The Orville

"Gently Falling Rain"

3 stars

Air date: 6/23/2022
Written Brannon Braga & Andre Bormanis
Directed by Jon Cassar

Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan

On the eve of the signing of a treaty between the Planetary Union and the Krill, a delegation is invited to the Krill homeworld where the treaty is to be signed. The Orville will, of course, carry the delegation, and Admiral Halsey invites Mercer and his away team to attend the signing.

This invitation happens after we've already witnessed Teleya (Michaela McManus) — the undercover Krill woman who pretended to fall in love with a duped Mercer (see "Nothing Left on Earth Excepting Fishes"), and who is now a rising populist politician with a growing following — provides an ominous speech that begins Trumpian and works its way up to Hitlerian as she decries the treaty that's going to be signed and promises that all who have taken part in its creation will be punished as traitors if she wins the election. The crowd screams and chants like a howling mob. The delegation is made aware of Teleya, but is assured her fringe support is not enough to overcome incumbent Supreme Chancellor Korin's comfortable lead as the establishment candidate. (Stop me if you've heard this one before.) Certainly, there's plenty of Fake News in the mix to cloud the issue.

As it happens, the Union delegation arrives at the Krill homeworld on election night. This is so typical of the Union's sense of oblivious, dim-witted planning: Sure, why not visit an enemy world on the night they are having an election where the rising populist opponent has vowed she will absolutely rip up the treaty you are there to sign and will punish the ones who engineered it? What could possibly go wrong? LOL. Of course, without this rather stupid premise, there would be no story, so we have to grant some things in the interest of drama.

This does, however, give our characters a front-row seat to the 2016-like election upset, where the opponent that was laughed off by the establishment suddenly ekes out an unlikely win. After the election is called, things move ... alarmingly quickly. Armed guards come into the chancellor's office (right after he has said to those in the room he plans to contest the election as a false result) and Teleya, who I guess becomes supreme chancellor immediately upon the election being called (the show is unclear on the legal aspects of how the power transfer is supposed to happen), takes power and shortly thereafter brings the outgoing chancellor onto a public stage and personally executes him on the spot. Oof. She announces that the Union delegation will be executed in the morning, as well.

"Gently Falling Rain" is a lot of things, and it does most of those things pretty effectively — although it's also messy and scattered and unfocused at times. It's like the kitchen sink of political sci-fi action shows. This is like a major DS9 political episode mixed with a healthy dose of ripped-from-the-headlines story beats and a large helping of action pyrotechnics. It also includes some impressively realized sights, including the dystopian Blade Runner-esque Krill cityscape, which employs a visually immersive mix of darkness and neon. There's a massive statue of Avis in the middle of the city that's frighteningly evocative.

In terms of world-building and establishing absorbing things within this universe, this is one of the best yet for the series; it really makes the Krill capital feel like an actual place. The plot works reasonably in its nuts and bolts as it becomes a matter of trying to rescue the delegation before they're executed. There's some silliness in a plan called "Directive 21," which is a secret for no good reason other than to hide what's going to happen for the audience. But we're in good hands with Grayson in command. Adrianne Palicki again shows what a commanding presence she is as an authority figure. She honestly makes a better captain than the actual captain on his best days.

Then there's the whole Mercer/Teleya matter, which plays out here in a fairly realistic fashion, given the characters. Teleya doesn't necessarily want him dead, but even with Mercer here she isn't about to change her point of view. She's angry and ruthless and means everything she said about the treaty with the Union. Her anti-Union position remains despite the Kaylon threat and what it means for everyone if there's no alliance working together to resist it. You can't reason with good old-fashioned isolationist hatred.

Meanwhile, Mercer has to deal with the fact that he was duped and there was absolutely nothing real about the relationship he thought he had with "Lt. Janel Tyler." Like, nothing. He was a sap, and he let her go hoping she might help him bridge the gulf between the two cultures, and instead she has gone and done the exact opposite when the bridge was already happening separately from that with the previous leadership. It's a real kick in the teeth. And indeed Mercer does look foolish. In a way, it's brave of MacFarlane to let his character be seen this way.

The episode's big twist is that Teleya had a secret half-human daughter with Mercer (named Anaya, which means "gently falling rain"), which Mercer didn't know about and who is hidden away to protect Teleya from political scandal, but who was carried to term because Teleya opposes abortion, which is forbidden in Krill society. A secret half-human child seems like something that would be impossible to keep secret in a capitalistic society that traffics in political deepfakes, but let's not nitpick too much.

It's about here where the episode brings up one idea too many, with a shoehorned-in scene featuring an "aborted child simulator" which shows, as punishment, a custom-tailored simulation of a child to the would-be parents who have committed an illegal abortion of that child. This feels like a ham-fisted and half-finished sketch of an idea that really either needed to have more screen time or none. (I write this on the very day Roe v. Wade in the U.S. has been overturned, reversing 50 years of precedent protecting the right to abortion. The timeliness of this aspect of the episode could not have even been imagined when this was shot well over two years ago, but that doesn't make this scene feel any less awkwardly inserted).

Ultimately, there's an uneasy tug-of-war here between Star Trek and Star Wars that absolutely has Star Wars winning in the final act. The politics and dialogue of the first few acts give way to a Big Action Sequence where "Directive 21" turns out to be members of the Orville crew being disguised as Krill so they can infiltrate and evacuate the delegation at the last minute before they're executed on stage. Meanwhile, a massive Union fleet arrives at the Krill homeworld (quantuming in with that awful copy-and-paste CGI method, with the ships implausibly crammed right on top of each other, which I hated about the fleet in the last episode of Picard season one) to engage in a battle to provide cover for the evacuation mission. This leads to a sequence that features, yet again, a score that shamelessly mimics John Williams and has a lot of explosions, although, it would seem, limited casualties. After the barrage of clashing, the Union ships all quantum away. This feels weirdly inconsequential even though it should mean absolute open warfare.

So, yeah, this episode is entertaining and frequently absorbing but also suffers from its sprawl and scatterbrained lack of focus. But for the first time this season, I have no complaints about the pace. The running time (65 minutes) works just fine for the material at hand, giving it time to breathe. The episode leaves little on the table as it unleashes open hostilities with the Krill and reveals Mercer's previously unknown child. The only question is whether there will be enough time during this (brief) season to deal with all the storylines they've opened up here.

Previous episode: Mortality Paradox
Next episode: A Tale of Two Topas

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107 comments on this post

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Galadriel
Thu, Jun 23, 2022, 8:49am (UTC -5)
That was good!

It is safe to say that the dick jokes and sitcom stuff are gone from The Orville S3. This wants to be epic science-fiction, and in my book it suc­ceed­ed in that. I expected a ludi­crous turn or twist to make Teleya change her mind and re­turn to the pre­vious sta­tus quo, but the epis­ode does not cop out, and we do get a game-chang­ing epis­ode that com­ple­te­ly re­shuff­les the cards. Now the Earth/Krill al­lian­ce is gone, the Kaylons are still lurking, and the Moclans will re­appear next week. Inter­esting times.

I have to gush about the production values. This show looks fan­tas­tic, with a lot of Krill mass scenes and street­views from the Krill capi­tal (it gave me a very small “Blade Run­ner” vibe, and out of my mouth that’s quite a com­pli­ment), and I am sure not all of these extras were digi­tal. The de­sign work looks great and reeks of a lot of money spent.

When we come to the story, the first StarTrek parallel that comes to my mind is “Ter­ra Pri­me”, with a litt­le bit of “Re­uni­on” strewn in. There are also se­ve­ral par­­allels to Klin­gon history, espe­cially “Point of Light” and later epis­odes of DIS S2, and a general re­sem­blan­ce to all the Klingon politics de­picted in TNG and DS9.

But what makes the story still original is Ed’s previous relation­ship with Teleya. Back then, I was a big fan of “No­thing Left on Earth Ex­cept­ing Fishes”, and I par­ti­cu­lar­ly liked the Tele­ya/Ed scenes on the planet. Both of them clearly sucked in ana­lyz­ing them­sel­ves, but hat a keen eye for the logical flaws in the rea­son­ings of the other. Ed seems to have grown since, but Teleya has re­gres­sed even more.

(BTW, where have the Chak'tal gone?)

The plot has also its share of weakness. The space battle was an un­dilut­ed mas­sacre, costing the lives of hund­reds if not thou­sands, and I don’t understand why the Union would waste that much resour­ces to save a few people: Even a president should not be worth the equi­valent of a few battle cruisers (and they showed a much more le­thar­gic at­titu­de in “All the World is Birth­day Cake”). The rescue mission came out of thin air and went far to smoothly; in particular, it looked aw­ful­ly con­­ve­­ni­­ent that that Union pre­­si­­dent pro­ved more or less knife-proof (re­­mem­­ber that his former Krill col­lea­gue died im­me­di­ate­ly from one stab).

So, the series is back to form after two more average outings. I hap­pi­ly award 3 stars out of 4, with an option to up­gra­de to 3½ should the storyline prove fruit­ful for the re­main­ing 6 episodes.
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Galadriel
Thu, Jun 23, 2022, 9:38am (UTC -5)
I should perhaps also address the highly political content of the epis­ode. Now I know that this is a US show, and I pre­dict there will be some who will read much of the epis­ode as a com­ment to the si­tu­a­ti­on in the US, from An Un­ex­pect­ed Elec­tion Out­come to popu­list spee­ches and even a short ab­or­tion dis­cus­sion. But re­al­ly the epis­ode keeps it more vague, and I think de­libe­ra­te­ly so (note that here the “good” guy does not accept the elec­tion result).

Teleya gave a fantastic speech in the cold opening. I have heard such speeches in reality, in several different languages and coun­tries. Her way of argu­ing mi­mics some as­pects of all of them; she could be equal­ly Marine Le Pen (her father, Jean-Marie, would be an even closer fit) or Viktor Orbán or Jair Bol­so­na­ro. Se­ve­ral years ago, a friend surprised me by telling me that she liked the then-pre­si­dent of the US (a highly di­vi­si­ve figure at that time, to put it very mildly); turned out she did not approve of her own coun­try’s pre­si­dent, and she was just hap­py that now an­other coun­try had an even worse dick in office. US citizens should real­ly accept that they have no mo­no­po­ly on bad poli­ti­ci­ans, and not every bad poli­ti­ci­an de­pict­ed any­­where must be read as a mir­ror image of who­­ever plagues the US in that moment.

Seeing a country with a reasonably enlightened government fal­ling prey to any king of fun­da­men­ta­list ideo­logy is al­ways a dire view, espe­cially if it hap­pens by demo­cratic elec­tion (which seems a little bit out of cha­rac­ter for the Krill, to be honest — shouldn’t they live an in au­tho­ri­ta­rian theo­cracy?). And I like the epis­ode for being ambi­guous: We don’t know whether Teleya rig­ged the elec­tion, or whether the Circle of Clerics mani­pu­lat­ed the re­sults (there are hints to that), or whether people were really dumb. Finally, with all that deep fake pro­pa­gan­da going on, we can’t vouch for Chan­cel­lor Korin’s inte­grity, either.

I congratulate the episode for not presenting a simplified picture.
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Sam
Thu, Jun 23, 2022, 9:49am (UTC -5)
Well, once again, the SFX budget was about 100x bigger than the writing budget.

