The Orville: Identity, Part 2
March 1, 2019 7:53 AM - Season 2, Episode 9 - Subscribe

Ed and the crew leave Isaac's home planet Kaylon. Risks are taken. Stuff goes boom.

The Orville Season 2 Episode 9 Review: Identity, Pt.2 (Diana Keng for TV Fanatic)
Well, they broke Isaac. It's very clear from The Orville Season 2 Episode 9 that his prolonged exposure to biological lifeforms has irrevocably contaminated his programming.

I mean, it's all good considering the Earth and all biological life would've been wiped out if Isaac hadn't made his Hugh of Borg transition.

However, my first thought is that his sympathy/affection for the Finn family is now a vulnerability to be exploited by those looking to control his strength, knowledge, and/or skills.
TV Review – The Orville: Identity Part 2 (TL;DR Movie Reviews and Analysis)
TL;DR – We get what is not only the best episode of The Orville but one of the best episodes of Science Fiction I have seen.

Score – 5 out of 5 stars

Review –

Writing Science Fiction shows seems like it would be easy, I mean they are just westerns set in space, right? Alas, they are much more difficult than you think. You have to world build, but you can’t overwhelm the audience, every part of your universe has to have logical consistency, you need to fill that universe with interesting characters, and you need to always have in the back of your mind what future you want to present. Then, of course, you have to create stories that support every part of this. It is this alchemy that draws me to Science Fiction as a genre, and tonight we got to see an exemplar of a show doing it all.
Also, there was a 10 minute SPACE BATTLE!
posted by filthy light thief (20 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I have to admit that, for me, the most pleasing part of this was Yaphit-as-hero. TWICE.
posted by hanov3r at 8:14 AM on March 1, 2019 [9 favorites]

Favorite line: "Wash your mouth out with Gordon!"
posted by Roger Pittman at 8:18 AM on March 1, 2019 [2 favorites]

Loved the episode, especially when they made clear that Primary was indeed very emotional but just wouldn't admit it. Also really insecure about people talking back to him, which I can't help feeling is inherited from his creators, either deliberately or as learned behaviour.
posted by Mogur at 9:10 AM on March 1, 2019 [3 favorites]

I loved this.

My heart broke for Claire in Identity Pt 1, and I was done with Isaac. But it was touching how Isaac really couldn't believe the Kaelon brainwashing once he'd gotten to know the biologicals so well, and was feeling compassion and empathy for them despite himself. It was like when he tried to leave Claire but he couldn't, because she'd gotten under his skin. In reality, I guess, he couldn't leave her because he loved and missed her too much, but at that point, he still couldn't understand or admit what was happening and had to couch his desire to be with her again in logic and efficiency.

This also puts their relationship in a different light for me. I had really felt like Isaac was just using her and her kids, "experimenting" on them, and her and Ty's love for him was *all* just projection of their own humanity onto him. I guess that was a much too cynical view, and I'm delighted that the show ultimately didn't go in that direction. This is what makes the Orville feel like a genuine descendant of Star Trek for me -- that optimism and heart. I really love it.

When they were about to space the redshirt and Isaac kept arguing that they needed to stop until the Kaelons had to send him away for re-education, it was actually was even more striking to me than when Isaac protected Ty, and that's when I started forgiving Isaac, I guess. Ty was so vulnerable and trusting, and Isaac had a strong personal relationship/history with him, so it made sense that Ty would be special to Isaac and seeing him in danger would pull on his heart strings. But Isaac's empathy for the Orville crewmember was just coming from a place of shared humanity, not personal affection or sentimentality. In a way, I thought that was an even more powerful moment.

Yaphit's role in this was awesome, and I'm glad that he got the chance to shine, especially since his blobbiness wasn't treated as a joke, it was central to his heroism.

The inclusion of the Krill was fantastic, and I liked everything from the payoff of Kelly going on a likely suicide mission with the Captain's blessing, to the Star Wars-esque moment of Gordon piloting the Krill ship, to the Captain talking with the Krill commander and them agreeing that hopefully coming together against a common enemy will help them find a way to find common ground (praise Avis).

