Friday, October 6, 2017

The Orville Season 1, Episode 2: Command Performance

This week on The Orville, the parents leave the kids in charge of the ship, with disastrous results. Sort of.

Command Performance was written by series creator/star Seth MacFarlane, and directed by Robert Duncan McNeill, who played Tom Paris for seven seasons over on Star Trek: Voyager. McNeill's no stranger to helming scifi space series, as he directed four episodes of Voyager (along with dozens of other TV shows).

There's quite a lot going on in this episode, as it features 3, count 'em three storylines: Alara's first command, Mercer & Kelly's abduction by the Calivons and Bortus' "pregnancy." 

That might have been one storyline too many, as only Alara's A plot is given the room it needs to properly breathe. The Mercer/Kelly B plot is practically shoved to the back burner, and as a result the audience never feels the true horror of their plight, or fears for their safety.

I get that they needed a disastrous situation in order to test Alara's command, but it might have been better to come up with another obstacle for her, and expand the Alien Zoo plotline into its own episode. 

Despite that minor defect, I was impressed with how sharp the characterizations were in Command Performance. Amazingly this is only the second episode, but it feels like we've known the characters for years. They seem completely familiar to us, and their actions feel consistent and earned. I don't know how MacFarlane managed to pull that off, but kudos to him for doing it. 

Maybe the reason the characters feel so familiar is because they are? Bortus is clearly based on TNG's Lt. Worf, as he looks, acts and even sounds like everyone's favorite Klingon officer. By staffing the ship with recognizable archetypes, MacFarlane didn't have to spend several episodes introducing and establishing the characters. Not a knock against the series, just an observation.

This may also be why Command Performance feels like an episode from Season 3 or 4, not the show's very second outing. Again, by basing it on well-known and established Trek tropes, MacFarlane can dive right into the storytelling without wasting time on setup.

There are a few glaring plot holes and glitches, but overall it's a pretty solid and confident episode. 


The Plot:
In the cold open, Bortus meets with Captain Mercer and announces he's laid an egg, and he and his mate Klyden are going to be parents. He asks for a leave of absence to sit on his egg and incubate it. Mercer approves his request and wishes him luck.

Sometime later the Orville receives a distress call from a transport ship Bleriot, saying it's under attack by the Krill. They rendezvous with the ship and find it's been damaged. As they scan the ship, they receive a message from its Captain, asking for assistance.

Mercer tells the Bleriot's Captain they'll give them all the help they need. He's then surprised to see his parents are onboard the wounded transport ship. After an embarrassing conversation with them, he and Kelly decide to pay a visit to the Bleriot to supervise the rescue. Kelly tells Alara she's the next ranking officer, and leaves her in charge of the ship. Alara's reluctant to sit in the big chair, and suggests Kelly find someone else. Mercer and Kelly both insist she'll do fine.

Mercer and Kelly take a shuttle over the the transport ship. Along the way they chat about their failed relationship. Mercer claims to be happy their marriage ended, but Kelly wonders if splitting up was a mistake.

They dock with the ship and enter the airlock. The second they enter the Bleriot it vanishes, revealing it's a small buoy with a sophisticated holographic projector. Before they can react, Mercer and Kelly are teleported away. 

Back on the Orville, Isaac scans the buoy, and finds no life signs aboard. Alara panics, unsure what to do next. She. runs down to Bortus' quarters, and uses her security code to barge in. She's shocked to see him sitting completely naked atop his egg.

Bortus is furious at the interruption, but Alara fills him in and begs him to take command of the ship. He tells her he can't leave his egg for three weeks, and she'll have to deal with the problem herself.

Alara returns to the bridge. She orders John to use the tractor beam to bring the buoy aboard, hoping to scan it for clues to Mercer and Kelly's whereabouts. Isaac advises against this, but Alara insists. John activates the tractor beam, but as the buoy nears the ship, it explodes. The ship's severely damaged, making the shuttle bay unusable.

Alara enters sickbay and sees it's filled with casualties from the explosion. She asks to speak to Doctor Finn in private. She tells Finn she's unfit for command, and asks to be relieved. Finn refuses, and tells Alara she needs to trust her crew and listen to their advice.

Elsewhere, Mercer and Kelly wake in their old apartment in New York City on Earth. They try to leave, but quickly realize they're trapped inside. Mercer wonders what's really going on.

Back on the Orville, Isaac says he's detected traces of a transporter beam emitted from the destroyed buoy. He believes Mercer and Kelly were teleported somewhere, and thinks he can track them. 

