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Old Wounds

The Orville2418: Slowly-rising Planetary Union officer Commander Ed Mercer arrives home to find his wife in bed with a blue-skinned alien. Not interested in talking the situation out, he leaves to seek refuge in his career in the stars.

2419: What a difference a year makes – Ed Mercer is still a commander, albeit one whose career has become even more aimless, punctuated by a few incidents of reporting for duty while hung over. (Not all differences are good ones.) Still, to his surprise, and despite his spotty career record, Mercer is offered a promotion to captain and command of the medium exploratory vessel U.S.S. Orville. He raises eyebrows at Planetary Union Central by hand-picking his somewhat uncouth old buddy Gordon Malloy to be the Orville‘s helmsman, but he has no say in the filling of the vacant first officer position, a candidate for which will be selected by the admiralty. But not in his worst nightmares does Mercer expect his new XO to also be his ex-wife.

There’s barely time for a reunion through clenched teeth before the Orville is dispatched to answer a call for aid from a scientific colony. The chief scientist there, Dr. Aronov, introduces them to a device capable of accelerating time; while he’s rattling off a litany of potentially beneficial uses, Mercer’s new security officer, Lt. Alara Kitan, wisely deduces ways it could be weaponized – and that’s why Aronov issued the vague call for help. He believes that if the warlike Krill learn of the time accelerator, they’ll descend upon the colony like a plague of locusts.

But the warlike Krill are already there, planting the seed for Mercer’s first true test as a commander.

Download this episode via Amazonwritten by Seth McFarlane
directed by Jon Favreau
music by Bruce Broughton

The OrvilleCast: Seth McFarlane (Captain Ed Mercer), Adrianne Palicki (Commander Kelly Grayson), Penny Johnson Jerald (Dr. Claire Finn), Scott Grimes (Lt. Gordon Malloy), Peter Macon (Lt. Commander Bortus), Halston Sage (Lt. Alara Kitan), J Lee (Lt. John LaMarr), Mark Jackson (Isaac), Victor Garber (Admiral Halsey), Brian George (Dr. Aronov), Joel Swetow (Krill Captain), Patrick Cox (Ogre), Norm MacDonald (voice of Yaphit), Christine Corpuz (Janice Lee), Sean Cook (Derek), Dylan Kenin (Krill Soldier), Dee Bradley Baker (Dr. Jorvik)

The OrvilleNotes: With a writing staff loaded down with veterans of Star Trek: The Next Generation and Voyager (Brannon Braga, Andre Bormanis, David A. Goodman), and Star Trek veterans aplenty among the cast (Penny Johnson Jerald played Kasidy Yates, Captain Sisko’s love interest on Deep Space Nine, while Brian George guest starred as Dr. Bashir’s estranged father on the same series), a ship – with physical filming models no less! – designed by Andrew Probert, and diehard TNG fan Seth McFarlane creating and starring, it can’t possibly be a secret to anyone at the end of the first hour that The Orville is both an homage and spoof of Star Trek: TNG. McFarlane, Braga and Goodman also collaborated on the 21st century relaunch of Cosmos, while Bormanis worked on National Geographic’s Mars series. Brian George and Dee Bradley Baker are also voice actors with many a role in Star Wars: The Clone Wars.

LogBook entry by Earl Green

Command Performance

The OrvilleThe Orville answers a distress call from a fellow Planetary Union ship, but fears of a Krill attack pale in Captain Ed Mercer’s mind to the revelation that his parents are aboard the victimized vessel. Ed and Kelly take a shuttle over to the ship, leaving Alara in command. (Bortus is on leave, hatching an egg.) But the attacked ship suddenly fades away, replaced by a buoy capable of generating a holographic image of that ship. Ed and Kelly’s molecules have been transmitted into Calivon space, a civilization not exactly on friendly terms with the Union, where they’re horrified to find they’ve been trapped in a replica of their old apartment, and are even more horrified to learn that this replica is part of a vast zoo of imprisoned living creatures with little hope of escape. In over her head, Alara receives orders from a Union Admiral: give up the search for the Orville’s Captain and First Officer, and return to Earth. She has to weigh the damage to her career against the damage to her standing among the crew as she decides whether to obey or disobey those orders.

