Well, Seth MacFarlane has never shied away from tackling “big issues” on ‘The Orville,’ but this episode is certainly… different. Everyone’s favorite robor observer, Isaac, gets to go home to Kaylon in this special two-part episode (to be continued next week!), although this certainly didn’t go as anyone expected. There’s a reason that Fox didn’t release any actual description of the episode and kept the trailer intentionally vague… read on to learn more!
WARNING: Spoilers for this episode of ‘The Orville’ lie ahead, obviously. If you haven’t seen the episode and don’t wish for any of its content to be spoiled for you, the time to turn back is NOW!
RECAP: No, that’s not Three-Dimensional Chess you’re seeing in the opening scene – but, like so many other aspects of ‘The Orville,’ it’s a futuristic table-top type of game that is a loving homage to all things ‘Star Trek.’ Isaac is enjoying a round of the game with Ty and Marcus, Claire’s sons (and props again to MacFarlane for not making everything a 20th-Century reference and have them playing Pie Face or some other nonsense). Suddenly, however, his android body powers down and he collapses in a heap.
Dr. Finn (medicine woman) and the senior staff are stumped; they just don’t know enough about Kaylon “physiology,” as it were, to make any kind of accurate assessment of the situation. After getting clearance from Union brass (welcome back, Admiral Halsey!), the Orville sets course for Kaylon – a remote planet well past the boundaries of Union space, and out of communications range as well. Cue the slightly ominous music…
The Orville arrives to a fairly normal-looking planet – honestly, I half-expected a Borg-esque techno-covered planet, or maybe a giant smartphone or something. The ship is given landing coordinates from the surface, and comes in to dock at one of the giant, miles-high towers that seem to dominate the fog-laden world.
What could possibly be waiting on this strange alien surface? Giant computers? Techno-centric group essences? No – just lots more felt-and-plastic-clad silver humanoid robots, but all with red eyes instead of blue! They explain that Isaac was simply deactivated, as his mission has been completed; the Kaylon will now deliberate as to whether to join the Union or not.
The Kaylon do allow Isaac to be reactivated, and the Orville crew throw him a goodbye party as a way to show their affection and appreciation of his time with them. After the party, however, Ty misses Isaac, and goes onto the surface of Kaylon to try and find him. When Talla and Bortus go after him, they make a shocking discovery that sets into motion the events that will be continued next week!
- I totally understand and am all for the “shocking big reveal” in sci-fi shows, but geez, it seems like the Kaylon took a real quick 180 in this episode, yeah? They, so far, seem like a mash-up of all the classical robot baddies of sci-fi lore: take a little bit of Cyberman, add in a dash of Borg, just a pinch of Cylon, and mix in a blender to get a really good consistency of Kaylon.
- The guns popping out of the Kaylon’s heads seemed, at first, like a MacFarlane jokey-joke that didn’t quite land for me. Was it done to be overly comical and poke a bit of fun at the aforementioned sci-fi robots of old? Hard to be amused when it’s hundreds if not thousands of Kaylons threatening the entire crew of the Orville and the entire Union, really.
- If you read my reviews at all, you know how big of a Chad Coleman fan I am, and honestly, it was nice to have a Klyden sighting in this episode and not have him causing all sorts of trouble by threatening others, being a disgruntled mate, or just generally causing trouble.
- Since Isaac become such a grade-A dick towards the end of the episode, the question stands: was anything we’ve seen from him in terms of his “personal growth” and the impact that humans have seemed to have on him genuine, or was he simply acting this whole time while knowing what his race’s true plans were?
CLOSING THOUGHTS: While the episode was far from perfect, it (in tandem with my overall enjoyment of this second season and the show in general) has hooked me enough to make me very intrigued to see how Ed and company will work to get out of this mage-jam next week. Will Isaac be returning at all, and if so, will he still be one of the “bad guys?” As Fox hopes you do, of course – tune in next week to find out!
PRINCIPAL CAST FEATURED IN THIS EPISODE:
Seth MacFarlane as Ed Mercer
Adrianne Palicki as Kelly Grayson
Penny Johnson Jerald as Dr. Claire Finn
Scott Grimes as Gordon Malloy
Peter Macon as Lt. Commander Bortus
Jessica Szohr as Lt. Talla Keyali
J. Lee as John LaMarr
Mark Jackson as Isaac
New episodes of ‘The Orville’ are premiering on FOX every Thursday this season.