Elsewhere, Mercer & Kelly eventually stop looking for a way to escape their apartment and relax. They begin reminiscing, and start to reconnect. They begin to wonder if they made a mistake by splitting up.

Isaac traces the transporter beam to the Calivon System, an area of space restricted to all Union vessels. Alara contacts Admiral Tucker, asking for permission to enter Calivon space and rescue Mercer and Kelly. Tucker forbids it, claiming the Calivon are 
a highly advanced race that views all lesser species as animals. He tells Alara that Mercer and Kelly were lost in the line of duty, and to return to Earth immediately so a new Captain can be assigned to the Orville.

The next day, Mercer wakes up in the "apartment." He sees the New York skyline outside the window was apparently fake, as there are several Calivon outside the window gawking at him. 

He sees several aliens across the aisle, and asks them what the hell's going on. One welcomes them to the zoo. Another says the Calivon send out buoys that lure specimens and capture them. Kelly spots a little alien boy, who's terrified and hides in the back of his cage. The other aliens tell Ed & Kelly that there's no escape, as some of the exhibits have been in the zoo for decades. The two realize they're in deep trouble.

Isaac reports that the ship has been repaired. Faced with no other choice, Alara reluctantly orders Gordon to plot a course back to Earth. He balks, saying they need to go to the Calivon System to rescue Mercer and Kelly. Alara tells him her orders are clear, and relieves him of duty.

Alara meets with Doctor Finn again, upset that the crew hates her for not rescuing the Captain & First Officer. Finn gives her some incredibly vague advice, saying she can either obey orders and be hated, or disobey and go after their people and possibly ruin her career.

Alara makes up her mind and orders the ship to Calivon. They can't fly a Union ship into Calivon space, so she and Isaac cook up a plan. They'll use tech scavenged from the Calivon buoy to holographically disguise the ship.

As the Orville nears Calivon space, Isaac activates the holographic projector. There's a tense moment as a Calivon patrol ship approaches and scans them. It eventually decides they're OK and moves on.

Since Isaac is from the technologically superior Kaylon race, Alara says the Calivon will listen to him. She and Isaac go down to the surface to hunt for their crewmembers.

Back in the exhibit, Mercer and Kelly begin getting on one another's nerves, and realize they just weren't built for a long term relationship. They begin arguing again, but stop when they see Alara and Isaac staring into their cage. Alara says they've come to rescue them.

Alara and Isaac pay a visit to the Calivon Zookeeper. Isaac says he wants to discuss the humans in the display, and the Zookeeper says they're currently the most popular exhibit. Isaac lies (can he do that?) and says Mercer and Kelly are carrying a disease that could infect the rest of the specimens. The Zookeeper's horrified, and orders the humans to be destroyed.

In the exhibit, a disintegration beam moves through the room, destroying everything in its path. Alara orders the Zookeeper to stop, but he refuses to even acknowledge her, as she's beneath his notice. Isaac asks the Zookeeper to listen to her as a personal favor to him. The Zookeeper reluctantly agrees, and Alara offers him a trade— something far more interesting in exchange for Mercer and Kelly. Intigued, the zookeeper shuts off the beam at the last possible second.

Back on ehe Orville, Mercer presents Alara with the Saphire Star award. Later in Ten Forward, er, I mean the crew lounge, he thanks Alara for rescuing them, and says he'll square things with Admiral Tucker. Kelly says the best part of the deal was freeing the little alien boy from the zoo as well. 

The Chief Engineer approaches Alara and asks what she gave the Zookeeper in exchange for Mercer and Kelly.

Cut to the Calivon Zoo, as the patrons watch a big screen TV displaying hours and hours of 21st Century human reality TV shows. Wa-wahhhh.

In the tag scene, Bortus' egg begins to hatch. He and Klyden eagerly watch, but are horrified when their child turns out to be female.

• Last week I noted that Mercer had a model of the Wright Flyer on his desk. It was the first ever heavier-than-air craft, famously flown by Wilber and Orville Wright, the latter of which was the inspiration for the ship's name. 

This week we see he's added a little plush Kermit The Frog to his desktop. No idea what the significance of him might be, other than that Mercer's apparently a fan of The Muppet Show?

I wonder how much dough MacFarlane had to cough up to include Kermit here?

• I pointed this out last week (since I was retro-reviewing the pilot episode long after it aired), but it's worth a repeat. Alara suddenly looks VERY different in this episode.

