The Orville

"Mortality Paradox"

2.5 stars

Air date: 6/16/2022
Written Cherry Chevapravatdumrong
Directed by Jon Cassar

Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan

I'm beginning to think giving Seth MacFarlane longer runtimes for this season of The Orville was a really bad idea. They say the final rewrite of a screenplay happens in the editing room, and now in three consecutive episodes we've had an editing room that's far too lax. Nicholas Meyer once said that art thrives on restriction. Well, redundancy thrives on a lack of discipline.

Take the opening minute of "Mortality Paradox." We watch Talla's shuttle approach the ship (with multiple shots), enter the shuttle bay and land, and then we see Talla get off the shuttle, walk up a spiral staircase and through a corridor, and finally into Grayson's office. This sequence could've been done in 30 or even 15 seconds. Instead, it takes over a minute. Now, that's not a huge deal in the scheme of things, but it's indicative of the overall lack of economy and discipline here, and the tendency for this episode to be repetitive by showing us different iterations of the same idea.

Buried somewhere in this episode is a really good Twilight Zone sci-fi outing, but it's sabotaged by its inability to get to the point and its conviction that the strange settings and atmosphere will carry us through. It works for a while, but then runs out of steam.

The Orville investigates a planet, previously recorded as barren and uninhabited, but now suddenly scanning as having a population of 8.5 billion people and 25th-century technology. But when Mercer and his team's shuttle approaches where a major city should be, the entire surface is suddenly now a forest in all directions. Within this forest is a 21st-century suburban high school. Why a 21st-century suburban high school? Probably because high school sets and/or locations were cheaper than building still more sci-fi ones.

Mercer, Grayson, Malloy, Bortus, and Keyali go into the high school. The door locks behind them, and they can't get out, even with Talla's super-strength and their weapons. The bell rings and all the students come pouring out of the classrooms. Somehow, Malloy is involved in a narrative that's underway, involving money he supposedly owes to "Randall." It's like TNG's "The Royale" but in a high school. Malloy gets beaten up in the bathroom by some of Randall's thugs. Randall wants his money by the end of the day. I was reminded of Three O'Clock High.

A Popular Girl laughs at Bortus. Malloy whispers in Bortus' ear, and Bortus says, "You have a fivehead." After school, out on the sports field, Randall comes looking for his money. "Randall" turns out to be a lumbering 30-foot ogre that's prepared to eat Malloy. Malloy's eyes flash suddenly. Then our heroes make a mad dash and run through a door and are suddenly on a jet plane.

In the plane, our crew makes it to the cabin to find no pilots as the plane plummets to the mountains below. This time, Mercer's eyes flash. Then it's on to the next set piece, a Moclan morgue, where we descend a staircase into blackness. Then another, on Xeleya, as the crew tries to paddle across a river before being attacked by a giant sea creature. Then another door is put before them. In an apt line that feels like Mercer is channeling us, he announces: "We are done with this bullshit!"

Each set piece is like its own mini-episode. There is no new information to learn after the first one because the information is always the same: A crew member's eyes flash just before they think they're about to die. Really, this is an episode that lives or dies on its atmosphere and mystery. It almost works, because each setting is its own intriguing place. For my money, the best is the crashing plane, because of the stormy environment and exterior shots of the plane barreling toward the mountains — and Kelly punching out the annoying flight attendant, which was fun.

But all these situations are a case of diminishing returns, because they don't give us anything else to chew on. They are merely redundant exercises sold purely on their technical qualities while the score channels John Williams like there's no tomorrow. Before long it was trying my patience because I just wanted the show to get on with it already.

At the center of it all is a super-advanced holographic generator that's creating all these environments. At first it appears it may be Kaylon technology trying to win the war through creating mass delusions, but it actually turns out to be the super-advanced alien society from "Mad Idolatry," which has now advanced 50,000 years from their starting point. Their evolution has come so far that they have merged with technology and become immortal, and so they used these simulations to learn from our characters what it feels like to face certain death. They're sort of like Nagilum from "Where Silence Has Lease," to which this episode owes a great deal of its inspiration (except this takes it to the next level of production). This doesn't explain why the near-death experiences are all so rooted in inexplicable 21st-century situations (why even have a high school at all if the experience at the center of it is an incongruous monster attack?), but hey, whatever; that's cool.

So, yeah, it overstays its welcome. The final act mostly works. The mystery, although inevitably explained with illusions and magical technology, strings us along reasonably. And the encounter with the advanced alien representative (Elizabeth Gillies), while overly earnest and not having the most striking alien design, is very much a concept of science fiction. And the coda where the crew talks about death and its meaning is nice.

But this is definitely a case where less would have been more. A 45- or 50-minute cut probably would've been much tighter than the overlong 60-minute cut we have here. I get that MacFarlane is in love with everything he gets to put on the screen, but making the hard choices is the difference between releasing something okay and something good.

Previous episode: Shadow Realms
Next episode: Gently Falling Rain

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73 comments on this post

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J.B.
Thu, Jun 16, 2022, 3:09am (UTC -5)
Another episode this season that merges several Trek concepts together (TNG's "Where Silence Has Lease", DS9's "Move Along Home" and TNG's "Ship in a Bottle") and runs about twenty minutes too long. I liked the creepiness at first but there just wasn't enough story here and it became very repetitive. The payoff wasn't nearly as interesting as the writers (and characters) seemed to think it was, mostly because it was just too reliant on Trek stories I'd already seen and didn't do anything new with them.

Man, I want to really dig the show this season and thought the second half of S2 was largely strong but this just hasn't been landing for me yet.
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PM
Thu, Jun 16, 2022, 3:32am (UTC -5)
High-concept sci-fi at its best.
Awesome that the show has become comfortable with having almost no comedy when it doesn't serve a particular episode.
Also, cool that this installment would have essentially been 1 1/2 hours with commercials. It flew by and I couldn't have seen the runtime being able to be any less.
Producers noted we're getting fewer episodes but essentially more overall minutes this season.
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Nolan
Thu, Jun 16, 2022, 3:34am (UTC -5)
Man, I found myself very much engrossed in this episode. And yes, there was a certain reliance on previous Trekkian narrative beats, but I think the episode was built on that audience knowledge. As the mystery continurd, I found myself cycling through all the possibilities Trek had shown me as potential answers. And then it still managed to not quite be any of those while building on a previous episode.

And I gotta say, the score perfectly captured that early TNG, S3ish "mystery" sting. I love how much this show goes out of it's way to invoke the tone of those old shows. Especially when they go for some of the better tropes and pull them off. Lookin' at you last week's episode.

Speaking of last weeks episode, while that was more of a cheesy B Monster movie, this definitely had a psychological thriller bent to it, and pulled it off better.

This was, IMO, a good episode.
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Nolan
Thu, Jun 16, 2022, 3:43am (UTC -5)
I guess the only question left to ask is: Where did they get a third shuttlecraft from. Orville sent BOTH to the planet, but one of those had to be fake, because Keyali had the other one.

And that should tell you how engaging the story was, because I didn't think of that until after the episode.
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OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Thu, Jun 16, 2022, 5:52am (UTC -5)
Wow. After last week's disappointment, this was top notch.

