The Orville

"All the World Is Birthday Cake"

2 stars

Air date: 1/24/2019
Written by Seth MacFarlane
Directed by Robert Duncan McNeill

Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan

"All the World Is Birthday Cake," possibly more than any Orville episode so far, raises serious questions about what this series is trying to do and what the rules of this universe are. This is an episode that has an underlying concept that could really only have worked on TOS — where the rules of engagement did not yet exist for the audience. Meanwhile, it's got the story beats and filming style of TNG — if you ignore all the violence, anyway. And then it has all the problems we associate with Voyager and Enterprise — pointless action and hard-headed aliens holding ridiculously absolute beliefs. The end result is the most heavy-handed episode of this series to date.

It starts out wonderfully, in what appears to be an Orville homage to the Trekkian first contact. The teaser and first act sell the awe of the initial encounter with the Regorians marvelously. But then the ominous foreboding begins (Regorian babies are delivered early for no medical reason, just to keep their birthdates outside a forbidden zone of dates; Claire conveniently gets to stand in an operating room to witness a C-section). Then Grayson casually mentions at a state dinner that her and Bortus' birthdays are next week and out come the armed guards.

It turns out the Regorians, for thousands of years, have relied on astrology for the basis of much of their civilization. If you are born under the bad sign of "Giliac," supposedly indicating you have violent and criminal tendencies, you are banished from society and thrown into a concentration camp. (The Giliac wear jumpsuits with the symbol of their sign identifying them, just in case the Jews-during-WWII allegory was lost on us.) Grayson and Kelly are imprisoned and treated like scum because that's just how this world works.

This episode takes the allegory-via-absurdity approach sometimes employed by TOS. The Regorians, represented primarily through their prefect (John Rubinstein), cannot possibly fathom the idea of not segregating based on astrology. I mean, it doesn't even occur to him that such a thing is possible. He's aghast that the enlightened spacefaring Union could possibly see it otherwise. His world is so consumed with this idea that he simply asks Mercer to leave, wanting no part of such heresy. Naturally, he won't return Grayson and Bortus. He thinks his world can simply impose their views on space aliens (whose astrology would have no relevance to this world's whatsoever, but let's not get into silly details), even though these aliens have superior technology and firepower. (I wonder how this play would've worked out with the Krill.) I get the commentary that there are people so stuck inside their bubble of beliefs that they can't possibly consider alternate viewpoints, but this is ham-handed and forced.

TNG's "First Contact" is a classic of contemplation and subtlety. "All the World Is Birthday Cake" plays like its nasty evil twin. This is an episode that wheels and turns on plot contrivances, forced conflict, stupid violence, thematic inconsistency, and a gross ineptitude on the part of the Planetary Union. The guiding philosophy of the Union for engaging other sentient species appears to be "just wing it." Sure, let's just go down to a planet because they called us — what could go wrong?

Of course, this chill make-it-up-as-you-go philosophy stands only until it doesn't. We get a useless admiral (played by Ted Danson) who tells Mercer he isn't allowed to rescue his people by force because ... reasons. So Grayson and Bortus are collateral damage who spend a month in an internment camp, after which the admiral tells Mercer basically to abandon them. Nice. The idea that the Union would have a policy of answering every call from a world that sends out a signal is highly questionable. The idea they would go down to the planet and make contact without doing any sort of research beforehand is several steps beyond stupid. (Also, this seems contradictory. The Union had people studying the planet in "Majority Rule"; you'd think they'd do something similar before sending down a landing party with zero information about the planet's culture.)

I'll say this: The complete lack of coherence or sensibility around how the Union deals with issues of first contact, diplomacy, and non-interference reveals just how much more well-thought-out the rules of the Trek universe are and how we take them for granted. They become an utter mess when considered superficially as they are here.

Take Grayson and Bortus in the internment camp. We see how awful the Giliac are treated, how the Giliac accept their sorry lot in life because that's just how it is, and we get a childbirth scene in the compound that seems to go on forever (do we really need to see the "Push!" sequence done four times?), before the baby's fate sparks Grayson to say "enough" and decide to break out of the compound in disgust. In their failed escape attempt, Grayson and Bortus kill probably a half-dozen guards (plenty of machine guns and even an explosion to throw a bone to the action fans). This is completely inconsistent with whatever non-conflict or non-interference point Admiral Danson was trying to make. I realize Grayson had no knowledge of the admiral's orders, but that's precisely the point — his orders were dumb and arbitrary, and meanwhile the rules of engagement as a matter of standing policy don't seem to exist.

As for the solution to the problem, consider me extremely skeptical. The new Xeleyan security chief, Lt. Talla Keylai (Jessica Szohr, playing a harder-edged opposite to the sweet and insecure Alara) discovers the Giliac's misfortune goes back three millenniums to when a star vanished from the heavens and was taken as a bad omen. So Mercer's crew decides to "bring back the star" in the hopes of changing the Regorians' world.

So a few things here:

  1. I am not convinced the geometry of the "mirror" solution they come up with could possibly work given how close the reflector is to the planet. Wouldn't the position of the "star" be way off depending on where from the surface you were looking at it? Even a few hundred miles would have a significant parallax effect, wouldn't it?
  2. After 3,000 years of persecuting the Giliac, the Regorians are just going to abandon their beliefs because a star magically reappears in the sky? Just like that? And they're going to let Grayson and Bortus go even though they just killed a bunch of people? Really? How very nice and tidy.
  3. How is it okay for Mercer to interfere in a very major way that affects how the entire planet's society functions, yet using isolated force (it could even have been non-lethal force!) to retrieve the abducted crew members is forbidden? Especially in light of the fact those abducted crew members kill a bunch of people anyway?

Is this nitpicking? I don't think so. This plot does not hold up to even reasonable scrutiny. You could perhaps have gotten away with some of this in the TOS days, because audiences weren't as demanding and the details weren't fussed over. But that was 50 years ago, and The Orville exists in a world where TNG long ago changed the game.

Look, I get this isn't the Trek universe. But The Orville picks and chooses which rules from Trek it decides to employ, and there appears to be no rhyme or reason for how or when it does so. That becomes more of a liability for an episode like "Birthday Cake" that relies so much on its own half-assed spin on Trekkian ideals. This episode makes no sense because the Union's protocols for alien encounters make no sense. If this series isn't going to adhere to any rules, then it shouldn't have gone out of its way to model itself on a universe that's all about rules.

Previous episode: Nothing Left on Earth Excepting Fishes

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240 comments on this review

Chris
Thu, Jan 24, 2019, 9:04pm (UTC -6)
So I was actually excited for the first few minutes tonight ... the idea of a "first contact" and the reaction of the crew was a great opening. But then it quickly went downhill. Why would they go to a new planet without doing ANY research? I don't know, maybe I am expecting too much from the show. As always the characters are likable and something keeps me watching the show but I thought this episode was a 2/4 at best. Interesting ideas were squandered and the solution to the problem simply didn't ring true in the slightest. Next weeks looks like it could be fun.
Tempeh
Thu, Jan 24, 2019, 9:11pm (UTC -6)
Interesting concept. Uninteresting episode.
Troy
Thu, Jan 24, 2019, 9:14pm (UTC -6)
TNG's " First Contact" it ain't. Whoa.

This episode plays it straighter than any previous episode of the Orville, and it may be the worst so far.

If The Orville borrows and steals from Star Trek, then its approach to first contact is its biggest departure.

I knew from the first scene that this episode was going to be influenced by TNG's First Contact, so perhaps I, too, am influenced; but reacting to any old, "Anybody out there?" message and thusly meeting a civilization without knowing ANYTHING about that civilization is foolish.

And then the Admiralty tells Mercer that nothing can be done because it's their custom? Nope, I don't buy it.

Filling in the constellation with a false star solved the problem of this society fast , didn't it? These folks sure do know their constellations.

I could go on but I'm using my phone to type.

It seems The Orville gets dumb when it tries to be smart.
Perry Plotkin
Thu, Jan 24, 2019, 9:22pm (UTC -6)
This one is interesting. man, I'm going to have hard time writing up what I think about this episode. It really have amazing visuals of the city, the prison camps, and the fake star. This episode has a strong storyline of first contact, less advanced than ours. (joking aside I'm not the admiral to ask to abort the mission.) To try to relate the title to someone's birthday is probably just a B plot of the adventure.
The ending has more to be desired when two crews were certainly doomed until the last second planetary surprise. 3.25 stars
Perry Plotkin
Thu, Jan 24, 2019, 9:33pm (UTC -6)
I like the addition of the new crew member and maybe the chemistry will work among its crews. Research may be limited before running into aliens. could they have foretell of what they believe in? could they have contingency plans if things go amoak? It's part of crew development.
Dave in MN
Thu, Jan 24, 2019, 9:48pm (UTC -6)
Fun episode!

First off, Talla is actually a pretty interesting new character .... whatever her backstory is, it's gotta be fascinating. I like her street-tough attitude already.

Great guest stars this week: the new admiral was Ted Danson in a serious role! I'm surprised he doesn't take more dramatic roles, he was effective here.

I felt the alien culture was well portrayed... the Prefect was great multi-faceted character and the prison camp officials were suitably evil.

I'm happy to say I didn't figure out the twist until the crew of the Orville did, even though the trail of breadcrumbs that led to the big reveal seemed obvious in retrospect.

Astrology as policy? Speaking as a voracious scifi reader going back to the Golden Age and the pulps, this actually struck me as a fresh premise (something I encounter less and less the older I get). The way it was revealed was paced perfectly.

I'm glad to see the Union has a more liberal policy than the Federation does about First Contact, but there's a in-universe history of planets meeting bad ends when the wrong species resplies. It makes sense ... I wouldn't want the Krill, Horbalak, Chak'tal, Benzians or Calivon to be the first extraterrestrials for us to meet.

Side notes: I usually never tell people my honest opinion about religion or astrology anymore, and that's because of exactly the reason this episode showed.

I know nice people (who I like) who got very upset when they found out I don't have a deterministic view of the universe. The kind of dogmatic hurt response Ed received when he tried to reason with the Prefect was almost like a flashback for me. (Why didn't the horoscopes predict a 1 star day for everyone on 9/11? .... but I digress).

Also, this is the second time we've seen the Orville crew use some kind of scientific trickery to game a species (when they're against a deadline). It definitely suggests that lying for the greater good (in tense interspecies scenarios) isn't a court martial offense.

The debate at the end certainly suggests that Union captains are given more latitude than we see in the Federation. Then again, the Orville is only a mid-level ship and look how many crazy adventures they have: if every ship in the fleet is having this kind of varied drama all the time, you'd need to give your leaders a lot of latitude to keep your ships in one piece and Union space safe and peaceful. Oh, and the solar sail was beautiful and scientifically accurate (although, to my untrained eye, iit looked like it was unfurled too close to the planet to be viewed from the entire night side without a parallax).

Anyways, another fantastic episode: the comedy/ drama ratio was perfect and they tackled a subject we rarely saw in Trek: an actual planned First Contact that didn't go awry because the new species were simple moustache-twirling villians (like 99% of the Delta Quadrant was),.

Again, another 3.5 for me.
Karl Zimmerman
Thu, Jan 24, 2019, 10:13pm (UTC -6)
Okay that was...average. Just like a pretty unremarkable middle-of-the-road TNG or VOY episode.

It's pretty damn clear that the seed of this episode was in part because Seth wanted to do a show about how stupid astrology is. I mean, I agree with him, but the show went out of its way to lecture the viewer. For example, when he is begging with the planetary leader for Grayson and Bortus to be released, he doesn't make the obvious appeal - that there are totally different constellations in the sky where they are from, that the months are different - hell, that the years are different lengths. Instead he decides to insult the leader's cultural beliefs to his face, thinking that will somehow work. I mean, I know a lot of the comedy comes from Mercer being a naive fool, but he should have some level of self-awareness right?

Jessica Szohr just isn't doing it for me as Talla either - at least yet. I've not seen the actress in anything else, but she seems about a tier below everyone else on the show in terms of range.

The worst element of this episode to me was that there was essentially no character development. I think an opportunity was missed here to develop Kelly apart from her tension with Ed. Without any real character development, there's not much here besides the plot and the premise - both of which are ho-hum.

Two stars. And it's a shame, because I genuinely liked the beginning of this season quite a good deal.
SlackerInc
Thu, Jan 24, 2019, 10:43pm (UTC -6)
I don’t say this lightly: IMO you could count the Trek episodes that are better than this on one hand. There are a few BSG, SGU, and even Andromeda eps that beat it as well, but this is a very high quality episode of science fiction IMO. Any minute or two selected at random has elements that deserve to be singled out for praise.

Obviously I think it’s the best episode of the series, hands down (and I already really liked this series). Four stars with a bullet.
Fluffysheap
Thu, Jan 24, 2019, 11:56pm (UTC -6)
Well, that happened. Anybody miss season 2 of Enterprise? Me neither. But apparently someone did, because we have this episode. Archer goes to jail! I mean Kelly and Bortus, whatever.

This episode had everything : hard-headed aliens of the week complete with preposterous customs, repetitive dialogue, a meaningless action sequence, nonsensical starfleet (or whatever) rules, and a neat little technobabble solution that ties everything up in the last couple of minutes.

Everyone being excited about a first contact mission was a nice moment, but it's hardly the first time they've done one.

Groaner moment : the alien scientist talks about the array of "satellites." Which are radio dishes sitting on the ground. That is not what a satellite is.

A rescue mission isn't allowed, but re-engineering the religion on which the entire society is founded is fine? mmmkay.

No character made a meaningful decision at any point during this episode except the alien guy who decided to reveal the baby, and he was on screen for maybe one minute.

Even Picard would have just rescued the prisoners (which he did, in "Justice," which was pretty much the same episode). Kirk would have rescued the prisoners and blown up the ministry of astrology for good measure.

Half a star (it would have been one star, but it's really just a mirror).
Dougie
Fri, Jan 25, 2019, 12:18am (UTC -6)
Thinking I should skip this one. Patterns emerge, and watching how the reviews are clustering is fascinating! Two of three Sentinels already reported. Amazing the correlations. This is beyond fun now.
OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Fri, Jan 25, 2019, 12:23am (UTC -6)
Haven't yet got around to see this episode, so I'm avoiding the comments at this time. But I'd like to point out that my prediction regarding who wrote this one turned out to be true.

On the discussion of the previous episode I've written:

"It will be interesting to see what's the next episode has in store. I have a feeling, from the promos, that it's another one written by Seth himself."

And now both IMDB and Wikipedia confirm it. That first contact scene where Ed quoted Sagan's famous "Cosmos" quote and then completely ruined it with a joke, was a dead giveaway :-)

And now, enough talk! To the bat-TV!
Steve
Fri, Jan 25, 2019, 3:37am (UTC -6)
Not a fan of this episode. The biggest problem is no one behaved logically. Why would the leader even keep two aliens prisoner and risk war against a civilization centuries ahead of them? Just tell them to leave.

Also the people in the prison were waaay too casual considering they were meeting aliens for the first time.
SlackerInc
Fri, Jan 25, 2019, 6:39am (UTC -6)
The observation about the other prisoners is fair, particularly concerning Bortus. But a tangent about Bortus being treated as a monster would have waylaid the plot, so I handwaved it away as being in the same category as the aliens being identical to humans but for some faint face tattoos.
Michael
Fri, Jan 25, 2019, 7:08am (UTC -6)
As a sci-fi story, this was very weak. There was no middle-ground anywhere, no philosophical questions were raised. It came across as dogma rather than a convincing exploration or debate about an issue. No doubt some interesting discussion was to be had about some of the themes raised, but none of it was brought up during the episode.
Michael
Fri, Jan 25, 2019, 7:16am (UTC -6)
Also, having never really watched any Seth McFarlane shows, I'm beginning to get a sense that doing what has been done before successfully by others is just what he does. Not a criticism because there's obviously an audience for that, just an indication that sooner or later my interest in this show is likely to wane.
Dave in MN
Fri, Jan 25, 2019, 7:19am (UTC -6)
@Dougie

Am I a sentinel? I hope so, I would LOVE to have the power to keep you from watching and commenting.

Lol, don't bitch about unfair treatment one week and then do the same to others the next.

Oh, and before anyone gets offended by me not staying focused on the episode, he freely admits he didn't watch it (but still felt compelled to pop in and say something snarky). Pathetic troll.
Dave in MN
Fri, Jan 25, 2019, 7:29am (UTC -6)
Also, i reject the notion that fans only watch the Orville because it's Trek comfort food.

I will acknowledge that utilizing Trekkish settings, editing, cinematography and scoring was the reason I became interested in the show, and yes, being Trekkish facilitated me becoming familiar with the characters more quickly.

However, I would posit that the addition of character-based humor; exploring much more realistic familial and romantic relationships than the antiseptic ones we saw in Trek; as well as the ability to integrate current social issues and science fiction into a pleasing, thought-provoking whole is what makes the Orville it's own thing, separate from its inspiration.

I'm not fan because I need a nostalgia fix, i'm a fan because of all the ways I find the show rewarding.... and FUN.
SlackerInc
Fri, Jan 25, 2019, 8:33am (UTC -6)
Hear, hear, Dave!
MercerCreate
Fri, Jan 25, 2019, 8:37am (UTC -6)
i really like the episode. It falls short of "Majority Rule" despite having a similar feel (and the notion -- which is incredible - that the crew have to solve a problem not with guns but through the planet's own "rules") but the simple fact is that astrology is not nearly as relevant top day as social media is.. which made Majority Rule more relevant. Also, the scene where Kelly and Bortus are about to be executed reminded me a bit much of Enterprise Season 2 "The Communicator". But overall this feels like 90s Trek.. and I love it
John Dark
Fri, Jan 25, 2019, 9:07am (UTC -6)
They can't all be winners. Season 2's been great, but this is its weakest episode so far.
Trent
Fri, Jan 25, 2019, 9:09am (UTC -6)
Dave said: "However, I would posit that [...] exploring much more realistic familial and romantic relationships than the antiseptic ones we saw in Trek [...] is what makes the Orville it's own thing, separate from its inspiration."

Yeah, it also milks a very specific fantasy; the fantasy of just hanging with your buddies on a totally sweet starship. You could imagine yourself chilling out on the Enterprise D, but "Orville" ramps up the chill.

SlackerInc said: "I don’t say this lightly: IMO you could count the Trek episodes that are better than this on one hand."

SlackerInc, are you being serious? That's high praise (I haven't seen the episode yet, will watch it tonight). You can't just drop a glowing line like that and not elaborate upon why you found the episode so good.
Karl Zimmerman
Fri, Jan 25, 2019, 9:18am (UTC -6)
I realized another issue with this episode I didn't last night: How was Bortus's birthday even calculated? Presumably the Moclan year is a different length than an Earth year. Even if we presume that Union ships use the Earth calendar, the crew would have to cross-check against the Moclan calendar to see where his birthday actually fell each Earth year. Or are they instead calculating how old Bortus is in Earth years, so his birthday falls on the same day each year? If that's the case, it's hardly "his birthday."

Really, they should have had two humans be imprisoned. It would make the plot somewhat more sensible.
SlackerInc
Fri, Jan 25, 2019, 9:54am (UTC -6)
@Trent: I’m absolutely serious.

I find it overwhelming to try to explain why, because in every minute of the episode there were ten awesomely conceived and executed elements. The central plot was really cool, the dialogue was stellar, the action movie style shootouts with real kinetic weapons were cool, and the birth scene (and subsequent struggle over what to do with the baby) was surprisingly affecting and not perfunctory as most such scenes are.

The new security chief rocks, and the running Bortus/Kelly joke about a joint birthday party was delightful.

Oh, and the solar reflector at the end was amazing.

There’s lots more, but that’s a good start off the top of my head.
Charles J
Fri, Jan 25, 2019, 11:47am (UTC -6)
The Orville's unmasked disdain for religion and irrational beliefs is wearing thin. Even when there are good points to be made, MacFarlane and his writers rarely even attempt to challenge and dissect these ideas in good faith.

The anti-vaxxer parents in Home are willing to torture and commit murder. The priests in Mad Idolatry exploit their position by making themselves rich, and mete out brutal punishments. The Dorahlian's are incredibly violent against the Reformers in If the Stars Should Appear. The Krill kill unprovoked, and are expansionist because of their faith. The social media planet in Majority Rule will go as far as lobotomizing their citizens for even minor offenses. Now the Rigorians jump straight to enforced imprisonment and testing.

The Rigorians took an inordinate risk taking Grayson and Bortus. They don't know the Planetary Union wouldn't retaliate.

After hearing how utopic the Union is, and seeing how Grayson and Bortus behave, not one Rigorian entertains the notion that maybe the stars' effects don't extend beyond their planet.

Nor, after thousands of years, has any Rigorian noticed how docile and well-behaved the Jeliac (sp?) are. They have peer review, yet basic observation escapes them. Okay.

Because the Rigorians hold an irrational belief, they must also therefore act and think disproportionally irrational. Which falls in line with how many of the cultures in The Orville are written.

This episode could have been a strong critique of confirmation bias, caste systems and systematic oppression fueled by prejudice. Ironically, it just highlights how much the writers engage in confirmation bias themselves.

The writers present irrational beliefs as harmful and destructive by writing the people that hold them as harmful and destructive.

They don't seem to have any interest in exploring these cultures and characters beyond hammering home a narrow and patronizing application of humanistic ideals.
Yanks
Fri, Jan 25, 2019, 12:06pm (UTC -6)
Well, this one sounded great, started great, then dropped off.

I didn't hate it, but a space faring race can jump right in a make first contact because someone figured out how to send a "are we alone" message? Trek takes First Contact to the extreme and I figured The Orville would not be a strict, but it seems pointless to make contact with a race that can't travel to their nearest star and/or trade with anyone.

Ed said to the Prefect that the reason they jump at the chance for first contact is because it's better a Union ship does it than someone like the Krill. Really? ... is the Union now going to protect them from all evils in the universe? ... because they made First Contact?

