The Orville

"Midnight Blue"

3.5 stars

Air date: 7/21/2022
Written by Brannon Braga & Andre Bormanis
Directed by Jon Cassar

Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan

The single word that might describe "Midnight Blue" best is "satisfying." This is nearly 90 minutes of political drama and personal angst that puts its characters and institutions through all manners of hell and hardship and emerges on the other side with something that makes us want to pump our fists, even as it employs no shortage of outrage, ugliness, and contrivance to get there. This is a personal and political melodrama that doesn't hesitate to manipulate us or the characters in its grand plan of getting to its destination. It is not subtle about what it does. Indeed, it's about as subtle as a sledgehammer. But in being bold and decisive, it finally tackles the problem with the Moclans and their status in the Union head-on, and does so without flinching.

The story takes us back to the independent female Moclan colony (see "Sanctuary") led by Haveena (Rena Owen), where a team from Moclus is to meet the Orville away team to conduct an inspection to ensure the sanctuary is abiding by the terms of their agreement with the Moclan government. Topa, who is being mentored by Grayson, accompanies Grayson and Bortus as an observer; she hopes to meet Haveena (who is her hero) and witness how other Moclan females live. The episode bides its time getting to the point, but that works here because it allows the story to provide some texture around life in the sanctuary as seen through Topa's eyes.

It's here where we see Haveena's dedication to her cause allows her to use the greater good as cover for a desperate and manipulative play on Topa as an impressionable adolescent who is in no position to say no to such a request from this particular person. She secretly recruits Topa into her Underground Railroad-like network, hoping her position on a Union ship will allow her to communicate with her secret contacts on Moclus. This is not only in violation of the sanctuary's agreement but also something likely to put a young child in grave danger.

Later, Topa ventures off the settlement and is captured by the Moclan inspectors and taken off the planet. (There are some odd, unexplained plot elements here: Did the Moclans arrange for the mysterious blue "Luminite" to lure her away? Because this is clearly more than just coincidental. And, for that matter, how did they even know Topa was being recruited by Haveena? Because they seem very sure she absolutely has crucial information almost immediately after Haveena has had just one conversation with her.) Bortus and Grayson, after learning Topa is missing, desperately go chasing after her, but find that their shuttle's communications have been sabotaged. They're able to follow the Moclan shuttle to a nearby uninhabited planet where the Moclans have a black ops interrogation facility that's holding Topa, but they're unable to contact the Orville.

Meanwhile, Mercer, who is left totally in the dark after these fast-moving events, questions Haveena in her role in all this. Haveena reluctantly comes clean, but doesn't intend to endanger her underground contacts on Moclus by going on the record to the Union officials who might be able to force the Moclan government to acknowledge Topa's kidnapping. In Haveena's eyes, Topa is an unfortunate casualty of the cause. It's to the episode's credit that it allows Haveena to occupy this amoral place of desperation, acting on a greater good that is not above individual exploitation. Mercer's coercive ploy to get Haveena to cooperate is to play the Dolly Parton card, and he has her go into the holographic simulator where Parton performs "Try" as a way of pressuring Haveena into realizing the error of her ways. This is one of those purely Orvillian moments, and your mileage may vary, but for me it was a little too precious.

Topa is put into an interrogation room with a creepy, one-eyed Moclan who is all business and has questions he expects Topa to answer. (Who are the contacts on Moclus, and what are the encryption codes for their communications?) It's here where the show tightens the vice grip, effectively if manipulatively, by cutting between scenes where poor Topa is tortured for information while Bortus and Grayson land their shuttle and attempt to infiltrate the facility from what must be a good mile away. Meanwhile, Haveena testifies before the Union council and admits to the underground network in the hopes the Moclan government will be forthcoming about their role in kidnapping Topa and show some mercy. No such luck; they simply use Haveena's admission to grandstand as political victims, while denying they have any sort of interrogation operation at all.

The scene where Malloy, who is supposed to keep his mouth shut but just can't do it, tears into the hypocrisy of the Moclan government is a moment that will have you nodding in agreement even as you hold your breath as to how this whole diplomatic fiasco will play out. Meanwhile, Mercer's role in all this is compelling to watch. It's a particularly good showcase for MacFarlane as he tries to get everyone to do the right thing to fix this mess, while making it very clear where he stands at all points along the way — but while also not overplaying his rather limited hand. It's a tricky tightrope to walk. You can see how he agrees with Malloy even as he desperately wants him to stop talking.

The shoot-em-up action (both within the interrogation facility and the now-seemingly-weekly moment where the show turns into Star Wars with a high-speed shuttle chase) is fairly obligatory and standard, but is elevated by the heightened stakes. The rescue of Topa is of course successful, but only after she's been tortured and handed over key information to her captor. Bortus has a moment of vengeance clearly inspired by Worf's killing of Duras in "Reunion," where he savagely beats the interrogator and blinds him with his own torture device. It's one of those nasty moments you're tempted to approve of for all the wrong — or maybe right — reasons.

The showdown on the Union floor is also powerful and satisfying, because it finally publicly reveals the Moclans — and the Union — for who they truly are. No longer can the Moclans hide behind cultural relativism; evidence of their brutality against Topa is enough to finally make the Union say "enough" and expel the Moclans from the organization, despite what this may mean in terms of the defensive posture in the face of the Kaylon threat. (That the Union makes this decision regardless of the strategic fallout is commendable. That the Kaylon threat still feels largely theoretical because of how indirectly it has been dealt with all season as a plotline is perhaps still a significant problem.)

In perhaps the most genuinely moving character turn of events, Klyden finally sees the light and returns to make right by his daughter and family, apologizing for all the terrible things he said to her in "A Tale of Two Topas." Like with the Union's vote to expel Moclus, Klyden's change of heart demonstrates how extreme situations make it impossible to ignore ugly truths and instead allow people to finally reassess what they actually stand for. Klyden even invites Grayson to sit with the family for dinner, which really got me, given how previously impossible that would've seemed.

Is there a world where the Union doesn't stand up for justice because realpolitik rules the day and the need for Molcan weapons against the Kaylon is the more pragmatic solution? Absolutely. Is there a world where a lifetime of bigotry doesn't melt away for Klyden regardless of what atrocities happened to his daughter? Sure. But "Midnight Blue" shows a reasonable world where the moral high ground can rule the day, and is all the more satisfying for it. It does this while shaking up the series' political bedrock yet again, and finally dealing with the Moclans in a decisive way that has been brewing for most of the series' run.

Previous episode: From Unknown Graves
Next episode: Domino

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116 comments on this post

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Jaxon
Thu, Jul 21, 2022, 2:07am (UTC -5)
At 90 minutes this pretty much a full two part episode.

As always, it sample many Star Trek episodes...TNG's Reunion and Ds9's Tribunal jump to mind.

This was a good episode but I have to digest it to decide just how much.

The Topa actress really knocks it out of the park. And the Klyden speech...whoa.

Oh and Dolly Parton was there...
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J.B.
Thu, Jul 21, 2022, 3:01am (UTC -5)
Solid. Lots of great performances here (Topa is a real find) and they even managed to win me over with Klyden. Some big shattering changes to alliances here and I'm exciting to see how this shakes out in the last two eps. Only complaint is again the length (86 minutes), which really could have been tightened up a bit.
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Anon
Thu, Jul 21, 2022, 3:31am (UTC -5)
If Topa's going to be a regular I think this cast just got new life and exactly the kind it needed. Because in my eyes, the rest of the cast is still carrying around their jokester persona baggage from the first two seasons, even though the show is veering away hard from that type of thing. Topa feels like the most serious character on the show right now, and that's the place where you want to launch your great sci-fi drama from. She's definitely the character I could most see having existed in genuine Trek as well. After having watched the terrible direction/writing of Leia in the latest Disney Kenobi series, this was a breath of fresh air.

And I'm surprised at how many huge developments and world changes are coming about each episode. Definitely doesn't feel episodic.
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Syl
Thu, Jul 21, 2022, 4:41am (UTC -5)
Omg, were they teasing a Bortus/Kelly romance? That scene between them was so tense I almost burst from vicarious embarrassment.
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Artymiss
Thu, Jul 21, 2022, 4:44am (UTC -5)
@Syl

Oh yes definitely! I think Bortus has very mixed feelings about Klyden's return.
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The smiler
Thu, Jul 21, 2022, 4:46am (UTC -5)
Really strong episode, glad to see klyden get some redemption and not just be the pantomime villain they turned him into.

Really feel heveena should face more backlash for her actions, she seemed to get everything she wanted and got away scot free.

Really hope there is a season 4!
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Nolan
Thu, Jul 21, 2022, 5:10am (UTC -5)
Well frak. It's 4 am and I'm all teary. I swear stuff never used to get to me as much as it seems to now.

One thing that I really noticed this episode was that, yes they dumped a lot into VFX, they also sprung for a full orchestra it sounds like. There's a LOT more feel behind the music in this show than in others, and frankly it's never out of place, nor particularily grabbing for more attention than any other element. Well, except for Dolly.

Speaking of Dolly, sometimes The Orville is exactly the Trek we need nowadays when the actual franchise is flailing. And other days it shows why it can be great that it ISN'T Star Trek. Hologram Dolly Parton would just not work on Star Trek, she'd stick out like a sore thumb. But by god, when Havena walked into that cabin I damn well knew what was coming and was glad it happened. It had been built to, earned and fit right in with how much this series leans on modern pop culture. Tjat's as close the being the perfect meld of Star Trek and Futurama I've seen.

And holy cow, does this show know how to maintain the balance of keeping its status quo and upending it. For the last three seasons I think we've all questioned the viability of the Moclan alliance, and here they just WENT there.

I don't lnow where this season is heading but dangit, #RenewTheOrville
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Syl
Thu, Jul 21, 2022, 5:45am (UTC -5)
@Artymiss - yes, and Kelly seemed jealous :) Where did this come from? Didn't pick up on any clues before this episode, or maybe that's just me
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Artymiss
Thu, Jul 21, 2022, 6:33am (UTC -5)
Good to see Dan again! Don't think we've seen him yet this season.

@Syl I didn't pick up on Kelly seeming jealous. I thought she seemed awkward when she came to their quarters, presumably because she didn't know what sort of reception she'd get from Klyden given what happened between them last time.
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Zeke
Thu, Jul 21, 2022, 7:09am (UTC -5)
I once read a review of TNG's "Conundrum" which was generally positive, but then let loose on a single point about the ending. The idea that Picard could get away with simply apologizing to the Lysians for their "lost" ship and crew struck this reviewer as utterly preposterous. I'm not sure I agree (the Lysians probably knew the Satarrans had this particular trick to use, and anyway, what more could Picard do?), but I now understand the feeling completely.

