Airs Thursdays on FOX at 9pm in the UK
Writer: David A Goodman
Director: Jon Cassar
Essential Plot Points:
- Alara, Bortus, Gordon, John and Isaac are having lunch. Alara explains how, and why, she broke up with her boyfriend. Bortus asks Gordon about his lunch and he explains that it’s sushi.
- Bortus eats the entire ball of wasabi.
- Gordon and John are amazed. Bortus explains that Moclans have incredibly resilient systems due to having to find nourishment wherever they can on their homeworld. He eats glass, cloth and a cactus. Gordon is all set to get a bag of nails when they’re scrambled to a nearby colony under Krill attack.
- They scramble and find the colony already under bombardment. Ed demands they stand down, which they do.
- And then, the massive Krill battleship targets the Orville…
- The Orville takes a beating immediately. Ed orders Gordon to skim the upper atmosphere and has Bortus prep every torpedo.
- The Krill continue to fire but the atmospheric interference blinds them. Ed orders a vertical climb and Bortus empties the torpedo bays into the Krill ship, destroying them.
- Ed orders a relief team down to the planet and Bortus notices a Krill shuttle survived the explosion…
- Admiral Ozawa arrives and instructs Ed that the shuttle isn’t going to be reverse engineered.
- The Admiral explains that the Krill are deeply religious and that religions puts the Krill above all other forms of life. Theft and conquering is their divine right and war would be a holy crusade.
- No one wants that. And the Admiral has a plan. To understand the Krill, they need a copy of the Ankhana, the Krill bible. Intelligence suggests that every Krill ship has a copy aboard. And the Admiral wants Gordon and Ed to go undercover using the shuttle to acquire one.
- They’re prepping the shuttle for launch when Ed comes in, seemingly being held at gunpoint by a Krill. It turns out to be Gordon, using the hologram emitters they’ll use to sneak aboard the vessel. Kelly is furious and Ed admits he’s joking because he’s terrified. Kelly pleads with him to be very, very careful and he promises he will be.
- The shuttle launches. Go time.
- Ed and Gordon discuss what their Krill names should be. Because apparently they didn’t bother doing any research. At all.
- They’re interrupted by a Krill destroyer appearing. The two turn their disguises on and bluff their way aboard.
- They’re taken under guard to the Captain, Heros and his High Priest, Sazeron. Where they introduce themselves as Chris and Devon. Which, just about, works.
- The Captain asks them about any intelligence they’ve gathered. They’re interrupted by the call to worship and the pair bluff (pretty badly) their way through it.
- They meet Teleya, who reveals that her brother was on the ship the Orville destroyed. There’s a just painful sequence with Gordon making crushingly unfunny jokes about Avis being the name of a car rental company. Eventually it stops and the service begins.
- With The Cleansing. Which involves a severed human head being pulped while the crew chant. Ed and Gordon just about hold it together and rush back in as soon as the service is over. They begin scanning the pages of the Ankhana and are interrupted by Sazeron.
- They are very, very bad at being undercover. Amazingly, ridiculously, ‘Why are you not dead?’ level bad at being undercover. For some reason, Sazeron lets them go but later asks for a guard to be placed on the chapel.
- Later that night, Ed and Gordon sneak back in and finish scanning the book. Suddenly, their emitters turn off and they only just notice before the guards come in. They get out, just, and run back to their quarters.
- Back in disguise, they track the interference that shorted their emitters out to a room two decks below, flooded with neutron radiation.
- It’s a warhead, the likes of which they’ve never seen before.
- Gordon is all for cutting and running but Ed isn’t. They have to find out what the plan for the weapon is, and the only way to do that is to get information from Teleya.
- She talks about how the bomb is able to wipe out entire continents and the first test will be to Rana III. Rana III is a farming colony. 100,000 people will die.Later, alone, Ed and Gordon try and figure out what to do. Ed realizes that the emitters and the weapon intefere with one another. They can re-wire the emitters to trigger the weapon remotely. From the shuttle.
