TV Review – The Orville: Ja’loja

TL;DR – This first episode was all about us getting back into the groove with The Orville and its juxtaposition of absurdity and sincerity, but not all of it works.  

Score – 3.5 out of 5 stars

The Orville: Ja'loja. Image Credit: Fox


I finally got the chance to see Season One of The Orville early this year when it finally got a release down under, and I was struck by how funny and also how many serious issues it tackled. It was not just a Star Trek parody with the first officer and captain being exs, okay it is totally that, but it is also a beautiful sincere look at the work, with some fantastic characters and alien races. Now that Season Two is about to start, I am really interested to see how the show evolves going forward, and can it keep this interesting juxtaposition going.

So to set the scene, we open with the fallout of the will they-won’t they rekindling of the relationship between Captain Ed Mercer (Seth MacFarlane) and Commander Kelly Grayson (Adrianne Palicki), with the ‘won’t they’ being the winner at the end of Season One. Ed spends most of his evenings alone in the bar drinking bourbon with Olix (Jason Alexander) the new Mess Hall bartender while Kelly has moved on. All of this is put in sharp relief when Lieutenant Commander Bortus (Peter Macon) announces that he needs to go home for his yearly urination ceremony called Ja’loja, and everyone is invited. Oh, just one thing, it is bad luck to come to a Ja’loja alone. A reminder that we will be looking at the episode as a whole, so there will be [SPOILERS] ahead.

The Orville: Ja'loja. Image Credit: Fox
With Ja’loja we continue to see the juxtaposition of absurdity and sincerity. Image Credit: Fox

The theme of tonight’s episode, besides what kind of biological system does not need to urinate, but then you still need to do it once a year, I mean how do you hold it all year? Sorry, I digress, the theme of tonight’s episode is relationships, and it is here where we see the episode shine and also not quite work.

One of the highlights of this episode for me was the banter between Dr Claire Finn (Penny Johnson Jerald) and Isaac (Mark Jackson) about what it means to be a good parent. Raising children is never easy and even more so when you are a single mother who has to work all day and your kid falls into the wrong crowd. Also as someone who is a teacher, those scenes where the parents think the sun shines out of their kid’s ass when their child is clearly a delinquent is something that hit a little too close to home. The growing bond between Claire and Isaac was one of the surprises of Season One and I am glad they are continuing it here.

The Orville: Ja'loja. Image Credit: Fox
I am glad that they are continuing to develop the relationship between Dr Claire Finn (Penny Johnson Jerald) and Isaac (Mark Jackson). Image Credit: Fox

Even though I understand why they did it, it is a bit frustrating to be thematically back at the same point as we were at the start of Season One with Ed pinning over an unavailable Kelly. Sci-fi has a long history on putting the reset button on any possible relationship development between its leads and I had hoped that we would do something different here. Though it was good to see by the end of the episode that they are moving in a new direction this time and I hope this leads to some real growth for the characters. The rest of the episode involved other relationship across The Orville, however, while there were some interesting moments, none of them felt significant the characters and their development. It was also odd that they did not explore Bortus’ relationship given that it is the most complex on the show, and the episode was centred on him to some extent.

In the end, do we recommended Ja’loja? Yes, we do. Now while not everything worked, it was good to get back into this universe, and there were some interesting hooks for future development that I am really interested to see how they play out.         

By Brian MacNamara: You can follow Brian on Twitter Here, when he’s not chatting about Movies and TV, he’ll be talking about International Relations, or the Solar System.

Have you seen The Orville yet ?, let us know what you thought in the comments below, feel free to share this review on any of the social medias and you can follow us Here. Check out all our past reviews and articles Here, and have a happy day.    

Trailer – Click Here to View (all trailers have heavy spoilers)
Credits –
All images were created by the cast, crew, and production companies of The Orville
Directed by
– Seth MacFarlane
Written by – Seth MacFarlane
Created by – Seth MacFarlane
Starring in Season Two – Seth MacFarlane, Adrianne Palicki, Penny Johnson Jerald, Scott Grimes, Peter Macon, Halston Sage, J. Lee & Mark Jackson also Chad Coleman, Will Sasso, Mike Henry, Chris Johnson, Jason Alexander, Kai Wener, BJ Tanner, Jake Brennan, Michaela McManus & Rachael MacFarlane


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