My only bit of criticism is this:

The name "Mortality Paradox" is pretty spoilery. It is only due to the episode's name, that I realized where the episode is going before the half-way point.

Still, it was wonderful ride. And the identity of the "experimenters" in the end was a stroke of genius.

Also, in my view, this is the first season 3 episode which feels like an Orville episode tone-wise. Episode 1 was good but overly heavy. Episode 2 was a medicore monster movie with zero humor. With episode 3, it feels like the fun and wonder is finally back.
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SlackerInc
Thu, Jun 16, 2022, 9:56am (UTC -5)
Absolutely loved this. To @OTDP's point, I didn't know the name of the episode until afterward and I'm glad I didn't.

As it was all playing out, I really enjoyed every beat...but in the back of my mind I knew my final evaluation of the episode would depend heavily on the resolution. And that was aces. Bringing back a cool plot point from an earlier episode that totally fit and kind of reversed the relationship of the alien world to our protagonists in a way that made total sense given their whole time-phasey deal.

It also adds something like a Q continuum to this universe in a fun and different way. And the fakeout scene when they were being attacked by the Kaylon ships was pretty cool, could have been a real story beat with the new character questioning whether we can trust Isaac (too bad she didn't actually get confirmation of that).

All of that might add up to 3 1/2 stars. But what tipped it to the full four stars was the very ending dialogue from Mercer, which is 100% my philosophy, to a T; I don't think I have ever seen it articulated exactly that way. "I want to see what happens."

So, four stars it is, even though I do have one tiny nitpick. Would a "barren rock" have breathable air? Seems doubtful.
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Orville-Fan
Thu, Jun 16, 2022, 10:59am (UTC -5)
@Nolan

The USS Orville maintaines four shuttlecrafts, not two.
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Sam
Thu, Jun 16, 2022, 12:39pm (UTC -5)
I watched this without commercials and it was exactly 60 mins long, for what it's worth.

Clearly, the "twist" ending did not pay off in any way. Why would NewQ pick a high school setting from 500 years ago (from the Orville's POV)? Why do the bullying and the mean girls schtick if all NewQ wants is to scare the Orville crew to death?

Why put a 50-foot tall monster in a high school setting? Why the long stairs scene that we never even saw them exit? Why the "fake out" with the stone steps and appearing doorway? Why use a real lake from Talla's planet but a sea creature she doesn't recognize? Why fake Talla's arrival on the ship with the red herring about Kaylon quantum signatures? Etc etc.

If all NewQ wanted was to get a sweet taste of simulated death fear, just have fake Kaylons attack the ship. Whole thing could've taken about two seconds.

Honestly, this season feels like the SFX budget got quadrupled and the writer's budget slashed in half. Except for a couple good Bortus-Gordon quips (the summer body one was pretty epic), there's barely been any humor on the show at all.

Anyone who hasn't seen this episode can just watched the last three minutes and not miss anything because the only real beats were: NewQ gives a lame philosophical speech about evolution and Capt. Mercer admits he wants to live forever. THE END
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Sam
Thu, Jun 16, 2022, 12:44pm (UTC -5)
One last thing - can we all agree that it was utterly bizarre that EVERYONE on the bridge was intimately familiar with a lifeless, barren planet, scoffing that the scans revealed some activity? Sheesh, how famous is Nella 1??

Also, it was a pretty pathetic "call back" to have hothead Burke the "4 dimensional" pilot stand up and defy the Captain's orders because of her hostility towards Isaac? YAWN.
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SlackerInc
Thu, Jun 16, 2022, 12:57pm (UTC -5)
She didn't actually do that. It was a simulation based on what the landing party would expect her to say.
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Charles M
Thu, Jun 16, 2022, 1:13pm (UTC -5)
This episode was like some of the trippy dreams I have after the alarm clock has gone off, and seemed like the budget went further towards the effects than the writing. I was intrigued at the idea that this was hitting at the worst fears or past trauma of each character, like maybe Gordon with bullying, or Bortus with having unresolved regrets after death… the ending felt so contrived, and while honestly not the worst on its own, I did appreciate the continuity with the Kelly worshipper episode.

I worry this is setup in case the writers get stuck and need a quick Deus ex Machina in the future to keep going.
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Karl Zimmerman
Thu, Jun 16, 2022, 2:32pm (UTC -5)
This episode was...fine I guess. I liked it better than last week's episode.

The beginning of the episode had the feeling that they were coming up with story beats for each of the "death scenarios" based upon nothing but whatever standing sets were sitting around the studio lot. Like..sure, we have a school, and an airplane! IMHO it was a big miss, because they could have come up with scenarios where each of the four characters who went down to the planet got to experience their own most feared mortality scenario, rather than something totally random.

And then that third act "payoff" was so underwhelming. It was a profound failure of show not tell, with "future girl" just standing there and monologuing about her race and why they put the scenario together. Ultimately since it didn't reveal anything interesting about the characters, everything that preceded it was totally disposable.

That said, the episode did tell a single coherent story (unlike the two stories awkwardly welded together last week), and it did have a very "TOS" vibe to it (with both the weird dreamlike/modern scenarios and the godlike aliens) that I enjoyed.

Maybe 2.5 stars?
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Jeffrey's Tube
Thu, Jun 16, 2022, 2:41pm (UTC -5)
I didn't enjoy this episode. It was patently obvious that we were in a "Squire of Gothos" type situation, so no matter what was happening on screen all that remained to me was marking time until we could get to the reveal. Which, given the extended nature of the episode, felt like quite a slog.

I literally groaned when they destroyed the device and "returned to the ship," because it was SO obvious they were doing a fakeout.

There wasn't even a thematic undercurrent, or a deep dive into one particular character's perspective to see the events of this episode from. Such narrative devices can make obvious, recycled plots fresh and engaging again. This episode could have really used some "English on the ball" in how it presented the events of the plot to the viewer, if you will excuse my billiards colloquialism.

Three episodes into the season and two of the three have been complete duds for me. And after all this long of a wait, too. Bummer.
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A. C.
Thu, Jun 16, 2022, 7:40pm (UTC -5)
Nice to see that THE ORVILLE has finally given us the P :-)
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A. C.
Thu, Jun 16, 2022, 8:20pm (UTC -5)
They did not create illusions. Everything was real, set in pocket universes. That was one of the coolest ideas of the episode. -- Julia Hartley-Barnes

Holy cow this episode was perfect 10/10, if I ever seen one.
It even had monsters and pew-pews!

- This is Q done right.
Starting from reasoning, interacting and purpose.
Even the origin of the god being is just perfect set up.

and I love the fact, that the "god" is above the mortals and not even caring about their state of evolution or affairs.

