Welcome back! When the crew of the Orville defeat a Krill war vessel, it leads to an espionage mission to discover the secrets of the Krill religion. Can Ed and Gordon make it out of the Krill ship without being killed? And what’s the true secret of the Krill race? Remember, if you like this column, 5 Point Discussions, please share it on Facebook and Twitter. And if you want to contact me with questions or comments, please hit me up on Twitter @SageShinigami!
1. As usual this week’s Orville began with a comedy opener. It’s something light that helps develop the characters when they’re off the clock–we’ll often see scenarios just like this (where the head crew of the Orville is at lunch, chatting it up) in sci-fi parodies, but the difference here is things are more honest, not mean-spirited. The show’s not afraid to get serious, but it’s equally unafraid to be comfortable with the fact that life doesn’t have a consistent tone. Some days are scary or happy or infuriating or sad, but most days are usually a mix of it all, y’know?
Which is why we can start things off with the group talking about Alara’s love life (which is eventually going to go somewhere…likely pairing her and Seth MacFarlane’s character together), then talk about how Bortus’ people can apparently consume anything before getting into an espionage mission with the single species the Union’s still having problems with. Still, before I get into that…let’s go back to the whole “Bortus’ people can eat anything”.
The main cast’s initial conversation is almost like treating one another like guinea pigs–Isaac suggests having sexual relations with Alara in order to study what mating rituals are like with organics, while they feed Bortus everything from a bowl of wasabi to a glass. They eventually start treating it like a game, but it really just made me wonder…what are humans good at? Xelayans have super-strength, Moclans can adapt to any environment, and Kaylons are hyper-advanced AI…you’d think humans would have something they were capable of that most other races weren’t.
2. Things get “serious” when the group run upon the Krill attacking a newly formed colony. The Orville winds up in a spaceship battle which is…surprisingly well done. No, it’s not Gundam or Abrams’ Trek–it’s a little slow-paced and their strategy isn’t as genius as they play it off in the show. But the fact that it was short keeps us from having to watch them do more and more impossible feats just to justify the battle, and I remain stunned that FOX is even dumping so much cash into this series. Anyhow, out-sized and outgunned, Ed’s clever planning combined with Gordon’s ace piloting wins the day, destroying the Krill warship and leaving them with a unique present…a undamaged Krill shuttle.
3. They immediately call up a Union official (played by Kelly Hu) to inform them of their find, presuming they’ll take the ship and take it apart in order to learn more about the Krill, but of course it can’t be that simple. Instead, Ed and Gordon are tasked with heading into a Krill mothership and finding a copy of the Krill’s bible, as the one thing they’ve learned about the race is that they’re very religious. This kind of requires you to just “go along with” the plot they’re setting up, as there’s so much wrong with what’s happening here. Primarily–neither Ed or Gordon have ANY experience in espionage. It was hard getting through this episode because I was just so certain that one of them was going to talk too much and get them both murdered.
The reasoning is supposed to be that Gordon’s the best pilot in the fleet, but if that’s the case why did Ed have to rescue him with a job offer? LeBron purposefully shoulder bumps a jerk reporter on his way out of a losing game, so you bench him for maybe the next game but definitely not the rest of his career, or even the rest of the season. They just kind of bumble their way around the Krill ship and you realize that the Union doesn’t need to be all that effective as combatants when their opponents are clearly incredibly stupid.
4. Anachronism Watch: This episode we learn that the Krill worship something known as “Avis”. By itself, the name is fine–but then Gordon specifically brings up the fact that Avis is a 20th century car insurance company. Later, Gordon references Hertz as a joke, because apparently literally the first thing he could think of was to make a dumb joke. Lastly, as Ed’s studying their literature he makes a comparison to Bret Easton Ellis–author of American Psycho.
At this point my crackpot theories have expanded:
– Humans can have knowledge downloaded into their brains, and everyone just chooses pop culture as one of their options. I’ve mentioned this before, and there’s no other way they’d remember stuff from the 90’s or the 2000’s when they’re four hundred years into the future, unless..
– The Orville is an elaborate, original pen-and-paper roleplaying game between a bunch of pop culture geeks. I usually hate ideas like this–it shatters the fantasy for a pointless masturbatory meta moment, but it explains all these references to stuff that’d be impossible to know in that era. Most kids these days can’t even remember stuff from 2008, nevermind the 90’s.
5. This episode gives us a shocking amount of detail about the Krill as an alien race. We learn they’re a race of highly religious people, and even attend a religious service of theirs, where they reveal one of the people they killed in their last attack–the severed head of a colonist that they mutilate as apparently the main part of their service. We learn that their religion teaches that those who aren’t Krill have no souls, and as such can be killed at will and without regard for their life–a sobering reminder of mankind’s past beliefs regarding some religions. And we also learn that they’re essentially space vampires, which is something I probably should’ve picked up on since they all look like Nosferatu, but I was too caught up in the bells and whistles of the sci-fi aspect to really notice.
In the end, they wipe out most of the Krill ship in order to save a colony–blowing the lights on the ship in order to deep fry the Krill, who have no concept of a planet with sunlight as they exist on a planet without sun. They save a group of young students, but eventually send them back as a humanitarian effort, only to be reminded by the teacher of those students that “saving” those students most likely just resulted in far more hatred from the Krill towards humans. This was supposed to be a sobering ending, but the reality is they were already willing to attack defenseless planets and wipe out hundreds of thousands of lives at a time–they already carry a hatred for the Union, what’s the difference?
Secondly, I’m not sure I would have sent home those children. Ultimately, they could have been taught not to fear or hate the Union, and as such could have been useful in helping to make an alliance with the Krill. Instead, they’re almost certainly going to be even worse now that they’ve seen humans murder everyone they knew.
The Orville airs on FOX and is available for streaming on Hulu.