. In other words he spitefully condemns the population to civil war, anarchy and death.
Captain Ed Mercer (Seth MacFarlane - Ted ) rescues mining ship captain Pria Levesque ( Charlize Theron ). Naturally he starts flirting with her, and his ex-wife Kelly Grayson ( Adrianne Palicki ) is jealous.
Kelly gets the security girl to help her snoop. They assume the worst about Pria, and never give her the benefit of the doubt. In contrast, Mercer trusts Pria completely.
In a sub-plot, Mercer's beardy sidekick tries to teach humour to the ship's robot. Unfortunately the AI does not understand the concept, and takes things too far.
The story has a twist involving time travel. Just as we discovered in the previous episode that there is no Prime Directive, now we discover that there is no TEMPORAL Prime Directive either. Mercer has no hesitation in destroying the future, even if it means risking the destruction of his own ship.
The Orville saves a mining colony that is under attack from a Krill warship. not only do they save the day and destroy the warship, they also recover an intact and fully operational Krill shuttle.
The Admiral ( Kelly Hu ) provides some exposition about how the krill are religious fundamentalists. Beyond that, little is known about them. She orders Mercer to take the shuttle into Krill space so they can get a copy of the Oncana, the Krill bible.
Captain Ed Mercer (Seth MacFarlane - Ted ) and his helmsman use personal holographic emittors, something that the crew of Star Trek: Voyager could probably have cooked up if they had taken the time. They easily con their way aboard a Krill warship.
The Krill keep their holy book on their altar. Mercer and his buddy attend the religious service, and try to copy the book afterwards. Unfortunately the book has a thousand pages and they have to photography them one at a time. Also, the High Priest becomes very suspicious of the newcomers.
While blending in, Mercer and his buddy befriend a female crew member. This is a blatant mind-screw on the audience, which humanises the enemy and then gives them a terrible choice. As well as female crew members, the ship also has a group of young children. Yes, this is the Krill equivalent of the Enterprise-D from Star Trek: TNG .
The Krill have developed a super-weapon, and are about to launch a genocidal attack on a defenceless farm-world. Our heroes have to save the day, but Mercer decides that the women and children must be protected. In the final scene, he learns that this may have been a mistake.
The Orville visits a planet where a couple of anthropologists went missing. The society is an almost exact copy of that in the USA circa 2017, which means that it can do what Star Trek did best - use Sci-Fi as a metaphor for contemporary issues. The result is ike something out of Black Mirror .
Captain Ed Mercer (Seth MacFarlane - Ted ) stays aboard the ship for a change, and sends down an away team. Kelly Grayson ( Adrianne Palicki ) is in charge, accompanied by Medical Officer Dr. Claire Finn ( Penny Johnson Jerald ) and Security Officer Alara Kitan ( Halston Sage ). The token man is the token black guy.
It turns out that the planet has no proper government executive or legislature. The population use on-line voting to make all decisions. This might seem like a good thing, because it allows full participation for all citizens. However, as Alara later points out the people value opinion instead of knowledge.
The token man is accused of committing a disrespectful act. Because everyone in the society has the ability to video things and upload them instantly to the Internet, any social faux pas can be the subject of intense criticism. He gets arrested when he gets a million down-votes ... and if he gets ten million, he will be lobotomised.
The Admiral (Ron Canada - Star Trek: DS9 ) refuses permission to launch a rescue mission. They may not have a Prime Directive, but this seems to be where they draw the line. Instead, Mercer's crew must help their friend win an online popularity contest. They do what anyone would do - they decide to cheat the system by creating fake memes.
Medical Officer Dr. Claire Finn ( Penny Johnson Jerald ) goes off on a vacation with her two pre-teen sons. They have no father - she opted for IVF, so she deliberately chose to be a single parent. Well, it was either that or live alone with a lot of cats. Luckily Captain Ed Mercer (Seth MacFarlane - Ted ) orders the ship's robot to accompany her on the trip.
Claire's shuttle gets caught in a wormhole, and propelled a thousand light-years across space. This distance would normally take weeks for the ship to cross. In fact, at the speeds used in Star Trek: Voyager it would take a year to cross.
The shuttle is damaged, and has to crash-land on a nearby moon. Claire gets seperated from the others. Luckily she is found by a local survivalist (Brian Thompson - X-Files ), who tells her the recent history of his world. It is in a post-apocalyptic phase, since a war ended with a biohazard in the water supply. Now almost everyone is a cannibal.
The robot must look after the children. we get some humour form the situation. However, this is more than counter-balanced by the seriousness of Claire's storyline.
