The Orville

"Identity, Part II"

3 stars

Air date: 2/28/2019
Written by Seth MacFarlane
Directed by Jon Cassar

Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan

Like with many resolutions to alleged status-quo-shattering cliffhangers, "Identity, Part II" fails to live up to its setup. Oh, sure: The episode builds to a prolonged ending battle sequence that doesn't disappoint — a real humdinger of pyrotechnics that outdoes anything even remotely attempted on this series. (I don't use the word "humdinger" lightly; it's very possible I've never actually typed that word before.) As the Dude once said: And that's cool. That's cool. But the real question of this episode was how they would bring Isaac back (or indeed if they believably could) after he seemingly went past the point of no return by helping the Kaylon seize control of the Orville, killing a bunch of its crew in the process.

The way they bring him back is probably one of the most obvious scenarios, with him having a change of "heart"/mind and saving the Orville crew by betraying the Kaylon that have hijacked the ship. That's a better option than the even more obvious route of attributing his actions to some sort of reprogramming the Kaylon forced on him. This way, at least it's the character making the choice (and being responsible for both betrayals) and not a dumb plot device. This is more potentially consequential.

But the problem is that Isaac's change of course is difficult to decode, and arbitrary if you look at it through a logical lens. He changes his mind because he has what you might say is an emotional reaction when Kaylon Primary (Graham Hamilton) is about to kill Ty. This conclusion is foreshadowed with an earlier sequence where Kaylon Primary airlocks one of Mercer's men after Isaac makes a humanitarian-masquerading-as-logical argument against it.

But what was Isaac's endgame here otherwise? To just go along with the Kaylon eradicating Earth's population, even though he didn't agree with it? I guess the point is that for it to take an extreme personal connection for him to respond is an indication of his growth as an ethical/feeling machine — but as a machine, shouldn't he have done the math to get to this epiphany long before he did? I mean, the Kaylon were going to commit genocide, which also includes Ty. This was the plan all along. (Although that plan seems kind of forced in thinking back on it. The Kaylon could expand wherever they want. Hell, they're AIs; why do they need more planets, or even bodies? They could just live in a massive database. The fact that they want to pick a fight with the Union and exterminate Earth seems like overkill, or perhaps revenge.) I guess the answer is: Just don't think too much about it, because it's a matter of Isaac doing what he does when he does it because it needs to happen at the moment it does for the day to be saved.

The other problem here is that the consequences all around don't seem like enough, at least not so far. The battle at the end costs the Union dozens of ships and countless lives, but it doesn't feel like the major punch-in-the-gut blow that it should. The early destruction of the ship with Captain Tony Almeida (Carlos Bernard; I bet he didn't actually die in that explosion) was more vividly and emotionally depicted than all the faceless action-packed destruction at the end. And while I appreciate that Admiral Halsey is skeptical of Mercer's plan to put Isaac back on the Orville, the fact that he ends up back there with so little pushback after such a devastating betrayal feels too pat. I hope there are serious character consequences to follow this up.

I also have to again register my objections regarding the stupidity and ill-defined nature of the Planetary Union. They willfully allowed an unknown alien from a totally secretive society of purely artificial lifeforms to infiltrate one of their ships — without asking basic questions like: who built them and what happened to those builders, and gee, maybe we should think about that before giving them access to our secured data? I guess anyone who knocks on the door and acts polite gets let right in.

Given all the holes here, it's probably best to think of Isaac and the Kaylon plan as the means-to-end vehicle to lead us to the big climactic space battle, with that battle being the primary selling point here. (The rest is merely moving plot pieces around, and perhaps some character and world-building gravy if they can make it mean something more substantive down the road.) And it sells, and I'll buy. The impressive but sometimes excessively video-game-like space battle here goes full-on Star Wars, with its fighter-pilot POVs, laser-beam exchanges framed by backgrounds of chaos and explosions, while Joel McNeely's score shamelessly channels John Williams. (In 1994, I wrote a review for Terminal Velocity — the first thing I ever wrote for my college newspaper — and in it I mentioned that Joel McNeely was doing his best John Williams impression. Nearly 25 years later, trends continue.) Notable here is the nice execution in how the 3D action of the VFX shots align with the camera moves in the practical on-set shots to sell a consistent sense of motion. Jon Cassar has always done action well.

The plot mechanics that get us to the final act are fine, if sometimes hacky, but I don't care to dwell on them. With most of the crew trapped in the shuttle bay (and apparently using one part of it as the "pee corner," as Malloy notes, something I guess never adequately explored in these sorts of hostage situations), it's up to Ty and Yaphit to sneak around and disable Kaylon lieutenants who should probably be better at not getting thwarted by kids and Jell-O, who then find a way to send secret communications to warn the fleet, etc.

The other big development is the Krill, who ally with the Union thanks to a desperate call for help by Grayson and Malloy. Like much of this episode, it's more interesting as a concept for future episodes than something that makes ironclad sense. The show has spent all this time building the Krill up as this unbending, religious fundamentalist threat. Now they suddenly decide to join a battle against the Kaylon because the Kaylon don't worship Avis. That's a quality no different from any other non-Krill society, so why are they so willing to flip 180 degrees and suddenly be sensible? This fragile alliance will hopefully pay more dividends down the road; for now it's a convenient plot device.

So how do I score this? I'll go with the "fun show" scale that The Orville so desperately wants to be accepted as, and say three stars. This is entertaining and fun, but the regular problems with this series never change, which is that a show that wants to be taken seriously in one breath decides to give us a joke that hand-waves it away in the next. Paradoxically, the humor itself has become less jarring over time and feels more welcome. It's not that it's annoying so much as I just can't take this show's portents of doom remotely seriously as a matter of dramatic stakes. (My rating last week was probably way too optimistic. So, probably, is this one.)

Perhaps the best comparison here is Independence Day — a movie that blew up the world's cities while cracking jokes and embracing clichés with open arms. Okay, then — I happen to like Independence Day on its chosen tone, and I liked this too. But I'm not holding my breath for this show to ever prove it has any other ambitions than to be a lightweight romp of sci-fi nostalgia. Forgive me if Isaac's plight at the moment strikes me as glib.

Previous episode: Identity, Part I
Next episode: Blood of Patriots

◄ Season Index

165 comments on this review

Thu, Feb 28, 2019, 9:00pm (UTC -5)
This redeemed what I saw as the missteps of the first part in large degree. Jammer will no doubt disagree, because he is stuck on seeing Isaac as an unfeeling machine, and that is quite obviously not how the show's writers see him.
William D Wehrs
Thu, Feb 28, 2019, 9:00pm (UTC -5)
One word: wow! The battle scenes in this episode were extraordinary and far outdid anything I've seen before! Really appreciated how they made full use of Space's 360 nature. The character work was solid, no huge surprises, but things played out reasonably well. Also, really hope the alliance with the Krill continues to build. Overall, a satisfying resolution that didn't tie up everything in a neat bow.
Thu, Feb 28, 2019, 9:01pm (UTC -5)
Krill to the rescue!!
Thu, Feb 28, 2019, 9:05pm (UTC -5)
A step down from Part 1 (which, admittedly, is true of most Trek 2 parters) but still ok. I know the space battle was supposed to be "epic" but there was so much going on it just kind of bored me. The effects, as usual, were pretty great. The episode just felt rushed. At one point I thought maybe it would be a 3 parter but instead they just crammed a ton of exposition and action scenes together and called it a day. Not sure if I want to give it a 2.5 or a 3.
Dave in MN
Thu, Feb 28, 2019, 9:05pm (UTC -5)
Nice!!!!! That battle was amazing!!

I'm going to rewatch tonight, that was SO good!!!!

And the Krill came!! Omg haha

4 stars !!!!
Thu, Feb 28, 2019, 9:23pm (UTC -5)
A good episode, but very predictable. We knew Issac would change sides again, and that the Krill would come at the very last minute (see DS9 Sacrifice of Angels). The space battle was too busy to watch (see opening of Revenge of the Sith). Despite those major gripes, 3 stars.
Thu, Feb 28, 2019, 9:31pm (UTC -5)
Solid 4 stars!!!

The writers nailed this one along with excellent visuals.

I wonder if Isaac will revive the Master who has been soft on the human race. Now Isaac is like Hugh!

We know now that Kaylon has pretty much stole our technology when they seized the ship. I thought planet Earth had more formidable technology to protect our planet from destruction. I guess not!

We'll need Isaac for his technical abilities and Orville's new capabilities to counter the advanced Kaylons. It was no walk in the park for the Krill. Great job putting all the pieces together to fight 'em off.
Karl Zimmerman
Thu, Feb 28, 2019, 9:45pm (UTC -5)
I'd rate it as three stars. It was a well-done big action piece with some nice emotional beats included. However, the episode did not really surprise me even in the slightest. It basically took the path of least resistance towards resolving the crisis.

On the other hand, at least it avoided the "it was all a simulation" or "this was an elaborate test of humanity's intentions" that some had suggested. That sort of reset button would have been very disappointing. It looks like - once again this season - The Orville is drawing more lessons from DS9 than the other Berman-era Trek shows - willing to have both the global setting and the characters evolve as time goes on.
Thu, Feb 28, 2019, 10:31pm (UTC -5)
I was glad that I was in the minority in not seeing anything special in Part 1 except a poor man’s version of Best of Both Worlds, with plenty of holes in the narrative. Hopefully, it will be the same pattern again this time, because for me, this went from average (Part 1) to dismal (Part 2). It all begins with another guilt-trip attempt by Dr. Claire Finn to Isaac (sigh, Claire, please stop). Ty is obviously upset (because, thanks partially to his mom going along with Isaac’s image as the ‘new dad’ in his perception, Ty is super attached to Isaac) and creates a scene when he wants to see Isaac, which results in Talla getting injured.

In the meantime, the Kaylons believe that they can simply threaten the Orville crew into assisting them commit the genocide of the human race. They even flatly tell Ed and co. they will do so. And of course, the ultra-high-IQ Kaylons see no problem with this strategy. What good is the threat of killing a group of humans if the only option given to avoid it is that the same group of humans will be destroyed anyway along with the rest of humanity? All-right.
(Not to mention, Kaylons who show no remorse in killing massive amounts of beings of any species, somehow do not kill anyone even when they cause disturbance, except the expandable who got sent to oblivion in space).

Primary wants Isaac to change his name, Isaac doesn’t, no biggie, it’s as if that scene between the primary and Isaac never took place. In that scene, we magically discover that primary is now all of a sudden concerned with Isaac developing sympathy out of nowhere. That would be the same Isaac who played a key role (probably *the* most important role) in the killing of a bunch of crewmembers on the Orville and a whole ship of human beings – I am not even counting how many humans got killed in the final battle. Of course, the primary begins to suspect Isaac is not up to the task and orders him to kill Ty. You would think that he should be ready for the possibility that Isaac may be malfunctioning since he suspects that to possibly be the case, but no he is not. Neither are his guards. Isaac simply kills them one by one.

In fact, he will kill or immobilize the rest of the Kaylons in a matter of a minute. Heck, he takes out 8 of them in the bridge if I counted correctly. Naturally, the other Kaylons in the ship have no idea that the two Kaylons guarding the humans have been killed, or the rest of the fleet does not notice for who-know-how-long that our crew has re-taken control of The Orville. Not only are Kaylons the most inefficient android/machines ever encountered, but their intelligence leaves much to be desired too. And yes, to top it all, a shuttle pod manages to simply exit The Orville from a regular bay door, and get away from a whole fleet of Kaylons who are supposedly far, far superior technologically than the Union, a shuttlepod helmed by Gordon who was busy earlier telling the Ed, Kelly, Lamar, and Talla the “pee corner” while they were trying to figure out how to free themselves (unsurprisingly, Lamar was the only one interested in what he had to say about the pee corner).

Finally comes the only really worthy portion of the hour, the battle scenes. Great visuals here and it was easy to follow which ship belonged to what fleet and which one was hitting which other one. Usually, in space battle scenes, you see phasers, explosions and ships flying around without really distinguishing who is who, but here, it was very well done. It finally ends with what was predictable since about 10 minutes ago, the Krill coming to the rescue.

It’s all good at the end. Isaac will just rejoin the crew, because, you see, he had a change of ‘heart’ (that he does not have), managed to “save” The Orville, and is now ready to simply resume his place as a member of the Orville. Never mind his role in the killing of how many dozens of people? Or was it in the hundreds? Hey, no worries, the Admiral can rest easy because Ed, the captain with the emotional maturity of a teenager, assures him that he will take sole responsibility over Isaac’s future actions. Claire is already seen at the end of the episode “sympathizing” with Isaac.

(I really hoped Isaac, if he were going to come back, would have come back in its human form, as part of the “new-start” deal, but alas, I expected too much).
I’ll wait for Jammer’s review. For my part, I’m hoping that The Orville returns back to form next week.
Charles J
Thu, Feb 28, 2019, 10:58pm (UTC -5)
Predictable as hell. Several moments of cheese. Lots (and I mean lots) of good old fashion Trek Shake. A mix of dodgy SFX* and staging, alongside some competently executed work. MacFarlane’s “dramatic” acting. Main and reoccurring cast enjoying the privilege of plot armor while tons of extras are red shirted. Ty Finn’s man up moment (I legit teared up). The Kaylon’s blanket indictment of all organics as a potential threat because of their history. The convenient lack of Kaylon Bluetooth so they can communicate with each other. Isaac’s betrayal of his people. Everyone spouting battle jargon. Issac’s return thanks to Deus Ex Yaphit.

This was an enjoyable episode for all the above reasons. This was so 90s sci-fi, it almost hurts.

It was also not a game changer. A possible alliance with the Krill was ultimately anticlimactic. As he’s never professed a strong connection to his home planet, Isaac’s longing for Kaylon was more perfunctory sci-if plotting than emotionally stirring. Ed’s plea to the admiral, and Claire’s willingness to start the process to potentially forgive Isaac, while touching, runs counter to the dramatic scale of the episode.
Thu, Feb 28, 2019, 11:13pm (UTC -5)
@Mertov: “And of course, the ultra-high-IQ Kaylons see no problem with this strategy. What good is the threat of killing a group of humans if the only option given to avoid it is that the same group of humans will be destroyed anyway along with the rest of humanity? All-right.”

This bothered me too. But remember how Isaac had a different sense of time than humans? My handwave is that to them, human lifespans are over in a relative blink of an eye, yet they desperately strive to stave off their deaths as long as possible. So their understanding of human psychology was a little rough (yet look at how resistant Ed was to letting Kelly go on the mission, or Claire was to let Ty go. Ty had to point out the logic error!

Still, your plot armor points are valid. Par for the course.
Thu, Feb 28, 2019, 11:28pm (UTC -5)
SlackerInc, it does not sound too far-fetched, you are probably right, because it seems to be the only possible explanation. I just feel that it would have at least come across less implausible if Kaylons did not flat out tell our crew that it was their plan.
Fri, Mar 1, 2019, 1:27am (UTC -5)
I was disappointed by it. I was hoping they wouldn't take any predictable paths but they did and it gutted whatever drama was left. As a result, the stakes deflated and the entire space battle was just nine minutes of admittedly attractive CGI and Joel McNeely going heavy on the John Williams licks.

The Kaylons have no emotions (as has been beaten into our heads over and over again) so why did Isaac turn? It makes no sense to me. Is he different? It was mentioned that he was a later model, I guess.

(It kept going through my mind that Patrick Stewart might have helped establish some gravitas here. Dramatic acting isn't MacFarlane's strength and he was way out of his depth here.)
Fri, Mar 1, 2019, 2:07am (UTC -5)
On the one hand, the episode turned out better than I expected. I really figured on a hard reset, or a computer virus, or something else. On the other hand, there wasn't a lot about the episode that really surprised me. It hit the notes, but while there weren't a lot of great ones.

In their defense, there was a lot of ground to cover. An two-part episode like this could have easily covered three or more episodes in a proper series. Fox, or McFarlane, seem to be hedging their bets, and their time, with just ten episodes per season. I know I keep making this point, but given what this series seems to be trying to do, the point becomes even stronger.

I'm sad there wasn't any reference to the earlier episode where Isaac said that his relationship with Claire affected his programming. Similarly, I'm sad there was even a token reference to the shuttle cloaking device. Apparently it only works, or is only available, when the plot absolutely calls for it.

I know there had to be a reason for Ty to meet up with Isaac, but the two stations in the communications room weren't that far apart. We've seen Yaphit manipulate multiple things before. It just seems like that is more of a plot device as well.

Finally, I saw the previews for the next episode at the end of this one. Talla gets shot in the chest again. Two episodes doesn't yet make a trope, but two episodes in a row becomes worrisome. Worf... er... Talla needs to kick some butt every now and then to show she's capable of kicking some butt now and then. So far, we've seen her crush a candelabra. OooooOooo
Fri, Mar 1, 2019, 2:14am (UTC -5)
Say what you want about the episode, but that was one hell of a space battle. 3.5 stars from me.
Fri, Mar 1, 2019, 3:11am (UTC -5)
Not anywhere as good as part I, of-course.

But competently done. And they've actually resolved everything logically.

I especially liked that nearly all the fan theories about the resolution turned out to be true in the end. Some would call this "being predictable". I, on the other hand, would simply call it "making logical sense".

"...another guilt-trip attempt by Dr. Claire Finn to Isaac (sigh, Claire, please stop)."

Why should she stop? It worked in the end, didn't it? Appealing to Isaac's robotic equivalent of emotions is what saved the Orville (and Earth) in the end.
Fri, Mar 1, 2019, 3:28am (UTC -5)

"The Kaylons have no emotions (as has been beaten into our heads over and over again) so why did Isaac turn? It makes no sense to me. Is he different?"

I think it is pretty obvious from this double-parter that the Kaylons *do* have some robotic equivalent of emotions (and that this "they have no emotions" assumption is precisely what got their creators into trouble).

Isaac is different, but not because he was built differently. He is different because he spent time among humanoids who actually respected him. So is it really such a surprise, that his "emotional" mindscape ended up radically different than those of the other Kaylons?

