The Orville

"Future Unknown"

2.5 stars

Air date: 8/4/2022
Written and directed by Seth MacFarlane

Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan

"Future Unknown" is a quiet, deliberately-low-stakes coda for the season — and, very likely, the series — following last week's big plot-resolving action extravaganza. And it proves that spending time in the company of this crew is enjoyable when it's just sitting back and being a laid-back hangout comedy. Indeed, this is the most Orvillian comedy episode of the season, and it finds the precisely right mutedly humorous tone.

But this 80-minute episode, perhaps more than any all season, suffers from its runtime bloat. It's way, way too long, by at least 20 minutes and maybe even more, and it had me checking the clock more than once. You can sense that MacFarlane suspected this was the end of the line and just couldn't bring himself to cut it down to length. He had to get it all in. But by indulging himself, his cast, and his crew, he only waters down what could've been a perfectly acceptable character-based sendoff for the season and series.

It begins with an amusing Moclan cultural ritual in which our resident Moclans renew their marriage by Bortus chasing Klyden through the forest. The way the episode goes all-out in depicting the pure action of this idea, while treating it simultaneously as serious and silly, is surprisingly effective. It's enough to prompt Isaac to think about making a similar commitment to Claire, so he asks her to marry him. Among the unique benefits he brings to the table is his vow that he will look after her children long after she dies, and even "monitor the Finn lineage through the eons of time."

At this point, you either accept Claire and Isaac as an item or not. I still fall into the "not really" camp, but I put that aside for this episode, which features the usual robot misunderstandings, as when LaMarr tries to convince Isaac to "date around" before he gets married in order to ensure the marriage isn't doomed by his lack of additional experience. This is obviously a bad idea, and when Claire finds out what's going on she at least rightly blames LaMarr rather than Isaac, but you'd think she wouldn't be so mad when she should know at this point that Isaac is going to make these sorts of honest mistakes. This is comedy, sure, but it's also everyone involved (LaMarr, Isaac, Claire) not being nearly as smart as they should be.

So the wedding plans commence. This leads to some funny moments, like the idea that Gordon, whom Isaac asks to be his best man, has the role stolen right out from under him by a rather brazen Bortus, who says he will do a better job delivering the toast because he was always considered very funny on Moclus. Meanwhile, Isaac asks Kaylon Primary to attend the wedding along with "all units." Primary readies the fleet, and later shows up at the ceremony with 4,000 ships, which startles Mercer enough to contact Union HQ and make sure they know it's not an invasion.

We also get Isaac's bachelor party cut up against Claire's bachelorette party. Claire's party felt like it was trying a little too hard to be rambunctious; the idea of Bortus throwing a hopelessly boring party as an Elvis Impersonator worked reasonably. And in perhaps my favorite moment, because it hits home and is so absolutely accurate, Claire asks for opinions on her wedding dresses, and when a hapless Mercer carefully says they both look great, he's castigated for being so useless. (Seriously, ladies, why do you ask us?)

There's a B-plot here involving Lysella (Giorgia Whigham), the young woman from "Majority Rule," contacting the ship and asking to leave her world because of how toxic the social media feeding frenzy has become. This becomes a lengthy study, with Kelly as the teacher, on the issues surrounding whatever the Union calls the Prime Directive, and an analysis of Union culture in comparison to Lysella's world, which is a stand-in for our own. The episode treats this storyline as a central case of audience education regarding Union economics and the dangers of cultural contamination. (Like much of this season, Adrianne Palicki shows she is the bedrock of the cast.)

And while we'd deduced all that from what already exists in Star Trek, this episode does a good job of breaking it down in-universe, with Lysella asking why Kelly and the Union can't help her planet overcome its societal difficulties, and Kelly providing the reasons why it's not the Union's place to "play God." (Kelly ultimately demonstrates this on the simulator with a history lesson showing how the Union's attempts to help a society before it was ready ended in world-ending technologically induced warfare.) Like the main character story, what's here is mostly perfectly fine, but it goes on for far too long, until our interest wanes.

As an aside, the episode pays off the time-traveling sandwich gag from "Twice in a Lifetime," which I was very happy to see, even as I was also disappointed they didn't pay it off in a more clever or funny way. The payoff is simply the fact that they didn't choose to forget about it, and nothing more. Ah, well.

The episode ends on a big wedding ceremony, which is performed completely conventionally, with everyone dressed up, and is full of friends and extras and a whole bunch of Kaylon, who sit on the groom's side and stand up and sit down in perfectly synchronized unison. Alara makes a surprise return, which is nice. Bortus makes a toast to the bride and groom which is hilarious in how it's nothing short of awful, which vindicates Malloy, who gets to take over and deliver a toast the way it should be done, which is to say, safely, conventionally, and with good-natured jabs. The episode ends with Malloy singing the ship off into the sunset, and I must say that I'm never not impressed when Scott Grimes sings on this show.

As I've said, the problem with all of this is that so much of it should've been cut merely for the sake of pacing. Plenty of it is trivial and inessential by definition, so there's no reason to be so lax in the editing bay when the end result is so sluggish. But I suppose this is forgivable given the fact that no one knew at the time of editing (and indeed, still even now), whether the show would be back for another season. The uncertainty is right there in the episode title, which describes the series more than the episode. It's more likely than not that this is the end, so I suppose MacFarlane allowed himself some self-indulgence — although that doesn't explain the self-indulgent bloated runtime trend through the rest of the season. (Then again, we're also talking about a series whose very existence was fueled by self-indulgence, with MacFarlane creating a Star Trek clone with himself as the captain.)

This was the best season yet of The Orville, and even if it had its misfired episodes and issues with the episode length, it showed growth in building its universe and definitely benefited from its massive upscale in the VFX department. If this is the end, I'm perfectly fine with the show going out like this, and wish the cast and crew godspeed. It took a while, but this series has done a good job honoring the core spirit of Star Trek.