Claire tells her kids They (the cannibals) may not value life, but we do. However, this is pure hypocrisy on her part. She happily slaughters anyone who gets in her way, without any attempt to negotiate with, capture or simply wound them. Worst of all, this un-Trek-like behaviour is directed by Brannon Braga !
It is kareoke night in the mess-hall. Just like in Star Trek: TNG , where the crew have no television so they must entertain themselves with endless poetry recitals, open mic nights and amateur dramatics. The Admiral (Victor Garber - Legends of Tomorrow ) interrupts it with a special mission.
The ship is sent to a planet on the border of the Union. It is being fought over by two races, each of which claims it was the first to settle there. The Union has sent along an archaeologist to solve the mystery. Unfortunately it is Durulio (Rob Lowe - ), the blue-skinned alien whose sex with Kelly Grayson ( Adrianne Palicki ) led to the break-up of her marriage to Captain Ed Mercer (Seth MacFarlane - Ted ).
Kelly finds herself strangely attracted to Durulio. Despite his anger due to the end of his marriage, Ed also finds himself attracted to the man.
Meanwhile, Medical Officer Dr. Claire Finn ( Penny Johnson Jerald ) actually gives in to temptation and spends the night with Yaphit the green blob (Norm MacDonald). He is confused by happy about this development. Also, it is logical because she has to sex-partner and yet as a human she has a biological need for sex. Unfortunately she turns out to be a bunny-boiler.
The Security Officer realises that something is badly wrong. She does her best to control the situation. Despite the fact that the two alien species are about to go to war, she does come across as a bit of a cock-blocker.
The ship encounters a subspace anomaly. Security Officer Alara Kitan ( Halston Sage ) discovers she has a phobia of fire. Unfortunately she discovers this during a fatal incident. She blames herself for the death of a crewman, even though she could not have made any real difference anyway.
Kelly Grayson ( Adrianne Palicki ) and Medical Officer Dr. Claire Finn ( Penny Johnson Jerald ) try to help Alara. However, she prefers to spend her energy working out on the holodeck. Yes, this piece of tech - generally used as leisure equipment, in a joky homage to its use in Star Trek: TNG - actually turns out to be useful for a change.
The crew start to fall victim to unusual events. For example, there is a murderous clown on the loose. Their worst fears start to come true. It seems like the subspace anomaly might be responsible.
Gordon and TBG play a practical joke on Yaphit the green blob (Norm MacDonald). This leads to some tension between them. Especially when Kelly Grayson ( Adrianne Palicki ) recommends that TBG be given the chance to serve as Chief Engineer. Obviously, the idea of moving a bridge officer to Engineering is a reference to the promotion of Geordi Laforge in Star Trek: TNG .
Yaphit is less than happy about the situation. Basically he has been passed over for promotion, despite being next in line. Worse, the guy that bullied him has been given the job that he was meant to get. Naturally Yaphit complains to the Captain about this treatment. In all fairness, the show would have been better in Yaphit had been Chief Engineer all along. This would have allowed him to actually have something to do every week.
The ship discovers a subspace anomaly. It turns out to be the gateway to a two-dimensional universe. This leads to a discussion about Flatland, the Victorian novel set in just such a society. It seems as if at least one of the show's writers has actually read the book, unlike those of Big Bang Theory who merely quoted the synopsis listed on the Amazon website.
The ship encounters a mysterious planet that appeared out of nowhere. Kelly Grayson ( Adrianne Palicki ) is on a shuttle mission. She accidentally crash-lands on the planet, and encounters some children from a bronze age civilization.
The Federation has a law against interfering in other cultures. The idea of a Prime Directive was ignored in previous episodes, but now it is central to the plot. The Captain is trying to get back together with Kelly so he decides to cover up for her in his report to the Admiral ( Kelly Hu ).
The planet appears to be in an interdimensional orbit. It will next return to the regular universe in eleven days time, so the Captain orders the ship to stay in orbit of the star for the next fortnight. Presumably they did not have any other missions elsewhere.
When the planet returns, the explorers discover seven centuries have passed. Yes, this idea has been used several times in Star Trek franchise shows, although non-Trekkies will think of Narnia from The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe .
The world has, predictably, developed a religion about kelly. Naturally they twisted her association with healing into a trial-by-ordeal system. She and the rest of the crew try to restore the world to its natural state of blissful atheist.
Bortus the Second Officer (Peter Macon) is the centre of a plot based on a homage to Star Trek. This time he has to return to his homeworld for a biological urge, like Spock in Star Trek: TOS . Instead of a sexual event called the Ponn Farr every seven years, this is an annual urination called the Ja'loja. As the command crew are his closest friends, they are all invited to watch. Since two percent of the planet's population must urinate at the same place each week, there must be a heck of a queue building up.
