The Orville: Midnight Blue
July 23, 2022 8:28 AM - Season 3, Episode 8 - Subscribe

The crew visit Haveena's sanctuary world and embark on a journey that may leave the Union more vulnerable.

"Clocking in at an hour and 26 minutes, it manages to test the mettle of Topa, her rescuers, and the Planetary Union itself. It introduces an unexpected potential relationship as well as a complication in that same relationship." -- TV Fanatic

"This is the first instance in an epic episode where the show begins to drag somewhat. It is certainly an important moment for Topa, but the time she speaks to Haveen, has dinner with the colony, and chases the lightning bug luminites, almost feels like an entire episode on its own." -- Den of Geek
posted by jzb (10 comments total)
What a guest appearance to get yourself, wow.

How did the Moclans pick up on enough of what passed between Heveena and Topa to (A) know that Topa now knew the identity of the contact on Moclus but (B) not learn for themselves who the contact was?

Because of how the camera cut away both times the name of the contact on Moclus was given, I was ready to assume it was Klyden. I am happy Klyden had a change of heart, but it seemed really fast for the three of them to become a happy family again.

I hope it's not hard for Moclans who renounce their birth citizenship to get Union citizenship.
posted by the antecedent of that pronoun at 8:34 AM on July 23, 2022 [2 favorites]

Just finished watching this one and the episode was definitely overlong. It had succeeded in drawing in my wife, who doesn't ordinarily watch the show, but she tapped out during the unnecessary dogfight sequence that came on top of the unnecessarily long rescue subplot.

But the episode more than made up for it in a number of ways. Adored the Dolly cameo, and the show has done well at putting the characters into difficult moral quandaries. They're not IMO taking the easy way out or letting us have clear cut issues.

I certainly felt Gordon's speech. Really hoping that we get a S4.
posted by jzb at 8:36 AM on July 23, 2022 [1 favorite]

Oh yeah the dogfight sequence :-/
posted by the antecedent of that pronoun at 8:38 AM on July 23, 2022 [1 favorite]

Well that was lovely. I teared up a bit at Klyden's apology, specifically the part where Topa is like "it's OK daddy" but he forcefully says what he did is not OK and takes responsibility for it. I was ready to see his head on a pike after previous episodes and now he seems like a decent person. Although there's trouble brewing with the hints of romance between Bortus and Kelly.

I was surprised to see Topa tortured so visibly on camera. She's a child; American TV doesn't usually show children being physically harmed so explicitly. Perhaps it's allowed because she's in alien makeup? Topa is about 1-2 years old but presumably that's Moclan years. I'd put Topa at about 15 if she were human. I think the actress Imani Pullum is about 19.

Kinda amazed the conclusion is the Moclans leave the Union and everyone's like "well that sucks but it's done". Seems hard to believe.

Goodness, Dolly Parton? Wow. What a great guest appearance. Orville has gotten a lot of fantastic actors and stars on over the seasons; is MacFarlane or someone else with the show super-well connected?

Definitely way, way too long; two normal episodes in length and there wasn't even a B plot. I fear the show may have Stephenson / Rowling syndrome where no one can edit the auteur. Parts of this episode did lag for sure, they weren't using the time to tell a more complex or nuanced story or anything.
posted by Nelson at 11:40 AM on July 23, 2022 [2 favorites]

<3 Dolly so wholesome.
posted by porpoise at 6:05 PM on July 23, 2022

This was...way too long. And it was really dragging by the time we got to the incredible and surprising cameo. It was then that I checked how long into the episode we were -- 48 minutes, the length of an entire episode of normal TV.

Good bits all around though. Mercer's line "But don't advertise tactical opportunism as pious morality, because that's when you lose me." is an all-time great, and read so well that it seems MacFarlane has really come into his own as the captain I think he's always wanted to portray.

Imani Pullum is a delight and really steals the show when she's in it.

The Moclans' plan, though? I dunno.

Did the whole rescue sequence give anybody else Star Wars vibes, as if it were on purpose? I mean, there were no wipe transitions or anything, but it felt Star Wars-y to me. Then, of course, the Moclan ships' only vulnerability was the exhaust ports, so...
posted by General Malaise at 10:36 AM on July 24, 2022 [3 favorites]

Kinda amazed the conclusion is the Moclans leave the Union and everyone's like "well that sucks but it's done". Seems hard to believe.

Yeah.. also Mercer and crew are having a really outsized impact on society if you think about it much. If there's an S4 this would be good to reign in, dial back the scope a bit. (I suppose the same was true for Picard and company, though.)

I forgot to mention earlier - I loved the bit of comedy with Gordon early in the episode. I knew the advice to Topa was going to backfire, just wasn't quite sure how. Poor Gordon. I really do enjoy that aspect of the show.
posted by jzb at 12:59 PM on July 24, 2022

They really built a weird scaffolding to justify the combination of showdown with the Moclans in the Union assembly and our seasonal "Kelly and Bortus kick a lot of ass because the actors are really good at it."

I'm willing to forgive a lot, though, because that cameo was a delight. One of the producers—Tom Constantino—went into detail how they filmed that at the height of COVID.

They had a big event at San Diego Comic Con with a bunch of cast and crew. I was hoping it would be a renewal announcement for season 4, but alas. On the other hand, the show will now be on both Hulu and Disney+ starting August 10. Which feels like a win to me.
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 4:09 PM on July 24, 2022 [1 favorite]

This was so long in a season of episodes that have all been too long but this really takes the cake. In the era of streaming, it seems like A Very Long Episode takes the place of a two-parter but without anywhere near enough story to justify it.

What's mostly frustrating is that this show has interesting ideas at the heart of every episode, but somewhere along the line it was decided that it was better to stretch them out rather than keep them tight.
posted by crossoverman at 2:14 AM on August 3, 2022

I spent a chunk of this episode hoping that the torturer would at some point reveal his name, and that he was Topa’s underground contact, because that’s the kind of subversion-of-expectations this show offers sometimes. Once the torturing started, though, I found that harder to hope for. I thought maybe it was a test of devotion to the underground until the Krill painstick came out.
posted by Mister Moofoo at 10:47 AM on September 3, 2022

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