On the plus side:

- 60 years after Kirk kissed a lot of alien women, nice to finally "see" a starship captain a) go "all the way" with one and b) get her pregnant

- Some of the shots of the Krill capitol were pretty cool. Also, with the permanent nighttime and rain, yah, definitely a Bladerunner vibe for sure

-Isaac's cowboy get up was hilarious

- Woah, that statue of Avis was something else, son.

On the negative side:

- Isaac's voice sounded "off" and then he was missing from the bridge the rest of the episode, including during the big shootout scene over planet Krill

- Is it normal for a ship's captain AND the first office to both get super drunk at the same time while the ship is deployed? And then Admiral Purple Jacket knew but didn't care?

- Apparently, the President of the entire Federation (ahem, Union of Planets) has no bodyguards and no entourage whatsoever. Good to know.

- Apparently, Krill knives kill their own people with one stab, but you can still run and talk just fine after getting stabbed if you're an alien.

- What was up with the election-related fake videos, etc? Felt like a ham-fisted commentary on Trump. Speaking of which, what was the point of Telaya declaring herself Supreme Chancellor BEFORE all the votes were counted?

- Holy smokes, that anti-abortion holodeck thing was CREEPY. Why did the parents look so surprised that they were gonna be forced to interact with their unborn kid? Whole scene was weird af.

- Apparently, the Krill love strippers and giant hunks of meat, at least in their "seedy" areas of town.

- Telaya's election speech was all about "pure blood" but then the people guarding her kid (who OPPOSE her reign, somehow?) say nah, no point in making a scandal about her literally "bastard" kid. WTF?

- Directive 21 was a useless red herring and turned out to be what? Lamarr and the Doctor taking two hours to look like Krill? Just to pilot a shuttle? Never quite understood that part.

- Speaking of which, Lamarr hasn't had anything interesting to do or say all season. Guy's really been put on the back burner. Too bad as his pairing with Gordon actually was quite fun.

- Who comes to sign a major inter-galactic treaty with a leader (Supreme Commander) on their election day? Literally couldn't wait 24 hours or what?

- The Krill atmosphere is 80km thick with clouds and they hate the sun, so how exactly do they grow anything to eat there? And if they hate light so much, why is their city decked out in lasers and strobe lights?

- Gordon didn't have a single sarcastic quip or joke the entire ep??

- Mercer was in the capital then gets put in the cloak and meets his kid. He then says he has to "get back to the capital". Uh, what?

- The Telaya backstory comes from episode that aired FIVE YEARS ago. Kinda hard to make an emotional punch after so much time.

- Is there some reason the folks on the shuttle couldn't have been beamed aboard the Orville once they cleared atmo? Because they nearly got wiped out from a spinning piece of debris.

- Uh, is there war between Krill and the Union or what? At the end, it was just all smiles and hearty breakfasts.

- Last but not least, since when do Kelly and Mercer walk with their arms around each other's waists? Very odd.

Honestly, it feels like the writers of Orville WANT to say some interesting things about family, philosophy, death, religion, politics etc., but get stuck in the swamp of crappy writing every time. First Krill eps from Seasons 1 and 2 were handled far better.
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Sam
Thu, Jun 23, 2022, 9:52am (UTC -5)
Oh yeah, one more dropped Chekhov gun - the scene where the meat vendor kept pestering the soldiers and then Mercer speaks in English SEEMED like it was gonna lead to something but then never did.

Or are we supposed to believe that the meat seller ran off to call Anaya's guardians who rushed to the scene to gun down the two Krill soldiers? Totally unclear.
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MercerCreate
Thu, Jun 23, 2022, 10:17am (UTC -5)
@Sam you act like they intended the show to be delayed. They had these episodes written years ago.. and even filmed then
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MercerCreate
Thu, Jun 23, 2022, 11:48am (UTC -5)
@Sam "I just made it up" was a funny remark from Gordon
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Jeffrey's Tube
Thu, Jun 23, 2022, 12:57pm (UTC -5)
@ Sam

"- Is there some reason the folks on the shuttle couldn't have been beamed aboard the Orville once they cleared atmo? Because they nearly got wiped out from a spinning piece of debris."

Yeah: because there are no transporters.

I know, I know, it's hard to remember this show isn't Star Trek . . .

. . .

Anyway, second good episode of the season. I was beginning to worry, given the last two episodes didn't even come close to passing the "at least good enough to be made" threshold. I honestly would have struggled to award one star to either if I did ratings . . .

Seth's acting in the scene after he's found out Teleya has murdered the previous chancellor is . . . actually good? Quite surprised. Mercer's always been the millstone around the neck of this cast and crew . . . the show has never satisfactorily answered the question "why this guy--why is THIS GUY the captain?" as far as I'm concerned, nor even satisfactorily convinced me he's competent enough to have earned sitting in that chair. But this one scene did more to convince me than any other I can remember.

Even Ensign Girlfriend wasn't too irksome, although I think we would have all rather had Gordon along instead.

This show has more money than Strange New Worlds. This is the fourth episode in a row that looked REALLY expensive. All that costuming, the elaborate CGI city, AND they threw in a non-insignificant, large scale space battle? Damn, they're really flashing the cash on the screen. Though, if the cost of these special effects and budget is that we get a season every three years . . . no thanks. It IS nice to see it, though.

Everyone acts with the best of intentions and according to their humanist moral principles, but in the end there's no good resolution and no easy answers. My favorite kind of Star Trek episode.

We can say "okay Seth did his Q episode, now he's doing his Reunion episode" and there's truth to that, but it's a lot more than that too. Though I wonder, if Reunion were made today, I wonder how much like this it would be?
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Artymiss
Thu, Jun 23, 2022, 1:12pm (UTC -5)
@sam

The meat vendor was part of the plot to rescue Ed and take him to see the child. The guardian of the child mentioned they have a spy working in the inner council so they were able to plot and stage the rescue. It was all completely clear. Perhaps you spent so much time finding nits to pick about this episode you didn't notice...

Anyway, very enjoyable (and a relief after last week's lacklustre outing). I like the way it remained unresolved.

Looked amazing as well. A few nice touches of humour - I especially liked Bortus's queasiness after the mad spinning.
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Artymiss
Thu, Jun 23, 2022, 1:16pm (UTC -5)
@ sam

The Doc and Lamarr altered to look like Krill meant they were able to stage the rescue!!! So of course it had a point! 🙄
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Jaxon
Thu, Jun 23, 2022, 4:32pm (UTC -5)
Now that's more like it. The biggest flaw was touched upon by someone already...totally not a good idea to receive this Union delegation before the election is sorted out. Basically we had a "the plot needs them to do something stupid" scenario.

I'll go with a high 3 stars. Writing is mostly satisfactory, and visually breathtaking as always. The first episode since the season opener to "earn" its runtime.
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Jaxon
Thu, Jun 23, 2022, 4:43pm (UTC -5)
So I guess the Union has a president. Before this, with the exception of the council hearing in Sanctuary, pretty much everything pointed to the Planetary Union being a stratocracy, with the "Admiralcy" doing the decision making. I still get the sense that the president is weaker in its government system than what we are used to.
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Lynos
Thu, Jun 23, 2022, 5:24pm (UTC -5)
Good episode, probably the first really good episode of the season. There's a lot at stake here, like, a lot, the the Krill home world is depicted quite impressively for a TV show (although, it seems like the entire plot happened during one night). So the pace here is a bit in "ludicrous speed" territory, but I guess I can forgive that.

I had to really stress my brain to remember the Teleya episode. When was that, like, three years ago? A "previously on" segment at the beginning would've been nice. Orville is now officially more serious than actual Star Trek.

And the big reveal here... Ed's daughter. Well, I didn't see that coming, and that certainly was never in Trek, where all the captains, from any gender, were childless except for Sisko. But Sisko didn't command a starship so that doesn't count.

And Isaac in the western holodeck.... priceless. It used to be that this kind of stuff was 40 minutes out of a 50 minute show, now it's 4 minutes.
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SlackerInc
Thu, Jun 23, 2022, 5:30pm (UTC -5)
Good stuff. Nothing groundbreaking, but a solid episode of sci-fi adventure. Reminiscent in that respect of almost the whole season thus far of SNW. Three stars out of four.

@Galadriel: "The space battle was an un­dilut­ed mas­sacre, costing the lives of hund­reds if not thou­sands, and I don’t understand why the Union would waste that much resour­ces to save a few people: Even a president should not be worth the equi­valent of a few battle cruisers"

Seriously? I could see your argument if it were just Ed and some of his crew (although that's still a major provocation if they are an invited peace delegation). But to me, if someone abducts your president, not to mention some top admirals, you go all-out. That just strikes me as so obvious as to not even need mentioning, but maybe I'm woefully ignorant of national security doctrine?

Certainly, even if you don't agree with the policy I'm laying out, you can't call it a "plot weakness". That suggests you think it's just as self-evidently absurd to have that policy as I think it's self-evident that you WOULD operate that way. We have a yawning gulf between us in our worldviews, apparently!

"seems a little bit out of cha­rac­ter for the Krill, to be honest — shouldn’t they live an in au­tho­ri­ta­rian theo­cracy?"

Their political system strikes me as likely to be modeled after that of Iran, where they have a theocratic council but also democratically elected secular government leaders.

@Sam: "Isaac's cowboy get up was hilarious"

As was his modification of the old "this town's too big for the two of us" gunslinger line.

"Is there some reason the folks on the shuttle couldn't have been beamed aboard the Orville once they cleared atmo?"

The rest of your comment makes it sound like you have watched this show from the beginning, but you have evidently forgotten that lack of transporters is one of the major differences between this and Star Trek.

@Jeffrey's Tube: "I was beginning to worry, given the last two episodes didn't even come close to passing the "at least good enough to be made" threshold. I honestly would have struggled to award one star to either if I did ratings . . ."

Wow. I thought two episodes ago, the "horror" ripoff of ALIEN, was pretty bad. But last episode, the one in which they mused about immortality at the end, is in contention for best episode of the series IMO. But then, the other ep that rivals it for me is "All the World is Birthday Cake", which many other people here also unaccountably disliked, so go figure.
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P_Car
Thu, Jun 23, 2022, 6:14pm (UTC -5)
Ensign Burke looks A LOT like Charly-ze Theron. And the western… a million ways…

Something going on there.
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Galadriel
Thu, Jun 23, 2022, 6:32pm (UTC -5)
@SlackerInc

I agree that abduction of the head of state will constitute a casus belli, for every na­tion that can af­ford war. But this rescue mis­sion has not been plan­ned care­ful­ly and was exe­cut­ed hasti­ly (40:35 “We are send­ing every avail­able ship”). They also leave their backs un­defen­ded, which would have proven dis­ast­rous if the Kaylons had taken ad­van­tage of the situation. And in the end, the job was done by Directive 21, not by the fleet.

And yes, you are right, Iran is a good example for a theo­cracy dis­guis­ed as a demo­cracy. OTOH, pre­si­dent Korin seem­ed to be­lie­ve the va­li­di­ty of demo­cra­tic in­sti­tu­tions and pro­ce­du­res (no one in Iran does, they all know where the real power is).
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SlackerInc
Thu, Jun 23, 2022, 8:04pm (UTC -5)
@Galadriel: I have been under the impression that the elections in Iran are not a sham, although there's only so far the elected presidents can go in defying the ayatollahs.

