The Orville


3 stars.

Air date: 1/10/2019
Written by Cherry Chevapravatdumrong
Directed by Jon Cassar

Review Text

"Home" is an effective goodbye episode that writes out Alara Kitan in a dignified and poignant way. It might've worked better if she — or anyone on this series, for that matter — had been on the show longer. I'm not sure why Halston Sage is leaving the series already (there seems to be no "official" line on the matter; various rumors are out there), but the writers have given her a way to exit that fits the character as we've come to know her in this short time.

She's forced to return home when Dr. Finn discovers Alara's physical strength is diminishing because prolonged exposure to lower gravity has induced an atrophy that, if she doesn't return home, may become permanent, making it so she can never return home. How long she will need to remain home to recover is an open question. Varied case histories suggest it could be weeks, months, or forever.

Once home, old family difficulties resume. Her most troubled relationship is with her father Ildis (Robert Picardo), who disapproves of her having joined the Union fleet (always referred to as "the military" here), which he sees as beneath any Xelayan, even his daughter who struggled intellectually. Alara is perhaps overly sensitive to innocuous comments, but it's clear Dad is a frequent critic with a lot of opinions on his daughter's life he plans to share yet again. Even more so than her physical strength, Alara has been defined on this series by her youthful vulnerability and insecurity. This was clear last season in both "Command Performance" and "Firestorm," and we clearly see here where that insecurity grew from.

Meanwhile, we get a nice bit of world-building. Xeleya is depicted as a place of beauty and luxury (the crisp VFX and soaring music really sell this idea) populated with upper-class intellectual elites who live in awesome houses. As Alara tries to re-acclimate to the higher gravity (until which she's confined to a hoverchair) she and her family go to a vacation home on an island retreat. The island is mostly deserted because it is the off-season, but a couple (John Billingsley and Kerry O'Malley) at a nearby house comes visiting, saying they've been victims of a break-in. They seem friendly enough, which should perhaps be a warning for you.

I was reminded of DS9's "Prodigal Daughter," in which Ezri returned home to an overbearing parent and some crime-solving on the side. Alara has some initial questions about the break-in, but instead of becoming an investigation piece, "Home" becomes a hostage scenario. The show takes a sudden and vicious turn when Billingsley's character pulls a gun and tells Ildis to put his hand in a pot of boiling soup. From there we learn his true reasons for being here, which is to force Ildis to publicly retract a published study that discredited their son's work, prompting his suicide. When Ildis refuses, we go from boiling soup to garden shears.

The story's turn from routine dinner party to harrowing hostage situation is whiplash-instantaneous, and it's weirdly effective in its sudden onset of dread. It comes so quickly we're thrown for a loop. It feels all the more visceral and extreme when we see people completely unprepared for the possibility of violence suddenly finding themselves confronted with it. (Meanwhile, as Easter eggs go, there's some meta-discussion worthiness here by having the doctors from Brannon Braga's previous Trek shows facing off against each other.)

Naturally, we see how Alara's knowledge of using brawn over brains becomes a crucial asset her father would otherwise never have seen as an asset. It's a good case of using character to inform action (even if the action is fairly routine), and the actors do a good job of selling all of it. This is easily Sage's best episode in her few showcases, and the guest actors (including Molly Hagan and Candice King as Alara's mother and sister) are all solid as well.

Aboard the Orville, we're introduced to interim security chief Lt. Tharl, aka Elephant/Esophagus Guy, played by an instantly recognizable Patrick Warburton because his voice is unmistakable even under several pounds of prosthetics. Like a lot of this series' non-human characters, Elephant Guy speaks in dude-bro, which is a choice that's becoming predictably tiresome, and he "pounds" food while at his desk because, well, extra esophagus. This is light and purely inconsequential.

In the final act we get Alara's true goodbye. Despite the fact Claire devises a treatment that would allow her to stay on board the Orville, Alara uses the breakthrough with her father to give home a second try. Although I wasn't sure why she couldn't have the best of both worlds — keeping her job and also patching thing up with her family — I like that "Home" comes down to a character making a choice for herself rather than having it imposed on her.

And, yes, while the scene where she individually hugs every member of the main cast in the shuttle bay is perhaps pushing the sentiment a little bit into the overly earnest (we're only 15 episodes into this series; have we really earned this?), and her parting gift to Captain Mercer (an unopened jar of pickles) borders on the hopelessly corny, you'd have to have a heart of stone not to be caught up in the moment at least a little bit. Farewell, Alara Kitan. We barely knew you. But you gave us one of The Orville's better episodes to date.

Previous episode: Primal Urges
Next episode: Nothing Left on Earth Excepting Fishes

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95 comments on this post

    The local affiliate interrupted ten minutes of the episode for a news story with literally no specifics. I am pissed!!

    I'll have to rewatch it ASAP to see the part that got preempted, but I think that was the Orville's first 4 star episode.

    I'm sad Alara left even though I knew it was coming. The final shot (I won't spoil it) was .... touching.

    I'll comment more once I see the full uninterrupted episode.

    Oh, and the tonsl change that happened when Alara's dad and Dr. Phlox were talking dinner ... that caught me TOTALLY off guard. That actually got under my skin.

    I'm actually not quite sure what my feelings are at the end of the episode. Sections of it worked better than anything else in The Orville to date, and sections of it were still kinda blah.

    I was somewhat disappointed that it turns out Alara's homeworld looks just like our own despite the higher gravity (mountains should have been lower, buildings constructed differently, etc) but given she doesn't look like what you'd expect a high-gravity species to look like, along with budgetary constraints, I wasn't surprised. Plus of course it was absolutely beautiful, even if it wasn't plausible.

    I was very much enjoying the character focus on Alara, and surprised the degree to which the rest of the crew took a backseat. Robert Picardo was putting in a great performance, but I was beginning to wonder when the actual plot was going to start, because it felt like very little happened between the pre-credits opener and the final 15 minutes.

    The action - when it started - was pretty much by the numbers (and over very, very quickly), but it worked well enough. Billingsley's character and his wife were not supposed to be professional soldiers after all, but normal people who were driven to terrible actions in their grief (I didn't like Billingsley's performance as much as Picardo's, but at the same time, it was easier to forget his Star Trek role for some reason. The subtle dig on antivax was nice to see as well.

    Then of course there's the last few minutes - the whipsaw between thinking she'll actually come back onto the ship, and then deciding to leave (semi) permanently. I have to say I was surprised at how successful this was at being emotionally touching. It is surprising to say, but I don't think Trek has ever written off a character in a manner that was as successful from an emotional standpoint.

    From a character standpoint, this episode was great. Although admittedly pretty surprising, insofar as one does not typically provide tons of character development to someone who is being written off the show. The humor was entirely absent for once, aside from that weird double esophagus guy (why even have that scene - seriously?). It's interesting that The Orville has gone with three relatively low key character focus episodes in a row. Last season had more of a TNG/VOY vibe to it, but I wonder if they're looking more to DS9 now.

    That episode was truly a masterpiece! I give it four out of four (4/4) STARS!

    I wasn't anticipating that this would happen on a Home planet. The story line and moving parts makes this one as one of the best episodes I have ever watched on tv.

    I really loved how the events unfold and no one was spoiled. There was no silliness or impossible tasks that would hurt the score. It was done brilliantly.

    Again 4/4 STARS!!!

    Oh, I forgot to say. I'd give it three out of four stars. If it didn't have the esophagus guy, and had better pacing in the middle portion, I'd rate it 3.5 stars. Four is something special I really only reserve for true works of art like The Inner Light or The Visitor though.