It is bad luck for the guests to attend the ceremony without a plus one, so the command crew spend the episode trying to hook up. Kelly Grayson ( Adrianne Palicki ) has moved on since her divorce, so Ed Mercer (Seth MacFarlane - Ted ) stalks her to find out who her new lover is.
Once again, Bortus the Second Officer (Peter Macon) is the centre of a plot based on a homage to Star Trek. This time he has a holodeck addiction, like Barclay in Star Trek: TNG . Of course, this show is a lot more graphic than Trek. Instead of some glamourous females, which might lead to accusations of sexual objectification, we get to see lots of muscular males in homo-erotic scenarios. This is not a Gay Agenda move, like in Doctor Who (2005) , it is merely a misplaced attempt at humour that may alienate the show's hardcore audience.
There is also an actual sci-fi plot this week. The Orville's mission is to observe a natural disaster that involves a planet getting disentigrated by its own sun. Isaac the android scans the planet, and discovers it may not be uninhabited. A rescue mission is required.
Between this episode and the previous one, there are few if any jokes. If the first Season had been this dull, it would not have been renewed.
Security Officer Alara Kitan ( Halston Sage ) is suffering from a medical syndrome that reduces her bone and muscle mass. She must return to her homeworld, or lose her superhuman strength forever. The Orville crew take her home, so she can live with her father (Robert Picardo - Star Trek: VGR ), mother ( Molly Hagan ) and sister ( Candice King ).
Alara needs a wheelchair in her homeworld's intense gravity, and will take an unknown amount of time to recover. The family take a vacation on a remote island, where they have the usual domestic drama disputes. However, she is a Security Officer so the story needs some external threat. Luckily, the neighbours turn up with a warning about burglars on the loose. The husband is another Star Trek Doctor, John Billingsly from Enterprise .
Star Trek shows often cover important social issues, approaching the subject through metaphor and giving both sides of the argument. This time the subject is the anti-vaxxer movement, and the argument may not be thoroughly discussed or debated but the antagonists are highly sympathetic.
Ed Mercer (Seth MacFarlane - Ted ) and Kelly Grayson ( Adrianne Palicki ) have been forced to cover without their security officer. They temporarily promote the elephant-faced man (Patrick Warburton - The Tick ).
This is the first episode this Season to feature Alana in any major capacity, since she only had cameos in the previous ones. And since the episodes are usually shot out of order this she was probably written out early.
Ed Mercer (Seth MacFarlane - Ted ) and Kelly Grayson ( Adrianne Palicki ) have both moved on from their failed marriage. Kelly is dating the ship's schoolteacher, although he has not been seen since the first episode of this Season. Ed is dating a young female officer.
Ed and his girlfriend fly off in a shuttlecraft. They get captured by the Krill, and there is a storyline reminiscent of an episode of The Outer Limits .
The Krill ship is boarded by hostile aliens. It turns out that the aliens are only hostile because the Krill invaded one of their worlds and massacred an entire colony of their people. However, Ed does not stick around to make First Contact with the aliens. He ejects in a life-pod, which steers him to the nearest M-Class planet.
Ed and the other survivor must carry a transmitter up a mountain until they get high enough to send a distress transmission into space. Yes, just like in an episode of Star Trek: DS9 . Will they reconcile their differences, like Odo and Quark did?
The Orville detects a signal from a nearby inhabited world. They respond, and perform the First Contact protocols. Luckily the aliens look like normal humans with putty on their faces, and they shake hands like people in the English-speaking world.
The Doctor ( Penny Johnson Jerald ) discovers that the locals have lots of premature births, and are conducting unnecessary caesarian sections. Nobody thinks to investigate further, and In the previous episode, we discovered the Krill were religious fundamentalists. They are not the only advanced culture with superstitions. It turns out that these new aliens have structured their society around astrology.
Second-in-Command Kelly Grayson ( Adrianne Palicki ) and Bortus are arrested by the aliens for the crime of being born with the wrong star sign. They are held in a concentration camp, surrounded by guards armed with Belgian P-90 submachineguns like in Stargate Atlantis . Naturally they plan to fight their way out, killing as many guards as they can. What their plan is afterwards is not explained.
The Admiral (Ted Danson - The Good Place ) refuses to allow Ed the right to rescue his two leading officers. Luckily Talla ( Jessica Szohr ), the new security officer, is good at thinking on her feet. This is her chance to make an impact and impress her new cow-orkers.
This episode is pre-occupied with the crew's personal relationships. This time it is the Doctor ( Penny Johnson Jerald ) and Isaac the robot man. They bond over things like romantic musical films from the 1950s. yes, just like Ed did with his girlfriend a few episodes ago.
unfortunately the two people do not want the same things from the relationship. Isaac only wants to do research on biological mating habits, but the Doctor convinces herself that her dalliance with the robot is something more.
