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Comics and Culture

Mid-Season Two Parter Establishes The Orville As Science Fiction Fan Fic

The Orville, Star Trek, Voyager, Seth MacFarlane
Isaac says Goodbye to his fellow Crew

The Orville S02E08 Review and Walkthrough
“Identity, Part 1”

The Orville has caused many a discussion in the online world. There isn’t a forum or sci-fi facebook group where a frothing neckbeard warrior is repeatedly triggered by Seth MacFarlane’s opus to Star Trek TNG. This legion of neckbeards are determined to create the ultimate divide between fan fic and official (supposed) canon. Division caused by a science fiction show that pays more homage to Gene Roddenberry’s dream than Star Trek Discovery has. And The Orville fans were right – up until 4 episodes ago.

The Orville Season 2 had mostly been a season of filler. Up until this point. I will give it this – the episodes of S2 have created opportunity for the writers room to spread their wings and develop the interpersonal relationships of the bridge crew. This has been to the detriment of any clear major or minor threats being thrown at the Captain Mercer and his crew. In every instance, the cold opens have lacked consequence. Macfarlane and his writers have opted to highlight the trivial inadequacies of an assortment of The Orville crew. This episode is where it all changes.

Identity Pt 1 starts with Isaac and Dr Finn announcing their relationship to her two sons. Shortly afterwards Issac loses all power and is shut down by some unknown source. As the crew debate on what action to take to “revive” Isaac, Captain Mercer makes the decision to take the Orville back to the Kaylon homeworld (Isaac’s origins). Remember folks, that while Isaac functions as a pseudo-science officer, he is also the acting emissary of his entire race to the Planetary Union.

Image result for cranky janeway gif

Reminiscent of Star Trek Voyager episode

Once we’re at the Kaylon Homeworld any sci-fi watching veteran can easily pick up on cues that something is amiss. Upon the Orville landing on the planet there is an air of a diplomatically hostile situation. Kaylon is littered to with thousands of models similar to Isaac. Bringing to mind the similarity between this episode and the Star Trek: Voyager episode Prototype. Where B’leanna Torres revives a damaged robotic prototype and is eventually introduced to an entire race of synthetic life forms. Only to learn that they killed their “builders.”

The Kaylons, distinctively indentified as differed to Isaac by the red eyes, go on to explain that Isaac was simply deactivated as he had completed his mission. To collect as much data on humans as possible. After Mercer and Grayson’s pleas to revive him the Kaylon Primary acquiesces to their request. Though a freshly reanimated Isaac goes on to say that now he has completed his mission he will not be rejoining the crew.

Despite this, Isaac returns to the Orville to a going away party thrown by the crew. After a discussion with Claire and her sons (Ty and Marcus) it is decided that he won’t be returning to them and their lives. Her youngest son Ty is upset and runs off after Isaac wouldn’t accept his drawing he made as a goodbye present. Emotion shown but reciprocated by the cold android. A scene that falls by the wayside. We all knew it would come to this. How could any person continue a relationship with a robot? Or maybe I’ve just seen too many of these episodes to know if it was going to work for Data then it sure as hell wasn’t going to work for an emotionally inept metal man with zero defining features. Later on Ty finds the drawing that he gave Isaac.

The Orville, Kaylons, Science Fiction
You are to be eradicated.

The Kaylons Vs Everyone Else

Flash forward to Act 3. Ty leaves the Orville and starts to investigate the Kaylon planet. Presumably to talk to Isaac and give him his drawing back. As chance would have it, Ty drops the drawing down a shaft, which he follows down the rabbit hole. As any good horror/science fiction aficionado would know – this never ends well. He discovers something terrifying. Meanwhile on the Orville, the crew discovers that Ty is missing. They eventually find him in the shaft. The shocking thing they find is a mass graveyard of millions of humanoid bones.

Leading to the eventual end of the episode, we find out that the Kaylons had long ago eradicated their builders. Sound familiar anyone? Leading them to the conclusion that organic lifeforms were a threat. This leads to an epic takeover of the Orville reminescent of Star Trek’s the Borg. It’s the plot twist that everyone was expecting. At best, this episode is a fan fic take on Rise of the Machines. Let’s see what Part 2 has in store.

How did we rate this episode? 3 Sodas