The Orville


2.5 stars.

Air date: 12/30/2018
Written and directed by Seth MacFarlane

Review Text

As a season premiere airing on a Sunday night right after football, "Ja'loja" plays almost like a radical act of counter-intuitiveness. The conventional thinking is to have a big or major episode as a premiere. "Ja'loja" takes the exact opposite approach. It is deliberately low in stakes, is character-driven, and is a bottle show to boot. It is a "hangout episode" where we spend time bouncing around various subplots that allow us to basically catch up with each of the regular characters. I respect the deliberate lack of ambition. I unfortunately can't get on board with some of the actual material.

The titular "Ja'loja" is a satirical take on the Trekkian Alien Custom, like the Pon Farr in "Amok Time." The Ja'loja itself is mostly a red herring (the actual "ceremony" takes up less than one minute of screen time), because the episode is consumed with the lives of the rest of the crew leading up to the ceremony. What details we get (Bortus must return to his homeworld once a year to urinate into a canyon) are less than ideal, and I will continue to question the wisdom of how this series thinks silly bathroom humor passed off as sci-fi cultural insight is productive. The show itself knows this is ridiculous, as evidenced by Ed's briefing where (lame) pee jokes are inevitable, but at the same time wants to pretend this is a genuinely legitimate angle to explore as a matter of Bortus' alien character. (Yes, this is played lightheartedly and isn't the least bit offensive, but I can't understand why we're saddled with an absurd premise like this instead of something that treats the characters with dignity.)

There are multiple story threads here, although no "plot" in the conventional sense. None of it is riveting, nor is it trying to be. Most of it is pleasant and breezy in a 1990s sitcom sort of way. (An unrecognizable Jason Alexander appears as the ship's bartender, which ties in with the sitcom theme, and especially the concept of this being a "show about nothing.") Some of it is obnoxious. Your mileage may vary when it comes to any of the subplots.

I probably most enjoyed the Malloy/LaMarr plot, where LaMarr serves as a dating consultant to help Malloy in his futile attempts to work up the courage to ask out the ship's new cartographer. The tone here fit the material the best and most naturally, and there's the case of that awesomely ridiculous jacket ("Feels like too many zippers."), which made me chuckle every time I saw it. I also liked the idea of a pickup-line bar program with increasing levels of difficulty.

Also slight and amusing was Alara's dating woes, where she gets set up on a blind date with Dan (who to me will always be Elevator Guy), who recites poetry that has a romantic intensity that prompts her to flee for the exits.

Meanwhile, Claire has to face the fact that her teenage son Marcus has a new friend who is providing a bad influence (overriding the replicators — or whatever they're called in this show — so they dispense vodka to minors). Isaac shows he can be helpful when Claire needs a second hand as a single parent. This is fine; nothing really much to cheer or jeer here.

But, boy, am I over Ed and Kelly. I thought and hoped after "Mad Idolatry" this series was too, and was content with them being friends. Nope. We're treated here to a bunch of Ed's pining over Kelly while she talks about the new guy Cassius she's dating, who is super nice and unflappable in the face of awkward situations (which I guess is better than the more lame and predictable option of making him a douchebag). But Ed's whiny behavior is obnoxious, and a scene where he uses a shuttle to do a "drive-by" and peek into Kelly's window from outside the ship is behavior that strikes me as that of a stalker, not a starship captain. (Shouldn't something like this get you fired?) I know, I know, it's a sitcom joke. But more to the point: Can't we just be done with the lame Ed/Kelly rom-com stuff already? This stuff didn't work last year; why go back there again?

MacFarlane's script and direction both employ a light touch which mostly works, even when the material doesn't. This is an hour of purely middling fluff, nothing more and nothing less. As a season premiere it's not what you would expect. At the very least, this ship feels like a place where people live rather than a vessel for moving plot pieces.

Previous episode: Mad Idolatry
Next episode: Primal Urges

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95 comments on this post

    Not so great, but still better than Short Treks.

    I really didn't like it. The "plot" was all over the place and focused on things I have no interest in (the Captain's relationship, and parents arguing over kids.). I'd much rather have it be more about exploration of space.

    I worry about the future of the show.

    Loved it. Glad the show is seizing on the blood in the water that is STD and bringing the show in a more relevant direction.

    Like TOS Season 2 (Amok Time) begins with Spock needing to be taken back to his homeworld to begin the rare act of procreation, Orville Season 2 begins with Bortas being taken back to his homeworld to begin the rare act of urination.

    This show grows on you, mostly because of the crew camaraderie, and Seth's milky smooth voice.

    I'm sorry to say that this was the weakest, most inconsequential episode of the series thus far, which is really perplexing for a season opener.


    It had no main plot whatsoever, and was instead just a string of subplots crammed together with barely any common tie. There was no adventure, no space exploration, no conflict, no sci-if concept. Just a very weak Amok Time rip-off as a catalyst to get everyone thinking about dating so that you could drive some contrived relationship humor into the script. It was essentially a half-hour cheap sitcom script stretched out dreadfully over an hour and set on a spaceship.

    Pretty disappointing, and I liked season 1 a fair amount.

    I hope it gets better.

    Here's why this episode was a success:

    I watched this with a woman (she and i are both on the edge of 40, if it matters) who; had never seen The Orville before, hadn't heard if it, isn't familiar with Seth McFarlane, doesn't know Star Trek from Star Wars, couldn't care less. And she laughed her head off.

    She seemed eager to watch more so we began season one from the beginning and watched the first three episodes. She liked those, too.

    The Orville, which is NOT Star Trek and NOT real science fiction, can deliver more if these funny character driven episodes and I'll be happy.

    Vger23 said "It had no main plot whatsoever".

    I thought it's plot was pretty militantly constructed around its themes. It starts with a cameo by Jason Alexander, famous for being in a sitcom about selfish people doing banal nothingness. We then get a deliberately banal tale of all the crew chasing their idea of love and happiness (most of whom nobly and self-sacrificially step aside to make another happy).

    Troy said: "She seemed eager to watch more so we began season one from the beginning and watched the first three episodes. She liked those, too."

    Similar experience. Non-Trek, non SF fans seem to like this, the relationship stuff and the comedy.

    This was the very definition of a “Bottle Show” .... and it was good!

    With allusions of “Amok Time” — the Star Trek:TOS season two opener — we got a character-driven show encompassing the entire main crew. And it was actually funny!

    I was laughing out loud at the
    * Flyby
    * The entire senior staff meeting regarding Bortis’ “request”.
    * “The poem”
    * ... and, of course, the running “As Time Goes By” references.

    I wouldn’t want to see another show like this in the same season, but for what it was it was well done.

    So it was deliberately cliche, boring and banal to bring in people who appreciate that kind of thing?