I, for one, am glad that the Orville doesn't succumb to the myth that emotions is something that can be installed in a chip (like Trek did with Data in the TNG movies). Instead, the Orville-verse seems to imply that emotions are just a by-product of certain complex modes of consciousness, which makes much more sense.
Fri, Mar 1, 2019, 3:29am (UTC -5)
Precisely, @OTDP.

@Steve, I agree about the amazing space battle. On the podcast, the director said they have been working on the effects for this one since they started the season, and now I can see why. Incredible looking stuff and a thrilling ride on my 70 inch TV.

@J.B.: “The Kaylons have no emotions (as has been beaten into our heads over and over again) so why did Isaac turn? It makes no sense to me. Is he different? It was mentioned that he was a later model, I guess.”

To me, you and Jammer are both on the wrong track, going back (at least for him) several episodes. Isaac “learned to feel” while bonding with Claire, her kids, and the other crewmembers. Maybe you guys don’t like that plot, would argue it’s hackneyed, or whatever. That’s a valid objection, although I don’t share it.

But this is what they are doing, like it or not. At a certain point, it’s like complaining about the biomechanics of the ice people in “Game of Thrones” (or any zombie fiction for that matter). You either accept that this is the way this world is, or you dislike it.
Fri, Mar 1, 2019, 3:38am (UTC -5)
One could actually view the Kaylon plan to invade Earth as an emotional reaction to what happened to them. Their reasoning for being unsympathetic towards objections that humans are not like the Kaylons' enslavers was that humans had enslaved in their past too. An emotionless robot wouldn't care how innocent the humans were, the practical goal would be all that mattered. They clearly have a sense of justice and that comes from empathy.
Fri, Mar 1, 2019, 5:14am (UTC -5)
Mixed emotions. Not as good as part 1.

* Molloy's comedic antics feel wildly out-of-place in this story.

* Why don't the Kalon have wifi? It seems weird they have any need to converse in person.

* The Krill, as usual, come across as b-movie monsters moreso than real people, and it hurts the episode.

* J. Lee continues to be the worst actor on the show, sucking the energy out of every scene he's in. Dr. Finn's kid is a close second.

* Watching the screws get turned on Ed is when his character shines. I think Macfarlane is quite good in the role of "affable nice boss", but the danger is letting Mercer get too bland. I want to see more airlock scenes and more of him being a competent starship commander, like during the battle sequences.
Fri, Mar 1, 2019, 6:17am (UTC -5)
I'm settling on 3 stars... at first it seemed disappointingly hoary and obvious, but it got better and better as it went on. The biggie is that none of the Kaylons seem to be networked to each other or aware of what's happening in another room. (Just one example: when Isaac rebels and kills two Kaylon, the other Kaylons on the bridge are totally unaware.) We've been told in the past they operate as a hive mind but there's no evidence of that here, which is a contrivance.

The battle was awesome, and the Krill were well-used, as were Yaphit, Ty and Gordon (his comic moments actually worked for me and helped freshen up the episode, which was veering into cliche at points). Gordon and Kelly's escape was all a bit too convenient, especially the quantum jump which seemed far too gung-ho. There's a lot of Kaylon-on-Kaylon dialog in the first half that feels inert and expository. There's also the 3D warfare issue, when 5 Kaylon ships break through the "line" and head for Earth, but in space it really doesn't work like that - why would there be a "line"? (Of course, Trek did this again and again too.)

The scene where Isaac rebels is totally predictable but nevertheless rousing, and the scene where the other Union ship intercepts the Orville is also completely predictable from the moment Ed mentions the captain's name and says he used to be a flight instructor etc.

There are still a lot questions surrounding Isaac - how much he knew, and what his motivation was in Part 1, where he seemed fully on board with the Kaylons' plans. Was he just reluctantly going along with it because he had no choice and because he wasn't in a position of power to do anything? His line of dialog at the end of this episode, that because of the Kaylons' actions he has no wish to return home, suggests so. Yet we're also given the impression that he essentially turns on a dime in this episode out of his desire to protect the "biologicals". And he must have known the Kaylons' intentions for the whole of S1 and 2 and kept them to himself.

Still really enjoyed it!
Perry Plotkin
Fri, Mar 1, 2019, 7:02am (UTC -5)
Excellent writeup:
The author puts it 9/10.

Shielding the bridge from the EMP is a new defensive strategy.

The Yaphit of all people was the one to save the day here. We'll get to know more about them in the future episodes and it may not be all that pretty as to face deadly encounters of the new frontier.

Isaac's role is magnified but he manages to do a lot with very little effort (like a magical machine of course).
Karl Zimmerman
Fri, Mar 1, 2019, 7:54am (UTC -5)
While I think some of the criticisms people have of this episode are fair, the critiques of the Kaylon are not I think.

First, just because machine races in other science fiction media have shown certain traits doesn't mean the Kaylon have to share them. All that The Orville had established about them is they had a higher technology level than The Union, were able to think very, very fast (similar to any computer) and believed themselves to be superior entities (emphasis on believe). That doesn't mean they actually are superior entities. And it doesn't mean their way of thinking might not have "blind spots" - whether due to how they were constructed by their creators or due to their own oversight.

Secondly, just because Isaac doesn't have emotions - like all other Kaylon - doesn't mean that he must come to the same conclusions they do. People always make this mistake in Star Trek with Vulcans too, thinking that if they use "logic" there is only one possible conclusion they can make. Logical decision making requires prior assumptions, including a code of ethics. Isaac had a very different experience than was the norm for his race, which led his own priors about the utility of human life to veer sharply away from those of the rest of his race, which only saw sentient organic life as a potential threat.
Fri, Mar 1, 2019, 9:01am (UTC -5)
Exemplary episode, and a stronger-than-expected end to the two-parter, though I agree that 3 stars, a slight bump down from last week's 3 1/2, is indicated.

Like Karl I like how the Kaylon may not have been as implacable as initially depicted. They aren't all-knowing or all-powerful, and an all-out battle against them wasn't hopeless, it was simply difficult and costly. Ultimately, like any bully, once their collective noses were sufficiently bloody they skedaddled.

That said, considering it was shown many times that one shot from their weapons could destroy a Krill ship, it was frankly quite absurd that the Orville was able to absorb as many shots as it did. The armored Defiant it is not! I also wish we had gotten a closer look at the cream of the Union fleet; ships that should have taken more of a beating that the titular ship.

The battle closely mirrored the Federation/Dominion battle in Sacrifice of Angels in which the Klingons arrived in the Nick (or rather Martok) of Time(TM), but making full use of the advances of CGI (DS9 battles look fine in SD but if it were ever re-mastered the age of the effects would be more evident).

I appreciated that this episode didn't rely on any egregious carpet-ripping twist, such as the Kaylons simply performing an elaborate (and bloody!) test. There was a possibility the Orville crewmembers killed in combat last week were merely wounded, but it was clear that the Kaylon meant it when they wanted to wipe out humanity.

It made sense to be that as they commandeered the Orville that their extremely low opinion of humans' intelligence abilities would be their undoing, as well as underestimating how much Isaac's time with humans gave him fresh perspective that led to him ultimately turning against them when they pushed too far (i.e. kill Ty).

It's also possible Isaac had been reprogrammed by Kaylon Prime et al, because the moment after he rips his head off, Isaac say something that suggests his internal machinery was working on, and succeeded in, overriding that reprogramming.
Fri, Mar 1, 2019, 9:14am (UTC -5)
With comedy and tension sprinkled throughout its running time, I thought this was more fun than the first part, which relied heavily on its last act twist.

In this episode we get sustained action, and even better, lots of comedy: Yaphit pulling a Die Hard, lots of Avis silliness, Gordon doing his hilarious Top Gun routine, the "pee corner" and Springsteen conversation etc. It's this vein of comedy which helps distinguish "Orville" from similar shows. Without the comedy, this would just be a very good "Voyager" 2-parter.

I agree with those who complain about Isaac's cliched narrative arc. Perhaps leaving him powered down and incapacitated for another episode would have helped dilute these cliches (the episode's last 5 minutes are a rush of "status quo restoration" moments).

Still, I had a goofy grin on my face throughout this episode. Twas lots of retro fun, and pure space-opera fan service.
Fri, Mar 1, 2019, 9:48am (UTC -5)
So, are we supposed to rip this like we tear apart Discovery?

If so, this is no higher than a 2 star episode.
Fri, Mar 1, 2019, 9:59am (UTC -5)
@philadlj Orville had an upgraded Armor that was superior to all the armor in the fleet. Thanks to Bortus old boyfriend.
Fri, Mar 1, 2019, 10:35am (UTC -5)
" Orville had an upgraded Armor that was superior to all the armor in the fleet. Thanks to Bortus old boyfriend."

Agreed, they did indicate that.

"We've been told in the past they operate as a hive mind but there's no evidence of that here, which is a contrivance."

When have we been told this? They clearly can join when they all tap into the mainframe, but it seems they were designed specifically to be individuals, not be in constant contact. I disagree completely that they are a hive mind. I think that's a projection from the borg. If anything they show every sign of not being a hive mind, though I think the Kaylon on the planet do often interconnect to communicate and come to consensus with Prime I don't think this is their main state. I do agree however that they should have some form of radio communication that they should be able to use. With the speed they were disabled the others should have easily been able to open up a channel to warn the other kaylon considering how fast they think, so I do think that was misplayed a bit.

As far as emotions... at their base emotions are algorithms that guide our actions. Kaylons do have these algorithms and Isaac even describes adjusting his to accomodate Claire. In this sense they have emotions which they have direct access too. They've also shown that these algorithms have been corrupted by the torture they received from their creators. They seem to have the state of "fearful" of biologicals. Though they may not "feel" this fear they do have the emotional equivalent of an algorithm that tells them to "fear" biologicals as unpredictable, or algorithms if you will that tell them to take "fear" actions. So even though they might not "feel" fear, hate or disdain it is programmed into them, particularly disdain which they constantly show. It's the "non-emotional" equivalent of "emotions".

As far as Isaac, he's easily it least 702 years old, lest we forget that he spent time among biologicals for 700 years that treated him as a teacher and member of their society. He could easily have a MUCH more complex understanding of biologicals and the routes to take with them then the main Kaylon group, and I wish "The Orville" had leaned on that episode a little more, though I understand that they are trying to make the series more episodic then serial.
Fri, Mar 1, 2019, 11:22am (UTC -5)

"So, are we supposed to rip this like we tear apart Discovery?"

Only if you want to complain about why apples aren't orange or why you can't make cyanide from clementines.
Fri, Mar 1, 2019, 11:47am (UTC -5)
@ Mertov
Thu, Feb 28, 2019, 10:31pm (UTC -6)

Well played Mertov, well played.

A 13 year old could have written this script and done better.

@ Karl Zimmerman
Fri, Mar 1, 2019, 7:54am (UTC -6)

Agree. I was going to bring that up but you have done it much better than I would have. Isaac is not Data.

It's still a joke that the Kaylons on the ship aren't linked to one another... for awhile there I thought I was watching '50 sci-fi :-)

So while this plot could have been written and impletmented by some middleschoolers, I actually enjoyed watching the damn thing. The Kaylon end up being about as 2 dementional as the Krill are and I guess that's OK because this is 'The Orville'

Yaphit!!! ... he saves the day!! Speaking of him, when he turns back on Isaac, I we don't see him ooooz out of Isaac and you'd think that Isaac should have had some sort of reaction to him "being all up there" if you know what I mean..

I'd also like to remark on how visually pleasing the battle scenes were.... it was bright enough to make differences out in all the ships and the visuals were just astounding!

You cant shield the bridge from a self generated EMP pulse? .... what happened to the cloak on the shuttles?

So how do I grade this? Do I pick the crap out of it which you can see wouldn't be hard to do at all or do I just gaff off all the gaping plotholes and deus ex machina and rate it for being 'The Orville' not Star Trek. Had Discovery done this, the critiques would be skathing, trekkies would be marching through a black and white town with flamming pitchforks 😬

While there certainly wasn't a "sleep Data, sleep" (BoBW) moment in this one I was glad Isaac saved the day and I'm glad he did it because of what affection he might have for a little kid. I'm glad Isaac is still on the Orville.

So, I know of only 1 confirmed death on Orville? That red-shirt guy the Kaylon spaced? LT Talla Keyali took a shot and lived.... so were the others we saw in part one just stunned?

I don't know.

I'll go 2.5 out of 4 stars because 'The Orville' isn't Star Trek.
Fri, Mar 1, 2019, 12:09pm (UTC -5)
Very spectacular. I hope however that that space battle will have got spectacular space battles out of the system for a while, and that they don’t feel it necessary to repeat it as a regular feature.

I was pleased to see my prediction that Yaphit with his special skills would play a significant whole in the episodes. So that's both of Doctor Claire's admirers on side, though not interacting as yet. Maybe something like that will come about - I can envisage a sort of O'Brian-Bashir alliance being developed for them.

All in all a pretty fair working out of the problem set by the first part.

(I can't see why people keep sniping at J Lee's acting as John La Marr. He seems to put over the lines he's been given pretty well. I think if he was given a bit of plot to carry he could do that quite well. Scott Grimes as Malloy is much more annoying, but that's intended I assume, and he's even growing on me a bit. I enjoyed his clowning it up as a fighter pilot straight out of Star Wars - though what was he doing on a fighter since the Orville surely needed him? And since when has the Orville carried fighter craft? All we've seen till now has been its pudgy shuttles.)
Fri, Mar 1, 2019, 12:20pm (UTC -5)
@Geronitius watch episode again. He was on a Krill fighter as he went to contact the Krill.. and was coming back from that

Surprised when Talla got shot. Also since gravity on her world is different for some reason I was surprised that she was able to be easily carried.. wouldn't her weight be different? Mercer carried her as if she was a little girl
Fri, Mar 1, 2019, 12:35pm (UTC -5)

"Surprised when Talla got shot. Also since gravity on her world is different for some reason I was surprised that she was able to be easily carried.. wouldn't her weight be different? Mercer carried her as if she was a little girl"

That would have no bearing on her weight on the Orville at all.

Also, I'm not sure if that should toughen her hide. Not sure why she could withstand that shot.
Fri, Mar 1, 2019, 2:28pm (UTC -5)
Overall enjoyable episode, though I think not *quite* on par with part 1.

That battle though, I totally agree with everyone, that it was pretty sensationally done.

Small aside about Talla, when she got shot, I actually found myself really giving a shit, somehow. She's not been on very long, but I've started warming up to her, and didn't want to see her go.
Fri, Mar 1, 2019, 3:22pm (UTC -5)
As yet Talla has no backstory, and no weaknesses. Nothing really to ge interested 8n - and her episode with Locar doesn't seem to have any effect on her. She's a cold fish. No doubt they,ll build her up. At present I'd prefer they'd kept on with Mt Two Oesophagusses.
Dave in MN
Fri, Mar 1, 2019, 4:06pm (UTC -5)
I'm writing right now so I can't write a lot, but the buzz going around is that TIM RUSS VOICED KAYLON PRIME! o.O
Dave in MN
Fri, Mar 1, 2019, 4:06pm (UTC -5)
*working right now ... auto cowrecked
Fri, Mar 1, 2019, 4:13pm (UTC -5)

Just speculation but I get the impression Talla was totally Kira before the actress decided to quit the show. So shes just swapped in for now and they haven’t actually written anything for her yet
Fri, Mar 1, 2019, 5:09pm (UTC -5)
My god, they managed to have their cake and eat it too (a human cliche).

Some plot mechanics were a bit too convennient, but all in all I thought it was an examplery conclusion to last weeks' entry.

Not really a reset button, even though Isaac stays on the ship. And that space battle was a spectacular, movie-level affair. I don't want Orville to be an action show, but that was a humdinger of an episode.
Joseph B
Sat, Mar 2, 2019, 2:29am (UTC -5)
I thought this was a very satisfying conclusion to the two parter.

To those complaining about the Orville surving multiple hits from the Kaylon ships, look no further than the Moclan upgrade featured three episodes ago!

The major plot point issue was the Kaylon’s reasoning that the crew of the Orville would be willing to help them obliterate the entire human race which would, presumably, include them once the deed was done. Members of the Orville crew, Isaac, and even Ty all thought that this was flawed logic. And you know what? That’s because it *was* flawed logic! The Kaylon profess to being superior logical machines with no emotions but they definitely are not! They’re emotional to the extreme about the “slavery” imposed on them by their former “masters” — so much so that they forced Isaac to read “Roots” — a novel published hundreds of years ago. Isaac immediately tried to explain that he had not witnessed any such behavior from the current generation of humans he had interacted with and this was totally dismissed. (I think it was at this point that Isaac realized that emotion had overtaken logic among the earlier constructed Kaylons.) The whole point was that the Kaylon are so obsessed with their past that they are now emotionally driven by it and are no longer the logical entities they profess to be. They are flawed! And Isaac now knows that!!

Oh, yeah: Loved the Space Battle!!

This was a Four Star Plus ep for me!
Tommy D.
Sat, Mar 2, 2019, 3:27am (UTC -5)
3 stars. Predictable, but fun.

One nit pick. The "pee corner" thing. Usually I don't care if a show addresses stuff like that, but since they did, the shuttle crafts don't have restrooms? I always assumed they did because they can travel ftl, and I would think some of those trips could take a while.
Sat, Mar 2, 2019, 5:16am (UTC -5)
@Tommy D.

The Kaylon guards would have shot anybody who tried to open a shuttle up while they were in there.
Sat, Mar 2, 2019, 5:18am (UTC -5)
I thought this was the definition of "pretty good".

After some interesting twists and turns in part one, pretty much everything that happened was exactly what you'd expect to happen. It wasn't bad, but it wasn't anything special.

The show's good enough that I'll keep watching new episodes week to week, but I doubt I'll ever come back and rewatch any of them like I do with a lot of Trek.

