An arm wrestling competition in the mess-hall between Alara Kitan and resident asshole cybernetic, Isaac, results in Alara breaking her arm – Here Dr Finn discovers that Alara is losing her bone density and ultimately her super-human strength. What makes her unique to the crew of The Orville is fading away. The only way she can build up her bone density and super-human strength is for Alara to return to her home planet, Xeleya, and re-acclimate herself to the higher gravity.
Upon returning to Xeleya, Alara moves back in with her parents and sister. Forced to endure the near-xenophobic jabs by her father (Star Trek and Stargate veteran Robert Picardo) towards the Planetary Union. Not to mention the class division brought up by her family between the intellectual and military families. An apt metaphor regarding gender and class bias. To quote Harry Mudd, “Have you ever bothered to look outside your starships? You’ll find there’s a lot more of us down here then there are you, up there.”
Alara Finds Herself on Xeleya
Halston Sage, the actress playing Alara, has been rumoured to leave The Orville at some point this season. And “Home” is a neat little swansong in the pairing of Alara’s departure with veteran Family Guy writer Cherry Chevapravatdumrong. It’s full circle for a character that, despite a crew of misfits, has never really found her place on The Orville.
“Home”depicts Alara bound to a wheelchair on Xeleya as she attempts to re-acclimate to the planet. A restriction that allows the passion and conviction of her character to soar high. When questioned by her father “why join the military” we are treated to a soulful monologue allowing (for the first time in the series) Alara to come into her own. To find the comfort of her own character and station within the series. A pity its taken more than a season to get us there.
The episode progresses to the Kitan family taking a trip to a secluded island. While there time is spent sorting through a myriad of family issues. Most notably with Alara’s father and sister. The divide of misunderstanding begins to shrink in the scenes that follow. We meet a couple, played by Star Trek Enterprise’s John Billingsley and Kerry O’Malley, who are worried someone has broken into their holiday home (also on the island).
Alara’s interpersonal family grounding juxtapose the comedic attempts by Captain Mercer and crew as they grow used to her replacement. An elephant-like species, Lt. Tharl, who spends more time eating and using phrases “this ship is bitchin'” then doing actual work. Tharl aside, it’s an interesting segway into Dr Finn discovering a way for Alara to deal with her condition.
The same couple we encountered earlier reveal themselves in a dinner party with the Kitan’s. In a maniacal way, they take Alara and her entire family hostage. Revenge for Alara’s father discrediting the work of Billingsley’s character’s son. Work claiming a vaccine contained harmful qualities that could effect certain members of Xeleya’s population. When in fact, it never did.
Side note: is this Chevapravatdumrong taking a stance on Anti-vaxxers?
Thanks to a returning Captain Mercer who acts as distraction. The Kitan’s work themselves free, one scolded hand and an inspirational speech later. Before Alara finally does what she does best as chief security officer – Takes down the bad guy.
Queue highly emotional scene as Alara decides to leave The Orville. Coming to the epiphany that in leaving Xeleya to find a family on a Union starship. That same starship and its crew are responsible for finding her family on Xeleya yet again.
Rating? 4 Sodas