Monday, January 7, 2019

The Orville Season 2, Episode 2: Primal Urges

This week on The Orville, we get an episode that comes about as close to depicting gay porn as we're ever likely to see on network television. I have no idea how Seth MacFarlane slipped this one past the Fox censors, but somehow he managed it. He truly is the most powerful man in Hollywood.

The concept of this episode— in which Lt. Commander Bortus becomes addicted to holo-porn— came about during a discussion between Seth MacFarlane and executive producer Brannon Braga at the 2017 San Diego Comic-Con. MacFarlane said, "We used to joke about that if there are actual holodecks you wouldn't be playing Robin Hoodyou'd basically be going in there to masturbate."

He has a point. Right now we have people who die from playing videogames for too long. If there really was a holodeck (or Environmental Simulator, as it's known on The Orvillethat could replicate a sexual partner that looked and felt like the real thing in every measurable sense, guys would enter it and never leave! They'd forget to eat, and after a few weeks their starved, emaciated corpses would be found lying inside. With smiles on their dead faces.

Star Trek: The Next Generation kind of skirted the issue of porn and internet addiction back in the 1990s, but they were either too afraid to go all in on the subject, or hampered by the censors of the time. Times have apparently changed, as The Orville takes a very close, no-holds-barred look at the subject in this episode.

In recent months Hollywood has reeeeeally doubled down on diversity and inclusivity, as they attempt to appeal to the SJW crowd. Not that there's anything wrong with representation, mind you. But most shows seem to be going about it in the absolute worst way possible.

Ghostbusters 2016, Ocean's 8, The Last Jedi, Doctor Who and Star Trek: Discovery have all started cramming PC ideology down the audience's collective throats, with disastrous results. Instead of offering interesting stories and fun adventures, these properties have all devolved into lecture series, as each one tries to prove it's more woke than the next. 

As you might expect, audiences don't like being preached to when they're simply trying to be entertained, and have begun rejecting these shows in droves.

Fortunately The Orville hasn't fallen into that trap, as it manages to get diversity and inclusivity exactly right. People of different races, genders and sexual orientations are quietly represented on the show. Best of all, the producers make a big deal about this or congratulate themselves for being so progressive. The characters simply are, and the audience accepts them. Well done!

By the way, Primal Urges was actually filmed last year, and meant to be the twelfth episode of Season 1. Unfortunately Fox, in their infinite wisdom, decided to cut Season 1 short in order to air a goddamned Xmas special. So this episode was bumped and became the second one of Season 2. Got all that?

Lastly, a bit of good news. Fox has begun experimenting with a new programming system called "JAZ pods," which aims to reduce the number of commercials during a show. Basically they schedule more ad breaks per hour, but this somehow results in fewer commercials. I freely admit I don't quite understand how it works. 

But it is working though! In Season 1, the average one hour episode of The Orville featured just 43 minutes of content. By using the JAZ pod system, Season 2 episodes are now 48 minutes long! Wow! That's five extra minutes of content! It may not sound like much, but that's a lot in programming terms! And anything that gives more Orville is OK in my book!


The Plot:
The Orville arrives at a solar system to observe a giant red star as it expands and destroys its last remaining planet. As the crew marvels at the awesome sight of the doomed world, Bortus says he's not feeling well and asks to leave his shift early. Mercer says sure, and tells him to get some rest.

Bortus then makes a beeline for the holodeck, er, I mean the Environmental Simulator. He activates a program featuring a campground in a wooded area. A half-naked Moclan appears, and the two engage in "The Sexual Event."

Several hours later (!), Bortus returns to his quarters. Klyden demands to know where he's been, and Bortus offers a weak excuse about having to work late. They argue over Bortus' work hours, and Klyden demands they share The Sexual Event. Bortus says, "Not tonight, I have a headache" and rolls over.

The next morning they argue again, and Klyden insists that Bortus spend time with him and their son Topa after work. Bortus agrees.

On the bridge, Isaac detects deposits of dysonium ore (the ship's major fuel source) under the surface of the doomed planet. Mercer asks if there's any way to recover it, and John says they might be able to modify a tractor beam to sift the dysonium from the planet's remains. Mercer tells him to make it so, er, I mean "make it happen."

Bortus then asks to leave early again, and Mercer reluctantly lets him go. He returns to the Simulator again, this time activating a dungeon program, complete with a brawny prison guard, who promises to release him in exchange for sexual favors.