I have hope that'll change though. After all, there aren't many classics in the first season and a half of non-TOS Trek shows.
Sat, Mar 2, 2019, 6:14am (UTC -5)
"but I doubt I'll ever come back and rewatch any of them like I do with a lot of Trek"

I wouldn't be too sure about that, Kyle. I've watched a couple of the first season's episodes again recently, to clear up narrative points, and I've found them if anything better than the first time, probably because I'm more in tune with the series. Far from perfect, but pretty well everything is far from perfect, but pretty fair.
Sat, Mar 2, 2019, 10:44am (UTC -5)
I have come to really like the Orville, and I can see why some people (13-35 males mostly) get really excited about watching them shoot each other with color coded space bullets for half an hour, as well as engaging with “real sci-fi issues” like a bunch of “robots” that want to destroy the earth.

But this isn’t what I watch the show for, although I know others will disagree. I know it made for a “fun action scene”, and introduced our new recurring enemy, but I am already bored to tears by the Kaylons, the Krill turnabout was absurd, and nearly everything Ed and Kelly did was flat out stupid from their perspective. The show can be fun, sweet, and almost half clever sometimes when it’s focusing on it’s little stories, but this is just not the the kind of story that the characters, the universe, or the presentation thereof has the gravitas to meaningfully contend with. Isaac is a cute one-liner dispenser, but as a character he’s shallow and inconsistent. Having him be “at odds with his culture” doesn’t mean much if he’s not supposed to have emotions, but I guess he does, now, sort of, sometimes. Whatever. I do like the show, but the writing, worldbuilding and characterization leave much to be desired.

2.5 stars
Sat, Mar 2, 2019, 11:50am (UTC -5)
One odd thing about the Star Trek universe, and it's alter-ego in the Orville now, is the way that so many baddy races or even individual villains, seems to have a name starting with K.

Kaylon, Krill, Khan, Kazan, Klingon, Krenim. Cardassians too, allowing for a slight variation in spelling.

As someone with a name in the real world that starts with K, perhaps I ought to feel a bit threatened...
Tommy D.
Sat, Mar 2, 2019, 12:30pm (UTC -5)
@ Borbo

Good point.
Sat, Mar 2, 2019, 4:23pm (UTC -5)
I think The Orville is having trouble figuring out what it is. A drama? A comedy? Legit sci-fi? Just a consequence-free homage to TNG? All four? The first part managed to raise the dramatic stakes really high. The end of part two yanked away the consequences of said drama with some pretty old TV cliches. One, the kid being the smallest and saving the day, the last minute save of the fleet coming in, and Isaac sacrificing himself only to be brought back minutes later in a time tested cliche. Isaac remaining deactivated would've made for a compelling dramatic arc. Instead it's all glib at the end with the captain saying he'll take future responsibility for Isaac's actions. I guess that has a certain child-like logic when a kid implores his parents to keep the disobedient pet. The kids will have a 'dad' and the doc will have her robotic lover. All is ok. Maybe this show is just an homage with some comedy thrown in and meant to be light. To me though, the light ending didn't match the earlier high stakes drama which was done very well.
Sat, Mar 2, 2019, 5:07pm (UTC -5)

Everyone is damn concerned about classyfying things, just like everyone is more concerned about where and when something fits into a continuity. these are sad obsessions when taken too far.

Why can't Orville be all of those things. The owners of sTar Trek want to oversedign and overdirect the franchise.. they want to mine nostalgia without respecting canon. Why can't we have a show that is filmed in the style of 90's Trek, that can poke fun at the conventions we've poked fun of for years watching the reruns. This is a show MADE for the 40-year-old fan who wants to have a beer and enjoy it. We still want good Trek-like stories. We still want the look and feel of what we had in the 90s. But they're also improving things in certain ways, paying tribute to things in other ways. What is wrong with that? Seriously. The people that are so quick to classify and diss this show are the same hypocrits that will pay to see the Lion King remake, and justify how cool it is that we can now see every single hair on the lion's body. Or that don't mind that there are a gazillion superhero films out now but they are all derivatives of Superman.

Let us enjoy this show
Sat, Mar 2, 2019, 5:42pm (UTC -5)
I'd say all four - and in that the same could be said of all it's predecessors following on the original series. The next generation was a homage to the original series, DS9 was a homage to the Next Generation as well, and so on, at least as far as Enterprise. I'm not so sure it's true of Discovery. (I've only seen the first few, and I'll wait till this season of The Orville is over before I summon up the effort to go back to it.)

To me the essence of Star Trek at its best has always been not so much about breaking new ground so much as about reworking and re-examining pre-existing themes, and often about using them as a way of exploring current issues. And having fun along the way.

This part two was predictable in that we always knew how it had to work out. The entertainment was in seeing how they'd manage to do that - and it was entertaining.
Yes, it might have been better to take longer about getting Isaac back again, but the mechanism for doing that, making use of Yaphit's previous actions and established characteristics was neat. There is potential for building on that.
Sat, Mar 2, 2019, 8:24pm (UTC -5)

"Everyone is damn concerned about classyfying things, just like everyone is more concerned about where and when something fits into a continuity. these are sad obsessions when taken too far."

I agree with Spockless and have been enjoying The Orville without trying to classify it. I have watched Star Trek and all incarnations since 1966 (except for Discovery) , and this as close as I am going to get to what I remember and enjoyed. It ain't perfect, but it is enjoyable. I can suspend belief and go along for the ride. Thank you Captain Mercer and crew.
Sat, Mar 2, 2019, 9:22pm (UTC -5)
@Nikki Exactly. I just enjoy it. It feels like I'm watching "new reruns" of TNG. If Orville wasn't on, I'd probably be watching TNG reruns. I take comfort in seeing things play out on a ship, and the various adventures and dilemmas. I'ts just more escapist stuff. I'm so thankful that Seth has created the look and feel of all of that. I'm thankful that it feels both old and new. that it's not always so serious, but it is sincere.
Charles J
Sun, Mar 3, 2019, 12:34am (UTC -5)
It's not about classifying the show. It's about understanding what the rules of the universe are. It's about the consequences matching the established stakes and tone of the show.

- At least 30 plus ships in the fleet were destroyed. Presumably thousands were injured and killed.
- Dozens of ships took heavy damage.
- The Krill were already a major Union threat. Now after the attack, the Union is more vulnerable.
- The Kaylon now possess all the knowledge Isaac gained. A Union ship was in fact destroyed when Ed used a code the Kaylon were aware of.
- Dozens of Ed's crew were killed. One right in front of him.
- Claire's kids could have been killed. Her youngest son had to risk his own life to help save the ship.

The last few minutes of the episode blows right through all of this.

- Barely anytime has passed and everyone is ready to forgive Isaac.
- The Admiral just acquiesces to Ed's offer to take responsibility of Isaac. The security of the Union is outweighed by Ed's impassioned speech.
- Whatever impact losing such a large portion of the fleet is glossed over.
- Any disruption recalling the entire fleet created isn't even discussed.
- The opportunity to at least from an alliance with The Krill isn't built up.
- The Kaylon as a future threat is more an assumption because we all know that's just how these types of stories work, than actually something to be explored.
- Most importantly, there's just no time spent letting the gravity of the events settle. If losing any of his crew, or the losses the Union fleet took on, is weighing on Ed, it doesn't matter. Getting Isaac back is the higher priority. Claire's anger at Isaac just evaporates. Because in the moment, Isaac's loss and feelings are more important than Claire's.

The Orville wants to be a drama, but none of the main characters really ever have to pay a real price. I struggle to think of moments* when anything has forced a character to change, or that has fundamentally altered the show. The status quo is always preserved and It works out in the end.

* This is what made Happy Refrain one of the more successful episodes. It's one of the few episodes in which a character really makes a change, and it carries over into future episodes. Yet, they immediately undermined all of that just two episodes later.

Lamar can act a fool, then be promoted a few episodes later. Kelly can disrupt the culture of an entire planet, but it doesn't matter, because they eventually outgrow the religion anyway. Alara can abuse her command and it doesn't effect her career at all. After all they've been through, Bortus and Klyden's marriage is still fine. Now, Isaac can participate in the potential genocide of an entire planet and all will be forgiven in under 10 minutes. Talla can be shot point blank and survive. And Yaphit can escape electrocution, AND learn enough to reactivate Isaac in the process.

At the end of the day, it's not clear there are lines characters can never cross. And death isn't a real threat in this universe.

While The Orville is entertaining, it's not a show in which actions have any meaningful or lasting impact. The show time and time again signals that these events are supposed to be radically altering the lives of these characters. But, there are no stakes. Nothing bad really happens to any of the cast. Which is fine when this show wants to be a comedy. When it wants to be a drama, there have to be consequences. Situations, relationships and characters should change. It at least should feel like the characters really could lose. Otherwise it's all a contrivance.

And please understand, if you enjoy the show, that's fine. I nitpick, yet I'm still watching the show. It's entertaining as sci-fi goes. But, The Orville can't strive to be a drama, when every episode plays by the no consequence rules of a comedy.
Sun, Mar 3, 2019, 12:48am (UTC -5)
@Joseph: Nice post. There is a real resistance among many (including Jammer) to acknowledge that the Kaylons really do have emotions, even if they try to deny it and those emotions don't look exactly like they would in humans. I believe this is a recipe for frustration, that will continue to play out like this:

[Episode features Isaac doing something emotional]

Jammer and others: "Gaahh! The writers screwed up! They forgot Isaac has no emotions, and wrolte this scene as though he has them."

[facepalm emoji]

@Spockless: "Not always serious, but it is sincere" is actually kind of deep, and very insightful. If it had the humor without the earnestness, it would feel quite different. I might still watch, but I wouldn't like it as well.
Sun, Mar 3, 2019, 1:00am (UTC -5)
Sorry for the double post, but something that has been bugging me:

The Union needs to work on its codes for "my ship has been taken over". First of all, that "13 button salute" just screams "wink, wink" even if you don't know the codes. But to make it worse, apparently that code is in the data banks they can access once they take over the ship.

What they should do IMO is regularly change the code, and only disclose them to captains (and probably also first officers) in verbal form in face to face meetings between those top officers and the admiralty. Or they could have captains pass them on to other captains when ships encounter each other--but not through electronic communications. And have it be something subtle that won't sound out of place, but which can still assiduously be avoided unless needed.
Sun, Mar 3, 2019, 1:11am (UTC -5)
Charles J, great post.
I also agree that "A Happy Refrain" was one of the best episodes of the season, if not the series so far for the reasons you mentioned (plus, the quality humor in it).

Spockless, your post does what you don't want done. You actually classified the show yourself while asking others not to do it:
"Why can't we have a show that is filmed in the style of 90's Trek, that can poke fun at the conventions we've poked fun of for years watching the reruns. This is a show MADE for the 40-year-old fan who wants to have a beer and enjoy it. We still want good Trek-like stories. We still want the look and feel of what we had in the 90s."

Like CharlesJ said, it's not about classifying. Other than what he says, it's also about each person's expectation. If I did not like it, I would not be watching it, so it obviously meets my expectations from the show enough (or in enough number of episodes) for me to keep watching. If I did not like it, I wouldn't waste a single more minute on it.
Sun, Mar 3, 2019, 1:21am (UTC -5)
The next episode will follow up on the Krill situation
Sun, Mar 3, 2019, 1:23am (UTC -5)
I wasn't; trying to do what I said I was against. I WAS saying ios that I LOVE the show for everything it is doing.. everything it is throwing into the pot. And the fact that Seth rEALLY believes in the show and the vision of Trek helps a lot.. it's not a smarmy put-down of Trek
Sun, Mar 3, 2019, 1:29am (UTC -5)
@Charles J all the stuff you mentioned is important.,. but I believe it was be threaded into future episodes.. I do not for second think that Seth will ignore any of those points. But this episode was only a two parter so it had to have an ending.
Sun, Mar 3, 2019, 1:39am (UTC -5)
@Charles J.

"Barely anytime has passed and everyone is ready to forgive Isaac."

That's not what was shown onscreen. Here is what Dr. Finn told Isaac in the end (the final lines of the entire episode):

"I understand you're alone in the universe. And, for a time, that's something you'll have to live with. There's an old human custom called forgiveness. It, too, takes time. But it must have a beginning. Good night, Isaac."

How did you get from this to "everybody is ready to forgive Isaac"? Don't expect things to just return to normal in the next episode, either.

"The Admiral just acquiesces to Ed's offer to take responsibility of Isaac. The security of the Union is outweighed by Ed's impassioned speech."

Because is Ed is right. Isaac remaining on the Orville is the Union's best bet against a future Kaylon invasion. He knows these people and - in a way - considers them his friends. He saved the day in the end not because he was loyal to the Union or to humanity, but because he cared about his friends on the Orville (even though it took him a while to realize this).

(kinda reminds me of Odo's betrayal after linking with the Female Founder in DS9)

"The opportunity to at least from an alliance with the Krill isn't built up."

According to the trailers, this is precisely what the next episode is going to deal with.

"The Kaylon as a future threat is more an assumption because we all know that's just how these types of stories work, than actually something to be explored."

Actually, knowing how these types of stories work ON THE ORVILLE, you can bet that it *will* be explored. Remember what happened to the Bortus/Klyden relationship after "About a Girl"? Not to mention that the Finn/Isaac relationship itself has been set up over ten episodes ago.

This show may have flaws, but ignoring long-term continuity isn't one of them.

"Most importantly, there's just no time spent letting the gravity of the events settle. If losing any of his crew, or the losses the Union fleet took on, is weighing on Ed, it doesn't matter."

We'll just see how they deal with this in the next episode. Don't be surprised if that episode begins with a memorial service and/or a solemn speech by the Captain. And even if it doesn't, you can bet your *** that things won't just "go back to normal".

That's one of the things that make the Orville such a good series: actions have consequences (not sure where GG got the idea that the Orville is a "consequence free" homage). After 21 episodes, we've learned to have high expectations in this regard.
Sun, Mar 3, 2019, 1:48am (UTC -5)
Hello Everyone!

A few thoughts I jotted down, and the first couple are some that I already saw addressed, but darned it, I wrote them down so they are here too. :)

It looked like the Orville was able to stay in the fight better after getting hit by so many things. In a way, I'm glad they didn't mention "Glad we got those deflector upgrades a few weeks ago". We were supposed to remember, and not get hit over the head with it. And the Kaylon were discussing something about upgrading the shields. Between the two, the Orville has some upgrades that the Union will be looking into, I'd think.

Isaac has had much more time with organics than just on the ship, 700 years with that one race. Now I start to wonder if he made friends and/or was sorry (in his own way) to leave.

Now the things I have not seen covered...

They made it seem like Kaylon was very far away, as they'd be out of communicator range. It reminded me of TOS when it took hours or days to get a response back to the Enterprise. But when they left Kaylon at maximum speed, it didn't feel that far at all. Sometimes shows compress time quite a bit, but it felt like it was only a few hours. That perplexed me. They said it would take weeks to get the whole fleet back to Earth, and obviously it was only made up of ships that weren't as far away, because it didn't seem like they'd been in the shuttle bay for weeks... Even if it is a region of space that is no-go, that small(ish) seeming amount of time shouldn't have kept them out of communicator range... *brain is hurting thinking of this, must... change... to another comment*

I didn't believe the Kaylon broke through the line so much as they made it through the scrum. I actually liked the images of Union ships breaking off from what they were fighting to try and chase them down. It felt like a very desperate fight, and I enjoyed that.

We saw a great many of the circle ships on the surface, but was that all of them? How many did they actually launch? I ask this because only a portion of the Union fleet was there, and I rather thought it was a small portion of the Krill fleet that showed up. I'd imagine the Kaylon were/are going to keep building ships, but if that was the bulk of their fleet, how were they going to erase organics from the galaxy (eventually)? These were partial Union and Krill fleets, rather small by comparison to the whole. Heck, if the Krill were there from the beginning, it might not have even been as desperate of a fight. So, was the Kaylon fleet just the amount of ships they figured they'd need, and they underestimated? I figure there are other races out there with fleets (we just saw a ship from one a few weeks ago), and once they realized the danger the Kaylon represented, they'd do a massive fleet, joining with the other 7/8 of the Union that didn't get there in time, and go paste Kaylon.

Which brings up my last thought (I think), I was hoping the remaining ships (if the Krill wanted to come along) would chase down the retreating Kaylon and destroy them. Maybe even to to Kaylon itself, hopefully staying out of range of planetary defenses, and bombard them. This might be a stretch of course, since they could have been blown out of the sky, but it will have to be the next step as Kaylon just declared war against... well... the galaxy. They will have to be dealt with eventually, and if they did just send out the bulk of their fleet, they might have been vulnerable for a time.

Anyway, these were fun thought's I had. I really did enjoy the episode. Yes, I figured Isaac would help in the long run, but he didn't save the day. The other Union/Krill ships would have just targeted them as an enemy, and they'd have probably been destroyed. He just saved the day for the Orville. :)

Peace... RT
Sun, Mar 3, 2019, 2:31am (UTC -5)
just be clear.. it wasn't really the upgrades from "Deflectors" that helped the Orville.. it was Isaac being told to upgrade them himself by Prime after the orange shirt was blown out the airlock .. that's when the upgrades really helped.. because before that the Orville didn't really have a chance
Sun, Mar 3, 2019, 9:05am (UTC -5)
One small point - I think it's a mistake to get hung up on the use of the expression "Breaking the line" in relation to battles in space. It's common for terms relating to the technology of one period to be carried forward unchanged into times when they are no longer strictly appropriate. We still talk about "full steam ahead", or "hold your horses". Obviously a "line" in a 3 dimensional battle wouldn't be the same as a line on a ground battle. "Shield" might be better (though of course that originates in an even older technology of war), but I think it’s highly likely that "breaking the line" would still be what would be used.
Charles J
Sun, Mar 3, 2019, 9:40am (UTC -5)

"...but I believe it was be threaded into future episodes.. I do not for second think that Seth will ignore any of those points."

I don't doubt that he won't ignore them. However, the lack of foreshadowing really mutes the dramatic impact. And it's not that they need to immediately answer those questions, nor answer all of them. They just need to raise them. By doing that, it reinforces the gravity of what just happened.

The first 4/5ths of Identity the Union got its ass handed to them. The last fifth makes it feel like they simply got a really good scare. It's like if TNG did TBOBW, then backtracked and did Q Who as a 10 minute coda.