    I'm not sure that's an excuse I find fulfilling!

    Too much of a Trek ripoff to be an homage. Not funny, but with comedy setups that go nowhere. It doesn’t lure me in, it repels me. Did anything happen in the final 18 minutes?

    @Dougie yeah. Bortus peed.

    My general thoughts on this episode
    - Even in 25th century space, racism and the problematic single mother trope is inescapable. What really pissed me off (no pun intended) was Marcus' "friend" James' mom and dad acted so much like they were better than Claire.

    - Ed's drive-by past the window of Kelly's quarters? Really?

    - The zipper jacket John made for Gordon, and the simulator difficulty from 1 straight to 8.

    - And the relationship woes continue for Alara.

    All of this leading up to Bortus' Ja'loja (the Great Release). Well, at least we may see something between the captain and Lt. Janel Tyler.

    Nice to have a character-based episode, and doubly so as a season premiere (kind of nervy). The episode would have been marred by a SciFi Danger Of The Week.

    It's the perfect setup for all that will follow this season ... and shows that the Orville is willing to take chances Trek almost never did. Did we EVER have a "this is what the crew does between adventures" episode?

    Some people don't like that, but hey, the Orville is it's own thing. It's how REAL people would live in space.

    I was ready to hate the character of Cassius immediately (I like Kelly and Ed as a couple), but kudos to the actor for making him likeable and believable.

    Really enjoyed the doctor's plot .... I was pissed at those parents for easily condemning Marcus very easily and calling Claire a liar, so yes, Isaac shutting them down was very satisfying. (Great casting/ acting from all the kids).

    It's good characterization when you find out a person is really lonely and nervous under their outward exterior and it's completely plausible I felt bad for Gordon when the new specialist sat with Captain Mercer at the end.

    Also, Topa grew! The ship has a romantic restaurant! IJsaon Alexander is the new Guinan! haven't rewound it yet, but we even got some Union backstory/ maps in the classroom scene.

    I loved this episode, ita ballsy to run counter to what season premieres are supposed to be .... and the result was GREAT!!!

    3.5 stars

    Actually funny:
    There is odd pungent smell in strange areas of the ship. It occasionally triggers sensors and alarms, and it's disgusting and makes the crew vomit. Eventually it's revealed that Bortis is practicing for a ceremony on his home planet for the urine ceremony. He is consumed by the process and doesn't know when he's doing it, similar to how the Pon Farr captures Spock and makes him act erratically.

    "On Union ships we replicate a litterbox."

    I don't want to get too deeply involved in this, but just looking at Dougie's history for posts on The Orville, it sounds like he has some positive things to say about it along with the negatives. The fact that he's still watching it shows that he at least cares about how the show is doing even if he doesn't always like it.

    If you don't like criticism about the show @Dave, why not discuss why you think Dougie's wrong? You may not change his mind, but it could get others into a larger discussion about The Orville, which is what I'd think you all want.

    I always find it amusing when people say "this is how REAL PEOPLE would behave in space."

    No. No frigging way. The show is fun and unique because it is NOT how real people would behave in space. These people are all, maybe with the exception of Cmdr. Grayson, a bunch of unprofessional clowns hung up on dating drama. Most of the plots count on people being buffoonish and unprofessional.

    That's not a knock on the show, btw...that's part of what makes it fun and light.

    But I've worked in fast food restaurants with less buffoonery than the crew of The Orville exhibits.

    I've worked with some idiosyncratic people and class-clown types at every job I've ever had, the Office (and this) are closer to real life than some people (i.e. homebodies, people with sedate careers, etc) would seem to realize.

    But, hey, that's the beauty of each of us having our own opinion.

    Longtime lurker posting here for the first time! I figured the start of Orville S2 would be a good time to jump in. (I will not be watching Discovery S2 since S1 so thoroughly put me off, but I will greatly enjoy watching you fine people tear it apart every week!)

    As for "Ja'loja," I loved it! Not everyone's cup of tea, for sure, but if you're a fan of Seth MacFarlane's other shows, you know what to expect. Even on Trek, I always loved these kinds of low-key hangout episodes: VOY's "Someone to Watch Over Me," DS9's "In the Cards." The Orville's sci-fi elements have been pretty weak so far, so I'm glad to see the show lean into its strengths: a laid-back, another-day-at-the-office tone with regular people dealing with regular relationship issues.

    I disagree with some of the other posters here; the episode did have a strong thematic throughline of the complexities of dating and romantic relationships (with the exception of the Isaac / Claire subplot). I liked the love triangles being set up among Ed / Kelly / Gordon / Cassius / the new character. LaMarr was fun as a love advisor. The Alara / Dann date was cringeworthy and funny. Probably my favorite small joke was Dann's "I miss you already" text. Too real, Seth. Too real.

    I do have to turn off that alarm in the back of my head that goes off whenever the Orville reminds me of a Star Trek episode:

    - Bortus' ceremony like Pon Farr from "Amok Time"
    - The "your kid is a bad influence" teenage subplot like Jake and Nog in the early DS9 episodes
    - Bortus even had a line like "this ceremony is shared with one's closest friends," which is almost word-for-word how Worf refers to his "bachelor party" in "You Are Cordially Invited."

    But that's just me and my encyclopedic Trek brain.

    Favorite little detail: in the future, the more zippers a jacket has, the cooler it is.

    Dave in MN, you're definitely a "homer," huh?

    I'm a Vice President at a $5B sector in the defense contractor business (human resources) and I also was, up until my promotion to VP, the head coach of a varsity HS football team.

    I'm hardly a homebody nor do I consider my career a stagnant or sedentary one. So I find your comment to be a little off.

    The characters on Orville are largely unprofessional idiots that wouldn't last a week in a private sector job, let alone in a space exploration service . As I said, that's not a jab...that's part of the fun. But it is also intentional and true. I like the characters, but they are buffoons. It's like "The Office" in space.

    Not sure what the defensive attitude is. I'm glad you like the show. I like it too. That's not the argument. But this was a shit episode (it's ok) and the characters are largely morons.

    I appreciated the biographical interlude and your recitation of mpeccable credentials. You definitely are qualified to speak on the human condition.

    Still don't agree with you, however. Opinions, etc.

    I liked it. Character driven and funny. My wife watched with me and laughed out loud in several parts, most notably the drive by scene.

    You just have to accept this show for what it is. It's not trying to be groundbreaking sci-fi. The sci-fi Trek inspired elements are just the window dressing for the characters and buffoonery.

    "Orville's" massively popular on every Trek forum I visit. The fanboys are going mental for it, and it seems beyond criticism at this point. Everyone's fully aware of its numerous flaws, but there's something comforting about it that's hooking Trek fans of all ages.