Previous episode: Domino

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64 comments on this post

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Jaxon
Thu, Aug 4, 2022, 2:06am (UTC -5)
Definitely an All Good Things vibe in case this is it for the series.

Anaya and Telaya are apparently loose threads unless they get their Season 4, but at least the egg salad sandwich got closure.

The missing humor for much of the season found its way here.

The Lysella plot is territory explored many times before, but done satisfactorily here.

All in all, yet another strong 3 / weak 3.5 in a season with several of them.
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SlackerInc
Thu, Aug 4, 2022, 3:58am (UTC -5)
This episode started out a bit rough. Not a fan of the recommitment ceremony. The rest of the episode was a bit of a grab bag, but some moments were really excellent while others were just good. And it closed strong, with Isaac and Bortus supplying hilariously inappropriate speeches followed by Gordon's masterful toast, and then warm fuzzies to take us out of the season. Hopefully it's just the season and not the series--but if it's the latter, they tied a nice bow on it.

Overall I am again similar to @Jaxon. I think the episode is a little too strong to be just three stars, so I'm going to go 3.5.

I thought this was a really strong season as a whole. By my count, there were five superb episodes (1, 3, 5, 6, and 8), three good ones (4, 9, and 10), one that was just okay (7), and one dud (2). A damn good ratio.
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Nolan
Thu, Aug 4, 2022, 3:58am (UTC -5)
This was not the most stand-out amazing Orville episode, but it was the MOST Orville episode - and still satisfed, which, if this is to be the series finale, reflects well on the series on the whiole. (Just as "Endgame" was the most Voyager of episodes and left audiences hanging with not enough follow-through, or "What You Leave Behind" was the Most DS9 episode but didn't quite come out perfect despite overall success)

I will say, I had a smile plastered on my face through most of this one. Yes, there's the central premise of the relationship that some might not buy, but the whole vibe of this eisode was just so wholly uplifting and pleasent. Even of certain things have moved BERY fast. We were blowing up Kaylon last week and now, apart from Klyden, they're giving me some of the biggest laughs in the episode. (The monolith that was Issac's side of the aisle worked extfemely well for me) I guess in a light-hearted episode like this, rule of funny applies. I would not say no to more of the Orville, there are still threads and relationships, both personal and political that have story potential, but I'd be happy having these 3 seasons on my shelf as as the type of sci-fi that was needed right now.

And I absolutely agree with the whole rumination on the rhetoric of current society through the allegoy of the Reddit planet's squabbles. So mired is polarization, arguing, gotcha wittisisms and entrenched positions.

In fact, that whole side plkt really did act as the conclusion, Kelly telling the audience what the show just told us, summing up the thesis of the show.

Will we get more with #RenewTheOrville? Or is this it? Future Unknown indeed. But I am happy at this end. In the meantime, I get to look forward to more Futurama.
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Nolan
Thu, Aug 4, 2022, 4:00am (UTC -5)
Aw, stupid phone keyboard typos. That's what I get for writing essays at 3am.
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Joseph B
Thu, Aug 4, 2022, 8:25am (UTC -5)
This was an enjoyable, well-deserved, Orville “Victory Lap”!
‘Nuff Said!

Now … Where do I go to sign the petition for Season 4?
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KuminAsia
Thu, Aug 4, 2022, 8:27am (UTC -5)
Seth must have thought at the time that the chances for a renewal and season 4 were slim. While funny at times, this was far too self indulgent after a mostly very strong season 3.
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artymiss
Thu, Aug 4, 2022, 9:52am (UTC -5)
I found this disappointing if viewed as a season finale. If it's The Orville's finale then I still find it a bit disappointing but more understandable in it's low keyness. I liked the humour but found the Lysella part boring and overlong, actually it's been so long I could only vaguely recall that episode. I don't care about her and it seemed odd to suddenly reintroduce her. Oh well at least we finally saw the return of Gordon's sandwich.
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Eddie O'Hanlon
Thu, Aug 4, 2022, 12:19pm (UTC -5)
A perfect season finale because it does not fit any of the parameters of a season finale. It's more of a mid season filler light hearted piece. I give it 3.5 stars for that. Not 4 because the Lysella thread was meh. Otherwise loved it. Say what you will about The Orville stealing from Trek, but within that sphere of influence it's forging it's own path. Best season yet. Highlight: the sandwich.
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Jaxon
Thu, Aug 4, 2022, 12:38pm (UTC -5)
It even sampled from Voyager's Think Tank with the super-smart but super-alien creatures.
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Andre Rhine-Davis
Thu, Aug 4, 2022, 1:10pm (UTC -5)
Wasn't it previously established that for Moclans, requesting a divorce with someone involves killing them? If so, how can there be a whole ritual for getting back together and "renewing the vows"?

Other than that, I really enjoyed this episode :)
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Jonathan
Thu, Aug 4, 2022, 2:08pm (UTC -5)
Overly long. Mostly boring. Too many different things going on, even if the well-meaning but naive upvote planet person arc was decent.

The only loose end it tied up wasn't Anaya or the Krill or Janisi or future mission goals, the parallel paradox Gordon timeline ... it was that damn sandwich, which was (sadly) the highlight of the episode for me.
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Jammer
Thu, Aug 4, 2022, 2:18pm (UTC -5)
Review now posted.
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modulum
Thu, Aug 4, 2022, 2:41pm (UTC -5)
Ehhhhh...if I'm being honest the romance elements have always been my least favorite aspect of the Orville. There's a reason that they didn't feel at home in TNG, and I don't want my sci-fi show to feel like a CBS sitcom. This was well-intentioned but ultimately just fine.
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Jaxon
Thu, Aug 4, 2022, 2:46pm (UTC -5)
It's interesting that the Planetary Union fully owned responsibility for a species-wide extinction to the tune of nine billion in the form of a situation entirely caused by the Union. Something like Dear Doctor does not count because Phlox simply declined to act, and the situation existed even if they were never visited by Enterprise. Same goes for Pen Pals. Deja-Q, Masterpiece Society, etc.