You say the rescue mission was "executed hastily", but there was no time to wait as the president et al were going to be executed in the other sense in the morning. And yes, the actual on-the-ground rescue was implemented by Directive 21, but they would not have had anywhere to go without the fleet there to fight off the enemy long enough for them to make a crash landing on the Orville.
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MercerCreate
Thu, Jun 23, 2022, 9:26pm (UTC -5)
@Jaxon I agreed at first.. but the Krill leader made it seem like his opposition was a fringe movement. That the election was just a formality.. and that the alliance needed to be solidified now for the kaylon threat. He also believed the alliance would help him.
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Tricolaco
Thu, Jun 23, 2022, 11:16pm (UTC -5)
That was not a bad episode - I guess my main problem with The Orville remains the sheer dumbness and incompetence of the purported heroes, which from this episode is not limited to the main crew - it goes all the way up to the Union leadership. So they send a delegation to sign a treaty on an enemy capital in the day of an election where one of the candidates is a virulent opponent of the treaty, instead of waiting for the election to be over and the victory of the candidate that favors the treaty to be confirmed? It’s awful storytelling to make characters behave dumb just to drive the plot.
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Tricolaco
Thu, Jun 23, 2022, 11:17pm (UTC -5)
And that delegation includes the freaking president!!
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MercerCreate
Thu, Jun 23, 2022, 11:57pm (UTC -5)
@Tricalaco guess you missed the part wjerrle they thought it was a fringe movement. Also the Krill leader figured that the treaty would help him as leader.

Question: Lamar needed two minutes to clear Directive 21. But then later Kelly said it would take hours to implement it. Pls help.
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Karl Zimmerman
Fri, Jun 24, 2022, 7:01am (UTC -5)
Finally got to saw it last night late.

I believe this was something of a return to form for The Orville after two pretty bad/boring episodes. However, like a lot of people, I had big issues with the setup. These kinds of treaties between two hostile powers who up until recently were shooting at one another are generally signed on the territory of neutral third parties for a reason. The Union just looks like total idiots for having gone along with this.

More importantly, the structural choice to set things up the way they did was weird, insofar as it took all of the drama out of the first portion of the episode. I understand why they wanted Telaya to have the big Trump speech at the beginning of the episode, but it created a dynamic where we as the viewers know what's going to happen well before the characters. As a result there was no real uncertainty other than wondering how the main cast will get out of this mess. I just think it would be more effective if we were left in the dark regarding what was going to happen at least through the end of the first Act, with Telaya revealed as the big bad then.

I will give the episode credit however for not pulling its punches (except insofar as the President survives getting gut stabbed). This isn't the sort of thing that Ed should be able to talk his way out of, and ultimately he pretty much fails at salvaging the situation, even if he gets out of there alive. The episode closes more strongly than it begins overall, as the focus shifts from kind of tired Trump metaphors (really ironic how many right-wing Trek fans liked The Orville) to the somewhat more interesting realization that Ed has a daughter (is this the first indication of species hybridization existing in this show's universe?).

I actually agree with those who argue that in the unlikely event that a head of government was effectively kidnapped by a hostile power, the normal thing to do would be to presume an act of war between the two nations and undertake some sort of special operation to extract them. The DS9-style megafleet didn't make much sense, but it was explicitly set up as a distraction/ruse to allow the extraction to take place.

Not perfect, but much better, and this was a case where I think the bigger budget of the season worked well, giving the Krill capital a cool Blade-Runneresque vibe. I had no idea where the practical effects ended and the VFX began in many of the shots.
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OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Fri, Jun 24, 2022, 11:48am (UTC -5)
@Karl Zimmerman
"(really ironic how many right-wing Trek fans liked The Orville)"

Not very surprising, given that the Orville *used* to stay away from direct political commentary, unlike NuTrek. Seth McFarlane always hated political correctness (sometimes to a fault) and the Orville always strove to show both sides of every issue it dealt with.

Unfortunately, this is no longer the case. Half of this episode was nothing more than thinly-veiled contemporary political propaganda. It's downright scary, how people - even on this site - casually refer to Teleya's murderous onslaught as "a Trump speech" while seeing no problem with this connection.

Telaya's mannerisms and the specific beats of the election plot were *deliberately* written to induce this association. Of-course, this isn't the first time such a thing happens on TV. It has become the norm at this point.

Worse:

They've basically turned Krill into a cliche "right-wing America planet".

For example, we suddenly learn that the Krill are big on business and commerce. Out of completely nowhere, we learn that they have a "Grand Marketplace" (with two light-beam towers!) which is at the center of their lives.

Why on earth would a religious planet be big on business? And why haven't we heard about this before?

There are also beggars on the streets on Krill, and the implication seems to be that capitalism has lead them to this fate. Why would this be so, in a replicator-capable society which is guided by religion?

And suddenly they have elections. Why would a theocratic planet hold elections? What's more: their system is clearly electoral. They talk about winning and losing "provinces". Do you realize that the ONLY nation on earth which has an electoral vote for president is the USA?

Then there's the abortion bit, which is completely unrelated to anything else in the episode. It's just there to cement the "right wing planet" idea.

In short, what used to be an intriguing alien species in the past two seasons, had turned into a bad caricature. This wasn't an episode of a TV show. It was a 60-minute political propaganda film, plain and simple.

So I highly doubt you're going to find "many right-wing viewers enjoying the Orville" after this episode. I don't think even Discovery has managed to turn an entire episode into one long political rally (ST:Picard may have come close with some of it's season two 2024 shenanigans).
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SlackerInc
Fri, Jun 24, 2022, 12:20pm (UTC -5)
Whatever, @OTDP. [eyeroll] Teleya showed far more "humanity", even after stabbing her political rival, than that sack of [BEEP] Trump ever has.* Maybe you need to tune in to the January 6 hearings.

No conception of religion and capitalism going hand in hand? It's like you're unfamiliar with Saudi Arabia, Iran (where, again, they have elections – as does the extremely religious Pakistan), or for that matter the religious right in America.

Seth MacFarlane has always been hostile to religion. You apparently weren't paying attention for some number of years. Still, the abortion subplot was not portrayed in the usual pro-choice propaganda light like The Handmaid's Tale. Telaya is a former schoolteacher with a soft spot for children. We didn't see someone dying from a back alley abortion, nor did we even get an indication that these prospective parents were being physically tortured or even ultimately imprisoned.

The woman of the couple in particular showed what appeared to be genuine regret and even grief. A hardcore left-wing pro-choice TV writer would have made her defiant and unmoved by the simulation of a child. Or, alternately, she would have been portrayed as a long-suffering victim of forced fertility whose poverty and exhaustion necessitated getting out from under a large brood of offspring. But she didn't come across that way either. I suspect it's more likely a pro-life extremist would approve of this scene than a pro-choice extremist would.

*And more than the Jason Isaacs character did at the end of DSC S1.
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Jaxon
Fri, Jun 24, 2022, 12:59pm (UTC -5)
SLackerInc said:

" I suspect it's more likely a pro-life extremist would approve of this scene than a pro-choice extremist would."

Agreed. So much so that my first thought was that the pro-life crowd would SO love technology like that. It's the next iteration of insisting that a heartbeat be listened to or an ultrasound be looked at.
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Jaxon
Fri, Jun 24, 2022, 1:06pm (UTC -5)
And, yes, Telaya was a schoolteacher when we first met her. It could easily be argued that Mercer is the reason she has become what she is now, rather than still being a schoolteacher. Add to that the fact that he set her free after their most recent encounter, and thus is peripherally responsible for the assassination of the previous Krill head of state on the eve of peace...a peace that Mercer also had a hand in lighting the flame for.

Heavy is the head that wears the crown.
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Booming
Fri, Jun 24, 2022, 1:08pm (UTC -5)
"And suddenly they have elections. Why would a theocratic planet hold elections?"

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EbMjxGViVl0
Yeah, apart from the papacy... I guess they are not a planet, just a country.

"Then there's the abortion bit, which is completely unrelated to anything else in the episode. It's just there to cement the "right wing planet" idea."
Why would anybody in the US talk about abortion these days...
Wait...
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3dvj3JIIxhI

Over the next two weeks abortion will be banned in more than 10 states. Only exception if the life of the mother is in danger. In case of rape or incest these states will now force even underage girls to have that child.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dUq5_DwnJCo
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Booming
Fri, Jun 24, 2022, 1:21pm (UTC -5)
I forgot, there are even elections in theocratic Iran.
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SlackerInc
Fri, Jun 24, 2022, 1:41pm (UTC -5)
@OTDP Let's also note that being "right wing" is not congruent with supporting Trump in any way. Here's what the extremely right wing Liz Cheney had to say yesterday at the Jan. 6 hearings:

"[L]et me also today make a broader statement to millions of Americans who put their trust in Donald Trump. In these hearings so far, you've heard from more than a dozen Republicans who've told you what actually happened in the weeks before January 6th. You will hear from more in the hearings to come. Several of them served Donald Trump in his Administration, others in his campaign.

"Others have been conservative Republicans for their entire careers. It can be difficult to accept that President Trump abused your trust, that he deceived you. Many will invent excuses to ignore that fact. But that is a fact. I wish it weren't true, but it is."
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Yanks
Fri, Jun 24, 2022, 3:45pm (UTC -5)
Not sure what to think about this one. Lot's of interesting comments here for sure.

I will say that I thought Captain Mercer should have taken his daughter and her caretaker with him.

Also, I'm not sure what I'm to think of the Mercer/Grayson love affair at the end. I thought they were past their relationship.

More to follow...
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Sigh2000
Fri, Jun 24, 2022, 4:00pm (UTC -5)
@Booming
"I forgot, there are even elections in theocratic Iran."

and likewise, so continues the demise of respect for American legal precedent.

. . .we have a duty to ‘correct the error’ established in those precedents.”

Clarence Thomas (or is it Nomad)?
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Booming
Fri, Jun 24, 2022, 4:31pm (UTC -5)
@Sigh2000
Apart from Thomas, the con judges said that they would not change other rights in the same vein like right to contraception and same sex relations being legal but they said the same about abortion rights and that was obviously a lie to get confirmed. The USA can really be happy that women won't react with violence, if there was anything as cruel done towards men, there would be a 1000 people dead in the first 24 hours.
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Del_Duio
Fri, Jun 24, 2022, 5:13pm (UTC -5)
That was the best episode by far this season. Also felt like the old Orville, with some humor and a great theme to explore. Ed having the kid I didn’t see coming at all and will definitely shake things up later.

Season 3 premiere was great, next two were pretty good, this is a classic. Four stars!
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Sigh2000
Fri, Jun 24, 2022, 7:18pm (UTC -5)
@Booming

I afraid that there's no avoiding the conclusion that the court's so-called 'conservative justices' have the cultural sensitivity of Gul Dukat and the emotional restraint of chancellor Gowron.

Sad attempt at humor.
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Quincy
Fri, Jun 24, 2022, 7:41pm (UTC -5)
Wow! I waited until today when I had chance to sit down and watch the episode in the evening without being disturbed. I never watch or read previews so I had no idea what this episode was about. Somehow I never expected to watch a pro-life vs pro-choice scene on the same day that SCOTUS reversed Roe v. Wade. That took me way off guard. But if you're going to do it, I don't mind how they did it. I was literally wondering as soon as she hit the screen why let her live? They immediately answered my question.

The thing about Roe v. Wade being overturned is it's all Ruth Bader Ginsburg's fault. Yep! I said it! She's rolling over in her grave as we speak! All she had to do was retire during Obama's second term and this wouldn't have happened. Instead she held on until nature took its course and Trump of all people had the last laugh with his Amy Coney Barrett grenade. Hell, grenade? That was a fuel air explosive that sucked all the oxygen out of feminist organizations all across America. Anyone angry about this should blame Ruth!