    Has Seth written all episodes thus far? If so, this is a staggeringly personal series; his own personal Trek fanfic.

    I personally thought that was pretty damn good. Basically a lot of DS9 B-plots strung together with no A-plot. Strictly a character development episode which gave every member of the main cast at least a little bit of development. Not every episode needs to be high-concept sci-fi after all, and the heavy-handed messages in much of last season didn't seem to be McFarlane's strength.

    It's also worth noting that none of the humor this episode seemed out of place for once. Seth is getting a handle on the sort of dramedy he wants to write. And that the show truly isn't "episodic" in the way that TNG or VOY were - a lot of the threads woven through this episode only really make sense in the context of what Season 1 established.

    Dave in MN

    "Really enjoyed the doctor's plot .... I was pissed at those parents for easily condemning Marcus very easily and calling Claire a liar, so yes, Isaac shutting them down was very satisfying. (Great casting/ acting from all the kids)."

    I agree COMPLETELY with your assessment there. Isaac's assmentment was completely on point here. (Trust me, I was rooting for Claire and Marcus the whole time, calling Jody and Nathan's BS.) The sweetest part for me was Claire asking Isaac to be her date for Bortus' Ja'loba. And the acting there was absolutely ON POINT.

    "I was ready to hate the character of Cassius immediately (I like Kelly and Ed as a couple), but kudos to the actor for making him likeable and believable."

    So was I, until I saw Cassius in his teaching role. Also, I LOVED when Ed came knocking, apologized to him, and showed Cassius how to make it up to Kelly. I think the two had more in common than they realized.

    John as Gordon's love advisor? Almost priceless.

    "Also, Topa grew!"

    I just about forgot about baby Topa. Nice to see him age into a handsome ten-year-old Moclan.

    I've been a lurker here for some time, but I watched all 12 episodes of the Orville's first season. And let me say that I really liked ALL the episodes. And I just watched "Ja'loba" for the second time, on demand. I enjoyed it even more than when I watched the premier yesterday. (I wonder if Alara and John were dates together for the event since the near ending showed then together at the piano.)

    I really liked the episode. I’ve always liked “day in the life” stories. I agree with whomever above said it would have been ruined by a Voyager-style jeopardy of the week.

    It was a bit brave to open the season with a quiet one, but I really loved it, and the expansions to the ship with the restaurant and the school made it feel more like a real place.

    joknny: aweful rep ;) Or are you insinuating that I teach universities aweful rap?
    But your line of reasoning is also questionable. Pointing out unstable behavior is in no way disrespectful towards people with Neurosis or other mental issues.
    And why would you defend Dave? If he has no Neurosis then he is just not very well behaved.
    But back to the Orville: What one considers thought provoking is of course subjective. A five year old might find lots of things thought provoking. But for me the Orville is mostly adapted ideas, adapted in a silly way.
    Seth Macfarlane thought process: What? Spock needed to go home every now and then to have sex or go insane?! Well, how about somebody who needs to go home to pee. thihihi. Seth Macfarlane you are a genius!

    Keeping this Orville-related, I highly doubt Dr. Finn would psychoanalyze someone based on one post. You know ... ethics, oaths, morals and all that ....

    I honestly don't understand the complaints about the humor at this point.

    It's going to be part of the DNA of this show until it runs its course, so it seems to me there are two choices: either accept it, or don't (and complain about it every week). Or, I suppose, don't watch something so objectionable to your delicate senses.

    Finally getting back to reading some of the comments on this thread...

    Please, everyone, refrain from attacking each other personally or making claims about other posters. I am going to dive in here in a while and see if there are posts that need to be deleted. Keep it civil. Excessive sniping is not going to be allowed.


    Woo, The Orville is back, and I immediately came here after watching to see if Jammer's written anything and was not disappointed!

    Seth MacFarlane seems to be doing the same shtick for season 2. It always feels like he wants to say something profound but then can't help himself and puts in the jokes.
    I thought it could be quite fascinating to see a whole episode centered on The Great Release but it was quickly apparent it was not actually the focus of the show. A shame.

    It was a mediocre episode but I laughed quite a bit, I can't lie. I find that I enjoy The Orville the most when I approach it as a comedy show, despite the fact it has the format of a drama. That's the only way I'm not bugged by how everyone speaks like contemporary people (even the aliens) or make contemporary references, as if pop culture or culture in general ceased to exist between our time and The Orville's time. As a comedic take on Trek, it's highly amusing. As a straight Sci-Fi show, not so much.

    Last season was tonally all over the place, but it still gave you that giddy feeling of watching TNG all over again. The thing is, I don't think the series can ride on this nostalgia wave forever. It needs to decide what it wants to be, or it will get really old really fast.

    Great review as always. I don’t think it will ever aspire to be a truly great sci-fi series unfortunately.

    Wasn’t the “urinating once per year” thing referenced in season 1?

    @John: Yes, in the pilot. The captain quipped that he had to get up to pee two or three times a night, and Bortus solemnly replied “That is most unfortunate.”

    I found this episode to be subpar for this show. But that is less of a complaint than it sounds: I really like the show overall, so I’m still glad to have it back.

    Apparently the episode was not meant to be the series premiere, but the second episode, but the order was shifted about at the last minute.

    Jammer in his review heavily criticizes the "Ed and Kelly" romance, but that's what kept me from bailing on season 1. To me it recalls those Howard Hawks screwball comedies of the 1930s and 1940; they're always sniping at and one-upping one another, and I feel they have good romantic/sexual chemistry. Seth himself seems to be a romantic at heart (and Ed's a romantic loser; even when he gets Charlize Theron, he comes across looking like a sap).

    One thing I like about Orville is that, like TOS and TNG, there's a sense that anything can happen. It's not only episodic, but eclectic, and you get the feeling that this is genuinely a vast universe where any wacky thing can happen. In this sense it's the same universe of TOS' floating Abe Lincolns, tribbles and giant Space Amoeba. I wonder if this old school approach to scifi can even survive sans comedy in today's more cynical, realism obsessed age.

    What was the point of having Jason Alexander play the bartender? That could have been anybody in that costume so far as the audience knew.

    I didn't think this was a good episode with which to start the new season. (Yes, I know it was a first-season show that was held over until the second season.)

    Yeah, I love Isaac. It's a thinly veiled version of Data but it's done so well.

    Okay, I'm learning here in the comments that this episode was actually a season 1 episode? Is this true? If so, it can explain why it feels like a season 1 episode! Like nothing had changed.
    So I am still hoping for some innovations in the writing department for season 2. The only way this feels like a season opener is by having a new character join the team. Also, as mentioned above, the Amok Time parody puts is squarely as a season 2 opener. So it's very interesting to know that it's actually not, and I wonder why they decided to use it as such apart from the above. Was it just to "get it over with" because it's an old episode?

