An old friend returned to the Orville last week. Let’s see what happened.

Old Friends

It’s karaoke night on the Orville. After Grayson’s performance, we are almost treated to Bortus’ no doubt stirring take on the theme song from Titanic. Unfortunately, his sweet, angelic voice is interrupted by a comm from Admiral Halsey. The ship has a new mission: play host to two warring species fighting over a contested planet. A Union archaeologist is coming along to search for traces of dna of each species. Whichever race has dna on the planet gets to lay claim.

The Orville meets up with another Union ship to pick up the archaeologist. Unfortunately, the new arrival turns out to be an old “friend” of Grayson… if you know what I mean. That’s right, it’s Darulio, the same familiar blue alien Mercer found in bed with his ex-wife. What could possibly go wrong?

The trio’s first encounter is an awkward one with Mercer obviously having issues. The group agrees to keep things professional for the sake of bringing peace but tensions between Mercer and Grayson start to rise. A fight in the elevator is interrupted by a brief discussion on the possibility of getting music before they get to resume the same conversation the ex-couple started with at the beginning of the ship’s mission.

More Awkward Moments

Meanwhile, we learn that Bortus and Klyden continue to have issues as well. After having troubles over their newborn child, time apparently hasn’t passed enough to mend the rift that exists between the Moclans. Perhaps Yaphit and Dr. Finn have a better chance at starting things up… assuming Finn can get onboard withYaphit’s musical talents.

Grayson meets with Darulio to establish the ground rules between them. The two catch up to discuss Darulio’s new meditation routine. Somewhere after “hello” they decide to continue where they left off. So, off to the bedroom one more time!

Unfortunately, Mercer once again discovers them in bed. Darulio erupts his alien juices all over again which makes me wonder if he gets off by having others watch?

Grayson runs after Mercer as he storms off. Mercer calls her a “sexual jihadist.” Unapologetic, Grayson reminds the captain that the pair had agreed to be okay with dating other people.

The discussion then gets tabled so Mercer can deal with the warring aliens his ship now gets to host.

Mercer goes overboard by firing Darulio. Darulio smooths things over by showing Mercer some of the results of his analysis… so far, it turns out he’s discovered ancient dna. Good thing the Union found this astounding researcher. Nobel prize, here we come!

Darulio’s charm seems to work on Mercer with the two agreeing to meet for drinks. Mercer becomes giddy and awkward, which isn’t a long stretch from the normal routine.

Questionable Actions

The other crewmembers begin to notice something odd about Grayson and Mercer’s behavior around Darulio. The two start to fight over Darulio in the mess hall over drinks. Grayson notices that Mercer is trying to put the moves on Darulio.

The ship’s guests, meanwhile, begin to get restless while waiting for the results of the test. Both the captain and XO neglect their duties, leaving the others to pick up the slack and worry about their friends at the same time. Well, everyone except Dr. Finn who is having special alone time withYaphit, as an unfortunate Kitan discovers walking into the good doctor’s office.

Side note: does the ship have any working door locks at all?

Mercer and Grayson continue to vie for Darulio’s affection with the promise of banana bread and movies. Kitan puts everything together and confronts Darulio. Apparently, Darulio goes into heat once a year and attracts potential mates. Mercer, Grayson, and Finn (from exposure to Yaphit who has absorbed Darulio’s attraction) are all affected.

Warring Species

Things are clearly getting worse between the two species. Mercer lets tensions rise so he can get on with his “date” with Darulio. This leads to two fleets surrounding the Orville, prepared to engage in an orbital tango that will leave no one happy in the end.

Since Mercer is too busy doing the nasty with Darulio and Grayson is too sad, it seems as if no one is present to guide the ship through the tense situation. Both species threaten to escalate the conflict, prompting Bortus to confine their representatives to quarters.

The surrounding ships begin to battle and explode. Darulio approaches the bridge with an idea. Minutes later, he returns with the alien delegates who order their respective ships to stand down. Surprise! Now the aliens are in love.

Conflict resolved. Everyone comes back to their senses. Even Mercer and Grayson manage to patch things up for the better.

Status Report

It’s interesting to see the show revisit the aftermath of Grayson and Mercer’s relationship after the cheating scandal. They set up the tension between the two in the first couple of episodes but then just let things die off. It’s been nice that the pair have gotten along but it wouldn’t be realistic to assume that the pair would never have a few choice words once again.

Unfortunately, the circumstances surrounding this revisit seems a bit manufactured. The Union needs one archaeologist, and apparently the only one available is Darulio? Really? Okay.

Adrianne Palicki once again showed off her acting chops while showing Grayson’s struggle to keep her relationship with Mercer intact while exploring her feelings about Darulio. MacFarlane, meanwhile, continues to show his limits with Mercer’s emotional displays. The dude tries and even has some moments. It’s hard, however, to take his character seriously when any dramatic or real moment is interrupted by a one-shot joke that is completely out of place.

This far into the season, it’s clear that each episode varies on this drama/humor ratio. Past episodes have made it work when the drama is allowed to take center stage. Even the show’s more lighthearted moments are successful when it’s clear the writers aren’t trying to force the humor. They need to stick with this formula while doing away with the cheap shots.

On a final note, we finally get to actually see Norm McDonald’s Yaphit for more than three seconds! What’s more, we get to learn more about him and his species. Once the graphics department upgrades him from the “1990’s Flubber” shading setting, we’ll be able to fully appreciate his potential contribution to the show.