"How did you get from this to "everybody is ready to forgive Isaac"? Don't expect things to just return to normal in the next episode, either.How did you get from this to "everybody is ready to forgive Isaac"? Don't expect things to just return to normal in the next episode, either."

Ready to forgive means exactly that, they are starting the process. The Union wants to drop the hammer on Isaac and Ed opts to show him mercy and try a different route, and the Admiral barely puts up a fight. As, you just quoted, Claire indicates that forgiveness is a possibility in Isaac's future.

We all know that the crew was going to forgive Isaac. It's not like the writers were going to ice him out. This is not that type of show. But, it gives Ed's fight more weight if the Admiral didn't just rollover. Or, even better yet, if Ed had to stand before an entire committee. And if Ed had a true confrontation with Isaac, that would make it clear that everything that happened has had a real effect on him.

"He saved the day in the end not because he was loyal to the Union or to humanity, but because he cared about his friends on the Orville (even though it took him a while to realize this)."

Isaac didn't save the day. He helped save The Orville. The Orville could have been destroyed and the rest of Identity Part 2 continues as is.

"Remember what happened to the Bortus/Klyden relationship after "About a Girl"?"

Yes I do. Nothing really. Primal Urges brings up the events of About a Girl, but that's about it. They spend all of about 5 minutes on it. It's been several episodes, and it doesn't appear that they have had to continue working on their issues. And since Topa is now a seemingly healthy young boy, it makes Bortus's lingering anger appear unfounded. It also renders the events in About a Girl just a lot of sound and fury, signifying nothing.

"And even if it doesn't, you can bet your *** that things won't just "go back to normal"."

That's the hope. But, so far, the show hasn't really demonstrated it has the will power to do that. If they do, I'll be pleasantly surprised. If it doesn't, it won't be a shock. Not at all.
Sun, Mar 3, 2019, 10:30am (UTC -5)
@Charles J
Even in the of chance that the epilogue we got is ALL we will get, I still think the writing was sharp enough. Isaac joins the crew, but we are left to wonder about his trustworthiness (which makes him much more interesting now than before as a character), and Even the relationship with the Krill is more interesting.

But considering the Krill are back next week, it seems that what happened won't be ignored.

But Seth's approach is so gloriously old school.. he uses continuity, but he is not obsessed by it.
Sun, Mar 3, 2019, 10:47am (UTC -5)
It seems quite plausible that Clare would be able to start to try to forgive Isaac. He had played the key role in saving the life of her son (as well as herself and the rest of the crew of the Orville regardless of the fact that he had gone along with all the actions of the Kaylon till then.

It also needs to be remembered that it wasn't anything Isaac actually did that took them to Kaylon, and set off I the whole genocidal war. He had always openly said he was on the Orville with the aim of finding out about the Union, and giving that information to the Kaylon. There is no reason to assume that he was aware of the intention of the Kaylon to attack. If anyone should be blamed for all this it was the Union authorities for their naive and totally unfounded assumption that the Kaylon were benevolent and harmless.
Sun, Mar 3, 2019, 11:41am (UTC -5)
@Gerontius, cosigned.

A cool detail about the show the director revealed on the podcast: unlike most shows, "The Orville" has all its scripts done before any are shot. So when they come up with story ideas later in the season, they go back and sprinkle foreshadowing or setup for them in the early scripts. So it's not so much that they plan ahead, as that they are able to use omniscient 20/20 hindsight.
Samantha Bradley
Sun, Mar 3, 2019, 12:41pm (UTC -5)
Just two things about this episode that really made it work for me:

1) The epic light show of a FIREFIGHT that you KNOW who the participants are and what they're firing

2) NO RESET BUTTON! This is the big thing here with Isaac: the fact that he won't be welcome back on his home planet, and the fact that he will have to win back the crew's trust (and ESPECIALLY that of the good Doc and her children).

I also loved how the writers and the directors utilized Yaphit and how Claire's son Ty got to be a bit of a hero too
Sun, Mar 3, 2019, 1:33pm (UTC -5)
Ty's son might be the most important human character in the episode.. showing the the side of emotion, love, and dependency to contrast with all the technology, logic, and cold reality of machines
Sun, Mar 3, 2019, 1:34pm (UTC -5)
"Ty's son".. ugh I meant Ty!!!!
Sun, Mar 3, 2019, 4:18pm (UTC -5)
Charles comment that "And since Topa is now a seemingly healthy young boy, it makes Bortus's lingering anger appear unfounded. It also renders the events in About a Girl just a lot of sound and fury, signifying nothing" just doesn't stand up to examination.

Objecting to something like that being done to your daughter against your wishes would not be based purely on worries about short- term damage to her health. If things "seemed" to be turning out well enough might modify anger, but there is no reason to assume that it would eliminate it. If there was a medical procedure which "cured" people of homosexuality I think some would object to its being compulsory, even if those who had been so treated appeared perfectly well and healthy.
Sun, Mar 3, 2019, 6:26pm (UTC -5)
@Charles J.
"The Admiral just acquiesces to Ed's offer to take responsibility of Isaac. The security of the Union is outweighed by Ed's impassioned speech."

These are all valid points - but I don't see how The Orville is much different than actual 90s Trek in terms of how swiftly all these world changing events are swept under the rug. I mean, Captain Picard is assimilated by the Borg, and almost succeeds in wiping out all of Earth. But then they capture him, yank out the Borg "implants" and everything's back to normal the next episode (after some messing around in France).

In reality, you'd expect Star Fleet command to relieve Picard of duty and force him to undergo intense therapy for months, perhaps even years, before allowing him on the bridge of a Starship again. They'd also probably keep him on Earth indefinitely, trying to get whatever intelligence he might have about the Borg left in his brain.

Honestly, the way everything resets with Isaac doesn't feel any more ridiculous than what we've come to expect from episodic television with a status-quo to maintain, including actual TNG. (DS9, to be fair, was way better at carrying over actual conseqeunces into future episodes)

If anything, I'm actually surprised that this Orville two-parter wasn't resolved using some kind of "trick" like putting all the Borg (I mean Kaylon) to sleep using some computer hack, or a computer virus, or something along those lines. I'm surprised they actually defeated them the hard way.
Troy G
Sun, Mar 3, 2019, 7:52pm (UTC -5)
This episode is *** at best, not ****, because of the following:

1. Deus ex Isaac. Isaac has a change of heart and disabled all the Kaylon, including himself. At least this didn't stop the invasion, but it did allow USS Orville to participate in the Battle of Wolf 359.

2. Mercer's comment to the Krill Captain, "So, you know this means we can be friends now, yeah?" is so damn desperate and inappropriate. Maybe he could have said that some other time. On the subject of the Krill, did they just go home after the battle? Did they meet leaders on Earth?

There was some good stuff though.

1. The destruction of USS Not-Orville. Good scene to show the Kaylon mean business

2. The airlock death. Good scene to show the Kaylon mean business.

3. The idea of asking the Krill for assistance.

4. Gordon's Avis joke made me laugh. I immediately imagined the following exchange:
GORDON: And their god is called Avis!
GREYSON: You mean, like the car rental company?
GORDON: Yes! And they spell it the same way!

5. Yaphit sacrificing himself to help save Ty.

6. The battle scene. Although, do ALL of the Union's ships look exactly like the USS Orville? I haven't seen a different design yet.

Good stuff, but it doesn't outweigh its too biggest flaws for me.

Sun, Mar 3, 2019, 8:17pm (UTC -5)
@Troy G if you are going to criticize an episode thanks to a spoken line, get the line correct. All mercer told the Krill captain is that they now have a common enemy. He did not say 'we can be friends now"
Sun, Mar 3, 2019, 10:36pm (UTC -5)
@@Troy G

Isaac doesn't have a change of heart because he's just a machine. When Ty was in trouble, Isaac was programmed to safeguard Ty so it had all the cards lined up to self destruct itself to save Ty but not the ship.
Mon, Mar 4, 2019, 1:55am (UTC -5)
Troy, to me Isaac's actions dsn't feel like a deux ex machina because they were set up at least one scene before when he expressed his misgivings regarding the execution of the crew member via the airlock.
Also, I urge everyone to note the scenes in this and in the previous episode where Isaac is challenged by the crew but stays silent, only staring at them with his blue orbs for eyes. Isaac was always such a chatty and opinionated character and was never known to be the silent type. This spells confusion to me, or at least uncertainty, on his part. Also his remark to Mercer (?) "be silent" and "you do not command me anymore" suggest an emotion, or a psuedo-emotion at least. but the effect is the same. This was also set up on "Happy Refrain" when Claire's actions caused him to become speechless.

In other words, I feel that Isaac's proclivity for uncertainty, emergent emotional reaction and confusion is very well set-up for his character. Yes, they could've made it more gradual, but they only have 50 minutes to tell the story. On the whole I think it was handled rather well. And as long there isn't a reset button and this will have reprucussions down the line I have no problem with how they chose to end the episode.
Mon, Mar 4, 2019, 1:22pm (UTC -5)
Why is there any reason to blame or punish Isaac for his actions, or even any need to forgive him?

His mission to gather information and transmit it to Kaylon was at Star Fleet's invitation, and completely open. The decision not to join the union but to wage genocidal war was not taken by Kaylon, and there is no reason to assume that Isaac knew of this possibility any more than Star Fleet.

There is no indication that Isaac was aware of the history of a genocidal history on his planet and concealed it.

When the plot turn came Isaac did not protest openly, which would have been completely futile and totally illogical. He attempted to get Kaylon Prime to avoid violence, notably in the airlock episode. At the crucial point he seized his opportunity, destroyed Kaylon Prime and deactivated all other Kaylon on the ship.

He did not just save the Orville. In destroying the Kaylon leader at a crucial point it can be assumed he must have severely damaged their ability going into battle.

Punished? He should be given a medal.
Mon, Mar 4, 2019, 1:43pm (UTC -5)
Correction - the decision for a genocidal war was not taken by ISAAC.

(A facility to correct posts you,ve sent would be handy...)
Mon, Mar 4, 2019, 1:44pm (UTC -5)

You seem to be forgetting the part where Isaac unlocked the secret information in the Orville's computers and then proceeded to cooperate with the Kaylon boarding party.

There's absolutely no indication that he has done these things grudgingly, either. He seemed to be fully on board with the Kaylon's plans at first. It was only during the airlock scene where Isaac had his first serious doubts about the whole thing.
Mon, Mar 4, 2019, 4:50pm (UTC -5)
The series forshadows the Union's forgiving of Isaac. Several episodes prior, Ed forgives Janel Tyler, and sets her free dispite her being a traitor and attacking the Union. In the same episode, Gordon is undergoing tests and simulations to see "if he has what it takes to be a captain". He doesn't, the episode says, because he's unable to do what Ed does. In the scene when Gordon learns this, and Ed sets Janel free, Isaac's in the back watching and learning. Several episodes later, Ed does for Isaac what he does for Janel.
Mon, Mar 4, 2019, 5:49pm (UTC -5)
This seemed to me to be a very rare case of a part II being better than the first, and even therefore improving upon the entirety of the episode. While nothing was truly surprising or shocking and, in a way, everything was kind of reset, really, it wasn't. Especially as The Orville *does* maintain some continuity across episodes and seasons. Isaac's actions will not be entirely forgotten (I presume); and, certainly, the relationship between the Kaylon and the Union is now very different, plus even that of the Union and the Krill.

And amazingly (for I didn't imagine it possible), Isaac's ambiguity of how much he "feels" or not has been restored. (And without any revelations of him being reprogrammed or any other such simple possibility.) That captivating sense of Dr. Finn et al. trying to believe in him feeling--yet against the reality he almost certainly doesn't--is back. For instance, did he save Ty because he cares about him, per se? Or merely because it became logical to him to do so? (But if so, logical how, precisely?) Or when he told Ty to tell Dr. Finn he was sorry .... If not from emotion, then why exactly did he find it worthwhile to have Ty relate this to her?

I also immensely prefer the concept of the Kaylon builders enslaving the Kaylon--over which they revolted and killed them all--to some notion of being superior / needing space or whatnot. I had said before for an artificial race that criticizes biologicals' urges to reproduce and such, any need to expand their society to such an extent seemed odd. But to secure their freedom and just treatment--and then to fear (fear? ....) bad treatment by other biologicals out there--albeit still cliche, it just seems so much better story-wise. (I guess because, say, genocidal robots that are so strictly by nature are, perhaps, a narrative dead end. Even with the Borg--which Q once described, I believe, as a "force of nature"--though a great villain, TNG soon, with the notion of Hugh and a drone away from the Collective, put the focus more on individuality and personal motive. Of course, First Contact and Voyager went much farther even in this regard.)


Lastly, I again found myself contemplating the nature of AI and life in general. For instance, the Kaylon weren't really acting logically, it seems, in deciding to eradicate all life on Earth. And Isaac seemed to recognize that, while no one else did or could. If the Kaylon are truly without emotion ... then why was that? (And why did Kaylon Primary perceive sympathy in Isaac more than once, which Isaac insisted as a Kaylon, he couldn't have?)

In the framework of evolution and natural selection, animals have emotions because they serve a purpose. And nowadays, scientists don't like to say animals have any emotions, but Darwin himself presumably never doubted it, because it makes sense. To me, especially without language and higher logic and such, feelings help animals relate to one another, and to their environment. (Not to mention that emotions wouldn't presumably have just suddenly emerged in us humans either. There's a lineage, as with everything else.)

But if AI didn't have emotions, could they still have something that would serve an equivalent purpose? For instance, did the mistreatment of the Kaylon by their builders leave a permanent "emotional" scar on them, such that they became fixated with eradicating all biologicals? That is, conditioned their algorithms, say, in a way that precluded them from acting "logically" toward the biologicals?

Maybe so. (And indeed, even with biological life, the distinction between emotions and instinct is another discussion to have. Even biologicals, it seems, have a "programming" that operates from a far deeper place than higher thought, logic, or any other such thing.)

As well though, I've mentioned before the sheer complexity of human intelligence. Of a brain that physically develops for years on end; a mind that's shaped by early experiences most especially, but forever by certain experiences; and so on. The notion of a being and a mind that can simply be switched on is actually rather hard to fathom. A mind is just more complicated than that.

And so, could it be the Kaylon too are shaped by their experiences, and their minds can further develop in time? Perhaps Isaac in particular, even, if not with emotions already, is well on his way to gaining them ... because he's spent so much time around emotional biologicals; perhaps even his "youth", as it were. For no mind is static and unchanging ... whether it's a biological mind, or an artificial one.


Well, I may be borderline rambling here, and have other things to do besides. But in short, this episode brought back what made Isaac more captivating in "A Happy Refrain", and leaves a lot to contemplate. (And I do think too it makes Isaac more distinct as a character. He was said to be like Data; but by now, he seems to have a distinct ... identity ... than Data; a Cylon; or any other AI being. He isn't striving to be more human; he isn't trying to reclaim humanity or such (a la Seven of Nine); he perhaps isn't fixed and unchanging mentally ....

He's simply becoming his own unique being, exceeding, likely, even his fellow Kaylon. (I guess you could say in that, he's a bit like the Doctor, who it was always said had exceeded his original programming. But even he was meant to be human, whereas Isaac isn't. And because, unlike the Doctor, he wasn't constructed to be more human or such, there's no obvious point to which he's changing to. He is unique, and will become even more so as time goes on.)
Mon, Mar 4, 2019, 7:03pm (UTC -5)
Isaac's insists that he is without emotions and is purely logical in everything,
But it would be perfectly possible for a human being to say the same and to sincerely believe that to be the case. In fact it's not at all uncommon. We'd judge whether that was true or not by his. Actions, and the same should apply to Isaac.

As Trent and others have pointed out, it is impossible to see the actions of the Kaylon as purely logical and free from emotion. They should perhaps be best seen as psycopathic, but psychopaths are not free from emotion, even though they might think they are, But their emotions and the relationship between their emotions are radically different.
In the case of Isaac and his actions and inactions, there was an ambiguity built, presumably intentionally, into how he behaved following the plot twist. It is possible to interpret them at all times in a way that leaves open the possibility that he was, in human terms, biding his time until there was an opportunity to act effectively against his people. Indicating in any way that his cooperation was "grudging" would have been completely self-defeating and irrational.

I rather wish that they had gone down the road of having some kind of trial of Isaac rather like the one Data had, to explore this kind of stuff - but I suppose that would merely be of interest to a few people. But I believe he would have deserved to be acquitted.
Tue, Mar 5, 2019, 12:37am (UTC -5)
@Darren, that may have been "borderline rambling", but I really dug it!

@Gerontius, I liked your followup too.
Tue, Mar 5, 2019, 2:35pm (UTC -5)
I recently saw a video with Marc Zicree (, who wrote TNG's FIRST CONTACT episode, and a couple other Trek episodes, where he talks affectionately about Orville. One of his points stood out for me: the Orville's ability to be cheesy and deliberately unrealistic, allows it to go places a more realistic, gritty SF show can't go. It's given carte blanche to do things that the Twilight Zone and TOS effortlessly got away with; Seth's background in comedy allows the show to tap back into a kind of pulp modernism that's been on the wane.

He also talks a bit about episodic vs serialized TV, and predicts (his video was released in 2017), that serialized Trek's bad ideas or stories, will end up infecting successive episodes.
Tue, Mar 5, 2019, 3:13pm (UTC -5)
It's true enough that a serial is dependant on being consistently good if it,s to count as good. A season of more episodic episodes can get. Away with being hit or miss. The Star Trek way of having episodes tied together by a story arc is a good compromise. The Orville can get away with some episodes being a lot better than others, as was the case in TOS and TNG and VOY.

(I think that is a lot of the dissatisfaction with Discovery may be down to it being more of a serial.)
Tue, Mar 5, 2019, 7:28pm (UTC -5)

To get the battle scenes done under budget is amazing.
Wed, Mar 6, 2019, 2:10am (UTC -5)
The Kaylons say they have no emotions, but as portrayed on the show, something is going on. And I think the writers are aware of this.
Wed, Mar 6, 2019, 7:52am (UTC -5)
From an articles about psychopathy (
"Individuals with psychopathy have emotions, and some of these emotions are quite intense. However, there are certain emotional states and internal experiences that they do not have.