But wait! All is not lost. Clarence Thomas is 70 something? He might just drop dead during Demented Joe's reign. Who knows? If some enterprising progressive gets a hankering to send a twentysomething young harlot his way with a coke and a smile plus a bad case of omicron they just might turn things right around! We could get a reversal of the reversal in the next year with another 5/4 split! Hallelujah!

But this is certainly bad news for Republicans hoping to see another Republican candidate this next election. Loud mouth Trump will most definitely lay claim to reversing Roe v. Wade. They literally CAN'T run anybody else now. Not unless Trump is indicted for Jan. 6 or something else happens before then. This is going to galvanize the conservative base like never before. They haven't had a win like this since the 90s. Trump running again would galvanize the left just as much, so this literally could go either way for either side! "May you live in interesting times!" goes the old curse, or something to that effect.

Now on to the episode. I really enjoyed this one. Normally a Krill episode can go either way, but they stuck the landing on this one. I was worried after the last few episodes, not to mention, that latest atrocious SNWs. But no need to worry.

Maybe it was just me, but I thought that little rock headed girl was adorable. I was like give her a hug, Mercer! I wanted him to take her back with him and get her out of that nut job hellhole called Krill. But maybe that's for a later episode. We're still early in the season.

There were a few ridiculous problems with this episode like the Union agreeing to a treaty summit on the eve of an election where a religious populist might usurp the throne and kidnap and kill you. Also, how in hell do you amass a fleet of that many ships along the border without even alerting Krill's military? I guess this universe never experience the Cuban Missile Crises.

And how the hell would Krill respond to a fleet of that many ships showing up all of a sudden on its damn doorstep? If this were the Kaylons they could've towed a hundred planet killer asteroids through space and decimated their entire planet before they could launch a ship. Ridiculous. Don't they have long range sensors in The Orville?

Other than that, this was a pretty good episode though. The funny thing is it thoroughly demonstrates that Ed Mercer probably should be court-martialed for making such stupid mistakes as letting spies and terrorists go like he did here and like he did when he let an admiral and other Union personnel with a metric crap ton of Union intel go join a hostile alien race instead of vaporizing their bodies.

I will say, however, that this MIGHT actually work out in the Union's favor through no fault of Ed's. They have to go through Krill space to get to the Union. And Ed just gave them a boat load of intel on the Krill too. Now that they are hostile to the Union, the Union doesn't have to help them when those hostile entities come a knocking. And maybe with a little finagling all of these hostile foes, Kaylons, Krill, and Arachnids fighting with each other will leave the Union on top in the end.
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SlackerInc
Fri, Jun 24, 2022, 8:10pm (UTC -5)
I think it really has to be a united front of all technologically advanced biological beings in the galaxy against the Kaylons. Otherwise it's divide and conquer and the toasters prevail.
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SlackerInc
Fri, Jun 24, 2022, 8:11pm (UTC -5)
Which is why, obviously, Ed's baby mama is being foolish even from her most self-interested possible position.
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TheRealTrent
Fri, Jun 24, 2022, 9:49pm (UTC -5)
Some thoughts...

1. I thought this was an excellent episode. Of all of Brannon Braga's "Orville" scripts, this is probably his second best.

2. I loved the comedy in the first act. We get little song-and-dance routines, drunk cowboys, robots in Stetsons, funny-looking aliens, booze jokes...all light-hearted scenes which make the episode's gradual slide into darkness all the more powerful.

3. The show excels at "landing sequences". Season 2 gave us the ominous descent onto the Kaylon homeworld, the cool landing on Xelaya, the approach to the Regorian capital, and now here we get an excellent sequence in which we fly over the planet Krill.

4. The FX work in this episode is impressive. The city scenes, crowd scenes, and chase scenes have a grandeur and scope that you just don't see on TV budgets.

5. The orchestral score is still overly intrusive. This season has been laying the music on too thick.

6. I thought the previous 3 episodes dragged, but this one was almost perfectly paced, and gripping throughout.

7. Directive 21 was extremely silly, and the Union should have waited until after the elections before sending a delegation.

8. It's creepy watching this episode on the day the US overturns Roe vs Wade. The Krill in this episode are like the Republican Party on steroids crossed with a Middle Eastern dictatorship (Egypt, Syria or Iran)- part theocracy, part stratocracy, part electoral democracy, part isolationist (cf Tump and Nato), part expansionist, with a mix of religious fundamentalism, free market fundamentalism and the usual bag of prejudices hyper-conservatives have, though the Krill seem far less sexist than the Moclans (female Kill seem on equal footing with males).

9. The episode references an Edna St Vincent Millay poem with the line "night falls fast", which, combined with the swiftness of the Krill regime change, conveys well how nations can quickly "backslide" into little dark ages.

10. The episode juggles well the macro and the micro. It's a big, broad story, sketching big, broad historical movements, but is also quite intimate and character driven. This is an episode about huge planetary alliances, but it mostly hinges around two closely connected characters.

10. The CGI establishing shots of Earth are beautiful, and interesting, and IMO better than similar FX shots in nu-Trek.

11. Kelly looks and acts awesome when in battle and in the captain's chair. She seems to have more presence and gravity than Ed.

12. This episode is loosely similar to TNG's Reunion and Redemption, only here the revelation is that Mercer has a daughter, rather than Worf having a son.
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Jammer
Sat, Jun 25, 2022, 12:19am (UTC -5)
Review now posted.
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Booming
Sat, Jun 25, 2022, 1:29am (UTC -5)
@Quincy
" Anyone angry about this should blame Ruth!"
Yes, lets blame a female left wing judge for the worst rollback of women's rights in the West. Not the religious fundamentalists who pushed this for 50 years, not the conservative politicians who appointed the right wing judges or those conservative judges themselves who actually made the decision.
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Sigh2000
Sat, Jun 25, 2022, 2:53am (UTC -5)
@Quincy
"All she had to do was retire during Obama's second term and this wouldn't have happened. "

Not getting your logic....but nicely executed attack on a deceased person.

Zero stars for the conservative court.
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Booming
Sat, Jun 25, 2022, 3:46am (UTC -5)
@Sigh2000
Quincy's argument makes no sense anyway. The Merrick Garland nomination proved that. Garland was nominated seven month before the 2016 election and McConnell said that he could not confirm him because it was to close to the election and then confirmed Coney Barrett less than 2 weeks before the 2020 election.
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Sigh2000
Sat, Jun 25, 2022, 4:23am (UTC -5)
@Booming

Agreed. Non-sensical.
As children we are taught what cheating is. As adults we would know not to sit down at a poker game that was operated like McConnell's 114th congress, the Republican controlled assembly which told everyone it would be unfair to allow Obama to nominate Garland so soon before an election. So we got Gorsuch instead. Did you know that insurrectionist-supporting congressmen have introduced a bill to impeach Garland as attorney general? It goes on and on and on.

The USA has become too much like what we watch every night in our science fiction.
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TheRealTrent
Sat, Jun 25, 2022, 6:01am (UTC -5)
Jammer said: "The only question is whether there will be enough time during this (brief) season to deal with all the storylines they've opened up here."

I had similar feelings at the end of the episode. I don't see how 10 episodes can resolve the big arcs this show has bitten off.

Jammer said: "Meanwhile, Mercer has to deal with the fact that he was duped and there was absolutely nothing real about the relationship he thought he had with "Lt. Janel Tyler."

Which also seems to be a preoccupation of the show (the Union are similarly duped by the Kaylon, and the Doctor's unsure about how much she's misread Issac's "love" for her).

Jammer said: "There's some silliness in a plan called "Directive 21..."

I've never seen such a simple plan ("I want you to go down there, put on masks, and throw some flash-bang grenades!") given such a portentous name. IMO this little section needed some jokes, mocking how silly the plan is, to make it a bit more "believable".

Quincy said: "The thing about Roe v. Wade being overturned is it's all Ruth Bader Ginsburg's fault."

Prominent lawyers and legal scholars were taking out full-page ads in the papers saying just this, and urging her to retire, way back in Obama's first term. IMO Republicans would have still gotten around this, though.

Jammer didn't like the "anti abortion" scene in this episode, but I thought it was interesting, and dovetailed nicely with the "Mercer's daughter" arc. While I'd liked the scene to have been longer and more disturbing, I think it offers a good explanation as to why the child wasn't killed, despite the prejudices of the mother.
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Booming
Sat, Jun 25, 2022, 6:17am (UTC -5)
@Trent
"Prominent lawyers and legal scholars were taking out full-page ads in the papers saying just this, and urging her to retire, way back in Obama's first term. IMO Republicans would have still gotten around this, though."
At the time the democrats would have needed a supermajority to confirm supreme court justices because McConnell blocked everything. The supermajority requirement for supreme court justices fell during Trump's presidency for obvious reasons.
Technically, the democrats had a short supermajority in 2009. So I guess if Ginsburg would have retired directly after Obama was sworn in and if the new Obama government had a candidate ready to go and if the confirmation would have gone over extremely smoothly, then they could have filled that seat. A very unlikely scenario.
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TheRealTrent
Sat, Jun 25, 2022, 6:19am (UTC -5)
Slacker said: "I think it really has to be a united front of all technologically advanced biological beings in the galaxy against the Kaylons. Otherwise it's divide and conquer and the toasters prevail. "

What I thought was interesting is that the episode begins with a multi-species, blind-casted civilian production of Annie - IMO one of the best scenes in the show, and one which oozes that Roddenberrian vision - but ends with the Union fragmented.

The Little Orphan Annie also foreshadows, or echoes, the plight of Mercer's daughter.
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Sigh2000
Sat, Jun 25, 2022, 7:06am (UTC -5)
One of those legal scholars urging her retirement was Erwin Chemerinski (dean of the University of California, Irvine Campus, School of Law) .

According to Joan Biskupic (Reuters) Ginsburg (age 81) at that time (July 2014) felt it was pretty likely that if she retired, Obama would have been pressured to nominate a not very liberal replacement. My interpretation of the account is that the Republicans would have blocked anyone even remotely like her, i.e, it was already too late.

In Star Trek terms RBG may seem to have been an 'Edith Keeler' temporal nexus, but I think that McConnell was really the individual who set the course of events back then and as uninspiring as he seems, he's still in position as a Kryptonian world engine hammering the US with a Zack Snyder phantom drive energy column.

https://youtu.be/rJ390hvWDyE
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Booming
Sat, Jun 25, 2022, 8:11am (UTC -5)
I guess any egg fertilized in a lab is a person now and if a lab technician drops a fertilized egg then she/he will get convicted for involuntary manslaughter.

Bottom line. Lots of happiness for republicans, lots of suffering for women.
To be continued.
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C.T Phipps
Sat, Jun 25, 2022, 9:14am (UTC -5)
Rather than blame Ruth Ginsberg for not being able to foresee something like Trump, I'd like to just blame the Republican Party and the massive violation of precedent that refusing to nominate a Supreme Court Justice in an election year did.

Which was nonsense and lies as we know it.
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Lynos
Sat, Jun 25, 2022, 9:53am (UTC -5)
I just realized they could've avoided the silly premise of landing to sign the treaty on election night by simply making is a coup instead of elections. I mean, it feels like a coup anyway, literally 20 seconds after the results are known, the political opponent's forces storm into the chancellor office and sieze him.

