The Orville: Mad Idolatry (Season Finale!)
December 8, 2017 8:57 AM - Season 1, Episode 12 - Subscribe

Mercer and Grayson decide to start seeing each other again. Grayson leads a shuttle team that crashes on a planet with a very short orbit around its star in which it phases in and out of another universe. While on the planet, they discover a bronze age society and Grayson interacts with a young native girl.

Upon returning to the Orville, the crew then learn that 700 years passes in the other universe for every 11 days in the Orville's universe. They also discover that Grayson's interaction with the native girl had unintended consequences which the crew of the Orville attempts to rectify. Isaac makes a sacrifice as he is the only one who can survive centuries away from the crew.
posted by fimbulvetr (15 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Captain voicing his desire and misgivings about wanting his ex back like an ADULT!
posted by thegirlwiththehat at 11:59 AM on December 8, 2017 [2 favorites]

I was again lukewarm on ship side this episode; the scenes with Grayson and Mercer dragged; the comedy of everyone getting some but Mercer was mostly unmined.

On the side of the A-plot, though, I was again reminded of A) why I like this show and B) why TV Scifi disappoints me. Sure, there's the problem the writers have of visiting a civilization during 4 periods spread over a span of 2100 years; a 42 minute show can't ever give this idea the exploration it deserves, fully, but it was a solid attempt. Ditto the Black Mirroresque episode, with the up/down voting.

The one thing that bugs me: The Orville found the planet in the bronze age (though it looks like some folks from neanderthal central casting wandered in). Are we to understand that this was excellent timing on the Union's part, or was the planet in complete stasis in the bronze age for however many of its local-time millennia before The Healing of Kelly occurred? If stasis, then I would've liked to see Kelly kick more in motion than religion; they presumably already had religion by the bucketload. (cute idea, cutting the criminals so that they would be healed if innocent -- reminds me of that cartoon of what life would be like today if Jesus had been hanged instead of crucified.) The other problem with this is that this world very conveniently parallels our own, but that is, again, a limit of a 42 minute TV hour-- lots of shorthand is required, and lots of realism must be shoved aside.

The last scene, the visitors from the other ship, reminded me of the "Holoship" episode of Red Dwarf, in which Cdr. Binks of the Holoship Enlightenment pays his first visit to the 'derelict' Starbug.
posted by Sunburnt at 12:04 PM on December 8, 2017 [2 favorites]

I am very fond of this show because all alien planet adventures must begin in a back lot or in the California desert hills. This is correct, and they're the only sci-fi out there getting it right.

They can stretch out in Season Two or whenever. Right now I'm enjoying a competent performance of TOS' aesthetic. Well done!

Also: music. The late-sixties studio strings during the Mercer/Grayson kiss is exactly right. Bravo.
posted by petebest at 6:40 AM on December 9, 2017 [6 favorites]

This was very predictable, but I was expecting it to end in a cliffhanger a la ST:TNG - maybe when the planet comes back the third time, the ships are now interested in spreading the gospel of Kelly in the Orville's universe - TO BE CONTINUED.

Isaac being the solution seemed a Deus Ex Machina, but it was the one surprise in the plot to me.

I enjoyed this one too. I'm really looking forward to the second season. Also, Kelly was right about why she and Ed can't be together after what happened, so I thought that plotline was tied up nicely. Though I'm sure that's not the end of it.

The ball game where you "win" by getting your hand sliced - well played, Macfarlane.
posted by wittgenstein at 7:50 AM on December 9, 2017 [3 favorites]

This was very predictable, but I was expecting it to end in a cliffhanger a la ST:TNG -

I was fully expecting either just Kelly or the entire shuttle crew to get stuck when the planet got swallowed in the other dimension.

I then expected the planet to go horribly wrong under Isaac’s control.

The pacing still needs work in this show, a little to much dead air after the lines get delivered.
posted by leotrotsky at 8:28 PM on December 9, 2017 [1 favorite]

This episode is a rip-off of the Star Trek: Voyager episode "Blink of an Eye", but damn if Orville didn't actually do it better.
posted by Servo5678 at 2:51 PM on December 10, 2017 [1 favorite]

I haven't seen this episode yet, but when I read this thread I immediately though "Voyager did it!"