    I haven't watched this episode yet, but you guys are making it sound like Orville's pulled a Tasha Yarr with Alara. So we've had Lamar pull a Laforge (promoted to engineering after a season), and Alara pull a Yarr (Yarr left after 22 episodes, whilst this episode was originally the 2nd of season 2).

    Sad news if that is true; Halston Sage's character was lots of fun.

    Wow Trent, you come here are read the reviews before you watch the episodes? I could never do that.

    Dr. Phlox vs. The EMH. Couldn't have asked for anything better than that.

    I just watched it again and while I'm too exhausted to post a bunch at the moment, I must say taking the plot in a Alfred Hitchcock direction really made the rest of the episode resonate.

    While I appreciate that the show was more tonally consistent (which made the scene with the new alien crew member more jarring) this episode was pretty boring. I do appreciate that it was a character driven episode but it really drug the first 30 minutes. It was a general improvement over many episodes so I am cautiously optimistic season 2 will be an improvement over season 1.

    @Karl Zimmerman

    "The humor was entirely absent for once"

    How about when the Elephant Man -- who I'm pretty sure was Joe Swanson (Patrick Warburton) from Family Guy -- said his previous captain "totally had a boner for [him]"? (It wasn't funny, but it was clearly meant as humor.)

    @Karl Zimmerman again

    By citing that line said by the Elephant Guy, I was assuming that when you said "The humor was entirely absent for once, except for the double esophagus guy," you meant the character himself, and not anything in particular he said.

    Did you (you = all the commenters) see that alien who was humanoid with two eyes, but one eye was directly above the other? That was pretty cool.

    I’m not quite seeing masterpiece here, and there were other episodes last year I liked better, but this is definitely the best of the season so far, and a good solid three star episode, verging on 3.5. I hope Jammer’s not going to just serve it up another 2 or 2.5 review.

    I too liked Alara and I’m sad to see her go. Does anyone know if it was the actor’s decision* to leave? From the showrunners’ perspective, I’m not sure why they would want to write her out.

    *TV contracts are usually for seven years, so “decision” is probably the wrong word. More like “did she ask to be written out?”. If she did, they are generally going to accommodate her unless her character is super important for a planned arc or something.

    Loved the episode and the change of tone half way through was really well done. Got dark quickly. 4/4 for me, my favourite episode of the show so far.

    Many of you don't seem to know, but the actress who plays Alara was dating Seth MacFarlane at some point. This likely had something to do with her leaving. Someone on Reddit said this: "My sister works on The Orville and yes, they have been dating since last year. It's gross and the crew is pretty disgusted by it."

    I liked Alara. I'm not sure why. Her being cute surely helped, but it seemed like there were more directions to take the character, with less opportunities for _just_ crass humor. Don't get me wrong, I don't hate the humor, but sometimes it's overplayed.

    I didn't know she was leaving. While I try to find out information from the shows I watch, I try really hard to avoid spoilers, save for previews from the next episode. As far as the show goes, this pretty much came out of nowhere. I've since looked and seen the rumor about her dating career, and if so, that's disappointing. I don't care who she dates, but it's hard on the fans.

    Aside from that, this show mostly works. I hope the temporary security guy stays temporary. So far, his schtick seems to just be that he's annoying. Originally, I'd assumed it was a way to justify Alara coming back on the ship, but now I think it's to torture the fans.

    This is worth a read:

    I expect Alara to be back at some point but don't know if that character will die off (just for fun intended).

    This episode is so different from all the other Orville ones and Dave MN is right that it has a feel of Alfred Hitchcock direction (a rarity if you are a Treky fan). We'll be back to more active action after this one.

    So, when Mercer said “That’s two goodbyes so close together”... who was the other one?

    Alara is one of the best characters on the show simply because she's played mostly straight (and one of the only officers on board who call the captain "captain" and not "Ed"). Having said that, she is underdeveloped, so the fact they made her farewell so touching in the final scene is a big accomplishment. Personally I felt that the scene worked on two levels, the characters saying goodbye to Alara, but also the cast members saying goodbye to their fellow actor. There was something very real about it.

    There seems to be all kind of different information online regarding why Halston Sage left the show, some say it's because she was dating Seth, some say it's because of scheduling conflicts. Hard to know what's what. (On a side note, and this is based on info from IMDB Trivia for this episode, are actors really not allowed to be romantically attached to crew members anymore on sets? By that logic, about 30-40 percent of movies would be shut down mid-production or suffer great delays, just some examples: To Have and To Hold, Mr. and Mrs. Smith, The Fountain, Black Swan, Days of Thunder, etc.)

    To the episode itself, the Xelayan home world was beautifully rendered in visual terms but the developing of the alien culture is lazy, they act and talk like a regular American family, have marriages and universities and beach houses and all the stuff that's familiar to us, only they have big ears and live in a world that has massive gravity. That's it. Didn't Superman live on such a world as well?

    The mid-episode twist caught me off guard and was executed very well, successfully using the caretaker as the red herring. It was also a little toooo convenient, how this all happens two days after Alara reunites with her family, but ok. For the most part it works.

    The scenes with the new security officer with the double-esophgus were I felt completely unnecessary an in a rare occurrence for this show, fell completely flat when it came to the comedy. I could hardly understand what he was saying and I've had my fill with all these "bro" characters that keep appearing on this show, such as Dann and the porno dealer from last episode. Not because they are "bros", but because they all speak and act the same. I hope this is not the new replacement for Alara!

    The pickle jar reference at the end was a little too obtuse. I had to go online to see what it meant.

    Three stars from me, one whole star for the end scene.

    Pretty good. Three stars, verging on an extra half star. Bringing back two former Trek doctors (both from Braga-produced Trek shows) to play off each other was fun. Maybe Alexander Siddig will appear as another Selayan. The sudden out-of-nowhere brutality was shocking, in a good way, more so because it was unexpected (and because Billingsley played such a good-natured character on Enterprise). Most of the other good parts of the episode have already been covered and I generally agree.

    The high-gravity planet was portrayed poorly, very unrealistic for how a planet like that would appear. I can accept the need for characters from such a planet to resemble humans because of the practical needs of production, but that doesn't apply to sets and CGI effects! This cost at least half a star because it stood out so much.

    I will miss Halston Sage, especially if she's gone permanently and even more so if Elephantophagus Guy is her replacement, because he's pretty obnoxious.

    Alara was one of the few characters on the show who consistently behaved professionally and this show really needs that. It means something that the three (now two) female characters and the non-gendered cybernetic lifeform are professional, while the male characters all act like frat boys. This is going to be an annoying sticking point about the show. They didn't take the sexism out of Trek, they just sort of changed it around.

    It's fine for this show to be a copy of Star Trek, but the showrunner dating a cast member is not the part of Star Trek you are supposed to copy! And although it doesn't actually matter, it weirdly feels squickier because MacFarlane's character is also the superior officer of Sage's character.

    OK, enough gender issues for now. But they kind of all came together to really stick out in this episode. Still a good episode though, one of the better ones so far. Certainly better than last week.

    I will stick up for Seth on this one.

    I want to cosign the highlighting of the tonal shift around the ladle. Very well handled.

    With all the gravity issues and Alara being in a wheelchair, this episode kept reminding me of DS9's Melora...and then they actually mentioned a Melora vaccine or something like that :D I wonder whether this was a deliberate nod to this episode...

    Wow. Just wow.