    It's also apparent to me like it or not this is a show with a single creative vision, even if last season was written by different people the episodes always had the "Seth touch". In that aspect it reminds me mostly of TOS and not TNG.


    Pretty much agree entirely.

    I prefer these episodes that have little scifi in them.

    But the fundamental problem in this series for me is that SM writes/directs and has himself as the captain and resident casanova.. The sheer vanity of it is hard for me to put to one side.

    Anyway, I tend to enjoy this series in the same way I get a laugh out of things like those bad lip reading videos that were popular a few years ago. Trek took itself so seriously and was so bad at humor (mostly).. This works as a good counterpoint to that.

    Kermit the Frog on Ed’s desk. This is how the writers treat the viewers of this show. This is the food for which our intellect hungers, they assume. Or I guess this is the humor base from which they’ll build a show foundation.

    Ed as a character is challenged on too many levels. From leadership to basic protocol, the person is a failure. MacFarlane as an actor is cardboard. Put together, you have a difficult lead role. Not funny and not interestingly written, with scripts that require finesse - is that the kind of acting Seth MacFarlane is known for? Not I’m my opinion.

    When viewed this way my logic suggests the true format for the program should be comedy. Funny. Cut scenes, edgy dialog from a racist robot (as billed from original advertising sequences), true slapstick. Example: If you’re going to take on #MeToo, have Ed bump the shuttle into the side of the ship when he’s out nosing around.

    I remember Kermit when I watch and think Picard's desk with ship models. I remember Janeway’s Office and decorum as a captain. When my brain processes how far away from that we are, it’s clear the show has no reason other than to be a deep comedy. And it’s not, so the show misses completely.

    "Kermit the Frog on Ed’s desk. This is how the writers treat the viewers of this show. This is the food for which our intellect hungers, they assume. "

    Why not?

    Kermit the Frog was pretty inspirational in his TED Talk:

    "I remember Kermit when I watch and think Picard's desk with ship models. I remember Janeway’s Office and decorum as a captain. When my brain processes how far away from that we are, it’s clear the show has no reason other than to be a deep comedy."

    How is it "clear"? You've haven't given an ounce of reasoning for this claim.

    Moreover, nearly every episode in season 1 had some profound things to say, both in terms of the message, the characters and the technical execution.

    Were you even watching the same show?

    And yes, i agree that Seth isn't a great actor. He most certainly ain't no Patrick Stewart. What of it? This has absolutely nothing to do with the vision he has for the show, which is definitely *not* deep comedy.

    I'm sorry, but you'll have to do far better than point to Kermit and Seth's acting chops, if you want to support the "it could only work as a deep comedy" claim.

    @Lynos said:
    "Okay, I'm learning here in the comments that this episode was actually a season 1 episode? Is this true?"

    No. That's the next episode (which airs tomorrow).

    Why not suggest the crew get a chimpanzee crew member while you're at it?

    What you described wouldn't be funny: it would be astonishingly, eye-rollingly lame.

    And, again, this show is a DRAMEDY, not a comedy (as both cast and crew have described it since Spring of 2017).

    Conceptually, a fan has to be able to accept that format of storytelling if they are to enjoy the show.

    If what a fan wants is 100% serious Trek OR a Family Guy style jokefest, they are NEVER going to be satisfied.

    The ship has sailed, the show isn't going to drastically change course now that 2 seasons have already been filmed and renewal seems likely.

    Jammer: "But, boy, am I over Ed and Kelly. I thought and hoped after "Mad Idolatry" this series was too, and was content with them being friends. Nope. We're treated here to a bunch of Ed's pining over Kelly while she talks about the new guy Cassius she's dating, who is super nice and unflappable in the face of awkward situations (which I guess is a better than the more lame and predictable option of making him a douchebag). But Ed's whiny behavior is obnoxious, and a scene where he uses a shuttle to do a "drive-by" and peek into Kelly's window from outside the ship is behavior that strikes me as that of a stalker, not a starship captain. (Shouldn't something like this get you fired?) I know, I know, it's a sitcom joke. But more to the point: Can't we just be done with the lame Ed/Kelly rom-com stuff already? This stuff didn't work last year; why go back there again?"

    Sooooooooo this. This ruined the episode for me. Yes the drive-by was sort of funny, but come on man.... get past this. It was bad in season 1, please don't let it be bad in season 2 as well.

    The "Great Release" was some funny stuff when he explained it, but the execution of it wasn't anything special. I felt like we missed something.

    Wed, Jan 2, 2019, 1:20am (UTC -6)
    Anybody else think Isaac is quietly MVP of this show? Or is that just me?"

    Issac is awesome. I love it when he tells Claire she is a horrible parent. VGR23 is right, everyone else has been depicted as morons on more than one occasion. Hell, LaMarr dry-humped a statue on a planet and then got promoted to Chief Engineer.

    I feel like most of this might be funny if given to us on an epiosde of Family Guy but in execution here it doesn't work. At least not for me.

    I can't go above 2 stars for this. For all intents and purposes, a pretty disappointing start to season 2.

    "The' 'Great Release' was some funny stuff when he explained it. but the execution of it wasn't anything special. I felt like we missed something."

    I have a nagging feeling that Seth wrote an elaborate comedic scene that showed us the actual ceremony, and then nixed it because he deemed it to be too disrespectful for an "alien-culture-ceremony-scene-on-a-treklike-show".

    And of-course, Seth being Seth, he just couldn't bring himself to rewrite the scene as a straight one. So it ended on the cutting-room floor.

    That's my guess, anyway.


    Judging from Peter Macon's comments, you might be right.

    I actually think material from the holdover episode was reworked into both this AND the next episode.

    When my brain attempts to reconcile the “Ed” character as compared to the “Janeway” character or the “Picard” character, the delta between the Star Trek characters and the Orville character is so great, that I see it is a comedy setup. This is a show that uses Star Trek at every turn, so it can’t just conveniently shove it away at any point and suggest creative differences.

    Picard and Janeway vs Ed.

    I simply cannot imagine Picard, in any capacity, acting in this way. The closest he writers had Janeway behaving this erratically is during Ep 2 of Equinox.

    Would you follow Ed as a leader? What are the qualities of Leadership he shows that make him worthy of a Captain chair? None, and that is why he was given the chair as a favor to Kelly Grayson.

    If we digress, the entire premise of the show is built mostly upon the Peter Principle or nepotism or favoritism. We can certainly do a serious show about that these days. And maybe even pull off a hit comedy if expertly written. What this is, doesn’t make it because it won’t go either way.