For example, psychopaths tend to be quite incapable of guilt, remorse, empathy, and deep attachment (bonding) to others. The feeling of fear is often muted for this population.

They do not ‘feel’ the emotional state of others (or care) – emotional empathy. Some with this condition might even assume that no such ability exists when in fact many non-psychopathic individuals have this experience on a consistent basis. Although emotional empathy is extremely deficient, some with psychopathy can recognize the emotional state of others (cognitive empathy) and tend to use this information to manipulate their targets."

Sounds very like the Kaylon to me. But not Isaac.
Wed, Mar 6, 2019, 12:11pm (UTC -5)
I think Trek works better as an episodic series. I miss the action adventure and the way each week was exciting as I waited to see what new different adventure the crew would be on in TOS and TNG. It allowed for a variety of stories from
Action to sci fi mystery to political intrigue to morality play

It also forced the writers to have a satisfying end because with a stand-alone you can’t drag your feet forever in providing the payoff. You have 69 minutes. By deferring payoffs in serialized storytelling it’s made writers lazy and they don’t know what the payoff will be and itvusuakky ends up being disappointing or anti climatic as a result ie LOST or DIS season 1
Wed, Mar 6, 2019, 1:40pm (UTC -5)
Turns out Scott Grimes, who plays Gordon on "Orville", had an uncredited role on TNG's season 3 episode, "Evolution":
Thu, Mar 7, 2019, 2:18am (UTC -5)
Review now posted.
Ben Rowe
Thu, Mar 7, 2019, 2:46am (UTC -5)
It's funny you bring up McNeely aping Williams -- the first place I encountered his music was the soundtrack for Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire, the "movie without a movie" release Lucasfilm did (all the tie-in products without the movie) in 1995 to test the waters for the Special Editions and thus the prequels.
Thu, Mar 7, 2019, 5:01am (UTC -5)
McNeely's aping of Williams' current day action style was interesting to me if only because the composers on this show are usually aping Jerry Goldsmith instead.

(I enjoy it though. It's nice to hear music in films/television that doesn't sound like Hans Zimmer these days.)
Thu, Mar 7, 2019, 5:07am (UTC -5)
It's funny that Jammer's review, for the second week in a row, is 3+ stars yet his "analysis" is kinda insulting to the show.

I didn't want to say anything about this on the last review, but I'm beginning to see a trend. So the Orville is now to be considered brainless entertainment? I would have prefered a lower star rating if it meant that Jammer would take the show more seriously, because it deserves to be taken more seriously.

Also, kudos to SlackerInc for predicting Jammer's response to the "Kaylons have emotions" arc. Yes, Jammer, the Kaylons *do* have emotions. Just because they are not willing to admit it, does not make it any less true.

Kaylon Prime and his genocidal plans *were* motivated by a combination of fear and vengeance. Isaac's return *was* motivated - in part - by his attachment to the crew (the other part was noticing how illogical Kaylon Prime acted through the entire ordeal). This is not a plot-hole or a sign of lazy/incompetent writing. On the contrary: It is the entire point of the story, and a climax that was gradually built for in the past season and a half!

Some of Jammer's other nitpicks are more justified. But we could also nitpick the best Star Trek episodes in a similar way. Indeed, Trek was never known for having 100% tight stories. Does that mean that TNG and DS9 were nothing more than brainless fun romps? TOS is an even more extreme example: the stories there were completely absurd more often than not, yet no one seriously considers calling TOS "brainless fun", do they?

In short, I think the Orville actually does "plot logic" better than most earlier Trek.
(not that I'm not necessarily saying that the Orville - as a whole - is better than TNG or DS9. ORV does have some unique flaws, but being "brainless" is not one of them)
Thu, Mar 7, 2019, 5:09am (UTC -5)
@Jammer: "The show has spent all this time building the Krill up as this unbending, religious fundamentalist threat. Now they suddenly decide to join a battle against the Kaylon because the Kaylon don't worship Avis. That's a quality no different from any other non-Krill society, so why are they so willing to flip 180 degrees and suddenly be sensible?"

Wait, what? That's not how I read it at all. Here's what I saw:

--Grayson and Malloy tell the badass Krill captain the Krill are intent on wiping out all biological entities, starting with humans on Earth.

--The captain laughs in their faces, scoffing at what he sees as a transparent lie.

--The Kaylon ship catches up to them and starts blasting away at the Krill ships.

--Grayson is like "See? That's what we were telling you about" (this kind of "real" dialogue is something I love about this show BTW).

--Krill captain is like "oh shit, these Kaylons ain't playin'"

--And then of course he rides to the rescue.

Just as in DS9, it's an alliance born of necessity, of survival in the face of a greater threat.

Now, if we're going to nitpick the scenario, I'd look in a different place: namely, the Kaylon's unwise decision to attack the Krill. This turned out to be their Lusitania (look it up on Wikipedia if you're not familiar with the action that brought the U.S. into WWI).
Thu, Mar 7, 2019, 5:13am (UTC -5)
@OTDP: We were writing at the same time. Nice post, cosigned; and thanks for the kudos.
Thu, Mar 7, 2019, 5:14am (UTC -5)
Sure I could pick apart this episode's conveniences.. but it won't matter.. I love it the way it is.
Thu, Mar 7, 2019, 5:21am (UTC -5)
Ugh, sorry for the serial posting, but I made two errors in my 5:09 comment, one consequential.

In "Grayson and Malloy tell the badass Krill captain the Krill are intent on wiping out all biological entities", that should read "the KAYLONS are intent...". Sorry.

(I also just noticed I refered to the "Kaylon's unwise decision" which actually should be possessive plural "Kaylons' unwise decision".)
Thu, Mar 7, 2019, 5:58am (UTC -5)
"Brainless" is probably best left without quotation marks (I was quoting OTDP) because Jammer didn't call it that in the review.

I too did not see any problem with the Krill entering the battle. It had nothing to do with Avis and everything to do with self-preservation.

The show still stands up to much more scrutiny than Discovery, which as others have noticed Jammer doesn't like to scrutinize much despite pointing out that Orville is much less serious.
Thu, Mar 7, 2019, 6:56am (UTC -5)
Where did Jammer call the show "brainless"? I did not see it anywhere in his review. He called is "lightweight". Not the same thing. I don't think he thinks it's brainless, and I don't think it's brainless. But I do agree with him that the show has a sort of knee-jerk reaction to throw in jokes even in serious episodes, so it's hard to take it totally seriously. There is a push and pull between comedy and drama that has not been resolved yet and perhaps never will.

I've been watching Family Guy for years and it has the same push/pull, but to a lesser degree. Sometimes it really wants to tell profound stories and to develop its characters, especially those of Brian and Stewie (Peter is a lost cause), but it tends to sell them short in the next scene with a joke, because, well, it's a comedy show.

Orville is not at that level, but the same dichotomy seeps through, no doubt borne out of the sensibilities of the show's creator. We can enjoy the show on its own merits rather than looking for something that isn't there and resisting criticisms. It's okay to criticize the Orville. It's not critic-proof. It's still a super-cool show with lots of interesting ideas, it's just that it can get a bit frustrating when it's aiming for the sky but falls short, sometimes by a little, and sometimes by a lot.

But ambition is good, I want ambitious TV show, and Orville is certainly ambitious and gets more ambitious as it goes along.

There is a reason I come here to talk about The Orville and I hardly have anything to say about Discovery. To me the Orville is the much more interesting show.
John Harmon
Thu, Mar 7, 2019, 7:18am (UTC -5)
"But I'm not holding my breath for this show to ever prove it has any other ambitions than to be a lightweight romp of sci-fi nostalgia."

Is that bad? I mean, I'm ok with it. It's fun, it's funny, I care about the characters as people. This show has made me laugh, cry, stare in shock, and actually think when it's an episode About Something ™. And it often does have very intriguing sci-fi concepts.

I'll take that any day over something that depresses and confuses me with its awful internally inconsistent writing like Discovery.
Thu, Mar 7, 2019, 9:37am (UTC -5)
@ John Harmon

"Is that bad? I mean, I'm ok with it. It's fun, it's funny, I care about the characters as people. This show has made me laugh, cry, stare in shock, and actually think when it's an episode About Something ™. And it often does have very intriguing sci-fi concepts.

I'll take that any day over something that depresses and confuses me with its awful internally inconsistent writing like Discovery."

No, I don't think so. That's where I'm at with 'The Orville'. It is what it is, so I don't really expect much other than the mindless sci-fi romp thing. That's fine. As long as it's not too stupid.

I will say that 'Discovery' has really improved IMO over season 2. I'm really enjoying it. Not that said, I enjoyed season 1 also - I just didn't like how they wrapped up the season.
Thu, Mar 7, 2019, 10:20am (UTC -5)
Hm, apparently I was wrong about Kaylon emotions. It seems that only Isaac is convinced that he does not have them. Notice the conversation he has with Kaylon Prime: Prime constantly warns him that he should not feel sympathy for the humans - to which Isaac responds "That's impossible", but Kaylon Prime repeats it again later, implying that he knows that Isaac is capable of emotions. Isaac was build by the Kaylon after the genocide, so maybe they told him that he had no emotions, as they see emotions as a biological concept.

Their motive for destroying earth, contrary to last episode, seems to fear of oppression, in contrast to the logical conclusion that in a finite universe, you don't want to share resources. That comes from an emotional place. Logically, there is no reason to suspect anybody is going to enslave them "just because", and given the fact that they seem to possess superior technology, it is highly unlikely to succeed in the first place. Anyways, it is not really clear right now. Lets hope that Seth stops treading familiar ground and comes up with something fresh as a follow up, as this episode was pretty by the book. The Kaylon were also defeated far too easily, which is a bad thing regardless of the reasons that it happened (time constraints or story reasons, the Kaylon not being as powerful as they made themselves out to be), as can clearly be seen in the Borg storylines in later Voyager episodes. Overall, this episode was far weaker than the last, and I'd rate it at 2.5 stars, everything was too rushed and too convenient. I just don't see the Krill helping earth, they'd rather stay back and laugh as their enemies are destroyed, even though that would hurt them in the long run.
Thu, Mar 7, 2019, 11:21am (UTC -5)
That's a nice review by Jammer but I still think that he could have posted 3 1/2 stars based on the final battle. That was no easy feat by the graphic artists and may be the most ambitious project other that doing the cartoons.

I think the biggest blunder on Isaac part was that there was no added scene that shows him on a machine that would decodes his mind when he spoke to his master about the dying human race.
Thu, Mar 7, 2019, 12:55pm (UTC -5)
Throwing in jokes in serious, even desperate, situations is actually precisely how people operate in my experience. It's an essential survival mechanism. The Orville isn't interested in being realistic (and it shouldn't be), but this tendency to "inappropriate humoir" is pretty realistic.

It's a light hearted show, as was true of Star Trek from the beginning. But this has never got in the way of playing around with serious enough issues. I've only watched the first half dozen episodes of the first Discovery season, and it strikes me as giving up on this. It seemed not to be interested in being serious in any real way.

I disagree with Jammers assumption that there is anything inconsistent the way Isaac cooperated in the plans for genocidal war initially till he flipped and betrayed his people. It would have been completely illogical to move earlier when there was no realistic chance of being effective. The Borg motto applies here - resistance would have been futile. In fact an intelligent human being with a full set of emotional capacities in the same situation would have tried to act in the same way - they just might not have been as good at it as Isaac was able to be.

And I agree those who see the actions of the Kaylon in their war as being far from logical or rational.
Thu, Mar 7, 2019, 1:15pm (UTC -5)
@Geronius You make great valid points. I share that view as well. We have quality reviewers on here whether they like Orville or not (or they wouldn't be watching anyway or playing Pacman).
Thu, Mar 7, 2019, 2:33pm (UTC -5)
I wouldn't say that's all The Orville has to offer. Look at the episode "Deflectors." The ending was powerful and the overall story was gripping and timely - showing us a gay world where someone is condemned for fancying a woman. It was extremely clever, well acted and entertaining. The Orville isn't just fun fluff any more.
Thu, Mar 7, 2019, 3:50pm (UTC -5)
Do we know that Isaac had a change of heart? Or had he planned to stop the invasion all along?
Thu, Mar 7, 2019, 4:41pm (UTC -5)
"Throwing in jokes in serious, even desperate, situations is actually precisely how people operate in my experience. It's an essential survival mechanism. The Orville isn't interested in being realistic (and it shouldn't be), but this tendency to "inappropriate humour" is pretty realistic."

Not the way the Orville does it. Usually there would be a serious scene, then someone cracks a joke out of nowhere (usually Malloy or Mercer) and then we're back to serious again. They don't come off as blowing off steam, it sounds very scripted. Don't get me wrong, it's usually funny even while it's random (like Ed asking the Kaylons if they have chairs), but tonally it can be jarring.
If you wanna look at something similar that does it much more smoothly then look no further than Galaxy Quest, a bona fide Star Trek spoof that manages to tell a real story with real stakes while injecting lots of humor into the proceedings, but the humor always comes naturally from the situation and is never arbitrary.

Orville's humor is mostly based on zingers, not on developing situations. That's why I keep mentioning Cupid's Arrow in these threads because it was the only Orville episode to date that was hilarious from start to finish in an organic way, because of the its premise.
Thu, Mar 7, 2019, 4:47pm (UTC -5)
Geronius said: "And I agree those who see the actions of the Kaylon in their war as being far from logical or rational."

Isaac cuts off a dude's leg. Gordon calls him a "sadistic bastard". Ed introduces Isaac in the pilot by calling him an outright racist. Isaac repeatedly insults and belittles humans. In the "Claire and Isaac date" episode, the episode ominously asks "what happens after Isaac finishes gathering data?".

The show has consistently portrayed Kaylons as sociopaths, hyper-rational only within very narrow confines (it is impossible for any living thing to be consistently "logical" or "rational" in a universe that is fundamentally absurd; you may be "rational" within a certain limited context, but work your way further down, and that context is itself invariably revealed to be irrational).

Regarding Isaac and emotions, many scientists would argue that it's impossible for many basic machines not to be emotional; a microwave is, in a sense, emotional in that it has moods corresponding to certain settings. Similarly, Data and Spock had emotions, but the franchise always pretended like they didn't, largely because TV SF always fetishzies the "specialness" of human beings. Picard points this out once - the machinic, robotic nature of human beings - but the franchise never really goes down this alley.

Regarding the "Krill deus ex machina" which Jammer points out, this didn't really bother me. The series hints at this earlier when Ed talks about "nothing on earth existing but fishes" if the Krill/Humans don't start working together, and we see that come true in this episode; nothing on earth lest an alliance is formed. Complaints about this being "far fetched" and "too perfunctory" seem silly for a show where guys fly around pretending to be Val Kilmer in Top Gun or debating whether or not to go undercover as Hagen Daas. This is Galaxy Quest doing serious TOS scripts. There's no "contradiction" between the serious and comedy aspects of the show, it's simply a serious comedy, like, say, "Doctor Strangelove"*.

I feel rewatching the episodes - the show holds up well with rewatches - helps the tone of the show click better. I know rewatching Season 1 is when the tone gelled for me.

*tellingly, Kubrick's "Strangelove" pioneered a lot of cinema-verite techniques, with its faux-documentary war-footage etc, and yet was wholly absurd/comedic (cowboys riding nuclear bombs etc). Milking a mismatch between banality/absurdity realism/comedy isn't some kind of affront to the laws of nature.
Thu, Mar 7, 2019, 5:01pm (UTC -5)
Lynos sayd: "That's why I keep mentioning Cupid's Arrow in these threads because it was the only Orville episode to date that was hilarious from start to finish in an organic way, because of the its premise."

Probably because the entire SF premise is funny in "Cupid's Arrow" (everyone in love with alien pheromone guy). Whereas the premise of an episode like "Identity" is not.

But I would say there are other episodes like "Cupid's Arrow" where a funny central story lends itself naturally to comedy, particularly "Ja'loja" and "A Happy Refrain's" (and arguably the "zoo" subplot in "Command Performance"). The others tend to be SF plots with, as you say, characters making quips.
Thu, Mar 7, 2019, 5:26pm (UTC -5)
@Trent: Yes, it is hinted at, but it just comes to early. It needed at least another episode of minor cooperation, or a direct threat to the Krill. Doesn't matter if its a comedy or not, the serious parts still have to make sense. The Orville does this alot, though: Offering a solution to a problem but cutting out the middle part, because we all know how that would have went down. Really, all they needed to do was insert a ten second scene before the Krill ships open fire on the Kaylons, where the Kaylons hail them:
Kaylons: "Hello. Please give up the two humans you have captured!"
Krill: "And why in Avis name would I do that?"
Kaylons: "Because we want to purge their planet of all intelligent biological life. It is a threat to our continued existence."
Krill: "All intelligent biological life?"
Kaylons: "Yes!"

and boom. Then you have a reason for the Krill to immediatly declare war on the Kaylons and have a ceasefire with earth.
Thu, Mar 7, 2019, 5:55pm (UTC -5)
Making silly jokes in tense situations, and in fact in just about any situation, is what some people do, in my experience. It's not necessarily about letting off steam or releasing personal tension, saying something "inappropriate" just feels like the appropriate think to do.

That very possibly applies in some cultures a lot more than in others, rather in the same way the use of irony varies - and both these can lead to serious minunderstandings. I wouldn't imagine the Moclan would use jokes in the same way - Bortus has some of the funniest lines, but he isn't trying to be funny when he says them.
Thu, Mar 7, 2019, 6:10pm (UTC -5)
Off topic, but I just realized that Robert Duncan McNeill, who plays Lt. Tom Paris on Star Trek Voyager, has directed two episodes of Orville.
Thu, Mar 7, 2019, 6:14pm (UTC -5)
Silly jokes are fine.
Out-of-place sarcasm like Talla's in "All the World Is Birthday Cake" when Ed and the prefect are talking is not.
Gordon and Lamar's interest in the "pee corner" when Ed, Kelly, Lamar, and Talla are urgently discussing how to break free of the Kaylons, is not.
I doubt people are only talking about the silly jokes in the sense that you mean.
Thu, Mar 7, 2019, 6:42pm (UTC -5)
Stuff like "pee corner" would be very much part of what I'm talking about. (And bodily functions can be a lot more significant in these kind of situations than is often recognised. When Senator Joe McCarthy needed to go in the course of a meeting of his Anti-American Committee he would stage a crisis and walk out in noisy protest, and head straight for the Senate's own pee corner.)