Bortus returns home to find a furious Klyden waiting up for him, their ice cold dinner sitting on the table. Klyden demands they talk about the situation, but Bortus says he's too tired again (I bet!) and has to work early the next morning.

That night Bortus lies sleeping in bed. Suddenly Klyden creeps into the room, pulls out a vicious looking sword and plunges it into Bortus' chest!

Cut to Sick Bay, where Doctor Finn scrambles to save Bortus' life. His heart stops beating, so she uses the "sonic defibrillator" on him to bring him back (Jeez, they can't even get that right in the 25th Century!).

Mercer and Kelly rush in and tell Bortus that Klyden's being held in the brig. Mercer demands to know why Klyden stabbed him, and is stunned when Bortus says he was simply divorcing him. Apparently on Moclus, when a person wants end their marriage they simply kill their spouse. Bortus says he didn't realize Klyden was so upset, and tells Doctor Finn she should have let him die.

Mercer contacts a Union Admiral, who says she'll let him handle the situation. Mercer then meets with Bortus and Klyden. He says since Bortus refuses to press charges, he's decided not to have Klyden arrested. But he does demand he leave the ship at the next outpost. Bortus pleads with him to let Klyden stay. Mercer agrees, on the condition they attend couples counselling.

Isaac tells Mercer he's detected a vast network of abandoned tunnels under the doomed planet, and says there was apparently once a vast civilization there. Due to the breakup of the planet though, there's no way to safely explore the ruins.

Bortus and Klyden go to couples counselling, hosted by Doctor Finn. Klyden says he's afraid Bortus doesn't want to share The Sexual Event with him anymore because he no longer finds him attractive. Bortus assures him he's still attractive, and says he's simply tired from the hours he's working. Finn says they've made progress, orders them to make a "fun list" of things to do together and tells Bortus to devote an hour a day to Klyden.

Klyden's excited by the prospect of the fun list, and says he'll see Bortus at dinner time. Bortus says he'll be there, and immediately heads for the Simulator again. This time it's set in an examination room, complete with an aggressively amorous doctor who tells Bortus to drop his pants.

Suddenly Bortus becomes bored with the simulation and shuts it off. He then meets with Lieutenant Unk, a hulking, alien crew member. Unk's people are renowned for their porn, So Bortus asks him for some hot Moclan Simulator programs.

Isaac then announces that the underground civilization is still active (!). I thought Isaac was superior to humans? If that's true, why does he consistently get the facts wrong about this planet?

Anyway, Mercer hails the planet, and speaks with Hallan Thece, First Minister of the Nyxian People. She says a hundred years ago they realized their sun was rapidly expanding, so her people migrated underground. She says due to the planet's recent breakup, there're only seventy five survivors left. Mercer promises to help save them if he can.

Mercer asks for options, and John says they could modify a shuttle to withstand the intense heat and radiation of the expanding sun in order to rescue the Nixians, Mercer tells him to get on it.

Meanwhile, Unk gives Bortus a chip containing the porn he asked for (that was quick!). He enters the Simulator and inserts the chip into a wall unit. An orgy program called "The Cove Of Pleasure" then begins, filled with several nude and eager Moclans. Bortus immediately jumps into the fray and goes to town on the simulated Moclans. 

For some reason, John then accompanies Gordon to the mess hall instead of working on the shuttle. I guess he was taking a break? Anyway, they order a pizza from the Food Synthesizer, but it creates a plate of odorous, inedible glop instead. Plot Point!

Klyden enters the Simulator, looking for Bortus. He sees him writhing in the Cove Of Pleasure with the other Moclans and storms out.

Cut to Bortus and Klyden in couples therapy again. Klyden says he would "divorce" Bortus on the spot if he hadn't promised Mercer he wouldn't stab anyone again. Bortus admits he lost his desire for sex with Klyden after the incident with their child Topa. He says he wishes he'd fought harder to keep Topa a female, and resents Klyden for insisting they mutilate and transform their daughter. He says he's not sure if he can ever let go and move on.

The ship then experiences a series of glitches, and Isaac discovers there's a virus infecting the main computer. He says it's coming from Environmental Simulator 3. For some reason, Mercer and Kelly decide to investigate the Simulator personally. When they enter, they see the Moclan Cove Of Pleasure program running.

Cut to a staff meeting, where Bortus says he's embarrassed beyond measure. Mercer says that's a conversation for another day, and asks how to stop the virus. Isaac says he can write a program that should eliminate it.