    I think this is my new favorite episode of the Orville. I'm not sure that I can whole-heartedly give it 4/4 (too many little things bothered me) but it's a solid 3.5/4.

    It was also, by far, the best farewell episode I've ever seen for a main character in any TV show. Classic Trek, by the way, have a terrible record with these (Both Tasha Yar's and Jadzia's death scenes were a horrible dis-service to the characters).

    Bravo, Orville!


    "I was somewhat disappointed that it turns out Alara's homeworld looks just like our own despite the higher gravity (mountains should have been lower, buildings constructed differently, etc) but given she doesn't look like what you'd expect a high-gravity species to look like, along with budgetary constraints, I wasn't surprised."

    Maybe it was just me being fooled by my own expectations, but the water *did* seem somewhat different. Calmer. Flatter. The waves shallower. And the boiling sauce in the pot looked... weird. As if it is compressed and filmed in fast-motion.

    Again, I'm not sure if this was just my imagination or something they did deliberately. But either way, I liked the effect.

    One thing that was definitely on purpose, is that way Xelaya's transport system works. We see quite a lot of it, when Gordin and Ed return, and it seems to be mainly based on hovertrains in enclosed tubes. This actually makes sense for a high-gravity planet, where wheels and ordinary rails would be useless.

    I'm in the UK and it won't air here for two weeks.

    If Alara has left, that's sad, as she was one of the best characters. Rumour has it Halston was dating Seth and they broke up. I hope this wasn't the reason she left the show. I'm not sure it will be the same without her.

    Hmmmmmmm... this was on course to be a 3/3.5-star episode, and could have been a really solid instalment, if it hadn't derailed into that ridiculous, overwrought hostage plot. Not only is it terribly written, the specifics of it are firmly in torture-porn territory, which is a catastrophic tonal mishmash with the rest of the episode (a sentimental hour in which we say goodbye to a regular character who's ill and trying to repair her bond with her family). The conclusion pulls things back somewhat – the goodbye scene and Alara's gift are excellent – but I have to settle on 1.5 stars.

    The scenes on the Orville all more-or-less work, and the scenes on the planet don't. Her family's disdain for the "military" isn't properly explored or grounded – supposedly it's because Selaya is a society of intellectuals, but none of the Selayans we meet seem intellectual, more like WASPs. The idea of a whole planet of snobbish WASPs could have worked, but not as written here. The main issue with the whole episode is the script – Halston Sage is fine as usual, and it's a shame she's leaving (I wonder why?).

    The family conflict is incredibly standard and doesn't ring true at all, making it hard for us to invest in, and the series's ongoing gag of aliens who speak and act just like modern Americans (Alara's family, and her successor on The Orville) is wearing a little thin. Really, as soon as Alara arrives home – at the very latest by the point she notices the light on in the other house – we know some situation is going to emerge that will put her skills to the test and remind her that her worth isn't just her strength. I actually think the climax of Melora was better scripted and realised in that sense. I don't think Robert Picardo and John Billingsley, both of whom are usually fantastic, were well utilised here.

    Whlie Alara's departure is well-handled, her going home doesn't ring true (especially given the suitable treatment developed for her condition). What's she gonna do, just stay at home with her family? Go to college? What about peers and colleagues? There are other issues – Alara has trouble lifting the weight and says she used to be able to lift much heavier weights when she arrived... but just a couple of scenes previously (when Dr Finn diagnoses her), her drop in muscle mass comes as a total surprise to her, even though she says she's been working out a lot recently. Presuming the 20% loss in muscle mass was gradual, she should have noticed it in the gym a lot sooner.

    I don't wanna sound like I'm totally down on this one, because there are things in here that work – the extended scene with Alara just sitting quietly on the beach, for instance, is fantastic, as is the scene of her gazing up at the stars before falling asleep. But it's a mess overall.

    "If Alara has left, that's sad, as she was one of the best characters. Rumour has it Halston was dating Seth and they broke up. I hope this wasn't the reason she left the show. I'm not sure it will be the same without her."

    Odd rumor considering their age gap, but whatever. I read that she had to leave because she took on a Netflix film gig. I guess it's up in the air on whether or not she'll be back.

    @ wolfstar

    It's just my opinion, but I feel like The Orville's decision to show aliens as just like modern Americans (even if they look very, very different from humans) is basically satirizing Star Trek, since it's just a more extreme version of what we already have seen. Basically instead of just being bland "cultureless" aliens who anyone outside of the U.S. would regard as American, the show chooses to actually present them more aggressively American - such as by using contemporary language. The wink and the nod are clearly intended however.

    @Riker's Beard. I put Rumour but it was all but confirmed, through posts on their social media thingies. Which I never use but saw somewhere on the net. Age doesn't mean a great deal in Hollywood. It's all about power and money. Most of the men are dating women half their ages.

    This episode started with promise, then dropped several notches when Not-Doctor-Phlox goes all David Fincher on the Not-The-EMH.

    The Good

    - The weekly arm wrestling match.

    - The reveal of Alara's condition and its implications. It was great for the character and good world-building.

    - Alara's verbal smackdown of her dad.

    - Alara's bonding with her sister (they really could have built that up more).

    - Alara's parting gift to Ed. Nice call back to his semi-catchphrase.

    - Ed's leg being crushed by Xelaya's gravity. Man that looked painful as f***.

    - Gordon's line about his family being trash as he gaped in awe at Xelaya. It was a nice echo of Ildis calling human's the "hillbillies of the galaxy."

    - Gordon doing the can trick. We would all do that if we could.

    The Annoying

    - The continued reliance on dude speak to generate humor. It just doesn't land when there was also another alien speaking bro in the previous episode.

    - The focus on Ed's reactions to Alara leaving. He's the one that had to take Alara back. He's the one that had to come back and tell her about the solution. Not sure why the writer(s) didn't give more time to the rest of the crew so they could really earn that last shot in the hanger. When Alara goes to hug everyone, it's just a reminder how little we got to see Alara bond with all of them. Like, why is Issac or Bortus there again? Meta-textually, it's nice to see the main cast all show up to say goodbye. In universe, it doesn't make much sense. They might as well just have Ed be the only one to show up a the end so it at least could have been a consistent through-line.

    The Baffling

    - The investigation that never was. Alara fully playing detective would have allowed her the opportunity to demonstrate that, in spite of her parent's lack of faith in her, and minus a PhD, she is still highly intelligent and capable. It would have also given Alara another chance to remember that her physical strength is not her only gift. And whiplashing from whodunit to hostage thriller is The Orville again demonstrating the wild tonal and thematic shifts it likes to engage in. Regardless of the effect it has on character arcs or the logic of the stories it's telling.

    - Alara's reason for returning home was poorly setup. One erotic fan-fiction horse ride isn't enough to ground that decision. Even Gordon was much more wowed at Xelya's beauty than Alara was. Alara's investigation could have given her more time to remember how much she loves and has to (re)learn about Xelaya. Even Alara's reconnecting with her sister could have been a motivating factor. That's if they hadn't immediately dropped and forgot that thread.

    - While a story of two grieving parents driven to revenge is interesting, it thematically doesn't work for the episode. Their motivation is that they lost their son. That doesn't align with the issues Alara personally had with her dad. Alara's relationship with her dad IS the heart of the episode. As such, it really should have been the humiliated son who showed up on the island. Plotwise, if Alara had uncovered the parents' plans, that would have at least allowed her to drive the story and not be sidelined in her own episode.