This episode was fine, just half an hour too long and very by-the-numbers (but then, The Orville's lack of guile is part of its charm). But then there's that one little point about the ending... such a small detail, but so wrong that it shatters all suspension of disbelief. The Union kicked out the Moclans THEMSELVES? No. Not in a million years. I'd completely buy the Moclans quitting, or the Union demanding an apology or imposing some kind of harsh penalty and THEN the Moclans quitting. But it would never go this way -- not with the Kaylons looming.

No matter how unworthy an ally Stalin was (and we knew he was even at the time, though we could scarcely dream how much), the Allies would never have been the ones to break the alliance with Russia. They might have given Russia an ultimatum over something sufficiently bad, but they'd never have been the ones to pull the trigger. Hitler was just too grave a threat. Same story here: we've seen how much the Union rightly fears the Kaylon. This incident might be enough to RISK the Moclan alliance over, but they would never make the move to break it themselves. (Much less unanimously!)
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Joseph B
Thu, Jul 21, 2022, 7:52am (UTC -5)
Great Ep!

Notes:
* This episode commanded my attention for the entire 90 minutes, so it had to have been well paced. I only saw one scene that could have been slightly trimmed. (Perhaps Topa following the blue insect?)

* I have a daughter and I can assure you that I wouldn’t have been as forgiving as Bortus in that situation.

* The DP cameo had me jumping out of my seat!

* It’s amazing to me that The Orville can make an episode almost solely based on politics this riveting. Shades of “Deep Space Nine”!

* I had no trouble with the ending which saw the Moclans’ tossed out of the Union. The lies and atrocities displayed at the formal investigation were too extreme to ignore.

* Agree with everyone that Imani Pullman was incredible as Topa in this episode. She’s quite the find.

* I’ve always hated Klyden (we were all supposed to!). It was *great* to see his redemption here.

After a slow start to the season, The Orville has hit it’s stride again! Really looking forward to the next two eps!
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SlackerInc
Thu, Jul 21, 2022, 8:59am (UTC -5)
Still over an hour left as I write this (these really are essentially Orville movies), so I'm not sure if this is where they are going with this. But the fact that Topa had a heterosexual interest in Gordon (which she seem to get over more quickly than I expected) and that the Moclans asked if Kelly and Bortus were a couple, makes me wonder how heterosexual Moclan women on this colony deal with the fact that there are seemingly no men.

Did we previously know they could cloak their shuttles? I like that it's not perfect but pretty good if you aren't looking right at the spot and trying to see it (also presumably much more effective at night).

Amazing to get a Dolly Parton song! It worked well as it shifted from acoustic to full band and moved to a glamour shot of the bridge (IIRC).

It got a little sappy at the end, but overall I would put this up against the median Star Trek movie, even without handicapping for its more modest budget (by movie standards: it's obviously well funded compared to most TV shows).

@J.B.: If they are putting this out as a TV episode, it is easier to see it as needing to be tightened up. I am looking at it more like they put out a series of movies over the summer. Or, as @Jaxon said, you could look at it as equivalent to a classic VOY-era two-parter.

@Nolan: "One thing that I really noticed this episode was that, yes they dumped a lot into VFX, they also sprung for a full orchestra it sounds like. There's a LOT more feel behind the music in this show than in others, and frankly it's never out of place, nor particularily grabbing for more attention than any other element."

They've always done this, at McFarlane's insistence, and I generally agree that it's a great strength of the show. Occasionally it veers slightly toward being too bombastic for my taste, but it always denotes a touch of class most other shows can't match.

Vigorously cosign your whole comment FWIW.

@Zeke, I take your point about Stalin, but we've also seen the world's revulsion against Russia turned to steely resolve, even at huge economic cost. You can argue that the military imperative is greater, more like WWII, but they have also advanced further in human rights imperatives than had the western Allies in the Forties.

I also have not gotten the impression that the rest of the Union would become Belgium without the Moclans. Nor that it is a truly last-ditch, back against the wall situation for them (we aren't seeing bombed cities).

We should keep in mind that all the biologicals, including Moclans and Krill, will presumably continue to fight separately against Kaylons--it's not like they are switching sides. Maybe they will go there, but unlike say Japan in WWII no one planet or race who defects has got any reason to believe the Kaylons will do anything other than exterminate them once the rest of the biologicals are finished off.

@Joseph B: I haven't loved every episode this season, but I don't know about "after a slow start" exactly. My ratings on Jammer's scale have been 4/2/4/3/4/4/2/4. Pretty even distribution, with a very high percentage of 4 star episodes (not even 3.5, so the hits really hit).
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Syl
Thu, Jul 21, 2022, 9:33am (UTC -5)
As for the episode itself, it was enjoyable, I would give it a solid rating, 3 to 3 and a half stars on Jammer's scale. Though I still much prefer the style of season 2, I feel that this is where they really hit the best balance between comedy and storytelling. Season 3 seems to be taking itself a bit too seriously, and this, together with the overlong episode runtimes, has diminished the specific charm of the show a bit.
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Jaxon
Thu, Jul 21, 2022, 11:21am (UTC -5)
I believe thiu season is eleven episodes, so there are three more episodes. not two.
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theBgt
Thu, Jul 21, 2022, 11:26am (UTC -5)
Am I the only one that found Topa's torture scenes disturbing and unnecessary?
This ruined the whole episode for me, because everything that happened at the end it was because of the torture.
Klyden finally realized his love for his child, the Union realized it should some bending just to have military advantage and all this cause they saw a physically beaten child.
But this child was tormented long before the events of this episode an no one else except Orville's crew seemed to give a frak. Especially not the Union.

Apart of finding it very lazy writing, this whole tolerance on scenes like this is quite shocking. A plot device is the torture of a child. THE TORTURE OF A CHILD.
That shouldn't even be necessary if Moclans used some basic technology like truth drugs or sensitive mics to record Heveena when talking to Topa.
But instead... child torture.
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Jaxon
Thu, Jul 21, 2022, 11:29am (UTC -5)
Sometimes that's the kind of thing it takes to move worlds.
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Joseph B
Thu, Jul 21, 2022, 1:34pm (UTC -5)
@Jaxon: They initially talked about doing 11 episodes, but a combination of COVID delays and production budgets made them decide to fall back to 10 episodes for the season. (It took over 3 years as it was!)

The “missing” episode is being released as a book. The episode does, in fact, take place chronologically between episode 8 and the episode which will drop next week.
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Jaxon
Thu, Jul 21, 2022, 1:37pm (UTC -5)
missed that...last I heard it was 11.
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MercerCreate
Thu, Jul 21, 2022, 1:40pm (UTC -5)
@joseph B
it wasn't Covid. The story was a difficult one to film.. just in terms of how to do it correctly.. (I say this after having read the novella)
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Andre Rhine-Davis
Thu, Jul 21, 2022, 1:47pm (UTC -5)
Why didn't Kelly and Bortus kill the interrogator? They killed all the guards leading up to the cell but not the actual evil interrogator guy who was hurting Topa? Besides, Topa had told him the information! Kelly and Bortus should have made sure that nobody finds out the name of the traitor. It should have been top priority to kill or capture the interrogator and make sure he doesn't tell anyone the information he extracted. But they just... leave him there? They don't silence him or capture him? He's going to tell the Moclan government everything he knows!

The other scene that bothered me was Klyden's "redemption". I just don't buy it. I don't buy that Klyden was able to go back on all those intensely strong beliefs we've seen him hold and just be ok with Topa now. That's not how people work. Beliefs and values and feelings that strong don't just disappear. I don't believe that Klyden has was able to simply deprogram himself of a lifetime of Moclan cultural norms. It felt like a contrivance to me.

Also I agree with @Zeke, I was expecting the Moclans to walk out of the Union in protest of how their culture was not being respected. It seems ridiculous that the Union would actually kick them out instead of just denouncing their actions when the Union needs their Moclan allies so badly.

Also I agree with @Joseph B, that scene with Topa following the blue luminite went on for too long. And the show never fully explained how the Moclans found out about Topa knowing Heveena's secrets, or how they were able to lead her away. Was the blue luminite a little spy drone or something controlled by the Moclans? Why couldn't they have just used the spy drone to listen in directly to Heveena and Topa's conversation?

On that note, there's actually quite a few scenes in this episode where I wonder "where are all the cameras? it doesn't make sense that everything is so unrecorded!". Such as when Heveena confesses aboard the Orville to breaking the treaty but then says "I won't confess, and I will deny that I ever said anything". Where are the cameras recording all this? Or when Kelly and Bortus broke into the Moclan military facility. Where are the cameras detecting them?

One last question, why do we not see people of Yaphit's species on the Union council? We see them in the audience, but not on the council itself. Are they not actually part of the Union? Or are they represented by representatives of a different species?

But yeah, great episode, I enjoyed it :)
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Jaxon
Thu, Jul 21, 2022, 2:37pm (UTC -5)
The blue bug did seem to be on the Moclan payroll. Otherwise what was tehir plan to kidnap Topa from the village with everyone around?

Definitely a plot hole.

Henchmen never rate in body counts. In DS9's Blood Oath, Dax and the KJlingons Three carved through dozens of the Albino's henchmen before having their "should we or shouldn't we?" on the Albino himself.
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SlackerInc
Thu, Jul 21, 2022, 3:55pm (UTC -5)
@theBgt: "Am I the only one that found Topa's torture scenes disturbing and unnecessary?"

I did think about that while watching. It wasn't enough for me personally to outright object to, but I would absolutely say it was surprising and definitely more than was strictly necessary.
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Quincy
Thu, Jul 21, 2022, 4:02pm (UTC -5)
Words cannot express how atrocious this episode was. The author or authors need to be strung up in the middle of a gymnasium with their hands tied behind their backs and ankles duct taped to their necks. They should be summarily kicked in the nether region by a whole group of fifth graders having gym class. The video of the incident should be posted on WorldStar under the title, "Hang 'em Low."

There is nothing good to say about this travesty. It was stupid from intro to end credits.

* You assign the Orville to this delicate mission involving a female Moclan refugee colony despite knowing the Moclan government has a grudge against Bortus and Topa? What illicit substance did you pull out of your food synthesizer this morning?

* You let your beloved daughter go down to a disputed refugee camp where high ranking intelligence officers (a pack of ravenous wolves) with a grudge against you and your daughter are freely roaming around with no back up in sight?

* You're second in command of the Orville in charge of the inspection delegation and your orders are to allow nothing that strains the delicate relationship between the Union and the Moclan government and you allow the former to occur? Furthermore, you leave behind Talla, your chief of security, during a security critical mission with, yet again, ravenous intelligence wolves roaming freely? Did you roll a blunt this morning with some of Yaphit's bathroom residue in it?