I don;t think the Federation has anything like that on its hands. I won't dignify anything post-2005 as being the prime Star Trek timeline...at best one of the others from Parallels.
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Jaxon
Thu, Aug 4, 2022, 2:49pm (UTC -5)
"Overall I am again similar to @Jaxon. I think the episode is a little too strong to be just three stars, so I'm going to go 3.5."

I'm the opposite...this one is the least of the cusp episodes...a solid 3 but not up to the roundup.
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Norvo
Thu, Aug 4, 2022, 3:16pm (UTC -5)
Unlikely love affairs seem to be the theme of this episode. Do we really buy that Bortus and Klyden are a couple after all the horrible crap he pulled?

As for the wedding between Claire and Isaac... it's fine, it's a great excuse to show off the Orville formal dress uniforms, which looked an awful lot like the Wrath of Khan era uniforms.

The entire Lysella subplot felt wayyy too stretched out and padded. Don't you think Kelly would have shown her that history lesson of the Union's disastrous attempt to sharing their tech with a developing culture as soon as Lysella brought it up? Still, Lysella got to have her Berlinghoff Rasmussen moment, so props to her.

And yes, let's have a season 4 please and this time move beyond the Krill-Kaylon-Moclans triangle.
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Norvo
Thu, Aug 4, 2022, 3:18pm (UTC -5)
Oh, and one more thing...

What does it say about the future of a marriage when the groom is wearing a holographic disguise at the altar? Not the best way to start your life together, is it?
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Jaxon
Thu, Aug 4, 2022, 3:28pm (UTC -5)
I think that Isaac is able to appear that way when in the "holodeck" thing....so why not?

I did find myself wondering what the Kaylon present thought of that though.
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SlackerInc
Thu, Aug 4, 2022, 4:58pm (UTC -5)
Wow, Jammer, that has to be record time in putting up a review!

I'm wondering why you think it's "very likely" the end of the line? I kind of thought so going into the season but have felt more optimistic lately, with all the attention the show has been getting, not to mention the PTB putting it up on Disney+.

@Andre: Usually, "renewing vows" occurs between couples who have not divorced.

@Norvo: "What does it say about the future of a marriage when the groom is wearing a holographic disguise at the altar?"

Eh, isn't it like wearing a huge dress and veil, in a way? And it allows him to kiss the bride. I'm cool with it.
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Jaxon
Thu, Aug 4, 2022, 5:06pm (UTC -5)
I think Orville's S4 chances have increased as the airing of S3 progressed, but Hulu will need to act soon, because some of the cast will want to otherwise pursue other projects.

Not so much Seth and J, but certainly Adrianne and Penny.
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nacho Picard
Thu, Aug 4, 2022, 7:23pm (UTC -5)
What do you call a season finale that ends with everyone smiling and happy?

A series finale.

I hope not. I love this show too much, from the characters, to the alien races, to the storytelling style that takes the best of the 90s-era Star Trek and plays around with the fact that it doesn't have to kowtow to the Star Trek rules so it can do its own thing whenever it wants, and be a 100% homage whenever it wants too. It's the best of both worlds (pun intended) and I love it for it.

Seth and co. might want to go on and do other things. That'll make me sad if so. Yes, the show could conceivably continue without him, but the Orville is more than just a show starring Seth MacFarlane; it's a show overseen by Seth MacFarlane. He heads the writer's room. He wrote and/or directed many of the episodes, and the balance of humor and science-fiction is what it is because his imprint is everywhere. Losing him is more than losing Ed Mercer. In fact, Ed Mercer is probably the most expendable part of the equation. The show would be just fine with Kelly as captain. What the show can't lose is Seth MacFarlane.

I hope we get a fourth season.
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SlackerInc
Thu, Aug 4, 2022, 8:06pm (UTC -5)
Seth has made it pretty clear he wants to keep doing it if someone will fund it.
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nacho Picard
Thu, Aug 4, 2022, 8:06pm (UTC -5)
I have no idea how the show is performing on Hulu. I don’t know the numbers. I haven’t seen any press releases touting it, but I also haven’t seen any articles from Variety or the like talking about how big of a money sink it’s been. I’m totally in the dark. I’ve got to believe, however, if Hulu wants it back, and if the support is there, that The Orville will return. I think TV needs it, and not in the form of a “made for Hulu movie” every couple of years. The Orville needs to be weekly because that’s the format that TV needs: weekly adventures, a new ethical dilemma to solve, a new wrinkle to a long-running plot thread, a new development for a character, etc.

The Orville was conceived as “Famly Guy in Space” because that’s the only way Seth could have sold it to Fox. He made it a trojan horse with the intention of slowly phasing out the gags and phasing in the Star Trekian drama. Mission accomplished. He saw a void on TV: There was no Star Trek. The Orville filled that void. Yes, it premiered the same year as Discovery, but it wasn’t until this year that Strange New Worlds came along and really embraced the Star Trek legacy. It would be tragically ironic if that happened the same year as Orville’s last. I don’t want The Orville to bow out now that a genuinely good Star Trek show is back airing weekly adventures. There’s room for both, especially since Strange New Worlds only runs ten episodes per season. I can handle one in the Spring and one in the Fall.

I’m selfish. I want both.

If I have to start a letter-writing campaign so help me I'll do it!
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TheRealTrent
Thu, Aug 4, 2022, 8:43pm (UTC -5)
Some thoughts...