Download this episode via Amazonwritten by Seth McFarlane
directed by Robert Duncan McNeill
music by John Debney

The OrvilleCast: Seth McFarlane (Captain Ed Mercer), Adrianne Palicki (Commander Kelly Grayson), Penny Johnson Jerald (Dr. Claire Finn), Scott Grimes (Lt. Gordon Malloy), Peter Macon (Lt. Commander Bortus), Halston Sage (Lt. Alara Kitan), J Lee (Lt. John LaMarr), Mark Jackson (Isaac), Chad L. Coleman (Klyden), Jeffrey Tambor (Ben Mercer), Holland Taylor (Jeannie Mercer), Larry Joe Campbell (Chief Newton), Ron Canada (Admiral Tucker), Brett Rickaby (Lurenek), J.D. Cullum (Calivon Zoo Administrator), Jerry O’Donnell (Bleriot Captain), Andrew Bering (Technician Jennings), Mike Gray (Ensign Parker), Alaina Fleming (Technician Reed), Jeremy Guskin (Furry Alien), Maxwell Hurlburt (Greenish Alien), George Tsai (Shuttle Bay Officer #1), Ryan Dietz (Calivon Official #1), Shannon McClung (Calivon Official #2), Sarah Buehler (Calivon Mother), Armen Nahapetian (Calivon Child)

The OrvilleNotes: Marvin V. Rush, former director of photography on the 1990s Star Trek spinoffs, joins The Orville in the same capacity with this episode, as does ’90s Trek camera operator Joe Chess. Guest stars Ron Canada and J.D. Cullum have both appeared on some of those Trek spinoffs: Canada guest starred on TNG, Deep Space Nine and Voyager (as well as a Babylon 5 guest shot), while Cullum appeared as Toral, bastard son of Duras, in TNG’s Redemption Part I and Part II in 1991. And of course, director Robert Duncan McNeill is an old hand at space travel, having played Lt. Tom Paris in all seven seasons of Star Trek: Voyager before moving on to a career of producing and directing.

LogBook entry by Earl Green

About A Girl

The OrvilleBortus and his partner, Klyden, are dismayed when their egg hatches, revealing a true rarity: a female Moclan baby. The traditions of their world demand that the baby’s gender be surgically altered to male, but Dr. Finn refuses to perform the operation on ethical grounds. Bortus tries to convince Captain Mercer to override Dr. Finn’s decision, but he too refuses. With his shipmates continually trying to change his mind about the operation (which Bortus reads as them trying to force their cultures’ values on him), Bortus feels he has no choice but to contact the Moclan homeworld and ask for assistance. Shortly before that assistance arrives in the form of a large (and armed) Moclan ship, Malloy and LaMarr finally get through to Bortus by introducing him to the story of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. With his own people now present and ready to take charge of the situation, Bortus now agrees that the operation is unethical…and finds that his whole world (including Klyden) is now against him.

Download this episode via Amazonwritten by Seth McFarlane
directed by Brannon Braga
music by Joel McNeely

The OrvilleCast: Seth McFarlane (Captain Ed Mercer), Adrianne Palicki (Commander Kelly Grayson), Penny Johnson Jerald (Dr. Claire Finn), Scott Grimes (Lt. Gordon Malloy), Peter Macon (Lt. Commander Bortus), Halston Sage (Lt. Alara Kitan), J Lee (Lt. John LaMarr), Mark Jackson (Isaac), Chad L. Coleman (Klyden), Deobia Oparei (Captain Vorak), David Barrera (Vasquez), Rena Owen (Heveena), Lamont Thompson (Kaybrak), Jonathan Adams (Moclan Arbitrator), Antonio D. Charity (Advocate Kagus), Norm MacDonald (voice of Yaphit), D. Elliot Woods (Moclan Council Foreman), Rico E. Anderson (Moclan Doctor), Julius Sharpe (Reptilian Alien)

