TL;DR – We get what is not only the best episode of The Orville but one of the best episodes of Science Fiction I have seen.
Score – 5 out of 5 stars
Writing Science Fiction shows seems like it would be easy, I mean they are just westerns set in space, right? Alas, they are much more difficult than you think. You have to world build, but you can’t overwhelm the audience, every part of your universe has to have logical consistency, you need to fill that universe with interesting characters, and you need to always have in the back of your mind what future you want to present. Then, of course, you have to create stories that support every part of this. It is this alchemy that draws me to Science Fiction as a genre, and tonight we got to see an exemplar of a show doing it all.
So to set the scene, in last week’s episode Identity Part 1, just about everything we knew about The Orville got turned on its head. This is because Isaac’s (Mark Jackson) mission on the USS Orville was not about seeing if the Planetary Union was good enough for Kaylon to join, but to see if biological lifeforms were worth preserving at all. Well after some consideration the Kaylon’s decided no it wasn’t and that they should make way in their need to expand. This led to them boarding the Orville, killing many of the crew and taking the rest hostage, as the ship runs vanguard in front of an extermination fleet headed for Earth. In today’s episode we find out how, if at all possible, they can stop them, and the repercussions of such a brutal betrayal. Now from here, we will be looking at the episode as a whole, so there will be some [SPOILERS] ahead.
ship has been captured and is on a collision course with Earth overseen by a
species that core drive is the extermination of biological life. That is a
tough situation to try and write yourself out of, but you also have to deal
with, why they are bothering to keep all the crew alive, the betrayal, and also
do it without feeling cheap. Well here is where I take my hat off to the writer
of this week’s episode, and creator of the show, Seth MacFarlane. Not only did
he create a scenario where everything lined up,
but he also created a story that had me on the edge of my seat for the
One of the best aspects of tonight’s episode is that just about everyone on the show got a moment to shine. Kelly (Adrianne Palicki) went into enemy territory and put her life on the line to not only save her people but help mend a divide. Ed (Seth MacFarlane) showed that all those reservations the admiralty had are gone, as he led his people through one of the most difficult assignments they had ever faced, up to and including being prepared to sacrifice himself to save Earth. Claire (Penny Johnson Jerald) had to prepare her children for the dramatic shift in their lives and the very real chance that they will not get out of there. Bortus (Peter Macon) had one shot, and one shot only to save the planet and he took it. Talla (Jessica Szohr) ran in without a moment’s hesitation to protect her crew even though it almost cost her life. Gordon (Scott Grimes) took to the skies in a Krill Fighter to protect his crew, while John (J Lee) helmed The Orville in the heat of the battle. Isaac betrayed his people and his homeland and sacrificed himself to save Ty (Kai Di’Nilo Wener). Indeed, Ty himself along with Yaphit (Norm MacDonald) crawled through the vents of the ship in order to get a message out so Earth could prepare. It was these moments that brought the show together, because you felt the tension, and you knew the risk of what would happen if something went wrong.
Part of what makes this episode work as well as it does is the work that has gone into making the Kaylon an interesting and complex enemy. From a sheer cold logic analysis, you can see how a race that had been brutalised and tortured and the only way they could escape that was through revolution, would think that all biological life is a threat. Indeed, the Kaylon draw from our own world’s history to condemn us, and every other biological race, to death. It doesn’t take much to link past behaviour of slavery in the past with they will always be potential slavers. It is the sign of a good villain that when you listen to their rational you can go ‘okay there are some valid points there but…’ This also extends to the Krill, who have been presented so far as a fanatical theological state hell-bent on destroying everyone not following their religion. However, tonight they got to see themselves in the mirror for a bit and I think had a moment of self-reflection.
Now I would be remiss in talking about this episode and not exploring the simply wonderful production that went into this episode. First Joel McNeely’s score for today’s episode was one of pure joy. He had the strings attacking with their bows, the trumpets blaring the oncoming storm, and the French horns erupting in howls. Then we get to what is one of the best space battles I have seen since maybe Deep Space Nine’s Sacrifice of Angels, and it had the same thematic weight to it as well. They spared no expense bringing the epic battle to the big screen as hundreds of ships crashed together above the Moon. Everything was brilliantly realised by the Visual Effects team from Pixomondo and Fuse. Frankly, people will be comparing other shows to this sequence for years to come.
In the end, do we recommend The Orville’s Identity Part 2? Of course, we do, without hesitation. The cast was amazing, the writing was tight, the action was incredible, the music was explosive, and it will likely have a lasting impact on the show going forward. Here’s to this and more episodes of The Orville to come.
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 – Jon Cassar
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, Victor Garber, Graham Hamilton, Carlos Bernard, Nick Chinlund, BJ Tanner, Kai Di’nilo Wener, Robert David Grant, Norm McDonald & Rachael MacFarlane