1. I like the chill, low-key vibe of the episode. One of my favorite episodes is the low-stakes "Ja'loja", and this episode was similarly mundane.
2. I thought the structure of the episode was clever; the episode's book-ended by "unions" (marriage ceremonies), but the B plot is about a rejection, the alien planet denied a union with the Union. In this way, the episode mirrors a "love plot" with a "tough love" plot.
3. Using Darude's Sandstorm for the stripshow was funny
4. I liked Gordon's toast and song
5. The episode works well as a celebration of the cast, and as a potential franchise finale, though the season would have benefited from an extra episode. There needs to be a buffer between this and the action-heavy previous episode.
6. The orchestral music in the final act was very good.
7. Closing on James Taylor's "Secret of Life" was great.
8. The show's musical interludes have been consistently excellent. They work well to heighten a communal, and so utopian, atmosphere.
9. The women chatting about marriage and summoning "Sober Man" was neat
10. Most of the "wedding" and "bachelor party" gags were generic. The Seth of season 1 would have gone for bolder, more original jokes.
11. I loved Alara's return; the show obviously loves and respects the character. Unlike nu-Trek, there's a tenderness and depth of love for all crew-members. Nobody is throwaway or disposable.
12. I don't buy Claire and Isaac at all. You need to be a genius to write a robot love story, and you need to have a deep and serious interest in neuroscience, consciousness, robotics and biology to make this story plausible. Claire and Isaac are often cute together, but that's mostly on an aesthetic level; I don't think the show's ever made a convincing case as for why they're attracted to each other, beyond her almost pathological desire to have her kids be protected (in season 1, Isaac's defense of Claire's kids is what first gets her noticing him, and here again it's Isaac's promise to look after her bloodline, that similarly entices Claire).
13. I feel the need to rewatch all three seasons to see if the Claire/Isaac stuff plays better knowing how it ends up.
14. I thought the comedy was off for the first 2/3rds of the episode. There was no punch, and the cutting to and from jokes was slack. The episode's tone is aloof, cold and almost academic, when it should be a bit more bouncy.
15. I thought all the Lysella scenes were great, in a "reheated TNG" sort of way. The two "holodeck" sequences were particularly strong, and Kelly delivers a number of nice utopian speeches.
16. Seth seems to do very little in this season. He's had 1 episode heavily dedicated to him, but mostly he plays a background role.

Ultimately, I thought this season was a big success. IMO there was only 1 bad episode, and though I thought the second season had more great episodes, this season was consistently fun and/or interesting. I waited excitedly every week to catch the latest episode, something I've not done and/or felt for a TV show in years. And while the show's writing never reaches Trek at its peak (if we ignore the Moclan stories), it makes up for this with other qualities: its vibe, its aesthetics, its heart, its spirit, and the warmth of its cast. The show's just very likeable, in a Kermit the Frog sort of way.
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Scott
Thu, Aug 4, 2022, 10:19pm (UTC -5)
I think 2.5 stars is a little low for the commentary and quality we see here.

I had some good belly laughs at a lot of the humor in this episode

And I respectfully disagree with the pacing on this one - I did not feel it drag like I did in some of the early episodes in the season that did indeed have pacing issues.
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SlackerInc
Thu, Aug 4, 2022, 10:48pm (UTC -5)
@TheRealTrent: "The women chatting about marriage and summoning 'Sober Man' was neat"

That was a lovely little moment I had meant to comment on but forgot to. It's so true to life, but not something I have seen represented on TV or film before.

"the show's writing never reaches Trek at its peak (if we ignore the Moclan stories)"

Why are we ignoring the Moclan stories? Don't they count too?
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Tom
Fri, Aug 5, 2022, 5:32am (UTC -5)
Claire's fit of anger over Isaac's asking other people out is already dated now, let alone in 400 years time. You mean to tell me that monogamy is still going to be commonplace in the future? I really doubt it.

And Kelly's spiel about the purpose of work was silly. So in the future instead of working to feed and house ourselves, we work to improve our reputation and because the alternative is frowned upon? How horrible. And no mention of how helping people or providing a service can feel good.
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TheRealTrent
Fri, Aug 5, 2022, 7:54am (UTC -5)
Slacker said: "Why are we ignoring the Moclan stories? Don't they count too? "

You're right, they shouldn't be ignored. That's a poor choice of words on my part.

What I was thinking at the time is this: "Orville's" "Moclan stories" are much better than Trek's attempts at similar things. Remove these episodes, though, and it's less easier to say Trek's peak episodes are topped by a similar "Orville" episode.
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Holdfast
Fri, Aug 5, 2022, 8:44am (UTC -5)
I just realized this show had a Tuvix moment. Mercer murdered an innocent boy.
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Holdfast
Fri, Aug 5, 2022, 9:42am (UTC -5)
Has Seth ever gone on record to speculate about when the Union came about? Perhaps before 2200's, given their not having a prime directive?
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SlackerInc
Fri, Aug 5, 2022, 11:04am (UTC -5)
@Tom: I am personally not into monogamy, and get irked when people abhor TV shows or movies because they portray infidelity without making a mustache-twirling villain out of the unfaithful characters. But it seems to me that the social norm of monogamy has if anything become stronger in recent years. This of course has not stamped out adultery (nothing will), but it has driven it deeper underground and caused people to endure more shaming and even major consequences to their employment and so on if they get caught.

There are powerful evolutionary reasons both for people to engage in infidelity and for their significant others to try to stop it from happening, so I don't think it's that hard to believe that it could still be the same volatile and contentious dynamic in 400 years. (The main evolutionary-psychological counterweight would be genetic engineering, but that is outlawed in the Federation and not mentioned in the PU that I can recall.)

The other thing to keep in mind here is that although I am happy when there's science fiction that tries to imagine a dramatically different world, most of it that is created as entertainment for 21st century people is going to present characters who are relatable to...21st century people. That's just how it is, even if it might not, strictly speaking, be "realistic". (This is also why, although I have plenty of problems with nuTrek, I'm not sympathetic to the complaints about their using 2022 vernacular.)