Anyway, kind of sloppy writing there, unless they really wanted to make the episode uber political by including elections.
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Quincy
Sat, Jun 25, 2022, 5:49pm (UTC -5)
@Sigh2000
Sat, Jun 25, 2022, 2:53am (UTC -5)

"Not getting your logic....but nicely executed attack on a deceased person.

Zero stars for the conservative court."

I didn't attack anybody. Obviously, I was half joking, but it's funny that you all took it so seriously. Now I'm kind of feeling like doubling down!

Fortunately, I'm neither conservative, nor liberal, so you're quite welcome to rate either as low as you want! Give 'em a negative googolplex if you're feeling dangerous!


@Booming

In one breath, you scoff at the notion of the Democrats confirming a SCOTUS nominee in the short Supermajority window they had 2009. In another, you point out how the Republicans slid Amy Coney Barrett's behind in right under the wire. You can't have it both ways. One deadline is as good as any other. The Supermajority Democrats had a longer window to nominate and confirm a SCOTUS justice than Trump had to get Barret's behind into office after Ginsburg's passing. They just were too busy passing the ACA (a far more extensive and improbable undertaking than nominating and confirming a SCOTUS justice) and Ginsburg was too stubborn to step down. They all made the wrong gamble.

The Republicans nominated and confirmed Barret in a month. If you're going to claim that an extensive search for a suitable nominee was needed and they just didn't have the time, you have to explain why they didn't have the exact same strategy as Trump who started looking for SCOTUS nominees in 2016 on the off chance that he'd be able to put ONE in during his presidency. Barret was brought up in 2017 on a list of possible nominees. Please, don't tell me you think Trump is a super genius playing 4D chess.

This should be par for the course at this point in American politics. If the Obama wasn't nursing a boner to MAYBE hail Mary a SCOTUS member in ON HIS INAUGURATION DAY like Trump sure as hell was that's a problem for the Democrats. In fact, that's just plain incompetence on the Democrats' part.

In any case, average Greyhound state to state bus fares are still pretty reasonable in many locations. There's not going to be much suffering when you can just go across state lines and have an abortion where it's still legal. Stop being melodramatic.


@TheRealTrent
Sat, Jun 25, 2022, 6:01am (UTC -5)

"Prominent lawyers and legal scholars were taking out full-page ads in the papers saying just this, and urging her to retire, way back in Obama's first term. IMO Republicans would have still gotten around this, though."

I remember that. I got the dates wrong because Obama met with Ginsburg about her possibly stepping down in his second term.
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OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Sat, Jun 25, 2022, 7:17pm (UTC -5)
@Slacker Inc
"Whatever, @OTDP. [eyeroll] Teleya showed far more "humanity", even after stabbing her political rival, than that sack of [BEEP] Trump ever has."

Let me get this straight. Did you just say that Trump is actually *worse* than a murderous zealot who killed her way to power?

Can you give me one reason not to attribute your out-of-proportion remark to media-fueled hate and paranoia?

Thanks for illustrating my earlier point so vividly.

"I suspect it's more likely a pro-life extremist would approve of this scene than a pro-choice extremist would."

Oh yeah... A scene that shows pointless emotional cruelty as a method of punishment, which occurs when it is too late to save the baby anyway. Who doesn't love it when their stance is portrayed as vengeful, cruel and creepy?

Now, if they've shown a similar scene happening *before* the abortion, I'm sure the pro-lifers would roar with applause. Imagine if this little holographic child made a plea for their life *at a time it could have actually made a difference*. Now that sends quite a different message to the audience, doesn't it? Which - of course - is why the scene was not written in that way.


@Trent
"The Krill in this episode are like the Republican Party on steroids crossed with a Middle Eastern dictatorship (Egypt, Syria or Iran)- part theocracy, part stratocracy, part electoral democracy, part isolationist (cf Tump and Nato), part expansionist, with a mix of religious fundamentalism, free market fundamentalism and the usual bag of prejudices hyper-conservatives have"

Glad to see I wasn't the only one who saw the similarity.

Guess it's bad news for a planet, when the "Republican Party on Steroids" get to them, right? Good thing we've got the Orville (not to mention Nu Trek) to warn us of such dangers, so we'd know which people to vote for in the next election... ;-)
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Peter Howie
Sat, Jun 25, 2022, 7:47pm (UTC -5)
I found the attempts at commentary around fake news, stolen elections and abortion way too ham-fisted and yet also milquetoast.
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Peter Howie
Sat, Jun 25, 2022, 7:49pm (UTC -5)
Too bad there is no edit function here, cause I also want to add that this episode could definitely have been cut down a bit.

Anyone else noticing that Bortus (the best thing about this series) has been related to a background character?
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TheRealTrent
Sat, Jun 25, 2022, 8:22pm (UTC -5)
SlackerInc said: " nor did we even get an indication that these prospective parents were being physically tortured or even ultimately imprisoned."

Doesn't the episode mention that Krill parents who abort are executed? I feel like this was mentioned, or am I misremembering? The impression I got is that the parents are put in a room with the holographic kids, and then executed.

SlackerInc said: " Still, the abortion subplot was not portrayed in the usual pro-choice propaganda light like The Handmaid's Tale. "

I think it is. It's mocking the type of emotional manipulation used by pro lifers. Instead of pictures of cute babies ("How can you abort this adorable thing!"), you have holograms of cute kids. Instead of heckles and confrontations at abortion clinics ("Murderer!"), you have the parents confronted by those they killed. It's a kind of science fiction satire of that form of creepy manipulation.
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C.T Phipps
Sun, Jun 26, 2022, 12:02am (UTC -5)
I feel like this episode is an interesting rebuttal to THE UNDISCOVERED COUNTRY in that it kind of shows how it would go if things hadn't been so committed.

1. The Union unintentionally insult the Krill every time they open their mouths at the dinner scene. They talk about how capitalism was stupid and the Krill point out that they're still a capitalist society and doing fine. They also basically are their usual smug selves about their materialism which the Krill are trying to ignore. The Krill being their usual awful selves as well.

2. Part of what the episode does is reveal the Krill are both a lot more nuanced than we're left thinking about them as well as also still possessing the qualities that made them effective baddies. They're a capitalist democratic society rather than the authoritarian theocracy we thought they were.

3. The abortion hologram is meant to be a form of psychological torture and Mercer reacts to it as such. It's basically Seth talking about the "heartbeat test" designed to anthropomorphize a fetus and prevent abortion, though in this case it's just meant to inflict psychological guilt. If it doesn't work on an audience member because they don't think of fetuses as possessing any such qualities, it will just come off as silly. However, it's based on an RL thing.

Mercer is disgusted by it as I presume Seth is by the RL version. Ironically, it also is designed to once more highlight the Krill are NOT stereotypes. They're not executing the parents, they're trying to guilt them.

4. Part of what makes the episode good is we're continually assaulted with the casual arrogance of the Union regarding the situation. Whether this is just Seth commenting on the 2016 election or a larger point that people take for granted the progression of history is to, well, progressiveness, it is the same message.

They dismiss the possibility the Krill will legitimately vote in Teleya because they don't WANT to believe that they're that unpopular with the people. They always act as if the Krill are uncivilized savages and if they're just "shown civilization" they'll change their attitudes on everything.

5. I'm not really cool with the fact that the standing President was going to contest the election because, well, it implies that the "good" side is perfectly willing to throw democracy down the toilet when things get bad as well. Mind you, by this point, it becomes a coup AFTER the radical extremists have won.

6. I fully believe the Kaylon will end up destroying the krill.
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SlackerInc
Sun, Jun 26, 2022, 12:36am (UTC -5)
@TheRealTrent 6/24 9:49 p.m.: Too much of interest to quote. I enjoyed your comment and agreed with you on every major point.

@Booming: I take your point, and don't endorse @Quincy's flippant post en toto; but RBG (my wife literally has three T-shirts and a mug with RBG on them FWIW) made a major miscalculation by not retiring early in the Obama administration. That was selfish of her, although she came within three months of getting away with the gamble. This will always be a stain on her legacy. The fact that the Republicans cheated does not change that. I expect much more from RBG than from a Republican.

@Booming: False. There has never been a filibuster of any SCOTUS nominee.

Also, what you call an "unlikely scenario" is not at all unlikely. It is a 100% guarantee that if Ginsberg had retired in 2009 Obama's nominee to replace her would have been confirmed. Apparently you don't realize he had other nominees to the court confirmed? Two of them, and Ginsburg's replacement would have made three.

@Lynos: Good point that a coup would have worked there.
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Booming
Sun, Jun 26, 2022, 2:41am (UTC -5)
@SlackerInc
"That was selfish of her, although she came within three months of getting away with the gamble."
This whole Ginsburg should have retired and is therefore responsible narrative is just one of those right wing talking points, same as the line that she was against Roe. Republicans know that a vast majority of Americans is actually against those draconian abortion bans so they are creating all these smokescreens about a left wing judge. If her being Jewish plays into it, is an open question. It's just blame shifting by republicans. Confusing the debate is what republicans do best. In the end this is all about republicans forcing their moral views aka "the best contraception is not having sex" on society and punishing women with different views. Same with the LGBT community. Their rights are next.

" False. There has never been a filibuster of any SCOTUS nominee."
Technically true, in effect Merrick Garland was filibustered by McConnell refusing to hold a hearing on Garland.

"Also, what you call an "unlikely scenario" is not at all unlikely. It is a 100% guarantee that if Ginsberg had retired in 2009 Obama's nominee to replace her would have been confirmed."
Debatable, Souter retired in early 2009 and was replaced by Sotomayor. Souter would not have retired if Bader Ginsburg had done so earlier. Early in 2010 Stevens announced his retirement, so that year was blocked, too. I guess, you would argue that she should have ignored longstanding tradition for two judges to not retire during the same year. After the midterms of 2010 McConnell blocked everything.

Still, this is all following this whole right wing narrative that a dead women, who fought for women's rights her entire life, is more responsible for this decision than the people who actually made it. Let's not be gaslighted by republicans, ok?
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JS
Sun, Jun 26, 2022, 4:24am (UTC -5)
"So, yeah, this episode is entertaining and frequently absorbing but also suffers from its sprawl and scatterbrained lack of focus"

Well, that means the episodes ARE too long and this particular one should've been a two-parter.
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Jaxon
Sun, Jun 26, 2022, 11:33am (UTC -5)
The notion that RBG will bear any blame from credible historians for opting to keep her lifetime appointment for her lifetime is ludicrous.

Anthony Kennedy, on the other hand...
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SlackerInc
Sun, Jun 26, 2022, 6:37pm (UTC -5)
@Booming: You don't seem to understand what the filibuster is--which I suppose is unsurprising since you are not American. Majority Leader McConnell refusing to hold hearings has zero to do with the filibuster. He could do the exact same thing if the filibuster were abolished, or if it had never existed to begin with.

As for this risible notion that being frustrated by RBG's stubborn refusal to retire is a Republican talking point? Pffffft. I have heard the complaint made many times, but never EVER from a Republican. Always from Democrats who understand that she was selfishly treating the seat as her own possession when it should have been seen as belonging to the party. It's much more common in modern times for SCOTUS justices to retire while alive than to die in office, so you can't just shrug it off as "lifetime appointment, what are you gonna do, them's the breaks". From 1955 to 2005, not a single justice died in office, and since 1900 37 of 46 justices left office by retiring rather than dying.