Doctor Finn and John enter with some bad news. Even with a space suit, anyone who goes down to Nyxia will be exposed to a lethal dose of radiation. The only two crew members who could survive are Isaac and Bortus. Mercer tells Bortus he's back on duty, and to suit up.

Bortus and Isaac fly down the fortified shuttle to Nyxia, and land next to a hatch. They enter and see the last remaining Nyxians waiting for them. Bortus says there's room in the shuttle for thirty people, so they'll have to make two trips.

Suddenly the ground quakes, and Isaac announces the planet's breakup has unexpectedly accelerated, and they have to leave immediately. Bortus tells Minister Thece she'll have to decide which thirty of her people will be saved.

The Nyxians hold a lottery to choose. Minister Thece's husband and young son are chosen, but she decides to stay behind to give someone else a chance. She shares a brief and tearful goodbye with her family. Bortus watches this touching exchange in silence.

The shuttle's loaded and takes off with seconds to spare, as the sun engulfs Nyxia and destroys it. The shuttle makes it back to the Orville, and Mercer orders Gordon to get them as far from the expanding sun as possible. Right on cue, Gordon loses helm control, as the ship's systems glitch again. The Orville's then pulled toward the massive sun.

Mercer contacts Isaac and says his anti-virus program didn't work, and to get down to the Simulator to help John fix it. Isaac enters the Simulator and uses the tendrils in his fingertips to interface with the computer and personally eliminate the virus.

Just as the ship's about to plunge into the sun, Isaac restores helm control. Gordon blasts the scorched and damaged ship to safety.

Doctor Finn examines Bortus and says the radiation damage was minimal. Mercer enters and tears Bortus a new asshole, saying his actions almost destroyed the ship. He says he's never seen an officer act so disgracefully. 

Bortus agrees, and submits his resignation. Mercer refuses, saying his actions on the planet saved thirty Nyxians, and was one of the bravest things he's ever seen. He tells Bortus to report for duty first thing in the morning.

Bortus then spends the evening at home with his family. He tells Klyden he doesn't know if he'll ever be able to forgive him, but after witnessing Minister Thece''s brave and dignified death, he doesn't want to lose him again.

• Although I liked this episode quite a bit, I'm not crazy about the fact that it presented Bortus as a porn addict. He's always been portrayed as straight-laced, ultra serious and very by-the-book. So it felt reeeally out of character when he began actively neglecting his duties just so he could go masturbate in the Simulator.

On the other hand, the episode needed to be about someone with a family in order to work. Bortus and Klyden are the only two characters on the ship in a stable relationship, so... Bortus it is, then!

• I was poking around an Orville Facebook page, and found out this episode generated quite a bit of controversy due to its "unnecessary gay content." One user actually said, “I watched this with my kids and now I have to explain gay stuff.”

Gosh, if only there were some way for viewers to know beforehand if an episode is appropriate for their kids to watch. Like some sort of system that would evaluate or... rate a show's content. A... a "rating system," if you will.

• So what do we think here? Are Bortus and Klytus a gay couple? Technically, I suppose they are, at least in our human society. Here on Earth we label same-sex couples as gay because it's considered outside the norm.

But Moclan society is exclusively male. In that instance, is it gay when two dudes hook up? I'm sure Bortus and Klyden don't see it that way, as to them their relationship is  perfectly normal. There's no other way on their planet!

It's an interesting question, and one I'm sure MacFarlane was hoping would generate discussion.

• This episode features a ton of awesome beauty shots of the Orville silhouetted against the backdrop of the dying sun. Hats off to the FX team!

• Is holoporn, er, I mean simulated porn considered cheating? 

Your answer likely depends on your upbringing. Heck, the Bible says that simply thinking about adultery is the same as committing it (!!!). Fortunately most rational adults have rejected that outmoded notion as the crazy talk it is.

But simulated porn seems like a whole other animal. Looking at porn is one thing, but actually engaging in sex with an artificial, but completely realistic, partner seems totally different. Bortus' simulated sex toys appear to have rudimentary A.I., and are as close to a living being as you can get. How could that be anything but cheating?

Again, it's a fascinating question, one with no easy answer.

• For the record, here's a list of Bortus' porn programs. Does he really have almost 1000 of them?

Bortus 486: a Brokeback Bortus simulation of a woodland setting, featuring one semi-naked Moclan.

Bortus 497: a dungeon program, complete with an aggressively sexual prison guard.