* Said high ranking intelligence officer doesn't recognize ON SIGHT what must be considered one of the most politically embarrassing violations of Moclan law and previously one of the most infamous subjects of an interstellar political incident anywhere in Moclan history. Tell me, would a high ranking American intelligence officer recognize Edward Snowden or Julian Assange on sight? Pretty sure that's a distinct impossibility.

* This heifer has to rely on a child to deliver top secret messages during an inspection where intelligence wolves roam around unobserved without restraint? First of all, no one that stupid could actually run a successful defector extraction operation. Second of all, I had so much respect for this character before today. By the end of this episode I found myself wishing Bortus at least had a fantasy moment of shoving this heifer in an airlock and giving her an especially personal introduction to The Expanse.

* Who the hell wants to see Topa tortured? The girl is just cinnamon and brown sugar sweet with perfect teeth. Who the hell woke up today and wanted to see her brutalized?

* You lay eyes on what these bastards did to your daughter and you don't immediately shove a phaser up somebody's posterior and pull the trigger on its highest setting? Furthermore, you just heard they tortured critical intel out of your daughter that whenever it reaches Moclan will get untold numbers of Moclan women and sympathizers killed and you leave the only guy that knows this behind alive to transmit that information when he wakes up? You did indeed smoke some Yaphit residue this morning, didn't you? This is one more reason Talla should've been there to make sure that intel never got out.

* You somehow think that the leader of this disputed refugee colony exposing in open Union council her Underground Railroad will make this ridiculous situation better or incentivize in any way the cooperation of the Moclan government with regards to the safe return of Topa? It's not even a remote possibility that a government in that situation would allow this. It makes everything exponentially worse.

* Kelly and Bortus? Jesus, no, just... no. And please don't ever even bring up Topa's crush on Malloy ever again. Just forget it ever happened.

That's what I would recommend for this entire episode actually.
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Galadriel
Thu, Jul 21, 2022, 4:57pm (UTC -5)
37:35: “Somehow, Commander Kodon must have discovered this”

Does The Orville parody “Rise of Skywalker” here? If so, I don’t find it fun­ny. More likely, it’s just the same old pro­blem again: Bad writ­ing, bad plot­ting, bad exe­cu­tion. But some­how, I like the epis­ode none­the­less — it re­so­na­tes with me on a the­ma­tic level, which makes me for­­get about many of its writ­ing flaws.

⋄ The way how Topa became a target is never explained, nor the plan how to abduct her.

⋄ If the Moclans knew about the underground railroad from in­vis­ible sur­veil­lance tools, they also should know every­thing they tor­tur­ed Topa for.

⋄ But it doesn’t matter, for now they surely know, and a lot of good Moclans are going to die (and newborn girls can no longer go off pla­net) because Kelly&​Bor­tus failed to exe­cute the inter­roga­tor for — some reasons, I guess?

⋄ The Union is now cut off from its weapon supply line, and they have lost al­ready the Krill and the Janisi as allies. I agree with every­­one here that it is nor likely nor wise to kick out the Moclans (their last re­main­ing po­wer­ful ally) in that situation.

But nevertheless, I enjoyed the episode. Perhaps because de­spite all its im­plau­si­bi­li­ty I cheered at the Union Council mem­bers de­ci­si­on. Far too long our demo­cratic go­vern­ments have found a warm place in the back ends of va­ri­ous dic­ta­to­rial sɦɪt­hole coun­tries for rea­sons of gas, oil, pho­nes or what­ever. It was so ca­thar­tic to see at least a fic­tio­nal go­vern­ment taking a stand against ap­pea­se­ment and real­poli­tik and go for real values in­stead (of course, un­like the in­habi­tants of the Or­ville­verse, I en­joy the ad­­van­­ta­ge that I don’t have to fear the Kay­lons blow­ing up my planet).

The strong statement against cultural relativism is worth an­other ½ star. And of all people it’s Gor­don who utters the immor­tal lines: “You treat people like garbage, and then when you get called on it, you bitch and you moan that we're not re­spect­ing your ‘beliefs’! Well, screw you and your — ”. I think we all can come up with a lot of coun­tries well described here, though in reality no one will ever speak the truth so clearly.

Yet still with this extra half star donated, the epis­ode can’t climb above 2½, for there a too many and too deep problems with it. I’m surprised, because writing was never really bad this season, just a little bit too simple and con­ve­ni­ent. But this epis­ode, which was clearly in­ten­ded as an emo­tio­nal and dra­ma­tic high­light of the sea­son, shows weak­­nes­­ses the likes of which I haven’t seen since Picard S2. How could that happen? And, more im­por­tantly, please don’t eff it up in the re­main­ing two episodes.
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SlackerInc
Thu, Jul 21, 2022, 5:16pm (UTC -5)
Wow, you guys. I actually had multiple moments while watching this episode when I thought to myself how great the writing was!
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Jaxon
Thu, Jul 21, 2022, 5:41pm (UTC -5)
I thought it was well written and well acted. There are more than a few plot holes though.

Like the season opener, I'd put it right on the cusp of 3 and 3.5 stars.
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TheRealTrent
Thu, Jul 21, 2022, 9:17pm (UTC -5)
I thought this was a very good episode, but it could have been a great one with some tightening and a couple minor adjustments to the script.

For example, Bortus should have been far more unhinged the moment he realizes Topa has been kidnapped. And you can emphasize this by having Kelly order them to return to the Orville (to enlist the ship's sensors) and Bortus madly refusing to abandon pursuit with their shuttle. He so loves his daughter, is so desperate not to lose her trail, that he disobeys Kelly until Kelly relents. Similarly, the scene with Kelly falling and injuring herself should be removed, and replaced with a scene with Bortus blaming Kelly for endangering his daughter. Changes like this would add urgency and mounting intensity, and really emphasize the sense of a father absolutely headstrong in his desire to hunt down his child.

There are a lot of other little moments that could have been tightened or improved. The "underground railroad" plot revealed to Topa in the forest needs to be better written, more concice, or alluded to obliquely. The "follow the blue light" and "get abducted" scene is also a cliche. Dolly Parton's scene also has a gratuituous quality, and is a bit on-the-nose. Several establishing shots and CGI fly-bys could also be trimmed, and the "shuttle can't lift-off correctly" scenes look hokey.

But those are minor complains. There's lots of great stuff here as well:

1. We get yet another great "shuttle arriving on a planet" sequence.
2. Bortus' rescue of Topa and assault on her torturer is powerful.
3. Klyden's reappearance is touching and great (though he wouldn't use the word "prejudice" when describing himself).
4. Gordon gets two very good and very funny scenes.
5. Dolly Parton's song is great; significantly it's taken from the album "Blue Smoke", continuing this episode's obsession with "blues".
6. Seth's love for music, and belief in its powers to influence, is infectious.
7. Heveena's dilemma, sacrifice and errors in judgement are all powerful. The episode is brave to take a saintly figure and paint her as something monstrous, and examines well the "selfishness" of activism and/or independence movements.
8. The Union ditching the Moclans is pure Roddenberry. Comments here are calling this unrealistic, but to me it's the Orville doing Federation-styled utopianism right.
9. The world building and shifting power relations in the show continue to be gripping.

Quincy said: "Furthermore, you just heard they tortured critical intel out of your daughter that whenever it reaches Moclan will get untold numbers of Moclan women and sympathizers killed and you leave the only guy that knows this behind alive..."

Bortus has no idea his daughter knows or revealed "critical intel", and has no idea that the sanctuary planet has been breaking the treaty. All he knows is that his daughter has been kidnapped, and that he plans to shame the Moclans into admitting they tortured a child at a black ops site.

Leaving the guard alive is not a strategic blunder in his eyes, because he has no idea what's going on, and intends to reveal everything he knows to the Union and Moclans anyway.


Galadriel said: "The way how Topa became a target is never explained, nor the plan how to abduct her."

I prefer this. Villains standing around "explaining" their motivations, sinister plans and so on is IMO a cliched and cartoonish waste of time. It's best if we're left to infer this stuff.
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Jonathan
Thu, Jul 21, 2022, 9:44pm (UTC -5)
For everyone ragging on the Union's choice (seems like some loose confederacy, like the UN, but more centralized and with executive power, maybe like America under the Articles of Confederation in the 1780s) to expel Moclus given the stakes of survival ...

Ed had been railing against the dependence on Moclus since Season One. This has not just moral implications but strategic ones. It's just silly. If we want to get political, it's a criticism of neoliberalism. There's no safety net. The market just takes care. Every member of the Union just focuses on its specialty and everyone gets everything for the lowest price.

In previous seasons with conversations on this topic, Halsey (?) says what Ed was complaining about was true but that the Union ruling council failed to take that decision years ago when it needed to. What's done is done. At that moment, the council has no choice except to tolerate Moclus's shenanigans if the Union wants to have weapons manufacturing.

It's been a few years since then. I imagine that by the time of this episode the Union has been taking some steps to diversify its supply chains among other member planets. Real life is a bit like this. The US during the Cold War didn't put all of its research and manufacturing and missile bases in, e.g., Tennessee, and then let the Tennessee National Guard under the governor's control keep all US soldiers out of the state.

If the US had done that, then Tennessee would be able to blackmail the USA to do whatever it wanted. It's no accident that the US diversified its weapon manufacturing geographically through the nineteenth century.

The time scale of the Union being able to become less dependent on Moclus for weapons manufacturing would also fit considering the time since Ed's first complaints and even since the Battle of Earth. Again, think of real life.

Countries and revolutionary armies can build up arms, armies, and even weapons manufacturing *very* quickly. Look at how fast the USA built up its military for the Civil War, WW1, and WW2. It went from having a few thousand to a few million men at arms within a couple years. It was only after 1945 that the USA had an enormous peacetime army.

There's also a clear security risk in Moclus having a black site. Imagine if the Canadian government found out that the provincial government of Nova Scotia was secretly making a naval facility at an underground facility in the Atlantic and was building its own army. The choice is between a peaceful divorce and doing what Lincoln did in 1861.

Personally, I thought that the Union conquering and doing a reconstruction of Moclus would have been the better choice. Employ the Fifth Column of dissidents on Moclus to make it go more quickly, take over Moclus, use its facilities, make the Union stronger, and liberate Moclan females. Yay.

But that choice and the stories resulting would invite comparisons with freeing the slaves via the Civil War and the 13th Amendment. Also, Yugoslavia tried this tack in the 1990s, but it was too little, too late. (Despite the general agreement by news, academics, and politicians in the West to repeat this lie, it wasn't "Serbia's" army leading the way. It was the JNA. Calling Yugoslavia "Serbia" just because half of the members of Yugoslavia seceded is like calling the union side "Ohio" during the Civil War.)

I'm just looking at the tactical merits of going the Lincoln route, i.e., using force to reconquer and re-integrate secessionists or to reform and pacify deviants. It can work and it cannot work. Perhaps the Union thought that an amicable divorce with peaceful reorganizing of crews and swapping citizens, not actively fighting each other, was the best and most humanitarian solution.