@TheRealTrent: I get what you are saying, but I would submit that if you want to do that kind of comparison where you throw out the outliers, that's legitimate, but it has to be done fairly. That means counting up the Moclan episodes, determining what percentage they make up of the total, and then also throwing out the same percentage of the best Star Trek episodes before you make your comparison.
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Daya
Fri, Aug 5, 2022, 2:56pm (UTC -5)
Kelly says that the Union is a democracy where reputation, rather than cash, is currency. Where people who don't build reputation may exist, but are frowned upon. So then the Union is rather like the world Lysella left behind, then!!
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Leif
Fri, Aug 5, 2022, 3:09pm (UTC -5)
WHY WHY is this show ending..WHY can't or WONT they continue..And WHYBJAMMER donyou REVIEW THIS AND NOT SNW SEASON FINALE LOL..surely this show can continue..why shouldn't or couldn't it..
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Dahj's Digital Ghost
Fri, Aug 5, 2022, 6:09pm (UTC -5)
Norvo said: "What does it say about the future of a marriage when the groom is wearing a holographic disguise at the altar? Not the best way to start your life together, is it?"

There was sight gag potential here, which, I think, should have been obvious: Every Kaylon as they crossed the threshold into the Orville's holodeck-thingy should have assumed Isaac's human form (Mark Jackson). So funny, copy and paste Mark fifty times.
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Jaxon
Fri, Aug 5, 2022, 6:33pm (UTC -5)
Ironic that "The Orville" lived up to TNG's The Measure OF A Man while "Picard" defecated on it.
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Akom
Fri, Aug 5, 2022, 9:04pm (UTC -5)
A good episode I think, many laughs (coming from a kinda somber season), I liked the theme for a season ending as well. 3.5/4
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SlackerInc
Fri, Aug 5, 2022, 9:11pm (UTC -5)
@Daya: ISWYDT

@Dahj's DG: What about the actor who does Primary? Have we heard other Kaylon voices? Other than Timmus I mean. Speaking of which, what is his status now that Kaylon is a provisional member of the Union? Maybe he could become a "Primary" candidate in Kaylon democracy? Who made Primary king anyway?
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Ensign Deathbound
Fri, Aug 5, 2022, 9:12pm (UTC -5)
Nice finale. I get the sense is a series finale, not a season finale, but I hope I'm wrong.

Random thoughts:

-I like that is was fun a low-key for the most part. Though I could see Isaac summoning his guests at the wedding was going to create problems. Good thing they didn't plan for a wedding on Earth,

-Unlike Jammer, I didn't look at my watch during the episode. I give MacFarlane kudos for making his own "Star Trek", and for going out on a high note. If this is to be the last episode of the Orville, then he can rightly say he went out in style, on his own terms, which is a lot more than most shows can say. Indulgence on a series finale is forgivable.

-Speaking of which: really liked the B plot with Lysella. Her world is a definite stand-in to our own, and if there is a point to be made (whether it's on Star Trek or The Orville) it's that we need to figure out how we can improve as a species, and achieve the kind of Utopia we yearn for when we watch those shows. It's a really good note to finish on. And bonus points for dealing with the Prime Directive problem. Salvation never comes from above. We need to figure it out for ourselves. It's a hard truth to face, but it needs to be faced. And we should really get on that.

-It was great to see Alara again.

-I would have thought Bortus' speech would have been better (a "twist" after all the speculation) but I suppose him laying a goose egg was appropriately funny.

-I somehow knew that Mercer's opening words when officiating the wedding would be those of Kirk in the opening scene of "Balance of Terror," and I was not dissapointed.

Who knows what the future holds? But considering Orville S03 kicked both Discovery ad Picard's asses (IMO), news of a season 4 would be welcome indeed.
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Steve Peeve from Cleeve
Fri, Aug 5, 2022, 9:24pm (UTC -5)
I really hope there is another season. This episode was a middling one but I enjoyed the return of the humor which landed well, and I greatly enjoy all the cast members. This was the best season yet, each season has improved upon the other.

I also liked we got a bit more info about the Union. My mine complaint about the series is how little we know about the history of it. So we know for now that they still didn't even a "Prime Directive" in place by the mid 23rd century. Which leads me to think perhaps they came into interstellar travel a little later than the Trek universe?
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Dahj's Digital Ghost
Fri, Aug 5, 2022, 11:24pm (UTC -5)
@SlackerInc — I get where you're coming from. It would have been nice to see the other actors for the sake that this episode may very well be the end of it all. I just thought it really would have been an Orvillian-style joke to have gone with a sight gag.

As for the Kaylon's government, I don't know. All we know is that Kaylon Primary stated that representative democracy was terribly inefficient. But that doesn't mean Kaylon Primary is an autocrat. For all we know, the Kaylon system might be beyond the democratic, oligarchic, autocratic, and mixed forms of government we know, and Primary is simply the primary node through which data is passed. After all, it is unlikely that the Kaylon would liberate themselves only to effectively enslave themselves once again to one of their own.

I hope this is not the end of the series. There are a good many matters left to explore. And the cast and their characters are a delight to watch.
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SlackerInc
Fri, Aug 5, 2022, 11:36pm (UTC -5)
@Ensign Deathbound: Did he really use the same words, exactly?
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Lupe
Sat, Aug 6, 2022, 11:35am (UTC -5)
The problem was Orville tried to be a ST tribute, A ST parody, and new ST at the same time.
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SlackerInc
Sat, Aug 6, 2022, 3:58pm (UTC -5)
I don't really see much parody.
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Lynos
Sun, Aug 7, 2022, 12:58am (UTC -5)
Right off the bat I'll say that i genrally liked this series/season finale. It was the funniest show of a great 3rd season, and it's just really nice to spend time with these characters, and the interchange the series made this season with action extravaganzas followed by quiet, more contemplative episodes was quite effective.

I also really liked Kelly's elaboration of the Utopian ethos of Trek... I mean... Orville. We needed that. By "we" I mean the human race.

But, and that's a big but, Future Unknown mostly revolves around one of the most problematic ongoing storylines of Orville, which is the Issac/Claire relationship, and subsequently, love story.

Look, I've said it before in this forum and it hasn't changed. I simply don't buy it. I don't buy it, I don't beleive it, and honestly it makes me cringe a little.

