TV Review – The Orville: A Happy Refrain

TL;DR – A beautiful story about finding love in an unexpected place.  

Score – 4.5 out of 5 stars

The Orville: A Happy Refrain. Image Credit: Fox.

One of the things that The Orville has focused on in its run so far is the relationships between the crew, both plutonic, but yes also romantic. Indeed, the show’s premise was based around the fact that Ed (Seth MacFarlane) and Kelly (Adrianne Palicki) have to work together even though they used to be married. However, there has been one relationship that has been on a very slow burn since Season One and today we get more of it.

So to set the scene, we open as Claire (Penny Johnson Jerald) is working on a research paper and asks Isaac (Mark Jackson) to give it a once over. The two have grown close since their shuttle crash-landed and Isaac helped watch over her children. It is during this exchange that Claire finally works out that she wants to take this relationship to the next level, but is that something Isaac can even do. Oh and Bortus (Peter Macon) wants to grow a moustache and it is amazing. Now from here, we will be looking at the episode as a whole, so there will be some [SPOILERS] ahead.  

The Orville: A Happy Refrain. Image Credit: Fox.
Penny Johnson Jerald brings the heart to the episode. Image Credit: Fox.

There is a lot that could be said about this episode but at its core is a beautiful love story between two unlikely people. Claire has been burnt before in the past, and she also has two growing children that have to be her first priority, Isaac is a sentient AI for a world that finds biological life to be deeply primitive, and thus is just here observing the crew. Also as an AI he can’t feel or exhibit emotion. This obviously creates much amusement in the crew as both ask for advice, but there is also a level of concern, Kelly does not want to see Claire get hurt when she finds out that Isaac can’t reciprocate in that way she might want. All of this, adds to the family feel of the crew that the show has been going for.

While this is a serious episode about love, it also has some really funny moments, many revolving around Isaac not understanding certain social queues or aspects of human behaviour. For example, interpreting ‘be spontaneous’ as arriving with a cake in Claire’s apartment at Pi o’clock in the morning. I also got a chuckle out of the getting advice sequences and Gordon (Scott Grimes) and John (J. Lee) running across the ship to spread the gossip. It also culminated in a spectacular musical performance, which was really expertly filmed, and I do love a good concert.

The Orville: A Happy Refrain. Image Credit: Fox.
Mark Jackson has to walk a fine line as Isaac the emotionless AI that might actually have emotions. Image Credit: Fox.

Now, while it was an episode that on first approach seems like it would be a very farcical show, and it is. It is also a deeply emotional episode that explores the notion of love, with the joy and pain it can bring. It works on this level for many reasons and one of them is Penny Johnson Jerald. Penny is one of those actors that can slot herself into almost any role imaginable, and still give an amazing performance time after time. She brings the heart to this episode, and you feel joy when it is shining and pain when it has been hurt, and that is down to the power she brings to the role. As well as this, Mark Jackson steps up to the challenge or being this emotionless AI robot that still might have emotions, and that is a difficult line to walk. All of this culminates on a rainstorm on the bridge which was one of the most touching moments on the show so far, though I am not sure how fun it might have been to film.

In the end, do we recommend A Happy Refrain? Yes, yes we do. It is a beautiful episode exploring love in all its weird complexity. It is also an episode with a lot of heart to it, and I do think it is my favourite episode of the show so far.             

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
Production/Disruption Companies – 20th Century Fox, Fuzzy Door Production, Fox Network & SBS Viceland.
Starring in Season Two – Seth MacFarlane, Adrianne Palicki, Penny Johnson Jerald, Scott Grimes, Peter Macon, Jessica Szohr, J. Lee & Mark Jackson also Chad L. Coleman, Mike Henry, Chris Johnson, Norm McDonald Kai Di’nilo Wener & BJ Tanner  

1 thought on “TV Review – The Orville: A Happy Refrain

  1. Pingback: TV Review – The Orville: Identity Part 1 | TL;DR Movie Reviews and Analysis

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