 The Orville features an impressively large bridge set, but I have a feeling it's probably not as expansive in real life. It looks to me like they're using a wide angle lens to make the set look a lot bigger and deeper than it really is. 

They do something similar over on Legends Of Tomorrow to make the Waverider's sets look bigger than they really are.

 So who does what on the Orville's bridge? At the beginning of the episode, Isaac announces he's received a distress call from a transport ship. That would normally be the function of the Communications Officer, right? But Isaac's supposedly the Science Officer.

Mercer then orders Alara to send a message to the ship, telling them the Orville's on its way to help. That would most definitely be the job of the Communications Officer. Yet Alara's the Chief Of Security on the ship!

To add even more confusion, a few seconds later John announces they're approaching the damaged ship, and identifies it as the USS Bolario. Wait... he's the Navigator. Why's he getting that info? Shouldn't the ship have identified itself in its initial distress call?

See what I mean? The bridge crew's duties are all over the place in this scene. 

I have a sneaking suspicion that all these tasks were spread out among the cast in order to give the actors a couple extra lines in this episode. 

• The Orville receives a distress call from the Bleriot.

I'm assuming this ship's named after Louis Bleriot, a French aviator who was the first to fly across the English Channel in 1909.

The Bleriot appears to be a ring ship— one with a thing circular engine. Believe it or not, a few years back NASA unveiled a theoretical ring ship design of their own. It featured a large ring that utilized gravity or something to generate a warp field. 

• Mercer receives a message from his parents, who just happen to be traveling on the Bleriot (suspicious!). His folks are played by veteran character actors Holland Taylor and Jeffrey Tambor, who've both guest starred in virtually everything.

I have a feeling this will be the one and only appearance of Mr. Mercer on the show. About a year after this episode aired, Jeffrey Tambor was a victim of the "MeToo" movement, accused of sexually harassing an assistant working on the TV series Transparent. Although Tambor denied the claim, he was immediately fired from the series and has worked very sporadically since.

I hesitate to wade into the controversy, but I'm siding with Tambor here. Seth MacFarlane seems to have the inside scoop on Hollywood, and knows all the stars' dirty little secrets. Heck, Family Guy was warning us about Kevin Spacey years before his scandal broke. So if MacFarlane feels comfortable hiring Jeffrey Tambor, then that's good enough for me. 

• Mercer takes the call from his parents, who end up embarrassing him in front of the crew as they ask about his stomach problems, and urge him to get his colon scanned.

I love the faces of Gordon and John here, as they try their best to act nonchalant during the awkward exchange.

Also, should John be resting his arms on his control panel like that? Maybe it's OK, as it might be a touch screen that only responds to skin contact.

• Last week I noted that the Captain & First Officer's chairs switched between fabric and leather, often in the same scene.

In this episode it looks like they've finally settled on the leather versions. They remain leather for the rest of the season.

• This is some VERY hardcore nitpicking, but hey, that's what I do. Mercer & Kelly fly a shuttle over to the Bleriot. As they leave the Orville's shuttle bay, we see the other ship appears to be a thousand feet away at most. They cover at least half that distance in this scene alone.

Yet for some reason it takes them a whopping one minute and twenty seconds to reach the Bleriot and dock with it. Long enough for Mercer & Kelly to have a prolonged conversation about their failed relationship.

This "conversational relativity" trope is nothing new. It used to happen almost weekly over on Star Trek: The Next Generation, as turbolift rides from one deck to another would magically stretch into minutes to accommodate conversations between characters. 

• So what was up with Kelly's "cannabis edible?" As the shuttle heads for the Bleriot, Kelly decides she needs something to help her endure a visit with Mercer's mom. To that end she uses the food synthesizer to conjure up a pot brownie.

We then see her very deliberately stuff the brownie in her pocket, "just in case." And then it's never seen or mentioned for the rest of the episode. Wait, what?

Normally I'd just file it as a joke that didn't land, but the way the shot's filmed it's clearly a setup for a plot point. The creators most definitely want us to see her put the snack in her pocket and be aware that it's there— a "Chekhov's Brownie," so to speak. So why does it never show up again or become important later on?

I'm wondering if the brownie originally played a bigger part in the Mercer & Kelly storyline that had to be cut for time? There's already a lot going on in this episode, so they likely had to trim it down to broadcast length.

One last thing about the cannabis edible. As I mentioned above, Kelly stuffs the brownie in her pocket for later. This is significant, as pockets are one luxury the crews of the various Star Trek series never had!

• This episode marks the first time we see the shuttle's extendable airlock tube.