Bortus 931: a program set in an examination room, with a doctor whose examination gets out of hand.

Unk's Porn: An orgy scenario set in "The Cove Of Pleasure."

In last week's episode I noted that Bortus and Klyden's son Topa seemed to have aged five or six years in the space of just a few months.

Turns out he's older than I thought! In this episode Topa looks like he's ten years old if he's a day! Even weirder, as I said earlier this was meant to be the twelfth episode of Season 1! Granted we don't know just how much time passes between episodes, but I have a feeling the stories are unfolding more or less in real time. That means Topa became the equivalent of a ten year old in less than twelve months!

I'm assuming this is an evolutionary side effect of the Moclan's violent culture. Their society likely has a pretty high mortality rate, so they probably need to constantly replenish the population. No better way to do that than by evolving so they reach child-bearing age in a couple years!

One last thing about Topa's development. In About A Girl, Mercer's main objection to Bortus and Klyden altering their daughter was that they were doing it without her permission. Based on how fast Topa's aging, they could have just waited six months and asked her if she wanted to become a boy or not!

• I love this Simulated Guard's little swagger when he enters the dungeon. It's pretty funny when you see it.

• Hey, it's a new sitcom: Divorce, Moclan Style!

So... Moclan divorce! I take it there's probably a lot of single guys on their planet? Who'd ever agree to marriage, knowing you could be legally murdered if you pissed off your spouse bad enough?

Of course here on Earth, I'm sure there are thousands of people who WISH they were dead after their divorces.

• If you go back and watch the sickbay scene, Bortus actually died for a few seconds. So technically he and Klytus should be really be divorced now!

• When Bortus' heart stops, Doctor Finn orders a "sonic defibrillation" to get it beating again. 

Sigh... even in the 25th Century doctors don't know that a defib machine doesn't start the heart, it actually STOPS it! 

It seems like Lt. Park may actually know this. When Finn orders the defibrillation he protests, saying, "Doctor, he's..." It sounds like he was about to say "dead," as he realizes the procedure won't do any good. Of course Finn interrupts him and orders him to do it anyway.

By the way, when Finn orders Lt. Park to administer the sonic defib, she yells, "Clear!" just like a 21st Century doctor. But why? What's to clear? In our time, you need to step away from a patient because the defib unit sends an electrical charge through their body.

But this is a sonic defibrillation. There shouldn't be any electricity involved. Plus no one's in contact with any part of Bortus' body. That futuristic medical hood doesn't even seem to be touching him. So why yell "Clear," other than for anachronistic dramatic purposes?

• It's hard to tell for sure, but based on the residue around Bortus' mouth and neck, it looks like Moclan blood may be black.

• Doesn't it look like Doctor Finn's sitting on a throne here?

I liked this couples counselling scene quite a bit. Something about these two very formally-speaking aliens calmly expressing their feelings to one another struck me as hilarious.

• Isaac seems to be having an off day in this episode. First he detects large deposits of dysonium under the doomed planet's surface. Later he announces that the dysonium isn't natural at all, but may have been produced by an extinct subterranean civilization that once existed underground.

Then he changes his mind again and says the underground civilization isn't extinct after all, but is alive, well and still active!

Jesus, Isaac! Report to Sick Bay or Engineering or wherever for a tune up!

• Kudos to whoever designed and built the Lt. Unk costume! It looked amazing, and I'm hoping we'll see more of him this season. After watching 50+ years of Star Trek with its endless stream of bumpy-headed extraterrestrials, it's nice to see a show that features aliens that actually look... well, alien!

One small complaint (you knew there'd be one, didn't you?): I kind of wish they'd put Unk in some sort of uniform. Not a full one, mind you, but maybe a jacket or a vest at the least. Something to identify him as a member of the crew and not a monster that's on the loose!

• Funniest part of the episode: Lt. Unk comes clomping around the corridor, his every ponderous step audible from a mile away. He sees Bortus ahead and then whispers, "Psst!" HAW!

• Wow. Once again, not sure how MacFarlane got away with some of the visuals in this episode. Did the censors give this scene a pass because it features a group of aliens rather than humans?

• Naturally Klyden waltzes right into the holodeck, er, I mean the Environmental Simulator, and catches Bortus engaging in an artificial orgy. 

How the hell did Klyden know he was in there? Is the Orville's computer able to locate anyone on the ship? Or did he just go around checking every possible spot?

