What Happened This Week?
Well, that’s one way to wrap up a season. Instead of a cliffhanger, we ended up with a significant shift in the dynamic between two major characters that ultimately resulted in no actual change. This episode, The Orville 112 – Mad Idolatry, addressed the things left unsaid since Darulio’s visit a couple weeks ago, and leaves us in basically the same place as where the season started. Not a very usual way to end a season. Instead of needing to know what comes next, the show left us with the comfortable knowledge that all remains as it had been and everyone was perfectly safe. How in the name of Rick Grimes is that any way to end a season?
The episode kicked off with a lonely captain on the prowl for something to do. After a couple rejections delivered by half-naked bridge crew, he found temporary, if painfully educational, companionship in Bortus’ (Peter Macon) quarters. After a little good-natured poo-drink toasting and the stabbiest game of hot potato ever, Ed (Seth MacFarlane) retreated to his quarters. As a last ditch effort, he decided to give Kelly (Adrianne Palicki) a call. In short order, the suddenly agreeable couple started drinking in the canteen. With alcohol loosening up inhibitions, they addressed the fallout of Darulio’s (Rob Lowe) heat-laced admission. Absent the hard feelings surrounding Kelly’s infidelity, they found they still harbored mutually romantic feelings. Aww.
Suddenly, A Planet
The next day, a hungover bridge crew had the ship headed directly toward a star. When Isaac detected a spatial anomaly, Kelly took a shuttlecraft to check things out with Isaac (Mark Jackson), Malloy (Scott Grimes), and Alara (Halston Sage). If we were members of the crew, we’d probably use a separate shuttle from Isaac given his track record for being aboard when shuttles crash. So, in his second shuttle crash of the season, Isaac and the rest emerged to find a Bronze Age humanoid society.
The Myth of Kelly Is Born
Kelly’s curiosity got the better of her when she went for a closer look at the local populace. Again, we saw The Orville discarding what nerds commonly know as the Prime Directive. When a freaked-out and fleeing child falls and cuts her forehead, Kelly intervened with her medical gadget. With the application a futuristic band-aid, Kelly thus became a deity.
Isaac fixed the shuttle lickety-split and got the culturally contaminating commander back aboard the Orville. Once there, a freshly re-smitten Ed minimized Kelly’s misdeeds down on the surface of the planet (that disappeared as suddenly as it had appeared) in his report to Admiral Ozawa (Kelly Hu). This was Ed’s least captain-y moment of the entire season and it will come back to bite him.
11 Days or 700 Years (whichever comes first)
Ordered to keep an eye on the spatial anomaly and the disappearing planet, the crew bore witness as after 11 days, the planet re-emerged, 700 years more advanced. Ed decided to lead the away mission himself this time. Once on the planet, they found out that since Kelly’s mis-guided act of kindness, her legend grew into the world’s dominant religion, complete with people being killed in her name.
Against orders, Ed and Kelly decided to try and correct the mistake. They went back to the surface and found the local Kelly-oligical pope-type figure. With some palm-cutting and ensuing futuristic healing, the pope-like guy, Valondis (Lenny von Dohlen), agreed to re-shape the religion in light of their deity’s mortal nature. Too bad he turned his back on that other guy, though. A literal back-stabber stopped the religious upheaval in its tracks.
Their Version of Now-ish
After another 11 day wait, the Orville checked in on the planet to make sure the pope-guy made good on his commitment. When the initial poll Isaac made of the planet’s Internet produced 750,000 current mentions of Kelly, they realized something went wrong. Did anyone else find it interesting how this is the second time the Orville showed us an alien civilization going through a very “now”, media-centered era of history?
The crew decided to try again following their apparent failure 11 days prior. We all held our breath as Kelly volunteered to right her own wrong. Once again though, Isaac jumped in during the show’s climax to save the day. 700 years to the artificial lifeform pass as inconsequentially as 700 seconds do to us, so he heads down to the surface with everyone’s collective sigh of relief.
New Kids on the Galactic Block
11 days later, Isaac returned to the bridge in style. Using teleportation tech from a ship oddly familiar to the Orville, Isaac and two members of the planet’s people “beamed” aboard and explained how things went down over the last 700 years. Short version: Isaac fixed it without unduly influencing their society in any other way.
Tough Luck, Captain Mercer
With what probably qualifies as the longest month in history (3 11 day stints becoming 2100 years), behind them, Ed and Kelly reconvened in the canteen. Unfazed, Ed was ready to pick up where they left off. Kelly though was totally fazed. She didn’t like that Ed falsified his report to spare her from reprimand because of their feelings for each other. In what we believe will be a temporary measure, Kelly put an end to their rekindling before it really began.
What’s New This Week?
We met an alien, humanoid race this week that evolved along nearly identical lines to Earth-born humanity. This isn’t the first time we’ve seen species very much like this over the course of the season. We understand that as alien races go, these are the absolute cheapest to costume and decorate for. As viewers, it makes the universe they’re creating feel a little cheap, too though. We’re afraid the Mos Eisley cantina in the Orville universe would feature mostly human aliens, with a Krill and a Horbalak thrown in for flavor. Not too fun.
Will we see them again? We could. In almost no time, they could advance to a godlike power or post-human level existence. That makes the concept of meeting them again exciting and very scary at the same time.
Seems like teleporters have to be just around the corner, right? Pria had them earlier this season and now our guest aliens can do it… We bet we see experimental versions of the tech soon.
How Was This Episode?
Remember, this season had an episode moved to next season. Was that episode the original finale? We’ve heard that this was always the finale and either the 11th or 12 episode was moved. This article says the original episode 13 (read: original finale) was the one that moved. We now have until next fall to wonder what could have been with the missing episode restored in its intended place.
We enjoyed this season so much. This episode, had it been somewhere in the pack and not stuck at the end, would probably rank somewhere in the middle in terms of story quality and content. BUT, this episode became a season finale, with all the inherent expectations. On that score, this episode falls short. Where did we start? A divorced couple shares the bridge of the Orville and acts uncomfortably around each other. Where do end up? Still divorced, still uncomfortable (just for different reasons). Where finales are supposed to drive the viewer into a frothy madness in anticipation of the next episode, this one just didn’t. We still love you Seth. Just don’t do us like this next year.
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