It was exciting from start to finish.
Perfection. -- Salazar

socks blown off. mind blown. WOW!!!! An instant classic! everything was amazing. the flow the writing the intrigue and mystery. most importantly the ending was not a let down in fact it topped exspectations. -- Nikki Cunningham

Another great episode. Figured out the eyes thing when it happened to Ed. Cool that they extended the story of the multiphasic peoples story. -- Mark Lawrence

This show kept the mystery going. And even when you think they have revealed the reason, they pull the rug off under us -- Blactrick

A lot of people really liked this episode, so I'm happy for y'all. It just didn't do it for me. It was obvious early on that this was someone shifting the crew from dangerous scenario to the next to mess with them, so I lost interest because nothing that happened had much meaning beyond scaring individuals to death. I figured the red herring of the device as well. Later, we get introduced to the Q, and it just ends w/ out much ado.

Q in Trek wants to test humanity to make them prove themselves worthy of existence - and have a little merriment in the process. Orville Q is a bored teenager looking for thrills like experiencing near-death scenarios through the crew. She is sure to tell them what they went through was no biggie and they should be totally cool w/ her now.

The Salty Nerd crew commented on the fact the last 2 episodes had less humor than previous seasons, and yeah... they're touching on darker themes with less light hearted humor to balance it out. I have to say this is my least favorite episode ever.

Someone give Bortus a pack of smokes and let's lighten things up a bit. It doesn't have to go full Orville S1, but wow... if you're gonna go dark, add some more levity please. -- Wayne

I think that's fine. I did like it a lot but I know exactly how you feel, because I was feeling that way with the first two episodes. I never felt I had to rationalize or intellectualize what was good about an Orville episode before New Horizons. -- Robin McDonald

I was going to mention faux-Talla and how we didn't see her eyes do the funny thing. Glad you caught that.
Of course, they didn't even ask for help with the Kaylon. At least give the god-like aliens a chance to say no, we can't help with that "for reasons". -- Thomas M

Good point about asking for help with the Kaylon. Of course, they would already be helping us if they wanted to. They said they've been watching us. -- Talking The Orville

I think they will get help with the Kaylon
without even askin later on in the series -- chestnutvsg 2016

Thank god I really enjoyed this episode. I finally got to see all the crew interacting on an adventure which is all I wanted from episode 1. I don't need special effects of a ground breaking episode on suicide, or seeing the Orville trying to compete Alien and failing. All are fine as episodes furthur into the series. But after 3 years I just want to see everybody. I have been so stressed I thought I lost my love for Orville. Still not loving the hour long format for this series. But glad this episode was shorter. -- Robin McDonald

I thought it felt very much like a Twilight zone episode at first which I kinda love that it left me guessing all throughout the first half. In-explainable situations you just have to go along with until you get the reveal. I said from the beginning I thought the Multiphasic people had nothing to do with the Kaylon. They advanced too quickly to still be stuck on silly things like AI or robots and after 2 years for use but millennia for them they'd barely resemble humans, in fact they kinda look like the people from Tron (the old one). I very quickly started to think it might be some sort of planet wide Environmental Simulator, but felt it was too advance even for the Kaylon (set up as a red herring, also why would they even know about 20th century highschool bullies.) But in all honesty, I didn't the Multiphasic people'd even appear this season. If I had any critique It'd be my worry that Last week it was Organic Borg, this week it's the new Q, It's original not not at the same time, so I'm hoping we can veer a bit more into more original concepts like Season one's episode NEW DIMENSIONS, with 2D space. -- TheRealAlpha2

Funniest story beat in this episode: They were in the high school and the mystery was going on, and I was thinking "this is a really Twilight Zone kind of episode" and literally less than three seconds later they step through the door and end up on an airplane. That really floored me, how did they do that, did they read my mind? -- John Gill

Goes to show you that the orville will go beyond our expectations and surprise us with every episode. -- Jonathan Perez

Amazing episode, great sci-fi !! petty note: thank god we finally got an episode that wasn't all about Dr Finn and her kids -- B D

"Talla claimed to have gone through the same experience..." Up until that point, only one crew member was targeted per scenario, for a near death experience. It's a bit strange. The new shuttles seem a lot bigger on the outside, but the interior space doesn't seem as efficient. It seems like they could have fit a few more of the older shuttles inside that bay. They were talking about sending down a search party. The new crew person even argued with Isaac about it. HOWEVER, with two landing parties on the planet. They were completely out of shuttles. It wasn't a problem for this episode, but they do seem to have a limited amount of resources for a ship that size. -- Jeremy Georgia

The Shuttle deck needs elevators to a lower storage deck like an aircraft carrier has. One emergency landing can take out all of the transports. -- Martin Horowitz

I thought the school bully being a giant Monster was pretty funny, Had the feeling of a squire of Gothos, Alice in Wonderland planet episode from original trek or a Q episode from the start. -- Martin Horowitz

They may have more than one bay as well. -- Hari Seldon

I think we didn't see Talla's eyes glaze over because none of that was ever Talla. Talla never left her shuttle, the Talla we saw was the multiphasic girl there to observe them having their near-death experiences. -- Species1571

It was great !!!! Loved it " I want to see what happens" 🙂 -- K Mix

I got "Where Silence Has Lease" vibes from this episode. Next Gen, season 2 where the Enterprise is trapped in a sort of void where the crew is put through a series of tests by an omnipotent entity.

I also think we may have found this series' Q. -- Ben Levan

As much as I like that TNG episode, this one did it better -- Witcher Joker

@Witcher Joker I totally agree. -- Ben Levan

Forgot about that one and was thinking more about Q-pid. -- Hari Seldon

This ep was weird and a head scratcher but I think what we got in the end was Orville's version of... the Q?
I mean not exactly, but they may as well be...
I started figuring out by the 2nd eyes going white, that this was all things happening to people who were dying
I predicted all these problems started occuring since Tala's return from her trip at the start
but I never predicted the connection to the species who worshipped Kelly and who have advanced so far they are space gods who have no understanding of death anymore because they are immortal -- Medalion

it seemed to be feeding off the fear -- Gordon beat up for being a nerd, seth had almost died on 9 1 1 in a airplane so that's his fear, Bortus of death, etc.. it also turned out to be like--enterprise episode about the train with data phone inside him,. the old alien on a planet and makes tuvok from voyager stay with them.. the same concept. I do like it. I don't think Charlie works well, so far she is kinda extreme, but even obriens hatred for kardassians was portraied fine and dandy, but I liek it when isaac thinks he's the only raciscstly superior life form. its all strange I miss random Dan appearances for sure, and that tentacle elephant dude warburn plays. I guess i got cozy with the sidepeeps.
im going to stick with it. -- Kriswixx

@Kriswixx I am trying to remember, have to rewatch the ep again, but the scenes with Charly getting all worked up at Isaac again... occured in the pocket dimension memories than what happened in "reality". -- Medalion

@Medalion Agreed, so they didn't really happen. For a minute I was actually thinking it might be how they turn her character around - her angrily speaking out not to trust Isaac, then finding that if the crew had listened to her they'd be dead. On the bright side, this shows they haven't just pushed her attitude aside and makes it more likely they will address her attitude in the future. -- Hari Seldon

@Hari Seldon For sure... but the fanbase are kinda divided on Charly still, and this ep may not help things for how little of her she was in it... may not have been real, but you can easily picture she may still have an outburst like this. -- Medalion

@Medalion Kind of what I'm saying - her character will need a situation where her distrust of Isaac almost destroys the ship in order to believably change her way of thinking. -- Hari Seldon

Cool episode!