And why in the name of sanity didn't Bortus lock the goddamned door? What if one of the kids on the ship wandered in there and saw him humping? Did Bortus subconsciously WANT to get caught?

• The Simulated Moclan welcomes Mercer and Kelly to the Cove Of Pleasure, and then provocatively rubs his nipple! HAW!

• Welp, we now know the Union doesn't have anything like the Prime Directive!

In all the various Star Trek series, the Prime Directive is Starfleet's highest and most revered principle. It prohibits officers from interfering in the natural evolution and development of a primitive society, in order to protect them from inadvertent cultural contamination. Even when a society's faced with extinction, Starfleet's forbidden to intervene.

Obviously The Orville's Planetary Union has no such law, as in this episode Mercer and the crew contact the Nyxians and rescue them without a second thought.

• Minister Theece seems very confused, or quite possibly just high. When Mercer first contacts her, they have the following conversation:

Mercer: "This is Captain Ed Mercer of the starship OrvillePlease respond."
Theece: "Did you say a... starship?"
Mercer: "Yes. We're in orbit around your planet. Who am I speaking to?"
Theece: "This is Hallan Theece, First Minister of the Nyxian people. But where have you come from?"
Mercer: "Many different places, actually. I'm from a planet called Earth."
Theece: "Another planet. How is that even possible? Our scientists always speculated about such things, but..."
Mercer: "Minister, are you aware of what's happening to your world?"
Thece: "Yes. A century ago, we discovered that our sun was going to engulf Nyxia within 100 years. We have no method of space travel, so we sought refuge underground."

She contradicts herself at least twice in that little exchange. At first it seems like she's gobsmacked by the fact that there's life elsewhere in the galaxy, which would be a perfectly normal reaction to someone from a primitive society. 

But then she goes on to say, "Another planet..." in an awestruck tone. To me that implies she's actually surprised by the concept that there are other worlds besides her own. She even says the idea of other planets has been just a theory until now. 

I don't see how that's possible though, since earlier in the episode Kelly said there used to be eleven planets in Theece's solar system. So how could the Nyxian scientists not know about them? Did everyone on Nyxia spend their entire lives underground, and never once poke their heads out to look around?

Then Theece tops it all off by saying the Nyxians knew they were doomed, but they couldn't leave because they had no method of space travel, so they hid underground. Whaa...? That implies they at least considered leaving their planet at one point. But if they think theirs is the only world there is, where the hell were they planning to go?

• Bortus and Isaac fly the fortified shuttle to Nyxia to rescue the handful of survivors. On the way, Isaac asks Bortus about sexual urges. Bortus replies, "It is a call from deep within. Like a baby seeking its mother's teat."

OK, first of all, ewww, for mentioning mothers during a discussion about horniness. Secondly, "Like a baby seeking its mother's teat" is an odd thing for someone from an all-male society to say. Or is Bortus actually capable of nursing?

• This is the first spacesuit we've seen on the series so far. Bortus' is blue, just like his uniform. I wonder if ALL the spacesuits are color coded, or if this was just a coincidence?

• A major plot point in this episode revolves around the fact that anyone who lands on Nyxia will be exposed to a lethal dose of radiation from the expanding sun. Doctor Finn says Bortus and Isaac are the only two crew members who can survive the short walk from the shuttle to the Nyxian's front door. Yeah, about that...

In several Season 1 episodes, we saw that the Orville's shuttles can extend a flexible tube from the back to dock with any kind of airlock.

So why the hell didn't they land the shuttle with its rear next to the hatch and extend the goddamned tube? If they'd done that no one would have needed a spacesuit, Bortus wouldn't have been dosed with radiation and they might have even saved enough time to make two trips and rescue everyone. I guess the crew just forgot their shuttles have that little feature?

Obviously they didn't use the shuttle tube for dramatic reasons, so they could artificially generate danger and suspense.

The Orville's in good company here, as this "technological amnesia" was rampant on EVERY Star Trek series, from TOS to Enterprise. Every week the various crews would discover or invent some new technology to get themselves out of a jam, and then completely forget about it by the next episode.

• I was a little disappointed to see that the Nyxians looked like plain old humans. They didn't even have the traditional TNG bumpy foreheads! I guess all those naked Moclans and the Lt. Unk suit ate up this week's makeup budget, so there was nothing left for the poor ol' Nyxians.