It's not easy doing a genuine love story between a robot, even a self-conscious one, and a human. You need to really establish that puppy. You need to root it in some kind of beleivability. You can't just treat it as thing that now exists. When I saw Isaac, with his pretty hologram face, says to Claire at the altar that he can't receiprocate her love but that his relationship to her will make him more efficient, and then Claire beams out at him with joy, I felt like I don't understand these characters at all. It felt quite ridiculous. Why would Claire want to spend her life with someone who doesn't love her back? Who doesn't exhibit any emotion? Even if we assume for a minute that Isaac does harbor loving feelings towards Claire but can't express them because of his "machine brain", it doesn't matter if he can't show it. We as human beings need to feel that we are loved back. I'm sure Claire does. That moment felt false, and forced.

And Forced is the word of the day here. Someone had the bright idea to give Isaac a romance plot so they went with it. That's all there is to it. But I wish this plot was handled with the same care as the Topa story, for example, where you had a set-up, complication, and a staisfying, logical conclusion. Not here. The consumation came, but because it wasn't established convincingly, it felt unearned.

And why does Claire need to marry Isaac? I can understand that as a robot he wants to explore the mating rituals of humans, but what's Claire's motivation? If it's for her children, then fine, show it. Show us that for her it's practical thing. But the script obviously wants us to beleive there's a genuine love here, the way she looks at Isaac and speaks abut him. Honestly when I see them together I imagine a man saying love declarations to his toaster.

The wedding was a good excuse to get everyone under the same roof in a festive occassion, but give me break. I do not believe this relationship at all. And it's a shame, because the basic idea is not bad, it was simply not executed convincingly. For a more beleivable story of a man falling in love with an artificial intelligence, go watch Spike Jonze's Her.

Anyway, I would be happy to get a 4th seaosn where Calire understands Isaac can't give her what she needs and then goes on and falls in love with Bortus instead. This woman clearly has strange taste in men...
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SlackerInc
Sun, Aug 7, 2022, 1:44am (UTC -5)
@Lynos, Spike Jonze's "Her" is an absolute masterpiece. My favorite film, in fact, of the past 45 years (I say that because the only movie I rank higher is 1976's "Network").

Still, although the Isaac/Claire relationship is nowhere near that level, I buy it a lot more than you do.
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mosley
Sun, Aug 7, 2022, 2:51am (UTC -5)
Another vote for "hope for another season". It would really be a shame to see this cast with all its chemistry go.

Which brings me right to the point: imagine one of the nutrek shows daring to even attempt and episode like this. It would be a pure cringefest and dead on arrival. This makes one difference painfully clear to me : this is a great cast full of experienced actors.

Cause at times, one might not take Orville all too seriously (since it also doesn't take itself too seriously), but when you think about it, striking this tonal balance between homage, parody, sincere social issues, scifi action etc pp, that's a *lot* more difficult to navigate than just effectively going through various scifi tropes - which is what SNW does, at least somewhat competently, while DSC fails to even do just that.

So, I raise my glass to this cast and the creators. Also, nice to invite back Sage to play her character once more. Still a problematic topic, but this kind of gesture at least takes it down a notch.

Before I go, let me point out that for some reason, I have rarely ever laughed at a needy scifi gag as much as at the super dry delivery of Isaac's invitation of the kaylon. "we will deploy the fleet" "very well".

Don't exactly know why, but i must have continued laughing about this for almost a minute while the show had already moved on :-)

Aw man... Another season please. It's really such a nice show. Sloppy editing of this season, who cares, guilty pleasure for Seth, who cares, any other weaknesses, who cares - it's just a nice, often funny, almost always entertaining show with its heart in the right place. Don't want to see it go. More, please.
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Lynos
Sun, Aug 7, 2022, 7:45am (UTC -5)
@SlackerInc

Have you seen John Carpenter's Starman? It's not about an artificial intelligence, but it's about an alien coming (crashing if I remember correctly) to Earth, not knowing anything about human emotions or relationships, and taking the appearance of Karen Allen's dead husband.

So there's a lot of similarities there with characters such as Isaac or Data, and how the relationship builds between the characters, and how Karen Allen finds herself falling in love with this alien despite the ostensibly blasphemous form he;s taken on himself, is really great.

also Terminator 2, there is a sort of "love story" between the T-800 and the young John Connor, as the latter teach the former about being human ("I know now why you cry).

I just feel like compared to these stories, the writers on Orville didn't really make much effort to build the relationshp between Claire and Isaac in a satisfactory manner that rings true emotionally. It was really contrived and goofy, basically until the end.
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Yanks
Sun, Aug 7, 2022, 10:33am (UTC -5)
I agree Jammer. 2.5 stars is about right and this episode did suffer from being drawn out too long.

They could have skipped the whole Bortus best man part and all his missteps and it probably would have been fine.

The actress that played the Lysella was not the greatest in my book.

I will say this, Grayson explaining the "prime directive" to Lysella is the best explanation I've ever heard.

"Technology and societal ethics have to progress hand in hand, each one supporting the other incrementally. Anything else is begging for disaster."

I don't remember it being stated so clearly in Trek.

Loved it that Gordon's sandwich rematerialized.

If they were going to go to all the trouble to bring Alara back, you'd think they would have integrated her more into the episode.

I hope after Seth finishes his season-long experiment with "Ted" that he and Disney might come to an agreement and we can get more 'The Orville'. It ended up being pretty damn good.

I will miss it.
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SlackerInc
Sun, Aug 7, 2022, 2:27pm (UTC -5)
@Lynos, I have seen T2 of course. I think I saw "Starman", but it was as a kid in the Eighties so I only have vague memories of it.

@Yanks, if you ask me Bortus's "all kidding aside" speech was one of the best parts of the episode! What they should have jettisoned is the recommitment ceremony at the beginning.

I agree about the Lysella actor; I guess they were kind of stuck with her after her more limited role in the earlier episode.