This episode revealed something about away team protocols. The first away team always includes the captain, but when a secondary away team is required, the officer in charge does not go, they assign others. It seems like in reality the original captain would never be on the away team. -- Jeremy Byington

The Gods are Aliens trope just like the Q continuum of the ST universe. My sentiments exactly JP. Like what Captain Mercer said in this episode, you would think they have progressed beyond invasive and ethically wrong methods of experimentation of other species just to experience what mortality feels like after 50K years of guided evolution as they call it. If they are tired of immortality to feel what death feels like, they can always end themselves instead of what they have done. This episode is a little cliche in terms of plot but it does remind me of STTNG, so I did enjoy ep 3. We also learn that religions are concepts the Orville Earth has outgrew of and death is just dark nothingness according to Kelly. Rather bleak come to think about it. -- Jimmy Beany

The Episode leaves a big open question, since the Aliens are aware of the problems with the Kaylon's and had Isaac as a long term guest, they should have an interest in the outcome of the Kaylon war, orfif they even arrange for it? It is already established that backwards time travel exists in the Orville universe. Could the Aliens be responsible for the War or the Krill worship of Avis? The Aliens need entertainment after all, and someone may have thought Kelly and the Union deserved some payback.... -- Martin Horowitz

JP: Besides the Q Continuum, there are also Trepan (a baby/toddler Q?), and the Thasians (who lost track of Charlie X for a minute there). Just, y'know, for maybe non-corporeal beings. "Apollo" and his fellow alien godlike beings from Who Mourns for Adonais. -- But I'm pretty sure you know those. :) -- Rock-like beings: Horta, Excalbians, plus some giant weird rock monsters from at least one TAS episode. So.... :shrugs> -- Ben W

That was the first thing I thought when she was talking about living forever, was Q. Q said the same thing about their existence. Would love to see her messing with them later, lol. -- Stew

Like some of the best TREK it blows you away by taking you places you didnt know you wanted to go, but enjoyed the trip anyways. I felt like I heard a lot of music similar to Indiana Jones films, but I could be wrong....enjoyed it anyways. -- Michael Sullivan

If you try hard enough to believe, your theory isn't entirely shot. It's still possible the species broke off at one point in their history. One sect could have stayed on the planet to focus on technology (the Kaylon Builders) while another sect moved among the stars and 'evolved' their minds. Probably not the case but why not! Also, they looked like a cross between Tron and the effects from 2D space. Could they be related to that group? VERY happy with this episode. Still trying to work out WHY the characters had the experiences that they had. I think there is more to that!

Until the first Non-Human experience (I think it was the Moclan morgue) I was guessing it was a Calivon experience planet based upon our old "historical records" -- Archmage Frey

The new Alien design of the space gods... looks like Tron but more sparkles -- Medalion

Automan! -- Bill Keith Channel

Once again another "flat earth" episode. The concept that the earth we experience is part school/part amusement park ride for immortal beings to remind themselves why they chose to be immortal is right out of the mind of Mark Sargent creator of Flat Earth Clues. He has been trying to explain this concept for years now on his radio show and interviews. Watching his clues series back in 2015 is a dirty little secret in Hollywood types. Mark believes that what we experience is real and physical and we consciously chose to be here to experience it but at the same time a simulation of the decisions we had already chosen, like being in a VR movie. -- Bill Keith Channel

This is exactly what I have been trying to process this last month. I can not conceive of no consciousness. Most of my life long "CLOSE" friends have passed beyond the rim. I can not understand 'not thinking'. I do enjoy life and learning something new everyday. Not doing that, or not even knowing I ever existed, or even being conscious of not knowing I ever existed, blows my mind and depresses the hell out of me. -- Daveyk021

You'll be alright 😜 -- Rodney Walker

@Rodney Walker Well, its not like I have a choice is it? (My medications help lol). It still keeps me in circular thinking trying to conceive of nothingness with no conception of lack of consciousness. To no longer exist; period, it is quite the thought. I can understand how and why all the religions started. I am a Christian, but I still have these thoughts. I would love the thought of being re-incarnated with the hope of knowing that I was. Is that Hindu? But if that were to happen, why does 99.9% of not, for certain, remember a past life? The best part of this latest episode was Ed trying to explain the concept of nothing after death to the rest of them. I assume Seth must be an atheist like Neil degas Tyson. What Neil says makes complete sense. I, like many, just don't like that. -- Daveyk021

The multiphase people can end the war’s( both current and oncoming) and to the two races that think they are superior will make them cry because they are nothing(good thing Isaac wasn’t there, it would have broke him -- peterversionone

If I have to offer a critique about the ep... the scenarios from the first two sequences with the Highschool and the Plane... the fact that nobody recognized it from their memories or whatever made no sense but I suspect those were from Gordon's mind... and the methods of how each of the landing team get killed seemed very random and arbitrary... instead of a legit way to die from those scenarios ...they channeled a random CG monster in the highschool football field thus making the scenario almost pointless... unless this is hinting at past trauma for Gordon in his youth of being picked on by bullies. -- Medalion

As I understand it, the alien does not say that they are experiences taken from memories, but that they are taken and recreated from the historical records of the ship's databases, they can be from books, movies, TV shows, etc. -- Osni Winkelmann

@Osni Winkelmann You just made me realize, the only time any of the team recognized a location was Tala... who we found out is not the real Tala. -- Medalion

@Medalion There is also Bortus' mortuary hall... -- Osni Winkelmann
^
|_ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Pktq3TeX-k
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Jeffrey's Tube
Thu, Jun 16, 2022, 8:36pm (UTC -5)
. . . what?
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Troy G
Thu, Jun 16, 2022, 9:24pm (UTC -5)
AC you wrote a review(?) of this episode that will likely be longer than Jammer’s
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OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Thu, Jun 16, 2022, 9:28pm (UTC -5)
@Sam
"Why would NewQ pick a high school setting from 500 years ago (from the Orville's POV)? Why do the bullying and the mean girls schtick if all NewQ wants is to scare the Orville crew to death?"

I don't think the aliens are the ones who picked the scenarios.

They just set the general scheme up and then hopped along for the ride. The scenario triggers probably came from the landing party's minds, with some added random elements to make things "more interesting".

"If all NewQ wanted was to get a sweet taste of simulated death fear, just have fake Kaylons attack the ship. Whole thing could've taken about two seconds."

Their stated goal was to immerse themselves in the *experience* of mortal danger. They wanted to investigate it and do it first hand. So it makes sense that they'll try a wide range of scenarios.

Also, it seems that each time they've chosen to "piggy-back" on a different person: first Gordon, then Ed, then Kelly, and then all of them at once.

As as side note: "fear" was never the point of these scenarios. Sure, it's part of the experience, but the aliens didn't just seek some kind of adrenaline rush. They sought a very specific kind of experience, and did so because it was alien to them.