• Man, those Nyxians must be the most laid-back race in the entire galaxy. Their planet is literally minutes from being torn apart by their sun, and they're just sort of milling around in their underground base. Additionally, they just found out they're not the only life form in the galaxy, a fact which should have shaken their little society to its core. Yet they seem completely unfazed.

Then to top it all off, a robot and a monster (to their eyes) wander into their midst and they couldn't be less impressed.

I'm starting to wonder if Minister Theece sedated 'em all to avoid a panic!

• Nyxians either age horribly, or they start their families reeeeally late in life. Both Minister Theece and her husband look to be in their late fifties, but they've got a two year old kid!

• John and Dann enter the Simulator to try and eliminate the computer virus that's threatening the ship. The Cove Of Pleasure program's still running, and the Moclans distract John by trying to seduce him.

I guess John's so intent on his work that he forgot he could simply say, "Computer, end program" and shut off the Simulator! Whoops!

• Everyone and their dog has already pointed this out online, but it's still worth a mention. Bortus tells the Nyxians the shuttle can only carry thirty of their seventy five member society. 

After they blast off we get a shot of the shuttle interior, and boy, does it look like there's plenty of extra room. They could have easily squeezed an extra fifteen or twenty more people in there!

I'm assuming MacFarlane isn't that stupid or sloppy, and that the shuttle probably has a weight limit. All they had to do was include one short line about weight, and they could have easily cleared up this glaring plot hole.

• Isaac learns more than he wanted to about "the mating rituals of organic life forms!" Haw!

• At the end of the episode, Mercer condemns Bortus' actions, which almost destroyed the ship. He then praises him for risking his life to save the Nyxians and tells him he's back on active duty.

Eh, I dunno. I think at the very least Bortus should have received some kind of reprimand in his permanent record. Recklessly endangering the ship because he was masturbating in the Simulator's a pretty serious offense!

And as for his bravery in rescuing the Nyxians that's his job! What's he want, a medal for doing what he's supposed to?

On the other hand, Doctor Finn emphasized the fact that porn addiction is a disease, which is probably why Mercer gave Bortus a break.

This Week's Incongruous 21st Century (And Earlier!) References:
Eh, only a couple this week.

When the crew discovers an underground supply of dysonium on the doomed planet, Gordon says, "Hey, free gas!" I'd think that by the 25th Century, petroleum would be a distant memory.

Mercer and Kelly discuss the fact that Isaac's a dick. Mercer ends the conversation by saying, "He's a glorified Speak & Spell. Screw him."

My biggest complaint about The Orville is the fact that it cribs so many plot elements from the various Trek series. I really wish they'd cut back on this, as I find it very distracting. After watching Star Trek for so long it's like my brain's been programmed to recognize familiar story elements. I can't help but see them.

On the other hand, if you combine the five main series, you get a whopping 28 seasons of worth Star Trek. 28! And that's not even counting The Animated Series, STD or all the movies! With that much content out there, it's probably inevitable there're gonna be some similarities.

The notion of holo-addiction was explored (much less graphically) in the TNG episode Hollow Pursuits. In that story, the perennially twitchy Lt. Barclay can't stay out of the holodeck, as he's created fantasy versions of the Enterprise-D's crew, who he uses to prop up his fragile ego.

The TNG characters often gazed in wonder at spectacular spacial phenomena in various episodes, just like the Orville crew did here.

The only married couple in any of the modern Trek shows were Miles and Keiko O'Brien. They often had marital spats similar to the ones Bortus and Klyden have in this episode.

When Bortus is brought to Sick Bay, he's placed under a futuristic frame or arch that performs a variety of automated medical procedures, such as administering drugs and sonic defibrillation.

Jesus Christ, Doctor McCoy used a nearly identical frame fifty years ago!

Doctor Crusher had one too on TNG. In fact ALL the Trek shows have had the same basic piece of equipment. Most Orville swipes can be chalked up to coincidence, but this one... it's like they dug the original prop out of the trash and spruced it up a bit!

In the TNG episode Homeward, Worf's foster brother Nikolai Rozhenko studies a primitive alien culture by disguising himself as one of them. When the planet begins breaking up, he violates the Prime Directive by beaming a group of survivors to the Enterprise-D's holodeck. The Orville crew's rescue of the Nyxians is somewhat similar.

In this episode, Lt. Unk's porn program contains a computer virus which infects the ship's systems and causes numerous glitches. In the TNG episode Contagion, the Enterprise-D was infected by an alien computer virus, which nearly destroyed the ship. 

