TV Review – The Orville: The Road Not Taken and Season 2

TL;DR – Time travel, parallel universes, and the end of the universe, oh my.

Score – 4.5 out of 5 stars

The Orville: The Road Not Taken. Image Credit: Fox.


Time travel is a dangerous thing because you never know just what you may accidentally do. Today we are looking at the second part of an interesting look at the past of The Orville. It gives us time to see characters in a new light, in new circumstances, and asks the question: what could really happen when you know the future?

So to set the scene, at the end of Tomorrow, And Tomorrow, And Tomorrow Kelly (Adrianne Palicki) was meant to be sent back in time with her memories wiped so she could not accidentally change the crew’s past and her future because of the knowledge she knows. Well at the end of last week’s episode we discover that the memory wipe didn’t take, and out of a need to not cause any pain Kelly decides not to accept Ed’s (Seth MacFarlane) proposal for a second date. I mean that can’t change anything, right, it is just one date, right …? Well, as it turns out it might have changed everything. Now from here, we will be looking at the episode as a whole, so there will be some [SPOILERS] ahead.    

The Orville: The Road Not Taken. Image Credit: Fox.
We’re not in Kansas anymore. Image Credit: Fox.

The butterfly effect is one of those sayings that while dramatically simplifying a concept it also allows you to wrap your mind around what would otherwise be a complex conundrum. What happens if you change one moment in time, what would be the repercussions as you work out everything from that point onwards? This has been used quite extensively in since fiction before, take the many parallel universes of Stargate or the Mirror Universe in Star Trek, and others like Eureka, Doctor Who, and more. Indeed, technically speaking we are already living in a parallel universe in The Orville because the USS Orville was not destroyed back in Season One. With this in mind, it was great to see the show take a moment to have a little fun with it. What would people’s lives be like if they had not all met up on the Orville and who would have thought it would have led to the end of the world.

This is where the production design of this episode really shined through, as it showed a world that had been almost completely destroyed. The Kaylon had wiped out most of sentient life in half the galaxy, with only a few hold outs left. This gave the crew some liberties to get away for the formal uniforms and embrace their inner rebel army. We also get to see a new style of the ship in the large freighter that they commandeer which was a nice change of pace to the sleek lines of all the Union ships. All of this is wonderfully rendered during some amazing visual sequences. Because they are on the run, a lot of the sequences happen when being chased through asteroids, moons, and a black hole. This is all set to one of the best scores of the season so far, with rousing trumpets and dancing strings.  

The Orville: The Road Not Taken. Image Credit: Fox.
The visual effects was another stand out. Image Credit: Fox.

While there was a lot of action in this episode, there was also smaller character moments which is where the show really shined. Some of these were the return of old friends, some of these were brutal, like Bortus (Peter Macon) finding out that his husband and son are likely dead. There were moments of joy, like getting to eat a Twinkie for the first time in a long while. There was also a moment of sadness, like Claire (Penny Johnson Jerald) looking over at her two sons trying to be strong for them but knowing that at best she is leaving them and at worst they are all about to die. There were even some comedic moments like a decapitated Isaac (Mark Jackson). It is in these character moments when the show really demonstrates its strength and shows just what an amazing episode of TV The Road Not Taken was.

With that in mind, let’s take a look know as to how the season as a whole worked. Overall, I have to say I am really impressed with how the season developed, especially the back half. The start of the season felt a little disjointed and then we had a cast member change that threw everything off balance a bit. Adding to this, it really didn’t feel like the show had quite gotten that balance between the serious and the absurd quite right, and then Identity happened. Not only did this shift up the world of the show, but it allowed them to really find their voice with where they wanted to position themselves. From here onwards it was nothing but from strength to strength as the show continued to develop. It felt that as the season continued on, the crew and cast had really grounded both their characters but also the world around them. In science fiction, this is often referred to as ‘growing its beard’ after the huge jump with The Next Generation’s second season that coincided with Will Riker growing a beard. Whatever the case may be, this season has been absolutely excellent and I hope we get to see a Season Three.     

The Orville: The Road Not Taken. Image Credit: Fox.
It is the same, but not as you know it. Image Credit: Fox.

In the end, do we recommend, The Road Not Taken? Yes, yes we do, it was a strong end to a strong season. It gave you everything you wanted for a part two, it played on everything set up in Tomorrow, And Tomorrow, And Tomorrow, it also let us look back on the past two seasons and also look forward to the future. We are living in a new golden age of TV science fiction, with The Orville, Star Trek Discovery, The Expanse, and more. As someone who has lived through the long drought, it is great not just to see more sci-fi on TV, but fantastic sci-fi that takes the genre further, and The Orville is helping that more than ever.                

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.   

Credits –
All images were created by the cast, crew, and production companies of The Orville
Directed by
– Gary Rake
Written by – David A. Goodman
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 BJ Tanner, Kai Di’nilo Wener, Norm MacDonald & Halston Sage   


5 thoughts on “TV Review – The Orville: The Road Not Taken and Season 2

  1. Another great episode from great TV series.
    Looking forward to renewal (season 3).
    Ed might be too easily accept the captain seat in alternate timeline, but I will let that pass.
    Reunion with Alara Kitan is very rewarding.


  2. Pingback: Article – A New Golden Age of Science Fiction on Television | TL;DR Movie Reviews and Analysis

  3. Is it a parallel universe? I think you mean an alternate timeline arising because the orville wasnt destroyed. Unlike parallel universes, alternate timelines did not seem to diverge from the universe, but instead rewrote history to the point of wiping out the original timeline.

    I might be reading you wrong so if so my bad. I really like the review, I’ve been going back over the orville recently to explore episodes again. 😀


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  5. Pingback: The Orville: New Horizons (Season 3) – TV Review | TL;DR Movie Reviews and Analysis

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