It's interesting BTW that her people seem to have absolutely no visible differences from humans (no nose or forehead ridges, etc.). Have we ever seen that before?
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Del_Duio
Sun, Aug 7, 2022, 9:19pm (UTC -5)
To be honest I didn’t even know who Lysella was, even after she put the voting thing on the desk. I guess it really has been too long since I’ve watched Majority Rule (which I remembered really liking a lot at the time).

Feels like a series-ender, but I want more. These characters and this works they’ve made is just great. There are of course some loose ends left open (Mercer’s child is the huge one) but thankfully if this DOES end up being the finale they ended it well and not on some cliffhanger that never gets resolved due to cancellation.

For the record I get the feeling this season has been well-received and especially being put on Disney+ too will help it’s chances.
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Del_Duio
Sun, Aug 7, 2022, 9:20pm (UTC -5)
Should read “these characters and their WORLD they’ve made”

Damn autocorrect
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Yanks
Mon, Aug 8, 2022, 11:13am (UTC -5)
SlackerInc

"@Yanks, if you ask me Bortus's "all kidding aside" speech was one of the best parts of the episode! What they should have jettisoned is the recommitment ceremony at the beginning."

That's a good suggestion too. When Bortus showed up wearing Elvis attire I thought to myself "they've gone once too many times to the well with the Bortus humor stuff".

It's a personal preference thing I guess. Jammer doesn't care for Gordon's singing, but I think it's one of the highlights of the show.

"I agree about the Lysella actor; I guess they were kind of stuck with her after her more limited role in the earlier episode."

So I'm watching this episode, trying to remember the episode we were supposed to know her from and I'm getting nothing... it took an IMDb search before I could put 2 and 2 together. That's what happens when I'm not impressed with the acting I guess.

"It's interesting BTW that her people seem to have absolutely no visible differences from humans (no nose or forehead ridges, etc.). Have we ever seen that before?"

Yes, it's called "Stargate" ... lol
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Jammer
Mon, Aug 8, 2022, 11:29am (UTC -5)
"It's a personal preference thing I guess. Jammer doesn't care for Gordon's singing, but I think it's one of the highlights of the show."

You may have misunderstood me. I said I'm "never not impressed" when he sings, that is, always impressed. I guess my double negative may have been confusing.
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Jaxon
Mon, Aug 8, 2022, 2:00pm (UTC -5)
"Yes, it's called "Stargate" ... lol"

Insofar as the humans being identical to the Ancients, yes.

Earth was acknowledged as the source world of most or all of the humans in the contemporary Milky Way galaxy in-universe. To a lesser extent, they did the same with the Unas.
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Quincy
Mon, Aug 8, 2022, 3:49pm (UTC -5)
@Jaxon
Mon, Aug 8, 2022, 2:00pm (UTC -5)
"'Yes, it's called "Stargate" ... lol'
Insofar as the humans being identical to the Ancients, yes.
Earth was acknowledged as the source world of most or all of the humans in the contemporary Milky Way galaxy in-universe. To a lesser extent, they did the same with the Unas."


Star Trek has done it a number of times as well. TOS did it multiple times. TNG also did it multiple times with the Aldeans, Angosians, Ba'ku, Bandi, Ligonians, and many others. Star Trek also explained that most if not all the humanoid races in the Milky Way come from the ancient humanoid who's species left the message in the DNA of the major Alpha Quadrant species. All the other Star Trek franchises have done similar species.
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J. Ering
Mon, Aug 8, 2022, 4:44pm (UTC -5)
Jaxon wrote:
> Ironic that "The Orville" lived up to TNG's The Measure OF A Man while
> "Picard" defecated on it.

TNG and other Berman-era Star Trek ignored and went against TNG's "Measure of a Man" sentiment well before Star Trek Picard did.

Capt. Picard's objections to Data making offspring without permission or supervision should have been unconscionable if Data were deserving of the rights of personhood (or sentiency, if I correctly recall the language used in "Measure of a Man") that "Measure of a Man" claimed Data had won. As Data said in the episode, I don't recall anyone seeking permission from Capt. Picard before deciding to make a child.

Voyager's Emergency Medical Hologram (who called himself Joe, if I recall correctly, in one timeline of that Voyager's final episode) had a comparable political fight to be treated as a person, a fight he won. Joe gained the freedom to turn himself off when he wanted. I presume that the other EMH Mark I deployments had the same skills, reasoning, and potential for personal growth as Joe so they were no less deserving of personhood than Joe. But we saw many EMH Mark I deployments doing dilithium mining, a job which fits the description Guinan gave Picard as to why Starfleet should reject Maddox's request to study Data (I think Guinan had a line in Ten Forward in her chat with Picard where she mentioned 'doing the work that was too hazardous, the work others did not want to do' but I don't recall the exact wording). So Joe is special; Joe won some rights that nobody bothered to fight for on behalf of the other EMH Mark I deployments. Guinan effectively steered Picard to see Maddox's work as a start toward making Data slaves (thus presupposing the issue being decided in the hearing). In other words, Guinan predicted EMH Mark I deployments' fate (except for Joe) and the Federation is apparently fine with that outcome.

All of this happened prior to Star Trek Picard. I don't believe for a minute that any Star Trek Picard writers took "Measure of a Man" into account in their own writings because I see no clear evidence that Star Trek Picard writers watched TNG in its entirety (as they should have) to prepare for writing Star Trek Picard. I believe that TNG's "Measure of a Man"'s conclusions were either set aside or unknown to Star Trek writers from TNG onwards. Fans notice what you noticed, Jaxon, but the writers don't show me clear evidence that they care or were under any pressure to care. Maybe by the time Star Trek Picard came along, Star Trek had become mostly action-focused and unearned emotionalism, so critiquing the past just wasn't a part of the show's mission anymore.
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Booming
Mon, Aug 8, 2022, 5:11pm (UTC -5)
@J. Ering
"As Data said in the episode, I don't recall anyone seeking permission from Capt. Picard before deciding to make a child."
Is Data making a child?
1. The android he creates is not a child but fully formed and adult looking. It just gets and outer shell.
2. What he is actually making is a clone or a copy. Laal might look differently but is technically as close to Data as Data was able to make.
3. When Soong made Data, he didn't procreate but constructed a life form. So if constructing Data was not "having a child" then one can hardly argue that Data is having one.
4. While procreating is limited, at least in it's natural form, Data could easily make an infinite amount of new androids.
5. I doubt that a Human could just walk into the Crushers office and demand that they make a few clones.
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Ensign Deathbound
Mon, Aug 8, 2022, 6:18pm (UTC -5)
@SlackerInc

Re: words in the wedding ceremony.

