The Orville: Into the Fold
November 3, 2017 2:06 PM - Season 1, Episode 8 - Subscribe

Isaac, Dr. Finn, and her sons Marcus and Ty crash land on an uncharted moon.
posted by Small Dollar (24 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
Solid episode. Finn is by fair the most competent person aboard and wouldn't list "spilling soy sauce in pants" in a damage report and Isaac has been massively underused so far.

(in case anyone missed, it was renewed for a second season.)
posted by lmfsilva at 3:39 PM on November 3 [2 favorites]


I like the soy sauce gag-- a good execution of the "Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking" gag. (TVTropes)

I'm trying to figure out how I feel about Dr. Finn's captor, the prepper Drogan. It's possible I missed something, but I don't know what his plan was for Finn, unless it was the usual plan that causes one to trap an apparently defenseless woman in a room. It seemed to be going in the direction of 10 Cloverfield Lane (the premise, at least; I haven't seen it) where the prepper rescues a woman to a safe place but the safe place is indistinguishable from a prison. Later, Dr. Finn shoots her way out, during their fight, and up until that point I wasn't entirely sure he was a bad guy, rather than a good guy with a bad idea on how best to help an injured alien stranger.

I also noticed that Drogan was played by Brian Thompson, maybe best known as the X-Files Alien Bounty Hunter. Between his eyes and jawline, he's unmistakable.
posted by Sunburnt at 8:35 PM on November 3 [2 favorites]


I found it weird that she was like “shoot to stun, because we value human life” but then made sure to stab the prepper rather than just leave before he got back?
posted by corb at 11:53 PM on November 3 [3 favorites]


corb, the front door was locked shut, so her choices were to stay in the apartment or risk the ledge. She gave him several chances to free her during conversation, and handguns don't have a stun setting - I thought it was interesting to show the characters getting their hands dirty AND professing high ideals.

Great ep, love the Isaac development, and good show from the child actors, very convincing turns from annoying to sympathetic!
posted by nicolas léonard sadi carnot at 1:06 AM on November 4 [1 favorite]


@Sunburnt Brian Thompson is immediately recognizable. I suspected it was him as soon as they showed his silhouette. He'll always be Luke/The Judge (from Buffy) to me.

@corb I thought it was an interesting choice as well. I like that they didn't have her hesitate at all in killing when the chips were down. "We value human life but we will absolutely put someone down if we have to."

I find, consistently, that Claire is one of my favorite characters / actors on the series. She's the coworker I'd want to be paired with for a long-term project. I didn't realize she was on DS9 until just now. I guess I need to go back and finally watch DS9. (I've tried a few times, the pilot always bores me to sleep.)

Was very happy to see it's renewed for a second season. It has its flaws, but it's fun, its heart is in the right place, and it can keep doing its Trek-lite thing for the obligatory seven seasons and I'll be happy.
posted by jzb at 6:14 AM on November 4 [1 favorite]


I actually really liked absolutely everything about Isaac's plot arc, but everything else was mildly annoying.

Thanks for pointing out Brian Thompson - I recognized the actor immediately (jawline/mouth) but couldn't put my finger on why he was so familiar.

It was super weird seeing totally contemporary "household items" in prepper Drogan's pad, especially Drogan's pistol and fighting knife, with virtually no dressing up as alien. Laziness or commentary?

However, I remain impressed that backpacks exist, and are useful and used, in this universe!
posted by porpoise at 1:54 PM on November 4 [1 favorite]


I like the soy sauce gag-- a good execution of the "Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking" gag.

Also works as a good reminder these people are hardly the pick of the Planetary Union (the "ST with normal people" Seth pitched). I wouldn't be surprised if Isaac was stationed there because the "good" ships all passed on the opportunity of having a alien with superiority complex and terrible bedside manner, and Mercer was the only one that would accept it without question.
posted by lmfsilva at 4:33 PM on November 4 [1 favorite]


I guess there's solid precedence in McHale's Navy and especially the vastly under rated Periscope Down (this is the only thing of Kelsey Grammer that I don't loath). Plucky goofy passed overs proving that they can get the job done just as well.

Dr. Finn is an anomaly, though, unless society's still so messed up that a single never married WOC mother with a purple hair streak who is otherwise extremely competent and likeable is considered a misfit by the space navy.

