Hello friends and welcome to another discussion of The Orville! This week sees The Orville move to its new time slot on Thursday nights. Moving forward, these reviews will appear on friday or saturday most likely. If you missed last week's disucussion, you can find it here. I would really like to thank all of you that read and commented last week. I was surprised how many there were and how good the discussion was. That meant a lot to me! So, thanks! As long as people stick around, I will be more than happy to keep this blog series going.
Before we dive in, remember our disclaimer:
Full spoilers are below. Again, the primary purpose of this series of blogs is to creat a space in which we can talk about the episode, with all spoilers in mind. Just remember, there is only one rule to our discussion. Please do not discuss any footage of next week or future episodes as I haven't watched any trailers and don't want future episodes spoiled. Feel free to discuss where you want the show to go, or make predictions. Just leave any actual footage out of it.
This episode took me completely by surprise. I would never have guessed I'd see this show depict a marriage that falls apart due to pornography addiction. I applaud the writers for being so bold here. And so honest! This is a very real issue that happens in some marriages. Porn addiction is a very real thing for some poeple. It's like alcohol, right? Millions of people consume alcohol safely and moderately. But some people (many, even) develop alcoholism. It is a true dependence on the substance. Porn is the same way. Some people become trapped by it. And just like alcohol, it's a disease. It must be treated as such. I love that this episode discusses the issue in that light.
Bortus was in very real, very understandable pain. He and his mate had a very powerful disagreement. This resulted in their child receiving a sex change. Their child was (arguably) hurt by the decision reached. At the very least, even if Tobal (was that his name? anyone remember?) felt no pain and grows up to be a fine man with no physical or mental repercussions from the procedure, Bortus will always wonder what might have been. What might Tobal have become if she never became a he? This wracks his heart.
Who does he blame? Klyden. It is partially Kylden's fault. It's also the fault of the entire Moclan society. But it's much easier to target one specific person than your entire species. So, whether consciously or not, Bortus comes to blame Klyden entirely. This leads to resentment. It kills their intimacy. Bortus no longer has a desire to engage in the sexual event with Klyden. So, he seeks sexual release elsewhere. In his world, they have a holodeck... er... I mean... simulation room. He can experience porn with an extreme degree of realism. It is almost reality. And, as often happens with porn addicts, he needs more and more intensity in his porn. His fantasies become increasingly intense (disturbing even, depending on who you are). But it's not enough. He wants more.
So he seeks out another alien crewmember. The very phallic crewmember (was that Altox? I'm looking on IMDB and I'm just not sure) agrees to supply him with a program. I must interject that this alien design was SO cool. I absolutely love that this show makes such a concerted effort to have a diverse cast of aliens. Not all aliens look like humans with stuff glued to their heads. I regret that I can't find a picture of him (her? it?) on the internet. So I'm just gonna throw in the beloved Yaphit here.
Eventually, Klyden has enough. He divorces Bortus. In a twist, we learn that Moclan divorce is incredibly simple. The instigating mate simply murders their spouse and the marriages is dissolved. Klyden stabs Bortus through the chest in a shocking scene. Fortunately, Dr. Claire is remarkable and brings Bortus back from the brink of death. But even this is not enough to cure the addiction. Bortus still uses the simulation room. He gets the orgy program from his coworker and plugs it in. He is caught. Unbeknownst to him, this program also unleashes a powerful computer virus on the Orville.
Now let's talk about that planet!
I can't believe how much money was spent on the visual effects of this episode. We witness a planet slowly (and then quickly) consumed by a sun gone supernova. At the last minute, our crew learns that there are 70 people left on the planet. Bortus and Isaac are sent down for contrived reasons having to do with radiation. They manage to rescue 30 people but had to leave the others to die. There simply wasn't enough time to do more.
The real issue here is that it forces Bortus into a state of deep self-reflection. When he sees families torn apart and some people stay on the planet to die, he questions everything about his marriage to Klyden. He decides that he is grateful to have his mate and his son in his life. And in spite of his anger, resentment, guilt, and who knows what other emotions, he wants to do whatever he can to make things work. He and Klyden reunite and vow to make steps to repair their damaged union.
Frankly, this episode got real. Many people die. A crew member that we care about nearly loses his marriage and also nearly dies. And in the end, we get to see two hurt people reconcile with each other. I am astonished at the feels this episode gave me. In spite of some of the porn scenes being a bit much in my opinion, I would argue this is the best episode of the series to date. It had heart, comedy, drama, death, romance, murder, a supernova, and more. What more can you even ask for in a sci-fi series?
But what did you think? Share your thoughts with us below!