I thought keeping Bortus and Grayson was just stupid. We all can debate their customs and idiosyncrasies, but the good CDR and Bortus were not staying on the planet. To keep them by force welcomes getting their asses handed to them by a technologically superior race. I mean, I had this discussion with my boys once... "What would you do if Aliens came to Earth? ... I said "please don't annihilate/eat me" :-)

Our new Security Chief is OK, I'm sure she will grow on me - but I really wasn't that impressed.

The visuals are great once again.

I thought Adrianne Palicki's performance was very good.

Best line? .... Bortus: "An egg is easier" :-)

I can't go above 2 stars here.... I really wanted too when the episode started.
Booming
Fri, Jan 25, 2019, 1:12pm (UTC -6)
@ Dave in MN: evil laughter
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CtFLzGRfVnA
Evan
Fri, Jan 25, 2019, 1:21pm (UTC -6)
Among the many logical flaws of the episode, the main one for me is that all they had to do was explain that since the length of a year is no doubt different in Earth, Moclan and Rigorian star systems, the birthdays of Kelly and Bortus would have fallen on different Rigorian months each year. This should have been evident to a civilization as advanced as what we saw of the Rigorians.
Charles
Fri, Jan 25, 2019, 3:23pm (UTC -6)
I suppose my biggest issue (of many) with this episode, is what happened to the previous episode? Mercer released a Krill spy and knew he was facing the wrath of the Admiralty for doing that. So how is he so quickly allowed to lead a first contact mission?
Nicholas Sergi
Fri, Jan 25, 2019, 3:47pm (UTC -6)
@Charles .. because the show isn't overly concerned with serialization. Plus they wanted to reach the planet before the Krill does, and Orville is closer because it got the message first.. and because the two cases are very different
Nicholas Sergi
Fri, Jan 25, 2019, 3:54pm (UTC -6)
Ok so I realize that astrology isn't relevant today the way social media acceptance is (see Majority Rule) but perhaps the astrology theme of judging people was more of a reflection of all of the things going on today in terms of gender and identity politics .. and using astrology instead of those things directly was the show's way of avoiding being on the nose
Dave in MN
Fri, Jan 25, 2019, 4:53pm (UTC -6)
Why would the planet they are born on make any difference to the plot?

Let's say this planet was Earth (just to make my analogy easier).

If an alien was born on April 8, 2000; it would be an Aries by our standards and it wouldn't matter if that alien's planet took 30 years to orbit its star.

By that alien's standard, it might be less than a year old, however (barring time dilation hy traveling at high speeds without the Quantum Drive), THE PASSAGE OF TIME IS UNIVERSAL.
Booming
Fri, Jan 25, 2019, 5:27pm (UTC -6)
Is time actually universal? Are what we perceive as time not merely changing energy patterns? Which is relevant to us because we age. And isn't it true that astronaut age slower because of gravitational time dilation?
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gravitational_time_dilation
Q
Fri, Jan 25, 2019, 5:38pm (UTC -6)
Not to mention Aries is a relative form and the constellation wouldn't even show up in the sky on another planet.
Evan
Fri, Jan 25, 2019, 5:41pm (UTC -6)
@Dave in MN

"Why would the planet they are born on make any difference to the plot?

Let's say this planet was Earth (just to make my analogy easier).

If an alien was born on April 8, 2000; it would be an Aries by our standards and it wouldn't matter if that alien's planet took 30 years to orbit its star.

By that alien's standard, it might be less than a year old, however (barring time dilation hy traveling at high speeds without the Quantum Drive), THE PASSAGE OF TIME IS UNIVERSAL. "

Because when Kelly says "It's my birthday today" she is referring to the specific orbit of Earth which defines a "year" in the Sol System. Let's say she is 30 years old. That corresponds to 30 revolutions of Earth around the Sun, not 30 revolutions of the Rigorian planet around its sun. For her to be born "Jileac" would mean the Jileac constellation is visible in relation to the planet it is seen from, and since it is extremely unlikely the Rigorian planet would have the exact same orbit as Earth, the likelihood of her (and Bortus) being born when that constellation was visible is extremely low.
Yanks
Fri, Jan 25, 2019, 6:03pm (UTC -6)
Evan,

Exactly. This should have been Ed's answer to their decision to keep Bortus and Commander.
Charles J
Fri, Jan 25, 2019, 6:45pm (UTC -6)
Also, the original omen occurred over 3000 years ago.

Again, unless the orbits of all the planets are exactly the same, and all celestial bodies remained stationary, the differences in calendar dates would be measured in years, possibly even decades. As an example: without leap year to compensate, the current month would be something like April/May 2023, not January 2019.

The Rigorians also ritualistically study the stars. They should have a rudimentary understanding that orbits aren't universal and celestial bodies shift over time.

Many ancient cultures were incredibly accurate at calculating how long it took the Earth to orbit the sun, the moon's own lunar orbit, and where stars would eventually be in the night sky.

Somehow, the Rigorians are supposed to be advanced enough to launch satellites to study the heavens. Yet, so dogmatic, they ignore principles that civilizations, without the aid of telescopes or advanced math, were able to recognize and measure.

If anything, the prefect should be explaining basic astronomy to Mercer, not vice versa.

It's dumbing down a culture just to make the story work.
Dave in MN
Fri, Jan 25, 2019, 6:46pm (UTC -6)
When someone flat out says " it's my birthday next week, and his too" they've already sealed their fate ... there was no need to test them because they already incriminated themselves verbally.

Let me put it another way:

Imagine if we met an alien culture that would, as part of their getting ceremonoes; first abduct some people, treat them like royalty for a week, and then kill them.

To them, it might be perfectly natural and valid to confess to the President or UN or whoever that "before we floated down to say hi, we made sure to honor you by sacrificing 13 children from each of your countries".

However, to us this would be shocking and probably viewed, in the least, as an uncaring/ ignorant act of provocation. If such information became public knowledge, many people (rightfy or wrongly) would be demanding justice by our standards of things.

It wouldn't matter to many that these aliens saw their act as a kindness and honour. To most humans, such a statement would be tantamount to a confession of a barbaric murderous act (which, by our standards, it would be).

What Kelly said at the dinner was the analogous version of "confessing to murder".

The details didn't matter to the Rigonians because, at that moment, their birthdays WERE in the month of Jelliac by their own words and, to them, it is an absolute truth thar all Jelliacs are violent perverts. In fact, the Prefect even asked why she'd admit that, which just underlines the way their society sees things.

I think you are looking at this backwards: Mercer, the Doc and Talla were lucky that their ages didn't coincide with Jelliac on the Rigonian calendar.
Dave in MN
Fri, Jan 25, 2019, 7:10pm (UTC -6)
@Charles J

The episode actually explained that the only thing they studied was astrometrics .... they full well understood the positioning of stars and planets (just like the ancients on Earth did,) they just had zero interest in spending money to demystify the basis of their religion & culture.

I don't remember which character said it, but when they were discussing the solar reflector concept, someone said they didn't study stellar spectra or chemistry (which is why they could be fooled).

That's why they didn't immediately realize the "new star" was reflected light from their sun.
Charles J
Fri, Jan 25, 2019, 7:22pm (UTC -6)
@Dave in MN

"I think you are looking at this backwards: Mercer, the Doc and Talla were lucky that their ages didn't coincide with Jelliac on the Rigonian calendar."

That would have made more sense. The Rigorians would have an objective measurement for their ages. Which would have made it difficult for Mercer to change the Rigorian's minds. He can't deny that their birthdates would have coincided with Jelliac, no matter where in the galaxy they were.

Honestly, that would have been a stronger story beat.

As part of the celebration, Mercer grants the Rigorians permission to figure out when they would have all been born on Rigor. It's a benign request. They just take a tiny bit of a tooth (or was it bone?). What could go wrong? They're just birthdates and astrological signs.

Everyone is cheering as they say Mercer's signs confirms that he was destined to be a leader. Talla's signs indicate that being a protector was part of her path. Then boom, they find out about Bortus and Grayson and the Rigorians freak the f out.
Karl Zimmerman
Fri, Jan 25, 2019, 8:07pm (UTC -6)
The whole "tooth" thing is another aspect of the episode that made no fucking sense. I mean, clearly the rate of deposition of dentine layers (or whatever is inside RIgorian teeth) would vary according to species. And on earth animals, the rate at which new bone is laid down can be measured due to seasonal changes, and you can count up the years, but if you were on a planet with different years, of course there might be more or less rings with the same "objective age." It's another tiny bit of plot shorthand which falls apart as soon as it's examined.
Tim
Fri, Jan 25, 2019, 8:21pm (UTC -6)
I think what the episode needed was for the Rigorians to have at least foothold of an argument, in order to not make them appear as luddites and the astrology thing to be a non-issue. I would have brought some kind of Union weakness into the picture, like their belief in free will (demonstrated by Mercer's comment "we judge people based on their achievements"), which could be contrasted with the Rigorians' beliefs to point out the hypocrisy on Mercer's part in dismissing astrology while retaining scientifically unverified concepts. It would have been interesting if the Rigorians were shown in some way more advanced or thoughtful than the Union.

Perhaps this is too high-brow for a popular sci-fi show, but whoever said this is 1950s sci-fi is about right. However even back then Arthur C Clarke or Isaac Asimov were interested in actually debating relevant topics rather than shooting down easy targets.
Troy G
Fri, Jan 25, 2019, 8:32pm (UTC -6)
One thing I can say about The Orville; it opens up plenty of debate. Even bad episodes like this.

(I'm the same Troy from above, I just forgot to add the G. There is another Troy who frequents here and I don't want to confuse)
Tony
Fri, Jan 25, 2019, 9:34pm (UTC -6)
Not sure that Kelly and Bortus would actually been let go after they murdered many prison guards.
SlackerInc
Fri, Jan 25, 2019, 9:55pm (UTC -6)
To the legion of nitpickers: what Trek episode could not be picked apart the same way? (It’s not “Inner Light”, I assure you.)
Jason
Fri, Jan 25, 2019, 10:01pm (UTC -6)
Space-based show fails basic astronomy, lol.
Dave in MN
Fri, Jan 25, 2019, 10:22pm (UTC -6)
It actually annoys me that people think that the solar reflector wouldn't work. It's actually considered one of the best options to help eventually terraform Mars ... and we are rapidly approaching the point where constructing such a thing will be economically feasible. There's literally nothing unscientific about the idea.

Also, we humans can date remains with our current technology, even if it's just a tooth. *gasp*

And

@ Jason

The whole thing with astrology is that ISN'T astronomy. it's merely a mapping of the procession/retrogression of planets through a relatively stable star field from a planetary POV. The (ancient) people stook that map and tried to assign personal traits to birthdays and make predictions. (This happened in many cultures around our planet).

The idea of a star reappearing in the sky (after its disappearance became a harbinger of doom for millennia) WOULD have immense social consequences for an astrologically based culture.

There was no astronomy fail here. They mapped iit's proper motion for the time elapsed.
Samuel
Fri, Jan 25, 2019, 11:02pm (UTC -6)
Why is a midlevel ship given first contact opportunity? Give it to experienced diplomats.
Perry Plotkin
Fri, Jan 25, 2019, 11:55pm (UTC -6)
I like the Rigorian originality, they look so real.

Since the Orville deceived the Rigorians by faking a star, I wonder if it will come back to bite them in the future. Maybe they will find out from an unlikely source, an alien ship from another Galaxy.
John Harmon
Sat, Jan 26, 2019, 12:58am (UTC -6)
This is like the third or fourth episode with this type of premise so far. It was alright. Jammer will hate it for sure. Deservedly so I’d say.
Mertov
Sat, Jan 26, 2019, 1:10am (UTC -6)
"To the legion of nitpickers: what Trek episode could not be picked apart the same way? (It’s not “Inner Light”, I assure you.)"

Great point, except that the legion of which you speak exists everywhere on every series' every episode commenter group on this site. That is why most trust and enjoy Jammer's reviews. He stays unfazed by all that mayhem and writes fair reviews.
MercerCreate
Sat, Jan 26, 2019, 2:12am (UTC -6)
I think you guys are getting this all wrong. This ain't about astrology. They use astrology.. but it is really about placing judgement without knowing people.
sdfgjssfg
Sat, Jan 26, 2019, 2:42am (UTC -6)
Premise was pretty weak and I don't like the new security chief. Her pronunciation of words beginning with vowels after "the" sounds horrible. It's not "THUH interstellar." It's "THEE interstellar."

But overall I thought it was a good episode. Much better than the gay porn episode a few weeks ago anyway.
John
Sat, Jan 26, 2019, 5:51am (UTC -6)
@Dave in MN

"The whole thing with astrology is that ISN'T astronomy. it's merely a mapping of the procession/retrogression of planets through a relatively stable star field from a planetary POV."

The ontological basis of astrology is very different from the rest of empirical science. Astrology is not a science. That's why it is hard to buy that a civilization that is in all respects identical to ours would hold so fervently to it on a formal, political level. You would think there would be many more differences in such a society.
Perry Plotkin
Sat, Jan 26, 2019, 7:13am (UTC -6)
nice review http://amp.denofgeek.com/us/tv/the-orville/278869/the-orville-season-2-episode-5-review-all-the-world-is-birthday-cake
Cassandra
Sat, Jan 26, 2019, 7:36am (UTC -6)
Overall a fairly original scifi premise. The Orville does infinitely better when it executes new concepts instead of ripping off startrek episodes, the exception being Mad Idolatry which was well done.

My only problem is that during their escape, Kelly and Bortus killed several of the guards and destroyed property. Even if the original reason for their captivity no longer applied, surely they should be held on murder charges.
Charles J
Sat, Jan 26, 2019, 7:38am (UTC -6)
@MercerCreate

"I think you guys are getting this all wrong. This ain't about astrology. They use astrology.. but it is really about placing judgement without knowing people."

If that was the point, Mercer and Kelly would have found different solutions. At the end of the episode, the Rigorians are still using astrology to judge people and make predictions.

If this was an episode about racism, all Mercer did was to get the Rigorians to stop oppressing black people. He didn't get them to see that racism as whole is a problem.
NS8401
Sat, Jan 26, 2019, 9:35am (UTC -6)
The new actresses performance left much to be desired for me. At times it sounded so casual I thought Seth McFarlane found someone at the bar and in a drunken stupor gave them an acting job. She completely airmailed in her annunciations of words among other issues.

This episode was a complete mess. I agree with those who say it started off well enough but then fell apart later. I find myself getting bored with these sorts of episodes and it seems like any real action is coming every third episode and a lot of talking in circles is used as filler in the meantime. That said the episode played itself as if it was an actual episode of Star Trek and I’d say that Robert Duncan McNeill directing it didn’t it’s cause if that was the aim. But you can only do so many of these in a show and this feels like the 3rd or 4th variation already without much in the way of new material to add to the overall motif.
Lynos
Sat, Jan 26, 2019, 10:22am (UTC -6)
Wow, possibly the worst Orville episode since the pilot. I did not believe anything that happened here.

First contact scenario completely unbelievable, both from Orville's crew standpoint and the effect it has on the local population. Alien culture again is very non-imaginative and extremely Earth-like. The scene at the dinner... so up until Kelly mentioned her birthday they all thought their visitors were never... born? I was left incredulous.

The ending, with the rote action scene and the crew's solution to the problem (in perfect timing of course) is ridiculous. The allegory for current US treatment of individuals suspected of terrorism is obvious and heavy-handed.

Well-meaning, and an interesting premise at its core, but the execution is a complete misfire.

We get a new security officer which seems cool, and are rid of Esophagus guy. At least there's that.
OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Sat, Jan 26, 2019, 1:29pm (UTC -6)
Wow... that was a great episode.

I actually got spoilered a bit, knowing in advance that the planet is going to have some terrible secret, but I was very pleased (and quite surprised) to learn what this "secret" was. Both the general idea and the way it was handled in the script were downright amazing.

The pacing and the humor were great too. "It is much easier with an egg" , indeed XD

This, my friends, is how Seth MacFarlane writes an episode. Didn't I already say that the guy is an incredibly talented writer?

There is, of-course, the HUGE logical plot hole of different planets having days and months and years of different lengths. The sail thing didn't make much sense either. But when the story and execution are *this* good, it's hard to dock too many points for a bit or two of bad science.

I'll still dock half a star for this inexplicable science gaffe, though. So it's 3.5/4 stars from me.

(and this episode is an excellent example of why I've said - earlier- that Seth needs to have a seasoned sci fi writer double-checking his scripts)
wolfstar
Sat, Jan 26, 2019, 1:47pm (UTC -6)
Lots of Kelly and lots of Bortus is always great, and I really like the new security officer. I already like her more than Alara, and I liked Alara. I really enjoyed this episode and found it compelling and ultimately heartwarming, even though I had a lot of misgivings during the first half about how simplistic and reductive the scenario was. It's not that I don't buy the idea of a modern, technologically advanced society that still has a rigid caste system and is structured around archaic, non-rational social codes, because I think that's had a really interesting idea had it been more credibly executed. It's that the situation turns on a dime so absurdly at the start and end of the crisis – when the aliens instantly go from celebrating and welcoming the Orville crew to arresting and dehumanizing them, then once the Gordon and LaMarr place the fake star in the sky (a concept I really liked) everything is resolved super quickly, Kelly and Bortus are saved, the jileacs are released and the couple is reunited with their baby, etc.. So I agree very much with Karl's criticism that Ed doesn't make "the obvious appeal that there are totally different constellations in the sky where they are from, that the months are different - hell, that the years are different lengths". The fact a society would apply its own astrological rules to people from off-world (where the constellations don't exist) is a big reach.

But I loved Kelly and Bortus working together (and both actors' performances), I loved the performance of the jileac mother, which was of a caliber I don't expect in a show like this, I loved the new security chief intelligently solving the problem, I enjoyed the otherwise good use of the ensemble (Dr. Finn at the start, Gordon and LaMarr at the end), and I loved the genuine family feel of the ending, with Klyten, Topa and the teacher included again. So I'm going 3 stars despite the plot issues and the fact that Ed is still the weak link here. I just like spending time with these people, and Macon, Palicki, Johnson Jerald and Szohr are great.
OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Sat, Jan 26, 2019, 2:13pm (UTC -6)
@Lynos
"The scene at the dinner... so up until Kelly mentioned her birthday they all thought their visitors were never... born?"

You seem to have completely misunderstood the premise of the episode.

This planet has an astrology-based caste system. They believe that people who were born IN ONE SPECIFIC MONTH are irredeemable violent criminals.

This month was due to start a few days after the dinner scene. So by saying "Bortus and I are having our birthdays next week", Kelly unwittingly implied that both of them were born on that unfortuante month.
OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Sat, Jan 26, 2019, 2:35pm (UTC -6)
@Dougie
"Thinking I should skip this one. Patterns emerge, and watching how the reviews are clustering is fascinating! Two of three Sentinels already reported. Amazing the correlations."

What correlations? What patterns? What clustering?

The episode aired between 8 PM CST and 9 PM CST. The comments began to appear almost immediately after the episode ended, and they seem to be diverse enough in their opinion.

So do you mind telling us what the **** you're talking about?
Jammer
Sat, Jan 26, 2019, 3:16pm (UTC -6)
Review now posted.
Lynos
Sat, Jan 26, 2019, 3:30pm (UTC -6)
@ OmicronThetaDeltaPhi

My comment referred to the fact the Rigerians (?) could not have known when any of Mercer's steam was actually born. before letting them come to their planet. Kelly's and Bortus's incarceration is not about the fact they're about to have a birthday, but because they are exposed as being born under a certain sign.

If an alien society has a deeply rooted belief system wherein certain people born under a certain sign are seen as dangerous criminals (from birth!) and this belief system apparently extends to other species from other planets (!!) then they would not let just anyone land on their front lawn - they would screen all aliens coming to their planet in fear that some of them may indeed be dangerous criminals!

So the fact they are only alarmed when Kelly mentions her birthday does not make sense within the rules the episode establishes.
SC
Sat, Jan 26, 2019, 3:54pm (UTC -6)
I think it speaks volumes that Jammer is finding time to review The Orville, but is putting off reviewing Discovery. Perhaps this is because Discovery is more difficult to review. Or maybe it's because despite how mediocre he thinks The Orville is, it's more lighthearted and fun.
JB
Sat, Jan 26, 2019, 4:20pm (UTC -6)
He's probably writing the reviews simultaneously and The Orville just happened to get finished first.
OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Sat, Jan 26, 2019, 4:47pm (UTC -6)
Jammer wrote:

"This episode makes no sense because the Union's protocols for alien encounters make no sense. If this series isn't going to adhere to any rules, then it shouldn't have gone out of its way to model itself on a universe that's all about rules."

Not sure what your problem with the Union's rules for encounters with less-advanced civilizations. The rules seem very clear (and quite consistent) to me:

1. There's no prime directive par-se, and no outright ban on "interfering".
2. There seem to be only two big restrictions when it comes to contacting a primitive planet:
(a) You need authorization to "go in guns blazing" on a primitive planet. An okay is given only in very unusual circumstances.
(b) Open first contact (as in "Hello, I'm an alien") is only permitted if the locals initiate it in some way.

These guidelines have been applied consistently both here and in "Majority Rule". So what's the problem? You're not ducking points just because the rules are different from those we've got used to in Star Trek, are you?

@Lynos
"If an alien society has a deeply rooted belief system wherein certain people born under a certain sign are seen as dangerous criminals (from birth!) and this belief system apparently extends to other species from other planets (!!) then they would not let just anyone land on their front lawn - they would screen all aliens coming to their planet in fear that some of them may indeed be dangerous criminals!"

Not if they *really* believed it.

Remember that this civilization *reveres* the stars. They simply took it for granted, that an advanced star-faring civilization would accept the same "obvious truth" they do. As the prefect said: "you live among stars! You should understand their significance better than anyone!".

In short, the very idea of starfarers allowing Giliacs to roam free on their shiny spaceships, would have been completely unthinkable to these people.

