The Orville: S01E12 “Mad Idolatry” Review

If there was a season finale of a show that felt the least like a season finale, this would be it. This just feels like another regular episode. It still suffers from the problems that the show suffers from, inconsistent tone, not knowing quite what it wants to be, tripping on more jokes than it should, but at the end of it all… I guess it wasn’t a bad episode. I just wish there was something that made me look forward to the next season of the show! Some kind of hook, or clue, or foreboding presence, or even a joke, but no, this show will come back on one day, and I’ll remember “Right, I have to watch that show!”

The episode begins with the Captain, bored, wanting to chill out with someone, so he goes to everyone’s headquarters individually, to see if anyone anyone wants to hang out… Wait, do they not have texting in the future? It’s weird, but I’ll move on, because the more you question sci-fi, the less fun it is… but seriously? Why doesn’t he just call or text them first? He VidComs Grayson at the end of the scene, so why didn’t he just do that to begin with? That feels far less intrusive! But never mind, I’ll move on… I mean come on! Even when I was in university, and living in dorms, you still messaging people first. I’d be like, “Hey, wanna hang out in the T.V. room?” and they would be like “Sure, sounds good! Meet you there!” or they wouldn’t answer. You would know that people wouldn’t want to be bothered when they don’t answer! That’s just respectful! I’ll stop now.

There was a funny bit to come out of this, when the Captain catches a fish in Bortus, and his boyfriend. The Captain joins them in the drink of the Moclan (basically mud), and plays a game with them, which is basically hot potato, except the person who has the potato at the end gets a knife to the hand. It’s a scene so funny, that I’m willing to look past the fact that the entire season has been telling me that Bortus has an iron clad digestive system, and a tolerance to pain, and the fact that Mercer doesn’t expect what he’s getting into, even after Bortus warns him about it, is a tough drink to swallow (pun intended, and also forced).

Afterwards, Mercer calls Grayson (like he should have with everyone else), to see if they want to hang out. They go to the bar, and talk about what happened during the “Cupid’s Dagger” episode, when they fell for the pheromones of Darulio. They decide that they want to try and date again. But first, drinks!

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Hangover? Or how I felt during this episode? (Picture Source: Fox)

The next morning, during a humorous hangover, (again, I thought they would have better medical stuff that could fix this. Like, they can literally heal wound in seconds, we’ve seen this multiple times, but a hangover is beyond futuristic medicine? I’ll stop now!) The Orville find another anomaly in space. They send a team to investigate, when a planet literally appears out of nowhere, causing the shuttle to crash land. They discover that this world is a world of two universes, where one minute its in one universe, and the next its in another. More precisely, every 11 days, it reappears for what seems like a day. Grayson, while on the ground finds a primitive culture. In space shows, it’s always recommended to not interact with a primitive culture, but accidents happen. Grayson accidentally scares a little girl into hurting herself, but she heals the girl with a tool, and tells the little girl that her name is Kelly. This will not end well.

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Not seen, Kelly also stepped on a butterfly. (Picture Source: Fox)

The planet disappears, so they have to wait until it reappears again to see what happens with the planet. In the meantime, it’s date time with Mercer and Grayson, and it feels… off. Not the date, but the feel of the date. Like Seth Macfarlane and Adrianne Palicki have chemistry, but it’s more of a friendship chemistry. I thought I would be happy in seeing them together, but their kiss seemed… off.

Anyway, the planet returns again far more advanced than it once did, like it was in the bronze age. Turns out that everytime the planet dissapears from our universe, it advances 700 years. The crew go onto the planet to find out that Kelly is being worshiped as a God. Basically think of what people did in the Bronze age in the name of Jesus, like killing people in the name of Jesus, telling people that Jesus is always watching him, and replace the word Jesus with Kelly.

I like this part of the episode, but it gets super dark! We see people get excecuted in surprisingly disturbing ways, we see the power of the church, and the abuse of it. Grayson is, obviously, not ok with this. She tries to fix everything before the planet disappears again, so she goes to a priest and tries to convince him that she’s not special.

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Ok God! “A Million Ways to Die in the West” is on! (Picture Source: Fox)

700 years later, it looks like what it looks now, in our world. People are waging wars over Kelly, and arguing over whether or not she exists. In a very smart move for this show, Isaac suggests that he goes and tries to save these people. Since he’s a robot, he can survive 700 years.

The end of the episode literally tells us at the end that Isaac didn’t actually effect change on the planet, and that the planet course corrected itself. It’s a hopeful ending, but super anticlimactic. It’s an interesting enough journey, but I didn’t feel satisfied. Especially when we see the status quo remain the same, and Grayson and Mercer decide that they shouldn’t date, because it would effect their ability to do their jobs.

This episode felt like a deflating balloon, just loosing air as it goes on. I like the premise, and I like the allegorical nature of the episode, but at the end, I couldn’t help but feel like…”That’s it? That’s all?”

I really liked a lot of this season, and I would actually consider this a good show. But at no point would I consider this a must watch. There’s wonderful characters, but there’s no hook. The lighthearted nature of the show is appreciated, but it doesn’t know how to balance it’s tone. There are so many problems with this show, but I still somehow want to watch it every week. I really hope this show finds itself. It’s identity is there, I can see it underneath the muck! Until then, season two will arrive… sometime… probably at the end of the year… or next year… I’ll wait, there’s other shows I should catch up on.

Author: Devin Melnyk

I'm still trying to figure out how the internet works.

One thought

  1. Actually, I really liked the ending. First, it is the first new argument I’ve heard about the Prime Directive in years, that writers have drastically overestimated the importance of a single incident upon history. In history, cultures have damaged each other, but those were times of sustained contact, not one off interactions.

    Second, in Star Trek, a first officer is supposed to be a check upon the commander as well as an advisor. And as demonstrated in the episode, the captain nearly derailed his career covering for a mistake by the first officer. I don’t think they have it in themselves, at least not now, to have a romantic and professional relationship at the same time.

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