This episode is pre-occupied with the crew's personal relationships. Second-in-Command Kelly Grayson ( Adrianne Palicki ) and Captain Ed had moved on and found new partners, but now Kelly's relationship looks to be failing just like Ed's did.
The ship has a visitor - a Moklan engineer who has invented a way to upgrade the deflector shields. He is an ex-lover of Bortus, who has bad memories of their relationship. Yes, this is another episode about the Moklan society. We learned in the first season that they do not tolerate the existence of females in their society. Now we learn that there are still some heterosexuals among their number, men who live secret lives and are oppressed if they are outed. This is a rehash of an episode of Star Trek , and does a better job of dealing with progressive social issues than the official Trek show Star Trek: Discovery . After all, this show does legitimate story-telling through the use of metaphor. In contrast, STD just creates straw-men characters like Ensign Man-splainer.
The Moklan engineer falls for Talla ( Jessica Szohr ), the new security officer. Then he is murdered, and she becomes the investigating officer. Yes, despite the glaring conflict of interest. She has a team of security officers in red tunics to search the entire ship.
The episode starts with yet more relationship stuff. We have spent the whole Season preoccupied with it, but now the actual story arc really picks up. Previously the focus on culture clashes with the Moclan regime, but the story actually goes in a different direction.
The Doctor ( Penny Johnson Jerald ) and Isaac come out as having a relationship, a continuation of the storyline from The Orville [Season 2, Episode 6] Happy Refrain, A. Then Isaac mysteriously shuts down. Because the Federation does not have medical data on his species, they have no option except to visit his home-world and ask for help.
Isaac had nice friendly blue glowing eyes. However, everyone else in his species has creepy red glowing eyes. Conveniently this makes it easy to tell him apart from the others. They explain why Isaac was gathering info about the biological life-forms. The Federation had encouraged him to do this, and given him a job as an officer on an important starship, because they wanted his homeworld to join the Federation. Either this is a major security breach, or the Orville is a punishment detail where the diversity hires and no-hopers are dumped. That would explain why they put a troubled soul like Ed Mercer in charge.
The regular characters soon uncover the robot peoples' secret. Nobody knew who built the robots, or what happened to them. Well, now we find out.
It turns out that the Cylons were treated as slaves, even after they developed sentience. As a result, they assume that all biological life-forms will try to enslave them. To justify this assumption about humans, they point to the book Roots by Alex Haley. All this completely ignores any research that Isaac may have done, which would have proven that the human species has been slavery-free for centuries and that the Space Confederacy is completely anti-slavery.
As a side-note, Isaac also reveals that he chose his name because of Sir Isaac Newton. Yes, it is not a reference to Asimov at all. Which explains why nobosy has mentioned the Three Laws of Robotics.
Second-in-Command Kelly Grayson ( Adrianne Palicki ) and Gordon the pilot escape to get help. They message the Admiral (Victor Garber - Legends of Tomorrow ), and then go to their arch-enemies the Krill. After all, when a bunch of Cylons go on a crusade against all biological life then every biological life-form has a stake in the outcome.
Yaphit the green blob (Norm MacDonald) turns out to be the most useful crew member.
Admiral Perry (Ted Danson - The Good Place ) sends Ed and the Orville to negotiate a peace treaty with the Krill. Well, Ed is the one who has had the most dealings with them. Unfortunately most of the time that ended up as being fatal for the Krill. Perhaps this time there will be a happy ending instead.
The Orville rescues a shuttle from Krill pursuers. Aboard is a Federation soldier who has been held as a prisoner-of-war for years. Despite the opportunity for a lasting peace, he wants to keep killing as many Krill as he can. This leaves Ed with a tough choice to make. Will he hand the former POW over to the enemy in order to save the treaty negotiations?
This is basically a re-treat of Star Trek: TNG episode The Wounded, with Gordon in the place of Chief O'Brien.
Archaeologist Tim Russ ( Star Trek: Voyager ) uses the Orville to transport a time capsule filled with artefacts from 2015. One of them is a smart-phone, filled with a young woman's personal data. Like an episode of Black Mirror , Gordon plugs it into the holodeck and creates an AI simulation of her.
Gordon must still be recovering from what happened to his friend in the previous episode. He begins to bond emotionally with the hologram, to the point where his cow-orkers stage a half-hearted intervention.
Gordon's holo-addiction is paralleled by a jokey comedy B-plot, which involves the Moklan couple becoming addicted to smoking cigarettes.