(it is also of note that once Kelly's "dark" secret was out, the locals immediately behaved as you expected them to: They've tested the rest of the visitors immediately)
Lynos
Sat, Jan 26, 2019, 5:38pm (UTC -6)
@ OmicronThetaDeltaPhi

Yeah, well, we are getting into interpretation territory. Yes, what you say can be extrapolated from this line of dialogue, but I find it hard to believe that a society which is technologically advanced and supposedly not made out of morons who live in caves will assume that EVERYBODY in the whole wide universe follows their own astrological dogma. What are they basing this assumption on? Two minutes ago they weren't even sure there's even anyone out there! The question of how they reached this conclusion is interesting, but the episode does not bother to address this and a throwaway line of dialogue is not enough. Maybe if they devoted more scenes to developing this society and these complicated ideas it would've worked, but instead we got 10 minutes of technobabble and pointless gunfight. Oh, and 4 minute long baby delivery scene.

It's obvious you liked the episode a lot more than I did, and I wish I felt the same. I always watch the Orville with an open mind and give it a lot of slack. But this time it didn't work for me at all.
Dougie
Sat, Jan 26, 2019, 5:46pm (UTC -6)
Lol this episode is so aptly named. It’s the writers’ Let Them Eat Cake episode to us. They clearly do not give a crap and will serve up anything. The fact that the actors will paycheck it validates me. I felt the adhd I had as a child coming back. +1 anyone who rejects this including Orville advertisers, they should complain for treating the audience this way.
Lynos
Sat, Jan 26, 2019, 5:49pm (UTC -6)
Also, for the love of god, this civilization has giant satellite dishes. They have computers. They have advanced hospitals. I'm POSITIVE someone on the planet is in the possession of a freakin' telescope. Ed's trick would be exposed in two seconds. Come on.

This could've been done perhaps with The Orville rescuing a fugitive from the planet, perhaps after a fugitive that stole a shuttle (A well-worn trope, I know). Rigor 2 demands extradition. That is when The Orville's crew finds out about the astrology thing and they are conflicted, should they return the fugitive and not interfere? This could introduce the interesting premise without the ludicrous first contact scenario presented in the episode and without crew members being sent to a labor camp or whatever it was.
Landon
Sat, Jan 26, 2019, 6:37pm (UTC -6)
Very good episode. Could not disagree more. How on earth is it contradicting its universes rules? Like what? It's also fairly original. The episode went from interesting to riveting after Kelly/Bortis were arrested. Like what on earth could this be about? -Astrology-cool. Never seen this tackled anywhere. And it needs to be. Well done. 3 1/2 stars
SlackerInc
Sat, Jan 26, 2019, 9:31pm (UTC -6)
It's interesting. On this site, this episode definitely qualifies as "polarizing". But the IMDb rating, representing thousands of people and usually a fairly good indication of the widespread audience, has this (as I noted upthread) at 8.6, higher than any other episode. That suggests it's not at all polarizing for most viewers. I wonder why this site has such a disproportionately high percentage of naysayers? And not "it was fine, but I don't see why people are SO high on it" but "this is just absolute trash", a take I find mystifying.
Dougie
Sat, Jan 26, 2019, 9:49pm (UTC -6)
“The Descent” is a hunk of shit and not worth it’s present IMDb rating. Either the ratings are manipulated or we have to acknowledge America’s tastes
SlackerInc
Sat, Jan 26, 2019, 9:59pm (UTC -6)
Just to add a couple specific reactions to Lynos's comments:

I agree wholeheartedly with OTDP that the "you live among the stars--you should know better than anyone" was the perfect way of demonstrating how believably blinkered this society was, thus explaining why they wouldn't even think to worry about Jeliacs in the landing party until they inadvertently admitted their birthdays were coming up.

And I thought the long birth scene was a notable strength of the episode. I assumed it would be truncated in the way one would normally expect (and the way many here would appaarently prefer) for this type of show, and found it a refreshing surprise when it went down differently.
Lynos
Sat, Jan 26, 2019, 11:00pm (UTC -6)
@ SlackerInc

Actually the episode currently has a 7.7 rating on IMDB, which puts it at 3rd place among all 6 Orville episodes aired until now.

Obviously I wholeheartedly agree with Jammer's review.

Just to be clear, personally I did not think it was "absolute trash", just that it's the weakest episode I can recall since the pilot, which wasn't very good either. It is truly fascinating reading some of people's reactions to the episode, by the descriptions it seems as if we saw completely different things. :-)
SlackerInc
Sun, Jan 27, 2019, 12:19am (UTC -6)
It certainly does!

That's interesting that the rating has changed so much. Apparently the naysayers came in relatively late, because what I said was accurate at that time.

I would predict that if one were to analyze the ratings in detail, one would find that average made up of more very high and very low ratings than the typical episode.

Again, I would rate this just ever so slightly below stuff like "The Inner Light" and "The City on the Edge of Forever". I would also say that the only other episodes of science fiction television created in the 21st century that I have liked as well were a couple of the early eps of "Andromeda", most of "Firefly", the first couple seasons of BSG, a few of the later episodes of SGU, and most of "Black Mirror". So if you share my taste in terms of appreciation for all or most of those, but don't like this episode, that's a curious disconnect indeed.
OmicroThetaDeltaPhi
Sun, Jan 27, 2019, 1:41am (UTC -6)
@Dougie
"Lol this episode is so aptly named. It’s the writers’ Let Them Eat Cake episode to us. They clearly do not give a crap and will serve up anything. The fact that the actors will paycheck it validates me. I felt the adhd I had as a child coming back. +1 anyone who rejects this including Orville advertisers, they should complain for treating the audience this way."

Great... Another snide remark that has exactly zero content relating to actual episode.


@Lynos
"I find it hard to believe that a society which is technologically advanced and supposedly not made out of morons who live in caves will assume that EVERYBODY in the whole wide universe follows their own astrological dogma. What are they basing this assumption on?"

Ah, but they don't *see* it as dogma. To them, it's just the way the universe works. You'd expect advanced aliens to know how the universe works, right?

Personally I found their reasons to be quite clear, even without that throwaway line. I guess YMMV.

"Also, for the love of god, this civilization has giant satellite dishes. They have computers. They have advanced hospitals. I'm POSITIVE someone on the planet is in the possession of a freakin' telescope. Ed's trick would be exposed in two seconds."

How do you propose to tell the difference between a fake star and a real star with a telescope? With both, the only thing you'll see is a dot of light.

@SlackerInc
"It's interesting. On this site, this episode definitely qualifies as "polarizing". But the IMDb rating, representing thousands of people and usually a fairly good indication of the widespread audience, has this (as I noted upthread) at 8.6, higher than any other episode. That suggests it's not at all polarizing for most viewers."

Check the IMDB ratings for this episode again. You're in for a surprise...

I confirm that they WERE 8.6 at some point. But they aren't any more. Apparently the Episode is just a polarizing there as it is here.

And honestly, there's absolutely no reason for IMDB ratings to be aligned with the ratings on this site.

First of all, the number of people who responded here are a tiny sample. Any statitician can tell you that a sample this size can't be used to prove anything.

Secondly and more importantly, IMDB allows people to give a star-rating without saying anything. In fact, over 90% of the people who rate a typical episode/movie on that site don't post a review. So I'm sure plenty of people post 10-star or 1-star ratings for reasons that have absolutely nothing to do with the episode.

And I do have to agree with Dougie for once: The ratings on IMDB do seem to be manipulated. How else would you explain a decline form 8.6 to 7.7 in single day? Doesn't tell us the direction of the manipulation, though.

To me, a far more interesting indicator to how the Orville is doing, are the TV ratings that FOX gets for it. These are much more difficult to manipulate. And so far, it is doing fine: A constant viewership of 3 million live, and roughly double that number for the DVR+3 ratings.

(the really amazing thing is that the debut of Discovery S2, which airs at exactly the same time, had absolutely no effect on the Orville's ratings. Kinda tells you everything you need to know about the relative popularity of these two shows)
OmicroThetaDeltaPhi
Sun, Jan 27, 2019, 1:54am (UTC -6)
@SlackerInc

"I would predict that if one were to analyze the ratings in detail, one would find that average made up of more very high and very low ratings than the typical episode."

IMDB already does that automatically:
https://www.imdb.com/title/tt7826036/ratings?ref_=tt_ql_op_4

(you can get to this page of an episode/movie by clicking the "More..." tab and then clicking "User Ratings")

At a glance, it doesn't look that different from the graph of any other Orville Episode. It's just skewed a little to the lower numbers (less 10's and 9's, more 1's and 2's).
Dougie
Sun, Jan 27, 2019, 2:01am (UTC -6)
I feel my writing on past episodes and last episode especially related to the Shaktal (I prefer my spelling) was quite exacting. If you do not feel that my philosophical review of this episode is on the mark, you’re not seeing how it fits the big picture as I am. These writers and actors aren’t even showing up. I asked a while back: are they watching the final product and driving home proud? In my line of work I would not, and could not release a product with this many flaws.
Booming
Sun, Jan 27, 2019, 2:27am (UTC -6)
@Omicron: Any statistician would say that on this side there is basically only one rating that matters but if one would want to count the ratings on this side they would prove (actually indicate) how the people here perceive the show what one couldn't do with a sample this small is extrapolate it for a country (quite a few aren't from the US) or the world.
And the imdb is completely unscientific. Everybody can get an account or several. Hell, maybe imdb aka amazon is offering "improved results" to companies. But that is pure unfounded speculation and manipulating stuff would destroy the buisness model of imdb (whatever that is; research?). And if you are correct and most give extreme rating like 10 or 1 then a change from 8.6 to 7.7 is not that huge. --- just looked it up. The episode has 397 ratings. Let's say the hardcore fans watch the show immediately and give their rating of 10 so you land on 8.8 after some time the less enthusiastic come in (maybe 50) and the rating drops one point. Again speculation/hypothesis. I wouldn't therefor say that this looks like manipulation. What is noticeable, though is the decline in ratings given from the beginning of the season to this one. Even though that could be due to people watching it later. On the other hand discoverys last episode which aired on the same day has already more than 700 ratings. And why has discovery almost twice the ratings? Well, there could be several reasons like broader distribution (netflix) but on the other hand you need cbsallexcess ;) which limits viewership in the US. Or people had more time to not care enough about Orville to give an imdb rating. You would really need the metadata but even that, from a scientific standpoint, wouldn't tell you that much.
Booming
Sun, Jan 27, 2019, 2:29am (UTC -6)
@ Omicron again :): Thanks for the link. Very interesting. (again imdb unscientific but still)
Booming
Sun, Jan 27, 2019, 2:38am (UTC -6)
Interesting. The viewership of Orville is older and more US based.
Lynos
Sun, Jan 27, 2019, 3:03am (UTC -6)
@SlackerInc

At first I thought you got confused with the rating for the previous episode which actually stands at 8.6, since dropping from 8.6 to 7.7 in a matter of hours is uncommon. However, if you say that was the rating than I believe you, it could be it's fluctuating so heavily because it's a new program.

In any case, indeed, the vast majority of people who rate on IMDB tend to do 1's or 10's, it's a very black & while world over there, while truth usually lies in the middle, in the 4-8 zone, for most shows.

I never watched Andromeda or Firefly or SGU, I saw the first two season of BSG which were great and then it jumped the shark for me (will The Orville do the same?). But I absolutely love Black Mirror.
We can talk here until we're blue in the face but at the end of the day it's very hard or nigh impossible to figure out why people react differently to a piece of art, media, entertainment, whatever. Without wanting to sound condescending, I am happy if someone found the episode worthwhile and got something out of it.


@OmicroThetaDeltaPhi

"How do you propose to tell the difference between a fake star and a real star with a telescope? With both, the only thing you'll see is a dot of light."

If I'm not mistaken, today on Earth we have very powerful telescopes that are able to discern such things. Mass can be calculated. They also mention in the episode that the Regorians have satellites in orbit which can be used to that effect. In short, I don't buy it. And what's more, the episode doesn't buy it either. In the final scene, Ed is being asked what happens once the Regorians figure out they were duped, and he admits it's a problem but then just shrugs and says that maybe by then the "criminals" will be so well-integrated into society that the Regorians won't care anymore. That's quite an assumption to make after you potentially screwed up a whole society. Ed can't know what will happen once the Orville leaves orbit. It's very possible he just started a bloody civil war that will last for centuries. And anyway, he moved on, what he cares about now is his ex-wife's new boyfriend.
JohnTY
Sun, Jan 27, 2019, 3:13am (UTC -6)
Good review Jammer, you just forgot to mention how boring the whole thing was.

I'd go 1 star.
Booming
Sun, Jan 27, 2019, 5:29am (UTC -6)
@ Lynos: The believe that it is mostly 1 and 10 ratings at imdb is wrong. The median for this episode is actually 8. More than 80% gave the episode a 6 or higher and only 3.7% gave it a 1star rating. And you also state that it is uncommon for a rating to drop one point in hours based on what?
Dan Bolger
Sun, Jan 27, 2019, 6:10am (UTC -6)
Ridiculous titles for the Orville episodes lately. Not that I've seen the show.
OmicroThetaDeltaPhi
Sun, Jan 27, 2019, 6:53am (UTC -6)
@Dan Bolger

Can't argue with that. :-)
Lynos
Sun, Jan 27, 2019, 7:17am (UTC -6)
@Booming

"And you also state that it is uncommon for a rating to drop one point in hours based on what?"

Just based on a feeling. I already stated I may be wrong.

@Dan Bolger

I think the long episode titles are some kind of tribute to TOS episode titles. There were some mouthfulls there, especially in the third season: "For the World is Hollow and I have Touched the Sky", "Is There no Truth in Beauty", "Let That be your Last Battlefield", etc.
Charles J
Sun, Jan 27, 2019, 8:42am (UTC -6)
One scene I would like to highlight is Mercer and Grayson walking up to meet the Regorian leadership.

It was hilarious, and arguably demonstrates some of the most confident writing and directing of the entire series.

While the crew's cheers that they were making first was a bit hokey, the entire walk-up by Mercer and Grayson was grounded and layered. We got a better sense of what those moments must be like for a captain and crew. It's heightened, exciting, slightly floundering, and mixed with just a bit of the mundane.

MacFarlane and McNeil allow the beats to just build and build, and it's glorious to behold. It's taking the type of risk the show normally avoids.

If the episode had built on that moment, leaning into the absurd to mine first contact for satire and comedy, my feelings would be radically different.
OmicroThetaDeltaPhi
Sun, Jan 27, 2019, 8:47am (UTC -6)
@Lynos
"If I'm not mistaken, today on Earth we have very powerful telescopes that are able to discern such things. Mass can be calculated."

Actually, no.

A telescope *might* be able to resolve a featureless disc, but such a disc isn't any more difficult to fake than a point.

As for mass:

As someone who majored in physics I can tell you that there's absolutely no way to measure the mass of a solitary star. Astrophysicists *infer* the mass of stars by their color and their brightness.

This educated guess will usually be accurate, IF the object in question is indeed a star. But if some alien civilization decided to place a lightbulb with the same color and same brightness at the same position in the sky, we would have no way to tell the difference.

To be fair, though, there *is* one possible way for the locals to detect the fakery: Parallax. A nearby reflection, unlike an actual star, would move slightly against the background of the true stars, depending on when you're standing on the planet (there would also be a similar effect due the planet going around its sun, but this could be easily negated by moving the image in the opposite direction).

The question of whether this will actually be detectable, depends on the distance of the fake image from the planet. If it's more than few billion kilometers away, then no ground-based telescope would be able to measure this effect, due to atomspheric interference.

On the other hand, if it's more than a few billion kilometers away, it will take many hours for the light of the "star" to reach the surface of the planet, and these are precious hours that the Orville crew simply didn't have.

So their best bet, it seems, would be to deploy the sail near the planet to get a near-instant image, and then gradually move the sail to a further position. If the sail moves at near-light speeds, the whole process will only take a few hours. Even if the locals do manage to detect the parallax during that time, they will regard that measurement as a fluke because it won't be repeatable.

Now, I highly doubt that Seth McFarlane actually thought of all this. But it does work rather nicely.
OmicroThetaDeltaPhi
Sun, Jan 27, 2019, 8:59am (UTC -6)
Oh,I forgot this:

"And what's more, the episode doesn't buy it either. In the final scene, Ed is being asked what happens once the Regorians figure out they were duped, and he admits it's a problem"

Once the locals develop interplanetary travel, the jig will obviously be up.

I do think that Mercer and co. truly believed that the deception would hold up until that point. And yes, I quite agree that he created a huge mess down there in the long run. Reminds me of all the times that one James T. Kirk did similar things on backwards planets he promptly forgot about at the end of the episode...
Tomalak
Sun, Jan 27, 2019, 9:47am (UTC -6)
I don't mind plots that don't make total sense if the jokes are good. But there was hardly any humour this week either.

The birth scene was interminable. Do they think there is something inherently moving about watching a birth? Boring.
OmicroThetaDeltaPhi
Sun, Jan 27, 2019, 10:47am (UTC -6)
@Dougie

"I feel my writing on past episodes and last episode especially related to the Shaktal (I prefer my spelling) was quite exacting."

In the last episode - definitely.

Which proves that you certainly have the ability to discuss the actual episodes intelligently, when you want to.

However, this week, for some odd reason, you've chosen to revert again to your usual snarky remarks that have zero relevance. First accusing some commenters of being "sentinels" without any good reason, and then continuing to snark the episode itself without providing a single actual point of criticism.

Sorry, but that's not cool.

If you think the writers and the actors goofed so badly, then by all means: explain why. What *are* these glaring flaws that appall you so much? What did the writers do wrong? What did the actors do wrong? Make relevant commentary, rather than carte-blanche statements.
Troy G
Sun, Jan 27, 2019, 12:37pm (UTC -6)
Jammer's review described a one-star episode
Dougie
Sun, Jan 27, 2019, 4:42pm (UTC -6)
Eh I owe nothing more than what I feel at any time, and you excoriate no one else for the same, nor for coming by and saying “great epsiode” with no support, and anyway, why the hell do you care? so it’s just another personal attack. Just ignore me. I’m there with you. I tried one last time. That’s definitely cool.
Lynos
Sun, Jan 27, 2019, 5:00pm (UTC -6)
@OmicroThetaDeltaPhi

Wow, that was quite the analysis re:telescopes. It was interesting to read.

However, nothing will salvage my utter incapability to suspend disbelief with this episode. It had too many holes. For example, sure, you can make a reasoned argument as to the validity of the solar sail as a solution, but the fact they activate it at the exact moment before Kelly and Burtus are about to be executed... and somebody notices it just in time! Give me a break.

"I do think that Mercer and co. truly believed that the deception would hold up until that point. And yes, I quite agree that he created a huge mess down there in the long run. Reminds me of all the times that one James T. Kirk did similar things on backwards planets he promptly forgot about at the end of the episode... "

Yes, Kirk used to do all kinds of shenanigans, especially in the early days of Trek before any rules were established, but Orville doesn't have this luxury, it's being created in a world where Star Trek is 50 years old. Who is Ed Mercer? One episode he seems to a thoughtful guy a-la Picard, the next episode he's a rascal like Kirk. But Seth doesn't have Shatner's charisma or Patrick Stewart's gravitas and I think he knows it. But every week he seems to be a different captain.

The only thing that could salvage this episode in retrospect is if it leads to the creation of "prime directive" in the Orville universe.
Yanks
Sun, Jan 27, 2019, 5:03pm (UTC -6)
Nice review Jammer.
Dave in MN
Sun, Jan 27, 2019, 5:08pm (UTC -6)
It did seem to me that any society who is fully invested in protecting the status quo will come down heavily upon anyone who attempts to buck that trend. Galileo and The Catholic Church is a perfect example.

It's probable that there are astronomers .on that planet who know/ suspect the truth, but I'd suspect a world like this would never allow this information to become public knowledge ... and judging by how resources are allocated on Rigon 2, the government's not going to cut a fat check to fund such research.
Tim
Sun, Jan 27, 2019, 6:15pm (UTC -6)
@Dave in MN

All societies are invested in protecting the status quo under the guise of 'truth'. Yes, even our own. Actually, episodes like this one are a good example of how the status quo is maintained by subtly shifting focus to the 'other' which must be protected against - in this case, the crazy religious zealots.
OmicroThetaDeltaPhi
Sun, Jan 27, 2019, 7:02pm (UTC -6)
@Dave in MN

But wouldn't the discovery that the star is fake serve to MAINTAIN the (earlier) status-quo? I guess it depends on how much momentum the new "everything's gonna change now" vibe gathered in their culture.

At any rate, I don't think such information could be kept secret on this planet for long. These people are masters of creating accurate star charts, and they actually use these charts in their daily lives to do their astrology.

So IF the discrepancy can be detected at all, everybody will know about it once people from different continents start sharing their updated charts. There will be one star (which "just happens" to be the most important star in their mythology) whose position in the map would depend on your location.

You simply can't hide something like that, from a people who are practically *obsessed* with star mapping.

An interesting question, though, is whether these people would actually understand the implications of the evidence.

Given the mythical quality they give the stars, I guess they won't. They would probably regard the positional anomaly as an omen of some kind. Hopefully, their interpretation of it would be something positive. Perhaps something to go along with that nice "everything's gonna change for the better now" vibe they've had since the "star" magically re-appeared.
Mentor397
Sun, Jan 27, 2019, 7:05pm (UTC -6)
I haven't read all the comics, but I do have to say there is one, tiny argument going for The Orville - Star Trek, especially TNG, occurs in a near-sterile galaxy. There may be thousands, or millions of different alien species out there in the world, but if something happens, it's nearly only one species - the government, that deals with something like this.

I don't know if star travel will ever be as common as in a universe like Star Wars, but imagine the pressure of trying to initiate a first contact, not before the Krill or some other government, but before a group of civilians or business interests get there first. Yeah, I know there's no money in the world of The Orville, but I imagine there would be a big boost to a "reputation" just for being first. People would jump at the idea, regardless of what the possible outcomes of being unprepared were.