Any punishment on Moclus is unlikely to be effective. The Union is too reliant on shared values among members to be the extra bit of glue holding the confederation together. Moclus already built an entire black site and military base without the federation knowing. Maybe any enforcement of sanctions would require the Union to just straight up become an Earth-first Empire, which could provoke otherwise supportive members of the Union to secede because this development would threaten their autonomy.

In other words, the Union getting the power to be able to crack down on a member of the Union would be a cure worse than the disease.

I will admit that this may be a curse of knowledge thing. Once you know something, it's hard to imagine someone not knowing it. An obvious thing and an arcane thing seem the same when you know both. As someone who knows about and writes academically about real world history and politics, everything I just wrote is pedestrian to me. I know the problems with sanctions, how you need a built-up history to have the *threat* of sanctions be effective, how mobilization for war takes time but not *that* much time, etc. To me this was all obvious and the episode didn't need to spell it out *because it's a topic I know and love*. Maybe that's the case for the writers, too. They thought everything I did, thought it was obvious, didn't bother to write explanations.

Or it's sloppy writing and my judgment is blinded by my love for the show, which means that I'm just making up excuses.
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Quincy
Thu, Jul 21, 2022, 10:09pm (UTC -5)
@TheRealTrent
Thu, Jul 21, 2022, 9:17pm (UTC -5)

"Bortus has no idea his daughter knows or revealed "critical intel", and has no idea that the sanctuary planet has been breaking the treaty. All he knows is that his daughter has been kidnapped, and that he plans to shame the Moclans into admitting they tortured a child at a black ops site.

Leaving the guard alive is not a strategic blunder in his eyes, because he has no idea what's going on, and intends to reveal everything he knows to the Union and Moclans anyway."


Nope. Not buying it.

Commander Grayson clearly heard the Moclan say, "Kill her. Dump her body in Sha'Var Canyon." We know this because she comes immediately around the corner and says, "Touch her and your dead!" This was at the tail end of a 10 second conversation where they state out loud WHY they were torturing her.

For you to be correct, they arrived outside the door within listening distance no earlier than 6 seconds into the conversation. Enough time to hear the murder threat and nothing else. I DO NOT BELIEVE YOU.

They knew this was a Moclan black site as soon as they arrived. You expect me to believe that Bortus doesn't recognize a Moclan interrogation/torture chamber? He saw they were ready to kill her after having tortured her inside such a chamber. WHATEVER information they retrieved shouldn't be allowed out of that room. This is WHY you need a security chief to KNOW when such measures should be applied.

Furthermore, he already had enough of a reason to kill him. He needed nothing else. Yes, they're in a hurry. That's why you shove a phaser rifle up his anus and pull the trigger. Then you bail out. Problem solved.
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Gauntlet
Thu, Jul 21, 2022, 11:03pm (UTC -5)
Those who would argue against the Union expelling the Moclans are, perhaps, lost to cynicism.

Because what we see, is a government (well a coordinating body of multiple governments, which is all government is at a certain level of complication and scale), that actually chooses to uphold it's values and ideals.

Could the Union falter because of Kaylon attack and a lack of Moclan involvement? Yes. But also, the Union could falter because it fails to uphold the values that create loyalty and cohesion amongst it's members. It's a large and multifaceted group, with many species, it understandably makes compromises, but at what point do those compromises become "betrayals" to the majority of its members?

These are important ideas, and since it is just a television show, it's good that we explore them.

The Star Trek Federation, is, on the whole (when all series/episodes are considered) a wonderful and idealistic institution, that often glosses over the issue of cultural relativism. Whereas the Union is by comparison, much more practical and flawed... but apparently, when push comes to shove.....

It's willing to do the right thing, right now.

That has a lot of value... because if the organics do "everything" neccessary to survive and defeat the Kaylons... in practical and material terms... meeting them head on in efficiency vs efficiency, they either won't win, or, will become indistinguishable from a machine race themselves.

How you win matters. And Bruce Boxleitner knows this as a president (lol)... though he does need occasional reminders from Delenn.
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PM
Fri, Jul 22, 2022, 1:11am (UTC -5)
RE "WHATEVER information they retrieved shouldn't be allowed out of that room. This is WHY you need a security chief to KNOW when such measures should be applied.

Furthermore, he already had enough of a reason to kill him. He needed nothing else. Yes, they're in a hurry. That's why you shove a phaser rifle up his anus and pull the trigger. Then you bail out. Problem solved."

Bortus not killing that guy come down to probably not hearing that his daughter gave up the info. Plus they need that to set up a future episode.
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SlackerInc
Fri, Jul 22, 2022, 1:24am (UTC -5)
So, did they actually kill the other guards? I thought they just stunned them. (Now, the pilots of the other ships they were fighting in the Star Wars trench run..."they're dead, Jim.")
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Tim
Fri, Jul 22, 2022, 1:33am (UTC -5)
@ Zeke

“No matter how unworthy an ally Stalin was (and we knew he was even at the time, though we could scarcely dream how much), the Allies would never have been the ones to break the alliance with Russia.”

This isn’t a good analogy to that though, this is more like Stalin’s Soviet Union being a US State, with Senators and House members, which obviously never would have been accepted. The last time individual US States kidnapped citizens of other US States (sort of what happened in this episode) it ended in the bloodiest war in American history. I doubt the Orville will deeply explore the geopolitics of this in the two remaining episodes (then again, perhaps they will) but nothing says the Moclans have to be MEMBERS of the Union to join the fight against the Kaylons.

As an aside, not to hijack the conversation with a WWII discussion, but Stalin needed the alliance far more than the Allies did. It wasn’t British and American territory being pillaged and our civilians being exterminated en mass in a war of annihilation. The original US war plan (look up the “Plan Dog Memo”) was predicated on the US and UK fighting alone against Germany. Obviously better for us that didn’t happen, every German solider killed by the Red Army was one less we had to face, but until 22 June 1941 the Soviets didn’t factor into Allied Grand Strategy.
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Tim
Fri, Jul 22, 2022, 1:46am (UTC -5)
Is it my imagination or has Bruce Boxleitner’s voice changed? I did not peg him as President in the previous episode, until I read comments here. In this episode I had to strain to pick out his voice, ultimately I did, but if I hadn’t been listening for it I’d have had no idea.

Huge Babylon 5 fan here so I’m kinda shocked I missed this, but Bruce seems to be delivering his lines in a very muted way compared to John Sheridan.
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PM
Fri, Jul 22, 2022, 1:53am (UTC -5)
@Quincy: are you trying to slip in an advertisement for WorldStar?
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PM
Fri, Jul 22, 2022, 2:20am (UTC -5)
Last thought: maybe that Moclan torturer DID die from Bortus' torture device to the eye OR (as said torturer implied w Topa) was so messed up from it after getting it on high to the eye that he'll never remember the intel he got.
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Booming
Fri, Jul 22, 2022, 2:51am (UTC -5)
@Jonathan
The breakup of Yugoslavia and the US Civil war were so different in so many ways that I don't understand what you are trying to say. For example Slovenia was allowed to secedes after a very short conflict. Why? Because Milosevic wanted a Greater Serbia and there were no Serbs in Slovenia. So by letting Slovenia go, Serbia became even more dominant in what remained of Yugoslavia. The ethnic cleansing started almost immediately and the JNA was essentially a Serbian Army in 1992.
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Nolan
Fri, Jul 22, 2022, 3:17am (UTC -5)
I'm sorry, but I though killing a person who's been defeated, is on the floor and is unable fight back was a morally bankrupt thing to do that society agreed on? Granted torturing a *kid* is also heiniously morally bankrupt, but isn't the ideal dealing with those things withOUT losing our morality along the way? As it is, Bortus BLINDED that man. He will suffer because of this new wound, his life changed forever.

I don't get this bloodthirstiness. It's one thing to gun down swaths of hostile forces trying equally to kill you, but the minute an enemy is incapacitated, the "need" to kill them is nullified. Anything after that is just murder. Where's the chance for them to take responsibility, to learn from the consequences and punishments of their actions? The chance to suffer and learn how wrong they were. Killing them is their easy way out. It's why I loved that Trek had stunning weapons, cause killing isn't necessary. WTF is wrong with society today that people want more bloodletting in their fiction? We're not making any damn progress at all.

Trek believed that killing someone like that was wrong. Seth is a huge fan of Trek and seemingly the ideals it put forth, therefore, in the Orville purposefully killing a man slumped down on the floor after you beat his ass is wrong, regardless of the fact he's child torturing scum. He'll get his comuppance another way.

I'm just more confused an bewildered by this rhetoric than anything else. Even for as garbage a person as that Moclan. Gosh, I can't even imagine giving up my principles and morals on a man who so doesn't deserve that honor of being the one to break them. He's worthless and I wouldn't dare give him any worth by letting him be the one to break me. He deserves to rot and be forgotten.
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SlackerInc
Fri, Jul 22, 2022, 3:55am (UTC -5)
I agree, @Nolan. At the very least it shouldn't be seen as unrealistic or obviously stupid for them not to kill him. Like it would be understandable if they did, but it's not so necessary as people are making it out to be.

BTW, does anyone else get the Lou Gramm song running through their head when they open this thread?
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Booming
Fri, Jul 22, 2022, 4:14am (UTC -5)
Well well, now the bleeding hearts are riding in on their unicorns!

It's called a preemptive killing, meaning that you can kill anybody who could do harm in the immediate future.
You can also kill people if you really feel like it because they are super bad and/or perverts.

Technically, killing an unarmed enemy is a war crime, or that is what the globalists want you to think. But should we just let tortures lives because some town in Switzerland says so?! :)
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Jaxon
Fri, Jul 22, 2022, 10:01am (UTC -5)
"BTW, does anyone else get the Lou Gramm song running through their head when they open this thread? "

No, I'm even older so I hear the Melissa Manchester one.
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Karl Zimmerman
Fri, Jul 22, 2022, 10:13am (UTC -5)
Not a bad episode at all. Felt like a movie between the feature length and action scenes, but also had appropriate feels with the continued evolution of Topa's character arc. I am enjoying that The Orville feels confident now with semi-serialization - that we really feel like we're advancing a greater story throughout the show, not just having one off SF stories all the time.

That said, the episode gets dinged a point due to the sheer number of plot contrivances. The character writing here was sharp, but there were several notable cases (mentioned above) where the plot moved forward due to what seemed like accidents or incidents of telepathy. I am willing to forgive because I was entertained most of them...except one. As bad as Topa's situation was, I simply don't believe the Union during a time of war, facing an existential threat from the Kaylon would just drum the Moclans out. Maybe it's just meant to show how much better the Union is than the U.S. (or other modern governments) but I think unfortunately it's easy to look the other way when it comes to attempted child murder if there are more pressing matters.