Here's a 2014 article talking about the clamoring for her to retire while the Senate was still in Democratic hands. Notice that it refers only to liberals calling for her to step down. Her self-centered response: "Who are you going to get that's better than me?" How about someone almost as good and 30 years younger? Maybe not a cancer survivor?

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-court-ginsburg/u-s-justice-ginsburg-hits-back-at-liberals-who-want-her-to-retire-idUSKBN0G12V020140801

Here's a liberal colonist for the Washington Post saying that by retiring now, Stephen Breyer avoided making "the mistake of his friend Ruth Bader Ginsburg": https://www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/2022/01/27/breyer-retirement-ginsburg-politics/

So just miss me with this "Republican talking point" BS. 😒
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Jaxon
Sun, Jun 26, 2022, 7:15pm (UTC -5)
It's a lifetime appointment, so it is actually "her seat" until she opts to surrender it.

If you don't like it, amend the Constitution.
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Sigh2000
Sun, Jun 26, 2022, 8:47pm (UTC -5)
@SlackerInc

True. It was really more of a progressive talking point in 2014, but boy, right wing commentators have reveled in the opportunity since Roe was overturned to damn Ginsburg's memory by smugly tweeting about her selfishness, narcissism, and how liberals are supposedly now reviling her.

All of this is merely to distract from the recent actions of the majority of the high court. That RBG can be blamed post-mortem for setting up this conservative triumph, even passes as humor to some.

bravo republicanos. Una hazaña heroica con hombres muertos
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OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Sun, Jun 26, 2022, 9:08pm (UTC -5)
Political cringe aside (I know it's a biggie but I've already ranted enough about that), this episode was impressive on all fronts. It was gripping from start to finish, the story was good, the visual effects were downright amazing.

It's also the first episode of this season that really had an Orviile feel. It had far more humor then the previous installments this season, and quite an abundance of compelling drama as well.

Ironically, even the message of this episode is laudable. I can certainly regard it as a good "moral episode"... as long as I force myself to ignore all the contemporary hints and winks.

You know... I really envy future generations, who would be able to enjoy the strengths of this episode while being completely oblivious to the contemporary undertones it had when it was written. I have no doubt that in the long run, this will be one of the most loved episodes of the entire series.
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Jeffrey's Tube
Sun, Jun 26, 2022, 9:47pm (UTC -5)
I don't necessarily wish to contribute to this discussion. But yes, her refusal to retire will gravely damage RBG's legacy. Jaxon, you are not correct. Watch and see.

Let her be an example to everyone else about knowing when to walk away in order to safeguard everything you've accomplished. I don't just mean as a Supreme Court Justice. I mean in life in general. Always keep it in your calculations when you make decisions.
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modulum
Sun, Jun 26, 2022, 10:00pm (UTC -5)
The Orville takes on "Reunion" and the pre-Dominion War DS9 Political Episode(tm) and...it isn't compelling at all for me.

I think my key problem here is that there is just too much happening at once and it all feels like the first draft on an idea. Political allegory I don't have a problem with - and I heavily agree with the ideas presented here - but the Krill as presented here feel as much as bog-standard standins for nationalism as the nuTrek Klingons. The reason "Unification" and "Reunion" worked is because the Klingon and Romulan empires had rich cultures that allowed them to represent multiple facets of a political idea and feel like their own POV that you could understand where they came from. The Krill, unfortunately, are just not that well-rounded to make any of this feel powerful.

It isn't helped by just how frustratingly paced this episode is. The vote-counting, surprise election win, and military coup and arrest all happening within a single 5-minute scene completely destroyed my suspension of disbelief. It felt like a storyboard rather than an actual script, telling instead of showing to the max. Then you throw in the abortion scene, the fake news scene, everything, and while all of these allegories were done agreeably it just lent a whole sense of amateurishness and directionlessness to the scriptwriting.

I don't know. These are the kind of "oh, we need to make something happen, let's just make it instantly happen" plot contrivances that I'd criticize a Discovery episode for. That said, the secret daughter, while yet another overused trope, was well-executed and gave the episode the emotional grounding it needed, so props to that.

I guess 2 stars? Promising dramatic setup brought down by a lot of execution problems.
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Booming
Mon, Jun 27, 2022, 12:06am (UTC -5)
@SlackerInc
I said that effectively McConnell filibustered Garland. What does a filibuster do? Prevent a vote until the session ends. Why would one want to prevent a vote? Because one might lose. Why did McConnell not hold a hearing? To prevent a vote because he wasn't 100% sure that he could win.

"I have heard the complaint made many times, but never EVER from a Republican."
Yes, obviously. I thought this was so obvious that I would not need to actually say it. So extra for you. No I don't think that it was a republican talking point that Ginsburg should have retired at a time so that democrats could have filled that seat. Again, the point I was making was that republicans try to confuse the debate by making people on the left talk about if she is somehow responsible and at the same time saying that she was against Roe anyway. I guess I could have phrased it more clearly.

"when it should have been seen as belonging to the party"
The judicial branch is separate from the legislative branch for a reason and that Trump ended the filibuster for supreme court appointments to push through Brett "alleged rapist, proven liar" Kavanaugh and the handmaid means that he casually kicked over one of the last pillars that stabilized US democracy. He damaged the supreme court beyond repair.

Your quote from the article "Who are you going to get that's better than me?" is not a quote from Ginsburg at all. It is a wrongful paraphrase. She actually said “So tell me who the president could have nominated this spring that you would rather see on the court than me?” Meaning that Obama in spring 2014 could not have gotten anybody confirmed who was pro abortion or even moderate.

"So just miss me with this "Republican talking point" BS. 😒"
Charming. As you have willfully overlooked all my more profound arguments to grind into one half sentence, I will now move on.
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Republican
Mon, Jun 27, 2022, 1:44am (UTC -5)
Nice to see the liberals all up in arms about not being able to force a state to accept baby killing.
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Booming
Mon, Jun 27, 2022, 2:44am (UTC -5)
@Republican
Finally an actual republican talking point. Thank you.

"Nice to see the liberals all up in arms about not being able to force a state to accept baby killing."
Ok, a baby has already left the female body. I guess you meant embryo or cell cluster.

Liberals and every country in the western world is strongly against it. Every leader of a major western country condemned it. Liberals are also against burning witches and stoning sodomites. Make it happen republicans!
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Republican
Mon, Jun 27, 2022, 3:54am (UTC -5)
Interesting how you move the goal posts, isn't it? Redefine human life as "cells" --- And then you extend the weeks til abortion until it's actually more than a clump of cells nd yet still claim that this is all fine. The deranged left.

The latter of your post is just an emotional outburst. If you want - or like - to kill a living being because you can't be bothered to use contraception - MOVE to a state that supports it. That's democracy, buttercup. This is now a state level decision. No-one is stopping liberals killing in their own states. Don't bring your filth to ours.

Also, the "clump of cells" is not for a woman to abort. No one has the right to abort a foetus or embryo - it's a separate being at that point relying on another being to grow. It's not "your choice - your body" - it's not part of your body. It's a separately growing entity.

The only exceptions I'd ever make to that are when the woman was raped or when there is a very high likelihood of deformity. Even then it would be case by case and the decision would have to be made quickly. Some of us don't get all dough eyed over aborting a fully grown baby.

Now, don't you have an appointment to join your fellow rioters? Hop to it.
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Republican
Mon, Jun 27, 2022, 4:06am (UTC -5)
More hilarious is that this is yet again an example of how the deranged and unhinged left shot themselves in the foot... They had what they wanted, but they wanted to extend the termination (aka murder) point to be even later, which prompted all this.

Like everything, they just keep pushing until the world gets fed up of them.

Also a lot of congnitive dissonance going on...

Wear masks! You should be forced to! --- where was the "my body my choice" then?

Death penalty is evil!!! --- on the basis no-one has the right to kill a dispicable killer... but hey guys let's forget all that when it comes to abortion. yee haww. Is innocent life exempt? You weirdos can't get enough of defending bad people, but are strangely absent when it comes to innocent life.

I am so sick and tired of you deranged nutcases.
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Booming
Mon, Jun 27, 2022, 4:46am (UTC -5)
@Republican
Jesus, maybe break the prozac's in half next time.

Don't worry, I don't live in the USA. In my country conservatives are not that backwards. The leader of the conservatives actually came out and said "that the US culture war is a warning sign to all of us and that 12 weeks limit is a good compromise that kept societal peace for decades."

"Like everything, they just keep pushing until the world gets fed up of them. "
While every western country is against you, you do have Iran, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan and Venezuela on your side. Very impressive.

"I am so sick and tired of you deranged nutcases."
The level of debate of Republicans in 2022.
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Republican
Mon, Jun 27, 2022, 5:19am (UTC -5)
I notice you don't tackle the rest... cognitive dissonance again haha :)
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Sigh2000
Mon, Jun 27, 2022, 6:16am (UTC -5)
From The Orville Wiki:
"Krill society was ruled by an extreme theocratic government[1] dominated by the worship of an omnipotent vengeful creator god named Avis who commanded the destruction of all non-Krill through "the divine fight," a state of perpetual conflict."

Are the krill fish or crustaceans?

4 stars for that littlest shrimp who didn't allow things to spiral into chaos.
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Andre Rhine-Davis
Mon, Jun 27, 2022, 7:07am (UTC -5)
@Sigh2000
From The Orville Wiki:
"Krill society was ruled by an extreme theocratic government[1] dominated by the worship of an omnipotent vengeful creator god named Avis who commanded the destruction of all non-Krill through "the divine fight," a state of perpetual conflict."

See, this is what I was thinking. In previous episodes, the Krill have been shown to simply not value and not care about non-Krill life. Then suddenly in this episode Teleya is charging the Union delegation with "conspiracy to relinquish the sovereignty of the Krill to the Union" or whatever and executing them *because of that*. Why? Why do they need a formal charge? Why do they need to be accused of a crime? I understand why this is necessary for the former chancellor; he's a Krill and so he is treated like a person. But why is Teleya treating the Union delegation as people? These are the same Krill who had no ethical qualms with destroying a Union colony of 100 000 people in "Krill" because non-Krill simply don't count as people. Teleya should simply kill them because they are not Krill, that should be good enough, she doesn't need to accuse them of a crime. Teleya shouldn't need to convince the Krill that the Union "destroys the independence and sovereignty of its members" or whatever, it should be enough that they are not Krill, and so the Ankhana says to destroy them, period. It feels out of character for the Krill to suddenly treat the Union with so much... personhood.

I quite liked the whole thing with the Krill ambassador saying that the sun is symbolic of death, and so "the sun will come out tomorrow" sounds like a horrific prophecy of doom. That's good worldbuilding, it fits in with what we know about the Krill and their aversion to sunlight. But then later in the episode Teleya says "One can live it in the light of command or in the darkness of servitude". And that ruins it. She is using light as a positive metaphor and darkness as a negative metaphor, like we humans do. But earlier on in the exact episode they established that Krill have the opposite associations of light and darkness. So yeah, nice idea, but then you ruined it.
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Sigh2000
Mon, Jun 27, 2022, 8:56am (UTC -5)
@Andre Rhine-Davis

"I quite liked the whole thing with the Krill ambassador saying that the sun is symbolic of death, and so "the sun will come out tomorrow" sounds like a horrific prophecy of doom. That's good worldbuilding, it fits in with what we know about the Krill and their aversion to sunlight."

Good point. To true enemies of light, a sunrise would be horrific. This by the way, was a major part of Egyptian netherworld belief. The sun (Ra) would eventually rise again after 12 hours of night, having defeated its enemies (the followers of Apophis, i.e., bringer of chaos, dissolution).