    - Having John Billingsly appear overshadowed Halston Sage's departure. This should have been Sage's episode from start to finish. Either don't cast him, or have the conflict be more Sage vs. Billingsly, not ultimately Billingsly vs. Picardo in the third act.

    - From what we've seen, a large portion of the crew acts and talks like Lt. Thral. Ed runs a relaxed ship. Why Ed and Kelly would find this newest addition to the crew immediately off-putting doesn't make much sense. Other than his noisy eating on the bridge, he fits right in with The Orville crew.

    The best effort thus far in season 2 by a long shot.

    Of course, we all knew this was coming.

    So probably, my favorite character from The Orville is now gone. 😭

    Kind of a VOY: Homestead - Neelix send-off for her. Right down to no exchange of words. We've only known her for about a year and I was sad to see her go. I teared up.

    Nice to see Picardo again (nice performance too) and I was pleased to see Billingsly join The Orville effort.

    Quite the X-Star Trek cast in this one.

    Some puzzling things with regard to how much the gravity affects things and the fact she said she was on her last legs when talking her father into going to save Ed, then seemingly having no issues walking and standing. If the gravity is 'that' strong, wouldn't the planet mountains not exist? .... shouldn't her skin be thicker? .... bones heavier?

    Again, The Orville coming across on screen beautifully though.

    I guess we'll probably never know the real reason she was written off. I did see an interview where it appeared she really didn't enjoy going through the make-up ordeal. I hope it was for greener pastures in her acting career. From what I've seen of her, she seems like a good kid.

    Enter Lt. Talla Keyali - also a Xelayan; played by Jessica Szohr.

    3.5 stars from me.

    Think I'll have a pickle.

    This was fine. Pretty good as far as "saying goodbye to a crewmember" episodes go. I was worried that they were going to rip off (VOY) "Homestead" right down to the line of crewmembers in the hallway to see Alara off (a very lovely moment in Homestead, but it would have been *too* shamless a ripoff here), so I'm glad they picked the low-key route of having each main cast member hug her one by one. Understated and classy.

    My problem was, like the commenters above have pointed out, the family scenes were incredibly stilted and the family came off like rich WASPs, not aliens with a distinct culture. The episode had a latter-day VOY / ENT vibe which is not in its favor, since that was Trek at its most stilted. Alara's conflict with her dad worked OK, and so did the hostage crisis. Very nice moment where she tells her dad "you can do it," which resonates with their earlier argument. I mostly enjoyed this story for the novelty value of seeing Robert Picardo and John Billingsley in the same scene, and Billingsley playing a bad guy. (This was an alum-heavy episode overall. Molly Hagan, Alara's mom, played a Vorta on DS9, and Patrick Warburton is instantly recognizable to Seth McFarlane fans.)

    The B-plot on the Orville with Warburton's new security officer was incredibly jarring and didn't fit with the rest of the episode. Even though I found the *content* of the A-plot standard, I did appreciate how it played as straightforward drama and encouraged us to take it seriously without digressions into random jokes (aside from the occasional Gordon quip, but that's what he's here for).

    As to the rumors of McFarlane and Sage dating, it would be a little icky if their relationship ended and that's the reason she's being written off the show. I can't find any straight answers online; it could be as simple as a scheduling conflict, since they left the door so obviously open for her to return. But honestly, actors are fickle creatures (I say this being an actor and working with many actors over the years) who sometimes make odd choices with their careers. We may be looking at a George Lazenby situation where he chose, completely on his own volition, not to return as Bond, thus throwing away his biggest break. Or Denise Crosby, who felt understandably undervalued on TNG S1 but could've gotten some great episodes if she'd stuck it out. Or maybe Sage knows more than we do, and she's making the right choice. Who knows? I'm fine with Alara leaving and fine with her maybe returning someday.

    Not the episode's fault, but I laughed out loud when my local FOX station cut straight from a Wendy's commercial to a shot of a woman's finger about to be cut off. Talk about tonal shifts!

    @Quibbles they also had the line of officers seeing off Worf in TNG. Voyager ripped it off. Though it’s a military tradition in Star Trek it seems.

    I will add my voice to those who thought this was definitely one of the better episodes of The Orville to date, a 3.5 at least. I will just add that I didn't mind the new Security officer that much, but I don't mind ANY of the "contemporary"-sounding dialogue in the show, and I happen to think it's one of the elements that make The Orville unique and fun among Trek-esque shows. It portrays the ship as an office, and who the scenario of that coworker who makes a big production of eating lunch at their desk was very relatable. I hope Macfarlane can coax H Jon Benjamin onto the show sometime, preferably as another weird looking alien....because why not?!

    Halston Sage's leaving probably has little to do with her relationship with MacFarlane, if there ever was one.

    Not sure what staying on a show like The Orville will do for her career long term. It doesn't really fit her filmography so far. Her upcoming Netflix movie does fit.

    Leaving while the show has built a very loyal fanbase--which introduced her to a new set of fans--and is one of Fox's top performers is a smart move.

    Hell, her star rating on IMDB jumped 344 places to 9th last week. Leaving generated a lot of buzz for her. And only Palicki has a comparable star rating (her star rating jumped 129 places to 14th). MacFarlane, Penny Jerald Johnson, and Scott Grime's ratings are in the top 5000, and Peter Macon's is in the top 500.

    Regarding the reasons for Sage leaving and the so-called rumors:

    The rumors of her leaving in season 2 began *before* she stopped hanging out with McFarlane (regardless of whether they were "dating" or "just friends"). It seems that this was planned a while back, and that the reason for her leaving is the scheduling conflict with her doing "The Last Summer".

    Sorry to disappoint those who expected a juicier story...

    @Jammer, I generally liked and agreed with your review. A nitpick, only because I usually find your writing to be of very high quality, even when I disagree with what you are saying: You used the identical phrase “return home” three times in one sentence.

    I've been reading all of Jammer's reviews for TNG, DS9, VOY, ENT, DIS, BSG, and ORV for the past year. This is my first time posting.

    The episode itself definitely earned a solid 3 stars, if not a bit more. It was well-written, providing good character development and closing. I enjoyed the dialing-down of "dude-bro" speak compared to other episodes. It did remind me of the single-character-centric DS9 episodes of Trek's glory days.

    But I'm pained by the loss of one of the Orville's most relatable characters. Alara has evolved a lot since the series premiere. She has grown in confidence of her own abilities and place among the crew, despite being an outcast among her own people. I'm sure I'm not the only one who resonated with Alara and her inner struggles, and it's a shame to lose her after only a season and a few episodes. Hopefully this is not the last we hear of Alara.

    Nice review Jammer. Good point concerning DS9's "Prodigal Daughter,". My DS9 Trek - o - meter must be out of calibration; I didn't make that connection.

    Jammer: "And, yes, while the scene where she individually hugs every member of the main cast in the shuttle bay is perhaps pushing the sentiment a little bit into the overly earnest (we're only 15 episodes into this series; have we really earned this?), and her parting gift to Captain Mercer (an unopened jar of pickles) borders on the hopelessly corny, you'd have to have a heart of stone not to be caught up in the moment at least a little bit. Farewell, Alara Kitan. We barely knew you. But you gave us one of The Orville's better episodes to date."

    Agree. I always thought this was true for Tasha Yar as well but I've never got that feedback WRT her.

    Of course I hated her, maybe I wasn't looking for it.

    Come on Jammer, the pickle thing was great :-)

    I enjoy reading your reviews Jammer, and this one was no exception. However, I thought the Jar of pickles was not hopelessly corny, but kinda sweet. I'm going to miss Alara. She was a great character and I loved her two big episodes last year (Command Performance and Firestorm).