(I'm pretty sure that even immortal beings have their own hopes and fears in their daily lives)
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A. C.
Thu, Jun 16, 2022, 10:39pm (UTC -5)
@Troy G

Just some Comments from YouTube...
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bhbor
Fri, Jun 17, 2022, 3:19am (UTC -5)
Ah, Seth crafted the Q for his universe. A little wonky but he got there.
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Yanks
Fri, Jun 17, 2022, 5:42am (UTC -5)
This was a boring episode.

Too long... too many times to the well as one would say.

The ending was nice, but we could have got there in 20 minutes.

2 stars, not one I ever intend to rewatch.
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Artymiss
Fri, Jun 17, 2022, 7:16am (UTC -5)
I didn't like to mention how bored I was by this episode, but I am emboldened by Yanks thinking the same. I had to resist the urge to fast forward. Felt very slooow to pad out the run time too eg shot of Talla climbing the stairs.

Oh and Charly shut up bitching about Issac especially when you're on the bridge. You sound about 12. It's actually YOUR OWN FAULT your best friend died sacrificing herself because YOU were the one who let her save you rather than insisting you take her place. Keep your mouth shut at work and/or go and get counselling for your trauma.
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SlackerInc
Fri, Jun 17, 2022, 10:10am (UTC -5)
Again, that wasn't actually Charly.
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Artymiss
Fri, Jun 17, 2022, 10:31am (UTC -5)
Yes it was.
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Artymiss
Fri, Jun 17, 2022, 10:34am (UTC -5)
First tiime was the real Charly, Second time was the holographic projection (or whatever it was) version so yes in that case it wasn't 'really' her. But the first time it was.
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Artymiss
Fri, Jun 17, 2022, 10:44am (UTC -5)
La Marr wants to send a second landing party to try and find out what's happened. Issac points out that this may be a mistake because the same fate may befall the second landing party. Charly then has a go at him that they aren't Kaylons and don't treat people as commodities. It just annoyed me - she was so unprofessional plus Issac has already tried to kill himself once partly because of her treatment of him.

Apologies for three posts, I keep getting distracted.
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Jaxon
Fri, Jun 17, 2022, 11:00am (UTC -5)
Another weak, barely 2 star episode.

It calls back to the Kelly planet, which itself was a callback to Voyager's Blink Of An Eye.

In each we have a race that evolves superfast, and eventually reaches a tech level that lets them interact with the "real" universe with the supertech in their quiver, which leaves them with the power to either conquer the universe without ease or to become xenophobic recluses.

Not impressed by these new horizons so far.
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Jeffrey's Tube
Fri, Jun 17, 2022, 11:02am (UTC -5)
@ A. C.

Why are you posting that here? Even if we were interested in Youtube comments for some reason, that's just a giant wall of text that's a headache to attempt to parse.
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Jaxon
Fri, Jun 17, 2022, 11:05am (UTC -5)
"Ah, Seth crafted the Q for his universe."

This episode was basically Hide and Q without the temptation based high stakes wager, with a dash of Scientific Method tossed in.
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Lupe
Fri, Jun 17, 2022, 12:23pm (UTC -5)
@Jeffrey's Tube

"Three episodes into the season and two of the three have been complete duds for me."

All three for me.
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Jaxon
Fri, Jun 17, 2022, 1:03pm (UTC -5)
Jeffrey's Tube said:

"I literally groaned when they destroyed the device and "returned to the ship," because it was SO obvious they were doing a fakeout."

Yeah this was a slaw of various Trek episodes, pretty much all of them superior to this one...there were traces of Hide And Q, Frame Of Mind, Death Wish, Bliss, Scientific Method, Blink Of An Eye, The 37s...
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A. C.
Fri, Jun 17, 2022, 2:23pm (UTC -5)
@Jeffrey's Tube

Seems interesting to bring in some other thoughts that I had not seen brought up here at the time I Posted...
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SC
Fri, Jun 17, 2022, 3:15pm (UTC -5)
It wasn't just the best episode this season so far, it was one of the best episodes of The Orville period. The production design and FX were amazing. The episode channeled Stephen King and old school sci-fi like Land of the Giants and the Twilight Zone. I'm sure it's ripping off some Star Trek episode, but if it is I'm not aware of it as I haven't seen most Trek. The concept is familiar to a face your fears one which is a sci-fi staple from Trek to Buffy.
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Jammer
Fri, Jun 17, 2022, 5:24pm (UTC -5)
Review now posted.
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Jaxon
Fri, Jun 17, 2022, 7:47pm (UTC -5)
I blanked on TNG S2, but Jammer mentions two more Star Trek episodes that this episode samples even more heavily than ones I mentioned.

You could throw in The Dauphin for "Randall".
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Troy G
Fri, Jun 17, 2022, 9:03pm (UTC -5)
Jammer, I remember her saying 50,000 years, not 500,000. But I don’t feel like checking
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Oterel
Fri, Jun 17, 2022, 9:51pm (UTC -5)
@Jammer,

Thanks for the Nicholas Meyer quote. I remember when I heard it for the first time on the Wrath of Khan DVD commentary. So true.
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Greg M
Fri, Jun 17, 2022, 9:59pm (UTC -5)
@Troy G

I heard 50,000 as well. 500,000 is too large a number.
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Christine
Sat, Jun 18, 2022, 1:30am (UTC -5)
Interesting episode, with an Orville take on Q. John de Lancie's Q and his zany hijinks will always be my favorite, though.

However, I also felt the intro was draw out. Showing Talla's shuttle landing and cutting away to meeting with Kelly should have been enough, but I often wonder who makes the final call on editing episodes. Is it the show creator, producer, director, or someone else? Regardless, I'm more bummed out about the overall direction the show has been taking lately. They seem to be loosing the humor and light heartedness I had grown to love about the series.
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John Harmon
Sat, Jun 18, 2022, 2:45am (UTC -5)
I really liked this one. "I want to see what happens" is exactly what I answered to "why would you want to be immortal?". I definitely identified with that desire
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JS
Sat, Jun 18, 2022, 3:28am (UTC -5)
Pretty good episode. Ditto on the extended runtimes. Serves zero purpose and it almost never works (Orville, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Stranger Things (well, here it works 50/50). That was definitely a 45-minute story.
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theBgt
Sat, Jun 18, 2022, 5:17am (UTC -5)
I would love to see this episode in a 42mins cut.
Cause the 60mins version manged to just bore me. It was a loooong scene after a looong scene for no reason than to fill in the runtime.
If you want 60mins episodes you need the right writing.
I hope they had resolved this for the following episodes.
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JS
Sat, Jun 18, 2022, 6:11am (UTC -5)
BTW. they completely stole the creepy woodwinds from Jerry Goldsmith's "Alien" opening music :>
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TheRealTrent
Sat, Jun 18, 2022, 9:50am (UTC -5)
Jammer's first point, about the long "shuttle landing sequence", was also my first problem with the episode. Like the "Star Wars" prequel trilogy, this season too often employs establishing shots or "shuttle landing sequences" which go on far too long, and which are best omitted entirely. A simple line of dialogue by a bridge crewman - "Captain, the landing party is back aboard" - is much preferable.