On the other hand, we found out how much the crew of The Orville learned from observing the planet for a month. That kind of preparation seems like it should have been done the first time.
Dave in MN
Sun, Jan 27, 2019, 7:10pm (UTC -6)
I didn't notice it the first time I watched it (I have kidney stones on both sides and just had stents put in on Wednesday night, meds had me a little loopy), but there is one last shot where the sail looks to be a bit further away from the planet (and still moving) ... that shot suggested perhaps a distance perhaps halfway to the moon. I honestly don't know how far a single artificial light source needs to be from a planet to have no parallax, but my rudimentary grasping of higher physics suggests creating a "fake star" that appeared stationary from the entire night side wouldn't be as far as I first thought.
OmicroThetaDeltaPhi
Sun, Jan 27, 2019, 8:40pm (UTC -6)
The distance that would be required to fool our own best ground-based telescopes (which can resolve about 1 second of arc) would be roughly 800 million miles.

That would put our light-source near the orbit of Saturn. That's really far away, but if the sail can maneuver at relativistic speeds, it is perfectly doable. It would take just above 6 hours to reach the desired target location at 10% the speed of light.
OmicroThetaDeltaPhi
Sun, Jan 27, 2019, 8:50pm (UTC -6)
Oops...

"10% the speed of light" should have been "20% the speed of light". Da*n traffic...
Dave in MN
Sun, Jan 27, 2019, 8:54pm (UTC -6)
Appreciate the response!

I knew that a parallax (for a single point of light a few arc-seconds in diameter) wouldn't be outside of the Solar System, but it's good to have a reasonable answer.
Dave in MN
Sun, Jan 27, 2019, 8:58pm (UTC -6)
*a lack of parallax

Ugh, auto cowrecked.
SlackerInc
Sun, Jan 27, 2019, 11:33pm (UTC -6)
@Tomalak: "Do they think there is something inherently moving about watching a birth?"

For some of us, there absolutely is.

@Lynos: "For example, sure, you can make a reasoned argument as to the validity of the solar sail as a solution, but the fact they activate it at the exact moment before Kelly and Burtus are about to be executed... and somebody notices it just in time!"

That's definitely a TV trope that's kind of silly...and very widespread. I can only conclude that you hate most episodes of Trek then?

@DaveinMN: "It's probable that there are astronomers .on that planet who know/ suspect the truth, but I'd suspect a world like this would never allow this information to become public knowledge"

Yes, good point. People seem to forget that until just the past decade or so, it was very taboo to be openly atheistic in the U.S. And it is still so in politics. In our "ally" Saudi Arabia, there is a blogger who is in prison and regularly being flogged solely because he advocated atheism. I would say if we had more time on the planet, it would have been nice to see some sign that there are at least a few people who
SlackerInc
Mon, Jan 28, 2019, 12:10am (UTC -6)
Whoops, that last bit got cut off somehow. I was going to say that it would have been nice to see some sign that there are at least a few people who are "atheists" or maybe "freethinkers" would be a better word.
Esther
Mon, Jan 28, 2019, 2:07am (UTC -6)
@SlackerInc

It does not seem to me to be any more necessarily a matter of "free thinking" to advocate that what we see around us sprung from nothing, than from something. I have encountered some extremely intellectual, intelligent and well-reasoned people on either side of the divide, but the answer of the most intelligent has usually been "I really don't know". This does not rule out belief in a creator however, because a belief is a belief, not knowledge. Freedom of thought has a limited usefulness in an area where thinking can only get us so far.
Lynos
Mon, Jan 28, 2019, 3:16am (UTC -6)
@SlackerInc

"That's definitely a TV trope that's kind of silly...and very widespread. I can only conclude that you hate most episodes of Trek then?"

If the episode had me suspend disbelief or really engage me for the rest of its running time, I would let that slide, like I did with other Trek episodes that used the same trope. It's just the combination of ridiculous things happening throughout the episode that did me in.

I wanted to add regarding the discussion above concerning the Regorians reaction to and acceptance of the new "star" which appear in their night sky.

One interesting thing the episode does is that it presents a society where science and religion has integrated with one another (I define religion here as belief system in something not scientifically proven). The Regorians is an advanced species with scientific knowledge and expertise at least on par with our own 21st century Earth, and they use that science to maintain and enforce their religious views. And it's interesting to see how they can be so open-minded on one hand (let's invite other people from space to visit us!) while being so close-minded and horribly prejudiced on the other.

There is something there, but the episode squanders it all. When the prefect is asked by one of his aids "what does it mean?!" upon seeing the new star in the sky, it takes him two seconds to dramatically say: "change". The scene shows the Regorians are not engaged in skepticism of any sort. They immediately accept what they see because it adheres to their belief system. However, from what we know on Earth - and again, the episode paints the Regorians as very Earth-like -scientific advancement is the result of asking questions, of curiosity, of skepticism, of wanting to know how things work and why. Yes, you can go ahead and say that this is just the prefect and the few people we saw on screen, and that somewhere on the planet there must be people who question what they see, especially knowing there's a starship from a much more advanced species hovering somewhere up there in the sky. But you'd be making assumptions on behalf of the episode, because the script doesn't bother with that and prefers to spend time on pointless shootouts instead of flashing out the interesting alien society it has established.

Personally I don't think that science and religion - or spirituality - need to be mutually exclusive. I think the unproven and the proven can co-exists and actually nurture each other. We CAN'T know everything. Obviously the episode presents a society that does it the WRONG way, integrating religion as intolerant dogma for the sake of conflict, but it's never truly develops into anything more than by-the-numbers storytelling.

Personally I don't tthink
SlackerInc
Mon, Jan 28, 2019, 4:31am (UTC -6)
@Lynos: Aren't the Regorians more 20th century-ish? Their C-section and neonatal science was advanced in a distorted way, but they apparently don't have any ballistic rockets or at least satellites.

Some of your criticisms have merit: the dramatic ending with the prime minister and the guards is a bit of hooey. But I think they might have to have that to sell soap, and then they can sneak in lots of other awesome stuff throughout most of the running time.

Look, I was anticipating a different kind of episode that also could have been cool, just going through letting people see the replicator and stuff like that. But this went to the unexpected but in a fun and interesting way IMO. I also thought the action sequences were really cool and very 21st century.

If I'm a real wiseass, I could pick a nit I haven't seen mentioned: the new security chief ended up being kind of badass, but why didn't she have a redshirt security team with her? They at least tried to go that route going all the way back to TOS from what I recall. I mean, these Xelayans are tough, but they're not quite Kryptonians, and they can use some backup.
Lynos
Mon, Jan 28, 2019, 5:12am (UTC -6)
@SlackerInc

It's specifically mentioned by Isaac in the staff meeting scene halfway through the episode that the Regorians have satellites in orbit. So they are pretty advanced I would say.
It's a society with an inherent contradiction in its make-up that was simply not explored.

It's also apparent to me I may be too demanding of this show and of this episode. I tend to scrutinize Orville much less when it does pure comedy. But when it goes dramatic, and introduces big ideas, I feel like it needs to make it count.
@Esther
Mon, Jan 28, 2019, 5:44am (UTC -6)
@Esther
"It does not seem to me to be any more necessarily a matter of 'free thinking' to advocate that what we see around us sprung from nothing, than from something."

Very true.

"Free thinking" is simply about reaching our own conclusions rather than blindly accepting society's dogmatic claims.

The funny thing is that in present day western society, it often seems that the dogma regarding religion is neither theism or atheism. Rather, it is this silly "us vs them" mentality. This whole "science vs religion" thing, for example, is getting crazier every year.

Today, an actual "freethinker" would be a person who rejects this craziness. Whether they believe in a Creator is immaterial, as long as they embrace the quest for a better understanding of the universe and themselves.

Seems like a great premise for a Star Trek/Orville episode, doesn't it? Unfortunately, given Seth McFarlane's views on religion, there's no way this will happen.
OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Mon, Jan 28, 2019, 6:29am (UTC -6)
@Lynos, @SlackerInc

They have an extensive array of satellites, but they do not seem to have any form of interplantery travel. Not even space probes. So they do seem to be closer to our 20th century than our 21st in their development (interesting thought: do they have an internet?)

And I think the episode portrays the Regorians as a society which is generally open-minded... as long as it doesn't clash with their dogma. From what I've seen on our own planet, this strikes me as quite realistic.

Actually, the Regorians have an easier time doing this, because their dogma is focused on one narrow aspect of their world. They don't seem to have a creation myth, for example. Their belief in astrology simply isn't relevant to 99% of scientific inquiry.

It does have impact on the way they study the stars, though. The episode says this straight out:

"ISAAC: They [the satellites] appear to be configured solely for astrometry to measure the positions of stars, but not their spectral type or physical properties."

So the locals don't seem to have any kind of astrophysics. Either that area of research is an official taboo, or they just instinctively avoid it. If you think about this for a moment, this makes sense.

And I can't think of any other area of the physical sciences that would be affected by their astrological beliefs (their social sciences, though, would be completely screwed up)
SlackerInc
Mon, Jan 28, 2019, 6:59am (UTC -6)
Good analysis, OTDP. And that detail from Isaac was another cool and smart little piece of SF.
Booming
Mon, Jan 28, 2019, 7:23am (UTC -6)
@ Esther: I think the problem for most agnostic/atheist people is with intolerance.
I mean some jewish guy in a suburb of Babylon 3000 years ago wrote something about people of a mythical town raping angels and that lead to the billions of Muslims and Christians being very homophobic.
The biggest religious community, the Catholic church is still very homophobic and promotes these views and just a few weeks ago the so beloved Pope wrote that every homosexual should quit their job in the Catholic church immediately.
And their treatment of women is also very questionable.
So it is less about having a problem with believe. It is more about people being empowered to be intolerant. And all the other stuff that comes with in group thinking.
OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Mon, Jan 28, 2019, 8:07am (UTC -6)
@Dougie

"Eh I owe nothing more than what I feel at any time"

I've never said you owed us anything.

I'm simply saying that coming to nearly every episode's discussion page and posting nothing but accusations and snide remarks is not cool. It also contributes absolutely nothing to the discussion.

At least that's my opinion.

You are free, of-course, to completely ignore what I've said here and continue doing your thing (not that you need or care for my "permission").

"So it’s just another personal attack."

That's rich, coming from a guy who accuses other posters of being "sock puppets" and "sentinels" (and it isn't the first time either).

I just love it when people attack others, but whenever someone calls them on it they cry foul.

Now, are you going to discuss the actual episode or not? This is, like, your fourth straight comment here that added absolutely nothing productive to the discussion.
Esther
Mon, Jan 28, 2019, 8:38am (UTC -6)
@Booming

I empathise and agree that religion has deep-seated issues with intolerance. I think it might help to clarify terms here. A theist is, in the broadest sense, someone who believes the perceived universe is dependent on a prior or ultimate reality, not someone belonging to an organisation. So a physicist would be a theist if they believed in a big bang which emerged from a unified field, which many do. I do think we need a greater public understanding of the ways religion and science intersect, otherwise this us/them dichotomy we are seeing will prevail. It does not help that both religion and science are very recent developments as separate, distinct and in many ways opposing concepts. Which brings us back to intolerance, because when there is intolerance, it is because a concept has come between seeing the person as they are. I have heard the current Pope speak about 'accepting differences', but true compassion and love sees no differences.
SlackerInc
Mon, Jan 28, 2019, 9:39am (UTC -6)
Words have definitions. I just Googled "theist":

"theist
noun
1.
a person who believes in the existence of a god or gods, specifically of a creator who intervenes in the universe."

There was no "2."
OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Mon, Jan 28, 2019, 9:44am (UTC -6)
@Booming

"I think the problem for most agnostic/atheist people is with intolerance."

You might find the following revelation shocking, but there quite a few Christians (and Muslims and Jews and members of every single other religion) that have a problem with intolerance too.

After all, "love thy neighbor as thyself" is also form the Bible, isn't it? It's all about how you approach the text.

Generally, basing our ethics *solely* on a 2000-year old text is not the best of ideas. And you'll find many religious people who agree with what I've just stated.

"So it is less about having a problem with believe. It is more about people being empowered to be intolerant. And all the other stuff that comes with in group thinking"

I agree completely.

But does religion has a monopoly on group-think? I don't think so. It's just that religion was the primary motivating force for *everything*, throughout most of recorded history. It was the inspiration of our art and music, a source of hope and kindness for the peasants in the field... and yes, it was also the whip used by those in power to keep that power and scare the masses and persecute those they see as a danger to society.

Today religion is not such a major force anymore, yet all these facets of human behavior have remained unchanged - both the good and the bad. People have simply found new, secular, excuses for their bad behavior.

Of-course, we've advanced in other ways. Most modern countries don't torture and execute dissident anymore (though some, from the religious Saudi Arabia to the secular North Korea still do). The Church doesn't do that anymore, either. So all in all, there's some progress.

But quite frankly, I don't think the modern Church is any less tolerant than your typical secular community. As a member of a minority myself, I've gotten abuse by people from all over the religious spectrum. People, religious or not, can be downright vicious. And groupthink is a terrible, terrible thing.

Back to discussing the Orville:

Regor II is an excellent example of dogmatic groupthink that has absolutely nothing to do with religion or faith in deity. The society from "Majority Rule" is another good example.
OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Mon, Jan 28, 2019, 11:24am (UTC -6)
@SlackerInc

You are technically right.

I do think Esther's general point has merit, though. In a world with advanced scientific knowledge, all these debates about theism/atheism/whatever are kinda pointless, because we all have access to such a huge common base of knowledge.

You don't hear many Christians, these days, who doubt that the earth is going around the sun. Nor do you hear many atheists, these days, who doubt the creation of the universe in a Big Bang at some finite time in the past. This is what reasonable people do. They adapt, without changing their core beliefs unless they absolutely need to.

That's the unifying power of real knowledge. It allows reasonable people who come from vastly different cultural and religious starting points to find common ground.

Meanwhile, those who remain stuck on endlessly debating the "does God exist" question, are completely missing out on this great journey of discovery. ;-)
Fluffysheap
Mon, Jan 28, 2019, 12:20pm (UTC -6)
So, parallax measurements. As if the technological viability of the plan in any way entered the mind of the writer:

Today's telescopes can measure parallax of stars about 300 light years away over the course of the Earth's orbit, which is conveniently 300 million km in diameter, giving a measurement distance of one light year per million km of separation. Assuming the planet is roughly the same size as Earth, with a diameter in the vicinity of 10,000 km, and the telescope is in orbit or observes the reflector for the whole night, it would have to be about 0.01ly away or about three light-days. This is about the outer edge of the Kuiper belt in our solar system (and too far to work regardless of visibility, given the time constraints). At this distance, it would be invisible as it would be too dim. In fact, it would be too dim to see anywhere except low orbit, where parallax would be so great that it would not even be above the horizon the entire night as the planet rotates. (The episode did seem to depict the reflector in low orbit).

So they had better get Bortus and Kelly home fast, because the Rigorians are going to figure this out in a matter of hours, maybe even minutes.
Tomalak
Mon, Jan 28, 2019, 2:53pm (UTC -6)
Is there any purpose to claiming only atheists are freethinkers other than to detail the thread? I am agnostic myself but I find sentences like that absurd.
SlackerInc
Mon, Jan 28, 2019, 3:43pm (UTC -6)
This is common usage in my circles; I did not expect any controversy over it. From Google again:

“free·think·er
/ˌfrēˈTHiNGkər/
noun
a person who rejects accepted opinions, especially those concerning religious belief.”
Linus
Mon, Jan 28, 2019, 3:47pm (UTC -6)
Must be nice to cherry pick definitions of words that suit your arguments.

From Merriam-Webster:

freethinker

: a person who thinks freely or independently : one who forms opinions on the basis of reason independently of authority

Ex. Nineteenth-century freethinkers, such as Susan B. Anthony, were leading advocates of abolitionism and feminism.
Esther
Mon, Jan 28, 2019, 4:04pm (UTC -6)
@SlackerInc

It depends entirely on what you mean by God. A field of pure potentiality that many physicists say existed before the big bang (and continues to exist and intervene) providing the intelligence and blueprint for the universe, is for all purposes identical to some religious concepts of God. There will be many other concepts, most of them more popular that that one, but there are also other scientific concepts of how the universe exists.
Dave in MN
Mon, Jan 28, 2019, 4:26pm (UTC -6)
My 2 cents?

An atheist makes their conclusion using verifiable data and evidence (or lack thereof) to draw their conclusion. If evidence of a superintelligent creator were to suddenly appear, 99.9% of atheists would integrate that data and come to a different conclusion. That is free- thinking.

An agnostic is also a free- thinker, simply because they take the same facts the atheists do and decide that a lack of evidence still leaves open a possibility of omniscient God. That is also an example of free thought.

A theist? A person who will assert with certainty that there is a God/gods does not have the intellectual flexibility to acknowledge they might be wrong. And in fact, despite the lack of corroborating evidence, they will mold their entire lives around an assertion with no evidence to support it. AND they will claim that their assertion is as valid as the atheist or the agnostic.

Faith is belief without evidence. That isn't free thought.

At best, it's a masturbatory exercise in self- aggrandizing: "I'm too important to simply wink out of existence".

All this, despite the fact that every person on Earth already knows what it's like to not exist (those billions of years before we were born).
Booming
Mon, Jan 28, 2019, 5:33pm (UTC -6)
I just find the whole notion apart maybe from some kind of pantheistic spirituality pretty baffling. Why believe in the christian god why not the muslim one which is the same but isn't or Vishnu or Kami or Buddha or the great Irminsul the great tree that keeps the sky from falling down. People mostly believe what they believe because their parents or direct surrounding told them what the right thing to believe is. And the least religious countries are the most humanitarian. What country in the western world is the most religious and which country has the death penalty or accepts "homosexual reeducation camps" and whatnot or doesn't have universal healthcare and so on and so on. and they are also the most militarized. Climate change...
What country is the most religious in the islamic world and which one is the least humanistic there and also the most militarized. Saudi Arabia or maybe Iran.
And North Korea isn't atheist. They have their own little religion going and now god number 3 is ruling.
I also don't think that physicist are theists, And what compromise can there be between religion and science? Religion is in conflict with science not the other way around. Science just studies stuff and creates/improves theories with the results.
SlackerInc
Mon, Jan 28, 2019, 7:27pm (UTC -6)
I haven’t “cherrypicked” anything. In each case, I told Google “define ______” and copy/pasted the resulting definition.

And as usual, I agree with Dave. Dave, you should hit me up on Twitter, given that we’re both Minnesotans and both right about everything. ;-)
Linus
Mon, Jan 28, 2019, 8:14pm (UTC -6)
Maybe you should try googling cherry pick. ;-)

I’ve read an article about how even when faced with 100% proof someone is wrong, a person won’t immediately change their mind but rather double-down on their original argument. I’ll just chock this up to that phenomenon and move on.
37
Mon, Jan 28, 2019, 8:20pm (UTC -6)
I'm suprised, Jammer, that you didn't say one nice thing about this episode besides "it started out well." Despite the arbitrary and inconsistent rules, I thought this was a strong episode, on par with "Home" for the best of the season so far. The new Xeleyan was great, the Prefect gave a strong performance, and most importantly, it tested the crew's critical thinking skills to come up with a way to rescue their crewmembers. I see you checked out of this episode, but I was fully engaged throughout. And if I may, I will end this review with "first time caller, long time listener"... I have been a big fan for years and love your reviews. :)
SlackerInc
Mon, Jan 28, 2019, 10:04pm (UTC -6)
“100% proof”, LMAO
Mertov
Mon, Jan 28, 2019, 10:43pm (UTC -6)
Good review Jammer.

Mediocre episode again, also devoid of humor except in one Bortus-led quote with the egg. Jammer said all that needs to be said, but that dialogue with the prefect, Ed, and Talla is another good example of unbalanced tonal shifts the show keeps having. Ed attempts to reason with the prefect by talking about the dynamics of first contact on an adult tone and smack lands a pointlessly sarcastic remark from Talla: "We actually have this crazy system where we judge people by their actions not their birth dates. It's kinda wacky, I know." Whatever the desired effect of that misplaced remark is supposed to be is totally lost of course. And it's almost like the actors are themselves aware of how unnecessary that insertion is, because Ed walks forward leaving Talla behind and picks the conversation back up half a second later, as if she never said it. It makes Talla look bad, whereas she seems to be a decent addition to the show based on this hour.

And this somewhat advanced society has no set policy for first contact to make sure none of the incomers are Giliacs? What? The Prefect expects first-contact incomers to simply give up their comrades because they are Gilliacs? Never mind that The Orville did no pre-check of its own into the planet's basic belief system before deciding on first contact.
Quincy
Mon, Jan 28, 2019, 10:48pm (UTC -6)
This episode was exceedingly stupid. I can't believe anyone gave it more than a star. And that only because zero stars isn't an option.

Most people above have covered many of the illogical misteps in this episode, so I won't go into most of them.

1) Why would you want to confine alien "jelliacs" on your planet? Wouldn't you want them gone completely? Why did no one propose total exile for ALL the Jelliacs? The Union will take all of them away from the planet and any future Jelliacs as well. How would they turn down such an offer?
2) The hardheaded aliens of the week were especially hardheaded this week.
3) The Orville premise is wearing thin. It was supposed to be a parody of Star Trek. However, they're half-assing the parody more than they're half-assing the Trek. It seems they have it bass ackwards; it should be the other way around.
4) Even if you're wrongfully convicted of a crime and are later exonerated, if you murder a bunch of guards trying to escape, I doubt your sentence will be commuted by the governor at any point. They killed at least 8 guards. All that is just swept under the rug? How about that reset button that Voyager took so much heat for?!
5) As someone pointed out, the ONLY thing these aliens were concerned about was the relative position of the stars. Position necessarily includes distance. The whole subterfuge at the end simply would not work. They'd be on that parallax problem instantaneously.
6) Again, as someone pointed out, they were ordered to stand down from any forceful rescue attempt, so as not to create a diplomatic incident. Screw that, they just decide to monkey with the entire religion of these people and pseudo Starfleet doesn't even bat an eyelash? Dafuq?!?
7) These people better become the new Krill when they get warp drive. They should be incredibly pissed at being deceived like that. And they should discover that deception sooner, rather than later.
8) Really don't like the new security officer. Not sure why they got rid of the original. They should've introduced a new species, not carbon copy a bootleg version of the old one.