    Good review as usual Jammer.

    I join those who thought this was the best outong of The Orville - and much-needed one after the first two duds of this season.
    Sad to see Alara go, but still looking forward to future good episodes like this one.

    Spencer, glad you decided to come out of lurk mode! I liked what you had to say.

    Is this a space show? I honestly forgot. Pass. Fanboys will trip over themselves, from picardo to warburton (talk about stunted acting, Putty). It’s got enough retread. No space, no science, no trekking. Loathed this episode and I hope every single frame dematerializes. Now I’ll go read all your comments with zeal!


    I couldn't care less about the stunt casting of "the Star Trek Doctors" and Warburton's elephant-guy was downright annoying (he's actually one of the reasons I cannot give this episode a 4/4 rating).

    But this episode gave us one of the most beautiful planets we've ever seen on a Trek-like show. It's was like a live episode of "No Man's Sky" (complete with alien riding animals that actually looked alien).

    The story itself is also based of a sci fi premise. Or have you forgotten the reason that Alara had to return home in the first place? Or Ed's gravity suit? Or Gordon's bottle (the explorer in me just loved that bit)?

    In short, your complaint is simply ridiculous.

    Besides, I don't recall you liking the Orville any better when it had space action.
    (and I still can't fathom why you're insisting on watching a show you loath and then complain about it... but whatever rocks your boat)

    Omicron, I agree with you, but at this juncture, it's kind of pointless to get upset about it.

    I went back and checked and, besides the catty comments about the actors' personal lives, he's detested 13 out of the 15 episodes aired thus far ... it isn't really worth expending the energy.

    I'm not "upset" about it.

    I was simply pointing the hate-watching situation out. I think it is important to make these things clear. But now that I've done that, I don't think we should dwell on it any longer. You know how Jammer dislikes that...

    Now, let's get back to discussing the episode. Dougie raised an interesting question here: What must an episode include in order to qualify as "space-based sci fi"? And does "Home" meet these criteria?

    Another interesting question one might ask: If an episode of the Orville doesn't qualify, is it necessarily a bad thing?

    Everybody is welcome to join this discussion.

    As a favor to posters who have been here for a long time and have been participative and brought you tons of page views, good times, and possibly revenue - would you consider adding the IP Address with each posting? I’d also request you add either an Edit or Delete post button.

    These are generally accepted forum features that allow posters to protect themselves and have GDPR/CalOPPA features. If someone ultimately wishes to be forgotten or not be tracked the website should be compliant with these. Thanks for considering.

    What non-nefarious reason do you for demanding commenters private I.P.s?! You don't need to know who and where we are just because you don't like our opinions.

    Besides the fact that traffic to this site would tank almost immediately, giving out such private information would be opening up users to personal harassment, intimidation and potential hacking.

    If anyone posting here is under the age of 18, such an action may actually be criminal in certain jurisdictions.

    I absolutely will never post or make available ANY user's information of any kind. There is no reason for anyone to see that. Doing so would more likely be a violation of GDPR, not compliance with it.

    There is no edit or delete feature because that would require a registration system that would require me to collect more data from users to validate their posts and link them to individual login credentials. I have no desire to take on the administrative overhead for that -- and it would also make it harder for people to post comments, and far fewer would choose to.

    As it is here, everyone is essentially anonymous unless you overshare at your own risk. The email field is optional and email addresses are NEVER shared with ANY third party.


    It isn't "standard procedure" at all to publicly show the IP of every poster. Due to obvious issues of privacy, this is a very rare practice indeed.

    What *is* standard procedure, is to allow THE SITE OWNER (as well as any moderator appointed by him) to monitor the IP's. Jammer indeed has this ability, which he used more than once to unmask people who write with multiple usernames (remember the Ezri hater who posted with multiple usernames on the DS9 discussions?)

    As for Edit/Delete Post buttons:

    While these are, indeed, standard features, they are also heavily prone to misuse. They just invite malicious people to troll others on purpose and then edit their posts to make it seem like the other person got angry over nothing.

    So no... this is just an awful idea. People should be required to take responsibility for the stuff they are posting.

    By the way, if you suspect a specific user of using multiple accounts, feel free to ask Jammer about it. As I've already said, he has access to all the relevant information.

    Now, can we please return to discussing the episode? Please?

    I posted before, and since then, there has been _nothing_ from _anyone_ in the know about Alara's departure.

    I know that IMDB is not infallible, but the fact that they have Alara listed for the rest of the season, combined with the derth of real information or comment, makes me think this is merely a break, at best, and a Brian Griffin moment at worst. Best. Shrug, I'm not really commenting on whether it's a good idea, just whether we've seen the last of Alara.

    I/we'll find out in a couple days, more'n likely, but I think that given schedule constraints, Halston Sage may have a more limited role in a few episodes, while the replacement security officer will continue to annoy the crew who will ultimately welcome back Alara in desperation and open arms.

    I didn’t know either! I will henceforth not bother with it. (I do hope Jammer is watching for people impersonating others, as well as for sock puppets.)

    I hope this is true, that Alara is likely to be back soon.

    What is a “Brian Griffin moment”? I have watched probably a couple dozen episodes of “Family Guy”, as well as the hilarious Star Wars parodies, but other than that none for quite a few years.


    They killed off Brian, replaced him with another dog, and then resurrected him after one episode with the new character.

    @Jammer, it’s inexpensive fixes for compliance with both GDPR and CalOPPA. The point of posting a portion of the IP is to dissuade the sock puppetry as well as general security. Edit and delete do not require registration, that’s an older methodology.

    What I am not appreciating is passive aggressive coordinated personal attacks whereas several of the sock puppets come by, light me on fire, then suggest “oh Jammer won’t approve let’s not do that again” until the next time and plead to divert the subject from the coordinated effort.

    I’ll request it again: Do not review me.

    The only time I had a different username was when I used "Dave in NC" during the years I lived there.

    Alas, not a puppet ... an amusing theory, I laughed.

    And to answer the question above:

    When TNG went back to Earth in "Family", was it space based sci-fi? How many angels can dance on a head of a pin?

    I'd venture to say that anything that expands the Orville universe as much as seeing an alien planet's culture, flora/fauna and technology would qualify. Also, bonus points have to be credited for using shuttles and anti- grav tech prominently in the plot.

    @Dave: Ha, funny misdirect. That does seem to establish a precedent, a M.O., that could come into play here. Let’s hope!

    @Dougie: You seriously think everyone annoyed by your threadshitting is really just one person with socks?

    Now, I will admit that I have annoyed people on other forums by denigrating a movie they really loved. But I think that’s different, because just like them I went into it with hopes that I would enjoy it, but was disappointed and am expressing that disappointment. But to come back and trash episode after episode in such harsh terms is obnoxious IMO.

    So you want me to stop reviewing your posts? Stop threadshitting.

    Too predictable and banal for my liking. No real insight or depth. Dr Phlox's sudden evil reveal was was the only thing that really grabbed my attention. Even the premise of forcing Alara to return home seemed contrived. And there was certainly no humor.

    So weird going into each episode not knowing if it's going to be comedy, drama, action or a weird, uneasy mix of the 3. As I've said previously, I'd prefer the series to stay primarily a comedy. It's the only part that makes it unique.