    Ed Mercer is still light-years more competent than Jonathan Archer. Most of his failures have to do with his own personal life being in omnishambles. But when it comes to making the proper call in combat, or in a first-contact scenario, he has the Right Stuff.

    Basically, The Orville has yet to do a single episode where the plot arc is "The Captain is a big dumb idiot who gets the crew in trouble because his judgement is terrible" Enterprise did that at least 20 times. Mercer mostly fucks things up for himself, not anyone else - and he's always reasonable enough to be talked down from the ledge if he's in danger of doing so.

    "Ed Mercer is still light-years more competent than Jonathan Archer."

    Oh stop.... good lord.

    Yes, Ed knew how to plant a tree but he's an unstable emotional loon...

    Haven't any of you worked somewhere with people used to be in a relationship?

    I've worked with both divorcees and people whose relationships that started (and soon ended) after too many drinks at the Christmas Party and all I can say is work isn't always an antiseptic environment when the boundaries are blurred.

    Ed's big weakness isn't adhering to blind faith in the Prime Directive while he watches a whole civilization die (TNG: Homeward), it's that he's a insecure romantic bumbler.

    I'd prefer that in a captain ANY day.

    "Ed's big weakness isn't adhering to blind faith in the Prime Directive while he watches a whole civilization die (TNG: Homeward), it's that he's a insecure romantic bumbler.

    I'd prefer that in a captain ANY day. "

    Yes, I can see how it rankles to have your principles challenged by difficult situations; it would indeed be far easier to just have no principles at all. Can't disappoint when you're already a bumbler, amirite?

    LYNOS said: "I'm learning here in the comments that this episode was actually a season 1 episode? It's also apparent to me like it or not this is a show with a single creative vision, even if last season was written by different people"

    Lynos, this episode was not from season 1. From what I've read, this episode was simply supposed to be the second episode of the second season, but was shuffled around until it became the first. At least that's what others have told me. Also, Seth wrote 9 of the 13 Orville episodes thus far.

    JOHNYTY said: "But the fundamental problem in this series for me is that SM writes/directs and has himself as the captain and resident casanova.. The sheer vanity of it is hard for me to put to one side."

    Isn't it the opposite? Ed's romantically inept, a drunk and a loser, struggles to do action hero stuff (his female crewmen always come to his rescue), but also fundamentally a nice guy, and with only a dash of Shatneresque machismo, always played ironically.

    DOUGIE said: "Kermit the Frog on Ed’s desk. This is how the writers treat the viewers of this show."

    While you're right that the show is anti-intellectual (though compared to most TV, it at least aspires to say something), I think you're wrong on Kermit the Frog. Kermit epitomizes Trek and hippie values. Jim Henson was himself a massive lefty, utopian, environmentalist, did much for underprivileged kids, and Kermit such a loveable leader of oddballs. The Kermit doll is a great touch IMO, and says a lot about what Seth sees this show as: a muppet family in space.

    "it’s clear the show has no reason other than to be a deep comedy. And it’s not, so the show misses completely."

    This is a 45 minute long dramatic comedy. It's not aspiring to be cutting edge SF, comedy or drama. It's a slightly more straight faced Galaxy Quest or Red Dwarf, and needs to be watched on those terms.

    Omicron said: "And yes, i agree that Seth isn't a great actor."

    But there's something charming about him. He comes across like a kid who's just been giving a giant toybox. And the strange tenor of his voice - he's an accomplished singer - has a weird gravity, a bit similar to that of a Kirk or a Picard. There's a tongue-in-cheek pomposity to his voice which suits Trekian material.

    This episode was longer than the others. I'm OK with that. Nothing rushed, nothing condensed. Some episodes of Enterprise would have benefitted by bring longer.

    @ Trent: If Macfarlane really cared about show he would have taken a far less important role and not the lead. I wouldn't even call him an actor maybe in a sense that because everybody can sing everybody is a singer. But most are pretty bad.
    It is a rich kid fantasy. At this point he should have a few hundred million and can afford to make his own show how he wants it with him as Star Trek captain.
    Let us just hope that this doesn't start the super rich vanity genre. Just think about all the super rich out there planning something like that.
    Sure there was Ted Turner but he at least didn't star as the lead in his stuff.

    @ Peter S

    I seem to remember Ed talking about balancing personal ethics against universal ones as he tried to remain dispassionate about Topa's trial.

    That's a lot better than the intellectual inflexibility of saying "oh, your technology level doesn't meet the arbitrary threshold we've set and so, as a result; you and everyone you love will die in a planet-wide firestorm ... and I'm totally ok with that. "

    BOOMING said: "It is a rich kid fantasy...."

    Booming have you seen this: ?

    I suspect the reason people like Orville is precisely because it's a nerdy fanboy's fantasy. It's the class clown from your school getting a chance to jokingly play a drunken Shatner. The series, a kid's love-letter to Trek, needs someone like him in the lead: a massive manboy with a decades long dream of making a big budget Trek home movie for him and his stoner buddies.

    I'm sure most Trek fans dream of a new Trek franchise with a level of sophistication (political and philosophical) that dwarfs past Trek, and which borrows liberally from modern hard SF - I know I do - but after the disappointments of Enterprise, the TNG movies, DISCO, and much of Voyager, I suspect fans are latching on to Seth's Frat Boy Trek precisely because Official Trek has, in kowtowing to various trends (aesthetic/political/philosophical), become even worse.

    “Judging from Peter Macon's comments, you might be right.“

    @Dave In MN, what comments did he make?


    I don't think the show is "anti-intellectual". It just comes from a different perspective. A lighter, more down-to-earth tone. There's a difference between not putting an emphasis on the intellectual side, and being "anti-intellectual".

    And quite frankly, given the number of times that the TNG crew arrogantly did something atrocious due to some absolute moral philosophy (Dave gave the example of "Homeward"), I find this new approach refreshing. The Orville has heart, which is why so many people love the show.

    "I suspect fans are latching on to Seth's Frat Boy Trek precisely because Official Trek has, in kowtowing to various trends (aesthetic/political/philosophical), become even worse"

    It's more complicated than that.

    Remember that being a fan of something is an emotional decision. And after the hell-ride that CBS gave us decades-long fans in the past two years, mocking both our beloved franchise and us as a fanbase, some of us simply had enough.

    In short: Being a fan of their stuff is no longer fulfilling to me, on any level. There's only so much abuse you can take, before you decide to call it quits.

    Sure, the fact that we haven't got any actual respectable Trek in the past 13+ years was also a factor in this decision. But it wasn't the only reason.

    At any rate, the Orville fills this void nicely. In retrospect, I actually prefer to have the Orville over having another iteration of classic Trek. It's different. It's fresh. It's far from perfect, but I'm genuinely curious to see how this brand new sci-fi universe develops onscreen.