I guess we just have to forgive the writers for getting confused with these ancient metaphors. Nice post. :)
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TheRealTrent
Mon, Jun 27, 2022, 12:34pm (UTC -5)
Republican said: "No-one is stopping liberals killing in their own states. Don't bring your filth to ours."

If you believe that, then you'd have to ban reproductive sex, because for every successful embryo that manages to implant in a uterine wall about five to nine viable early embryos “miscarry”. And ignoring that the death of embryos is a natural part of the procreation process, and that fetus' don't meet the criteria for personhood, and that allowing abortion lessens abortion rates (and has other benefits on families, marriage and health), and that antinatalists have a point (if suffering is wrong, then creating a life is wrong), and that potential personhood arguments are irrelevent and incoherent, and that those who condemn abortion never extend their logic to other circumstances (countless animals are "more conscious" than fetuses, and so would be wrong to eat), and that the deprivation argument held by pro lifers would logically entail a total reordering of every sphere of society, and that a desire for life is tied to a being's capacity to hold preferences (fetuses are neither rational nor self-aware, and can hold no preferences), you still have to admit that those red states are populated by huge numbers of other people. Almost exactly half of Texas voted for Biden, and 78 percent of all Texans are for abortion.

ie - ignoring the inconsistencies of typical abortion arguments, there is no red state that is "yours" (they rely heavy on blue subsidies) or monolithically against abortion.

I live in the UK, and it seems clear to most people here that the US' previous abortion laws were a sane way to juggle countless overlapping rights, and philosophical arguments. The current laws read more like a form of absolutism, or a religious reaction against, or running away from, nuance and complexity.
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OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Mon, Jun 27, 2022, 1:30pm (UTC -5)
@Andre Rhine-Davis
"See, this is what I was thinking. In previous episodes, the Krill have been shown to simply not value and not care about non-Krill life. Then suddenly in this episode Teleya is charging the Union delegation with "conspiracy to relinquish the sovereignty of the Krill to the Union" or whatever and executing them *because of that*. Why? Why do they need a formal charge? Why do they need to be accused of a crime?"

Because the story isn't about the Krill as an established in-universe culture. In this episode, they are simply a metaphor for a present day political srtuggle.

Had the writers actually stood by the original premise of "The Krill believe that aliens are soulless and can be destroyed at will" then the whole analogy would break down.

Speaking of which, here is another canon inconsistency:

Given how fanatical and xenophobic the Krill were in the previous seasons, how come we suddenly have such a reasonable leader like Korin? And how, in the name of Avis, did this guy gain the support of half the population?

Are we to believe that over half the population changed their views completely and suddenly voted for him?

Also, why is Teleya's faction treated as some kind of fanatical fringe phenomenon, when the entire planet was far more fanatical just one season ago?

The episode is trying to a story that simply doesn't fit the Krill. They want to tell the story of a fanatical leader who seizes power in an enlightened democratic country. This could actually be a good hook for a "planet-of-the-week" episode, but it doesn't work with the Krill who were always fanatical religious zealots.

And no, the Kaylon threat isn't a sufficient explanation.

There is a huge difference between signing an uneasy armistice due to practical considerations (as the Krill did in season 2) and being openly friendly with those you deem as "soulless creatures". There is simply no way... none what-so-ever... that half the population on Krill would vote for a guy who does this. They would not need Teleya to tell them that what Korin is doing is against everything the Krill believe in. They would already know this on their own.

"She is using light as a positive metaphor and darkness as a negative metaphor, like we humans do. But earlier on in the exact episode they established that Krill have the opposite associations of light and darkness. So yeah, nice idea, but then you ruined it."

That's a false dichotomy.

Just because the Krill require *lower* light-levels to function, does not make them creatures of darkness. They need light to see and work and operate their machinary just like humans do. The usual reasons that humans associate "darkness" with "evil" are just as valid for the Krill.

And I would like to point out that we humans also associate *excessive* light and heat with evil. Hellfire is one of humanity's most ancient and most persistent myths.
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OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Mon, Jun 27, 2022, 2:14pm (UTC -5)
@Republican
"Also a lot of congnitive dissonance going on...

Wear masks! You should be forced to! --- where was the "my body my choice" then?

Death penalty is evil!!! --- on the basis no-one has the right to kill a dispicable killer... but hey guys let's forget all that when it comes to abortion. yee haww. Is innocent life exempt? You weirdos can't get enough of defending bad people, but are strangely absent when it comes to innocent life."

It's crazy how both sides of this political mud-wrestling match raise such points as proof of the "disregard for life" and even hypocrisy of their opposition.

What's even crazier, is that both sides are more-or-less right in their accusations.

Why is it so rare for humans to show a genuine regard for the life and prosperity of their fellow men (and women)? Why is it that, in the name of political tribalism, nearly every person is willing to defend (or even commit) terrible atrocities?

The pro-life vs pro-choice debate, for instance, is driving me nuts. Why can't we acknowledge both the rights of the mother and the rights of the unborn child? Why can't we have an intelligent and compassionate discussion about such things?
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MercerCreate
Mon, Jun 27, 2022, 10:55pm (UTC -5)
@Andre Rhine-Davis
Except Teleya has seen life as a human
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John Harmon
Tue, Jun 28, 2022, 1:43am (UTC -5)
My favorite thing about this episode is that it was one episode. I'm sure if this was Star Trek Fishery or Picard the story from this single episode would have been stretched out over 10-13 episodes and ruined it
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Andre Rhine-Davis
Tue, Jun 28, 2022, 5:14am (UTC -5)
@OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
You raise a good point about the light/darkness thing being a false dichotomy. I didn't think of it that way.

A good question though is how does the planet Krill get any of its energy for plants and stuff to grow if the sun is always blocked out?
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Nunes
Thu, Jun 30, 2022, 12:46am (UTC -5)
Jammer's review reads more like a 2-star review which would have been more accurate. Almost a 3-minutes speech to scream to the audience that we see the 2nd coming of Hitler on the screen was totally unnecessary. After 1 minute, Teleya's pedigree had become more than clear. And the laughable alacrity of the agents appearing at the door of the precious president's headquarters followed by the public killing of the previous Chancellor? LOL, really Bormanis and Braga? 2 minutes of the stretched-out speech of Hitleresse at the start could have easily been used here, to add some sense into the nonsensical.
Jammer summarized the rest well, it's just that there is one star too many.
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SlackerInc
Thu, Jun 30, 2022, 3:53am (UTC -5)
@OTDP: I think you're forgetting how many Republicans flipped their view on Putin and Russia because Trump cozied up to him. People can be surprisingly flexible--so, presumably, can Krill.

But I think you nailed this response:

"Just because the Krill require *lower* light-levels to function, does not make them creatures of darkness. They need light to see and work and operate their machinary just like humans do."

I was going to say something similar, and point out all the neon signs and such in their capital city.
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OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Fri, Jul 1, 2022, 12:28am (UTC -5)
@Slacker Inc
"No conception of religion and capitalism going hand in hand? It's like you're unfamiliar with Saudi Arabia, Iran (where, again, they have elections – as does the extremely religious Pakistan), or for that matter the religious right in America."

Religion and capitalism may very well go hand in hand.

What doesn't work, is the combination of religion and the kind of worship towards commerce that is so common in America. While it makes sense to associate these views with "the right in America" (see Mr. Trump, who was a former businessman) it does not make sense to associate them with the "religious right". It is a fact that traditional religious groups are nearly always against consumerism and the extreme American brand of capitalism.

And the same is true for elections:

Sure, religious countries may hold elections. But an election in Iran is a very different animal than an election in any western state. So no, a religious state is not going to hold an election that looks like a carbon-copy of anything we're familiar with.

"@OTDP: I think you're forgetting how many Republicans flipped their view on Putin and Russia because Trump cozied up to him. People can be surprisingly flexible--so, presumably, can Krill."

I don't see how "people can be flexible and societies can change" is an excuse for nonsensical world-building.

The Krill were always a fanatical xenophobic species. One of the basic tenets of their religion is that non-Krill are soul-less creatures who - in the end - must be destroyed.

Moreover, it was established in canon that the Krill were like this since basically forever. Their religion remained more-or-less unchanged from ancient times, and they actually become *more* fanatical when they've met other species.

Yet we are expected to believe that in a single year, the Krill have suddenly become so tolerant and accepting that they've elected Korin as their leader and Telaya's faction is treated as some kind of fringe phenomenon?

Sorry, but this makes no kind of sense.
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Jonathan
Sun, Jul 3, 2022, 3:49pm (UTC -5)
I'm a bit surprised more people aren't discussing Teleya's obvious nursing of her crush on Ed. She had his kid. (Despite what she showed, she knows she could've gotten away with an early abortion.) She smuggles him out of prison/execution. She is pissy at Kelly, saying something like "Why don't you do what you normally do when Ed isn't available -- run into the arms of another?"

Teleya's unresolved feelings for Ed (and Ed's for Teleya -- it's a tad more than just wanting everyone to get along; he has to save her specifically) are going to play a role. Too many commenters jump to the fate of the kid, Anaya, but Seth as Ed and as the showrunner has made it clear that she will not be a political football. Revealing Anaya's existence and all that follows will have cliches, be predictable, and will be boring. The Orville is not going to do that. Anaya is her own person, but for now, she's not going to drive the plot. Ed's feelings for Teleya and Teleya's feelings for Ed are going to be important, but I have faith it won't be schmaltzy or anything. The latter part of Season 2 had significant relationship drama (Dr. Finn and Isaac, Ed and Kelly) that was handled well. This stuff is important to Seth.

But let's not forget we are here to discuss politics. Now let's get down to the allegory of the value added tax in the red light district versus sales taxes on physical goods sold in Montana. Marxist libertarians have to weigh in, too.
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Jonathan
Mon, Jul 4, 2022, 10:02pm (UTC -5)
> Yet we are expected to believe that in a single year, the Krill have suddenly become so tolerant and accepting that they've elected Korin as their leader and Telaya's faction is treated as some kind of fringe phenomenon?
>
> Sorry, but this makes no kind of sense.

@ODTP:

I think it's more likely that the voters had moderated somewhat, elected Korin at some point, and Korin then changed and moved more to being pro-peace than he was as a candidate. Politicians campaign under false pretenses or change once in office -- although only on a few issues, admittedly -- and not that uncommonly.

I imagine that the voting populace polarized. About 50% moved to be more pro-peace and about 50% moved into extremely anti-peace.

You made great and nuanced points in this thread. I think the answer is there, and I'm not searching for justification. It's neither totally right that "dumb Republicans just flip-flop positions based on what party leadership says about previously non-salient issues" or that "voters have stable and stubborn fixed positions" ... and neither is totally wrong either. I think the answer is that (in a lazy way) this was very much a mirror of 2016, which was ca close election if you think about national percentages. 50% went one way and the other 50% went another way on their feelings on Trump.
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mosley
Wed, Jul 6, 2022, 12:17am (UTC -5)
Oh how I wish the nutrek writers room had even 1/10 of the universe building capability of this supposedly silly dick joke show.

This episode did more universe building in one episode than discovery in 4 seasons.
Political intrigue? Check. Actual strange new worlds? Check. Some enjoyable action? Check. High stakes that you actually can care about because the parties involved are clearly defined? Check. Cast with good, varied characters? Check.