    Guys could you cool it a little?! He has the right to be here and he can post (within reason) whatever he wants. Debate him or ignore him but these insulting comments and the need to shut down his opposing opinion is something you don't have the right to.
    I for example find it really weird and a little disrespectful that people post their own reviews and star ratings on a reviews side of somebody else. But do I feel the need to tell you that over and over again. No.
    Wouldn't it be far more fun when the ardent fans of the Orville see a comment like his and smile a little and then the back and forth begins. In a respectful way. One might even say in a trekkian way...
    Or to quote the Dude: Hey man, that's just like... your opinion.
    And that is true for both sides.


    Have you seen anybody here who asked Dougie to leave?

    I completely agree that he has the right to post anything within reason. Other people also have this right, though.

    So yes. Dougie is more than welcome to continue posting his scathing opinions, just as others are welcome to rebut is points. It is really that simple. Not sure what's the fuss is all about. Dougie seems to make an effort to make it *look* like a huge thing is going on here (sockpuppetry! IP addresses! you're setting me on fire!) but it's really a huge fuss over nothing.

    And really, that's the only reason we've had like 20 posts that discuss this complete non-issue.

    TL;DR Everybody is allowed (an encouraged) to voice their opinions, Dougie included. Now let's voice some of these opinions, and stop getting side-tracked.

    And back on topic, here is a fun fact:

    Using the bottle scene, one can calculate that the Gravity on Xeleya is somewhere between 6 and 10 G's (by noting that it took the bottle about 0.2 seconds to fall from an apex of 5-6 feet). So apparently Xeleya is a super-earth (maybe 4 times the radius and twice a dense as our own earth), which explains both the multitude of moons and cool rings around the planet.

    Anybody wants to try and compare this to the height of Alara's jump in "Old Wounds"? Assuming 1 earth gravity on Epsilon II, it should have been between 6 and 10 times higher than a normal human.

    (I know that there's absolutely no way a humanoid race would evolve on a planet with 6-10 G's, but that won't stop me from geeking out on the physics ;-))

    @Omicron you called his opinion ridiculous and what he does "hate watching" which isn't really that nice. That is not discussing but judging.
    Other words used to humiliate him during the last 20 posts: catty, nefarious, laughing about him, sock puppet, annoying, threadshifting, obnoxious.
    So obviously he is not more than welcome to voice his opinion. Considering what you and others wrote he isn't welcome at all.
    It sounds like some want a safe space where real dissent isn't allowed.

    @ Booming

    Since we are sharing amusing conspiracy theories, here's one to ponder:

    This is the second time you've launched a passionate completely one- sided defense of Dougie's trolling in as many weeks ... it's illlogical to be triggered by our comments pointing out the glee at which Dougie will eviscerate an episode NO ONE else thinks is a stinker.

    Why do you gloss over his penchant for criticizing the actors for their body types, hair styles, age, and personal lives? Is it ok to make fun of actual humans for losing their hair? His commentary HAS been catty.

    It makes me wonder if all that sock puppet talk of Dougie's was really psychological projection.

    Having a white knight like you show up to defend him right when he needs it most is certainly a interesting development.

    So this is where I need to ask everyone to please stop posting comments about other people and their behavior and keep it on topic and discuss the shows or related issues. Everyone gets to talk, and not everyone is going to agree. As has already been said, what is the big problem here?

    *huge sigh of relief*


    Thanks, Jammer.

    Now that that's been settled, anybody wants to comment on my analysis of Xeleyan gravity?

    I've been reading Jammer for a long time. First post I believe, though.

    Overall, I really enjoy The Orville. And I have to agree, I think this episode is a 3 star one. In fact, I don't think any of the episodes have eclipsed that yet.

    There are a lot of things to like in the episode though. I though Xeleya looked great. The weird twist was interesting, and having the two doctors on opposite sides was fun. But I thought the comedy was flat and in all honesty, I don't think this show has had enough time for me to feel something about Alara leaving the ship. I do hope she comes back at some point.

    "So weird going into each episode not knowing if it's going to be comedy, drama, action or a weird, uneasy mix of the 3. As I've said previously, I'd prefer the series to stay primarily a comedy. It's the only part that makes it unique."

    I also feel this way. The light-hearted-comedy parts are the best moments of this show. This particular episode was an exception to that (in my opinion). Not sure if they should/could consistently go with it though. It feels too much like a rehash of TNG/VOY.'

    Whatever flaws it may have, this episode at least tries to capture the beauty of nature, the wonder of strange planets and cityscapes, the quiet majesty of moonlit night skies, the thrill of buzzing over oceans in your sun-kissed hover-pod, or running across a beach on an alien unicorn-horse-thingie. Too few works of TV scifi reach for the sublime.

    The lonely homestead in this episode also reminded me of the home at the beginning of TOS' "Conscience of the King". The episode also had one neat visual: the incongruity of Ed in his sealed-off suit, which clashes with the home and its open-air inhabitants. It's a nice juxtaposition.

    Still weird tonal problems with this series. I like it best when it sticks to a more family friendly light-hearted PG tone. The home invasion part was really really well handled but.. the amount of violence was also kind of a turn off with a show like this that is so silly and should be able to be watched with your family, honestly. This season so far I think is missing the mark on being too violent and too graphic in general.

    But.. a really solid episode. I will miss Alara.. she was probably my favorite regular cast member, had more depth than most, and the juxtaposition between her outward appearance and physical strength was genuinely interesting. I kind of fear for the show going forward without her. Tasha Yar she was not... hopefully this will be more of a Beverly Crusher situation.

    Well, I enjoy all the comments almost as much as the reviews.
    And thanks to Jammer for creating this site.
    I also enjoyed this episode even with all the sugary sweet moments.

    Sometimes I wonder if we are too critical of shows, it’s ‘pretend’ after all and comments about contrived situations (allowing the return to her home world) are needed in every show to set a storyline.

    The effects for a TV show are excellent.

    It’s trying/daring to be a little different and is bound to jar with all other Trek type shows. Although TOS is super cheesy in places.
    Did I really use ‘super’!

    I feel Enterprise was heavily critised (expectations were very high at the time and I get that) and added to it’s demise and I now miss the re-runs of a possible extra 3 seasons! Granted not all were great episodes and the theme music was terrible.

    But having said this, I wonder if they could be brave enough to create a continuing story arc that would make the show a little darker.
    3 stars from me.
    Also I’d love an edit feature as I am lousy at spelling and often fall foul of the auto correct. But from Jammers comments this cant happen.

    Easily the best episode this series and one of the best so far.

    A very enjoyable episode.

    Loved seeing the two Drs. And when it all suddenly turned nasty I was reminded that I always did find Dr Phlox, much as I liked him, a tiny bit...disturbing.

    Jammer, you know about GDPR? I'm curious how much this has affected people outside of the EU.

    Anyway, even as someone who gets triggered by anti-vaxxers, I thought the portrayal of Andrew Wakefield (Disgrace Be Upon Him) as the son of sadistic psychopaths was a bit too much. Also, I am far, far too squeamish for torture porn, so the episode going in that direction out of the blue was most unwelcome, though that's just me.

    I was also a bit confused by Mercer and Grimes reacting to the sites. Sure the planet is nice, but it's nothing particularly distinct. Surely you could see similar sights on Earth at the time of the show.

    But this show does clearly work better when it plays itself straight. It felt like a very different kind of send-off show and I like that.

    Maybe this was dealt with in a discussion I didn't see or that I've forgotten, but what is to prevent Talla from succumbing to the same gravity-related issues that afflicted Alara? Maybe the holodeck treatment that Kasidy Yates came up with that Alara ended up not using?