LogBook entry by Earl Green

If The Stars Should Appear

The OrvilleA routine – actually, boring – star-mapping mission is interrupted by the discovery of a massive artificial structure in space, adrift but falling into the gravity well of a nearby star. Ed, Kelly, Dr. Finn, Alara and Isaac board the ship, and are left speechless by its sheer scale. Artificial walkways lead to a naturalistic setting with human inhabitants, and Ed quickly learns that they have no idea where they really are, or what fate awaits them. Word of the arrival of the strangely-dressed people from the Orville spreads, and Kelly and Alara are accosted by thuggish uniformed security guards; Kelly is taken into custody and interrogated, while Alara is shot and left for dead. Ed, Dr. Finn and Isaac are introduced to a group of quiet revolutionaries, who do believe that there’s more out there than the religious rule of law that keeps most of the humans from questioning anything about their existence. Ed is determined to reveal the truth to everyone, even if it means their primitive society will fall into disarray.

Download this episode via Amazonwritten by Seth McFarlane
directed by James L. Conway
music by Joel McNeely

The OrvilleCast: Seth McFarlane (Captain Ed Mercer), Adrianne Palicki (Commander Kelly Grayson), Penny Johnson Jerald (Dr. Claire Finn), Scott Grimes (Lt. Gordon Malloy), Peter Macon (Lt. Commander Bortus), Halston Sage (Lt. Alara Kitan), J Lee (Lt. John LaMarr), Mark Jackson (Isaac), Chad L. Coleman (Klyden), Larry Joe Campbell (Chief Newton), Robert Knepper (Hamelac), James Morrison (Kemka), Max Burkholder (Tomilin), Norm MacDonald (voice of Yaphit), Liam Neeson (Jahavus Dorahl), Rachael MacFarlane (Computer Voice), Julie Mitchell (Woman), Kane Lieu (Security Station Officer), Casey Sander (Druyan Captain), David Hutchison (Alien Man), Michael Duisenberg (Uniformed Man #1), Derek Graf (Uniformed Man #2), Eddie Davenport (Guard #1), Justice Hedenberg (Dissident)

The OrvilleNotes: This episode of The Orville, like most others, has just a few connections to classic sci-fi. Uncredited on screen but unmistakable once he begins speaking, Liam Neeson plays the generational ship’s captain. Though he’s now associated with present-day action thrillers, Neeson has played characters who, to cite just one example, tried to restore peace and justice to the galaxy. James L. Conway is a veteran director of the Star Trek franchise, with his work stretching from the first season of TNG to one of the final episodes of Enterprise, with frequent stops at Deep Space Nine and Voyager along the way. Robert Knepper also appeared on TNG as well as Voyager. James Morrison was a regular as Col. McQueen on Fox’s ’90s space opera Space: Above And Beyond. In homages more scientific than fictional, the colony ship Druyan is named after Ann Druyan, wife of the late Carl Sagan and co-writer of both the original and modern iterations of the TV series Cosmos. (Seth MacFarlane, incidentally, produced the 21st century revival; the original series premiered exactly 37 years to the day before this episode of The Orville.) And finally, the concept of a generational ship falling toward a star, its inhabitants blissfully unaware that they’re aboard a space vessel, complete with a religion that forbids knowledge of their true whereabouts, bears more than a passing resemblance to the plot of the pilot episode of Harlan Ellison’s brilliantly conceived (but crappily produced) early 1970s sci-fi series, The Starlost.