Very well done, and props to Seth McFarlane, who I really wouldn't have thought had it in him. I actually like all the goofy jokes (like the pee corner) and the silliness but I especially like that they've found a way for all that jokiness and even toilet humor to add to the show's/characters' humanity rather than undermining it.
posted by rue72 at 9:41 AM on March 1, 2019 [10 favorites]

Favorite line: "Wash your mouth out with Gordon!"

He also quoted Top Gun: "Just a walk in the park, Kazansky!"

But no one seem phased to meet Captain Dalak of the Krill. Then again, this was the day that the Krill worked with the Union, and let Gordon pilot a Krill fighter.
posted by filthy light thief at 10:15 AM on March 1, 2019 [3 favorites]

Favorite line: "Wash your mouth out with Gordon!"

He also quoted Top Gun: "Just a walk in the park, Kazansky!"

I may have audibly, vocally cheered for Fighter Pilot Gordon. Since I *hate* Scott Grimes and have since his stint on ER, this is a big thing.
posted by hanov3r at 12:59 PM on March 1, 2019 [3 favorites]

I was charmed by this. I figured Isaac would save them, but I didn't see all of the plot twists, including the payoff of Yaphit being a slime creature for all of these episodes.

I also think the two actors playing Claire's kids are particularly good. And, they didn't just pretend Isaac and Claire could just go back to their previous relationship.

Really this was at least as good as a standout TNG episode.
posted by wittgenstein at 6:13 PM on March 1, 2019 [5 favorites]

A jarring, off note for me was when Prime’s head jeered at Isaac with his last words.

But otherwise I was impressed. The episode really hit the right emotional notes. The writers and especially the actors did a great job.
posted by Monochrome at 8:09 PM on March 1, 2019

Aww, The Orville is a grownup show now!

Or at least, demonstrated that they can do "grown up" - so depending on how they slack off and revert to teenager mode (hey we all did; adulting is tiring and video games can be fun vs throwing a temper tantrum at your boss at a real job because they called you out on some of your bs), the show set a bar for itself.

I have to concede, it's a solid bar.

re: Prime's "You .. will always .. be .. alone"
I... don't have a problem with that (but this scene kicks a lot of sand in my original assessment of the feasability of eyeguns wrt: CPU/ memory - my initial reaction is that they are kinda like dinosaurs who had "brains" in their butts (serious); maybe Kaelons have sub-CPUs near their weapons systems and associated memory for similar reasons)

- er, sorry, Prime just blacklisted/ blocked/ firewalled Isaac from Kaelon communications systems/ society - Prime doesn't understand that there are other networks that might be worth belonging to other than the Kaelon one. Which is probably why the Kaelons resisted joining up in the first place (on top of their robo-chauvanism/ superiority complex).

Weird noticed - Isaac retracts his eyeguns before ripping off Prime's head, then re-extrudes them to kill the last two Kaelons.

Did they have to do that because it needed multiple takes for the physical effects filming, and/ or it was easier/ cheaper to CG around the physical effect filming (ie., physically ripping off Prime's head and throwing it away)?
posted by porpoise at 8:53 PM on March 1, 2019

Well, so, Isaac really was being a callous monster. He wasn't re-programmed or whatever. He had this in him, all along. I know we're supposed to come away from it impressed that he chose not to destroy humanity after all, that he saved the day and said he was sorry, but I keep thinking back to just how awful he was until he changed his mind. I feel like I either needed to see more scenes where his inner conflict was obviously growing or a scene at the end where he explained himself a little. This story was all about him, really, but he's not in it that much and we're not really privy to what he's thinking.

I did feel like this was a very good two-parter, definitely a high-water mark for this show so far, although I liked part one better than the second part. It seemed like they were more awkward jokes/references this time. There were also a few plots holes that kind of stood out. Why did Yaphit only bring back one gun? Why did they have a conduit perfectly built to fit Yaphit or a small child, and nobody else? Like, what is that conduit even used for normally? Why did the Krill give Gordon his own fighter? How did he convince this race of surly xenophobes that they should let a random human take one of their ships for a spin?

