In classic TV history, many shows have followed an intense two-part episode “mega-story” with an episode or two of “lowered stakes,” where the plot lines aren’t so intense as to give the characters (and viewers) a bit of a mental and emotional break. That pattern did not hold serve for ‘The Orville’ this week, as things kept up in a very high-stakes fashion throughout the entire course of “Blood of Patriots.”
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 the wake of the Kaylon attack, the Krill have stayed in contact with the Planetary Union and have expressed their desire to explore options for a cease-fire treaty between their two groups. Guest Star/Admiral Ted Danson says that, since Ed is the active Union officer with the most experience dealing directly with the Krill (even though he’s a relatively inexperienced commander of a mid-range science vessel), he’s best suited for the job of initiating contact with the Krill diplomats and signing a pre-treaty agreement – kind of like an interstellar Promise Ring.
The Orville makes its rendezvous with the Krill cruiser, but as they arrive, a Krill shuttle is attempting to escape the cruiser and requests asylum on-board the Union vessel. Ed complies, only to discover Orin Channing and his daughter on-board – both thought dead but actually captured by the Krill after an attack on a Union outpost 20 years ago. the Krill claim that Channing has recently destroyed three Krill ships and tallied over 12,000 deaths in doing so, and they want him back for “interrogation and judgment,” i.e. death.
Channing claims his innocence, but his actions and demeanor onboard make some of the crew suspicious. Gordon, who was at the colony with Channing 20 years ago and had his life saved by the man, wants to believe that Channing is telling the truth. The Krill refuse to sign the pre-treaty agreement unless the man is returned to them, setting the episode up for a tense climax with several twists and turns.
- While Seth MacFarlane’s writing is far from perfect, he’s clearly come a long way from the first season of this show in terms of the presentation of the tales and, more importantly, the balance of comedy and science fiction. It just… feels like the show has turned a corner in its story-telling after “Identity.” In my eyes, no longer is ‘The Orville’ seen as a goofy show with a bit of sci-fi thrown in – it’s now a sci-fi show with a little bit of humor thrown in.
- This week, we are given another real-world storyline being paralleled in the on-screen plot: that of the POW/veteran grappling with PTSD and other war-related mental maladies. While I don’t feel that things are given their proper exploration, particularly in the episode-ending wrap-up scenes, it’s certainly an issue that needs to be discussed, so kudos to MacFarlane and the creative team for even “going there” when many other shows simply wouldn’t even try.
- Yes, there’s a little bit of the over-used sci-fi juju in the fact that the conveniently-placed “rare alien” had exactly what was needed to help Channing complete his mission, but let’s be honest: only a handful of sci-fi shows haven’t relied on this in one form or another at some point. Don’t blame MacFarlane and his writing exclusively for this foible.
CLOSING THOUGHTS: Not a bad follow-up to “Identity, Parts 1 and 2,” all things considered. I’m definitely hooked on this show, and always excited to see what the next new episode brings us. Speaking of which, however: next week is a repeat episode, so we will see you back here in two weeks for more new ‘Orville!’
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.