LogBook entry by Earl Green

Pria

The OrvilleThe Orville receives a garbled distress call, apparently from a passing comet on a death dive into a nearby star. Ed leads a shuttle mission to rescue the sender of the distress call, the sole occupant of a ship crashed on the comet’s surface, but the close proximity of the star nearly makes it a one-way trip. He returns to the Orville with Pria Levesque, the captain of the crashed mining ship, though something about her story bothers Kelly. A check of the doomed ship’s manifest reveals no one aboard named Pria, but Ed is unconvinced that anything’s wrong. By the time enough evidence piles up to convince Ed otherwise, it’s too late – Pria is in control of the Orville.

Download this episode via Amazonwritten by Seth McFarlane
directed by Jonathan Frakes
music by John Debney

The OrvilleCast: Seth McFarlane (Captain Ed Mercer), Adrianne Palicki (Commander Kelly Grayson), Penny Johnson Jerald (Dr. Claire Finn), Scott Grimes (Lt. Gordon Malloy), Peter Macon (Lt. Commander Bortus), Halston Sage (Lt. Alara Kitan), J Lee (Lt. John LaMarr), Mark Jackson (Isaac), Charlize Theron (Captain Pria Levesque), Larry Joe Campbell (Chief Newton), Norm MacDonald (voice of Yaphit), Rachael MacFarlane (Computer Voice)

The OrvilleNotes: For the second time, a Star Trek veteran is behind the camera for an episode of The Orville (former Star Trek: The Next Generation star-turned-director Jonathan “Riker” Frakes), and the show boasts an A-list movie actor, though unlike Liam Neeson’s appearance earlier, Charlize Theron’s appearance was heavily promoted in the week before air.

LogBook entry by Earl Green

Krill

The OrvilleFor the third time in a month, a far-flung Union colony is under Krill attack, and the Orville answers the distress call despite being badly outgunned by the Krill cruiser it finds itself facing. But thanks to a desperate last-ditch maneuver ordered by Captain Mercer, not only does the Orville emerge victorious, but it retrieves an intact Krill shuttle from the resulting wreckage, giving Union engineers a unique chance to analyze Krill technology. But a Union admiral has other plans for the shuttle: Mercer and helmsman Gordon Malloy will assume Krill disguise and infiltrate the nearest Krill cruiser, trying to obtain a copy of the Krill’s holy book, as their religion dictates their drive for war. The infiltration goes smoothly enough, but when Mercer and Malloy discover that this cruiser is on a mission to finish the job left undone by the ship destroyed by the Orville, things become much deadlier.

Download this episode via Amazonwritten by David A. Goodman
directed by Jon Cassar
music by Joel McNeely

The OrvilleCast: Seth McFarlane (Captain Ed Mercer), Adrianne Palicki (Commander Kelly Grayson), Penny Johnson Jerald (Dr. Claire Finn), Scott Grimes (Lt. Gordon Malloy), Peter Macon (Lt. Commander Bortus), Halston Sage (Lt. Alara Kitan), J Lee (Lt. John LaMarr), Mark Jackson (Isaac), Kelly Hu (Admiral Ozawa), Michaela McManus (Teleya), Dylan Kenin (Captain Haros), James Horan (Sazeron), Michael Dempsey (Mining Chief Harry Leidecker), Makabe Ganey (Coja), Gabriella Graves (Krill Girl Student), Caleb Brown (Krill Boy Student), Tim Neff (Krill Soldier), Brandon Melendy (Krill Guard), Jordan Lane Shappell (Krill Helmsman), Fred Tatasciore (Krill Voice)

The OrvilleNotes: James Horan is the latest Star Trek veteran drafted back into the service of The Orville, having appeared in TNG (Suspicions, Descent Part II), DS9 (In Purgatory’s Shadow), Voyager (Fair Trade), and throughout the run of Enterprise as the “Humanoid Figure” issuing orders from the future to Silik from the pilot episode forward.

LogBook entry by Earl Green

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