I agree lmfsilva, the concept of Isaac fits that to a T/would be coworker from hell so its nice to see the character developed and "humanized" a bit.
posted by porpoise at 5:18 PM on November 4 [1 favorite]


Dr. Finn might have been assigned because they were sure at a point someone would, dunno wake up without a leg on a prank. After all, just because they're not exactly the finest from the Union, that doesn't mean they'd just let them die.
posted by lmfsilva at 5:42 PM on November 4 [1 favorite]


Ok, I'm a nerd, there's something that's still bugging me (this episode was good; taking it seriously enough to criticize is coming from a position intending to praise).

The shuttle has an arms locker with sufficient small arms to equip the entire (normal, ie. the number of regular seats and the pilot/co-pilot) complement of passengers. That's good thinking.

These small arms are reasonably powerful and have an apparently unlimited (or reasonably high) power supply. That's an incredible amount of energy density that has been achieved.

The shuttle ran out of power, and to replenish it, Isaac was able to collect some naturally occurring non-exotic material that provides power (even though it was less concentrated than he thought - which also doesn't make sense; he would have collected enough material to provide N-amount of power and verified with his handheld instrumentation that there was sufficient materials for his needs).

Naturally occurring materials tend to return to the lowest state of energy (chemically). So the MacGuffin mineral is just a plot excuse for a trip away from the crash site since such a hypothetical material is unlikely to be common nor stable. Maybe they have a magic catalyst that can extract strong nuclear force energy - or something - from a particular material.

But that's all kind of stupid when the batteries for the energy guns represent a tremendous amount of highly stable stored energy and are right there for the converting.

--

Also, during the "gravitational disturbance" scene, Finn was mucking around with rerouting "secondary power" - I was almost expecting her to be seriously seriously injured and that was going to be the plot thinger.

--

The Year of Our Lord Jebus Christ Anno Domini 2018 (aka 2018 Common Era):

If you were a successful prepper after the world has turned to shit (as you predicted/anticipated) and are surviving all on your lonesome.

One day, during a perimeter scouting foray (gotta keep those marauding scum a' fearing this sector!) you stumble upon an honest to capital-G God injured and unconscious but alive and stable alien (the space, not race, variety).

What do you do?

Apparently, one carries them back to the secret hideout, locks them in a room, and feeds it when it wakes up. Even after it magically speaks in your language (and possibly obviously making different sounds than what you're hearing in your head) and makes a quip about an universal translator.

FWIW, I recall a number of TNG episodes dealing with the response of naive societies reacting to discovering the existence and presence of space aliens (the Federation).

--

Finn: hoping we find out why Finn accepted a position - and appears to enjoy it - on a low ranking ship crewed mainly by rejects and misfits. Maybe she just likes people.

Totally not disagreeing with you.
posted by porpoise at 5:48 PM on November 4 [1 favorite]


A few responses to porpoise's points:

> I was almost expecting her to be seriously seriously injured and that was going to be the plot thinger.

Yeah, with the fx going on, I was expecting her to end up with a burned or frozen hand which would debilitate her further. Part of me suspects that she lost a hand or two in an earlier script, which would change her dependency on her captor, plus her ability to escape him.

> Apparently, one carries them back to the secret hideout, locks them in a room, and feeds it when it wakes up.

I'm still not sure why imprisoning her was entirely necessary, but: If the reason civilization collapsed was because of a disease in the water, and how you're surviving on your rations and your ability to escape marauding cannibals, you decide to take in someone who, like you, is unaffected by the disease can keep them that way. Maybe you want to see what that person can offer you voluntarily, or in any case take it from them. An alien with advanced tech who speaks my language could be an asset, but then you'd have to keep the asset with you. If persuasion doesn't work (Threat of disease) then a lock might.

As for why she's the most competent person aboard (I don't think we've seen any profound incompetence on the part of the XO/Second Officer, though, despite her choices during her marriage), I'm reminded of Dr. Lazarus of the 1991 space-western Outland, who said to the Marshall (Sean Connery), of herself: You know, you haven't your medical all-star here. Company doctors are like ship's doctors. Most are just one shuttle flight ahead of a malpractice suit.

Food for thought. Maybe not good food for good thought, but food.
posted by Sunburnt at 6:06 PM on November 4 [1 favorite]


Using the scenario of sucking juice from the energy weapon power supplies could have created the tension scenario of "We only have enough power for 30 stun shots. There are approximately greater than 30 hostiles incoming."