Three stars
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Jaxon
Fri, Jul 22, 2022, 10:24am (UTC -5)
The Moclan expulsion is actually one I can accept, because I suspect that with the numerous incidents there have been with them since Season One (which is five years ago, not two), the Union has likely done some preparation for this eventuality.

Mercer has demanded that they do something after each of those incidents.

The events of Identity are similarly more like three years ago than one. The US became a juggernaut between 1940 and 1945, increasing its military twenty-fold.
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Quincy
Fri, Jul 22, 2022, 11:00am (UTC -5)
@PM
Fri, Jul 22, 2022, 1:53am (UTC -5)
"@Quincy: are you trying to slip in an advertisement for WorldStar?"


Nope. I almost said YouTube, but then I recalled YouTube would probably take the video down. WorldStar wouldn't. 🤷 ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
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Jaxon
Fri, Jul 22, 2022, 11:15am (UTC -5)
Since Mercer has had such an impact on galaxy changing events, a nice touch if there is a Season Four would be to have him promoted to command of a more important vessel than the middling one he's had since the pilot. We've seen no sign of an existing flagship in any of these frontline stories...just whatever vessel a visiting admiral is riding on.

I suppose that would affect the name of the show though...
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Quincy
Fri, Jul 22, 2022, 11:30am (UTC -5)
Okay. To people claiming that it's A-Okay that the torturer is still alive, what happens now?

1) The Excruciationist returns to Moclan for $#!%y Moclan medical treatment.
2) The bastard is debriefed.
3) The Underground Rail Rebels are surveilled for further intel and finally rounded up.
4) Congratulations! You just got hundreds, if not thousands of resistance members killed and consigned untold numbers of little girls to continued "medical" mutilation! Subarashii!

At what point does your simple inability to do what is necessary make everything that follows your fault?
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Jaxon
Fri, Jul 22, 2022, 11:38am (UTC -5)
"Okay. To people claiming that it's A-Okay that the torturer is still alive, what happens now?"

Well that isn't me. Bortus already went medieval on Topa's captor. I agree that he should have gone the full Duras like Worf did. Yes, Topa's not dead, but she did spill vital intel that will kill others.

I think Grayson's "protest" was mostly just for the record when she files her report.

Like Willy Wonka's "stop...don't" to Mike TeeVee.
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Booming
Fri, Jul 22, 2022, 12:15pm (UTC -5)
Americans creating media products in which extrajudicial killings are the best option. There is a new movie or show every month. The new Pratt attack is also about extra judicial killings.
The USA just got out of a war less than a year ago in which up to half a million civilians died, many of them because of that preemptive strike logic. Will you ever learn?! Would it have been justified to kill George Bush in 2003? If you add up dead civilians from both wars he started you get to almost a million. Oh and if it is justified to kill somebody because of potential future harm, then torture surely is justified.
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SlackerInc
Fri, Jul 22, 2022, 1:22pm (UTC -5)
Those are all arguable in either direction. What annoys me, as I said, is the presumption that it's absurd to avoid committing the war crime of killing an unarmed, non-resisting opponent. Like there's not even an argument for avoiding the war crime. What they actually should have done IMO is take him prisoner.
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Booming
Fri, Jul 22, 2022, 1:49pm (UTC -5)
I guess that would have been the smartest solution. A valuable asset, a bargaining chip.
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Jaxon
Fri, Jul 22, 2022, 2:31pm (UTC -5)
Jaxon,

“ Since Mercer has had such an impact on galaxy changing events, a nice touch if there is a Season Four would be to have him promoted to command of a more important vessel than the middling one he's had since the pilot.”

USS Orville may just be that important vessel now
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Nolan
Fri, Jul 22, 2022, 2:36pm (UTC -5)
Yes. THAT'S what I was wondering. Not why didn't they kill him?

I've noticed in the last decade or so popular media getting a LOT more cavelier about murder. Thing is, being able to justify murdering one person opens the door to being able to justify murdering ANYone. And yes, this child torturing ass is more justifiable than most, but that's why NOT killing him is so important. Sure, you might've rid the world of a morally bankrupt person, but surprise, all you've done is balance the scales by becoming morally bankrup yourself.

Besides, one of the messages of the episode was securing imdividual morality in the face of a bigger struggle and relying on society around you to be as equally moralistic to support your decision and mitigate the consequences of sticking to your principles. That's what made Haveena sacrifice her wider goals for Topa and Bortus not killing that guy despite his intel was mitigated by Haveena's confession to the Council of continuing the Underground. Bortus killing that jerk is ultimately moot. Though they SHOULD have taken him prisoner since they had no way of knowing that at the time.

It's like society has gotten so cynical about itself it no longer believes in the morals of others. Which is why showcasing individual morality is SO important right now. And MacFarlane highlights both that AND a society that hasn't grown so cynical that it's given up on relying on the morality of others. It might struggle for it sometimes, but that's LIFE. And that is what optimism looks like. Not like what new Star Trek shovels out as optimism.

That's not to say I don't enjoy stuff like John Wick, but even then the writers had to go out of their way to justify the hell out of that rampage and did it with an already highly morally compromised character in a highly morally compromised world. It knew what it was and built a framework around itself to support it's narrative. Having something like that bolted onto a more idealistic, optimistic IP is just disingenuous and self-defeating for the message. Not enough pop culture media in the last ten years, or the execs or creatives behind them know their lanes, nor the work in-universe that needs to be put into shifting an IPs moral baseline.

You can't have characters espouse about morals one minute, then go on to coldly, if not outright gleefully, kill people who have less means to fight back the next and still maintain that moral fortitude. Especially in Trek where they have the damn stun setting. Here, I'm not sure off-hand about their weapon capabilities or if all those Moclans were stunned or killed.

I'm just glad there's media out there that dares to be hopeful about the morality of others to balance out the dour cynical landscape that's crept up. It was starting to feel all-consuming.
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Jaxon
Fri, Jul 22, 2022, 2:41pm (UTC -5)
I'm still amused by the people stepping over the corpses of the dead henchmen to plead for the life of the Big Bad.
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Dahj's Digital Ghost
Fri, Jul 22, 2022, 2:46pm (UTC -5)
Seth, Brannon, and Andre have injected some pretty sophisticated political theory into this series. It's appropriate, and deeper than anything Star Trek ever delved into. Of course, Gene Roddenberry also really wanted to avoid making any deep political observations so as not to offend any portion of his audience. There was, indeed, a fairly obvious ideological bias there, true, but it never named names. The Orville, on the other hand, wants to dissect constitutionalism and explore the consequences.

I'm kind of surprised that nobody has mentioned this, but I think the issues being dealt with re: the relations within the Planetary Union resembles not the United States, but the European Union. The issue of secession vs. expulsion is interesting.

We're not talking about:

1. An analogy to the dissolution of the USSR, which was constitutionally always a possibility because of the right of Union Republics to freely leave the soviet federation (Article 72 of the 1977 Constitution). This was a continuation of the principle of federalism expressed all the way back to the constitution of the RSFSR before it was dissolved and reformed as the USSR (federalism being an influence on Bolshevism via Mikhail Bakunin and anarchism).

2. The dissolution of the YFSR, which permitted secession of constituent republics only with the agreement of all other member states, constitutionally expressed by the mechanism that required agreement on the definition of Yugoslavia's frontier.

3. The secession of American states to then establish the CSA. The constitution of the USA addresses the admission of new states, but not secession, and powers not expressly given congress are retained by the states or the people. A can of worms, apparently.

Nope.

I think the EU was being discussed here, with Poland and Hungary being the examples. The European Union is not a state, a superstate, a confederation, or a federation. It is a treaty organization, and as such, its members, being states unquestionably, retain wholly their sovereignty. But in agreeing to membership, they agree also to abide by the fundamentals of that agreement, two of which being the maintenance of democratic institutions and human rights. These states can either uphold these agreements, or they can assert their sovereignty absolutely, and leave (don't let the door hit your ass on the way out). What happens though when a state refuses to abide by the agreement, and nullifies some of the fundamental principles of the union? Should the union then have the right to expel such a state, effectively saying, you made your choice, and that's your right, but, as such, you have placed yourself outside the union in spirit, and we, therefore, have the right to remove you physically? The Orville's answer to this question is YES.
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Booming
Fri, Jul 22, 2022, 3:17pm (UTC -5)
@Dajh's
Your description of the European Union is inaccurate. The Union is often called a construct sui generis and it is certainly more centralized than a Confederation. The member states are also not completely sovereign.
Here:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Regulation_(European_Union)
and
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Member_state_of_the_European_Union#Sovereignty
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Nolan
Fri, Jul 22, 2022, 3:32pm (UTC -5)
I'm still bemused by people not being able grasp the difference and nuance of killing (or incapacitating, again, not sure about stun settings here) people who are ACTIVELY, in the process of trying to kill you, and a combatant whose been defeated and laying in a heap slumpped up against a wall with no means to defend themselves.
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SlackerInc
Fri, Jul 22, 2022, 5:23pm (UTC -5)
@Nolan, agreed.

@Dahj's DG: I agree, it resembles most closely the European Union.
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SlackerInc
Fri, Jul 22, 2022, 5:31pm (UTC -5)
@Booming: I used to find it ambiguous how sovereign individual EU member countries were, but Brexit was clarifying as it did not appear the EU had any power to stop them from leaving or any say over their choice--which was put to the British people only, and even a bare majority was enough.

It's also worth noting that France is in the EU yet possesses a nuclear arsenal that they control independently without NATO. And for that matter, there are six EU members who are not in NATO, which also strongly suggests individual national sovereignty.
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Akom
Fri, Jul 22, 2022, 5:41pm (UTC -5)
A good episode I think!

The same problem of length as others in this season, and as always some things on the writing were weird at least (like -for example- the blue lighting bugs are now Moclan agents?) but delivers in the end: nice to see Klayden and the Moclans expulsed at last.

@The Smiler says:

"Really feel heveena should face more backlash for her actions, she seemed to get everything she wanted and got away scot free."

True, in the middle of the episode I tough "oh, here Hevenna will surrender herself to the Moclans in exchange of the child" but that not happen (I guess the exchange will never happened anyway because for that to occur it would be necessary that the Moclans admit the crime, thing that they always denied)
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Booming
Fri, Jul 22, 2022, 6:03pm (UTC -5)
@SlackerInc
Any state can secede if it wants to. That's article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty.