• As Mercer & Kelly board the Bleriot, they discover it's a holographic illusion and the ship is just a small space buoy. Before they can react, they're teleported to the Calivon homeworld.

Apparently the Calivon have transporter tech, something the Union still lacks. And WHAT tech it is too! Unlike Star Trek transporters that can only beam matter to a planet from orbit, these can somehow transport subjects from one system to another, clean across the galaxy! Impressive!

• When Mercer & Kelly disappear, Alara realizes she's in over her head. She sprints down to Bortus' quarters, and begs him to take command of the ship. He flat out refuses, claiming that interrupting the incubation cycle would endanger the life of his unborn child.

Since Bortus is on maternity leave, he's well within his rights to refuse command. On the other hand, the lives of the Captain and First officer are at stake here. Couldn't he have Klyden temporarily sit on the egg until the crisis is over? They're both Moclans, so there should be no difference between them. Or is this some cultural thing, and it's forbidden for anyone other than the "mother" to incubate his own egg?

Also, Bortus is pissed when Alara barges in and sees him sitting naked on his egg. Welp, maybe if he wasn't brooding in the middle of his living room, she wouldn't have seen him in the altogether. How about doing something private like that in the bedroom? 

• Speaking of Bortus and Klyden, this episode keeps the mechanics of Moclan reproduction vague and discreet. That's probably a good idea.

At this point Moclan biology doesn't seem very well thought out. We're told they're a single gender species. But how do such beings reproduce? Bortus laid an egg this week, so... does that mean Klyden somehow fertilized it? If so, wouldn't that technically make Bortus the female and Klyden the male? Or can each of them perform both functions, and they arbitrarily chose Bortus to be the "mom" here?

I would suggest that maybe Moclans reproduce asexually by parthenogenesis. If so, Bortus' egg wouldn't need to be fertilized in order to develop. I don't think that's what's happening though, because later in the series Klyden assumes a very parental role to their child— something he probably wouldn't do if half its DNA was his.

Like I said, it's probably for the best that we not think about any of this too hard.

• After Bortus refuses to take command, Alara steels herself by taking a shot of Xelayan tequila before returning to the bridge.

Based on her reaction to the drink, it's clear that the world of The Orville features REAL booze. That's something they didn't have over on TNG. The crew there drank Synthehol— an artificial form of alcohol that had the same intoxicating properties, but none of the unpleasant side effects, such as hangover. 

In addition, a Synthehol buzz could be easily shaken off. Not so on The Orville! Here we see the crew regularly suffering the effects of their late night hooch binges.

• Over on TNG, the series used the same stock shots of the ship flying past the camera over and over, week after week. It was rare to see an actual new shot of the Enterprise-D.

Not so on The Orville. They shoot episode-specific scenes using their filming miniature or CGI model. For example, in the pilot episode we saw two of the ship's engine rings get destroyed. This week the Calivon buoy explodes and damages the Orville's shuttle bay. We actually get a few shots of the damaged bay, complete with showers of sparks and flickering lights inside. Well done, FX Team!

• By now we've seen that Doctor Finn and her staff all wear green uniforms, as well as badges that feature a stylized medical cross. Green's the color for the medical and science divisions.

After the buoy explodes and damages the ship, we see quite a few people in grey uniforms scurrying around the sick bay. So who are these people? If you look closely you can see their uniforms have green piping, and they're wearing the medical crosses. They're also clearly treating the emergency cases, so they have to be medical techs of some kind.

Maybe they're enlisted personnel rather than commissioned officers? That would definitely explain the difference in their uniforms.

• This episode features the first appearance of Admiral Tucker, played by actor Ron Canada (no relation!). He'll pop up again later in the season.

• Mercer & Kelly wake to find themselves hopelessly held captive in an alien zoo. We then get an impressive digital matte painting of the vast, multi-storied structure, filled with hundreds of cages.

I almost hate to point it out, but this shot implies that the two of them are looking up and seeing the vast facility above them. In reality, from where they're standing there's no way in hell they could possibly see past the first floor!

According to Kelly, humanity stopped "imprisoning" animals in zoos hundreds of years ago. Actually that's sort of starting to happen now. We still have zoos, but several circuses and aquariums have stopped using live animals and have replaced them with holographic versions instead.

• Man, this episode must have had a MASSIVE makeup budget! There are a ton of aliens onscreen this week, all of which feature complicated prosthetics.

Such as this gentleman who's an exhibit in the Calivon Zoo, whose clothing inexplicably mirrors his complexion. How's he lay down to sleep in that getup without impaling himself?