Instead of the kid learning to shoot sentient aliens (but only to stun), we could have Finn get the kid to provide supportive first aid to his younger brother. Everybody, even children, as a long-term resident on a on a navy vessel that will almost certainly see contact with a hostile/suffer structural failure from natural phenomena would be trained to do so. Finn stated that there's not much she can do without her medical lab. Finn, as a 'military' officer would have at least rudimentary training on combat.

I'd expect marksmanship rating as one metric for promotion purposes.

Maybe Finn was on this crew because she is terrible (or chooses to be terrible) at hurting things?

If so, even better as older kid could "come to the rescue" and take up arms when his mother chooses not to.

All this talk about "stunning" hostiles - the shuttle comes in laying down artillery level fire support. Those were craters and explosions (flying earth, enough energy to create localized fires). Sentient aliens (albeit hostile) were certainly maimed or outright killed. How does that jive with "stunning?"

(ok, it was mostly shooting to miss and no bodies were seen)

Bah. porpoise, this is a comedy show. By Seth MacFarlane.
posted by porpoise at 6:10 PM on November 4 [1 favorite]


It occurs to me that lots of cannibal denizens must be getting water from somewhere. Then it occurred to me that poisoning the water supply is doable in a city, but in the mountainous countryside? How do you poison every stream? Agriculture should be possible, and with most people dead, you can start small. If you scale cannibalism up, it should scale itself back down, so to speak.
posted by Sunburnt at 6:10 PM on November 4 [1 favorite]


unless society's still so messed up that a single never married WOC mother with a purple hair streak

Actually, one thing that really bothered me was: you have one WOC and you choose to make her the single mother with ineffectual discipline and badly behaved kids who disrespect her? Why would you as s screenwriter make that choice?
posted by corb at 6:14 PM on November 4 [2 favorites]


As for why she's [Dr. Finn] the most competent person aboard... XO/Second Officer, though, despite her choices during her marriage

Ah. Excellent point.

They're women characters. Seth MacFarlane.

Also, Alara Kitan - she can't seem to develop a long term healthy romantic relationship simply because she is physically stronger. JFC on a fucking stick.

--

It depends on the "poison." Really, its molecular characteristics makes a big difference. The show described it as a "water borne toxin" which is bullshit on several levels.

It also shows Finn taking a blood sample and based on analyses of that, can think of and execute a treatment. Not enough detail, too vague, to comment other than "this is television writing, of the even poorer kind."
posted by porpoise at 6:21 PM on November 4


Company doctors are like ship's doctors. Most are just one shuttle flight ahead of a malpractice suit.

I don't get that vibe from Dr. Finn at all. My initial feeling was maybe Charles Dance's "Gibbons" character in Alien 3 who was otherwise competent and likeable, except for the morphine addiction thing.

With her two kids (I was going to insert something about parenting but);

corb: "Why would you as s screenwriter make that choice?"

I strongly concur with that sentiment.

The Orville is a FOX product (or at least it shows on FOX, how does this stuff work?).
posted by porpoise at 6:35 PM on November 4


I am liking this show. It's actually pretty sweet, which surprises the heck out of me. It sometimes plays like somebody wrote a Trek show and then they handed it over to the Family Guy writers to "punch it up" with some gags, but the gags are brief (and sometimes they're actually funny) and they don't ruin what is turning out to be a surprisingly decent Trek rip-off. I really wanted to see the return of 1960s-1990s-style Trek, a Trek that feels like freaking Trek, and this isn't quite that but it's closer than I would've expected.

I don't know what his plan was for Finn, unless it was the usual plan that causes one to trap an apparently defenseless woman in a room.

Yeah, I would've liked to have known more about what he was planning. It seemed clear he was up to no good, but it felt like we were missing a scene explaining what he was all about. As it stands one could make the argument that Finn didn't have to shoot him. It wouldn't surprise me if there was a draft where he was more explicit about raping her or he was fattening her up to eat her or something, and that was cut for time or censored.

But that's all kind of stupid when the batteries for the energy guns represent a tremendous amount of highly stable stored energy and are right there for the converting.

Maybe the guns and the engine run on entirely different sources of energy. To put it in Earthly terms, maybe the engines run on gas and the guns rare powered by AA batteries.

