After a short hiatus, The Orville returned last week with a new episode that borrowed a page out of the “Classic Trek Encyclopedia Of Plotline Mayhem,” a good old fashion shuttle crash! Who doesn’t like a wholesome struggle for survival while MacGyvering random pieces of shuttle to A. send a distress call or B. fly away like a remake of Flight Of The Phoenix?
While the Orville sits in dock for some upgrades, Dr. Finn decides to take her kids and an unexpected Uncle Isaac on a short road trip to the planet of fun. Her children show various degrees of enthusiasm, while Isaac takes it as an opportunity to study human behavior in his quest to understand inferior beings.
Along the way, the shuttle encounters an unexpected spatial anomaly. Due to an errant 24th century GameBoy hitting the magic button all Union shuttles seem to have to alter course towards danger, the shuttle zooms through the anomaly and exits a thousand light years away. Due to the stress of the journey, hull integrity is quickly compromised, and Isaac sets course towards a nearby habitable moon.
During the descent, Finn has to unbuckle to fix an issue in the back of the shuttle. The entire hull separates in two, separating her from her children and Isaac as they crash land.
The front section of the shuttle crashes in a mountainous region. After setting a dislocated leg, Isaac quickly takes charge of the children… by which I mean he gives the oldest kid, Marcus, a gun and then abandons them to search for Finn. Discovering her crash site to be abandoned, he returns to shoot a hostile native who was interested in taking the kids for lunch (as lunch).
Determined to follow full Union survival protocol that include fixing everything around you, Isaac and the kids set off to find an energy source to possibly power the shuttle’s communication systems. Brownie points to Marcus for thinking of searching for fuel in the first place. That little meat bag isn’t so dumb after all.
Crossing a poisoned river, through cannibal infested woods, the group make good time before deciding to call it a night. After a couple creepy bedtime stories, the kids fall asleep, only to wake up to find Finn’s youngest, Ty, now sick and largely unresponsive.
Meeting the Locals
Finn, meanwhile, wakes up to the sight of a concrete room and a rather ugly visitor. Realizing she’s now being held against her well after her captor found her at the crash site, Finn quickly takes steps to change her circumstances. We, the audience, are also treated to a lovely bit of exposition where we discover the planet’s locals basically destroyed themselves by poisoning the water. Thankfully, crazy doomsday preppers survived, so I’m going to go order that bomb shelter I’ve been putting off for the upcoming [insert category here] apocalypse.
Causing a slight injury to herself to occupy her captor, Finn unlocks her window and discovers she is trapped in a ruined skyscraper. After a brief waltz on the ledge, she makes her way to another area of the building and contacts Isaac. The two plan to meet back at the shuttle. Finn also learns one child is sick and the other is sorry for being a stereotypical preteen.
Her captor returns, Finn springs the trap. A stabbing and gunshot later, she frees herself and makes her way back to the rendezvous point.
The Daring Rescue
Back at the shuttle, Isaac manages to hook up the magical energy rock known as dysonium to send a quick distress call. Finn reunites with the group and begins to take care of her sick child. Unfortunately, the illness is progressing quickly and the poor kid has little time left. Without her properly equipped medical lab, Finn knows there is little she can do.
The locals decide to pay the shuttle a visit, forcing Isaac to shoot some more people who arguably are just trying to feed their kids too. Marcus comes and joins the android, mounting an impressive defense for someone who learned how to shoot for the first time literally the day before.
Unfortunately, the tag team defense play runs its course. Just as all hope seems lost, a series of blasts shoot down from the sky, taking care of the enemy. The cavalry has clearly arrived.
Due to an alien hotel that clearly cares about its customers who fail to show up for a reservation, the Orville managed to track the shuttle’s course and receive the distress call just in time. Back on board, Finn creates a cure for her son, Isaac experiences a bit of human emotion, and everyone else lives happily ever after…
Until next week at least.
The Status Report
Alright, so this one wasn’t the most original storyline. Crashed shuttles, logical/emotionless beings learning about humanity, it’s nothing we haven’t seen before. Let’s just be grateful no red shirts had to die during the filming of this episode.
It was nice to see the show focusing on some up-to-this-point minor characters. We also were treated to Penny Johnson Jerald’s underrated acting chops when Finn was faced with the realization she might get a front row seat to her son’s untimely demise. It was obvious nothing bad was going to happen (this isn’t Battlestar Galactica after all) but she managed to sell that fear like a set of $29.99 cooking knives.
It was also good to explore Isaac’s quest to understand human behavior. This endeavour is less robot-becoming-human and more biologist-observing-apes, but it did convey a more personal side to Isaac we haven’t seen yet.
Plus, who knows? Maybe Finn and Isaac will hook up!
Can’t a nerdy blog writer dream of a future where Finsaac is a thing?