I really hope the Orville does better next outing. This was so disappointing.
Jack
Mon, Jan 28, 2019, 11:20pm (UTC -6)
This week, both Discovery and Orville had episodes that felt like bad episodes of Voyager. I don’t know if Frakes and MacNeill were part of the problem.
Peter G.
Mon, Jan 28, 2019, 11:50pm (UTC -6)
@ Dave in MN,

"An atheist makes their conclusion using verifiable data and evidence (or lack thereof) to draw their conclusion."

A startling claim! Can you please cite the verifiable data and evidence that there is specifically *no God*?

"I just find the whole notion apart maybe from some kind of pantheistic spirituality pretty baffling. Why believe in the christian god why not the muslim one which is the same but isn't or Vishnu or Kami or Buddha or the great Irminsul the great tree that keeps the sky from falling down."

I assume this is purely rhetorical, since you go on to explain why religious countries are the least humanitarian, while the most humanitarian ones are the least religious. I suppose there's no need to trot out the Soviet Union and Nazi German to blow a hole in that idea. But regarding the statement above, if you really wanted to know the answer there is ample chance to discover it: ask people who believe those things, or perhaps read books on the subject. You may be surprised to learn that people all over the world aren't just idiots that believe whatever their parents tell them. Sure, *some* are, but not all. For every few people who do blindly believe (just as many blindly believe non-religious things just as fervently) you may find one whose beliefs can be discussed rationally and explained. If you haven't found these people and would like to know - then go out and find them! It's easy to sit in an armchair and declare that anyone who disagrees with you must just all believe the same nonsense. But go out there and spend the next 20 years learning about belief systems and you'll be plenty surprised; that is, if you really want to know.
Peter G.
Mon, Jan 28, 2019, 11:51pm (UTC -6)
Sorry - that last comment was directed at Booming.
Lynos
Tue, Jan 29, 2019, 2:31am (UTC -6)
@Mertov

Yeah, that remark by Talla stood out like a sore thumb to me as well. The show keeps having serious tonal issues which it seems unwilling or unable to correct.
Booming
Tue, Jan 29, 2019, 2:59am (UTC -6)
@ Peter G. I am well aware that people don't just copy the believes of their parents but most of them choose their believe system based on their ancestors is what I meant.
And I would also debate that the Soviet Union (under Stalin) was not religious. Stalin was trained to become a priest from the age of 10 and stayed in church schools until he was 21. Like Mao he was convinced that the people needed a religious figure to admire and both opted to be these religious figures. And Nazi Germany wasn't atheist. There were the https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/German_Christians and Himmler wanted to reestablish the old nordic faith. And there was of course this: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reichskonkordat Quote: "Rome became the first legal partner to Hitler's regime."
And there is a clear correlation between a country being very religious and being anti humanitarian. Russia is the best example. During the Soviet Union women were encouraged to study and to work and homosexuals and even transgender were protected by law in 1922! Again Stalin recriminalized it in 1933. And that ended in 1993. But now we see a rise of religion in Russia and what are the consequences. laws against homosexuals and transsexuals with the blessing of the church and women work less and less (from 90% in the mid 80s to 65% today). I'm not saying that people who are religious are bad people a lot of them are certainly good. The wife of a friend is from Bolivia and very religious. A very nice person. She also thinks that it is right that parents force homo- or transsexuals children into religious reprogramming camps after which a lot commit suicide. In the US several hundred thousand suffered the same fate forced into a mental and often physical torture camp by the people that should have protected them. Their parents.
But I want to exclude for example Lutherans. They are fine I think. Women are equals and homo and transsexualism is accepted. They seem like actual Christians. To quote Gandhi: I like your Christ but I don't like your Christians because they are so unlike Christ.
It is not debatable that countries today who are more religious are more intolerant, treat women worse and are more militarized. That is a fact. And facts don't care for your feelings!
OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Tue, Jan 29, 2019, 6:20am (UTC -6)
@Dave MN

"An atheist makes their conclusion using verifiable data and evidence (or lack thereof) to draw their conclusion. If evidence of a superintelligent creator were to suddenly appear, 99.9% of atheists would integrate that data and come to a different conclusion. "

Can you imagine ANY piece of evidence that would support the existence of God?

When atheists usually make this argument, they usually expect fiery red letters in the sky or a huge hand or something equally ridiculous.

As Captain Picard would say, these are cheap parlor tricks. Anybody who thinks this would actually be evidence of The Great Designer(TM) has already lost his "free thinker" card.

So, what *would* be an actual convincing piece of evidence for the existence of God? Honestly, I can't think of any. It's just a matter of what assumptions you prefer to start from.

For some people, the very existence of our universe with all it's beautiful elegant natural laws, makes it obvious that there's a Designer.

Other people would argue the opposite: That the existence of simple natural laws means that we no longer need the "God hypothesis".

So no, the situation isn't as clear cut as you think. In fact, the deeper we delve into the topic, the more complicated it becomes. There's a reason why this is known as one of the biggest unsolved question in philosophy.

"A theist? A person who will assert with certainty that there is a God/gods does not have the intellectual flexibility to acknowledge they might be wrong. And in fact, despite the lack of corroborating evidence, they will mold their entire lives around an assertion with no evidence to support it."

You don't need to be 100% certain of a belief in order to live your life by it. This is doubly true when doing so is beneficial for you in other ways.

Note that I'm not advocating the idea of accepting convenient lies that make us feel better. I'm simply saying that you don't need to be *completely* sure that you are right, if following that assumption gives you fulfillment and joy either way.

BTW no human being is ever "100% certain" of anything.

"At best, it's a masturbatory exercise in self- aggrandizing: 'I'm too important to simply wink out of existence' "

Belief in an afterlife is not the same as belief in a Creator. There are plenty of people who believe in one and not the other.

@Booming
"I just find the whole notion apart maybe from some kind of pantheistic spirituality pretty baffling. Why believe in the christian god why not the muslim one which is the same but isn't or Vishnu or Kami or Buddha or the great Irminsul the great tree that keeps the sky from falling down."

I agree that the only kind of God that makes any kind of sense would be a universal one. I also agree that the approach of "my religion is right and your religion is [Giliac] trash" is extremely stupid.

But this doesn't mean that it is illogical to be a Christian or a Muslim or [insert your favorite religion here], though. There's nothing wrong with connecting to the Universal Source of Everything [TM] through the lense of your own cultural upbringing.

It's really funny to see how "small" God is for so many people (both religious and nonreligious). Apparently the Creator of Everything can't provide different systems for different people.

Maybe he's sitting up there right now, just waiting for his children to stop fighting about "my God/Dad is better than your God/Dad!" and start working together to connect the different pieces he gave us.

"And North Korea isn't atheist. They have their own little religion going and now god number 3 is ruling."

Saying that North Korea is theist is absurd. Nobody there believes that Kim Jong is the creator of the Universe.

I'm sorry, but "theism" and "mindless worship of an authority figure by the masses" are not interchangable.

And you won't get any argument from me that the latter is bad.

"Religion is in conflict with science"

A bold assertion which is often made but never actually justified.

I'll grant you that there are brands of religion which are in conflict with science. But the blanket statement you've just made is simply false.

And yes, this is true even if we limit ourselves to Christians. Of-course, those who read their Bibles as a science/history textbook, *are* in a bit of a situation... But most Christians do not to this.

"And the least religious countries are the most humanitarian."

See, this is an argument I've never understood the point of.

Statistically, it is probably true. On the other hand, there are millions of people out there who practice religion without harming anyone (and to a great benifit for themselves and their community). There are also exceptions on the national level (sorry, but North Korea and Nazi Germany cannot be considered "theist" in any way or form).

So what, exactly, are you trying to say with this statement? Are you arguing that religion is inherently bad? Should we forbid people from having faith? Or maybe we should just forbid them from building religious communities?

See, this is an excellent example of the "us vs them" mentality I've mentioned earlier. The moment people decide that a certain group of "others" is inherently dangerous just because of their faith, the madness start.
Tomalak
Tue, Jan 29, 2019, 6:43am (UTC -6)
"This [implying that only atheists can be free thinkers] is common usage in my circles"

That says so much more about your circles than it does about religious people. Absurd.
SlackerInc
Tue, Jan 29, 2019, 6:46am (UTC -6)
On the one hand, I’m surprised to see so much “woo” from a bunch of science fiction fans. On the other, it might explain a lot about the surprisingly negative reception for the past couple episodes from some quarters.
SlackerInc
Tue, Jan 29, 2019, 6:52am (UTC -6)
I think there’s a misunderstanding here based on people who probably just haven’t heard of “freethinker” as a technical/philosophical term with a specific meaning. It’s sort of like “pro-life”: the people who call themselves that aren’t actually saying everyone else is “anti-life” in any broad sense.

From Wikipedia:
————
Freethought (or "free thought")[1] is a philosophical viewpoint which holds that positions regarding truth should be formed on the basis of logic, reason, and empiricism, rather than authority, tradition, revelation, or dogma. In particular, freethought is strongly tied with rejection of traditional social or religious belief systems.[1][2][3] The cognitive application of freethought is known as "freethinking", and practitioners of freethought are known as "freethinkers".
Booming
Tue, Jan 29, 2019, 6:58am (UTC -6)
@ Omicron. You don't have to create the universe to be considered superhuman or godlike. Zeus didn't create the universe. Kim Jong-il was pretty awesome.;) Here look: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/northkorea/8292848/The-Incredible-Kim-Jong-il-and-his-Amazing-Achievements.html
So we can safely say that he is seen as godlike at least and certainly worshiped like one. That's a religion. Maybe not in a christian sense, though.
"I'll grant you that there are brands of religion which are in conflict with science. But the blanket statement you've just made is simply false."
So to make the statement that religion is in conflict with science every last religious person must be against science. But alright. Significant parts of every religion are in willful conflict with science. Better now?
"Statistically, it is probably true." Yes.
"Nazi Germany cannot be considered "theist" in any way or form" You keep repeating that and while Nazi Germany was not like Iran or the Vatican they were clearly a christan country. Sources for your hypothesis, please.
"Are you arguing that religion is inherently bad? Should we forbid people from having faith?"
No, I just pointed out that when a country is less religious that is beneficial for the people and the neighboring countries. There is also a strong correlation between better education and less religious believe. And because in the future the most educated countries will be the most successful the problem will shrink to a more manageable size. And when they cannot impose their will on others then they can believe in god or gods or the snake that eats itself. I don't care. If you need that to face death or to trust people then be my guest.
Dave in MN
Tue, Jan 29, 2019, 7:05am (UTC -6)
@Omicron

I can't imagine what scenario that would result in newfound evidence that pointed to existence of a Creator, but why should I have to?

Dreaming up a hypothesis to prove something that has no current evidence to support it is a fool's errand. (To me, that's like saying "Santa doesn't exist, but what evidence would convince you he does?" )

Leaving open the door to evidence (whatever that might be) is one thing.... taking a figment of someone's imagination and then extraploating arguments to support their imaginary concept is the adult version of the "Telephone Game", not logic or reason.

I think a MUCH more valid question is why anyone would assume the mostly empty chaotic universe would need an invisible puppeteer in the first place?

The burden of proof isn't on me to imagine ways I'm wrong, it's on the individual who says something exists without anything to support that assertion.
Booming
Tue, Jan 29, 2019, 7:08am (UTC -6)
@Omicron. The new stuff this time about Kim Jong Un
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/northkorea/11526831/Kim-Jong-un-was-child-prodigy-who-could-drive-at-age-of-three-claims-North-Korean-school-curriculum.html
Patrick
Tue, Jan 29, 2019, 7:08am (UTC -6)
Hold on now, Santa does too exist!
Dave in MN
Tue, Jan 29, 2019, 7:09am (UTC -6)
@Peter G

You know full well that you can't prove a negative.

Prove there isn't a bowl of spaghetti orbiting Mars.
Dave in MN
Tue, Jan 29, 2019, 7:27am (UTC -6)
By the way, Peter, we already have evidence to support evolution. Not just on the macro scale, either.

Bacteria and viruses undergo rapid evolution on time scales we can see, hence the reason for the rise of SuperAIDS, MRSA, antibiotic resistant tuberculosis and on and on. The same has happened recently on the Galapagos Islands, a new species of finch only took a few decades to become biologically distinct.

The reason I bring this up is your assertion that there is a "design" behind everything.

Do you really think a Creator is spending his time pairing off all life on Earth just to make incremental changes? Is God literally looking at every bacteria and virus and deciding which bit of genetic code will be altered?

You are asking me to believe that a God has nothing better to do than engineer trillions of reproductive acts on a daily basis.

What's more plausible? God playing Cupid, or the process operating on its own?
Tomalak
Tue, Jan 29, 2019, 8:09am (UTC -6)
Slacker, it's not a misunderstanding. Other atheists came up with a term that is deliberately offensive to anyone who disagrees with them and you apparently use it without even realising that. Obviously people can call themselves whatever they like - but it's obviously incredibly closed minded to say everyone who thinks freely could reach only your own conclusions about big questions. Is that what you are saying? Or are you saying that plenty of devout Christians, Jews etc can also be free thinkers?
OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Tue, Jan 29, 2019, 8:17am (UTC -6)
@FluffySheep
"In fact, it would be too dim to see anywhere except low orbit"

I haven't thought of that.

You're right. The exact limiting altitude would depend on the size of reflector, but it couldn't be any further than a few thousands of kilometers.

Bummer. There goes the plausibility of the whole thing.

As for the religious debate:

The discussion becomes silly when people start erecting absurd belief systems and then telling others that they're stupid for believing in them.

Invisible puppeteer? God playing Cupid? Once again the discussion has derailed into meaningless rhetoric where people are more interested in showing how stupid the opposition is, and less interested in an honest exchange of ideas.

I guess this kind of c*ap is why they say that discussing these topics in online forums is a bad idea. The two big no noes: Religion and politics. I just thought that sci fi fans would be a bit more sophisticated, when it comes to discussing "the big questions".

Really, guys, is that what you've learned from Star Trek and the Orville? Where's your sense of wonder? Your love of exploration?

Jeez...
Dave in MN
Tue, Jan 29, 2019, 8:41am (UTC -6)
I actually thought I gave a reasoned response to your query.

Perhaps my mistake was assuming this was a dialogue ... my mistake, in the future I'll be sure to ask if multi-paragraph oppositional comments are rhetorical or not.

Convenient, though, that you get to have your say (hundreds and hundreds of words) but a logic-based response from me (that avoids ad hominem attacks) is unreasonable . . .
OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Tue, Jan 29, 2019, 8:44am (UTC -6)
"On the one hand, I’m surprised to see so much “woo” from a bunch of science fiction fans. On the other, it might explain a lot about the surprisingly negative reception for the past couple episodes from some quarters."

The three top-scoring episodes of the Orville on IMDB at this time:

1. Mad Idolatry
2. Nothing Left on Earth Excepting Fishes (praise Avis!)
3. If the Stars Should Appear

And the current episode, unlike the above three, isn't even about religion.

So this kinda disproves your theory, doesn't it?

You might also want to ask yourself, why you've even expected people to oppose an episode that deals with the evils of oppression and dogmatic beliefs, just because they happen to have a different view on the God thing.

We're not Giliac trash, you know.
(or at least, 11/12 of us aren't)
OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Tue, Jan 29, 2019, 8:45am (UTC -6)
Oops... I forgot to write that my previous post was a reply to SlackerInc.
Dave in MN
Tue, Jan 29, 2019, 9:01am (UTC -6)
Re, the reflector.

#1. It had articulating side panels that would, in theory, help focus the reflected light from a larger area to a central point. This would increase the distance a reflector could be deployed.

#2. While it wasn't mentioned in dialogue, it's certainly possible that the same technology that allows them to cloak (by allowing photons to pass through solid objects unimpeded) could also be manipulated to strengthen a light source.

#3. If you look up at the sky a few hours after sunset, you'll see satellites momentarily catching the light of the sun. Even though these satellites have surface areas much tinier than the reflector in this episod (and they aren't designed to reflect light), they still can produce satellite glint that can be visible even in daylight. If a tiny modern satellite can create a glare of -9.5 magnitude in low eatth orbit, than this reflector would NOT be required to be that close to the surface.
Peter G.
Tue, Jan 29, 2019, 11:20am (UTC -6)
@ Dave in MN,

"@Peter G

You know full well that you can't prove a negative.

Prove there isn't a bowl of spaghetti orbiting Mars."

How evasive of you. Your claim was that atheists use verifiable data to come to their conclusions. And the first conclusion you cite is *that they are atheists*. Your own statement contradicts itself, unless you can demonstrate that it is possible to find verifiable data showing evidence that there is no God. Otherwise, the statement itself that there *is no* God is itself without evidence. Are you really sure you can't see this? It is quite inescapable.

"I think a MUCH more valid question is why anyone would assume the mostly empty chaotic universe would need an invisible puppeteer in the first place? "

Another question that feels like "people are dumb" rhetoric rather than a real question. But if Trek has ever taught you anything it should be that you will only learn when you ask real questions, from a place of really wanting to know. And wanting to know requires admitting that you don't know. That can be a tough one.
Schroder
Tue, Jan 29, 2019, 12:50pm (UTC -6)
Some people seem to think that you can’t prove a specific sort of negative claim, namely that a thing does not exist. So it is impossible to prove that Santa Claus, unicorns, the Loch Ness Monster, God, pink elephants, WMD in Iraq, and Bigfoot don’t exist. Of course, this rather depends on what one has in mind by ‘prove.’ Can you construct a valid deductive argument with all true premises that yields the conclusion that there are no unicorns? Sure. Here’s one, using the valid inference procedure of modus tollens:

1. If unicorns had existed, then there is evidence in the fossil record.
2. There is no evidence of unicorns in the fossil record.
3. Therefore, unicorns never existed.

Someone might object that that was a bit too fast - after all, I didn’t prove that the two premises were true. I just asserted that they were true. Well, that’s right. However, it would be a grievous mistake to insist that someone prove all the premises of any argument they might give. Here’s why. The only way to prove, say, that there is no evidence of unicorns in the fossil record, is by giving an argument to that conclusion. Of course one would then have to prove the premises of that argument by giving further arguments, and then prove the premises of those further arguments, ad infinitum. Which premises we should take on credit and which need payment up front is a matter of long and involved debate among epistemologists. But one thing is certain: if proving things requires that an infinite number of premises get proved first, we’re not going to prove much of anything at all, positive or negative.

Maybe people mean that no inductive argument will conclusively, indubitably prove a negative proposition beyond all shadow of a doubt. For example, suppose someone argues that we’ve scoured the world for Bigfoot, found no credible evidence of Bigfoot’s existence, and therefore there is no Bigfoot. A classic inductive argument. A Sasquatch defender can always rejoin that Bigfoot is reclusive, and might just be hiding in that next stand of trees. You can’t prove he’s not! (until the search of that tree stand comes up empty too). The problem here isn’t that inductive arguments won’t give us certainty about negative claims (like the nonexistence of Bigfoot), but that inductive arguments won’t give us certainty about anything at all, positive or negative. All observed swans are white, therefore all swans are white looked like a pretty good inductive argument until black swans were discovered in Australia.

The very nature of an inductive argument is to make a conclusion probable, but not certain, given the truth of the premises. That just what an inductive argument is. We’d better not dismiss induction because we’re not getting certainty out of it, though. Why do you think that the sun will rise tomorrow? Not because of observation (you can’t observe the future!), but because that’s what it has always done in the past. Why do you think that if you turn on the kitchen tap that water will come out instead of chocolate? Why do you think you’ll find your house where you last left it? Why do you think lunch will be nourishing instead of deadly? Again, because that’s the way things have always been in the past. In other words, we use inferences — induction — from past experiences in every aspect of our lives. As Bertrand Russell pointed out, the chicken who expects to be fed when he sees the farmer approaching, since that is what had always happened in the past, is in for a big surprise when instead of receiving dinner, he becomes dinner. But if the chicken had rejected inductive reasoning altogether, then every appearance of the farmer would be a surprise.

So why is it that people insist that you can’t prove a negative? I think it is the result of two things. (1) an acknowledgement that induction is not bulletproof, airtight, and infallible, and (2) a desperate desire to keep believing whatever one believes, even if all the evidence is against it. That’s why people keep believing in alien abductions, even when flying saucers always turn out to be weather balloons, stealth jets, comets, or too much alcohol. You can’t prove a negative! You can’t prove that there are no alien abductions! Meaning: your argument against aliens is inductive, therefore not incontrovertible, and since I want to believe in aliens, I’m going to dismiss the argument no matter how overwhelming the evidence against aliens, and no matter how vanishingly small the chance of extraterrestrial abduction.

If we’re going to dismiss inductive arguments because they produce conclusions that are probable but not definite, then we are in deep doo-doo. Despite its fallibility, induction is vital in every aspect of our lives, from the mundane to the most sophisticated science. Without induction we know basically nothing about the world apart from our own immediate perceptions. So we’d better keep induction, warts and all, and use it to form negative beliefs as well as positive ones. You can prove a negative — at least as much as you can prove anything at all.
OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Tue, Jan 29, 2019, 1:19pm (UTC -6)
Here is the biggest problem with this whole "can't prove a negative" argument:

It has absolutely nothing to do with the issue at hand, because atheists also believe in certain things. They also have beliefs and philosophical views, for which the burden of proof is on them. The problem is that the word "atheist" tricks you into thinking that the philosophical view of these people is somehow based on them rejecting the idea of a deity.

But that's not true. You cannot base your entire world view on a negative. So the question is, what *do* they believe in? How do they answer the big questions? What's their view of "the big picture" and just how coherent and consistent is it?

Before people point a finger at the notion of a "Grand Designer" and say "ha ha we don't assume that, so we are more logical than you", they should check whether their own view of the universe really makes more sense.

Maybe it does. Maybe the atheists are right and we theists are a bunch of fools. But nobody is going to prove such a thing with the kind of shallow rhetorics we've seen here today.

(oh boy, we've really strayed from the original topic of this page, haven't we?)
OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Tue, Jan 29, 2019, 1:49pm (UTC -6)
@Dave

"Re, the reflector."

"#1. It had articulating side panels that would, in theory, help focus the reflected light from a larger area to a central point. This would increase the distance a reflector could be deployed."