Apparently, one carries them back to the secret hideout, locks them in a room, and feeds it when it wakes up. Even after it magically speaks in your language

Do we know these people had no contact with aliens before? There are plenty of scenarios where they might know about aliens while having crude tech themselves. Maybe they were a once-advanced civilization that had fallen into a Mad Max-ian dystopia. Or maybe Finn's ship isn't the first that crashed there.

(ok, it was mostly shooting to miss and no bodies were seen)

I think you took down your own nitpick there. The shuttle wasn't shooting to kill.

Then it occurred to me that poisoning the water supply is doable in a city, but in the mountainous countryside?

I don't think we have to assume every stream is toxic. This stream that the kid fell in was apparently quite near the city, so presumably he was swimming in toxic runoff.

you have one WOC and you choose to make her the single mother with ineffectual discipline and badly behaved kids who disrespect her?


I think you're making some of the same assumptions Isaac was. She wasn't supposed to be a bad mother. She was supposed to be a good mother dealing with realistically squabbling, infuriating kids. And she was single by choice.

Alara Kitan - she can't seem to develop a long term healthy romantic relationship simply because she is physically stronger.

I think that's pretty obviously a comment on the sexism of men, and it's not meant as a criticism of her strength or whatever. If anything I think they're setting up a potential romance between her and the captain, which sounds kind of icky but might surprise me.

My only real criticism of this one was I hated the scene where the kids were complaining about being bored immediately after their mother had been abducted. I think that was just a set-up for the gag where Isaac blows up their game, but it felt like the gag was coming too late. It didn't fit where the kids were emotionally.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 7:53 PM on November 4 [1 favorite]


> Alara Kitan - she can't seem to develop a long term healthy romantic relationship simply because she is physically stronger.

Am I the only one that's reading this is her go-to excuse for why break-ups happen to her? It's plausible for any given relationship, but it's getting a weird amount of attention. I don't know if the writers are going for some easy girl-talk with Cdr. Grayson, or they're setting her up for latching on to the first Xelayan beau to blunder into the Orville's path. We do know that she doesn't handle the responsibility of the hot-seat of well (bring on the ultra-tequila), and maybe she deals with relationships, or maybe disagreements in those relationships, with the same self-doubt.

If some stronger-than-heck guy does turn up, she has set herself up with her peers to get pushed right into his arms, whether she's up for a proper relationship or not.
posted by Sunburnt at 12:25 AM on November 5


I hear Mon-el is single again.
posted by under_petticoat_rule at 1:00 AM on November 5 [1 favorite]


engines run on gas and the guns rare powered by AA batteries

Excellent analogy. Especially since, in retrospect, it's supposed to be FTL communication; it could require "exotic" energy.

But at this level of abstraction - and I criticize Trek in general of this - this is more akin to fantasy fiction than science/speculative fiction. Dr. Who is definitely not scifi. Nor is Star Wars.

I think you took down your own nitpick there.

Intended. I'm trying really hard to keep liking this episode.

obviously a comment on the sexism of men

Or is it just that the writers/producers are sexist men writing to a presumed similarly sexist audience, and influencing their audience to accept sexism as normal accepted mainstream behaviour?

I really liked this episode, but there are structural and fundamental regresivenesses with this show.
posted by porpoise at 4:23 AM on November 5


But that's all kind of stupid when the batteries for the energy guns represent a tremendous amount of highly stable stored energy and are right there for the converting.

Because that's exactly what they did on the OldTrek episode "The Galileo 7", and fans would notice that. It's one thing to be inspired by Star Trek, and another to directly rip off a plotline.
posted by happyroach at 8:30 PM on November 5


I liked this episode. Sorry of a bottle episode despite the prepper rapey alien. The kid actors were remarkably good.
posted by Nelson at 8:58 PM on November 5


Had they gone the "drain the hand weapons to power the shuttle" route, the Trek fans would have complained about how that would make this episode even more of a rip-off of "The Galileo Seven".

Or, at least, I would have.
posted by hanov3r at 6:37 AM on November 6 [1 favorite]


I kind of love this show. It's corny and flawed and derivative and obvious but there's just something, I don't know, nice about it. Like comfort food. And I've never seen a single damn episode of ST:TNG all the way through.
posted by prize bull octorok at 12:19 PM on November 6


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