    Kermit the Frog and muppets represent Sunday night family values. Jerry Garcia, the Grateful Dead and LSD represent hippies. One preceded Disney on Sunday night, the other not so much.

    The muppets were a comedy show - and Pigs In Space was funny. There’s a compilation on YouTube worth a watch. Why is this show not funny and trying any type of drama, and utterly failing at that? Then the compare to Galaxy Quest - same question, it’s not funny so why make the comparison.

    Elevator Alien is funny? Really? That’s what we will accept? Again, the writers insult us.

    Thanks to everyone above who set things straight regarding if this was a holdover from season 1 or not.
    In any case, even if it's not, I still hope the show manages to find a more consistent tone this season and run with it.

    @Trent Thanks for the youtube clip. Nice to see that Macfarlanes acting hasn't improved :). I think the reason that the show is doing ok (It dropped from above 9m to 6 m viewers which is ok, I guess) is that it is very much like a 90s show. And Nostalgia is still pretty big right now. People can just sit back and revel in cherished memories while watching kind of Star Trek with pee humor. So I think you are right about people wanting something new but it is also about getting older. People who liked the show are probably in their 40s now which is a difficult time in life. The body slowly starts to fall apart and life grinds away at you. In light of this Macfarlanes time capsule makes sense. That is probably the reason why people defend it so ferociously. It is all about feeling young and not wanting to die. That could also be the reason why so many despise Discovery so much. It just doesn't give you the feeling you had when you where 17. Not that there aren't legitimate reasons to dislike Discovery. The rest of what you said seems to describe it quite well.

    @John: “But the fundamental problem in this series for me is that SM writes/directs and has himself as the captain and resident casanova.. The sheer vanity of it is hard for me to put to one side.“

    It’s indefensible, outrageous—but I love that about the whole thing actually. It mixes in a meta type element like what was explored in “Black Mirror”. But it’s real! To me, this is the good side of the evolution of celebrity (the bad side we see in politics).

    I think it brings a certain swagger we’ve been missing since Shatner (still my fav captain).

    I strongly disagree that this show is “anti-intellectual” at all. For a fresh example, take Alara’s critique (after being pushed) of the poem. Or many of the things Isaac says.
    This show is slyly smart. A dumber show would also never have the awkward convo with the pretty new crewmember.

    It's interesting that so many critiques of the show overlook what is often critiqued about TNG - that its crew is too perfect. This episode in particular highlighted the glaring insecurities of the Orville's crew, of being a bad mother, bad at dating, bad at talking to women.

    @SlackerInc: Comparing Black Mirror to Orville?!! I fainted for a moment. Comparing Black Mirror, a superbly written show that is about a bleak view of our present and future with the Macfarlane vanity and frat humor project is almost heresy! And why is it real?? I guess Paris Hiltons "A Simple Life" was also meta because she is a rich ding-dong who does stupid stuff.

    @ Thomas: Sure because nobody had problems with the ladies *cough* Gordi *cough*
    or with parenting like Worf ohhh

    This episode felt really awkward but in kind of an endearing Star Trek season two way. I think it would’ve played better deeper into the season but I can’t really complain. Even with some of the stupid writing the characters still act more professional than in Star Trek discovery or most other shows nowadays frankly. Some of the characters are starting to come in to their own. Looking forward to the season. It’s still a good hearted show so even when its not the best episode it feels pleasant to watch. I think this is a good quality to the show.

    it is definitely a grower episode, I like it better a few days after I watched it then when I was watching it. It’s interesting that they have flawed characters that doesn’t stoop to a Game of Thrones ripoff style the way most shows do now. Its a good style.

    @Brian, there’s a reason Star Trek has minimally flawed characters in my opinion.

    “The Computer”

    The Computer is in every room, every hallway, every urinal, every Jeffries tube... audio, video, pulse and respiration rates, environmental monitoring, all systems, all things, gigaquads at a time. So, with immediate real-time recall of pretty much any situation and conversation, lying in the 23rd century and beyond becomes extremely difficult. The repercussions of this environment evolving over generations has never been dealt with that I’m aware of, but culturally, yes, society would appear much more stilted and “perfected” to our tastes.

    It’s not an unreasonable take, and shows the depth to which the writers of Trek considered the philosophy. It doesn’t make them perfect as they made a lot of errors but shows how they did think. Does Orville not have these technologies? I’m only aware of them not having transporters. In the episode where the Security Chief loses her sense of command, she’s monitored through the ship quite closely. Orville appears to have the sensors and computer. I guess the writers just ignored this? Maybe Braga never understood it? I’d like to hear the table read discussions!

    It seems like Orville is also poking fun at Discovery.

    In the first season, the actress Michaela McManus played the female Krill who is captured by the Union and swears revenge. In the second season, she appears as Lt. Tyler, which recalls Ash Tyler the sleeper agent in Discovery. Will Orville Lt. Tyler be some kind of similar fusion of cosmetic surgery and hate?

    Omicron said: "I don't think the show is "anti-intellectual". It just comes from a different perspective. A lighter, more down-to-earth tone. There's a difference between not putting an emphasis on the intellectual side, and being "anti-intellectual"."

    Yeah, I think you're right. Poor choice of words on my part. Agree with your other points too.

    I just rewatched the episode, and James's comment about Bortus eating his homework actually struck me as a bit racist this time around. ... which then made me think twice about why Nathan and Jody were so quick to slam Marcus and Claire.

    It's funny because that subtext was almost impossible to unsee once it clicked, and it makes me wonder why I didn't notice it the first time.

    Dave - I had that same thought watching the episode. And then found myself thinking how common such racism (speciesism?) was throughout all of Trek, from McCoy calling Spock green-blooded to various crewmembers disdain for Ferengi and Klingons to Archer's childish quips about Vulcans.

    I thought the Claire storyline was the weakest. Somehow her being a "good mother" along with her son's issues ends up resting upon winning an ad hoc classroom trial about whose son is to blame, and suddenly everything's okay again, even though there are clear problems with her son and his behavior and attitude.

    What did Kelly say in response to the “went to town” comment? My youngest son made me miss it, and I am stuck with the barbaric scenario as regards this show of having to watch it live on antenna with no recording available, since FOX does not make full episodes available any longer on its website for “cordcutters” like myself, and I don’t have cable or satellite for a signin, nor do I subscribe to Hulu.

    After a long hiatus, the return of the Orville was a welcome sight. I was not disappointed in any way. I genuinely enjoyed reconnecting with all of the characters in this way. This was much more of a day in the life episode aboard the ship. It was a fantastic way to reintroduce us to all of the characters and get us back on common footing for the show. I can appreciate that every episode doesn't need to be an adventure. In fact, spending time with this crew is entertainment enough on its own.

