SODA & TELEPATHS

Comics and Culture

The Orville Replaces Alara, Plays with Classism

The Orville, Grayson, Bortus, Science Fiction
Grayson attempts to convince Bortus to have a “Joint” Birthday party

The Orville S02E05 Review and Walkthrough
“All the World is Birthday Cake”

It’s finally happened. Alara Kitan is officially out and she’s replaced with fellow Xeleyan lieutenant, Talla Keyali. Played by Jessica Szohr, who Gossip Girl fans will remember, in her breakthrough role as Vanessa Abrams. She quickly exerts her authority as the new resident bad ass after a brief meeting with Captain Mercer and Commander Grayson. Talla is willing to do anything for her superiors and the crew. So far so good.

Cut to the pre-credits scene introducing a planet looking to make first contact. This is lightly overshadowed by a brief discussion between Commander Grayson and Lieutenant Commander Bortus. Both who share a birthday in the same week. Bortus, in true stubborn Mocclan form, refuses to share his birthday celebration with anyone else. Comically appropriate.

The Orville, All the World is Birthday Cake, Season 2, TV
Prefect of Regor 2 (played by TV veteran John Rubinstein)

Astrology Gone Mad

What follows post-opening credits is a landing party of pretty much the entire bridge crew landing on Regor 2. Which begs the question who the f- is left on the ship? They meet with the Prefect of Regor 2 (played by TV veteran John Rubinstein, from every show) who is gracious enough to give them a tour of the capital, their culture, etc. You get the idea. As the landing party splits up, Dr Finn and Lieutenant Keyali witness a dangerously premature caesarean being carried out on a mother who doesn’t require it. Though the Regorian doctor-in-charge laments it is quite necessary to avoid the new born becoming a “Gilac.”

In the next scene, the bridge crew of The Orville attend a dinner with the Prefect and Regorian officials. After a gobbledygook speech about first contact, courtesy of Captain Mercer, who even admits he took the speech from about 9 different quotes. Commander Grayson admits that a first contact scenario is the best birthday present she could have got. This sparks fury and outrage from the Prefect and his people as he immediately places them under arrest and sends them to Gilac camp. The reason? All beings born in a certain date range are pre-destined to be violent. Its an astrology belief system injected with a whole new level of crazy.

The Orville, Science Fiction, TV
An artificial star

The needs of the Few outweigh the needs of the Many

What follows in the third act is Commander Grayson and Bortus delivering a Regorian baby that is born after the Gilac date range only to be taken from its parents. While on the Orville, Lieutenant Keyali recommends they create an artificial star to extend the Gilac date range. Grayson and Bortus attempt a daring escape only to be captured and put before a firing squad only to have Mercer put Keyali’s plan into motion just at the right time. Averting the would-be deaths of Bortus and Grayson.

“All the World is Birthday Cake” plays with the notion of classism and the divide it can instill in an entire culture. While the notion of manipulating a belief system seems to be ethically sound if it saves 2 crew members. The Orville surely doesn’t observe the Prime Directive now or ever.

The rating? 4 sodas out of 6.