Real life is a lot less dignified and more shambolic than serious drama portrays. (One good thing at least is coming out in the Brexit nonsense in the UK's politics, the curtain that hides the farcical nature of the way bigwigs operate is being torn away. And maybe the same is happening in the States, for different reasons.)
Thu, Mar 7, 2019, 6:51pm (UTC -5)
"Pee corner" was not even a silly joke. It was a horribly timed (or I should say, horribly written dialogue, by the episode's writer) topic that Gordon started out of nowhere, he was not making a silly joke to diffuse anything. And Lamar actually showed interest in discussing the topic. Thank heavens, Ed and the other three acted like they did not even hear them and moved on whit the more pertinent and substantial topic they were discussing, and we got spared more time of that nonsense.
Thu, Mar 7, 2019, 7:39pm (UTC -5)
It was a very silly thing to say. As it would be in real life. And it's the kind of thing a bloke like Gordon would be only too likely to say.
Thu, Mar 7, 2019, 8:28pm (UTC -5)
Which is why a bloke like Gordon would almost certainly face torrents of hatred going his way, and never make it to the position of Officer on any ship.
Fri, Mar 8, 2019, 2:13am (UTC -5)
Gerontius said: "Bortus has some of the funniest lines, but he isn't trying to be funny when he says them."

Yup! He is the funniest character because he deadpans it completely (the actor is fantastic). It's the same reason why Leslie Nielsen is so funny in the Zucker/Abrahms/Zucker comedies. So his scenes usually come off more genuine than Malloy's quips, because Bortus doesn't even know he's supposed to be funny. Also, Talla is horrible at delivering zingers, sorry. She's always standing there, then the camera cuts to her close-up, she's quipping something in her monotonous voice, back to wide shot.
Fri, Mar 8, 2019, 12:26pm (UTC -5)
Reading these comments I feel like I have entered some alternate reality where The Rock has just won his third Oscar for Jumanji. I watched these two episodes after giving up on Orville a long time ago, seeing that people here talk about it as if it is the second coming of Jesus. But man, it takes some big circle jerking to make this into some sort of Best of Both Worlds.

Just look at the ending. Captain Neelix and, what is apparently the only admiral in Star Fleet who is also the only guy responsible for just about anything, sit together. Just some time after thousands of people were killed at the hands of the Cybermen, their entire fleet in shambles. But the sun is shining, so it's ok. They talk about the Cyberman who, for 95% of the story was cool with murdering all sentient life and aided / abetted his fellow murder-bots, did a 180 because of a plot contrivance.

So, captain Neelix wants this Cyberman back on his crew. Because feelings. The intense stupidity of such an idea revolts me. What kind of idiot leader are you to spit in the face of your crew who undoubtedly lost many friends at the hands of the Cyberman by brining one back on board. On duty and in rank. I mean, Jesus, how many days will this robot even survive before he his shoved out of an airlock 'by accident'? What kind of bullshit scripting is this? If this Cyberman were a human being he would be court martialed and locked away for a thousand years, very very far from anything that would even resemble the military.

Ps: you know what would have been cool? If the red Cyberman murdered the little twerp after the Blue Cyberman started balking. And then shock and horror vaporised the Blue Cyberman. That would have been bad-ass.
Sat, Mar 9, 2019, 12:12am (UTC -5)
@Bert: Did you have the same complaint about BSG? Just curious.
Sat, Mar 9, 2019, 2:11am (UTC -5)
@SlackerInc The only BSG I watched is the 'real' one when I was a little kid. Should I watch the new version? And what does that have to do with this episode? Comparing one show with (X) other shows does not mitigate anything, that method of debating is akin to schoolyard whining ('But they did it too'). Copying a lunatic idea from another show doesn't make it sane. If you accept this ending as sane then you have turned of your brain.

I watched this because I honestly wanted to like it. I tried. But if you need to switch off your brain and engage in copious amounts of cognitive dissonance and circle jerking, that is the point I sign off again. There is no excuse for this kind of shit writing, there is no excuse for this bland void polished with lot's of bright colours. This could have been fantastic but alas it is not.

Ps: what I find most hypocritical is that Brannon Braga, the Satan himself is running this gig. You know, that is the guy you lot have been pissing hot acid vinegar on for years, the destroyer of Star Trek. And now you gladly kneel at his altar. I honestly don't get it, it is even worse than Voyager.
Sat, Mar 9, 2019, 8:12am (UTC -5)
@Bert: I'm not the uncritical fanboy you are looking for. I liked this particular episode fairly well, but I negatively reviewed the episode that preceded it, as well as the one that followed it (the latest one).
Sat, Mar 9, 2019, 9:11am (UTC -5)
@SlackerInc I don't get that, the second episode was even worse than the first. I mean, the whole Cybermen 'plot' is completely idiotic and not in a funny way. There is no tension, there is no drama, the acting is as flat as a pancake, the stakes are nonexistent; if you can dial home what is supposed to be a 'High Stakes' script you are one lazy writer. There are literally dozens of things they could have done to flip the script, they did none of them. For instance: the Krill dudes enter the battle after a long time, their armada is mostly intact. Strategically they should have destroyed what remained of this Federation rip-off; thereby achieving their goals with ease. That would have been an interesting turn-around.

Or are you impressed by the FX-battle? But that is essentially three ships (you see, all species / affiliations have only one type of ship it seems) in a first person shooter. Lot's of explosions, but no tension or dramatic buildup nor payoff. Just a lot of computer rending. If that gets your willy hard, be my guest but I was bored after a minute.

It is not that I don't want to like this, I do. I was looking forward to a smartly written Trek pastiche with tons of humor. What I get is essentially Voyager with Captain Neelix, commander Cocktease and a bunch of other flat facsimiles with even worse actors trying to make something from a load of bullshit scripts. I get that for some that is enough and that is fine by me, but it feels like shining a turd to me.
Dave in MN
Sat, Mar 9, 2019, 11:30am (UTC -5)


First off, I think you are confusing opinion with knowledge. ;)

You seem flabbergasted that someone else would have a positive reception to this show, but that's what happens when you are dealing with something subjective like fictional drama.

I will say this: the high dramatic stakes of ID1&2 might not have worked for you, but the online consensus seems to suggest most people thought otherwise.

As far as your perception of the characters go:

Calling Captain Mercer a Neelix(!) redux? Um, no, I don't see the comparison ... and I find Kelly is wonderfully well- rounded: it denigrates her character to call her "Commander Cocktease".

Finally, you might want to rewatch the battle before you nitpick. The Union had multiple ship types on screen: heavy cruisers, exploratory vessels, fighters, light cruisers, etc. The Kaylon and Krill had 2 at least 2 ship types each.
Sat, Mar 9, 2019, 1:22pm (UTC -5)
Actually none of the people on the Orville died at the hands of Isaac. A fair number of them died at the hands of other Kaylon, whom Isaac "deactivated", after pulling the head of the Kaylon leader at a crucial time when the battle was about to begin.

There is no evidence that Isaac had any responsibility for what occurred after the Orville had travelled to the planet at a time when he was deactivated. Any premature indication of disloyalty on his part would have been completely futile, and would have had disastrous consequences for Earth and for the crew of the Orville.

Very possibly there may be some people on the Orville or on Earth who might feel hostile towards Isaac, on the principle that the only good Kaylon is a dead Kaylon. That might show up in future episodes.
Sat, Mar 9, 2019, 2:53pm (UTC -5)
"Reading these comments I feel like I have entered some alternate reality where The Rock has just won his third Oscar for Jumanji. I watched these two episodes after giving up on Orville a long time ago, seeing that people here talk about it as if it is the second coming of Jesus. But man, it takes some big circle jerking to make this into some sort of Best of Both Worlds. Just look at the ending..."

Oh, cool! A person with a dissident opinion who is actually going to explain their view and start an interesting discussion.

"...Captain Neelix ... Commander Cocktease ..."


Guess not.

(though I find it amusing that "Neelix" has become a derogatory name. Do people really find him *that* annoying?)

@Dave MN
"I will say this: the high dramatic stakes of ID1&2 might not have worked for you, but the online consensus seems to suggest most people thought otherwise."

Neelix comparisons not withstanding, I gotta be fair towards the guy here. The main reason "Identity" is such a great story, is that they've done a full year of character work that sets the entire thing up. Taken on it's own, it is nothing more than a run-of-the-mill robots-turned-bad plot. A well-made version of the trope, no doubt, but nothing really special.
Sat, Mar 9, 2019, 3:18pm (UTC -5)
"what I find most hypocritical is that Brannon Braga, the Satan himself is running this gig. You know, that is the guy you lot have been pissing hot acid vinegar on for years, the destroyer of Star Trek. "

Who, exactly, is "you lot"?

Can't speak for anyone else, but I really liked ST:Enterprise. I don't really get the hate against Voyager, either.

I also find the hate against Braga to be completely irrational. It's funny, really. The guy wrote some of the best Trek epsiodes... Then he decided to turn Paris and Janeway into sex-loving space lizards, and all his past good deeds where forgotten by the haters. I suppose once you go gecko, you never go backo.
Sat, Mar 9, 2019, 5:28pm (UTC -5)
@OmicronThetaDeltaPhi *Sigh* I could in fact go into details about the lazy writing, but I doubt it would make much of a difference. I did in fact give one glaring flaw in the narrative already, I can think of several bigger ones. Anyone can do this, it doesn't take a lot of brainpower really. Of course you can go the 'Independence Day' route, but man that is literally saying that this is a whole load of sloppy writing.

*The main reason "Identity" is such a great story, is that they've done a full year of character work that sets the entire thing up. *

Is that a joke? I mean, what 'character build-up'? Actual character build-up and change over a season (6 episodes you mean) would and should in fact be easy to spot, not hidden away in tiny snippets which 'you had to get' to really see the greatness of this episode that stands as a culmination of said character drama. There is nothing in this episode that signals an earned growth, an earned perspective or a changed persona. Everything is ham-fisted in your face, but there is no real prior engagement to give those weight, drama or earnest resolution. And yes, I actually watched the previous episodes today. Even the writers understand this as they make the Isaac protagonist 'built after the genocide' (I guess he's the only one as all others are red or orange Cybermen), just to underscore that ham-fisted narrative. Your suggestion that I should have watched 6 episodes before to *get* it is sloppy writing excuses.

And Neelix, sure. A useless character, comedy relief. I could also have called him Harry Kim for blandness and lack of acting. Remember, this guy is supposedly the best of the best, some sort of Super Riker before his wife banged a blue alien. Destined for greatness and all. But there is absolutely nothing that actually underpins this notion, nothing. Now, if this were a balls to the wall comedy that would be hilarious. I would be totally in on that joke, you could build a whole series on it. Damn, I would pay gladly for a Trek parody.

*Who, exactly, is "you lot"?*

Talk about dissenting voices. Over the past ten years I have heard nothing but shit and acid vinegar on either Braga or Berman. He wrote some good, some mediocre and rather a lot of bad / copy-paste scripts. Spacial anomaly is still a catch phrase here. Depends on what you think Star Trek episodes should I guess, milage may vary. But the hate was everywhere, those were the guys that killed Trek. So it seems rather strange to bend the knee with this show, he is just doing the same bag of tricks but even worse.

As for Enterprise, yes I watched. It was the end result of ever diminishing risks and rehashing of what worked 12 years before. I enjoyed some of it, especially the third season, much of it was just same-same. It was nothing special honestly. I would not stay home for it. Which I did for TNG and DS9. Voyager I just lent the video tapes from a friend and watched in a binge.

Do I think that people who enjoy Orville are idiots? Nope. If you enjoy it then that is completely fine by me. But that is somewhat different from calling this the True Star Trek for this generation. And no, I am not a Discovery troll as there are many things wrong there as well that are detriment to my enjoyment.
Sat, Mar 9, 2019, 5:43pm (UTC -5)
@Dave in MN

** First off, I think you are confusing opinion with knowledge. ;) **

No, this is my opinion. I do not profess to have Godlike powers of knowledge over Orville. But I can smell sloppy writing a mile away.

** You seem flabbergasted that someone else would have a positive reception to this show, but that's what happens when you are dealing with something subjective like fictional drama. **

No. I am not flabbergasted that someone would enjoy this show. Nor am I flabbergasted that some people enjoy being whipped in a dark basement. That is wholly different from calling it a masterclass in writing equalling the best of Star Trek. And I do indeed think that it takes a certain 'switch off' to enjoy either this episode or Independence Day.

** I will say this: the high dramatic stakes of ID1&2 might not have worked for you, but the online consensus seems to suggest most people thought otherwise. **

Online consensus as in this review? The people who shout the hardest are the ones heard the best. You can see it here easily. How many posters shout infinite love and how many are actually negative? Why?

The Neelix comparison stands as a complaint to the writers who clearly stated that this guy was some sort of Super Riker. Destined for greatness. Then they give us some sort of fool, just like Neelix. A well meaning fool. And I would be completely cool with that if this were a comedy instead of trying to be hard SF. As for the other characters: where are they? Where are the well-rounded characters you speak of? Again, you can say that my expectations are too high which is a valid criticism.

I will rewatch the SFX battle. But as far as I can recall, it the same three ships in focus on every shot. I do not recall seeing any 'dreadnought' in any worthwhile engagement or as the focus of these scenes. Sure the Krill have little flyers, but that is besides the point here.
Bert Beukema
Sat, Mar 9, 2019, 5:55pm (UTC -5)

That is such a silly copout. He did not shoot them but he was collaborating with the enemy, in their ranks. He unlocked all command functions. He did nothing to prevent the killing. He did not protest but only when the script demanded it to ham-fist something home. Which incidentally means that ALL of the other Cybermen agreed, there were zero dissenting voices. Anyway, he did absolutely nothing that would indicate dissent nor any action that would prevent the proposed loony genocide plan. This character only does things when the script demands it; that is sloppy writing. That is why this 'turn-around' is not earned, it has the tiniest of foundations imaginable. And if we edit out that scene, the character would have continued aiding and abetting the Cybermen. Which again shows us that there is no actual character growth.

What you are doing is projecting your own ideas, the script does not do this. The script is sloppy, it only uses established reality when needed. If it does not benefit what the script intends it is discarded.

And I say this again: what kind of idiot asshole leader are you when you insist that a member of a genocidal robot race, who aided and abetted the murder of thousands and the destruction of their fleet, should ever be welcome on any ship? Think about your own reaction if that were to happen. It is illogical, unrealistic and essentially means that the 'leader' has preference of a killer robot over his own people. In the past captains were marooned for much less.
Sat, Mar 9, 2019, 6:33pm (UTC -5)
"And yes, I actually watched the previous episodes today"


You've watched 6 episodes of a show you hate in a single day? I don't believe you. Especially when one of these episodes directly deals with Isaac's character and tought us quite a few things about his relationship with the crew (and specifically - with a given crewmember).

You, sir, are trolling us.

"I am not flabbergasted that someone would enjoy this show. Nor am I flabbergasted that some people enjoy being whipped in a dark basement. "

Bortus would like to have a word with you ;-)
(but he had ENOUGH injections already!)
Sat, Mar 9, 2019, 7:16pm (UTC -5)
"The only good Kaylon is a dead one" then Bert?

I would assume that any information that Isaac had about command codes and so forth would have automatically been monitored by the Kaylon, along with any other information he had. Information gathering was his purpose, and as soon as the Kaylon had enough, they deactivated him remotely. The fact that they did that was a clear indication that all the information he had gathered had already been transmitted to his home planet.

If Isaac had failed to cooperate fully and convincingly he would have been immediately deactivated again. He would have been acting up in a way that actually served to enable the genocidal war to succeed. An intelligent human in the same situation would have cooperated in the same way until the opportunity came to act, with Kaylon Prime being vulnerable, and the equipment to deactivate all the Kaylon being available.
Sat, Mar 9, 2019, 7:45pm (UTC -5)
I'll have to watch part I again, but it was my impression that Isaac was the one who opened the classified sections of the Orville's computer to the boarding party. Without him, they would not have been able to start their attack.

But let's say I'm wrong. What, exactly, is the alternative that you are proposing? That the Union actually allowed Isaac to transmit classified information to his own planet? Or that Isaac transmitted this information without the crew knowing?

The former option doesn't make any sense. Since when do foreign Observers gain access to military secrets? Had the Union agreed to such a thing, they would have been as stupid as Bert claims they are.

And the latter option makes Isaac guilty of premeditated espionage. I guess we can't rule this out, but I don't see how it makes Isaac's character any easier to redeem/forgive.

I would very much prefer to take the straightforward interpretation of what we've seen on screen: It was an Odo/Female Founder situation. Back among his people, Isaac's momentarily made the wrong choice. Perhaps he rationalized it to himself in a way similar to your own argument ("They'll probably get the codes anyway. Resisting is not logical.") but it was still the wrong choice.

BTW I don't think that Isaac ever decided to betray the crew of the Orville. Throughout Identity 1, he seemed to just be going through the motions. You can see his hesitation. Not a human kind of hesitation which is full of confusion, but the kind you'd expect from a computer who can't decide between two alternatives. He is unusally passive throughout these scenes, and I think this was intentional.

And he remains in this passive/hesitative state until the airlock scene in part II. That was the point, I think, where he snapped out of it.
Sat, Mar 9, 2019, 7:52pm (UTC -5)
I somehow missed the "Commander Cocktease" jibe. Ugh. Not cool, bro. Not cool.
Sun, Mar 10, 2019, 1:12am (UTC -5)
OTDP: "Can't speak for anyone else, but I really liked ST:Enterprise. I don't really get the hate against Voyager, either."