    I don't think a planet with gravity that high would ever evolve advanced intelligent life, and that kind of takes me out of it.

    Advanced intelligent life - why not?

    The iffy part is that they look pretty much identical to humans. Them, and their technology too. Even the most mundane things, like pillows and chairs would work differently in a high-gravity environment.

    So yeah, it kinda spoils the immersion.

    Still a good episode in my opinion, though. And to be honest: I'm not sure what alternative could work better from a story-telling perspective. I doubt showing realistic high-gravity dwelling people would make for compelling drama...

    This is the first good episode.

    Let's start with the bad/less good.
    - The music is still too dominant. 10% or 20% less would be more.
    - The aliens are again too human. The Xelayans seem to be identical to Humans. A little more going into how it is to belong to such a species would have been nice.
    - The cameos became a little distracting. First David Puddy from Seinfeld as trunkman, then both doctors.
    - The good bye was a little too much for me but only a little.
    - Trunkman. His dialog felt out of place in this more genuine episode.
    - Why do their parents hate the fleet? There is a little conversation between the sisters but the arguments are a little too convoluted. Soldiers vs science? brains vs muscle? Giving a little more detail why they have a low opinion of the military would have been nice.

    the okish:
    - The big reveal that she would stay on the planet became clear to me pretty early.

    the good - pretty much everything else
    - the story itself is probably the weakest part of the good things. It is effective but a little simple and Dr. Flox is not good at doing action. I was chuckling a few times when he moved around. But the twist that the guests are evil and that this would develop into a hostage situation was well hidden, I thought and appropriately dark. Why Mercer had to come personally to tell her about the procedure and be that persistent was a little to convenient. Still an entertaining story.
    - there is one scene where in the first second I thought: uh this is going to be terrible (when she is riding that animal in her dreams/remembers) but no it really worked. It was a little shocking. Interesting visuals, short enough. Yeah.
    - In general the episode stayed, for the most part, away from stupid humor and I believe no fart or penis jokes which I think is a first.
    - The emotional beats are effective and that was the first (and apparently the last) episode where I thought she was ok and sometimes even good. From the beginning of the show she had problems with the role. An interesting idea but not a good fit. In this episode she gets more fitting material. Turning her from wonder woman into a disabled person and dealing with the numerous problems of being sick or weak in a physical and emotional way and having to deal with disapproval was a smart choice.
    - The best of the episode, I thought, was the sense of wonder. I wasn't drawn into the scenery that much for a long time in a Star Trek (adjacent) show, it almost made me want to explore strange new worlds. To seek out new life and new civilizations. To boldly go where no one has gone before. The best thing about the best thing. It wasn't nostalgia or anything. It was it's own beautiful phenomenon. Good job.

    3 stars. Let's see what Jammer has to say.

    Booming finally likes an Orville episode.

    The season 2 premiere, together with this episode, is when The Orville started to firmly win me over.

    This episode in particular reminded me of old SF book covers (the psychedelic skies, cities, "car" rides and horse-creatures), and 1950s SF homesteads. There's a visual boldness to this episode, and the coastal setting also offers nice atmosphere.

    The things that bother you about the episode didn't bother me; I sort of accept this as a kind of cartoonish show, Seth as a Kirk-like Big Ham, the characters broadly drawn, the visuals deliberately veering toward the retro.

    The home-invasion tropes didn't do much for me (shades of Haneke's "Funny Games"), but I thought the little action sequence with Ed in the gravity suit was quite original.

    Jammer didn't like the next episode (2nd weakest of the season IMO, after the porn episode), but it has a very good ending, and I like the spirit of the episode. I also think it's self-consciously mocking the Ash Tyler arc in "Discovery", using similar character names and reversing several key things.

    Afterwards you have "All the World is Birthday Cake", which most agree has a great first (first contact) half. Second half is IMO kind of generic. Then you have "A Happy Refrain"; not sure how that episode will go over with you, but it has a shuttle bay symphonic orchestra which is great. Shades of TNG's many musical sessions.

    Then it's pretty much very good episodes till the end, with only one being a bit weak, and with at least two verging close to 4 stars (in the 4 stars TNG sense).

    One thing Orville starts doing really well in this season, is its fly-by shots of alien planets and cities...

    There's a sense of wonder, and of joyous exploration, all capped off with a score evocative of 1980s Trek movies.

    And this kind of tone is something JJ-Trek and Nu-Trek have been incapable of doing. And I don't think they'd be capable of pulling this stuff off if they tried. "Orville's" one-foot-in-comedy approach lets it get away with a kind of earnestness and visual naivete that most contemporary SF, because they're tonally on a different planet, can't touch.

    Well to be fair there were the two episodes in Discovery where they were on Saru's planet and on that planet with the small colony which were good, I think, both are around the same level as this. STP hasn't produced anything as good. Everybody loved Nepenthe. I didn't

    Maybe you are right about the one foot approach. Maybe being hopeful and curious is so outlandish these days that you have to spice it with comedy as to make it watchable.

    The thing is that this episode had barely any comedy.

    @ Trent

    I agree with his assessment on the rest of the season. Episode 6 kind of hinges on how much you can accept the premise (which I actually found believable, considering how much culture will change in the next few centuries), but everything after that is pretty much gold.

    Even the few middling episodes have their own charm, in a sort of Voyager-esque pseudo-misfire way. The constant world building, character growth and mini-plot-arcs make them still worth watching.


    "Maybe you are right about the one foot approach. Maybe being hopeful and curious is so outlandish these days that you have to spice it with comedy as to make it watchable."

    I don't think it's the "comedy" that does the trick. It's more about having a certain tone, which I can only describe as TOS-like.

    It's a tone that is *very* difficult to get right. But I believe the Orville is slowly getting into the groove here. It's a very strange show (in a good way).

    I just rewatched this and it's as funny, fresh and insightful as my first viewing.

    Without a doubt, this is a 4 star episode (for me).

    I don‘t know. After having watched 3 episodes of season 2, I‘m quite disappointed about the result of the series' search for its own course.

    In fact, I think the roller coaster-like season 1 showed already what this show is capable of: Anything.

    You never knew what kind of style would be the next episode. Screwball comedy (Cupid‘s Dagger)? Adventure (Into the Fold)? Moral discussion (About a Girl)? And it was always enjoyable, often funny, sometimes hilarious and/or goofy, mostly interesting. When I was watching this season 1, I often asked myself: What do they really want to be? Amongst all these extremes, where will they settle?

    And, well, now I‘m thinking they should have settled where they were in season 1 – anywhere. They were able to do anything – and it was entertaining. In retrospect, it was very cool to be surprised by every single episode. Everything felt fresh. The plots were often quite simple, but saved by fun and surprising elements.

    Now, after having watched „Home“, I have to say that most things that once felt fresh are quite stale now, not to say dull.

    First of all: Why did they decide to broadcast three crew-centered episodes in a row? Why did Seth McFarlane destroy half of Bortus‘ character in the two first episodes of season 2? His „Pee Pon Farr“ at the end of the episode was staged in a quite boring and disappointing way. The TOS allusion (lighting, landscape … and being ep 1 of season 2) was nothing more than an allusion that went nowhere but down the canyon together with Bortus‘ urine.

    An then poor Bortus had to be turned into an insincere, treacherous cybersex addict. Sorry, Seth. Porn addiction being a serious issue for many people, granted, it‘s quite stupid to transform the most faithful, and thus unintentionally most hilarious character into a being rather not to be trusted or loved, despite all his good intentions and him apparently being as punctual as before ep 2 in ep 3.