    @ Dougie A valid point. Knowing that every lie can be disproven would certainly have an impact but I think it is also important that humanity in Star Trek lived in abundance for two hundred years. And people who are poor and from rural areas are the most intolerant(basically culturally universal). If you are poor you have a problem with people who differ from the societal norm because of feelings of inferiority towards your peers and you elevate your status by humiliating the not-normal(very simply put) and rural leads to intolerance because of lack of exposure. If the only black skinned persons you know are from crime shows or the news about "shithole" countries then that leads to the believe that these people must be fundamentally different which in this context means worse. In Star Trek there are no poor and exposure should be relatively positive and frequent.

    I don't hate The Orville - in fact, I see it as I once saw Star Trek: The Next Generation. Star Trek: TNG was at the right time in my life, when I was a young teen, and I was fresh off of Star Wars and movies like Star Trek II. I wanted action, adventure, some science, and a cool looking ship.

    In the end, I got Star Trek: TNG and was mostly disappointed. I'm not saying that every episode should be about action, but my interests lie more toward the technology than the people that operated it.

    In similar ways, The Orville is the same thing. I like the fact that it doesn't take itself as seriously as Trek did/does. I dislike the fact that everything on The Orville exists at or just below the surface. I like the technology shown, but I dislike how shallow it exists in the show - it reminds me of the original Star Trek, in a way. There's as much technobabble, but there's little attempt to make it _seem_ like it's real within the show.

    This episode was about characters, and it took a while to get to where little it was heading. I don't mind that, though it meant that with my goldfish-inspired attention span, it took me all night to watch it. (I'm writing this while taking a break in the middle of Primal Urges.)

    It also occurs to me that regardless of MacFarlane has on his plate, only fourteen episodes this season should mean more of an effort. I'm probably spoiled by Game of Thrones, but I would expect less from a show that had twice the number of episodes in a season. Having an episode about "nothing", while interesting, also means that the loss of more otherwise memorable episodes is far greater.

    Whew. Sorry about the length! I tend to babble when I'm on pain meds.

    @Booming definitely. They appear to work in concert, having ample resources via replication, and transparency via not-so-subtle continuous monitoring, we arrive at the Roddenberry future. Orville presents another version of the future.

    If life is a VR, and we get to choose, which Future? I might pick Future Gene.

    I was feeling 2.5 stars throughout most of the runtime, but by the end, the episode's heart is so much in the right place that I'm going up to 3. The Ed/Kelly parts are indeed the weakest - Seth Macfarlane is unfortunately the weakest link in the cast (even more so than J Lee) and I had the impression that Ed/Kelly had already worked through their issues and moved on at the end of last season (Cupid's Dagger and especially New Dimensions). So I was surprised at how Ed was written in this episode, it seemed to be a step back in terms of character development - although he repairs it and makes good in the end. The teacher guy is a welcome and well-cast addition, but I thought Kelly was written as too unreasonable with him in a couple of scenes.

    Halston Sage is great, Scott Grimes's comic acting is strong, and further development of the Isaac/Finn storyline is welcome (even if the resolution of the dispute was overly pat). I love the tone of this episode - warm, comic and most of all familial - and how the focus is split so well between the characters, all of whom it's enjoyable to spend time with. (I also appreciate the broader use of supporting characters in this ep - we learn more about Dan, a new bridge officer is introduced, Dr Finn's kids are featured again, the bartender and Moosha are used sensibly, and even Bortus's child makes an appearance.) Hopefully we can move on from the Ed/Kelly stuff now.

    Well, what can I say? I was pleasently surprised (again), by the lack of spectacle and the somewhat clever "hook": Bortus ritual. Yes, this ritual seems utterly pointless, comedic and infantile to us - and the crew on board the ship - but if you think about it, most rituals feel to you that way if they are foreign to you. I thought it was pretty clever in having everybody respect this pointless, "stupid" ritual as if it was some kind of religious ceremony.

    I also enjoyed the lack of humor (or i didn't notice it - nothing jarring at least). In the end, I enjoyed about half the episode, and didn't mind the rest. I could have done without the tired "But I still love you!" stuff, but it seems this will be coming to an end. The "B-Plot", if you can call it that, about the cheating children was meh. Why didn't the doctor just take DNA samples off of the replicator? But overall it was nice world building, character work and cozy family stuff. So ... yeah, 2,5 stars? 3 maybe? We don't see too many quiet episodes in series these days, so that was kind of refreshing.

    Jammer, I love you, man. You know I have props for your writing chops. But you fundamentally just do not get lighthearted humor on sci-fi shows. DS9 ferengi episodes are exhibit A, and this is exhibit B.

    This episode is the strongest evidence yet to bolster my this-is-a-meta-Redshirts-ripoff series and the characters will discover that they themselves are just nothing more than characters in an intentionally cliche and/or poorly written pseudo-science-fiction television series. It's the only explanation for Ed's extremely inappropriate personal feeling for Kelly (in no serious situation should this ever be a possibility), the ridiculously snowed parents, the Ja'loja pee gag, and the teacher taking credit for Ed's suggestion about Journey. The characters will meet the 'actors' soon enough.

    The more I think about this episode the more it grows on me.

    I liked the use of music, and how nice to hear people speak without the constant not really in the background music of Discovery telling us how we're supposed to think/feel.

    I enjoyed it as a low key re-introduction to the characters. Quite a lot actually happened in terms of character development/new characters.

    I enjoyed the humour (some laugh out loud moments for me: the many zippered jacket, the fly by, Dan's miss you text...) and the warm-hearted tone. I suppose the fact that Jason Alexander is completely unrecognizable is meant to be funny...?

    Deleted scene from the season premiere (glad I've bookmarked Seth's Twitter page).

    There's simply no place for these kind of juvenile sexual jokes and relationships that really are harassment. People should be thrown in the brig for.

    The jokes can certainly be in place in a sitcom environment (I am a fan of South Park) but not on the job and certainly not in the military.

    I guess he's just running out of ideas.

    Wow. This is so bad it is almost good, almost.

    Putting Seth front and center is never a good idea. His acting range, if it even exists, makes it impossible to carry these scenes. I always see Macfarlane playing a character. He doesn't convince me for a second.

    The dialog is terrible. I know this is a holdover from season one and I understand that they started with this because man I needed three attempts to make it through this. Had this been the last episode of season 1 oy vey.