Bortus' full body prosthetic makeup was particularly impressive as well. I'm betting it took five or six hours at least to apply it all to actor Peter Macon's entire body.

Not only are there numerous one-off makeups, but there are entire crowd scenes requiring dozens of prosthetics! There's no way a couple of makeup techs could have produced this much work— they must have shipped in a busload of additional staff.

The extraterrestrial prosthetics aren't confined to the zoo— we see numerous alien crewmembers on the Orville as well.

The aliens weren't all just elaborate makeups either. There was at least one gigantic animatronic one in the zoo as well! That thing couldn't have been cheap! And it was in the episode for all of five seconds!

• Alara decides to disobey Union orders and rescue Mercer & Kelly. She tells John to set a course for the Calivon system. We then see the Orville exit Quantum Space, make a big ol' U-turn, then activate the Quantum Drive again.

Wait, what? So based on this scene the ship can only go in a straight line when it's traveling at quantum speed, and can't turn or navigate. Does that seem right?

The Orville would have us believe that the Earth of the 25th Century is a peaceful Utopia, where humanity's solved most of its more serious problems. Oddly enough, a lot of the dialogue in this episode contradicts that notion.

— Alara tries to get Doctor Finn to relieve her of command, saying, "Can't you just come up with some reason that I'm unfit? Tell them I'm a drug addict, anything." This implies that people in the 25th Century still abuse recreational drugs. That's not something that should happen in a Utopian society!

— As the Orville approaches Calivon space, Gordon quips, "Kids, roll the windows up!"
OK, that's definitely a Vacation shoutout, referencing the scene in which the Griswolds accidentally drive into the bad part of town. But Gordon's use of it here implies that there are still dangerous areas in urban centers. Again, that's something that shouldn't exist in a Utopia.

— Alara tells the bridge crew that the Calivon won't speak to her unless she's accompanied by a "superior" species such as Isaac. John replies, "White dude can go to Compton, long as a black guy says it's cool." John's clearly referencing 20th Century racial injustice and intolerance here. Once more, that's a situation he shouldn't even be aware of in the advanced, harmonious society of The Orville

Once you add up these examples, it would seem the world of the 25th Century isn't quite as perfect as the show wants us to believe. 

• When Alara leaves for Calivon with Isaac, she tells Doctor Finn she's in charge of the ship while she's gone. Eh, I dunno... Surely there's SOMEONE else on board who's more qualified to command than the ship's doctor.

I know it's an entirely different universe, but in one of the later seasons of TNG, Doctor Crusher decided she wanted to try her hand at command. She had to go through extensive training first though, and take a test to determine if she was fit for command.

• So Union ships and officers are forbidden to enter Calivon space, as they fear any interaction with the highly sophisticated race could spark an interplanetary war.

This suggests that the Calivon are an extremely hostile race— one that's impossible to negotiate with. Yet Alara sashays down to the surface and enters the Calivon Zookeeper's office, and even makes a deal with him! 

Yes, she was accompanied by Isaac, who the Calivon tolerate, but still... They were way more laid back and accommodating than I expected. The way Admiral Tucker was going on about the Calivon, I expected them to incinerate Alara the minute she stepped foot on their planet!

• Once Mercer & Kelly are rescued, the crew welcomes them back with a party in Ten Forward, er, I mean the Mess Hall. We see that Kelly apparently managed to spring the Alien Boy from the Calivon Zoo as well.

That was nice of her and all, but what about all the other aliens who were in the cages surrounding theirs? I guess they can all just go f*ck themselves. Even that big Muppet-looking one who's been held there for thirty five years against his will.

I cannot emphasize enough just how wrong this is. We're supposed to be happy for Mercer, Kelly and the kid, and not think about the rest of the sentient beings who didn't get rescued.

The producers obviously realize just how wrong this situation is too, as the episode rushes past the matter and sweeps it under the rug before the audience has a chance to think about it for too long.

• For some reason Alara ends up earning a commendation for her actions in this episode. Seriously? She defied a direct order from a Union Admiral, endangered her ship and crew by entering restricted space, and risked starting a war with Calivon by interacting with native officials. She should have been court martialed!

MacFaralane tries to reconcile the situation by having Mercer and Kelly spout a brief throwaway line about how they'll "smooth things over" with Admiral Tucker." Really? Can they really smooth over violation of numerous Union laws?