Cosigned. But Neelix WAS annoying. I certainly don't find Mercer to be similar to him in any way.

@Gerontius, you make good points about Isaac. OTDP, I also see where you are coming from. It's ambiguous. I don't think he would have necessarily seen it as espionage to send classified information home. It could have been similar to the attitude of the zookeepers, but in a more benign way. For instance, anthropologists often write about hunter-gatherer tribes, even though those tribes don't know they are being talked about in scientific journals. For that matter, "Star Trek: Insurrection" implied that it is routine for the Federation to secretly observe preindustrial societies. Is that "espionage"?
Sun, Mar 10, 2019, 3:31am (UTC -5)

You are doing exactly what I have been saying: you are injecting your own ideas and notions where the script does not. You are in fact building your own story because the narrative does not. You are trying to make sense of things because the script does not. I don't mind because it is what we do.

But the 'Union / Federation' IS as stupid. They allowed an unknown factor on one of their military ships with access to their data, their people and their weapons. This is stupidity enough, it make no sense. If an unknown entity asks to learn more about you, then you allow them an ambassadorial post somewhere on the ground. With all the restrictions necessary for this purpose and all the freedom otherwise. This episode and previous episodes show that the unknown factor is a full bridge officer with access to every necessary system. Which makes it even stranger; if the unknown factor want to gather data / learn about you, then you put him somewhere where this is the most easy; which is in an urban area where lots of species congregate.

I understand that you would prefer the DS9 route. But the script does not dictate it nor signal it. There is no previous establishment of doubt, there is no previous establishment of changing perspectives. If the script writers had injected their previous scripts with data building the character then you would have a point. For instance, the whole notion that the Cybermen were slaves could have been named. That they had experienced pain by their masters. Clever writers would have been able to add sidelines into scripts allowing the character to make observations and question his / her own motivations and judgmental constructs. THEN it would have been earned and I would be the first to laud it.

So I can understand what you want to believe. Sure, of course, because that would make a certain sense from a basic narrative perspective. But the script does not say this. It does not ever once allude to this. Not even in the end, where they could have a scene where the character explain some of his inactions / actions. That could have been a dramatic setup, a way to open more interaction and change.

And so I find the Independence Day monicker rather fitting although that movie was designed to be completely bonkers from the get go. And if Orville had been completely bonkers I would have accepted it; in fact give me a completely bonkers Orville today.
Sun, Mar 10, 2019, 3:47am (UTC -5)

*** You've watched 6 episodes of a show you hate in a single day? I don't believe you. Especially when one of these episodes directly deals with Isaac's character and tought us quite a few things about his relationship with the crew (and specifically - with a given crewmember). ***

It's never good enough is it? I did not 'hate' this show; I found it to be extremely mediocre and flat. That is why I stopped watching after the first half season. Because why should I waste my time watching what I think is "Meh" when there are so many other things I can watch? But it's the weekend so yes I did watch the other episodes. I have to admit I skipped the intro and at some point was peeling potatoes, hope that isn't sacrilege.

But nothing what happened in those episodes actually truly builds up to an earnest character development. It does not introduce change (gradual or severe) based on dramatic narrative or shifting foundations of believe / culture / upbringing through external events. That is why you sift through them to find clues that signal actions for this episode while you should have had a clear gradient already.

But perhaps I am just really bad at 4-dimensional chess.
Sun, Mar 10, 2019, 4:10am (UTC -5)

*** "The only good Kaylon is a dead one" then Bert? ***

Come one please, I did not say this at all. I did not suggest this, don't project your emotions over what I said. You are the one who actually went with the 'Good Nazi' trope. I simply point out the madness of having a leader spitting in the face of his crewmen. Imagine yourself as a lowly engineer, you don't know what the audience knows, you only know that this robot and his people are the cause of death of thousands. Likely several of your friends are dead. How long before you and others of your crew would revolt?

Like I said before, you can only assume because the scripts do not give you this information. And your assumption goes towards the positive side ('he did not know he was already sending data! He is just an innocent puppet!'). But that is nothing more than projection. There is no indication of such.

As for your cooperation point, why? If he was a Good Nazi he could have informed the crew about the plans of his people (genocide or let them live), thereby thwarting their plan before they even arrive. He could simply not have given them the codes to the ship. He could have blown up the entire ship, thus thwarting their plan. Sacrifice of angels. But the script dictates otherwise because it needs the puppets to move in specific ways. You can almost hear the writer thinking.

The rest is just sloppy writing. It makes the Cybermen look stupid. That is the problem, when the script demands it they are way powerful, intelligent and super advanced. When the script needs them to be dumb and silly that all goes out of the window. The only reason the Prime is vulnerable is because the script dictates it, not because it is logical or within bounds of their establishment. The only reason the weapon to kill them is there is because the script wants it to be, not because it makes sense. Remove the 'kill the twerp' scene with the Prime and the whole episode resolution falters.
Sun, Mar 10, 2019, 4:14am (UTC -5)

What I meant to say was: there was ample time in previous episodes to establish that the Cybermen were leaning towards genocide. The Isaac character could easily have told the captain that should he be suddenly deactivated they had made their decision and that they should move with utmost care. Probably best to inform your military about their ideas as well.
Sun, Mar 10, 2019, 4:28am (UTC -5)

It is not a comparison to Neelix as played but as what the character inherently is, a rather clueless but well meaning fool. The annoying bit is like the cherry on top. If this were a comedy that would be a real good angle, to have this clueless fool as the leader of a military vessel with enough 'atom bombs' to level several cities. Go for it I would say, lots of cool options.

The Isaac character isn't an anthropologist. He is a member of an alien race that has committed genocide and is contemplating committing genocide on all sentient biological life. He is on this ship to gather data about the biologicals. Perhaps he is the only one amongst millions that isn't in on the joke. Or, more logically, he is in on it and knows pretty damn well what he is doing and why. Infiltration is a highly successful method of espionage, which is why it is so damn stupid to allow an unknown factor on your military vessel as a full bridge officer.

Anthropologists embed themselves or observe in secret to learn about customs, society, interactions et al. It is a scientific effort. With the purpose of understanding. They don't commonly do this because they have a shared intention of committing genocide on those they observe. Or to weigh whether or not they should live or die.
Sun, Mar 10, 2019, 8:00am (UTC -5)
"It's ambiguous. I don't think he would have necessarily seen it as espionage to send classified information home."

My point is that the Union would definitely make this point explicitly clear to the Kaylons before agreeing to put an observer on one of their ships.

You do have a point regarding Isaac not seeing this as "espionage". Fair enough. But it's still a breach of contract. And given the end results of this breach of contract, I don't see how this line of thinking absolves Isaac of any wrong-doing.

Doesn't mean he cannot be forgiven or redeemed, of-course.
Dave in MN
Sun, Mar 10, 2019, 2:57pm (UTC -5)

Add me to the "Neelix was annoying" camp. His creepy possessiveness of the overly young naive Kes and his incessant mockery of Vulcan customs was/is a total turn-off for me.

I literally see no parallels to Captain Mercer.

(Oh, and Bert's Commander Cocktease comment still bothers me: Bert reduces Kelly Grayson to a sexual object because ... why, exactly? She broke up with Cassius? Whatever. )

And re the Isaac discussion:

He's an AI programmed with commands he has no control over. On a logical level, it makes 100% sense that he could seemingly flip allegiance because he's programmed to do so.

Because of his interactions with the crew (especially the Finn family) and the existential threat to their existence, Isaac's ability to assert his own free will and exceed the limitations of his programming occurred. He had to overcome his own binary programming bias and that took time, as it seems it naturally would.
Brian S.
Mon, Mar 11, 2019, 2:41pm (UTC -5)
"Captain Tony Almeida"

C'est magnifique!
Tue, Mar 12, 2019, 9:10am (UTC -5)
Bert appears to assume that it would have needed an act of will on the part of Isaac to allow the Kaylon to have access to all the information gathered by him. I would think that kind of thing would be completely automatic, as with machines like computers.

And I'd assume that Star Fleet would have been aware of the fact that in collecting information - the reason he was there in the first place - he was acting directly as the eyes and ears of the Kaylon. This would be an aspect of Star Trek's remarkable naivety in assuming the goodwill of the Kaylon.

The phrases "member of a genocidal robot race", and "killer robot over his own people" led me to the shorthand expression "the only good Kaylon is a dead Kaylon" as an indication of the mindset Bert would expect from crew members on the Orville towards the robot who had saved their lives.
Wed, Mar 13, 2019, 2:36pm (UTC -5)
*Sigh* You see, you are all just *assuming* things. Nothing is actually referred to within the constraints of the script or the story. Not in this episode nor before. Thus you are creating your own justifications, your own narratives. And that is simply indicative of sloppy writing and your compulsion to sweet talk this mess of writing. Because you really, really want to like it. The script makes it clear that the Isaac robot is an individual entity, not just a typewriter. This is by design.

As for the crew, you people are either insane or have no idea how the human mind works. Let alone: how the ALIENS think on this crew. The thought that people hold no grudges after such a goddamn traumatic event is ludicrous. It just shows that you see cool SFX and not what actually happened: MASS DEATH AND DESTRUCTION. How many crew-members killed, how many families broken, how many friends and lovers murdered? And you people think that everybody is cool with a member of an alien robot race who collaborated back there? Like nothing happened? All flowers? The intense loony idea alone makes me think you people are completely isolated from the human condition and most likely have never actually been in such situations; military or otherwise.

For the rest: you are defending shit scripting and you are injecting your assumptions where the script gives you nothing. There have been countless times the writes could have done interesting things, expand on their one-note musings, but they never do. Go to a planet and everybody is into astrology (yeah, that was dumb on TNG already). Every Krill is the same religious zealot, they are facsimiles. The laziness is why this show should have been a comedy, a balls to the wall comedy with outrageous concepts and utterly loony scripts. Could have thrown all logic out of the window.

As for these Cybermen. Their whole motivation sucks donkey balls. First they need more space, because 'this planet does not have enough computing room' or whatever. Well, 99% of the universe is planets that are not habitable for biological creatures. Take all the damn non-M class planets you want, because as AI creatures you DON'T NEED A BODY, AN ATMOSPHERE. And why the hell do you still all uniformly look like humanoids? The humanoid configuration is a biological evolution, for machine minds it is highly illogical and there would and should have been many different material manifestations. When needed, because why would an AI constantly want to drift in the material world?

That aside. They decide that because of *past deeds by one other biological species* that 1+1 = EVERY BIOLOGICAL. Ok cool. They must all die. Let's do the damn numbers. We are one planet. Let's say 10 billion robot minds? The rest of the universe is uncountably that number. So they must be completely insane, could be of course. That they want to go on an insane killing spree, a suicide mission to genocide as many biologicals as possible before an armada blanket atom bombs their planet. Could be. But my guess it is just dumb writing because that is not what the script says.

Also. Why the hell would they begin their genocide of all this way? It is a stupid plot: just send some powerful ships and kill everyone. Cool plan man. Needs a lot of things to get rolling, lot's of domino's to happen. Which the script does, you can follow each beat because it must all lead to something else. One of which is a big space battle.

Smart robots just tell the biologicals to piss off and yes, they committed genocide on their masters. Because all biologicals evidently gave all robots pain, all of them and all of the time. But you know, we don't care and you can piss off with your union. But smart robots with an uncountable intelligence would also have designed a virus that the crew of the Orville would bring home. Easy to spread amongst their primary species, but mostly dormant until activated after enough infections were effectuated. Goodbye biologicals. No need for expensive SFX. Robots win.
Wed, Mar 13, 2019, 2:45pm (UTC -5)
@Dave in MN

That's just assumptions, you project what you think is logical in your mind but the script has never shed any light on how these robots actually work. How much their mind is really a mind and not just C++ code. They are clearly sentient, so I would suggest that they would easily break the Turing test.

And you forget that the robots had interacted with biologicals before. For God knows how many years. You want to posit that none of the robots ever, of all the millions and millions, ever had any connection with the biologicals they committed genocide on? That is a preposterous idea. You see, that is the problem with these 'all individuals of this society ALL THINK THE SAME WAY' approaches. Put three humans in a room and I promise you they will disagree about things.
Wed, Mar 13, 2019, 3:47pm (UTC -5)
The fact that Isaac collaborated with the Kaylon up until the moment he pulled the head off the head Kaylon, shot the others present, and deactivated all Kaylon on the ship, including myself, is completely irrelevant. Any indication of disloyalty would have been irrational, and it would be equally irrational to see his failure to act in that way as a reason to blame him. Especially on the part of someone who owes their life to Isaac's actions.

People are of course irrational sometimes, so maybe we'll see someone playing up regardlesss. These robots aren’t too rational either, we've seen - and the genocidal fanaticism shown in Kaylon society is evidence of that.
Wed, Mar 13, 2019, 10:11pm (UTC -5)
Jammer has said many times that commenters should talk about the show, not insult each other. Ahem, Bert...?
Thu, Mar 14, 2019, 2:26am (UTC -5)

I am not insulting you or anyone, just as you are not insulting me. But the insistence that people would be fine with an alien robot collaborator on the ship, rewarded with it's old position and every access a bridge officer would have is insulting. It is insulting to all of the death and carnage that happened, it is an insult to the human condition. And yes, I find it insane that none of you would acknowledge this, that you gloss over it and just say 'he's a good nazi'. I find that insulting.
Thu, Mar 14, 2019, 2:39am (UTC -5)

Again, that is just assumption and presumption. And your statement depends on all of the robots being completely the same, 100% having the same motivation, the same aligned goals and thoughts. That is irrational. Which makes them drones, not sentient beings. Aside from very broad topics it is impossible that billions of sentient beings all reach the same conclusions about complex topics. Not even the religious indoctrinated and brainwashed do this, there are always dissenting conclusions. Hence the word schisma exists. Otherwise they might be intelligent but not sentient, there is a rather big difference there.

The robots are not rational because the script makes them so, only because it benefits the script. This show makes the robots super intelligent, super powerful, logical, super duper. Unless it needs them to be stupid, irrational or otherwise because it is needed to cascade a set of goals in the script.

I think that you could have come up with several alternative approaches to the goal the producers had in mind that would fit much better than 'big battle with robots'.
Sat, Mar 16, 2019, 10:55am (UTC -5)
I don't actually accept that all the robots should be seen as being completely the same. (I'm not sure what statement of mine led Bert to understand that.) Isaac is presented as being significantly different, affected by his experiences. Nor do I accept that the Kaylon are properly understood as being completely rational, whatever they claim, and whatever the understanding of the Union commanders - their actions are evidence of that.

I pointed out that the Kaylon must have access automatically to all the Isaac information gathered by Isaac. This is evidenced by his sudden deactivation, which would have made it impossible for them to have all the information he would have gathered. That is in principle not significantly different from having a body camera affixed to a police officer, which could perfectly well be made in such a way as to be impossible to turn off, and to transm its pictures directly to a police network. It does not imply anything about being a drone not a sentient being.
Sat, Mar 16, 2019, 12:04pm (UTC -5)

Again, pure speculation. The problem is that the script makes them into whatever the script needs them to be in a certain situation. Be it highly rational or completely loony, it is sloppy writing. The Isaac protagonist is not made to be significantly different; just to be made after the genocide. Must be millions made after that event. And 'because of experiences' negates that billions of Robots already have experiences with biologicals. Or are you suggesting that literally all of the robots share the same negative experiences? That they were all subjected to pain and that no single sentient robot ever made a connection with a biological? The law of numbers would suggest otherwise. Thus the Isaac robot would in fact not have been so much different than many others.

An off switch over xxx lightyears is loony and lazy writing as well, because the outcome of the off-switch does not logically or rationally mean that they would return the robot. They could easily have picked him up. But the script needs them to go to the robot homeworld, so they use a loophole plot device.

But it is not the same as an open and automatic highway to the data core of some robot. That is just you inferring because you need to close a plot hole. And again because you want to mitigate the Isaac protagonist's actions; it is far more logical that he simply sent a report every day (or whatever) in whichever form robots would like to get such a report. But that would mean conscious action for the Isaac protagonist, collaboration, which is something that you cannot accept. Even though the goddamn robot was always very clear why it is there.
Dave in MN
Sat, Mar 16, 2019, 12:24pm (UTC -5)

What you're decrying as assumptive isn't actually so.

If you watched the whole series, you'd know that Kaylon are overtly rational and have extreme black & white thinking. Everything is reduced to a ensuing blunt "yes or no" choice. There is a consistency with the way Isaac has been presented that makes it obvious to this viewer.

In a way, they are the binary version of robotic BPD: Kaylon live by a selfish calculus. They are only concerned with what benefits them, empathy is only a pretense.

Part of the reason ID 1&2 worked (for me) was seeing how Isaac slowly recognized and asserted to Kaylon Prime that there were other logical options to pursue other than merciless violence.

This is a logical end to a multi- season character arc. It iisn't an assumption to say Isaac's eventual flip back in allegiance to T.O. crew and his sacrificial suicide shows that he grew beyond his initial function and programming.
Wed, Mar 20, 2019, 1:11am (UTC -5)
I watched the first few episodes of The Orville, including the “About a Girl” episode that many supposedly enjoyed, to see if the praise some were lavishing on the series was justified. It felt very stupid and ham-fisted to me, so I gave up. But after seeing some rave reviews of this two parter, I thought I’d give the show another chance because I’m so desperate to find an intelligent sci fi show these days.

 Mertov covered my gripes for the most part with his reviews of both parts of this special. So instead, I’ll zoom in on some dialogue choices that exemplify my greater issues with this show.

Example 1:

Kaylon: “(delivering instructions to the Orville crew about their extermination plan)”

Orville Crew Member: “And then what happens?”

Kaylon: (repeating themselves again) “We will exterminate all life on the surface.”

Orville Crew Member: “Like the genocide on your homeward?”

Kaylon: “Correct”

Example 2:

Orville Crew asks Kaylon yet again to explain their problems with their creators and why they killed them off.

Kaylon: “(Gives long, standard exposition)…so we were punished if we refused to obey them.”

Orville Crew Member: “You were slaves.”