"which also strongly suggests individual national sovereignty. "
It's complex. Member states pool certain sovereign rights which technically means that in some areas they are not fully sovereign. Then there are some areas where the EU council moved away from unanimity.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Voting_in_the_Council_of_the_European_Union

If you want to understand it better you should familiarize yourself with the treaty of Lisbon which in it's earlier stages was supposed to be a constitution.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Treaty_of_Lisbon

Then there is the CSDP (Common Security and Defence Policy).
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Common_Security_and_Defence_Policy

The relationship between the NATO and the EU is also fairly complex.
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Tim
Fri, Jul 22, 2022, 7:37pm (UTC -5)
I’m shocked by the number of folks here advocating for a preemptive killing of the torturer when:

1. This universe is inspired by Trek, which NEVER would have condoned such a thing, to wit:

a) Picard didn’t exterminate the Borg, insert wall of text here as to why that would have been justified.

b) The Federation didn’t exterminate the Founders nor stand in Odo’s way when he cured them.

c) Kirk tried to save the man who literally killed his son a few hours prior.

d) Starfleet doesn’t take DEFENSIVE action (e.g., raising shields) if there’s a risk of a misunderstanding and NEVER fires first even when faced with obviously hostile intent.

2) The Union technically has not yet picked a side in the Moclan issue, Kelly and Bortus were there to rescue Topa, not defend the restarted Underground Railroad they didn’t know about yet (they were cut off from communication)

3) Nobody had been killed on either side until the shuttle chase, these weapons have STUN settings, there was no dialogue or SFX suggesting a kill setting. The Moclans were still allies, why would either side be shooting to kill?

+1 to the comments from Nolan and Booming about media being way too cavalier about killing. You think you could shoot a disarmed/defeated helpless enemy in cold blood, even one that had tortured your child? Non-sociopaths would find that very difficult indeed. Most parents would lose their shit, as Bortus did, and a beat down would probably happen, but murder?
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Jaxon
Fri, Jul 22, 2022, 9:10pm (UTC -5)
I'm shocked by the number of folks ignoring the fact that Topa disclosed information that could kill countless others.
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Nolan
Fri, Jul 22, 2022, 9:59pm (UTC -5)
That neither Kelly, nor Bortus knew about. They left the colony without knowing about the Underground and they knew she disclosed information, but not about WHAT. And that would've been moot anyways cince Haveena confessed to running the Underground again ANYWAYS. Those people are dead either way. It would've been murder for murder's sake, no matter which way you try and twist it to be justified.
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Jaxon
Fri, Jul 22, 2022, 10:10pm (UTC -5)
You're basically advocating for the perfect crime. Just have the henchmen do everything and you can't be touched. You dismissed all their dead corpses as being part of combat.

As far as I'm concerned, each of the henchmen is acting literally as one of the Big Bad's own arms. I find the notion that the mastermind is untouchable when he is caught up with, no matter how personally helpless they are, to be absolutely depraved.
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Jaxon
Fri, Jul 22, 2022, 10:13pm (UTC -5)
How many lives did Osama bin Laden end by his own hand?
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Quincy
Fri, Jul 22, 2022, 10:23pm (UTC -5)
@Tim
Fri, Jul 22, 2022, 7:37pm (UTC -5)
"I’m shocked by the number of folks here advocating for a preemptive killing of the torturer when:
1. This universe is inspired by Trek, which NEVER would have condoned such a thing, to wit:
a) Picard didn’t exterminate the Borg, insert wall of text here as to why that would have been justified.
b) The Federation didn’t exterminate the Founders nor stand in Odo’s way when he cured them.
c) Kirk tried to save the man who literally killed his son a few hours prior.
d) Starfleet doesn’t take DEFENSIVE action (e.g., raising shields) if there’s a risk of a misunderstanding and NEVER fires first even when faced with obviously hostile intent.
2) The Union technically has not yet picked a side in the Moclan issue, Kelly and Bortus were there to rescue Topa, not defend the restarted Underground Railroad they didn’t know about yet (they were cut off from communication)
3) Nobody had been killed on either side until the shuttle chase, these weapons have STUN settings, there was no dialogue or SFX suggesting a kill setting. The Moclans were still allies, why would either side be shooting to kill?
+1 to the comments from Nolan and Booming about media being way too cavalier about killing. You think you could shoot a disarmed/defeated helpless enemy in cold blood, even one that had tortured your child? Non-sociopaths would find that very difficult indeed. Most parents would lose their shit, as Bortus did, and a beat down would probably happen, but murder?"



1) Are you sure about that?

a) Worf did indeed exterminate Duras: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tuvLUgdt5Pw

b) Worf did indeed exterminate Gowron: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JspTr5TdR4k

c) Worf did indeed exterminate Weyoun 7: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=acF2f3XLfCo

d) There is no need for a wall of text to explain why something did indeed occur during transport: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jPW2GPe_uIQ

The inspirational source material itself contradicts your assertion.

2) This is at least the second time someone has made this baseless claim. Grayson and Bortus were right outside in the hallway when the Moclans had their 10 second conversation where they STATE out loud what they were up to. We know they heard it because Grayson and Bortus run immediately into the room as the torturer is ordered to kill Topa and Grayson says, "Touch her and you're dead!" (By the way, how is she supposed to carry out that threat on stun setting?)

3) According to YOU no one had been killed. You have no evidence of this. There was no dialog or fx suggesting a stun setting either.

Hold up! You're telling me the Moclan's, who were still their "allies," were going to kidnap, torture, and "Kill her. Dump her body in Sha'var canyon." But simultaneously were NOT going to shoot to kill two unidentified intruders at a Moclan black site?

Yeah. Gary Plauché certainly wasn't a devoted law abiding father, who loved his child that fell victim to a child predator. He must have been a sudden onset sociopath. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dSCwLf9rIoY
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Troy G
Fri, Jul 22, 2022, 10:52pm (UTC -5)
Jaxon,

I just realised I replied using your name.

Looks like the anesthesia hadn’t worn off yet
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Jammer
Fri, Jul 22, 2022, 11:43pm (UTC -5)
Review now posted.
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SlackerInc
Sat, Jul 23, 2022, 12:03am (UTC -5)
Good review, Jammer. I'm glad you acknowledged MMV on the Dolly thing, as I was one of those who loved it (and immediately conscripted my wife and youngest daughter to watch: my wife is such a huge DP fan she listened to a whole podcast series about her).

Do we think Mercer had Dolly programmed to take a certain position about Topa? Or was he just confident how she would react? Maybe he did a trial run.
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Jaxon
Sat, Jul 23, 2022, 12:14am (UTC -5)
I agree with Jammer on the Dolly scene.

[1] I liked it

[2]I wouldn't have cut it.

[3] It was a bit much
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Jaxon
Sat, Jul 23, 2022, 12:22am (UTC -5)
Seth MacFarlane was booked on one of the hijacked 9/11 flights and narrowly avoided being one of the day's casualties. I wonder how he would have written this episode.
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SlackerInc
Sat, Jul 23, 2022, 12:36am (UTC -5)
I agree that the Moclans were likely shooting to kill. But:

—I believe Kelly and Bortus were using stun. No burn marks or tissue damage.

—Even if they were shooting to kill, I’m not sure why people don’t get that it’s different to shoot to kill when someone is shooting at you, versus when they are helpless. This is right in line with Geneva Convention rules in our world, in non-laser conventional warfare fighting using bullets.

—It was a full 10 seconds between the Moclans saying she had given up the name and quantum frequencies (which still doesn’t provide a ton of information) and the arrival of Kelly and Bortus. So they would have had to be just hanging around outside the door for like 15 seconds when it clearly appeared they were running (and there's no world where those two of all people don't immediately go in to rescue Topa). Which means they were pretty far away 10 or 15 seconds earlier, too far to hear anything.

—“Touch her and you're dead” is a turn of phrase. People say this all the time without literally threatening to end someone's life.
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Jaxon
Sat, Jul 23, 2022, 12:41am (UTC -5)
The next two episodes will tell us what people were implied to know and when.

I'm inclined to assume here that we're intended to gather from that scene that Grayson and Bortus heard what the audience did.
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SlackerInc
Sat, Jul 23, 2022, 12:53am (UTC -5)
Why do you assume that? Seriously, think of how far they could run in 15 seconds. If they wanted to convey that impression, they needed the relevant info to be stated within a second or two before they rushed in.
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Jaxon
Sat, Jul 23, 2022, 1:01am (UTC -5)
How many captives in situations like this are simply sent back home when their usefulness ends?
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Jaxon
Sat, Jul 23, 2022, 1:09am (UTC -5)
Jammer said:

"Sure. But "Midnight Blue" shows a reasonable world where the moral high ground can rule the day, and is all the more satisfying for it"

Indeed..."The West Wing" indulged fantasy scenarios much more absurd than this.

Where Republicans are just a Bartlet Speech™ away from total acquiescence.

Bernie Sanders has deluded himself into thinking he has this power.
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Booming
Sat, Jul 23, 2022, 2:56am (UTC -5)
@Jaxon
It is fairly simple, either you believe in the rule of law or you don't. You stance would basically bring us back to honor killings, jungle law and eventually tyranny because if you say that the law doesn't apply in some cases, then there will always be more than enough who will ride through that hole in the law to power.

In the US military Bortus would have been dishonorably discharged and either had gotten a long prison sentence or the death penalty. Probably the latter. Murder and mutilation at least, probably other offenses as well. I guess temporal insanity would be the only thing that could save his life.
https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/18/2441
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mosley
Sat, Jul 23, 2022, 3:16am (UTC -5)
Another really nice Orville episode. As always : was it perfect? No. We're there some plot holes? Yes. But were they telling a bold story that took no prisoners? Again, yes. That's why I like the Orville, and more so than nutrek (including SNW, which I like).

Handful of observations :

- the Orville is now officially a show with a kick ass CGI team going the extra mile at every turn, to then have their work edited and cut by my aunt on her MacBook air, it seems :)

The difference is quite astoundign. The CGI stuff is done really well. Matched lighting for the real life stuff. Reflections on the windows and all the jazz. This ain't no voyager shuttle crash SFX here. Oh, a star wars esque chase sequence? Sure why not.

Aaaaand then on the other hand, we continue to have this weiiiird editing, where every second scene at the end hangs on "actor XY looking puzzled" before finally cutting away 8 seconds too late, as if this were TOS or bonanza or I love Lucy :-D

At this point, this is not a complaint. I am just highly amused by this super weird difference in skill from one department to the next :-D

- and the other thing I want to comment on is the music. You know, I respect pretty much viewpoint jammer takes in his reviews (it's why I'm here), but I do strongly believe it's time to let go of the "music is channeling John Williams" narrative.

The music is awesome, perfectly crafted, and sure it goes through various scifi tropes (not just star wars, mind you) and typical musical elements. But, well, so does any other scifi score, including all star wars and trek movies. Did anyone ever thing of Horner "channeling goldsmith", just because he operated along the conventions of the genre? Not really.