This would have to be done anyway, if you want the image of the sun to look like a star.

Unfortunately, this cannot change total amount of light available, which is equal to the luminosity of the sun.

"#2. While it wasn't mentioned in dialogue, it's certainly possible that the same technology that allows them to cloak (by allowing photons to pass through solid objects unimpeded) could also be manipulated to strengthen a light source."

I'm afraid that this kind of technobabble solution is, really, the only way out.

"#3. If you look up at the sky a few hours after sunset, you'll see satellites momentarily catching the light of the sun. Even though these satellites have surface areas much tinier than the reflector in this episode (and they aren't designed to reflect light), they still can produce satellite glint that can be visible even in daylight. If a tiny modern satellite can create a glare of -9.5 magnitude in low eatth orbit, than this reflector would NOT be required to be that close to the surface."

Yeah, but "glint" means that the light is unevenly spread. You're just taking the existing light and distributing it differently.

So you can't have a glint that spreads evenly on an entire planet.

At any rate, the reflector doesn't really have to be in *low* orbit. If we want a "star" of magnitude -1 and the reflector is 1 km across, then it can be as far as 100,000 km from the surface. This still doesn't solve the parallax problem, though.
Jack2211
Tue, Jan 29, 2019, 2:59pm (UTC -6)
This show needs to be funny/edgy again. When Ed's not around -- and, increasingly, even when he is -- the dialogue is bland and over-earnest.

And, yes, religion, taken literally, makes no sense -- apart from a way for people to impose order on the world and on each other.

Pointing that out is easy. But how about some nuance -- what if Rubenstein hadn't believed, but his political life depended on his acting like he believed? Or if Jelliac slave labour was necessary for their economy? People in power benefit from religion, misinformation and even prejudice. Sure, some are fervent believers, but I suspect many aren't.
Dave in MN
Tue, Jan 29, 2019, 3:04pm (UTC -6)
Again, I must point out the elephant in the room:

There is no evidence of a universal consciousness at work. 1000s of scientific disciplines have developed over the last few centuries, yet not one scientist has discovered anything that could be plausibly explained by the intercession of a deity, nevermind any evidence of a deity itself.

To me, this is a large logical hurdle to overcome.

If there were evidence, it would be science, not faith. However, no evidence exists. Therefore:

#1. Why do rational people choose faith over science?

&

#2. What other concepts do theists believe in that have no supporting evidence? If faith in God is the only special exception to evidence-based conceptualizing, then the problem is unequal burdens of proof within the theist's mind.
Jason R.
Tue, Jan 29, 2019, 4:32pm (UTC -6)
"There is no evidence of a universal consciousness at work. 1000s of scientific disciplines have developed over the last few centuries, yet not one scientist has discovered anything that could be plausibly explained by the intercession of a deity, nevermind any evidence of a deity itself. "

If you accept the premise of a universe subject to internally consistent and predictable laws, then there wouldn't be. This would not be inconsistent with the existence of a deity and indeed, I presume many mainstream Christian religions are going in this direction, subject to an exception here or there.

Also if you accept the premise that the universe was a singularity at the moment of the big bang, it may simply be impossible to describe anything that existed before it - ever, regardless of scientific and technological advances. Behind this impenetrable curtain would dwell a small space for god.

I don't say these things to defend the idea of God as I am an atheist myself. But we should be careful not to overreach in our claims.

Frankly, a universal consciousness in the abstract is as good an explanation for the origin of the universe as I have heard. But of course it's also non falsifiable and of course, is as far away from Yahweh or Allah or Vishnu as the roof of my house is from the moon.
Dave in MN
Tue, Jan 29, 2019, 6:07pm (UTC -6)
Re, the impenetrable curtain:

This whole time Ive resisted asking the most obvious question. 😁

Who or what made the Creator? What's He made of? Where is He?

To me, inserting a God into things is the same as 2+2=4 needs a variable. But I've made my point.

By the way, how has no one mentioned that Isaac is having his own Data/Tasha moment in this week's episode?! With Isaac's bluntness, I expect to laugh A LOT.
OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Tue, Jan 29, 2019, 6:27pm (UTC -6)
@Dave

I say this with utmost respect to you:

From the perspective of someone who studied these topics for years, your arguments sound incredibly simplistic. The question of "Universal Consciousness" is much more complicated then you think. Do you seriously believe that all the philosophers who spent their entire life wrestling with these questions are fools?

Perhaps the answers to your last few questions will help you understand my views a little better. Keep in mind that I'm speaking only for myself and for my own presonal views:

1. "Why do rational theists choose faith over science"

Easy - they don't. What did I tell you, about attributing ridiculous beliefs to people and than wondering why they "believe" those things?

Using philosophical principles to pick a stance on a question that's science is absolutely silent about does not constitute "choosing faith over science".

2. "Who or what made the Creator?"

The answer to this is the same as the answer to "who made the number 5?"

Both are immutable abstract constructs. It simply makes no sense to ask "who made X" when X is not a material thing that can actually be made.

3. "What's He made of?"

Everything.

4. "Where is He?"

Everywhere.

5. "To me, inserting a God into things is the same as 2+2=4 needs a variable"

And to me, inserting a God into things is the same as 2+2=4 needing the laws of arithmetic to make any sense. :-)

Different strokes for different folks.
OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Tue, Jan 29, 2019, 6:29pm (UTC -6)
@Dave
"By the way, how has no one mentioned that Isaac is having his own Data/Tasha moment in this week's episode?!"

Because we didn't know! Where did you here that?

This could turn out to be either totally awsome or incredibly cringe-worthy.
(knowing the Orville, it might even turn out to be both at the same time ;-) )
Dave in MN
Tue, Jan 29, 2019, 6:45pm (UTC -6)
I don't know if it'll be the Doc or Talla, but I've read EVERYTHING about the new season. I managed to slide my eyes down a few paragraphs whenever I thought things were too spoilerish, but I did wade into a few without realizing it.

I KNOW I read/ watched an interview where one of the actors (either Penny J-J, Adrienne or Seth) hinted at it.
Michael
Tue, Jan 29, 2019, 7:06pm (UTC -6)
"I think a MUCH more valid question is why anyone would assume the mostly empty chaotic universe would need an invisible puppeteer in the first place?"

Funnily enough, most people who ask this continue to hold the near-universal belief that their own body needs an invisible puppeteer. If they need no evidence for their beliefs why do they expect it of others?
Dave in MN
Tue, Jan 29, 2019, 7:20pm (UTC -6)
@Michael

I don't believe in a "soul". It's another concept with no evidence to support it.

I am a collection of mostly organic compounds that eventually will no longer be self-sustaining. My "self" is lucky enough to have been constructed from a DNA blueprint to have the ability for mobility, sapience and higher thought.

Since we only live in the present, my memories (more collections of organic compounds) are not infallible enough to even be sure my own past is my actual past. An argument can also be construed that, since we "live" in the moment, my consciousness itself may be a temporal illusion. There may be no "me".

All of the data, stimuli and sensory input I've internalized throughout my existence indicates one thing only: I am a blob of organic matter, nothing more.

However, if I were to perceive some actual verifiable DATA that would prove differently, I will happily internalize that testable information and draw a different conclusion.
Quincy
Tue, Jan 29, 2019, 8:34pm (UTC -6)
@ Dave in MN: "An atheist makes their conclusion using verifiable data and evidence (or lack thereof) to draw their conclusion."

This is an example of a belief that YOU hold that you simply have no viable means of proving. Did you take a poll of every individual identifying as an atheist? Did you telepathically audit their thought processes at the origin of their atheistic views to ensure the usage of only rational ones? How would you know otherwise how someone became an atheist?

PERHAPS this statement is true for you, but there must be countless atheists that are atheists because they don't believe in anything, haven't been exposed to religious doctrines, haven't really given it much thought either way, or have made some irrational emotional or unconscious decision, perhaps one based in traumatic childhood experiences, that leads them to refuse to believe in any deities under any circumstances.

There are possibly atheists running around who don't even believe in "verifiable data or evidence." Every belief a person could possibly have could be the result of either rational or irrational thought processes. Our most persistent beliefs are often formed directly from emotional experiences, no logic or reason involved. To claim every atheist fits your mold is patently absurd.

Atheism is billed as simply an absence of belief in a deity. That says absolutely nothing at all about whether a person who holds this mindset came to it by way of rational thought processes. That's a myth that many atheists pretend is self-evident. Atheists can be as irrational as any theist. I've personally met people like that. They may have simply been forced to go to church as a child, instead of say the comic book store, like they wanted to and decided from then on they didn't like ANY religion or anything to do with religion. Bam. They're atheists.

@ Dave in MN: "All this, despite the fact that every person on Earth already knows what it's like to not exist (those billions of years before we were born)."

This is the silliest thing I've read on this site. NOBODY on earth, whether theist, atheist, agnostic, nihilist, solipsist, or anything else knows what it's like to not exist. That's not even humanly possibly. You only have knowledge of what you've learned or experienced. And there can't be any such experience or learning concerning non-existence. The sentence "I know what it's like to not exist" doesn't even have any rational meaning whatsoever.
Dave in MN
Tue, Jan 29, 2019, 8:52pm (UTC -6)
@Quincy

I use words in the dictionary instead of making up my own because they are already defined.

Please reread my comment carefully.

I wasn't defining atheism, I was talking about how the concept of being a FREETHINKER applied to different views on theism.

And, as to your second point, let me spell it out.

Before you were born YOU DID NOT EXIST.

That lack of existence, that less than nothingness, ithas a true tangible quality to it, if you actually ponder all the billions of years there was no "you".

That nothingness? That non-existence that obviously is a sensitive subject to you?

That .... that, my friend, is death.
Dave in MN
Tue, Jan 29, 2019, 9:16pm (UTC -6)
And, for the record, while I tell myself it's literally "nothing to be afraid of", but i'm not going to lie:

I think I'm right and it still scares the shit out of me.

Like I said, just give me some testable data ....
SlackerInc
Tue, Jan 29, 2019, 9:33pm (UTC -6)
@Schroder and @Dave, great posts.

To tite it back into the show, it’s interesting that Dave and I liked this and the previous episode so much, but the naysayers seem to be more in the theistic or “woo” camp. I think we can all agree that Seth’s views line up most closely with the three of us, so I do think it explains a lot.
Dark Kirk
Tue, Jan 29, 2019, 9:40pm (UTC -6)
John Scalzi's "Redshirts" novel! John Scalzi's "Redshirts" novel! Seth MacFarlane, who I want to commend for writing Orville episodes like this one, INTENTIONALLY wrote this Orville episode with ridiculous plot points, because this and the other episodes are not SUPPOSED to be thought out! The characters will discover they are part of a mediocre, (yet compelling) television show in a made-up universe, just like the "Redshirts" characters. Whereas "The Orville" has the Planetary Union, "Redshirts" has the Universal Union.

No one would make the decisions in the real world like they do in the show. The characters will discover for example: Ed begging for a Xelayan - who does that, and in what universe would that actually work? The only answer would be The Orville universe. The characters will discover the writers hastily had to write Halston Sage's Alara out of the show, but they had episodes written that hinged on Alara's Xelayan heritage and they couldn't change them, so rather than trash all that work, they had to come up with a flimsy excuse for a replacement Xelayan.

The admiral being a jerk, the lack of research before making first contact, the way the dilemma was concluded, and past plot points like John LaMarr suddenly revealing he hid his genius and Ed inappropriately pining for Kelly, will all be discovered as examples of a sloppily written show.

Now, this could mean Seth MacFarlane is blatantly ripping off Scalzi's "Redshirts" novel, and I don't know how that plays out in the real world. Maybe he never knew about the novel, which is hilarious in its own right.

I am still a fan. For all the plot problems, the episodes are fun to watch, and the actors do a great job with the material they have. They give no hint that they think the show is a parody, and that has to be a tough challenge for a performer.
Michael
Tue, Jan 29, 2019, 9:53pm (UTC -6)
@Dave in MN

"I don't believe in a "soul". It's another concept with no evidence to support it. "

No, I wasn't referring to a soul. But while you are typing your next post, think about whether you believe it is typing itself, or an invisible puppeteer "you" is typing it.
Dave in MN
Tue, Jan 29, 2019, 9:59pm (UTC -6)
@ Skacker

Hmm, that hadn't occurred to me. Good insight!

His politics (and Family Guy) get most of the press attention, so I myself haven't really given that much thought.

Maybe that's why when Captain Mercer said "we all do better when we all do better", it really spoke to me. The idea that making the here and now the best we can is maybe the most important thing there is, at least to me.

@ Omicron

Meant to say it esrlier but no offense taken.

I wish I could say I had a Twitter, btw, but the only place I regularly post anything opinion related is here. (I do have a Youtube account, Soundcloud etc for my music, but that's sealed in its own little non- opinionated world, haha. )
Dave in MN
Tue, Jan 29, 2019, 10:03pm (UTC -6)
@Michael

One pill, two pills, red pills, blue pills ....
Fluffysheap
Tue, Jan 29, 2019, 10:09pm (UTC -6)
@OmicronThetaDeltaPhi @Dave in MN

I'd believe 100kkm as a maximum distance (the exact size of the reflector seemed quite a bit less than 1km, but it doesn't necessarily need to be magnitude -1), and while it's not technically low orbit, it's low enough. That's only 1/4 the distance to the moon, and lunar parallax is readily visible to the naked eye. They would still see the parallax on the first night.

Since their astrology appears to work like ours (constellations based on the ecliptic), the reflector would occasionally be eclipsed, more frequently the closer it is to the planet.

Also, a reflector wouldn't twinkle.

For a slightly better technological solution, you don't need to invoke cloaking magi-tech. You just need a really big laser at 200AU or so. It can even move to cancel out the parallax from the planet's orbit. That would potentially fool the Rigorians for a little while, maybe a few years.
Anthony G
Tue, Jan 29, 2019, 10:16pm (UTC -6)
I once heard about an interesting phrase written on someone’s tombstone. It said something like, “ I am now the wisest among you”.
The deceased, now knew if there was a God or not. The tombstone quote may or may not have been a real story but it was clever.
We can keep going back and forth discussing our religious beliefs or lack of beliefs but I doubt if anyone will sway anyone else. We’ll be under a tombstone some day and be wiser than we are today so maybe for now we can attempt, through our little place on this platform to try to encourage The Orville to keep making better and better episodes by sharing our ideas.
This episode, as many have already stated above, should have been much better without the many plot holes and the rushed ending. Maybe they should have re-written parts of the the script or make this a 2 part episode. The Orville has had some really good episodes and I guess I expect more from Seth M. and his team, which is unfair.
Let’s remember, that even the great Gene Roddenberry gave us “Spock’s Brain” as an episode in TOS so we can forgive. Unlike those earlier TV shows that produced 20 to 30 episodes per season, you just can’t afford to make too many bad episodes since in today’s world you’re only producing 12 to 15 episodes a season. This was not a terrible episode but it could and should have been better.
Thanks Seth for giving us a great TV show to enjoy and to discuss.
Dave in MN
Tue, Jan 29, 2019, 10:30pm (UTC -6)
^

I definitely have learned a lot just by having actual discussions with intelligent humans about all the various subjects The Orville touches on. Every week is a grab bag of hotbutton issues, scientific analysis, getting to know people's personalities over time and eagerly awaiting Jammer's review (and the elusive 4 star episode j/k). I hope this goes on for years to come.
SlackerInc
Tue, Jan 29, 2019, 11:25pm (UTC -6)
I hope they don’t make any of the changes or adjustments people are hoping for. I love the show just as it is (at least for the past two episodes; before that, it was more “like” than “love” most of the time).
Quincy
Wed, Jan 30, 2019, 12:30am (UTC -6)
@Fluffysheap

Is laser light actually hard to distinguish from star light? It seems like it would be completely different.
Peter G.
Wed, Jan 30, 2019, 1:45am (UTC -6)
@ Dave in MN,

The part of me that likes to argue wants to refute your series of comments. But I'd rather just draw attention instead to what I think is a lack of clear definition of your general approach to the topic. It's not that you have no basis to have an opinion; of course you do. But it's about how you use your terms, and fail to adequately realize what a task it is to define them properly. To do so it *in itself* equal to an entire branch of philosophy/theology. More likely multiple branches. I do like the idea of asking questions too big for us to answer; but no so much the idea that we are so big that the answers must be some lesser thing than us. Trek is all about discovering everything that's out there; as Q put it, the wonders and terrors of the unknown. Not everything is a simple A + B = C triviality that allows us to feel oh so smart. Like for instance, "rational thought requires evidence, there is no evidence for God, ergo rational people wouldn't believe in God." The amount of distortion of reality required to present such a statement can only come by destroying most data available. What is "rational"? What is "evidence"? And what is the "God" being implied in the proposition? Each of these is multiple doctorates in study to even be able to state what the term is supposed to mean. The idea that these concepts are so obvious that they can be loosely strung into a simple proposition is to reduce them to meaning virtually nothing at all.

I say this, again, not to denigrate, but rather to try to advocate for a Trek-like approach to matters, which is begin with the assumption that our understanding is small and that the universe is big. We *are not* up to the task of knowing its secrets; at least not yet. We might also argue that Trek supposes that we *might* eventually get there, if we take enough risk and put ourselves out there in danger. When it comes to learning, 'danger' means putting aside what we think we know and accepting the possibility that we don't even know what we don't know. Take this comment of yours, for instance:

"That nothingness? That non-existence that obviously is a sensitive subject to you?

That .... that, my friend, is death."

Being honest with yourself, do you really think you have some insight into a connection between death and non-existence? What is "non-existence" even supposed to mean? It's isn't a 'something' you can discuss, since by definition it *does not exist*. So how can it be declared to have attributes that are likened to death? I hope you begin to see the problem. Mainly it's underestimating how complex the issues are, and even how complicated it is to use words like these. And I'm not deconstructing, btw; this is philosophy 101. It is awesome to ask questions about things we want to learn, but moment an overwhelming subject is reduced to mere simplistic propositions you can be sure every time that learning is not happening.
Dave in MN
Wed, Jan 30, 2019, 2:15am (UTC -6)
Look, Peter, I've read Kant and Spinoza and Russell and James and the rest of that enlightening group of thinkers, but I didn't see the need to namedrop them to prove a point.

I should be able to summarize my understanding of things in my own words, and that is what I did.

Besides, I'm writing on my phone. Logistically speaking, I can't really copy/ paste relevant text.

To your main concern:

I don't understand how anyone could think post-life will be any different than pre-life. Both are states of non-existence.

Is there some differentiating quality between the two states I'm not perceiving?

When you say it's impossible to ponder and understand non- existence, isn't that YOUR personal bias speaking up? Just because you can't get your ahead around that concept doesn't mean everyone else can't.

It boils down to this:

For anything to be accepted as true, there has to be evidence in favor of the veracity of that statement.

The more outrageous the claim, the more outrageous the evidence that is required.

If you want to propose some sort of extra-dimensional extra-temporal force/ consciousness, the BURDEN OF PROOF IS ON YOU TO PROVE IT, not for me to disprove it.
Peter G.
Wed, Jan 30, 2019, 2:44am (UTC -6)
@ Dave in MN,

I appreciate that you're trying to be brief and so this has some limitations. And this isn't a theology website, and I appreciate too that in theory we're here to discuss the material Jammer has reviewed. In general I try to stick to this, but sometimes I stick my nose in an off-topic point because if Trek has taught us anything it's that we shouldn't reduce grand things to trivialities. But I'll try to address your questions:

"I don't understand how anyone could think post-life will be any different than pre-life. Both are states of non-existence.

Is there some differentiating quality between the two states I'm not perceiving? "

You keep using the word "non-existence", as if it's some clearly understood thing. Do you see what I mean? You're throwing it around as if only an idiot could fail to understand. But (and I say this as someone who spends considerable time reading about the sciences) it's literally not a thing. There is no empirical basis for such a thing as "non-existence." At best it might be a mathematical thought-experiment, like 1-1=0, where 0 is non-existence or something. The 1st law of thermo states that nothing is ever lost, essentially. Nothing that exists can cease to exist, although it can change state and organization. We have never observed a "non-existent thing", and certainly not in such a capacity that we could compare "it" to things, or even living things. I say this only because you are dead-set on insisting that your point is obvious, and it most certainly is not. Your terms are basically undefined. And just to clarify: I'm not saying your argument is wrong. If I were to say that I would have to present an argument to that effect, which I'm not doing. What I'm saying is that you're not even making an argument to contest.

"When you say it's impossible to ponder and understand non- existence, isn't that YOUR personal bias speaking up? Just because you can't get your ahead around that concept doesn't mean everyone else can't. "

I...uh...don't think I have any bias about 'non-existence.' I don't think I have that much of an opinion about it at all, since I don't even know what it's supposed to be; certainly not as you're calling it. And to be frank while I can imagine a sci-fi or fantasy setting involving some non-existent phenomenon (maybe like The Nothing in The Neverending Story) I cannot imagine any context in which a scientist would use that term of even have a context in which to discuss it. Your working definition of an atheist was someone who uses reason and evidence: I take that to mean you are one. But how does that jive with invoking a term that is un-scientific and insisting that it's perfectly plain what it means?

"For anything to be accepted as true, there has to be evidence in favor of the veracity of that statement. "

Agreed.

"The more outrageous the claim, the more outrageous the evidence that is required. "

Not sure this follows, but I get the gist of what you mean.

"If you want to propose some sort of extra-dimensional extra-temporal force/ consciousness, the BURDEN OF PROOF IS ON YOU TO PROVE IT, not for me to disprove it."