I really want to see a Fox promo for reruns of The Orville where the voice over says "Catch up with the show audiences everywhere are grudgingly admitting they like!"

(Full disclosure, I am a member of that class).
posted by under_petticoat_rule at 5:08 PM on December 10, 2017 [2 favorites]

There were problematic episodes and some jokes that made it through to production that probably shouldn't have, but at the end it's a solid stand-up space trekking science fiction show.

I'm mostly just annoyed at the One True Trek fans who are trying to use it as an Orville/Discovery wedge. "More people are watching Orville!" "Well sure, it's being broadcast on a free channel, that's going to happen?" "Trek isn't dark!" "Lemme introduce you to Deep Space Nine, my friend." etc & so forth. They're both worthwhile in different ways, dig it.

Anyway, back to the episode, on the one hand I liked that it didn't turn into a TNG-style examination about the importance of the prime directive (SO MUCH HAND WRINGING), on the other hand it was sort of a pat answer. I mean, if I were in an organization with something like the prime directive, I would nope right the fuck out of there if I ran across any indigenous people, but that's just me.
posted by Kyol at 6:26 AM on December 11, 2017

I mean, don't get me wrong I'm sort of expecting that by the 4th season it's full-on MacFarlane as they chase the ratings, but... y'know, enjoy what you get before then.
posted by Kyol at 7:05 AM on December 11, 2017

The most amusing thing about the moclan hot potato game was that you won by having the hand impaled. Also: how do you disguise Alara's nose ridges? Rub some mud into them. Well, I *hope* it was mud, being the Middle Ages and not being a king.

All in all, it was a strange end of season episode. It seems there was one episode left out, probably either a hail mary episode or more of a bookend to the show. Since the show was renewed, I'm ok with not knowing.
posted by lmfsilva at 11:00 AM on December 12, 2017

I was going to say how pleased I was to see that Perd Hapley was still alive and reporting in the 25th century, then I looked at his IMDb credits and discovered Parks & Rec was far from the only time prior to this he's been a news reporter.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 10:34 AM on December 14, 2017 [2 favorites]

The disappearing planet shtick has been done several times: Meridian on DS9, for instance. But that's more of a Brigadoon story with the romance, and Brigadoon itself is one work of a theme. I could have sworn there's a TOS episode where the Enterprise crew disrupts the native religion, too. But maybe I'm just thinking of things with general religious themes like The Return of the Archons or The Paradise Syndrome or For the World is Hollow and I Have Touched the Sky. Which is to say Orville seems to be redoing a bunch of ideas from previous Star Treks but remixing them to something a little new.

The real twist here was leaving Isaac on the planet for a cycle of 700 years. I wish they'd done more with that. Also kind of hope we revisit the planet in, oh, 33 days when the society has progressed 2100 years. They come back on a Yaphit-worshipping space jihad and conquer the Union and everything else in our slow universe. Perhaps that's how the Dominion got formed in the Gamma Quadrant.
posted by Nelson at 8:16 AM on December 17, 2017 [2 favorites]

I thought the interesting bit was that even though they left Isaac for 700 years, in the end there was no reason for it. They worked things out on their own and he did nothing but witness the changes.
posted by fimbulvetr at 10:20 AM on December 18, 2017

So this isn't The Orville, but if you like the show you might also like the first episode of the new season of Black Mirror, the episode titled "USS Callister". (Can't find a good link without spoilers; here's a picture.) It's a little bit like "what if Seth MacFarlane were a videogame designer instead of a TV producer, and also a psychopath".
posted by Nelson at 10:45 AM on December 31, 2017

Apparently going to be a long wait for season 2. 2018, but just barely.

In the meantime tide yourself over and watch teenaged Seth Macfarlane as Captain Kirk in an adorable fan production.
posted by Nelson at 9:06 AM on January 18, 2018

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