This is really great writing, super ambitious, taking risks, not shying away from grand emotions, not playing it safe in the (dreadful) Rick Berman Doctrine way of having the occasional borderline random string clusters disappear into the ship background noise. This stuff goes along with every single story beat in the utmost oldschool way which is an absolute shitload of work I can tell you, and it does so with a spine and conviction that I frankly find super refreshing. Does it occasionally stumble over its own ambitions? Maybe. Do I care? No. Kind of funny, this fits rather perfectly with Orville as a whole :-)

So please, think twice before again just shoving this to the side as Williams channeling. It's a lot more than that. Great motifs, complex modulations, very multifaceted arrangements... You rarely even get stuff like this in movies these days, and certainly not in TV shows where 90% of music these days likes to hide behind several layers of "oh I am so meta" safety irony in between two random taiko patterns.

Really great stuff.
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mosley
Sat, Jul 23, 2022, 3:18am (UTC -5)
(wrote this on my phone, so apologies for the parade of typos)
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Quincy
Sat, Jul 23, 2022, 4:09am (UTC -5)
@SlackerInc
Sat, Jul 23, 2022, 12:36am (UTC -5)
"I agree that the Moclans were likely shooting to kill. But:

—I believe Kelly and Bortus were using stun. No burn marks or tissue damage.

—Even if they were shooting to kill, I’m not sure why people don’t get that it’s different to shoot to kill when someone is shooting at you, versus when they are helpless. This is right in line with Geneva Convention rules in our world, in non-laser conventional warfare fighting using bullets.

—It was a full 10 seconds between the Moclans saying she had given up the name and quantum frequencies (which still doesn’t provide a ton of information) and the arrival of Kelly and Bortus. So they would have had to be just hanging around outside the door for like 15 seconds when it clearly appeared they were running (and there's no world where those two of all people don't immediately go in to rescue Topa). Which means they were pretty far away 10 or 15 seconds earlier, too far to hear anything.

—“Touch her and you're dead” is a turn of phrase. People say this all the time without literally threatening to end someone's life."




Go tell that "shoot to kill" nonsense to Worf and Data. And after you've done that go tell that "shoot to kill" nonsense to all of the Underground Railroad rebels about to be murdered and the little Moclan girls condemned to female genital mutilation.

Look, all of this is YOUR headcanon. It's perfectly fine to have headcanon, but that's indeed what it is. Other people have their own headcanon. You have zero means of falsifying it.

No. The conversation was approximately 10 seconds long. "Frequencies" was uttered at approx. the 6 seconds mark. They rush into the room right after the 10 second mark after CLEARLY hearing the Moclan tell the other one to kill her. Grayson's comment indicates that. The two entering the room running means nothing more than they ran around the corner. That's the literal fact.

It's nonsense to believe there was some 15 second sprint because 1) the conversation didn't last 15 seconds it lasted 10 seconds and 2) they are shown periodically stopping and looking around corners checking to be wary of security every single step of the way.

Then they break out in a slow trot being careful to clear every corner. There was no opportunity for this magical sprint lasting 15 seconds. That is quite a spectacular ass pull on your part. Her saying "touch her and your dead" was a clear response to the murder threat. They had to be right around the corner to have heard that. For you to be correct they had to arrive no earlier than 6 seconds into the conversation. You have no way to prove that. However, you're welcome to your headcanon. So is everybody else. And it's the creators' fault, yet again, that there's even a dispute.
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Booming
Sat, Jul 23, 2022, 5:11am (UTC -5)
Lots of Charles Bronson meets "Caedite eos. Novit enim Dominus qui sunt eius." in this thread. What I really liked about BSG was that they turned the perspective around. Making the good guys the terrorists who accept the death of innocent and use suicide bombers for mass killings because these are things that people do when the enemy is far stronger. The Americans are always the far superior side in a conflict therefore they always have to construct reasons why it is justified to murder the people that oppose them, normally by defining the other side as evil.

Some people here define themselves as automatically good which in turn gives them the right to commit atrocities which, by the way, is exactly how Al Qaida sees it, really any terrorist organization, and that is also why we have the Geneva Convention. To take the right to decide about murder and mutilation away from the individual. Is that really so hard to comprehend?

The whole situation is so contrived, too. I mean how likely is it that a father actually walks into the black site torture chamber where his child is tortured at the moment. I would not be surprised if that has never happened in Human history. It's the same as scenarios about the necessity to torture people because of the ticking bomb.
The show obviously wants you to think that it is justified to sometimes mutilate and kill unarmed enemies. Great message.
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SlackerInc
Sat, Jul 23, 2022, 6:00am (UTC -5)
@Boomer, your last two sentences are rather odd given that the bloodthirsty voices ITT are making the opposite complaint, that the show does not want you to think that but it should want you to.

@Quincy: "Her saying 'touch her and your [sic] dead' was a clear response to the murder threat."

Maybe, maybe not (it could just be a reaction to the torturer reaching for her). But even if it was, the murder threat is not the same as the comment about the information they got from her.

"It's nonsense to believe there was some 15 second sprint because 1) the conversation didn't last 15 seconds it lasted 10 seconds and 2) they are shown periodically stopping and looking around corners checking to be wary of security every single step of the way.
Then they break out in a slow trot being careful to clear every corner. There was no opportunity for this magical sprint lasting 15 seconds. That is quite a spectacular ass pull on your part."

The last time we see Kelly and Bortus, it's a continuous ten-second shot, from 1:05:40-1:05:50, during which they are constantly running ("trotting", if you prefer) and do not "stop to look around corners" during that ten seconds (despite their going around some corners). And they inarguably cover quite a bit of ground during that ten seconds (going around FOUR corners!), which is important to keep in mind for later. (If you really want to nitpick, you could question how they knew where exactly to go in that warren of twists and turns; we never saw them stop to check other doors or act uncertain about which way to proceed.)

The Moclan superior officer enters the room at 1:05:52, apparently not hearing (or seeing out of the corner of his eye) Bortus and Kelly running around in the hallway.

From 1:05:55 to 1:05:57 is the key dialogue: "She has given the name." "The encryption frequencies?" If we include the "Yes", you could call it 1:05:58, but just hearing "Yes' means nothing. Actually, even just hearing "The encryption frequencies?" would not be enough, or even if "the name" was just audible. It has to include "she has given", so we really need to start the clock at 1:05:55 or 1:05:56 at the very latest.

Kelly is seen running around the corner at 1:06:06, with Bortus's leg just visible further into the corridor. Ten seconds: compare that with how far they ran in ten seconds the last time we saw them.

Check and mate.
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Booming
Sat, Jul 23, 2022, 6:29am (UTC -5)
An unarmed enemy is mutilated and killed without any repercussions. Seems pretty clear what message that is supposed to convey.
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SlackerInc
Sat, Jul 23, 2022, 6:40am (UTC -5)
He wasn't killed. That's what Quincy and others are complaining about! Did you even watch the episode?
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Booming
Sat, Jul 23, 2022, 7:21am (UTC -5)
No. I haven't watched any of the new stuff. In Germany it's on Disney+ and getting it just for Orville...

So the guy wasn't killed? Just a little ocular mutilation??
Eye, finger and penis mutilation is covered by the Geneva convention.
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Dom
Sat, Jul 23, 2022, 8:21am (UTC -5)
I watched the first season of Orville and didn't get into it. Is it worth trying again? Most of Jammers reviews for this show are negative, but this one piqued my interest.
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SlackerInc
Sat, Jul 23, 2022, 9:09am (UTC -5)
@Dom, I am not the best person to ask, as I have liked it since the beginning (there are maybe one or two episodes each season that don't work for me). But I do think this is the show's best season (apart from the horror ep which fell flat), and I would note that Jammer has given positive--sometimes very positive--marks to four of the past five episodes.
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SlackerInc
Sat, Jul 23, 2022, 9:11am (UTC -5)
P.S. It's surprisingly serialized though, so I don't know how well it would work to just jump into those episodes or even this season as the groundwork for several storylines was laid down in previous seasons.
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TheRealTrent
Sat, Jul 23, 2022, 9:25am (UTC -5)
Dom said: "I watched the first season of Orville and didn't get into it. Is it worth trying again? Most of Jammers reviews for this show are negative, but this one piqued my interest."

Yeah, it's worth watching. And note that most people here were converted into fans by the second season. That season only had 1 weak episode, and about 3 or 4 outright great ones. Season 3's seemed to have stepped up the quality once again.

Jammer's given the show 89 stars out of 136 so far. I'd say he underrates a few episodes (Jaloja, Old Wounds, Deflectors etc), but generally he agrees with the fanboys on the top tier episodes. That gives you a good guide to where the show's peaks are.

Booming said: "So the guy wasn't killed? Just a little ocular mutilation?? "

Yeah, he wasn't killed. The scene is fairly brief: Bortus' daughter is being tortured in a cell, Bortus enters, is horrified by the sight, and attacks the torturer, taking the torture device the guy was using and smashing it into the guy's eye. Kelly orders him to stop, but Bortus is mad with rage. He's about to kill the guy, when he looks at his daughter - and sees himself as a monster in her eyes - and lets the guy live.
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Booming
Sat, Jul 23, 2022, 10:49am (UTC -5)
@Trent
Ah ok thanks. If he was a civilian it would be less of a problem. Then he would still be guilty but the Union wouldn't extradite him and considering that he committed a crime on foreign soil he would be fine. LOOPHOLE!
But he is an officer and mutilating somebody during a mission is a very serious crime.
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Nolan
Sat, Jul 23, 2022, 12:36pm (UTC -5)
Just watched the scene again... even IF Grayson and Bortus heard the conversation about what Topa confessed "the name and ecryption frequencies" not one mention of the Underground Railroad that neither of them knew about because no one told them about it. All they knew is that she gave up some form of intel. At best they could've captured that man and erased any records.

As for putting the deaths and mutilations of Mocclans at their feet, which again, they had no way of KNOWING about, Haveena already signed those warrents by confessing to running the Underground anyways.

The ONLY reason for Bortus to carry out that murder is revenge. And that's the closest to justification that moment could get, not all this BS about strategic intelligence because the characters were clearly not thinking that far ahead in the moment, nor aware of the context of the intel given, and even then there were alternatives to straight up killing that man. Hell, they SHOULD HAVE taken him prisoner to get intel on the blacksite, but that wasn't mission priority.
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Marlboro
Sat, Jul 23, 2022, 12:49pm (UTC -5)
I haven't watched this, but the picture of the aliens that Jammer posted is very reminiscent of the design of the Tamarians in Darmok.
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Ensign Deathbound
Sat, Jul 23, 2022, 10:05pm (UTC -5)
I liked the episode.

Gotta say I'm surprised by the Orville. Seems to channel Classic Trek very well. The first two seasons were uneven at times (though I enjoyed quite a few episodes). It's not perfect, but the third season so far seems to live up to its "New Horizons" moniker. They swing for the fences at the very least, even if doesn't always result in a home run.

