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

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57 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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