But even if this episode didn't live up to part one, it was still exciting stuff. I was surprised back in season one when this weird Seth McFarlane Star Trek rip-off somehow didn't suck, and now it just keeps getting better. Remember the absolutely ghastly reviews of the pilot episode? We've sure come a long way from there!
posted by Ursula Hitler at 11:26 PM on March 1, 2019 [1 favorite]

I quit The Orville after that awful episode with Bortus having a disease that made him compulsively have virtual sex - or whatever it was - but everyone’s been freaking out so much about these two episodes that I watched them back to back this morning and I have to say, it’s a whole different show than the first two dumb eps of this season. That space battle was AWESOME. Easily the best TV space battle I’ve ever seen.
posted by something something at 4:02 PM on March 2, 2019 [1 favorite]

I know other people think of the pee corner as just bad toilet humor. It's actually something I think about whenever characters are trapped in a room without a bathroom, so I was glad someone finally addressed it - and realistically!

Some of the Union ships in the space battle were huge. It's a reminder that the Orville is not the top ship in the fleet.
posted by rednikki at 3:27 AM on March 3, 2019 [4 favorites]

Was that supposed to be the entire crew in the one shuttle bay, as there were no other kids.
Did the other kids leave the ship when the teacher did?
posted by Marticus at 8:44 PM on March 3, 2019

Did anyone notice that Isaac's eyes changed from stark blue circles to something with depth, like cones? Or was I just hallucinating?
posted by Seamus at 7:03 PM on March 4, 2019 [1 favorite]

Yeah, around the time of Isaac's eyecannon reveal, he got a little extra depth in his baby blues.
posted by porpoise at 8:36 PM on March 4, 2019

My takeaway was the little drop of information that Isaac was the only Kaylon built by the Kaylon's themselves after the revolution. All the red-eyed ones were survivors, Isaac is the first of a new generation created by nonbiologicals. Maybe they'll eventually be convinced that they have evolved and maybe some other biologicals have too.

The Krill gave Gordon a fighter because he's flown Krill ships before and they've met him in battle while he's flying the Orville. But that pointless conduit really annoyed me, do they have little repair robots or something? Are there plenty of small alien creatures in this universe?
posted by zengargoyle at 8:39 AM on March 5, 2019 [2 favorites]

Oh man, how cool would it be if *Gordon* becomes the bridge-builder between the Krill and the UP? :)
posted by Mogur at 8:59 AM on March 5, 2019 [3 favorites]

Agreed this episode was pretty solid. I felt a bit let down because it seemed mostly predictable. But then it delivered well.

I was most concerned Isaac's aboutface would come with some goofy Power of Love writing. But it was played pretty believably for me, he finally had enough and just couldn't handle seeing the Kaylons harming so many people. And props to Kai Wener as the actor playing Ty; I'm not normally a child actor fan but this kid was great. Even Yaphit was great, doubly so for a character who is generally just a terrible excuse for Norm MacDonald to make a dumb joke.

The space battle CG was awesome. It made me wistful for Babylon 5, another Trek-knockoff that was famous in large part for being the first scifi TV show to be made entirely with CG effects. Things have come a long way. These scenes looked expensive, but really I think mostly they looked great. Whoever choreographed the fights did a great job making everything incredibly chaotic and yet still exciting and visceral. Also props to whoever realized you could have three colors of lasers in a space battle.

Bringing the Krill in was the big surprise this episode. The way it was done was awfully goofy, but the evolution of galactic diplomacy it poses for the story could end up being really interesting.

zengargoyle; is Isaac the only post-genocide Kaylon? Or just one of many? I didn't hear anything about him being an exclusive model. OTOH I did hear something about Primary telling Isaac he had to "choose a new designation", a new name. Did he ever do that?

No way would any sane humans allow Isaac in a position of authority or control ever again.
posted by Nelson at 9:58 AM on March 7, 2019 [1 favorite]

I think he wasn't the only post-genocide Kaylon... they did say something about how they needed more room to expand as they had filled up their planet.
posted by fimbulvetr at 10:01 AM on March 7, 2019

I got the impression that Kaylon Prime kept reminding him of that fact was because he didn't have personal experience of what life was like before the genocide, not that he was the only new Kayon.
posted by fimbulvetr at 10:06 AM on March 7, 2019

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