One other thing I'll point out (and it's entirely possible someone else mentioned it already): I find it interesting that Seth McFarlane is taking a back seat in all this. What I mean to say is that most people who would decide to "make their own Star Trek" would put themselves front-and-center, at the expense of other characters. But what I've seen so far is a season where the show gets more serious, the stories are more engaging, comedy takes a back seat to drama, and for the most part, a lot of other supporting characters are front and center.

Sure, Seth is still "The Captain." He still makes some important calls on screen. But this isn't exactly the days of TOS, where Shatner had to be front and center, and the dude who figures it all out, and saves the crew (with a bit of help, granted) every week. Far from it.

Hollywood tends to attract a lot of egotistical maniacs, but my read on this season is that Seth seems more than willing to let others shine for the benefit of the episode, and the show. Which I find is rare for a guy who is writer, director, executive producer and star of said show.
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SlackerInc
Sat, Jul 23, 2022, 10:49pm (UTC -5)
People seem to consistently say he is really great to work for/with.
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Steve Peeve from Cleeve
Sat, Jul 23, 2022, 10:50pm (UTC -5)
That speech by Klyden hit me right in the feels. Wonderful episode. 4 stars for me
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Quincy
Sat, Jul 23, 2022, 11:18pm (UTC -5)
Lol

People are reaching up the length of their entire digestive tract to justify this nonsense. They knew when they went down to the planet that the whole reason for the Moclan inspection was to check for Underground Railroad breaches of the treaty.

You see your daughter talking with the leader of the settlement. She then immediately gets kidnapped by the Moclans. You chase her to a Moclan black site. You see she's been tortured for intel and you don't put two and two together? That's retarded.
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mosley
Sun, Jul 24, 2022, 1:18am (UTC -5)
@booming :

You can watch this in Germany on Amazon. Not free (not part of prime), but then you just pay for this series instead if burdening yourself with yet another subscription.

I increasingly get the feeling that video on demand as a whole is heading back to that principle. I for one know that I feel much better handing out some cash for a show that I actually want to watch and support, and then not pay anything during times where I don't watch anything.

Anyway, just thought I'd let you know.
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Booming
Sun, Jul 24, 2022, 1:38am (UTC -5)
@mosley
I went to the vault and scratched off a little bit from one of the gold bars and sent it to the big mouse god. I already watched the Dr.Strange and the temple of madness movie which was hilarious. Every time somebody jelled "We have to save America!" (happens at least a dozen times) I laughed hysterically. Calling the main character America Chavez was stroke of genius or the result of a stroke. Either way, great stuff.
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Norvo
Sun, Jul 24, 2022, 10:35am (UTC -5)
The episode did leave one major plotpoint unanswered: with Moclus out of the Union and the unanimous decision to protect the all female colony... Aren't we headed for a full scale war with the Moclans?

Heveena's underground railroad to smuggle females off the planet will continue, there's nothing to stop the Moclan military to decimate the colony. Would the Union really go to war with Moclus over the death of a relative handful of colonists? Think of the Kalon threat after all!
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Tim
Sun, Jul 24, 2022, 12:30pm (UTC -5)
@Booming

“In the US military Bortus would have been dishonorably discharged and either had gotten a long prison sentence or the death penalty.”

In the US Military Bortus would have been conflicted out of the mission before it started. There is less than zero chance the US Military would permit a service member to take part in a rescue mission for a family member.

It only happened here because Kelly and Bortus made an executive decision not to let the trail go cold by going back for help. Hollywood contrivance but a decent one that resulted in a good story, IMHO.
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Booming
Sun, Jul 24, 2022, 12:51pm (UTC -5)
Damn, Disney+ only has the first two seasons...
As a swift revenge I will watch several MCU movie-like products!

"It only happened here because Kelly"
Yeah another bright spot on Grayson's military record.

" Hollywood contrivance but a decent one that resulted in a good story, IMHO."
I guess my opinion is that contrivances make a good story impossible. It can be effective but not good.
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SlackerInc
Sun, Jul 24, 2022, 1:21pm (UTC -5)
@Booming: I think you are vastly underestimating how many Hollywood contrivances are in pretty much everything. I never really noticed it myself, much like fish don’t notice water, until I saw the 2015 movie “Results”, starring Cobie Smulders, Guy Pearce, and Kevin Corrigan, which lacked familiar tropes and contrivances. Characters behaved realistically, even if doing so led to pointless asides and sapped the story of drama. It might have been the most realistic movie I have ever seen. Was it good, though? It was all right, but once the novelty wore off I think I would get tired of that kind of movie very quickly.
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Booming
Sun, Jul 24, 2022, 1:32pm (UTC -5)
@SlackerInc
Oh bigger US movies always seem very fake to me. I can excuse it in comedies,which I watch a lot because there it's really about having a fun time. Just watched the Big Sick. A good movie. :)
I also watch lots of European stuff which is often very different. If you want a good political show watch Borgen (with subtitles, of course). The Wallander movies with Kenneth Brannagh are also pretty interesting.
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SlackerInc
Sun, Jul 24, 2022, 1:46pm (UTC -5)
I’m not talking about “bigger US movies”. I watch mostly independent and foreign films, and the plot contrivances are present there as well, although often more subtly presented. Watch the movie I mentioned and you’ll see the difference—and I don’t think you’ll actually want to stay in that mode.
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James Poremba
Sun, Jul 24, 2022, 10:37pm (UTC -5)
@mosley

I 100% agree with you on the music. It is one of the most satisfying things on this show. It brings it to a level far beyond what is expected of underscore in TV or films, quite frankly, these days. The music is so rich and complex and flows so well from scene to scene. Particularly in this episode, the arrival of the orville at earth as the ship warps into a close up of the bridge, the score had me cheering. What a phenomenal piece of writing by Joel McNeely. The shuttle battle and the Klyden redemption pieces were also wonderful. I can't wait for the release of the season 3 score.
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Lupe
Sun, Jul 24, 2022, 11:05pm (UTC -5)
@Quincy

"Just forget it ever happened.

That's what I would recommend for this entire episode actually. "

Pretty much what I thought. Actually of the whole season, with the exception of 'Tale of Two Topas' and 'Twice in a Lifetime'. I just seem to be so far apart from the consensus on this season that I feel like I'm watching a different show. To me nearly every episode has been ridiculously predictable. At least some of the episodes are so bad they're funny; most of the others are just boring.

And Seth Macfarlane as The Captain in his own vanity project just isn't working for me at all, particularly now that it's actually taking itself seriously.

Still, two unexpectedly very good episodes. I suppose I'm going to keep watching, because you never know when another one of those is going to crop up.
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Yanks
Mon, Jul 25, 2022, 9:07am (UTC -5)
I enjoyed this one. They certainly are pounding this storyline this season.

I was cringing in my chair watching that thug torture Topa!! Man, did they really need to go there to tell the story? She's a child for god's sake.

I found myself tearing up at the end.

The long run time didn't affect me, I was engaged the entire episode.

3 stars, I didn't need to see child torture...
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SlackerInc
Mon, Jul 25, 2022, 12:47pm (UTC -5)
Reminder to everyone that if you're going to read the Orville graphic novel, now is the time. I have have yet to read it myself, but the continuity for it is after "Midnight Blue" and before the next episode airs, so I have purchased it and plan to read it today or tomorrow.
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SlackerInc
Mon, Jul 25, 2022, 2:56pm (UTC -5)
Correction: I just started reading and it is a novella, not a graphic novel. No pictures or illustrations, at least not so far.
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SlackerInc
Mon, Jul 25, 2022, 3:34pm (UTC -5)
NB: Not really a spoiler, except by the strictest possible definition, but I wanted to give people a heads-up. I was actually starting to wonder if some other novella had been mislabeled, because the setting is the 20th century and no characters from the Orville appear until the halfway point of the book.
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Gauntlet
Tue, Jul 26, 2022, 10:41pm (UTC -5)
@Yanks

Please consider the number of people who would justify murdering the torturer, or also, ignoring the whole issue for the sake of "re'al politik"...

That's why we needed the child torture scene. Because even with it, we have people who would say "that's not enough to change union policy" and we have people saying "Eh, it's fine to do the same to others as revenge".

Our comfort is less important than the lesson being taught.
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Jonathan
Wed, Jul 27, 2022, 7:09pm (UTC -5)
Gauntlet:

FYI: the word is "realpolitik." It's German, even if the English approximation of "ray-ahl-po-lih-tick" sounds vaguely French.

There's no accent aigu over the "e" in "realpolitik." If it were French, it would be "la politique réelle."
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NachoPicard
Sat, Jul 30, 2022, 12:44am (UTC -5)
I thought it was a very good episode but not as incredible as A Tale of Two Topas.

It was feature length but felt more like a a TNG era season finale/premiere two-parter. The Dolly scene was delightful and would have made a good (albeit not very cliffhangery) end to part one.

The second half felt even more like a TNG second part/season premiere, in that it wasn't as good as the first half, and had more set pieces than story, but it tied up the hanging threads and never sagged despite its length. It was good, maybe very good, but not great.

I did enjoy the willingness to turn a beloved side character like Havena into more of a shade of grey. It made sense, too, that someone in her position would be tempted to compromise morally and play the ends justify the means game.

8/10 for me, but the more I stew over it the more I might be inclined to give it a 9. There was nothing wrong with it, and at times it was very good, but it always seemed a bit too relaxed in its pace for me.

Season 3 has been great though
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NachoPicard
Sat, Jul 30, 2022, 1:04am (UTC -5)
Bonus thought:

I love the way this show balances its serialized story elements and its episodic format.

Every week is a new adventure, but usually the adventure is a continuation of a storyline from a few weeks prior. There are like four or five storylines happening on this show and the writers bounce between them as needed.

It's a balance between long form and weekly storytelling that not even DS9 or X-Files attempted (that show was more of a "one or the other" thing, where an episode was either lore or stand alone).

The writing isn't as consistently strong as on DS9 but the balance is better
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Polly
Sun, Jul 31, 2022, 7:05am (UTC -5)
Huzzah! Klyden's back! Say not very many, I suspect. If this leads to a Bortus, Klyden, Kelly triangle I'll need to fast forward quite a lot.

And yikes! Haveena the groomer. Forget about stranger danger - every child should be taught that 'don't tell your parents or anyone trusted by your parents' is the reddest of red flags. I hope that while she was on the Orville Haveena was at least given the opportunity to use her sub quantum thingy codes to warn the Moclan operatives that the gig was up.

Why on earth would Kelly and Bortus leave their shuttle open and vulnerable to sabotage? Oh right - the plot requires it.
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SlackerInc
Sun, Jul 31, 2022, 9:07am (UTC -5)
Are we sure they left it open? I would assume a high-ranking intelligence official would be able to pick the lock on a standard shuttle, especially since his people probably retrofitted them with weapons.

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