Who said that anyone was arguing the existence God to you *as a scientific proposition*? You are certainly free to reject the idea of God, and may even have good reasons to do so (there are indeed good reasons to do so). But the burden rests with you if you want to positively assert that there IS NO God. You do see that, right? It is you who are trying to do the convincing in this scenario, and I fully grant that in the reverse case, where a religious person was telling you that you're being awfully dense in not accepting God, your comment would be entirely in the right to tell them that if they want to convince you the burden is on them to give good reasons for it. No one here is trying to do that. I, at any rate, am trying to tell you that your claim that atheism (the denial of God) cannot possibly be a scientific claim, even though it may or may not be a true claim. It is outside the realm of science, as God is not something that can be put under the microscope or seen with a telescope. Science examines "things". As religious people define it, God is not a thing, therefore not under its purview. That is why the agnostic position is so tempting: saying "I don't know" has the virtue of declining to make unsubstantiated statements. Exploration should surely come from a place of "I don't know"; otherwise why go out there?
Fluffysheap
Wed, Jan 30, 2019, 2:52am (UTC -6)
@Quincy
"Is laser light actually hard to distinguish from star light? It seems like it would be completely different."
Yes, it's quite different. Lasers are monochromatic and stars have blackbody spectra with absorption lines. But the episode established that the Rigorians aren't really paying attention to the actual properties of the stars, so they might not notice.

If you start thinking about spectra, it creates another problem for the reflector. It would have the spectrum of the local star, which is presumably a sun-like F/G/K star, whereas the star that went supernova would have been something else. 21st century Earth scientists would realize "it's a faaaaake" quickly, but the Rigorians are not very good at astronomy.

The episode could have maybe been better if the Rigorians knew this stuff, but chose to ignore it. It could be their scientists hiding the truth to work around their cultural attitudes, or it could be their society replacing one kind of mysticism with a different "I want to believe!" kind. Either would have been much better than their aimless and unfounded obstinacy.
Dave in MN
Wed, Jan 30, 2019, 2:56am (UTC -6)
I also used the term less than nothingness to describe non- existence... but to explicate: it's an abyss. An absence of self, senses, thoughts, being, influencing. A darkness you can't see because you have no eyes. An endless void with no beginning or end while a mechanistic world spins on unceasing, uncaring of your fate. No perception. No escape. The personification of nothing.

That is a taste of my understanding of what I mean by non-existence, what I think of when I think about all of the billions of years before my conception (and all the billions after my death).
Booming
Wed, Jan 30, 2019, 4:04am (UTC -6)
@ Dave: Still trying to convince people with rational arguments that their irrational believes are ...well irrational? :)
Thats why I only point out real life consequences and facts. But that of course is ignored because it is one thing to believe in something without any proof but knowing that it causes a lot of harm. Here. Now. That is something else entirely.
Jake Sisko
Wed, Jan 30, 2019, 6:10am (UTC -6)
"We are always the observer. But sometimes we identify with the events so much so...that we even lose the aspect of the observer. That's why the materialist gets totally lost...and thinks that we could do without the observer"'

From the movie "What The Bleep Do We Know?" (2006)
Jake Sisko
Wed, Jan 30, 2019, 6:33am (UTC -6)
"I also used the term less than nothingness to describe non- existence... but to explicate: it's an abyss. An absence of self, senses, thoughts, being, influencing. A darkness you can't see because you have no eyes. An endless void with no beginning or end while a mechanistic world spins on unceasing, uncaring of your fate. No perception. No escape. The personification of nothing.

That is a taste of my understanding of what I mean by non-existence, what I think of when I think about all of the billions of years before my conception (and all the billions after my death). "

You forgot the one thing that IS there - you. The one that observes this void, this abyss. How else could you know you have no eyes, thoughts, senses without you being there to observe it. That's why non-existence or nothingness is an impossibility.
OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Wed, Jan 30, 2019, 6:41am (UTC -6)
@Booming
"Still trying to convince people with rational arguments that their irrational believes are ...well irrational? Thats why I only point out real life consequences and facts. "

Yeah, like the "fact" that 7-of-9's boobs increased the ratings of Voyager by 60% ;-)

Dave is, at least, is sincere about discussing things honestly. Different world views make communications difficult enough, without people like you mocking the entire process.

@Dave
"I am a collection of mostly organic compounds that eventually will no longer be self-sustaining. My 'self' is lucky enough to have been constructed from a DNA blueprint to have the ability for mobility, sapience and higher thought."

That's right.

Isn't that amazing? You are nothing more than a complex physical system bound by natural law... yet you are conscious!

See? You've just admitted yourself that consciousness does not need anything "supernatural" to arise. It arises spontenously in complex systems.

So: Why are you so opposed to the notion that the Universe - as a whole - has a "self" as well?

To be more on topic with Star Trek and the Orville:

I challenge you to bring a consistent set of criteria for consciousness that:

1. are not satisfied by the Universe as a whole.
2. are satisfied by yourself, a Horta, Isaac, Yaphit, the EMH, an Organian and Q.

(I'm deliberately refraining from entering the afterlife debate, because I think it is best to keep things as simple and focused as possible. This thread has been derailed enough as it is)
OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Wed, Jan 30, 2019, 6:49am (UTC -6)
Oh... and as an actual physics person who learned Quantum Mechanics in college:

"What the Bleep Do You Know" is one of the sillest, baseless "science documentary" I've ever seen.

Just to keep things straight :-)

(and no, I'm not going to debate this. I'm not willing to be the person responsible for throwing this thread into yet another tangent)
SlackerInc
Wed, Jan 30, 2019, 6:51am (UTC -6)
@Peter G.: I have seen versions of your argument countless times, and they are specious. It’s reminiscent of when my precocious eight year old son insisted that he was not disobeying our admonition from the front seat of the car not to touch his sister, because there is space between atoms.

I mean: An omniscient, omnipotent god that leaves no evidence of himself for us to discover actually created the universe, but had no need of being created himself? He just always existed? Really? Come ON. “It’s turtles all the way down”, I guess.
SlackerInc
Wed, Jan 30, 2019, 7:00am (UTC -6)
@OTDP:

I can’t 100% rule out that the universe is conscious. But if it is, its consciousness is probably not as advanced as our own brains, it takes millions of years to complete a thought, and it has no more awareness of us than we do of individual neurons in our brains.
Trent
Wed, Jan 30, 2019, 7:15am (UTC -6)
This episode seems to be more about scientific racism and class bigotry then religion and religious intolerance, though there is often overlap between the two.

The episode begins with Ed and the gang discussing the utopian economic structure of Earth. People are no longer divided into classes by markets and exploitation, they say. On the alien planet, meanwhile, your birth determines your class, much like contemporary scientific racists put groups in boxes by dint of their DNA, skin color, parentage or place of birth, or bigots blame the poor for being poor due to innate, internal characteristics rather than systemic forces (poverty aligned with low IQ, certain cultures being "naturally inferior" etc). Of course religion also arbitrarily persecutes based on silly or artificial differences (the Spanish Catholics arbitrarily killing heathen Jews or infidels etc), and the episode alludes to this stuff as well, but it seems more concerned with contemporary, class-based, bigoted presumptions: ie, I hate/suspect blacks/muslims/ghetto kids/women/ because everyone born under your conditions is predisposed to be a criminal.

Beyond all this, I liked how the episode unfolded like a TOS story. This was yet another monocultural planet whose quirks serve as a heavy-handed metaphor and which someone like Kirk "cures" via a plan which reorders the entire silly planet. The first two acts were also excellent, particularly the excitement of first contact, the CGI cityscapes, shuttle flybys and crowd scenes; Orville's CGI oft provides a glimpse of alien planets which TNG and TOS's matteshots were never quite able to.

But as Jammer says, by the halfway mark the episode begins to get too heavy handed, its big action climax feels like it belongs elsewhere, the aliens become too cartoonish, too one-dimensional, and the resolution too forced. This all still works, in the way TOS and TNG managed to work on hokey allegorical levels even as they spun into wildly unrealistic territory - it's this go-for-broke metaphorical/theatrical style that makes Trek fun - but as Trek at its rare best attests, this style can also work a bit better with more nuance and sophistication, and this episode doesn't quite hit that.

Some other random thoughts: the episode's title is humorously clever (an entire planet based around birthday bigotry!). Indeed, most of Orville's episode titles feel like nice parodies of 1950s absurdly outlandish science fiction titles ("THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STLL!" "CITY AT THE EDGE OF FOREVER!", "WHO MOURNS FOR ADONAIS?", "THE WORD FOR WORLD IS FOREST!"). Discovery's attempts to copy such a style meanwhile feel wholly cringey ("THE BUTCHER'S KNIFE CARES NOT FOR THE LAMB" etc).

I also immediately took to Alara's replacement. It's rare for a series to replace a likeable lead with another so effortlessly. The series' subtle continuity also continues: in the final scene LaMarr parties with an extra who we see him hang half-naked with in his apartment in "Mad Idolatry". Kelly's doctor boyfriend also shows up, such that there's a sense that the characters have lives and are not mere puppets of surface plot.

Anyway, while I agree with all criticisms, I still liked this episode. TOS is probably my favorite Trek, and this felt like one of those fun mid-tier OMG YOU HAD A SUCH COOL IDEA, WHY'D YOU TAKE IT THAT DIRECTION? HOLY CRAP, AND WHY YOU GOT NO SHIRT ON KIRK?! TOS episodes.
OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Wed, Jan 30, 2019, 7:23am (UTC -6)
So "slower" means "less advanced"?

Do the Scalosians from TOS "Wink of an Eye" have a higher level of consciousness, just because their biology is faster?

Or say you found a planet populated by beings that do exactly everything we do, only 1000 times slower. Would you considered them any less conscious?

Also, the quality of these thoughts should matter as well, shouldn't it? This "slow thinking" as you call it, eventually gave rise to faster-thinking beings like us. The Universe did that all on its own, and it took only 14 billion years.

How is that not totally awesome? Now that's what I call quality thinking!
Jason R.
Wed, Jan 30, 2019, 8:51am (UTC -6)
"I don't understand how anyone could think post-life will be any different than pre-life. Both are states of non-existence."

There was a TV scifi show called the Lexx where it was established that time had a beginning and an end and indeed, where time would restart again, with events proceeding exactly as they had in previous "cycles".

If the universe began as a singularity and exploded in a "big bang" only to collapse eventually into a "big crunch" back into a singularity, perhaps the cycle will reboot and we will live our lives again, just as we did the first time.

I concede it's a fanciful idea but not impossible if the universe behaves as some theories suggest. I find it a comforting thought in any event that maybe I will get to live my life again after untold eons.

One thing I always find interesting in these debates is that the theist posotion is necessarily abstract in the extreme. And understandably so. Talking about "god" in an abstract sense as some kind of vague universal consciousness is easy because it's non falsifiable. But the more specific you get the easier it is to dismiss claims (eg: resurrection, water into wine) as nonsense.

It is comforting to the religious Christian that a universal consciousness cannot be disproven versus any other theory but it ought not to be. As I mentioned, it gets you only as close to Jesus as standing on the roof and reaching your hand to the heavens gets you to the moon.
Stephen
Wed, Jan 30, 2019, 9:15am (UTC -6)
You guys solve the mysteries of the universe yet?
Charles J
Wed, Jan 30, 2019, 10:05am (UTC -6)
@Slackerinc

"To tite it back into the show, it’s interesting that Dave and I liked this and the previous episode so much, but the naysayers seem to be more in the theistic or “woo” camp. I think we can all agree that Seth’s views line up most closely with the three of us, so I do think it explains a lot."

Actually, my views closely align with Seth's. I grew up in a very christian family, and even as a child I had my doubts about the existence of god and the veracity/efficacy of the beliefs I was being taught. By the time I was an adult, I was agnostic. And now most days I'm atheist, with a tinge of the agnostic that I can quite shake, even as the rational part of my brain thinks it's silly that I can't.

Science was also a major part of my childhood. Knowing that there was an order to the world was comforting and fascinating.

The problem I have is how Seth expresses his views in a fictional world.

As the writer and creator, Seth can make up any rules he wants to. There are already elements within the show's universe that don't confirm to reality (and physics) as we understand it. The biggest being the ability to travel faster than light. Without that, the show is radically different in construction.

Written differently, astrology could be a legitimate branch of science. Much like teleportation, telepathy and telekinesis are treated as a scientifically possible phenomenon in Star Trek.

Mercer and his crew never entertain the idea, that on Regor, the stars may actually have, or had, some type of influence on the people.

In TNG, one of the points the show always stressed was that there was a rational explanation for the unexplained. It only took a bit of research, skepticism and patience to find those answers. And regardless of the answer, it wasn't the job of the Enterprise crew to change anyone's beliefs. It also wasn't their job to uphold those beliefs either. It was only their job to reduce or eliminate the harm those beliefs created.

Seth as the writer ensures the Regorians appear dogmatic and irrational by not connecting the star's original disappearance to any historical events. Nor does he illustrate how the Regorians faith has remained intact after thousands of years. It just is.

As the writer, he chose a solution that reaffirmed the Regorians' faith. And made their change of policy appear arbitrary. The star returns, the Regorians immediately free all the Gilliacs. There's no discussion. There is no debate amongst the Regorians.

Lastly, that solution is problematic because Mercer's actions demonstrate that he'll unquestionably prioritize pragmatism over integrity and ethics. Which wouldn't be a problem if Seth was interested in exploring or acknowledging that conflict, and where that choice could lead.

Freeing the Gilliacs is a good.

Yet, even if the Gilliacs have been freed, that doesn't mean the Regorians will stop imprisoning people based on their signs. Nor, does it mean they won't continue to give preferential treatment to some portion of their population. The Regorians aren't going to enthusiastically jump at giving the Gilliacs jobs, training or robust support to transition them back into society-at-large. It's going to be a rough number of decades as the entire world readjusts and learns to humanely treat the Gilliacs. The caste system will just remain in place in another form. Just as Jim Crow replaced slavery as both a legal and de facto system of oppression in the United States.

Disrupting an entire society's belief system overnight tends to never lead to positive outcomes. Knowing how people express and explore their faith, it's likely Mercer has just created a schism--if not several schisms--within Regorian society. For all he knows, he could have planted the seed for a civil war, or even sects that are even worse than what they encountered.

Mercer spends little time debating the use of deception to reinforce a faith that neither he or the Planetary Union believes in. I believe most ethicists would argue that going in guns blazing to get your people back, is less problematic than erecting an elaborate lie on a global scale.

Seth wants to replicate a lot of the elements that made Star Trek, Star Trek. Yet, he'll opt for the shortest routes to make his points. He rarely takes the time to be more rigorous interrogating the show's ideas, and the character's actions.

It's just supposed to be self-evident that X is true, and Y is not. And if Y is not true, upholding it almost always leads to a more violent, oppressive, and narratively obvious outcome in The Orville Universe. There are no surprises. There is a distinct lack of nuance.

Personally, I rarely find shows that just parrot my own beliefs back to me, to be very rewarding as a viewing experience. They're kind of dull, as it makes the character's flat and uninteresting.

It's when the writers stress test the ideas I/They/We hold, it's much more engaging.
SlackerInc
Wed, Jan 30, 2019, 10:24am (UTC -6)
@OTDP:

Slower doesn’t inherently mean less smart. But given how spread out and slow moving the matter in the universe is, I don’t think there’s been enough time since the Big Bang for sophisticated consciousness to develop on that scale. Realistically, not enough for any consciousness. How much time would it take for the action of a supernova at one end of the universe to have any impact on matter in a distant galaxy? Contrast that with how fast information races back and forth across our grey matter.
Dave in MN
Wed, Jan 30, 2019, 11:05am (UTC -6)
I actually acknowledged "there may be no 'me' " in the sense that consciousness is an illusion (since we only live in the present) , but somehow that has escaped many people's notice. There may be no "me'.

Should I say it again?

I NEVER postulated an unseen being/ force operates me like a marionette.

However, when I think back to the times when I was too young to think on a level much higher than an animal, I still was perceiving and reacting to the world around me.

That response to stimuli at least indicates that (whether or not my higher reasoning/ consciousness had developed), there does exist a physical world that "I" am contained within.

The same thing occurs when my kidney stones I'm suffering through atm send signals of agony to my brain .... sensory input I don't desire is being inputted into my biological system. It's a reminder that, outside of my possibly illusory consciousness, there is a tangible actual universe and a physical object called "Dave".

I make no claims to the existence of a soul, a subconscious, an ego, a id, a thinking self, a personal puppeteer, insert phrase here.

I only claim that, for now, I (in the physical sense) exist. "I" sense, therefore "I" am. No thinking required.

The obverse also holds true "When I don't sense, I don't exist". Isn't this self- evident?

Also, saying the universe itself is alive (and we are, by extending the analogy) a pimple on God's ass doesn't actually mean anything. Where's the evidence?

By the same reasoning, I could say the Big Bang was God committing suicide and we are his brain matter splattered on the wall.

Look, I don't personally oppose an idea that has no evidence to support it. I simply don't give it any credence. In one ear, out the other. If it's gobbledygook, there's nothing to oppose: I might as well go protest Netflix HQ for making scientifically inaccurate shows about ponies. Life is too short for that.

However, I will share my opinion if it seems that someone else thinks I should grant their non-fact-supported notion plausibility.

And Stephen .... the fact that mysteries like this exist should be tantalizing to anyone with a healthy curiosity about existence.

Being snarky to put uncomfortable thoughts in a box is a common defense mechanism. I can't blame you for being bothered by the topic.
Dave in MN
Wed, Jan 30, 2019, 11:27am (UTC -6)
I wouldn't criticize Mercer too much for his decision .... at least he didn't stand on the bridge idly watching a world die because their space engines didn't have 8 cylinders.

It's amazing how bad ethical decisions in Trek that should prompt revulsion in Trek get a pass from so many, but The Orville is raked over the coals for much less.
Stephen
Wed, Jan 30, 2019, 11:34am (UTC -6)
Not yet? Keep me posted.
Dave in MN
Wed, Jan 30, 2019, 11:37am (UTC -6)
No problem, Steve! You sit back and relax, I'll do all the heavy lifting for ya.
Stephen
Wed, Jan 30, 2019, 11:39am (UTC -6)
Thanks!
Charles J
Wed, Jan 30, 2019, 12:46pm (UTC -6)
@Dave in MN

"I wouldn't criticize Mercer too much for his decision .... at least he didn't stand on the bridge idly watching a world die because their space engines didn't have 8 cylinders.

It's amazing how bad ethical decisions in Trek that should prompt revulsion in Trek get a pass from so many, but The Orville is raked over the coals for much less."

Symbiosis from TNG and Voyager's Retrospect are two prime examples of episodes that have been repeatedly torn apart. Fans are still debating if Janeway and Archer were good captains because of some of the calls they made.

Making questionable, contradictory, and unethical decisions is what drives (good) drama.

What makes for poor, shallow, and problematic allegory, is when an episode doesn't interrogate those decisions in good faith. Or, when an episode skips right past obvious solutions, questions and issues, just so it can make its points.

Mercer has no time to weigh the ethics of his choice, only because MacFarlane as the writer made it so.

Then, at the episodes end, Mercer only barely (re)considers the ramifications. Nor, does he even acknowledge how distasteful having to make that decision might have been for him personally.

Ultimately, it doesn't matter what Mercer decided. MacFarlane was never that interested in exploring how Mercer got there, or the possible effects that would have on Mercer, his crew or an entire planet. The plot and one dimensional antagonists were going to force Mercer's hand regardless.

Which is exactly what has happened in Star Trek many a time.

Picard is going to let an entire planet suffer through with drug withdrawal, obscure the truth from them, and allow another planet to possibly continue exploiting them because reasons. The Voyager writers ignored the trauma Seven endured throughout the episode, just so they can land a message about remorse.

So no. Star Trek is not immune from criticism.
Dave in MN
Wed, Jan 30, 2019, 1:09pm (UTC -6)
@ Charles

My point is that many of the long-time Trekkers cut our favorite characters a LOT of slack.

When Picard forced those Irish women to become brooding mares for the clone colony and denied those women their agency, that isn't something that should be glossed over. The same when Picard gives a solemn speech while standing on the bridge, watching billions die only because their tech isn't up to an arbitrary standard. Or when he gave a kidnapped abused child back to his abductors. Etc etc. Picard made a lot of bad choices. Why are those choices sealed off in little boxes instead of being used to judge a character on their actions?

The ethical inconsistency that marred even the best Trek seems to get handwaved away very easily, while The Orville is subjected to a death of a thousand nitpicks.

I just feel like The Orville (and Mr. McFarlane) are being held to a higher standard than our beloved franchise, and that's not intellectually fair.
wolfstar
Wed, Jan 30, 2019, 1:30pm (UTC -6)
Picard isn't real, and it's meaningless to devalue the character based on terrible S1-2 episodes.

I think given the lightweight tone of The Orville, it is perhaps being excessively nitpicked though. I'd love it to be more tightly written, but I don't think it's that type of show or wants to be. It's disposable comfort food. It's almost like trying to nitpick Family Guy. I agree with most of the criticisms of this episode (especially the one about the sail being way too close to the planet) but, like Trent, I still enjoyed it.
Dave in MN
Wed, Jan 30, 2019, 1:41pm (UTC -6)
"Homeward" and "Suddenly Human" weren't in season 1 or 2, for the record.

But I'm glad you can see where I'm coming from.
Quibbles
Wed, Jan 30, 2019, 3:43pm (UTC -6)
I have to agree with Jammer here. This was an entertaining, well-produced episode with plot holes that you could drive a truck through. It recycled the worst elements of TOS's planet episodes: find a planet with a unique societal problem and solve everything in less than an hour.

Even granted that these people have an absolute, dogmatic belief in astrology, they can't comprehend that aliens come from different solar systems with different constellations and therefore different astrological signs? As for the crew's plan to add another star to their sky, to paraphrase Red Letter Media, it's hard to untangle how complex the level of awfulness is. So these aliens, with an advanced system of satellites dedicated solely to tracking the sky, don't immediately discover this blatantly obvious object in high orbit? I assumed the crew was placing this mirror well outside the solar system to keep it hidden and solve the perspective problems, but the VFX shots show it in an orbit similar to our modern-day space stations. The swiftness with which Bortus and Kelly are released is absurd, and Ed's hand-waving away the vast societal changes he's wrought in the final scene is frustrating. I can deal with cliches, and I cut this show some slack because I mostly view it as a comedy, but this episode IMO crossed the line from cliche to absurdity.