The episode has other minor problems: the score is overbearing and overused, the episode is about ten minutes too long, the swearing juxtaposes oddly against the retro tone, and there's not enough comedy. The episode's "high school sequence", for example, offered ample opportunity to insert little witty remarks or jokes, but the script doesn't exploit these possibilities. Everything is instead played straight and poe-faced. IMO the show needs a consistent vein of light humor to work, and it's at its most clever when toying with Trek tropes.

Still, I liked this episode a bit more than Jammer, and ultimately thought it was a fun, relatively good episode. It had that season 2 vibe which I love.

It also has a number of striking visuals, particularly the image of the long, dark staircase, the suspended Moclan coffins, the light blinking ominously over the waters, and the red eye of the Kaylon sphere frozen in the bridge window. Visually, and compositionally, the episode has a stark, arresting quality.

The final scene is also interesting. This scene, in which a Superior Being delivers a preachy infodump, is a very old science fiction trope, originating in the early 20th century ("The Day the Earth Stood Still" et al), and repeatedly popping up in TOS and TNG. Probably the best, most original example in Trek is in TNG's "Survivors".

But what's interesting about the scene in "The Orville" is that it's played with a straight face. The is an old fashioned scene, presented without irony, with a weird sincerity, as though the past 30 years of TV and cinema don't exist. A scene like this pretty much stopped being a scene a great writer would write in the 1960s (eg Kubrick), and stopped being a scene TV writers would write in the mid 1990s. Typically when it's done nowadays, it's done with a wink, or with a dose of subversion. "Orville", though, drops this Superbeing down into a desert with a monologue and a Tron thong like its 1989. The effect is so weird. Is it a bad scene? Is it a good scene? Is it serious? Is it a homage? Is it deliberately retro? It's hard to get a read on it.

Anyway, I thought this was a fun, reasonably strong episode, better than TNG's "The Royale" (which it resembles, and whose "Twilight Zone" vibe it betters), and almost as good as "Hide and Q" (which it also resembles). It's problems are mostly the niggling problems related to the new, longer running times.
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SC
Sat, Jun 18, 2022, 9:57am (UTC -5)
Is it fair to keep saying the Orville is similar to this or that Trek episode? Yes, I suppose it is, but we have to remember that 'everything,' worth doing has probably already been done by now... also, there's an entirely new television audience who've never seen it. I personally thought the episode, and the FX were great, but each to their own...
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TheRealTrent
Sat, Jun 18, 2022, 10:26am (UTC -5)
A lot of people are complaining about the "nightmare sequences" being "random" or "chosen for budget saving reasons", but the impression I got were that they were carefully tailored to each crewman's psychology.

We know Gordon has a low self-esteem and frequently likens himself to trash. It seems to make sense that he's the kind of guy who'd be bullied in school for "not having money to give", and who'd be beaten up on a football field for not "being a sporty kid".

Meanwhile, Mercer dies giving orders on the flight-deck of a crashing plane, which you'd expect to be the fears of the captain of a spaceship.

Bortus, who we know has issues with his husband, who has attacked him several times, would likewise understandably have a "nightmare" about being strangled by a fellow Moclan. Bortus doesn't fear death - the coffins - he fears his living partner.

Finally Talla and Kelly face their fears. Talla comes from a high gravity world, and so perhaps her species have a fear of water and so drowning, though I think it's more likely that as a security officer her chief fear is letting her commanders down and failing at her duties. Note she only plunges into the waters to save the Executive Officer.

Kelley's fear, to me, reads like a reference to Darulio in episode 1 of season 1. There Kelly's introduced cheating on Mercer with a ink-spewing blue Octopus man. The lingering guilt of this is why she arranges, behind Mercer's back, for Mercer to be given captaincy of the Orville. Maybe being grabbed and pulled away by the squid-monster is a reference to this guilt.

Everyone then experiences a shared fear: being attacked by the Kaylons, and on the precipice of dying in this shared nightmare, they're finally "released".
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Whatqnavry
Sat, Jun 18, 2022, 7:46pm (UTC -5)
@Jammer: "This sequence could've been done in 30 or even 15 seconds. Instead, it takes over a minute. Now, that's not a huge deal in the scheme of things, but it's indicative of the overall lack of economy and discipline here"

Most if all, it does not make sense. She does not meet anyone, no one sees her (before entering Grayson's office). But this is the "illusion Talla". The real one is still on the shuttle and does not experience this sequence herself. So whom is the staircase scene for, if not for the crew members? Us, the viewers? But it breaks with the narrative as far as I understand.

Or does the alien impersonating Talla wish to experience how flying and landing a shuttle works and how walking to Grayson's office feels?

Am I missing something?
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SlackerInc
Sat, Jun 18, 2022, 8:09pm (UTC -5)
Even though I gave this episode a perfect four star score, I can't deny that the long sequence of the shuttle landing and then walking those stairs should have been pared down a bit.

And although I haven't seen anyone else make this complaint, after mulling it a bit I do wonder why Mercer (or someone) didn't challenge the Q-like being the way Picard used to with Q (or Kirk did with various godlike beings), even though it's obviously of no use. "You have no right to use us as your playthings!" Maybe they feel guilty because of how their error led to that weird religion?

@John Harmon: You and I (and Seth) are kindred spirits! I liked how they had Bortus give the conventional answer and then Mercer called it out as such.

@TheRealTrent: "The episode's 'high school sequence', for example, offered ample opportunity to insert little witty remarks or jokes, but the script doesn't exploit these possibilities. Everything is instead played straight and poe-faced."

Srsly? Did you miss the cafeteria scene? There were a couple really funny Bortus moments there. Also, the reveal of who "Randall" is was pretty funny IMO.

"Visually, and compositionally, the episode has a stark, arresting quality."

Good call.
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Daya
Sun, Jun 19, 2022, 1:22am (UTC -5)
As I watched, I kept being reminded of the TOS episodes Shore Leave and Arena. The similarity to Shore Leave was clear - slightly illogical shenanigans increasing in their illogicality, no way to leave, bullies, unreliable scans, ...

I couldn't really put my finger on why I was reminded of Arena. Imagine my surprise, then, when the ending came by. It looks visually very much like the ending of Arena: with the glimmering god-like being in stark contrast with the desolate landscape. It is also thematically very much like Arena: the god-like being smiles through the exposition, unaware of their own cruelty; the humans are just happy it's over -- too tired to argue back.
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MercerCreate
Mon, Jun 20, 2022, 9:19am (UTC -5)
ok so it's easy to complain about the pacing.. but not really. I guess you've never seen a Pixar film where so many scenes drag for SOOOO long.

Ok so we spend a whole minute watching Talla get on board. We see her outfit and that way when she comes into the story later we don't struggle to remember what she looked like.

It's NOT a wasted minute. If it had cut from the shuttle to Kelly's office, the details would not have sunk in.