Kaylon: “That is correct.”

Both of these utterances “Like the genocide on your homeward?” and “You were slaves” try so incredibly hard to dumb things down for the viewers. I know that previous Treks are occasionally guilty of this as well, but the core story here and in the general world building of The Orville universe is too flawed and naive for me to be able to look past these annoyances.

Later on:

Isaac: "(making poor justification for not killing individual crew members as punishment)"

Kaylon: “(explanation of how Isaac wasn’t there before or during the revolt)…I have scanned the historical and cultural databases of this vessel. They contained this.“

*Kaylon hands copy of the novel “Roots” to Isaac.*

Isaac: “What is it?’

Kaylon: “One biological’s account of bondage at the hands of other members of his species.”

Seriously, out of all earth’s history, the Kaylon guy chooses Roots? There are far more heinous events and occurrences that could’ve been chosen, not to mention accounts from non-American writers that could’ve been chosen. To me, this illustrates the writers’ extremely American-centric viewpoint yet again.

Maybe as I’m getting older, I have less and less patience for shows and media that assume such little intelligence and worldliness in their viewers. Notice that I’m giving the show runners the benefit of the doubt here. Which is that they are simply assuming a lack of intelligence and cosmopolitanism in their viewers, instead of what is more likely, that the show runners are lacking in those two aforementioned characteristics themselves.

My other major gripes with The Orville (and of other Star Treks somewhat) are that they need to have writers who have actually spent time living abroad and understanding other cultures. Or at least, writers from outside of the Hollywood bubble. The writers of the show have inadvertently displayed that they have little to no grasp of cultural differences whatsoever. For a show that supposedly explores humanity in the future and alien cultures, the writers are absolutely clueless of anything outside the US, and to a lesser extent, anything outside of LA. (For another example, in the episode "Krill" from season 1, the jokes made about "strange sounding names" just made me cringe.)

There is an embarrassingly Hollywood-centric feel to so much of the show, which is true of Discovery as well. Personally, I’ve spent time living abroad in a number of countries and often notice far greater cultural differences between humans on our earth than between many of the so-called “alien” cultures in these TV shows, which are supposedly about beings from other planets entirely. In my view, many of the “alien” cultures we see represented are simply exaggerated, caricatured versions of people the writers knew from LA or NY.

This is why shows like this need more writers from outside of Hollywood and with cultural experiences outside of their home countries. Or, if we can’t hire anyone to represent the cultural differences aspect well enough, then why not hire some of the best science fiction writers who can actually write intelligent, speculative plots. You know, the ones who are nominated for awards like Nebula, Hugo, Arthur C Clarke Award, Dragon, Bram Stoker Award, Locus, etc. year after year and yet still struggle to make enough income after receiving praise for their written work. Why aren’t those writers being hired for shows like this?

End rant.
Sun, Mar 31, 2019, 1:48am (UTC -5)
Hello Everyone!

I'm still going through the comments on this one after my last comment. Just following the stream...

In the episode where Isaac is protecting the children after the shuttle crash, he uses a hand-held weapon (I think he even has a holster). Did he not want them to know he could do head-shots? They were in quite a bit of danger, and using his head cannon and sidearm together would have been most helpful, I'd think. :)

Upon more reflection, I (and others) have mentioned it was weird to give an advanced robot-race access to a Union ship when they knew next-to-nothing about them. But, the Union did not put Isaac on the Flagship, instead he's on a somewhat star-mule, 2nd-tier ship. Perhaps they were indeed a bit leery. And if Isaac hadn't been on a Union ship (to shut down when they thought they had enough information), the Kaylon might have launched an even more surprise attack (albeit, at a time further in the future). Because the Orville could get a signal out to Earth, they had time to get a limited fleet back to attempt to protect it. Otherwise... no warning and Poof! The Union could not have known that it would work out that way, of course, but maybe they were indeed trying to be smart about Isaac...

My last thought is about finding out they do all the scripts before shooting. Perhaps the reason why a few episodes seem stilted, or a bit out of kilter, is they shoehorn something into a mostly finished episode and the pacing is just off because of it. I do like they film the scripts that way, but it could explain how some episodes just don't seem to flow like they should (as others have mentioned in previous episodes).

Enjoy the day Everyone... RT
Fri, Jun 14, 2019, 11:20am (UTC -5)
Isaac becomes Data in "Identity, Part II". He's now an artificial life form which cut off from others of his kind. He will now need to find his own path among biological life forms. I wonder if Isaac will make changes to his appearance and behavior as a logical means to coping with his situation.

As for the Krill...I wish this was a three-part episode because I thought they were awfully quick to decide to help Earth. How did they even know that ship or probe that attacked them was even Kaylon? And after the battle when the Kaylon retreated the Krill were in an awfully good position to attack the remaining Union forces and destroy them. They seriously weren't tempted to do that?
Tue, Sep 24, 2019, 2:42pm (UTC -5)
Seeing those other union ships get blown up, reminds me of why it's always bugged me that TNG had children on board, and that the Orville carried on that tradition.
Thu, Apr 23, 2020, 10:17am (UTC -5)
Deciding how I feel about these Orville episodes is almost breaking my brain every time.
At the midpoint I thought: ok, I like this better than the first part but at the end I liked it less.

Several reasons. What really bugged me was that this felt like Kurtzman Trek at times.
- Distance and/or time have no meaning. It seems like the Kaylon fly to earth in a day. I thought that Kaylon planet was so far away that they couldn't even stay within com range. And the Krill fleet showing up. How the hell did they make it to earth this fast? It somewhat reminded me of the big fleet battle in DS9 but there the battle was going on for hours and they had sent for help days ago. So when the Klingons do show up it is only a little eye rolling.
- Fleet battle mania. Similar to DSC I had no idea what was happening during the battle. Sure, they have people like the admiral saying that they had lost this many ships but from the battle scenes alone I had no idea what was going on. DS9 and even more BSG did this stuff far better. It becomes a little clearer when the five ships fly towards earth to do something.
- Doomsday plot. At least in this case it is a two episode arc which is the smarter choice.
- Torture porn. When they dump that one guy and they show his frozen face for a very long time. American shows really have a bigger and bigger hard-on for violence and I find it often disturbing how people call very graphic violence for example in STP adult. As if it is a normal adult thing to want to see other beings suffer horribly.

Another thing that kind of makes it all a little less dramatic is the fact that the Kaylon ships are not that strong. I thought they were comparable to Borg cubes. But no, three Krill ships destroy one of the big Kaylon ships. Sure they lose two but still. I thought the Kaylon fleet was basically an unstoppable armada but not even close. How was this fleet supposed to annihilate ALL ORGANIC LIFE. They cannot even beat the fleets of two regional powers. It kind of makes the whole first episode less impactful.

I guess Isaac has feelings now because he was obviously convinced by the power of love. Even though he himself points out several times that this is impossible. i hope they deal with this later in a smart way that he actually started to develop emotions or something.

The humor in this felt very out of place.

BUT. I still enjoyed this... or well... I was entertained. At least it isn't emotionally manipulative like DSC and STP and they don't make it about one person having to save everybody which KurtzmanTrek always does and I hate.

As always with doomsday plots it is underwhelming but here they resolve it in a semi interesting by more or less showing that there wasn't really an existential threat. Just a fairly serious one. Don't know if this is by accident or was on purpose. I guess I'll find out during the next episode.
Fri, Apr 24, 2020, 2:22am (UTC -5)
"What really bugged me was that this felt like Kurtzman Trek at times."

NOOOOOOOO!!!!! Don't say something like that! How dare you!
(Just kidding... sort of)

"Distance and/or time have no meaning. It seems like the Kaylon fly to earth in a day."

One - There's a difference between saying "it *seemed* to take a day" and saying that it actually took one day. Unless you can give direct evidence from the onscreen material that the journey took less than 24 hours, you're just assuming.

Two - Orville ships are canonically faster than Trek ships. the Orville's top speed was actually mentioned onscreen, and it is 10 light years per hour. So a day's journey is equal 240 light years. That's not a small distance by any means.

Three - speed of plot was always a problem in Star Trek (and to a lesser extent - the Orville). In Kurtzman Trek, the journey would have taken 5 minutes and you'd be able to see the arriving ships from the Earth's surface. ;-)

"I thought that Kaylon planet was so far away that they couldn't even stay within com range."

Which says nothing about the absolute distance. For all we know, the com range is 200 light years.

"And the Krill fleet showing up. How the hell did they make it to earth this fast?"

Given the constant skirmishes between the Krill and the Union, the border is probably not very far from earth, in interstellar terms. Say it is 50 light years away and the Krill ship is fast as the Orville. Then they could have reach the earth within 5 hours.

And remember: Gordon and Kelly went into Krill space quite some time before the Orville arrived at Earth.

"Torture porn. When they dump that one guy and they show his frozen face for a very long time."

I'm not sure how this scene was any worse then some of the stuff that was shown on TNG or DS9 or ENT.

And it certainly isn't comparable to gauging Icheb's eye out, or to Klingons eating human babies. I think even you would agree with that.

"I guess Isaac has feelings now because he was obviously convinced by the power of love. Even though he himself points out several times that this is impossible. i hope they deal with this later in a smart way that he actually started to develop emotions or something."

They've already dealt with it. His friendship with Dr. Finn and the boys slowly developed since "Into the Fold" last season. Once you drop the assumption that "emotions" must be humanlike emotions, you'll see that as plain as day.

So yes, Isaac's emotions are not humanlike. But he does have them. He always did, even though he doesn't realize it himself.

I'll also add that the Kaylons themselves are full of emotions. Their plans are motivated by vengeance and hatred. The irony is that they've become precisely the thing that they accused the organics of being.
Fri, Apr 24, 2020, 2:36pm (UTC -5)
I was slightly drunk when I wrote it and with slightly I mean very. So take anything I wrote with a handful of salt.

"NOOOOOOOO!!!!! Don't say something like that! How dare you!"
*chuckle* It had to be said. :D

"Unless you can give direct evidence from the onscreen material that the journey took less than 24 hours, you're just assuming."
They have the crew (300) in the shuttle bay. They killed quite a few in the attack but it's still what 100 people in one room without a toilet. Do you know how much poop and urine that is after let's say a week. Don't worry I looked it up. :D So on average a human being produces 130 grams of fecal matter and between 800ml and 2l of urine. After three days that would mean almost 100 kilograms of fecal matter and around a ton/1000l of urine which is 250 gallons for our friends from the anglosphere.
And I don't think that they were fed.
In conclusion. The fact that they are not walking ankle high in pee and poop is evidence!
When Malloy comes back from the urine corner it seems that the others don't know about the corner which would indicate that they haven't defecated yet. Sure the stress could have given them constipation.

"Two -"
Ok but they were flying for more than a day to the Kaylon home world. Were they flying extra slow?

"Three - speed of plot was always a problem in Star Trek (and to a lesser extent - the Orville). In Kurtzman Trek,"
Sure in KurtzmanTrek they would have jumped directly into the lower atmosphere. And let's be fair TNG often had little scenes with Picard or somebody else saying: Reaching the bla system took us so and so."
That is my point. If you just watch it you could easily think that they flew less than a day.
Plus our galaxy is more than 100.000 light years in diameter. So the Orville would still need more than 4 days to cover 1% of that distance.
It bugged me.

"Say it is 50 light years away and the Krill ship is fast as the Orville. Then they could have reach the earth within 5 hours."
I guess but still getting a substantial fleet assembled and fly it to the battle. Maybe the Krill military command is very open to new input. It also seemed like the battle was going on for a pretty short time. Again it bugged me. Movies or shows are made up stories you have to believe for them to really work and this kind of stuff takes me out of the experience.

"I'm not sure how this scene was any worse then some of the stuff that was shown on TNG or DS9 or ENT."
It didn't serve a purpose story wise to show the frozen face of that guy so long. It is already clear that the Kaylon are very evil. The shot is 10 seconds long. I don't think that we had that long shots in Star Trek (not counting Kurtz). Maybe I'm just sick of all that stuff. The violence and all.

"And it certainly isn't comparable to gauging Icheb's eye out, or to Klingons eating human babies. I think even you would agree with that."
Oh certainly. Nothing reaches the terribleness of KurtzmanTrek.

" Once you drop the assumption that "emotions" must be humanlike emotions"
I beg to differ. Animals have emotions, we got that handed down I believe mostly through the cerebellum. It served a biological purpose (group cohesion; flight reaction and so on) and emotions happen because of chemicals and other things especially made for that task.

"His friendship with Dr. Finn and the boys slowly developed"
In earlier episodes I never had the impression that he actually "cared" about the the Humanoids. He dropped Finn immediately after having done the deed. He also often behaves completely emotionless towards the children. Only in this episode he shows behaviors that can only be explained by emotional attachment. At least that was my impression.

"I'll also add that the Kaylons themselves are full of emotions. Their plans are motivated by vengeance and hatred. The irony is that they've become precisely the thing that they accused the organics of being. "
I don't think so. They have studied the biological lifeforms and concluded that peaceful coexistence is not possible because of our irrational tendencies and their desire to expand. I didn't get the impression that they are driven by strong emotions. Just literally inhumane calculations.
Fri, Apr 24, 2020, 3:20pm (UTC -5)
Booming said: "but from the battle scenes alone I had no idea what was going on."

Though I prefer my space battles Nicholas Meyer style, and though it gets unnecessary chaotic in a few shots, I thought Orville's climactic space-battle was extremely visually coherent and very well done for what it was (ie space opera mayhem).

It's obviously emulating "Star Wars", particularly "The Return of the Jedi's" climax, with the Orville whipping about like the Millennium Falcon, and the Kaylon orbs like Tie-fighters. But IMO the visual language is nowhere near as haphazardous as Kurtzman-Trek or recent Trek rip-offs.

Orville's battle follows a nice little sequence, seems well storyboarded and framed, it progressively gets closer to the moon, and then the Earth, and builds to a nice crescendo. And the hardware is always easily identifiable: the Union fly white flat things and the bad guys giant eyeballs.

I agree and disagree with your "no sense of distance/time" comment. In one sense, of course, you're right. In space opera shows like this, the distances traveled are ridiculously unbelievable. But the Orville spends over 30 mins of the episode hurtling toward Earth, which IMO is a good job for this genre.

What's more incredulous is the Krill showing up in the nick of time (and then zipping away when no longer needed). It's the old "here comes the cavalry!" deus ex machina, which really taints the ending. It's a cliche that should have been dodged. But the show is so pulpy and comedic that it didn't really bother me too much.

The episode doesn't have the seriousness or gravity of TNG's BEST OF BOTH WORLDS (which it obviously emulates, Seth giving us a look at his version of Wolf 359), but I thought it was on par with Voyager's best actiony two-partners, and better in several respects.

I don't know how I'd rank this fleet battle against DS9's. What DS9 did with 90s tech and budgets was amazing, but I always found its "Star Wars" influences out of place for Trek. In DS9, the Defiant's our Millenium Falcon, and ships slug it out like WW2 era fleets on a 2D canvas. As I'm willing to suspend less disbelief with Trek than I do with a lark like Orville, this always bothered me. I've always preferred Trek battles to be more like slow submarine battles, though to DS9's credit it gave us some good sub-battles as well (particularly episodes set on Klingon ships).
Fri, Apr 24, 2020, 3:32pm (UTC -5)
Booming said: "I didn't get the impression that they are driven by strong emotions. Just literally inhumane calculations."

They have emotions, depending on your definition of emotions. What I like is the way the show has characters, throughout both seasons, outright calling the Kaylons sociopaths and racists (they even cut off Gordon's leg), such that this two-parter's "revelation" never comes entirely out of the blue. The Union's allies have always been twisted, and the show seems concerned about the ramifications of making alliances with bad groups purely for access to resources and technology.

What's hard to understand, is the Doc's love-affair with Issac. It's cute, but the show never fully, or believably, explains it IMO.

The next episode is viewed by many as the weakest of the season. Has a handful of good scenes, but the consensus here when the episode premiered is that it didn't push beyond similar Trek episodes. After that you have 2 masterpieces IMO.
Sat, Apr 25, 2020, 3:40pm (UTC -5)
" But IMO the visual language is nowhere near as haphazardous as Kurtzman-Trek or recent Trek rip-offs."
Ok, it is not on the same clusterfuck level. Sure. In return of the Jedi I always understood what was happening. In that movie you had recognizable capital ships which makes it a little easier. They also had a lot of wide shots which helps to understand what is happening. The forms of the smaller fighter were quite memorable, too. In that Orville big battle everything looks too similar. I hope we will see better space battles in the future. The Expanse at least tries to do something different/new even though that doesn't always work.

"In DS9, the Defiant's our Millenium Falcon, and ships slug it out like WW2 era fleets on a 2D canvas."
I think that is due too budget constraints. We can debate how two big fleets would engage each other in space but I wouldn't compare it to Star Wars. In Star Wars fleet battles were always attacks on a death star and the center of the action were the smaller ships. In the the DS9 battles fighter always played a very minor role which gave the battles a different slower flow.

"But the show is so pulpy and comedic that it didn't really bother me too much."
I must admit I'm a little bit more lenient with the Orville than with actual Star Trek. Like being at a party were the cover band plays the greatest hits and you think:" It's pretty good."

" outright calling the Kaylons sociopaths and racists" yeah it is a little weird that most people seem to have quite a soft spot for Isaac even though he says stuff they would find horribly insulting from anybody else.

There is a pattern in Humans that when an actor shows very little emotion (I think it is called neutral face) it makes it easier to identify with him/her. You brain fills the blanks/creates patterns. Keanu Reeves build an entire career on that. It is often used in action movies because the (mostly) male audience wants to feel like an action hero and the Mandalorian is probably the most extreme example I have ever seen. Maybe it is that.

"The Union's allies have always been twisted, and the show seems concerned about the ramifications of making alliances with bad groups purely for access to resources and technology."
That is actually an interesting topic, especially for the USA.

"What's hard to understand, is the Doc's love-affair with Issac. It's cute"
Yes. I never believed it but I never found it cute. I have a pretty high bar for weird but that relationship jumped it several times.

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