In his script, MacFarlane employs a frustrating array of hacky shortcuts. There's the time jump between commercial breaks that spans almost a month yet reveals the situation is totally unchanged. The assumption that this planet has one leader, one religion, and one world government was a tired trope 30 years ago. MacFarlane is a prolific writer, and I give props to the guy for his work ethic. But prolific writers are particularly prone to cliches and formulas. Look at Gene Coon from TOS. He was hugely prolific, wrote some great episodes, and developed some great ideas like the Klingons and the Prime Directive. But he was also responsible for many of TOS's most memeable cliches: the redshirt death, Kirk vs. the computer, an ending scene where Kirk and McCoy tease Spock for showing emotion and Spock says some variety of "I believe I've been insulted." Jammer identifies the Planetary Union's philosophy of first contact as "just wing it." The same could be said for MacFarlane's writing, which works great for a comedy, not so well when you're trying to establish a universe with consistent rules.

I did enjoy the early scenes that show the crew genuinely excited to make first contact. Bortus is a gem throughout, with his usual deadpan one-liners. My favorite: "We are having separate celebrations." The episode is fun to watch, with a basic level of technical competence. But "Who Watches the Watchers" this ain't. I don't expect The Orville to surpass TNG in terms of its drama or original sci-fi premises. I just ask that it makes sense.
Fluffysheap
Wed, Jan 30, 2019, 3:56pm (UTC -6)
"Homeward" and "Up The Long Ladder" are generally considered among TNG's worst episodes. Nobody is giving them a pass. "Symbiosis" is slightly above, but it's still mostly disliked.

"Suddenly Human" is an episode about a really difficult problem with no right answer. If Picard's decisions are ultimately unsatisfying, that's unavoidable given the situation. Frankly I applaud the episode for not assuming "humans always right!" jingoism. Maybe the episode isn't ultimately enjoyable, but it's not because Picard made bad choices.
Cosine
Wed, Jan 30, 2019, 5:04pm (UTC -6)
How this could have been done better, IMO:

* Mercer takes the obvious out, and points out that Earth and Moclus have different constellations. Even if the planet is largely ignorant of astrophysics, they still have decent astrometrics and they clearly don't regard themselves as being the centre of the universe, figuratively or literally (the former notably being the big problem in "First Contact"). Bonus points if he gives them extensive information on Earth's and Moclus's astrological traditions to back up his case. It's just barely enough to secure their release, but the leader still break off relations in disgust in light of the P.U.'s rejection of astrology.

* The black hole revelation comes after Kelly and Borus are returned to safety and the crew spend some time pondering the implications.

* It turns out that the P.U. was looking for a candidate black hole to investigate the possibility of using black hole superluminance as a power source--

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ulCdoCfw-bY

* While it couldn't--yet--be used as a practical way to generate power efficiently the experiment would vent off an enormous amount of energy--enough that it would appear that the star had returned. It would continue to be brightly visible for some decades.

* Mercer persuades the P.U. to use the Gilliac black hole as their test subject. Have it be located eight L.Y. from the planet, say.

* Flash forward eight years and have the star's "reappearance" and subsequent consequences play out as aired.

The planet can't reasonably claim ownership of that black hole, and if their astrophysics is too backward to work out what's really going on and they've broken off relations so the P.U. can't just tell them... well, isn't that their lookout?
Cosine
Wed, Jan 30, 2019, 5:06pm (UTC -6)
Er. Make that black hole superradiance. My bad.
Charles J
Wed, Jan 30, 2019, 6:35pm (UTC -6)
@Dave in MN

"I just feel like The Orville (and Mr. McFarlane) are being held to a higher standard than our beloved franchise, and that's not intellectually fair."

I don't think it's being treated any less harshly than Voyager and Enterprise were their first times around. Even Deep Space Nine and TNG would be ripped to shreds whenever they had a clunker of an episode.

Just like Voy and Ent, The Orville is directly built on the back of previous Trek. And like those two shows, it's much more difficult to give The Orville a pass when it's replicating the well-worn tropes, and weaker elements of Trek (and sci-fi in general), without commenting on, subverting, or mining those elements for new ground.

I'll say this. Time will tell if some of us are judging the show too harshly.

At this point, at least for me, the show is still watchable. Its issues aren't enough to turn me off (yet). And there's enough good, that I'm rooting for the show to grow its own Riker's Beard.
Dark Kirk
Wed, Jan 30, 2019, 11:12pm (UTC -6)
Everyone ignored me.
Booming
Thu, Jan 31, 2019, 2:26am (UTC -6)
@ Omicron: I just wanted to point out to Dave that he will never convince you to not believe. I think you are intelligent enough to see that your believe in a superhuman godlike entity without any proof is somewhat irrational. And basing important decisions in your life on religious texts that were written because of the believe in this elusive entity is also irrational. You could talk about the emotional value which applies to you only if you not deviate from the culturally defined normal but that is another topic. And just to say that Omicron I do not respect your opinion less because you believe. I believe irrational stuff. I for example believe that Seth Macfarlane needs to be destroyed. :) To quote from the good place: "That is what I love so much about you humans. You take something that is great then make it less great so that you can have more of it." That is Seth Macfarlane in a nutshell.
Dave in MN
Thu, Jan 31, 2019, 1:47pm (UTC -6)
Seth just Tweeted:

"To you longtime viewers, there's a big surprise tonight."

My anticipation is building ...
SlackerInc
Thu, Jan 31, 2019, 2:33pm (UTC -6)
@Trent and @Jason, I really enjoyed your comments!

@Charles J, I appreciated yours as well, even though I liked the episode a lot better than you did. I would argue that Seth has already shown his sensitivity to the kinds of issues you raise by portraying Kelly as accidentally establishing a religion that ultimately becomes sclerotic and oppressive. If he were on Netflix or Hulu and had no time restrictions, maybe he would have expanded the running time to dig into some of that, and it certainly would have been interesting.
Perry Plotkin
Thu, Jan 31, 2019, 8:31pm (UTC -6)
where the next episode go? already half way through but not added a page yet. great 4/4 without that silly floor Jell-O character but half way mark.
Trent
Fri, Feb 1, 2019, 10:02am (UTC -6)
Don't know if anyone noticed it, but the score during the first act referenced "Wrath of Khan's" score several times.
brian
Fri, Feb 1, 2019, 6:53pm (UTC -6)
I put off watching this bc Jammer was so cold on it. And as a reviewer he is right. But as a dumb TV show I think this ep was decent!

Its sort of a tricky thing. when I had no expectations for The Orville I was overjoyed at even mediocre episodes. Now that I expect it to be better than DISCO I judge it more harshly.

Ultimately this ep was like a brain damaged Voyager spec script written by someone who only ever watched Star Trek and never read a sci fi book. the plot was dumb as rocks and the high concept made little sense. but there were still some solid moments throughout. ill take it. The show is pleasant enough in a TNG kind of way that its hard to get too upset at this show.

Also props to Kellys actress. She is seriously talented.
Zenophanes
Sat, Feb 2, 2019, 12:11am (UTC -6)
I feel like a better solution would have been to have the doc whip up better anti-birth tech since they specifically mentioned in the episode that it wasn't perfected yet. I imagine Orville could have had suitable tech for that. They could have then traded that for the prisoners and gone about their merry way, only minimally influencing the planet's culture. But what do I know, I'm just a nobody born on Earth 3.
OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Sat, Feb 2, 2019, 2:55pm (UTC -6)
@Booming

Oh dear, how many false assumptions have you written is one post...

"@ Omicron: I think you are intelligent enough to see that your believe in a superhuman godlike entity without any proof is somewhat irrational."

It is quite obvious to me, that you have absolutely no idea what I believe in.

Yes, I most certainly am intelligent enough to see that the kind of "superhuman godlike entity" you're refering to is absurd.

That's why I don't believe in such an entity. :-)

See, this is one of the problems whenever this arguments arise. The "god" that most atheist don't believe in, is very *very* different than the "god" that most theists believe in.

(I'll also point out that different theists, even from the same religion and the same domination, may have very different belief systems)

And this is precisely why it is usually better to avoid the discussion of this topic altogether. Unless, of-course, the other person is willing to put in the effort and actually understand where I'm coming from.

BTW I couldn't care less what you or Dave or anybody else believe in. What I do care about, is when people ridicule my opinions as "irrational" without even bothering to check what these opinions *are*.

And on a Star Trek/Orville board, no less.

"And basing important decisions in your life on religious texts that were written because of the believe in this elusive entity is also irrational."

I'm basing the decisions in my life on dozens of different principles, most of them having nothing to do with religion.

Each and every one of these have been proven by the tests of my own experience and my own moral code.

And I do not give my religious texts any special treatment in this regard. They've *earned* their important place in my life through the wisdom I've found within their pages.

It should also be noted that all these texts require interpertation, and this interpertation is done by falliable humans. So even if a person were 100% certain that a given religion has merit, he would be a fool to blindly follow a given interpertation that he was spoon-fed.

As the saying goes: God gave us the gift of brains because He expects us to use them properly.

"You could talk about the emotional value which applies to you only if you not deviate from the culturally defined normal but that is another topic."

As a person whose entire life is a glaring example of "deviating from the culturally defined normal" , I don't think I even need to answer this one. :-)

By the way, I grew up in an atheist household. So the "you just believe in what your family and friends believe in" doesn't apply to me either.

"And just to say that Omicron I do not respect your opinion less because you believe."

I do not respect your opinion less for being an atheist, either.

On the other hand, the way you make uninformed assumptions regarding the beliefs and/or irrationality of other people... Let's just say that it is very difficult for me to respect a person when he does that.
OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Sat, Feb 2, 2019, 3:07pm (UTC -6)
@Brian
"Ultimately this ep was like a brain damaged Voyager spec script written by someone who only ever watched Star Trek and never read a sci fi book. the plot was dumb as rocks and the high concept made little sense. "

As I said on a previous episode's thread: McFarlane is not a sci fi writer and it shows. And I say this as a person who really liked this episode.

I'm mostly willing to let it pass because:
(1) The storytelling itself is simply amazing (something you'll never get in a bad Voyager episode, btw)
(2) It is still better sci fi than most of the cr*p that passes as "sci fi" these days.

But still, it is irksome. Especially given the fact that McFarlane has an army of veteran sci fi writers to help him weed out these problems from his scripts.

In my opinion, this is the single issue - right now - that prevents the Orville from becoming a truly classic sci fi series.
OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Sat, Feb 2, 2019, 3:17pm (UTC -6)
@Cosine

Loved your ideas of improvements for this episode!

Had they done all that, it would have been a near-perfect episode.
Dave in MN
Sat, Feb 2, 2019, 3:44pm (UTC -6)
@Omicron

I don't begrudge anyone their beliefs, I just may not personally endorse them.

Still, what harm is in there in discussing thorny topics? Someone might have a really good point I haven't thought of before.

In the end, I am the only one who has to live my life, you are the only one to live yours, and so on.

Everyone has a right to think what they want.
OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Sat, Feb 2, 2019, 5:53pm (UTC -6)
@Dave

There's no harm in discussing any topic, as long as there's an actual discussion taking place. And of-course I completely agree with you that every person is free to believe what they want.

The problem begins when people baselessly judge instead of discuss. When people give a tag of "irrational" or even "violent" to those who see things differently.

Let me ask you something:

Do you like it when fundamentalist wackos claim that atheism is evil because "there can't be any morality without God"? Do you think that such statements are "harmless"?

I don't.

Even though I'm not an atheist myself, I don't find this kind of demonizing to be harmless at all. Nor do I think that such claims are any less harmless, when they are aimed at the other direction.

These things, really, are just a modernized version of the usual "US vs. THEM" mentality. Ah, yes, WE atheists are enlighted and rational and moral and science-oriented (and don't forget "free thinkers"!). But THEY (the religious) are dogmatic and barabric and violent and ignorant.

It is this kind of prejudice that causes problems, rather then either atheism or religion. People who say these things should stop and think about how much harm they are doing.

Maybe they should also see some Star Trek or the Orville, to learn the meaning of embracing different cultures and different viewpoints.

(Anyone who thinks that Star Trek or the Orville actually supports this kind of talk against religion, should watch the revelant episodes again. None of the so-called "anti-religion" episodes are really against religion itself. They are usually either against aliens who pose as false gods, or against the evils of a society that is ruled by dogmatic beliefs. Niether message should pose any problem to a rational theist)
Chrome
Sat, Feb 2, 2019, 6:05pm (UTC -6)
Well said, Omi. This topic often comes up in religious episodes (although from my understanding this episode isn’t religious per se). The shackles of oppression are dangerous no matter which group is using them.
SlackerInc
Sat, Feb 2, 2019, 11:58pm (UTC -6)
OTDP, the problem with the idea that people should be less dismissive/more tolerant about the other side's beliefs is that either:

--atheists are right, and everyone else is engaging in something that is essentially completely unwarranted superstition

--atheists are wrong, and they are guilty of denying the most important fact about the universe, perhaps dooming themselves to eternal damnation in the process

There just isn't room there for "either way, it's all good".
Dave in MN
Sun, Feb 3, 2019, 12:02am (UTC -6)
A rhetorical question:

Why would an all powerful being (who goes out of His way to keep Himself hidden) decide to damn someone for doubting His existence?
David
Sun, Feb 3, 2019, 1:01am (UTC -6)
I'm not sure whether or not to give this episode a 1.5 or a 2. For one, it makes the huge mistake that Star Trek does, of assuming that an entire planet only has one ruler - i.e. one country. However, the major issue I have with the episode is that the aliens want to imprison the officers on *their* planet. Why wouldn't they hand them over to the Orville crew for prosecution? Mercer could just play along, telling them that they will be imprisoned on their own world. Problem solved?
Macca
Sun, Feb 3, 2019, 1:46am (UTC -6)
Another boring TNG knock off.

As soon as we caught sight of the aliens dressed as Nazis I knew the concentration camps weren't far away.

I'm glad we've all been able to experience the fan fiction McFarlane wrote when he was twelve.
OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Mon, Feb 4, 2019, 5:36am (UTC -6)
@Dave

"Why would an all powerful being (who goes out of His way to keep Himself hidden) decide to damn someone for doubting His existence?"

Indeed.

But you'll be surprised to learn that there are many *many* Christians reject that silly notion. Perhaps because:

(1) This statement isn't really anywhere in the Bible.
(2) It is *obvious* that it was made up by people in power to keep their sheep afraid from going "astray".

@Slacker Inc

People can be mistaken about something without them being "irrational" or "engaging in completely unwarranted superstition". We live in a complex world and we don't have perfect information about it. Keep in mind that waiting with our life until we are 100% sure about something, isn't particularly "rational" either.

I would also like to point out that when it comes to the Big Questions[TM] the kind of dichotomy you're claiming is awfully simplistic. Especially given the fact that humans are a very young race and our puny concepts aren't always adequate to address the actual nature of the universe.

Is the chair you're sitting on a solid object? Or is it a collection of quantum fields?

Is the person in front of you is a soulless biological machine, or a mind with a sense of self?

In all probability, the fundamentally correct answer to the theism/atheism dilemma is probably much more complex than a simple yes or a no.
SlackerInc
Mon, Feb 4, 2019, 11:35pm (UTC -6)
There's a fundamental divide, though, between people who think their lives have some mystical "purpose", or who believe in an afterlife or reincarnation or some persistence of their being, all on the one hand, and people like me (and I think Dave) who believe that our consciousness is produced by a wet machine in our skulls and that when it stops working, we go bye-bye.
Brian S>
Tue, Feb 5, 2019, 7:43pm (UTC -6)
So let me see if I have this right...

1) Union policy for First Contact is to respond and reveal themselves to any culture with the mere capacity to send radio transmissions into outer space seeking other life....even if those civilizations lack the ability to travel faster than the speed of light....even if those civilizations lack the ability to even break their own orbit?

Our first radio transmissions were right around the turn of the 20th century. We sent out the first message specifically intended for aliens in 1974, but theoretically, we had the capacity to focus and amplify a signal for such a message decades earlier.

So Union policy is to reach out to Earth c. mid-20th century civilizations? With absolutely no research on their culture, or anything about them, or what impacts the discovery of alien life might have on such a comparatively rudimentary society that possesses little more technological aptitude than mere radio waves?

I'd be shocked if the Union had ANY positive First Contacts with that policy.

++++

2) Orville can't retrieve their kidnapped officers because the Union wants only a diplomatic approach that doesn't involve force because.....something.

If I had to guess--and I have to guess because no explanation is given for why it's okay to send a diplomatic envoy to an extremely primitive society for a First Contact, but its not okay to defend oneself during said diplomatic mission, nor to justifiably retrieve one's diplomats who have been forcibly kidnapped--I would guess that the Union doesn't want to leave a world's first impressions of the Union being a gang of murderous thugs...not even if the new world is one of murderous thugs that acts first.

So it seems the Union has a potentially noble-ish fundamental policy that the Union values a positive first impression with new worlds above even the lives of its own officers--no matter how bad or violent the new society proves to be--except apparently neither Commanders Grayson or Bortus got that crucial memo, as they are willing to violate this non-aggression policy and kill dozens of Regorians, even though their lives are not in imminent danger (they are jailed, but being treated relatively the same as every other inmate).

And so Capt. Mercer, to avoid violating this unexplained policy of not using justified force to retrieve several kidnapped officers because such a display presumably might harm future relations with the Regorians, opts instead to screw with their entire 3,000-year-old religion--a ruse that will inevitably fall apart the moment that this civilization with radio technology and newly discovered knowledge of interstellar alien species learns how to build sub-light interplanetary satellites and/or spaceships--in the hopes that this betrayal and tinkering with a critical fundamental element of their entire society will be met with a more favorable understanding in the future than a simple military extraction involving stunning a few dozen guards with non-lethal force would have (and, oh btw, Grayson and Bortus killed more guards in their failed escape attempt than a trained Orville security force armed with stun phasers would have).

++++

3) And so Mercer and the Orville crew went to all that trouble to plan to deceive the Regorians by creating a star that they, ummm.....they HOPED someone *might* notice?!

I can buy the premise of an astrological-adherent civilization. I can buy the premise that the disappearance of a star led to some crazy astrological religious beliefs.

But the Orville crew spent hours pouring over historical data from the planet, and they had to indirectly deduce that the disappearance of a star from that constellation *might* have been the impetus for that religious belief, but it sure didn't seem like that specific astronomic event thousands of years earlier was something any of the current Regorians were aware of (otherwise, there would have been a lot more data confirming that in the Orville's research).

So the Orville makes one small point of light appear in the night sky--one that should be relatively indistinguishable from the thousands of other points of light in the night sky--and with the naked eye a bunch of people instantly see it (thankfully the internment camp was subjected to neither light pollution nor clouds) and they all have such a detailed memory of the night sky that they instantly know that this one out of thousands of point of light wasn't there before....and that this one isn't simply a meteorite, or a comet, or an aircraft.....and all this so that the Regorians see it AND believe it means something AND then it's a 50/50 shot that the Regorians decide that it's a GOOD thing (instead of an even more bad thing for which the Jelliacs should be completely exterminated)

.....and then, that the Regorians believe it to be such a good sign that they simply decide on an instantaneous whim to reconsider their millennia-old beliefs that people born under the Jelliac sign are maybe not violent beings and that Grayson and Bortus should be released......even after Grayson and Bortus just straight violently massacred over a dozen prison guards

......and then, after all that, hope that the head prison guard who just saw dozens of his friends and co-workers murdered by a pair of violent aliens wouldn't have just completed the execution anyway, good omens from a strange new light in the sky, be damned.

This episode required my logic and disbelief to be suspended so much, they were pronounced clinically dead on sight.
Steven
Sat, Feb 9, 2019, 7:28am (UTC -6)
It was an entertaining episode, but there's no way the planet's leaders would just let Kelly and Bortus go, after they murdered loads of their people.
Paul
Sat, Feb 9, 2019, 8:09pm (UTC -6)
Well. Lots wrong with this episode. Here’s one thing I haven’t seen mentioned.

We judge people by their achievements, not their star sign.

Yeah? Is that why the security officer was, in this very same episode, given the job?

Nope - the Captain ‘insisted on a xeleyan’. Meaning he chose her based entirely on her race.

The world that has been created is inconsistent - and I’m not sure they care about it.
Jasper
Mon, Feb 25, 2019, 4:19pm (UTC -6)
I get that it's a parody and all but you still want an episode to make a bit of sense. This one didn't. They are out there one month. Come up with nothing. Just so the baby can be born in a different star sign an then there is a sudden deadline? And they come up with this far fetched solution in 12 hours? Come on. I read a very positive review on Den of Geeks and was worried i was too critical, so thanks for your review Jammer. I concur.
RandomThoughts
Thu, Mar 14, 2019, 3:02am (UTC -6)
Hello Everyone!

Some days, I like to put myself in the shoes of the people running a particular show. I'd like that there were +230 comments on this episode. Then after reading a particular argument, would ask myself: How in the world did they get "there" from "here"? And why did they talk about it for that long? Really? Theology? That long?

Anywho, I think about that some days, but not today.

My thoughts are, I really enjoyed the episode, and after 30 days or so, understood their desire for freedom at any cost since there was no end in sight (if they were going to be rescued, it would have happened already). But the end just... seemed lacking... somehow. I think the last few minutes wasn't on par with the rest of it. I believe I'd have preferred it if they'd been just about to go on their rampage, then the Commandant would come in and tell them, reluctantly, they are now free to go. Or maybe get out and have to live off of the land for a few days before being found. I don't even think it was the last second save...

I think it just felt forced. Perhaps that's it. They wanted an action scene in it and made it happen. Yep, I think that's it.

I did like the excitement at a first contact, the landing on the lawn, the confusion when the doctor said something about how they handle their own "Giliac (thinking I'd missed something). But the last five minutes or so was incongruous with the rest of it, at least for me.

Enjoy the day everyone... RT
Eric
Mon, Sep 16, 2019, 6:20pm (UTC -6)
I was getting a fashy vibe from those grey uniforms in the opening scene... I knew we were dealing with a society with messed up beliefs.
Corey
Mon, Nov 4, 2019, 9:43am (UTC -6)
What this episode is really about:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hhCWw0E_mVY&feature=youtu.be

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