This is why movies are often slowly paced a the beginning, to allow various details to sink in
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John Doe
Mon, Jun 20, 2022, 7:02pm (UTC -5)
I am amazed no has commented upon the transhumanist theme in this episode. Especially given MacFarlane’s comments in the coda about wanting to live forever and the convoluted wrong-headed evolutionary quacksauce coming from the purple Christmas tree alien.
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MercerCreate
Mon, Jun 20, 2022, 10:05pm (UTC -5)
@John Doe
Why is she wrong about evolution?
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Michael
Tue, Jun 21, 2022, 2:27am (UTC -5)
They could have made a great episode by keeping everything in the high school. Instead they just jumped from one unconnected scenario to another. I was bored anything out, we have FAR TOO MUCH exposition from Miss Time Dilation. I would put this in my bottom 5 episodes of Orville overall. Possibly bottom 3.
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Dreubarik
Tue, Jun 21, 2022, 4:54am (UTC -5)
Not sure if it was a deliberate joke or not, but the plane they use seems to be (at least very heavily inspired by) a Boeing 737 MAX.
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Artymiss
Tue, Jun 21, 2022, 7:28am (UTC -5)
Mercercrate

Why would we struggle to remember what Talla looks like?! We've already seen her in previous episodes!

And this is not a standalone film, it's an episode of a TV show that's already run for two seasons.
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Steve Peeve from Cleeve
Tue, Jun 21, 2022, 9:48pm (UTC -5)
Not a fan of these 60 minute episodes. Wish they would go back to 45 minutes.

The premise and story was interesting enough, just dragged on too long. 2.5 stars.

Although I will say it's interesting to see their take on the "Q".
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Maq
Thu, Jun 23, 2022, 10:39am (UTC -5)
60 Minutes episodes are good if it has a 60 minutes context. I didn't mind Talla's walk from the shuttle. The beginning was ok, even very puzzling. Of course "The Royale" was in mind. But then it just got very "Slow", looking on how much time that was finished when they returend to thr ship the first time I assumed they were still not in the reality.

When Talla suddenly turned up again I got very confused so they managed to rewake my brain for the finale (much better than in "The Royal"). Thanks for that. Explanation a little bit talky. The reference to " Mad Idolatry" was ok.

I very much liked Mercers last line "I wanna see what happens".
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SC
Fri, Jun 24, 2022, 7:29am (UTC -5)
Jammer, the page for the next Orville episode is missing a link, when clicked on.
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P_Car
Fri, Jun 24, 2022, 12:15pm (UTC -5)
Yes.

Think this may have to do with the best timed social commentary episode in hi story about the A word.
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Nunes
Mon, Jun 27, 2022, 5:16pm (UTC -5)
I fast-forwarded through some minutss. The Orville writing room is way too keen on amswering the question, "what plot can we copy from previous Trek?" I've long lowered my expectations on this series' originality. Braga and Bormanis and gang are at the helm after all.
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Leif
Tue, Jun 28, 2022, 9:23pm (UTC -5)
@A.C. Can you PLEASE CONFIRM if in this episode take place in different pocket dimensions in fact as youvsaid and therefore is more original than just holodeck technology or illusions being the case and it wasn't in fsct holograms or illusions..can someone can confirm..and what are all those comments you are quoting..is it other ppl who posted here or comments from youtube I think youbsaid..if so why I am curious..thanks for sharing
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Jonathan
Sun, Jul 3, 2022, 3:03pm (UTC -5)
Not much to add beyond I would have loved to see the episode instead focus on the implications of immortality and deal with conflicting views. This is one place that Star Trek always faltered for me. It presented good episodes on mortality and how death gives life purpose, but as an atheist who wants to not stop existing and as someone curious to see what comes next, I want to see my side explored more.

Most real-life discussions about this are incredibly stupid. "But do you want to live forever after your wife dies?!?!?" "Yes. Of course, I do. We don't tell people who get widowed at age 45 to just off themselves to be with their dead spouses in imaginary afterlives." I will admit that it is more interesting to consider how one would actually live once immortal. Would we just become so lazy that we do less in a billion years than we would in one year as mortals? I'm sick of the "but your friends and family would die." Yeah, duh, and yet we didn't tell the handful of survivors at Auschwitz to all commit suicide. Another idiotic emotional appeal that makes no sense.

This showed did show some promise ... but compressed this discussion and left it unfinished. Instead, we got something that went on waaaaayyyy too long, and we get it, we get it, it's an illusion, skip to the end, plane? okay, boring. lake in the desert? okay ... boring .... just hurry up.
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Alejandor
Mon, Jul 4, 2022, 2:33am (UTC -5)
For all the problems with this episode, the final scene where Mercer states that he wants to live forever to see what happens redeems it for me. I feel the same and, as obvious as it seems to me as a scifi fan, I haven't found this opinion very often in the wild. Usually is things like "you'd get bored" or "death is a part of life" or some such.

I'm finding that the unapologetic approach of The Orville to humanism, science and religion is more in line with me than most other modern productions where religion is given equal weight just because. And I'm not an atheist, just agnostic, and I can understand the urge to reserve a place for the Unknowable. Just not overriding science, and much less in a professional setting.
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mosley
Tue, Jul 5, 2022, 11:32am (UTC -5)
Interesting. As with the last 2 seasons, Orville teases my inner trekkie more than nutrek does.

I am surprised by some of the criticism. Like, that opening sequence : this was essentially a scene setting in TMP fashion, but clearly TMP light. If I can sit through TMP doing this for minutes, I can certainly deal with 60 seconds. Like that a lot.

And I like how this show is at least trying to tell a proper scifi story. How on earth can anyone rate this lower than the SNW costume party? It's not even in the same league, and I say that as someone who does like the SNW cast a lot.

And yes, the score isnt quoting Williams but Goldsmith. That woodwind motive is a direct quote of alien (1,no S). But I'd still much rather have a single quote of a musical cue than an entire episode doing the whole chest buster aliens routine as plot.

Now, did this plot ever surprise me? Sure it didn't, I doubt any of us old-school trekkies could ever fall again for a fake resolution like when they "go back to the Orville". We've seen it all. I fear there is only so much a writers room can do about us old farts who have a catalogue of 800 trek episodes (plus SW, B5, BSG & Co and decades of cinema material) in their head.

But hey, at least they're *trying*. I was thankful for the few minutes where it yet wasn't clear where they are going with this. I can't say I have experienced that at all with any nutrek.

So, for me the trend of the last years stays the same, even with SNW being a much improved nutrek show : Orville remains the better current day trek. I don't think much of McFarlane as an actor, but even with that, the writers room is just a lot better than the guys in charge over at nutrek city. Like, a LOT.

Fun side detail : this is being presented as s3e1 in my country on Amazon. Maybe this does make a difference both as far as my tolerance for that "long" intro arrival scene goes as well as my overall impression that Jammers opinion matches my own surprisingly little. Guess I will find out soon enough with the next episodes.
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Tom
Tue, Jul 5, 2022, 7:38pm (UTC -5)
@mosley
"And I like how this show is at least trying to tell a proper scifi story. How on earth can anyone rate this lower than the SNW costume party?"

This has been on my mind while browsing through the comments from SNW and ORV. I can't help but notice that very few of the comments on SNW seem to be about science fiction or philosophy or any of the things that got me into Star Trek. Things that make me for a time think and ponder and question life, existence, experience, reality, and morality.

