September 29, 2017
I was watching episode 4 of “The Orville”, even as I was finishing up my last article on the matter.
Before I really get started, I just have to say: Flan Man is back! The gelatinous crewman was back in this episode again! I love it! He was so reasonable and understated. Yes! Please continue to bring him back and hopefully, make him a series regular.
Episode 4 was a largely standalone episode where the ship encounters a very, very large ship. They called it a Bioship, but I know them as generation ships. They are generally called generation ships, because the occupants spend generations inside as the ship slowly crawls to whatever destination it was meant for.
In this case, this generation ship must have fallen off course, because it will be caught up in a star’s gravitational pull in about 6 months’ time, and will shortly thereafter deep-fry its occupants as they fall, screaming, into the star’s corona.
A select investigation team, including some of the top-tier crewmembers flies over in a shuttle. Yes, yes, I like this. There still are no transporters, and I’m happy about that. I’m still dismayed that the head executives continue to insist on thrusting themselves headlong into the most dangerous and arguably, the most fun exploration roles of first-responders. Anyway, they -fly- over to the giant generation ship in their shuttle, and find a docking door to latch onto.
It was fun to see that the docking door was stuck, and they required the help of the super-strong security officer again. She’s always so helpful. And then, without any biosuits, spacesuits, or other protection from whatever irritants, infections, or anything else dangerous on the other side of the door, they open the ship up and walk right in, bravely facing whatever may kill them instantly. Have they never considered anti-boarding measures? Anyway, their recklessness is rewarded with a distinct lack of punishment, so they can continue on with the exploration adventure. Don’t worry. Disaster has been delayed, not avoided.
After we learn that the good doctor is afraid of heights, they reach the inner airlock door and emerge into an artificially-lit valley with trees, hills, and plains. They are immediately depressed with the small ship that they normally travel in, wishing they could afford to fly around in a generation ship. Never mind that other scenes have clearly shown they can simulate this natural environment in a holograph room.
So, much like victims in a horror movie, the team inexplicably decides to split up into two smaller teams. Cue the ominous music.
The team with Captain Ed, the doctor, and Isaac, the helpful, super-intelligent robot meet a family on a nearby farm. Funny, I didn’t see any crop fields. Interestingly, the robot intelligently determines, using a carefully worded question, that the family has no idea that their farm is located on a generation ship. As far as the family is aware, this little self-contained world is their entire world. They are ignorant of the universe around them. From there, the boy in the family took the command team out of the farmhouse to see something else.
We then cut to the smaller team, where the super-strong security lieutenant and executive officer are wandering along a well-worn path, discussing personal issues and generally exploring the countryside. All of a sudden, a car rolls up. The two ladies step off the road, but men in uniforms, holding rifles get out of the car and demand identification. The ladies, having left their drivers’ licenses on the dresser at home, fail to comply, so the security lieutenant is shot in the chest and goes tumbling down the hill. The executive officer, having been taken by surprise in this sudden turn of events, is knocked unconscious and taken by surprise in the car.
When we cut to the other team with Captain Ed, they are getting to know a local resistance group, who are resisting a local religion that is not clearly understood. Well, they dine with these kind folks, hiding their distaste for the food, but then have to dash when the security lieutenant calls them and activates her homing beacon before passing out again. Cut to the doctor using a nifty device to draw the bullets out of the girl’s chest, and then using another nifty device to accelerate the healing process. Nifty!
The team, being mostly reunited with the exception of the captured executive officer, head off to the central city of this world. Meanwhile, we see that the executive officer is being questioned by the rather harsh and slimy local magistrate. The officer has some real zingers for the magistrate, so he decides that torture would be a good idea for the officer. Now at the very beginning of the first episode of the show, we see that this executive officer is a normal, flawed woman, so she not the most likable member of the crew. However, this torture that she suffers is really painful to watch. It looks excruciating. Ouch. Fortunately, the rest of the exploration team arrive just as the worst of her torture begins, and they give the suffering teammate an antidote and release her, then thoroughly stun the magistrate to make their escape.
The members of the resistance then show the team a new door that is considered “forbidden”, but it works. Since it works, Isaac is the one to open the door this time, and they take the elevator that is right behind the door up to a “bridge” for the generation ship. The crew find a message from the original generation ship captain, and open the ship’s “skylight”, which immediately calls into question the power of the magistrate.
The Orville calls in ships to help the natives learn how to use and fly their ship, avoiding disaster with the nearby star, and allowing them to fly where they will.
This episode wasn’t quite the meaty powerhouse of the third episode, but it was definitely a fun, standalone story to see. It is definitely fun to watch this great show.