• Alara offers the Calivons thousands of hours of reality TV shows from Earth in exchange for Mercer & Kelly. So... the Calivon public has to go to the zoo to see these shows? They can't watch them at home on their space TVs like primitive, lowly humans did?

• This episode marks the first appearance of Klyden, as he and Bortus watch as their baby hatches from its egg.

Klyden's played by actor Chad L. Coleman, who's probably best known for playing Tyreese on The Walking Dead. Oddly enough, he's completely unrecognizable here. No matter how much I stare at Klyden, I can't see a trace of Coleman under all those prosthetics.

• This Week's Incongruous 21st Century (And Earlier!) References:
There are so many modern references in this show that sometimes it feels like it's taking place in the current day!

Mercer has a little plush Kermit The Frog on the desk in his ready room. Apparently The Muppet Show is still a thing in the 25th Century!

Mercer orders Isaac to scan the buoy, but is told it's already scanning the Orville. Gordon says, "It's like a jinx. They owe us a Coke!"

After taking command of the ship, Alara makes some questionable decisions. John says, "We got Dora the Explorer runnin' the show here."

When Mercer finds out he & Kelly are in a Calivon zoo, he pounds on the forcefield and yells, "Hey! We are not your Shamu!"

Doctor Finn says she won't tell Alara what decisions to make as acting captain, but she will try to be her Obi-Wan. Note that Alara has no idea what she's talking about here, and Finn makes a face like she's bemused that she's apparently never seen or heard of Star Wars.

In the zoo, Mercer's annoyed by Kelly as she noisily eats cereal, and makes a reference to Frankenberry.

When Mercer thinks he's going to die, he yells out, "I'm going to the bathroom to read," which were supposedly Elvis' last words. 

For some reason, the Orville's databanks contain thousands of hours of reality TV shows such as The BachelorDuck Dynasty and Keeping Up With the Kardashians. I seriously don't see these forms of "entertainment" surviving for another four hundred years.

Not a lot this week that I could think of. The most obvious swipe of course is the idea of a space zoo housing various alien specimens, which we saw way back in The Cage— the first of the two Star Trek pilots.

• This Week's Best Lines:
Mrs. Mercer: "Eddie, how's your stomach? Is it still bothering you?"
Mercer: "Uh, it... it's fine, Mom. It's... it's okay."
Mrs. Mercer: "Did you get the colon scan?"
Mercer: "I... I will. I will get it."
Mr. Mercer: "Listen to me. You get the colon scan. Do you understand me? Because if you get the divert... Man, what is that?"
Mrs. Mercer: "Diverticulitis."
Mr. Mercer: "Diverticulitis, like I had, that's not a picnic."
Mrs. Mercer: "What is it you got stuck in there?"
Mr. Mercer: "A sesame seed."
Mrs. Mercer: "A sesame seed in his colon!"
Mr. Mercer: "In the colon. Yeah. It-It just gets stuck in there, because there are folds, you know?"
Mrs. Mercer: "Yeah."
Mr. Mercer: "And it burrows in there for the winter, and you got yourself an inflammation."
Mrs. Mercer: "Oh, God.:
Mercer: "Hey, you know what, guys? We're just gonna come over there, okay?"

Kelly: "Your mother hates me."
Mercer: "She does not hate you."
Kelly: "Oh, yes, she does."
Mercer: "She does not. She hated you a little bit after the... the thing."
Kelly: "You can tell me, you know. I mean, we never talked about it. What'd she say about me?"
Mercer: "It's nothing too terrible."
Kelly: "You can tell me. Just be honest."
Mercer: "It wasn't that bad."
Kelly: "Be honest."
Mercer: "She once called you a bitch. 46 times in one sitting."
Kelly: "Wow."
Mercer: "Yeah, the people at the next table complained."

Gordon: (to John) "Think they'd give me three weeks off to sit on an egg?

(Mercer and Kelly find themselves captain in an alien zoo)
Spiny Alien: "Take a look around you, friend. You're in a Calivon zoo. See, their buoys can scan your computers and then instantly generate a customized holographic lure. As soon as you bite, you're transported here."
Kelly: "Like leaving an animal trap in the wild."
Mercer: "It even knew to make my dad talk about his colon.That's an advanced technology!"

(Alara heads out to rescue Mercer and Kelly)
Alara: "All right. Let's go. Oh, Claire, I have bad news."
Doctor Finn: "What's wrong?"
Alara: "You're the ranking officer, which means you have command. Enjoy."
Doctor Finn: (realizing Alara managed to worm out of command after all) "Son of a bitch."

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