Turns out I'm somewhat off base. Mercer's speech echoes Kirk's in that they refer to the privilege that Captains have enjoyed since the days ships sailing on Earth's oceans of being able to unite two people in matrimony, but the specific words used are different.
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Yanks
Tue, Aug 9, 2022, 6:52am (UTC -5)
@J. Ering

"TNG and other Berman-era Star Trek ignored and went against TNG's "Measure of a Man" sentiment well before Star Trek Picard did.

Capt. Picard's objections to Data making offspring without permission or supervision should have been unconscionable if Data were deserving of the rights of personhood (or sentiency, if I correctly recall the language used in "Measure of a Man") that "Measure of a Man" claimed Data had won. As Data said in the episode, I don't recall anyone seeking permission from Capt. Picard before deciding to make a child."

You do not. Data's "sentiency" was never determinded... only his right to choose.

@Booming
"Is Data making a child?
1. The android he creates is not a child but fully formed and adult looking. It just gets and outer shell"

True

"2. What he is actually making is a clone or a copy. Laal might look differently but is technically as close to Data as Data was able to make."

Well, Laal didn't in the slightest look like Data and Data even allowed Laal to chose it's gender. It today's environment I'm sure she could choose her pronouns as well.

"3. When Soong made Data, he didn't procreate but constructed a life form. So if constructing Data was not "having a child" then one can hardly argue that Data is having one."

Soong looked just like his "father". I seem to remember sometime in TNG where it was stated that Dr Soong didn't have biological children. I think it can be reasonably assumed that he was attempting to procreate when he made Data.

"4. While procreating is limited, at least in it's natural form, Data could easily make an infinite amount of new androids."

This is true.

"5. I doubt that a Human could just walk into the Crushers office and demand that they make a few clones."

Of course not. To even make that argument you have to believe Data is a life form and sentient. He has not been granted either.

What data is is unique. So much so Data himself was unable to create a viable clone of himself.
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Booming
Tue, Aug 9, 2022, 7:21am (UTC -5)
@Yanks
"Well, Laal didn't in the slightest look like Data and Data even allowed Laal to chose it's gender. It today's environment I'm sure she could choose her pronouns as well."
While Laal didn't look like Data, that is really only the visible part, everything else is as identical as possible. If you create a clone that is as close to you as possible and that clone then decides to change it's look, is it not a clone anymore?

"Soong looked just like his "father". I seem to remember sometime in TNG where it was stated that Dr Soong didn't have biological children. I think it can be reasonably assumed that he was attempting to procreate when he made Data."
Well, all Soongs look the same... :) joking aside, Soong didn't see his androids as independent beings. He put a subroutine in them with which he could control them at any time. Soong also dismantled several of the androids and wiped early memories of Data. Data only got his freedom because Soong didn't take him when he fled. If that was Soong's way of procreation then that it is reeeeally messed up.
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Peter G.
Tue, Aug 9, 2022, 8:23am (UTC -5)
I don't know the context of this discussion, but FWIW Data's right to choose wasn't even determined in Measure of a Man. He wasn't recognized as having any rights. Rather, Picard challenged Maddox that he *might* be engaging in slavery if Data was alive and/or sentient. It's the Guinan defense. Maddox's legal claim to Data was never settled, because the court basically backed off once it was recognized that an atrocity was perhaps on the table. Nothing at all was settled, and in theory the door was left open for a hearing at a higher level to renew the issue.
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Jason R.
Tue, Aug 9, 2022, 9:09am (UTC -5)
I disagree Peter. Levoix rules that Data is not property of Starfleet. That settles something important I'd say.
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Booming
Tue, Aug 9, 2022, 9:38am (UTC -5)
Congrats Mr. Data, this court has determined that you have more rights than the chair I'm sitting on.
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Yanks
Tue, Aug 9, 2022, 10:02am (UTC -5)
Just to clear the airwaves...

From the transcript of MoM:

"PHILLIPA: It sits there looking at me, and I don't know what it is. This case has dealt with metaphysics, with questions best left to saints and philosophers. I'm neither competent nor qualified to answer those. I've got to make a ruling, to try to speak to the future. Is Data a machine? Yes. Is he the property of Starfleet? No. We have all been dancing around the basic issue. Does Data have a soul? I don't know that he has. I don't know that I have. But I have got to give him the freedom to explore that question himself. It is the ruling of this court that Lieutenant Commander Data has the freedom to choose."

Mattox's case was settled. She rules that Data was not the property of Starfleet.

The whole slavery thing was just poppycock hollywood crap.

@Booming

"While Laal didn't look like Data, that is really only the visible part, everything else is as identical as possible. If you create a clone that is as close to you as possible and that clone then decides to change it's look, is it not a clone anymore?"

Not sure how that works... if a machine makes another machine is that called cloning or coping? .... a facsimile maybe?

"Well, all Soongs look the same... :) joking aside, Soong didn't see his androids as independent beings. He put a subroutine in them with which he could control them at any time. Soong also dismantled several of the androids and wiped early memories of Data. Data only got his freedom because Soong didn't take him when he fled. If that was Soong's way of procreation then that it is reeeeally messed up."

Good point concerning the homing thingy... although many parents would like to have something like that in their kids ... lol

I think Soong left Data SO he could be found and free.

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