I like strange new worlds. I am in awe of mounts ability to play the stereotypical old-school hero captain and make it not only believable but likeable. I think he's a lot better captain than MacFarlane could ever be.

But overall, SNW has got absolutely nothing in this. Orville is bolder, more inspired, and has created itself a universe that's free to tell new stories while nutrek is stuck in its ever lasting prequel hell where they don't dare to touch anything (not even really 800 years in the future, as it turns out).

So yeah. Orville > Nutrek. Clear as day. I am entertained. I want to know what happens in this universe.

Also entertained by SNW, but i don't even know if there's anything worth talking about in that universe? The gorn threat? Puh-lease :-D

Puzzling how nutrek seem unable to find inspired writers. I usually find blaming showrunners too easy an explanation, but at this point I am ready to say, Alex should just leave.

Just imagine what a nutrek universe could be in the hands of someone like Ron Moore, given his BSG track record. Or anyone else. But please, someone new. Before SNW runs out of steam preferably.
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OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Thu, Jul 7, 2022, 9:18am (UTC -5)
@Jonathan
"I think it's more likely that the voters had moderated somewhat, elected Korin at some point, and Korin then changed and moved more to being pro-peace than he was as a candidate. Politicians campaign under false pretenses or change once in office -- although only on a few issues, admittedly -- and not that uncommonly.

I imagine that the voting populace polarized. About 50% moved to be more pro-peace and about 50% moved into extremely anti-peace."

I can buy the first half of your scenario.

The second half, however, is quite unrealistic. There's no way Korin would get anywhere 50% support after pulling such a stunt, and the notion of Teleya's faction being a fringe phenomenon doesn't make any sense either.

"I think the answer is that (in a lazy way) this was very much a mirror of 2016, which was ca close election if you think about national percentages. 50% went one way and the other 50% went another way on their feelings on Trump."

Exactly.

The writers did it because of their insistence to shoehorn contemporary politics into the episode, regardless of how little sense this makes.

And speaking of this, here is another tidbit that doesn't make sense:

The Krill worship this Avis dude, right? It has been established in the previous seasons that this religion is at the center of their lives, and that they take it very seriously.

Yet this episode depicts a strangely secular society. Avis seems to be relevant to only two things on Krill: There's a big statue of him in the city, and Teleya uses his name in her demagogical speeches.

Everything else on Krill is remarkably Avis-less... which doesn't make any kind of sense. If you ever visited a religious community of any kind, you would know that their faith emanates from every single thing they do - for good and for ill.

Now, I'd *love* to see the Krill homeworld as a fanatical religious planet. I'd love to see how their faith in Avis shapes their daily lives and their society. There are so many story-telling possibilities in this idea... But instead, we got Teleya cos-playing as Space Trump in Space America.

Kinda disappointing, when you think about it.
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Booming
Sat, Jul 9, 2022, 4:06am (UTC -5)
Here a lawyer analyses the Roe vs Wade decision
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wOvvBWSBwU0

and here about the consequences of Roe vs Wade and why there is a good chance that homosexuality will soon be illegal in many republican states and that it could become a crime to talk about abortion at all.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DsWsALacMCs

Quincy wrote:" There's not going to be much suffering when you can just go across state lines and have an abortion where it's still legal. Stop being melodramatic."

Some have probably heard the story of the 10 year old r-victim that had to be driven to another state because Ohio has a six week ban on abortion. Good job, guys...
https://jezebel.com/ohio-governor-who-denied-10-year-old-rape-victim-aborti-1849158599

Furthermore, several states plan to criminalize helping people seeking abortions or getting one out-of-state.
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Tristan
Tue, Jul 19, 2022, 5:51am (UTC -5)
Nobody commented on the fact that the President of the Union is none other than Bruce Boxleitner, aka John Sheridan from Babylon 5, also President of the Interstellar Alliance.
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Tom
Tue, Jul 19, 2022, 6:02am (UTC -5)
I thought he looked familiar. I never would have recognized him, he looks so different from his B5 days.

Clever casting though.
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Sigh2000
Tue, Jul 19, 2022, 6:36am (UTC -5)
Good to see he's still out there. He was great in Babylon 5.
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Sigh2000
Tue, Jul 19, 2022, 3:51pm (UTC -5)
Good to see he's still out there. He was great in Babylon 5.
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Proud Capitalist Pig
Mon, Aug 1, 2022, 8:36pm (UTC -5)
I'll grant "Gently Falling Rain" the absurd conceit that a simple schoolteacher can become a military tactician / spy in short order and then rise in even shorter order to lead a populist political revolution on her planet, complete with fiery speeches. The Krill are aliens, after all. What do I know? The whole point of this is to keep the storytelling taut -- Teleya is the Krill we are most familiar with, and the one most likely to get a rise out of Ed, so for the sake of Big Drama, she's it.

Michaela McManus slays it (no pun intended) as always, and it's actually pretty damn entertaining to see her as a completely acerbic, diabolically fascist bitch with lines like, "You'll find him in the center of Capital Square--at least his head." How far she's come from, "He's still singing with his shirt off."

As Jammer indicates above, Teleya for sure has no love lost *at all* for Mercer and indeed was playing him completely the whole time that she was posing as Tyler. That little CD of Billy Joel songs didn't do a damn thing. She spares Mercer's life to repay him for saving her own, sure, but that's as far as it goes. I do hope that we're not quite done with this storyline yet, however, so who knows what remains to be seen.

Seth MacFarlane was competent throughout the episode and carried it well. His scene with Charlie Townsend as Anaya was adorable--and it's interesting to see a fatherly side of Mercer we've never experienced before this. Even while neck deep in Krill political shenanigans and faced with a daughter he never knew he had (confirming that yes, he indeed banged that Krill just as Malloy said), he's still the super-nice guy at heart.

Not much to say about the political theater, believe it or not. It's so obvious what Seth MacFarlane is doing here that it doesn't even require commentary. I did appreciate the nod to Deepfake though--"influence operations" is something many of our governments are obviously getting behind. If you think about it, it sure would be possible for the media to stage an event that gets the populace riled up for whatever purpose, and who would be the wiser? It's actually in this case that I stand up for citizen journalism and social media apps like Snapchat and Instagram -- if enough people are able to film and release what "really" happened, well, that's a certain armament to the propaganda.

As always, I can't let this write-up go without a shout-out to my man John Fleck. His appearance here is priceless. The admirals and dignitaries are watching a Broadway show (with alien singers, which is a nice touch), and of course it's that execrable "Annie" song. We pan along to each of these audience members, taking in their expressions, until the camera stops on Fleck as K.T.Z. The other guests' reactions have ranged from amused and delighted to polite or contrite--but there's K.T.Z. with a look of stone-faced bewilderment bordering on disgust. I cracked up.


Speak Freely:

Teleya -- "Nothing to say, Captain?"
Mercer -- "Looks like you're uptown girl now."


My Grade: B
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lizzzi
Fri, Aug 19, 2022, 6:27am (UTC -5)
Not much to add to what others have said. I do wonder what the future holds for Mercer and Grayson as a couple. They are obviously good friends, very supportive of each other, know each other inside and out...I wonder if The Orville continues into another season if they will end up re-marrying. Hmmmm.

Loved Anaya, What a sweetie.
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Bobbington McBob
Fri, Aug 19, 2022, 9:12am (UTC -5)
Bortus gagging during "The Molloy Expanding Helix Maneuver" had me roaring. Some good moments of acting that brought some genuine emotional reactions. Otherwise a little heavier than what I came for. You have to be in a different mood for watching Season 3. Not a bad thing at all and comparable to early DS9 Vs later. Wonder if Mercer will get to Siskoan heights of not giving AF / war crimes, and will MacFarlane have the acting chops? We'll see!
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SlackerInc
Sat, Aug 20, 2022, 3:55pm (UTC -5)
@lizzzi, I agree that their remarriage (perhaps having kids together) is a distinct possibility.
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Saph
Sat, Aug 27, 2022, 7:07pm (UTC -5)
Great episode. Highlights American exceptionalism with the whole mentality of making it "great again", and how progress can't be dictated by religious extremism.

It's what I missed from Star Trek: Discovery in prior seasons. Episodic format allows us to tackle on going issues without them being seasons long arc.

Orville is a very good middle ground between Voyager's science and DS9's soul searching.
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William B
Mon, Aug 29, 2022, 10:32pm (UTC -5)
I like "The Orville." I think something about the way it plays itself -- earnest, but also not taking itself too seriously -- is what lets it get away with stuff that I would find hard to believe on any other show. The show swings for the fences, but somehow also feels a little gentle and unassuming about it. I think it's not so much that it's even *that good* -- it's often artless -- as that it's hard to dislike something that's sort of trying all this out in a good-natured way.

Anyway, I think 3 stars is about right for this episode. Probably it really deserves lower for successful execution, but I was never bored, and it is kind of wild how much this episode packs into its 65 minute running time. Like "Annie," it feels weirdly retro, while also going all-in on political allegory, here about the conflict between a pluralistic secular society and a mercantile-religious one, with an election upset, fake news (on both sides of the election), and then a secret Symbolic Baby, Star Wars-y city chases, and even a whole sequence about abortion (!). I do wonder if Mercer and Teyela are a kind of endgame, even more so than the obvious Mercer/Grayson one, which I dread in a way (I dread both of them), but if they are the endgame I'm a little more impressed by the show having Teyela just straight-up stabbing two heads of state as part of her reactionary coup.
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wow
Tue, Aug 30, 2022, 2:58am (UTC -5)
"It's basically Seth talking about the "heartbeat test" designed to anthropomorphize a fetus and prevent abortion"

"anthropomorphize a fetus"

an·thro·po·mor·phize
verb
attribute human characteristics


you are aware where humans come from, right?
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SlackerInc
Wed, Aug 31, 2022, 8:03pm (UTC -5)
@William B: I think they foreclosed Telaya as endgame precisely when she did stab those other politicians. I would bet a lot of money they won't go there now, because they can't put that toothpaste back in the tube.
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William B
Wed, Aug 31, 2022, 8:08pm (UTC -5)
@SlackerInc, good point.
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SlackerInc
Wed, Aug 31, 2022, 8:10pm (UTC -5)
@William B, thanks.
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Andy G
Thu, Sep 1, 2022, 2:04pm (UTC -5)
Great episode. Loses a tiny bit on the fact that the president and admirals have no security/entourage and the sheer cluelessness of the timing. It's a bit like TNG and even to early DS9. They're living in a "utopia" and haven't realized things have changed. On DS9's "Homefront/Paradise Lost" this is addressed.
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SlackerInc
Sat, Sep 3, 2022, 2:37am (UTC -5)
I would think a security detail would be virtually worthless when you are on an enemy planet with vast military and security forces all around you. It's probably a good idea to bring along just in case some rando comes at you and the local security forces are not well prepared to stop them; but if there is a coup (as here) and suddenly your hosts want you in prison, having a few bodyguards isn't going to save you.
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N. Enabnit
Sun, Sep 18, 2022, 8:40pm (UTC -5)
I'm just catching up with this season, but I kind of liked this episode. Whether the writers intended it or not, it would be a great idea if DNA could be extracted to show what a couple's unborn child would look like (preferably before they're aborted, of course) to help them understand what they're truly giving up and what they'll be missing out on (and that it's not just a clump of cells).
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Gary Twinem
Sun, Sep 25, 2022, 2:43pm (UTC -5)
I always laugh when our heroes in these kind of shows are always scheduled to be killed " in the morning" 🙂 Why not right away, get it done now 😀

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