    So the main story is Seth dealing with Kelly having found prince charming who is so perfect that when Seth tells him to not be so perfect he says dead serious: "It's not going to be easy."That made me chuckle quite a bit. Then Seth really digs deep into the shitpile of male advice and utters a phrase along the lines: "Behave like an idiot once in a while or women won't love you." I immediately wanted to grab the glowing green admonition thing from STP. In the end Seth sits in the Bar drinking heavily but phew a new officer just came on board #loveinterest. This is all terribly boring and stupid (drive by captain) but to be fair at the beginning of the episode when Seth asks nervously if the crew already started to talk about his drinking I also laughed.

    Surprisingly the Doctor Kasidy story is even more obnoxious. Obnoxious children, obnoxious parents. None of these scenes made me laugh, I think. So that's bad but I thought that it was nice that it was more about the hacking then the drinking and showing the old: "My child is an angle, your child is the devil." view that parents often have. I had that myself as a teenager. A friend procured a , shall we say, substance every now and then for a free spirited group of people and his mother later accused me of supplying her sweet boy with drugs. She also found out that she was wrong. So that element of the story rang true for me.

    Then there is the completely worthless plot about Malloy and Girlpunch (the superstrong officer). This ship needs relationship rules fast! Both stories achieve absolutely nothing. Well, Malloy at least gave us the greatest jacket in the universe.

    And what holds it all together. Bortus has to pee. Enough said about that.

    I also noticed that the music really needs to tone it down a little. A shuttle landing doesn't need music like it is a very important first contact situation.

    Low key way to piss away an hour (get it?) but yes Ed/Kelly is grating, particularly when he's taking out shuttles to spy on her and cloaking the vessels and the moral is that women like their men to be stupid (?). The As Time Goes By theme was obnoxious here, and let's be real, this ain't Rick and Ilsa. But the various other plots were okay or amusing. Probably a low 2.5.

    I liked this episode quite a bit. That was a sweet moment when Isaac went to the parent teacher conference with Dr Claire and he eased her worried mind about her son being the one who got vodka from the food synthesizer.

    I love reading the reviews as people work their way through Season 2.

    You're in for a fun ride!

    Back in the day when The X-men was still readable, Chris Claremont would sometimes do a whole issue where the X-men were just chilling out having down time. This episode was like that. A nice insight into the characters' routine challenges.
    Once again it is made abundantly clear that the character Bortis was created to be the butt of the joke. He's like the anti Worf.
    We have a white Geordi at the helm, a female Riker, a black Reggie, an anti Data (He doesn't want to be more human), an anti Picard and a female Spock that gets lost in her emotions. Then there's the sinus vomit who I guess represents the anti Odo, and a black doctor who doesn't like anti Data at first but he grows on her.

    The Orville's entire compliment is 300 people. There are at best 30-40 children.

    What other class did the parents of the asshole kid think they were going to get Marcus transferred to?

    So did Klyden and Topa take their piss offscreen, or does the Orville really have to make separate Moclus trips thrice a year?

    I liked it. I laughed several times. All subplots were good/accepatble. The characters forms better and better. I normally don't like the character Malloy but here it worked quite well.

    I had my doubt regarding Kitan in the beginning but Sage managed to give her a consistent and intresten personality.

    All my commmets made in the perspektive of a comedy show in sci fi environment .

    Yes indeed, telling your wife to “Calm the hell down!” during a heated argument directly leads to her doing the precise opposite--I learned that lesson the hard way many years ago. So I related to that immediately, and I loved Cassius’ crack at the parent conference: “Let’s all try to calm dow--try to respect the process.”

    Fox, Seth MacFarlane and his writers were very brave here, especially if, as I understood from Jammer, this is an episode that was chosen to air after a significant football game. Usually an episode like that would have had a lot more explosions (both violent and sexual ones). And let’s say “Ja’loja” had been only the third or even second or first episode of the whole series--I think a lot of people would have been bored and tuned out. This would be a *terrible* episode for introducing the Orville to someone who's never watched it. But otherwise, we’ve now spent enough time with these characters to trust that a simple episode where we just “hang out” with them just might be okay. And it is. It is “okay.”

    Out of all the different vignettes (as you could hardly call them “subplots” in an episode with decidedly no plot at all), I think I enjoyed the Dr. Finn conundrum the most. Like with "Into the Fold," the Finn family dynamics are pretty real. The scene where Grayson and Cassius catch Marcus and Butthead drinking vodka in the simulator room was relatable and funny in a cringeworthy way--many of us have been there on *both* sides. Reprogramming the food dispenser to serve vodka seems like just the thing a rebellious teen would do in this future universe, and it grounded Finn’s plight. Yes, Finn apparently has a psychology degree, but she sure has a fair amount of blinders on when it comes to her own son. When she confronts Marcus and acts like she has honestly no idea where all this is coming from, I almost asked out loud, “Were you asleep during your adolescent psych classes?” But Penny Johnson Jerald put in a good performance, earnest and believable (her best line -- “He’s got you snowed.”) And while Isaac’s quick investigation and resolution of the crisis perhaps made everything too easy, at least it made perfect sense.

    So about the Mercer / Grayson / Cassius fiasco… I did a drive-by. When I was *twenty.* And I cringe looking back on it. So while I identified with Mercer’s plight, his methods here were a bit juvenile even for him. But damn was the actual flyby in the shuttle hilarious--Grayson and Cassius share a warm kiss as the shuttle slowly creeps (literally) into the frame. I was rolling. And poor Cassius: “I just don’t understand why you’re upset with *me.*” I’ve used that line before, buddy. I felt for him there.

    The Malloy / LaMarr stuff was a hoot, and a perfect use of the simulator. Why not use it to practice social interactions or just rehearse? I’m sure VR programs within High-Priest Zuckerberg’s Goddamn Metaverse that do the same thing are only a few years away.

    I enjoyed the Alara / Dann dating shenanigans the least, but at least they were grounded and somewhat pleasant (watching that cutie Halston Sage is always welcome). Dann’s text to Alara after she leaves for a minute to compose herself said everything “Ja’loja” needed to about the situation. Dann’s poem was a nice goofy touch--I cracked up when Alara awkwardly ends up telling him exactly how terrible it is, but I cracked up even more when Malloy later thinks it’s the greatest poem he’s ever heard. How perfect!

    Jesus H. God, the Orville sure is made up of misfits. I guess that’s part of its charm. “Ja’loja” is about as inconsequential as you can get, which I believe was the intention here. It’s not a great offering, but at least The Orville has earned it.

    Best Line:
    Finn -- “Isaac, do you think I’m a bad parent?”
    Isaac -- “Yes.”

    My Grade: B-

    It was exactly at this point, were the Captains and First Officers constant focus on their "relationship" became annoying.

    To refrain, this really turned into a soap opera: Relationships, family troubles, acquiring personal skills. I dont like it at all.
    I understand that this is one of the weakest episodes but i very much prefer exploring, space, science, wonders and the treks into he unknown

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