ORV is at least trying - and sometimes succeeding - even if I did a slight eye-roll at the end when the "evolved" woman from the future appeared, who was like every new-age-enlightened-lightworker-starseed-astral-traveller rolled into one.
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Proud Capitalist Pig
Tue, Jul 12, 2022, 11:24am (UTC -5)
While it sure was fun to take this insane Twilight Zone journey with the landing party and wonder, along with them, just Wireless Telecommunications Facility was going on, I’m going to assume that everyone reading this already knows what was going on, so I’m not going to bother with any plot commentary or my reactions to the various puzzles as they were occurring in front of me. I’ll just comment here and there, highlighting some key moments, and then save my thoughts on the most interesting part of the episode for last.

The high school scenes were a callback to when the Orville used to be a funny show. Malloy got in some good quips, and the lunchtime scene was priceless. Obviously the Plastics aren’t going to let anyone join them at their table (did you catch how their table was set up just like the one in Mean Girls, where they sit like a committee judging whoever would be lucky enough to sit across from them?). Bortus calls the Queen Beeyotch a fivehead, she recoils, my sons and I laugh. Nice touch that they’re finally able to sit down at the geeks’ table, being that they are geeks themselves (but I kid).

Another great moment was when Grayson punches the pushy flight attendant in the face -- providing a cathartic vicarious experience for all of us who have been unlucky enough to have to use an airline lately.

The Moclan Morgue was beautifully eerie -- say what you want about the new types of stories being told on this Orville: New Horizons version of the show, but the production values are astounding. These designers have their shit together; best in the business. There’s a nice subtext here about Bortus’ own hangups, considering how Klyden and the greater Moclan society has constantly been putting him through the wringer.

Likewise, the Xeleyan lakeside scene was ethereally gorgeous, like a fantasy lake right out of Harry Potter--complete with the Loch Ness monster of course.

I would have thought that Mercer’s moment of yelling to the sky in frustration would have come a lot sooner (it sure would have come earlier had I been him), but it was still inevitable. Also inevitable (and sadly predictable) was the double-fake and the revelation that some sort of superior intelligence was at work here the whole time, beyond any sort of “simulator projection” or some other technical thing.

About that superior intelligence--well, that’s where “Mortality Paradox” shines, I suppose. It’s as reasonable an explanation as any, and in fact reminds me of Star Trek which often has the crew being judged, toyed with or influenced by a superbeing. This superbeing is one of the aliens from the “Mad Idolatry” planet, which is another perfect use of that society -- we’ve since likely forgotten about it (I know I had), but they’ve continued to live on in their hyper-accelerated universe. At the end of that episode, the kind spacefarer notes to Mercer and Grayson that perhaps one day, “We will study you.” Grayson laughingly says that they will welcome that day -- well now that day has come. The “Mad Idolatry” people have had 50,000 years to figure out how to engineer their own development (read--make "blind and drunk" evolution faster) to the point where they are now all-powerful, immortal beings. And a nice bit of subtext is that, in a way, this is a preview of our own future. This is transhumanism. Remember how “Mad Idolatry” had this planet so completely like our own past? There was the Bronze Age, the Monty Python middle-ages, the Fox News proselytizing in the 21st Century, and then the spacefaring civilization--all parallels (both true and speculative) to our own societal development. It’s quite a statement that The Orville is making here, and it’s an intriguing one. Still, I’d hope that if we do become immortal superbeings, we don’t become as smug and smarmy as that purple schmendrick was.



Permission to Speak Freely:

Student* -- “I got, like, massive on Tiktok. He stopped messing with me, ‘cause my followers would flame his Gram.”

Bortus -- “What?”

(Points to me! As a dad to three teenagers, I understood that kid’s gibberish perfectly.)


* = Without direct access to the script, I have no goddamn idea how this character’s name actually appears, so I took my best guess after a quick peek at the Wiki.



My Grade: B-
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Bobbington McBob
Fri, Aug 12, 2022, 8:02am (UTC -5)
So far it's been easy to guess what's going to happen because The Orville borrows so heavily from other shows.

In a way it would be nice if McFarlane played with us a little more. E.g. it was obvious that after blowing up the holo generator, that they were still in the simulation, because it's the old "have I really woken up" trope that goes way back (Nightmare on Elm Street springs to mind). Even just having someone say it would have been good. We get "there's a new generator" thing with the Kaylon ships but I wasn't buying it.

I am really enjoying it despite the flaws. I love the characters, especially Gordon, and it's a joy to have them back. More gags this week helped.

Lastly, Q-meets-Tron-meets-VGER-girl needs a Picardian smack down speech. I felt like with the possibility of PTSD that Mercer would have given her a bit more pushback than he did.
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SlackerInc
Fri, Aug 12, 2022, 7:57pm (UTC -5)
Maybe I shouldn't admit this, but I absolutely did not predict that the hologram projector was a fakeout. I totally believed they were back on the ship, facing a Kaylon attack.

@Jonathan and @Alejandor, strongly agree with you both about immortality and this show's embrace of humanism.
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Austin
Sat, Aug 27, 2022, 4:00pm (UTC -5)
I think if there were breadcrumbs left along the way at each new setting, so the audience could piece it together, it would have been a far more enjoyable experience. I found myself impatient by the end of the airplane scene just like “ok let’s get on with it already.” But overall it was an interesting concept and they actually stuck the landing unlike the last 2 episodes. 2.5 stars seems about right.
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Saph
Sat, Aug 27, 2022, 5:39pm (UTC -5)
Orville’s Q is super interesting. It feels a bit more like initial Q before he basically turned into the fun wacky uncle.

I don’t mind the extra shots. I feel some people are obsessed with each episode being a self contained perfect story, but the beauty of certain things like lord of the rings is sometimes just enjoying the view. I like the walk through the corridors. How the ships work. And I think sometimes we get so used to thinking of The Orville like a Star Trek spin off that we don’t really need the world building, when we do.

I also love the idea of non destructive immortality. If you’re all familiar with Sandman, Robert Gadling explores that.

Way too often in Star Trek they go on about how mortality is what gives life meaning… and that’s such a.. defeatist way of thinking. Who knows, maybe it’s a sad existence after 100,000 years. But just reading all the books that have ever been would fill thousands of years to me.

Experiencing all the cultures? Another 10,000 years. And that’s Earth.

This is a world with countless of so much that in a society that have “outgrown their gods” you’d think that maybe immortality would be an interesting field to examine.
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William B
Sat, Aug 27, 2022, 8:39pm (UTC -5)
It was okay and I really liked the score, but as Jammer says it was way too long, and didn't really seem to me to have much to say about mortality until the very end, except for the bit about Moclan rituals. I don't demand originality or anything, but it felt like it didn't really try to address the idea of death very directly, in all these weird action scenarios. Cool to see the Kellyists back. 2 stars I guess.
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SlackerInc
Wed, Aug 31, 2022, 8:07pm (UTC -5)
@Saph, I vehemently agree--and your estimates really only apply if everything you describe (other cultures etc.) stays static. Assuming those other cultures keep changing as you go along, you can change "10,000 years" to "an infinite number of years".
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Gary Twinem
Fri, Sep 23, 2022, 3:27pm (UTC -5)
Q too 🙂

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