    But his „I will not fail you, captain“ will never make me laugh.

    And the second (and last) character taking seriously her job on the bridge has left us now in episode 3. Great.

    While I‘m writing this, I do not know yet Alara‘s successor, but the DVD cover is quite revealing, though.

    So, well, there seems to be a little chance that the bridge and the audience are not completely left alone with „dude-bro“-type crew members. - Well, yeah, the dude-bro-talk IS quite hilarious from time to time – but it‘s no great fun to watch them act and talk without counterparts. Already now, LaMarr‘s ¼ liner „Boom“ ain‘t very funny any more. The appearance of new freaky minor characters saying and doing stupid things neither.

    So, to resume my first thought: It seems that The Orville has found now its pace. A lot of comments here at Jammer‘s seem to have wished exactly this. And they seem to like the results.

    I don't.
    Unfortunately it‘s a quite TOS-like mood what they chose to be their credo, including lowered speed, quite predictable plots, gags and punch lines - and less fun. Not really my cup of tea anymore.

    Really good episode, though I'm sorry to see one of my favorite characters leave. Every episode that's focused on Alaria has been really good.

    As for the humor, I think everyone just needs to accept that it is what it is and it's not going away. This episode had the least amount of it this far, but I'm fine with sophomoric humor, so I wasnt bothered by it. It was stupid but I enjoyed more the reactions to the crew than I did the gags themselves.

    I think they get the ivory tower arrogance more or less right here -- Ildis is a jerk, but his primary problem is that he believes that the world can be fully intellectualized and dealt with rationally, forgetting that there are people who are bound to react emotionally. He turns up the heat but he isn't prepared to get scalded. I don't think we have evidence that he was wrong in his putdown of Phlox's son's paper, but from his treatment of Alara we can expect that he didn't really expect the emotional fallout of what to him was a purely rational discussion. The dick-measuring "our child is more of a prodigy" discussion, and Alara's frustrating and disgust, was also great -- people who think they're evolved are still frequently prone to this hierarchical point-scoring. I like too how the family's condescension doesn't quite go too overboard -- the hardest thing to deal with is how well-meaning they are, rather than any deliberate cruelty. I would maybe have preferred if we'd seen Alara doing a somewhat better job than she does -- maybe having her piece together what happened with Phlox independently, rather than just notice suspicious things and do nothing about it (I might be forgetting some cool things she did) but I liked the way she dealt with the crisis.

    Is the Aesop to "at last her family realizes that Alara is doing important work" for Alara to...leave that work? If I were to read a metaphor into her muscle/bone loss stuff it's that she really does need her home planet (and, consequently, her real family), and artificial solutions, while possible, are going to be too painful, and so it is better to stay. Still, her reconciliation depends on valuing what Alara does, so giving that up for that reconciliation seems counterproductive. Probably a line or two of dialogue suggesting that once she's well enough she'll take some Union post on planet in security or police work would have helped.

    They way overdid that goodbye IMO, though the jar of pickles (which I did see coming) was cute. It's been a dozen or so episodes, chill. I hate to see what the series finale will be like.

    Overall probably the show's best so far. 3 stars.

    Nice. Three for three so far in season 2. Was surprised to see Alara leave for good at the end. I don’t know if this a story arc or if the actress really left the show but I guess I’ll find out. Also was nice to see Robert Picardo and the doctor from Enterprise whose name escapes me. I’m going to running through the remaining 11 episodes since I cancelled hulu and only have one week until my paid for month ends

    Female Spock who was always getting lost in her emotions, has to go home to re acclimate to her plant's gravity. While there she finally has a breakthrough with Sarek, who never appreciated her, and decides to leave the ship. She leaves the show but not before a final heroic last hurrah.
    It was fun while it lasted.

    I always mention how I could watch that cutie Alara Kitan for hours. It makes this episode’s farewell to her that much more effective -- I’ll miss her, damn it!

    It’s a fine send-off that Alara gets here. In addition to revealing just where her insecurity comes from, it showcases her best assets as well. Watch Halston Sage’s facial expressions when the two psychotic interlopers show up at the family’s house. Immediately Alara seems to sense that things are not quite right and definitely “off” about these two.

    About them -- my guess is that their son killed himself for reasons that have less to do with professional setbacks and more to do with how his parents’ overbearing, helicopter-parenting nature must have fucked him up. This seems to be a trait of the elite Xeleyans just as it is of our own elite families. Alara’s parents consistently demean her (though they couch it in niceties) and have disdain for the “lowly” military that she joined, just as many rich families in America do. Similarly, Galdus probably didn’t want to face his parents’ scorn and disappointment after his failures. These two sets of parents have more in common than they want to admit. Alara’s response was to join the Union fleet almost out of spite while Galdus became determined to excel as a scientist on his own terms and out of his parents’ shadow. Both of them suffer setbacks in their plan. The difference in how they dealt with them says a lot about adversity. Alara, ever the stubborn fighter, finally confronts her problems head-on and literally argues with them here. Whereas Galdus the coward simply offed himself. The hostage situation in the Kitan home is just as much a clash of coping skills and consequences as it is one of values and vengeance, because damn, both sets of parents are pretty much exactly the same.

    It’s such a silly Macguffin to examine -- vaccines and the anti-vaccine movement. Entitled intellectuals sniping at each other. Vaccines save lives, but can also end or damage a few of them. We've known that for years. Fuck everybody and the horses they rode in on here. If economics on Xeleya are anything like ours, Cambus and Floratta (doesn’t have quite the same ring to it as Bonnie and Clyde) could have gotten the last laugh by simply investing a fortune into the company that manufactures the vaccine that “silenced” their son and use the proceeds to get back at Ildus Kitan’s university career, start some sort of anti-vaccine organization or even donate the money to their son’s favorite charity or something. Scruples be damned, their son is dead and won’t know the difference. “Profiting off misery is what keeps the economy going,” so sayeth Proud Capitalist Pig. Invading the Kitan home to exact vengeance only gets their stupid asses killed expertly by Alara (I always love to see her kick some ass and kick some assholes). And now where are they at?

    Two Star Trek doctors facing off is a delicious conceit, and I can’t wait to see Robert “Coach Cutlip” Picardo’s performances in Star Trek: Voyager when I get to that show (hopefully “The Doctor” isn’t as emotionally constipated as Ildus is--his breakdown with Alara at the end was one of the most unconvincing ones I’ve ever seen).

    Picardo (minus his last scene), Billingsley, Seth MacFarlane and Penny Johnson Jerald put in some fine work here. But the best, of course, was Halston Sage. It’s just too bad that her best episode yet is also her last one.

    I agree with Jammer -- what I love about the resolution of “Home” is that Alara *chooses* to rejoin her family. She isn’t forced to do so because of her physical issues. In most TV shows, she’d simply start the treatments and rejoin the crew. Or she’d have her cake and eat it too--stay on the ship and receive the treatments but also go home on vacation and stay in touch with her family a lot more. But because Sage is leaving the show, the writers are presented with a way to say something different, and they take it.

    And I always thought I had a heart of stone, but I was really moved after that last shot with Mercer that panned down to the jar of pickles.

    Best Line:
    Malloy -- “I’m trash. My family’s trash.”

    My Grade: B-

    Hate to see Alara going, i love her. She was the main focus in the first episode i watched, which is the second one overall. I love how she struggled being put in command and the way she runs.
    A perfect introducion to this series and i still think it was my favorite so far.

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