This was a heck of an episode that absolutely delivered on last week’s promise of all Hell breaking loose. Let’s dive right in so we can talk all about it!
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: In classic two-parter style, the action picks up right where last week’s episode left off: the Kaylon armada is heading to Earth with the Orville leading the way – controlled by the androids, of course. The crew has still been confined to the shuttle bay, and escape seems nigh-impossible, which we discover firsthand when Talla attempts to protect Claire’s son Ty and end up getting shot by a Kaylon head-gun.
Ed manages to convince the Kaylon to let he and Dr. Finn (medicine woman) take Talla to sickbay, and fortunately, she’s okay – a non-Xeleyan likely wouldn’t have survived the blast so well, however. We learn that the Kaylon are keeping the crew alive so that Ed and his team can take their positions on the bridge as the armada approaches Earth, to signal that everything is a-okay and that this is a peaceful convoy.
This idea gets a “test run” when a Union ship intercepts the Orville and the Kaylon ships. Ed and Kelly decide to use Union regulations to attempt to give a “hidden message” to the other ship in their communication, but the Kaylon quickly suss out their plan. Not only to the androids destroy the other Union ship before it can escape and alert Earth, they decide to show Ed the penalty for subterfuge by putting one of the human crew members out of an airlock.
Through this all, Isaac is present but attempts to minimize the injury and killing that his Kaylon brethren are inflicting on the humans. Kaylon Prime questions him thoroughly, but Isaac maintains that he is loyal to his homeworld. Things come to a head, however, when Ty is put in direct jeopardy; he and Yaphit had worked to escape the shuttle bay and get a message of warning out to Earth, concurrent with the crew’s other plans for Gordon and Kelly to escape in a shuttle and attempt to contact the Krill for help. Desperate times call for desperate measures, am I right?
Isaac, forced into action to defend Ty, destroys Kaylon Prime (rather easily, at that) and apparently has the quickest head-gun draw in the west, as he dispatches about a dozen other Kaylon on his way to retaking the bridge. He puts out an EM pulse across the ship which disables all the other Kaylon , including himself.
Then, the climactic conclusion commences: the Kaylon reach Earth, the Union fleet (having received Yahpit’s message) is waiting, and the fight is on. Spectacular and destructive, the fleets trade blows, with the Kaylon clearly overpowering the “home team.” A group of Kaylon vessels break through the front line and head directly for the Earth’s surface; at the last moment, the Krill arrive, as they have been properly swayed by Kelly & Gordon to join the fight (it helps that a Kaylon cruiser in pursuit of the duo tangled with 3 Krill ships, showing them that the threat is real).
They Kaylon are barely beaten back, retreating to their homeworld… for now. The Krill and the Union have an uneasy alliance in the face of a common enemy. The Orville team manages to bring Isaac back online, who realizes that he can never go home again and is, now more than ever, alone in the universe.
- This episode upped the ante of the “killer robot” vibe laid down by last week’s episode. We got the effortless destruction of several starships, airlocking innocent people, and the intent and near-implementation of a planet-wide orbital strike. It was all particularly brutal, but kudos to Seth MacFarlane and ‘The Orville’ creative team for not pulling any punches and showing that life may have its light moments, but it also has some darker ones as well.
- Did the Kaylon not think that they at some point might be fighting more than one alien fleet, though? Unless I’m misunderstanding the galactic power dynamic of how big the Union may truly be, the Kayon were fairly easily defeated, all things considered, once a “second group” showed up to contest them.
- I enjoyed officially getting the genesis of Isaac’s name – all this time, I thought he was named after the bartender on “The Love Boat!”
- One other question I had in the episode: is Isaac the only being built after the Kaylon killed their biological masters? Perhaps I don’t fully understand the process the Kaylon go through to create new members of their cybernetic species, but this seems ineffective use of the “production lines.” If it truly is a challenge for their species to make new versions of themselves, then they face a significant uphill battle after this defeat, and we may not seem them again for quite some time.
CLOSING THOUGHTS: It certainly feels like a corner has been turned for the show, and the ramifications of this galactic scuffle will likely impact many, many future episodes. It will be fun to see how MacFarlane and his team work this story into the narrative moving forward.
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.