- Gordon is disgusted that their mission to understand the Krill has become something closer to execution. Then, Teleya asks them if they could speak to her trainees.
- Her child trainees.
- The children are innocent and…well…children. Ed, starting to lose it, makes his excuses and leaves.
- Later, Ed and Gordon are trying to work out what to do when Koja, one of the kids, arrives to ask more questions. He wants to know why humans don’t look like Krill or where they come from. Ed begins explaining about why humans look different when he has an idea…Sunlight.
- The Krill home world is in perpetual night. That’s why the Krill are all pale. That’s why they wear helmets in the field. If they can run a power surge through the lights in the ship, that will kill the crew. Gordon asks about the kids and Ed suggests blowing the lights in the classroom first.
- So only partial mass murder then.
- Ed knocks a guard out, steals a gun and checks on the classroom. The kids and Teleya are all in there and Gordon has set the surge. For no reason we can see, Ed tells him to set the timer for 10 minutes. He tells Gordon to meet him at the rendezvous point and Gordon is immediately captured.
- At the classroom, Ed tries to keep all the kids in place so they’re not harmed during the power surge. He realizes Koja is missing just as the alarm is sounded. He begs Teleya to keep the kids in the classroom and runs off to find Koja.
- On the bridge Gordon tries to convince them their mission was peaceful. The Captain isn’t buying it, and stabs Gordon in his brand new leg. They arrive at the target site and the bomb is prepared for launch….
- Ed find Koja in his quarters and races back to the classroom with seconds left.
- The weapon is launched.
- The power surge hits.
- Every Krill outside the classroom burns to death.
- Gordon grabs the controls, targets the bomb and destroys it just before impact. He calls in, and Ed gives him the all clear.
- Ed and Gordon cross the border with the intact Krill vessel. Doctor Finn and Alara are present while Teleya is checked out. Ed arrives, and apologizes. He explains that the children will be returned to their families. He doesn’t know what will happen to her. She is MURDEROUSLY angry. Ed demands to know what else he could have done and she asks why the children were spared. When he tells her they aren’t his enemy she responds ‘They WILL be’.
And back down we go.
This is another episode where The Orville stretches but this is the first time in a while. arguably since the first episode, where it falls flat on its face. ‘Krill’ tries to do three things;
-Progress the Krill arc plot.
-Place Ed and Gordon in an impossible moral dilemma.
It manages, at most, 1.5 of those things. And ‘be funny’ is almost never one of them.
It may be time to admit this show has a Gordon problem. It’s not that Scott Grimes is bad, he’s very good. But the material he’s being given paints Gordon as a Peter Griffin level idiot. Even if you forgive the fact they launch without cover names and the ENDLESS Avis jokes, there are at least two moments this episode where Gordon is so unutterably stupid you’re amazed he put his clothes on the right way round. He’s not a character, he’s a joke cannon and none of them hit. Very, very few of the jokes fired from him since the show began have worked. It’s starting to actively damage episodes. Isaac is just as undeveloped and, bluntly, just as uninteresting right now but he’s not being used as the show’s (failing) comedic crutch. Gordon needs to be fixed, soon, or he needs to be gone.
He’s also endemic of a much larger problem; this show still has absolutely no idea what it is. A genuinely tense, interesting science fiction story is, again, constantly derailed by lowest hanging fruit humor. And the awful thing is it isn’t even all episode! The crew scenes are working really well now and the stuff we get with the Krill (most of it) is really interesting. But not a single beat goes by without a terrible, tension killing joke.
It’s particularly frustrating because it makes light of the deeply terrible position Ed and Gordon are put in here. Their choice; murder the Krill crew and save the kids or watch a human colony die, is classic Kobayashi Maru material and it should work. Instead, we get ‘…Don’t be mad’, MacFarlane running up and down the same corridor in two directions and Gordon being a barely functional human let alone officer. Yet. Again.
It’s not just the comedy either, the Krill’s needlessly gory rituals aren’t given any context, they’re just there to shock. Worse still, Goodman’s script is full of holes. How can Ed read Krill? What’s the point of the Cleansing? Why does Sazeron take so long to act? Why do they set a 10 minute timer on the power surge? Time and again, the grinding gears of the show’s two styles expose the workings of the script and time and again, it disappoints.
The Orville does some good here. The final scene in particular hints strongly that there is an arc plot forming rather than the endless done-in-ones the show was starting to look like. Better still, the consequences of Ed’s choices look set to actually recur in a way nothing else has in the show yet. It’s just a massive shame that the most ambitious episode to date is ultimately brought down by the show’s laziest, most familiar, least interesting elements. Maybe next week will be an upswing. But for now at least, The Orville is certainly not firing on all thrusters.
- Another good action sequence!
- We really disliked the Krill prosthetics the last time we saw them. They’ve either been massively improved or we’re feeling more forgiving because the Krill look great this week.
- Ed talking about just how terrified he is is yet another nice progression for him. He’s a resolutely normal guy and instead of that coming across as dim or annoying, he’s becoming more likable every episode.
- Gordon is TERRIBLE this episode. That being said, him singing along to ‘Midnight Special’ as he flies is adorable.
- The pair of them getting stuck in the door is so obvious, but it is funny.
- ‘How?! If I ate half that much I’d be throwing up and crying in it!’
- ‘In the history of space battles has that ever worked?’
‘They have ceased firing on the planet.’
‘…I stand corrected.’
- ‘What happened to Automatic Fire Suppression?!’
‘That’s the panel that caught fire!’
- ‘Oh my GOD…They’re SPACE VAMPIRES!’
- ‘They’re kids with their whole lives ahead of them. They’re not my enemy.’
‘After what they saw you do today? They will be. THEY WILL BE.’
- The viewscreen shot of the mining colony are distinctly cheap looking.
- Gordon is very, very bad at being undercover. Relentlessly bad. Episode crushingly bad.
- How the Hell can Ed read Krill? A race they know so little about that two officers are sent to scan their bible?
- The endless Avis jokes are all terrible.
- ‘Should we tell them their God is a 20th century car rental company?’ – STOP.TALKING.GORDON.
- ‘What’s the rendezvous point again?’-HOW ARE YOU EMPLOYED?
- ‘Where is your compatriot?’
‘…I don’t know that word.’ -OH COME ON
- ‘Okay. Don’t be mad.’ Says the man who murdered her brother and wiped out every single one of the adult Krill she worked with.
And The Random:
- Kelly Hu! Best known for her work as Lady Deathstrike in X-Men 2! She’s also excellent in The 100, Cradle 2 The Grave and Arrow.
- James Horan playes Sazeron, the Krill priest. He’s a prolific voice actor, whose work has appeared in Metal Gear Solid V (Both parts), Infinity Blade III, Transformers Prime and many more.
- We originally thought that Alina Andrei played Teleya. She’s done stunt work for Criminal Minds (Where she was Paget Brewster’s stunt double), Transformers: The Last Knight and many more. She does great work too, but is, again, a stunt performer this episode. In reality, Teleya is played by Michaela McManus. McManus is a regular on new show SEAL Team and has previously appeared on shows like Aquarius and Awake. As ever when shows like Awake are invovled, hello to Jason Isaacs.
- Dylan Kenin plays Captain Haros. He actually appeared in ‘Old Wounds’ as another Krill and has previously worked on everything from Westworld to NICS: Los Angeles.
- Caleb Brown plays Koja and has previously appeared on Bizaardvark, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, The Middle and others.
- Jon Cassar has directed for 24, Revolution, Nikita, Fringe and many others.
- David A. Goodman wrote the episode. He’s previously written for Family Guy, Futurama, Enterprise and others.