It's not quite the same thing, but in A Fistful Of Datas, Data hooked up his positronic brain to the main computer, hoping he'd be able to control the entire ship. His plan didn't work, and it caused numerous systems, including the food replicators, to glitch.

This week we find out that a Moclan can divorce his mate simply by murdering him (!). In the DS9 episode The House Of Quark, we see that Klingons have a similarly simple method of ending a marriage. All that's necessary is for the instigating party to backhand their partner, shout "N'Gos tlhogh cha!" (meaning "Our marriage is done!) and finish up by spitting on them. Done and done!

This one's kind of a stretch, but I'll include it anyway. In the TNG episode Pen Pals, Data secretly makes contact with a young alien girl on another planet. When her world begins breaking up, Data talks Captain Picard into letting him go down to the planet and save her. Primal Urges' Nyxian subplot sort of reminds me of that episode.

• This Week's Best Lines:
John: (watching the red star threaten the doomed planet) "Man, ten planets gobbled up by a hungry star. Remind me not to be on Earth when that happens to us."

Isaac: "Earth's sun will not become a red supergiant for another five billion years, Commander. You will be long deceased and forgotten."
John: "There's gonna be some ladies still talking about me."

Bortus: "Captain, my shift ends in 15 minutes. Request permission to leave early."

Mercer: (indicating the awesome spacial phenomenon before them) "Yeah, it's fine, but you don't want to see this?"
Bortus: "It is very... interesting, but I am not feeling well."
Mercer: "All good. We'll see you tomorrow."
(Bortus leaves)
Mercer: "You know, that's the third time this week he's done that."
Kelly: "Maybe he's pregnant again."
Mercer: "Ugh. God, no."

Simulated Guard: "Perhaps we can make an arrangement."
Bortus: "No, I cannot. I am a virgin in that way."
Simulated Guard: "Then you shall die in the morning, Cheston!"
Bortus: "Wait. If there is no other way, then I suppose I must do what you ask of me. And more."
(Wow. How's THAT for an example of "dirty talk?" Those Moclans are so sensual!)

Mercer: "Why the hell is dealing with Moclan culture always this difficult? They mutilate their female babies. They kill each other when they want a divorce. What do they do when it's someone's birthday? Light the parents on fire?"

Kelly: "I know we're supposed to be tolerant of alien customs, but man, there's got to be a limit."
(Whoops! Mercer and Kelly momentarily let their "ugly human" sides show!)

(Mercer meets with Bortus and Klyden after the stabbing)
Mercer: All right, both of you have a seat. Thanks, Alara."

Alara: "Sir, if you don't mind, I'd like to stick around, just in case there's another... divorce."

Mercer: "Bortus, you're really okay with this?"

Bortus: "Yes, Captain. Klyden and I stand united."
Mercer: "This is this is insane. This I- I can't have a normal ship, with normal people? It's like, it's got to be all stabby and- and- all right, you know what? Fine."

Doctor Finn: "Couples counseling helps married people, such as yourselves, discuss and resolve conflicts with the goal of improving your long-term relationship. I'm here to guide that process."

Bortus: "Will we select our own weapons?"
Doctor Finn: "No. That's not how it works."

Mercer: "Minister Theeze, are you aware of what's happening to..."
Kelly: "I think she said 'Theece."

Mercer: "Huh?"
Kelly: "I think she said 'Theece,' with a short 'S' sound."
Mercer: "What did I say?"
Kelly: "Theeze."
Mercer: "What's the difference?"
Kelly: "Theece, like peace."
Gordon: "Like 'Theece's Pieces." 
Mercer: "Hey, you know what, guys, this woman's planet is about to die. Maybe we focus on that, huh?"
(This is the most Family Guy exchange ever! I'm surprised they didn't also launch into a discussion as to whether it's "Cool Whip" or "Cool Hoo-ip.")

Minister Thece: "A century ago, we discovered that our sun was going to engulf Nyxia within a hundred years."

(So you're saying all this started a hundred years ago?)

Klyden: "You disgust me, Bortus. If I had not promised the captain otherwise, I would stab you again right now."

Doctor Finn: "But porn addiction is a disease, just like any other. So we need to treat his condition with compassion and understanding."

Bortus: "Is there an injection I can receive to cure this disease?"
Klyden: "You have had enough injections!"

Doctor Finn: "Bortus, do you feel that you have truly moved on?"

Bortus: "Perhaps I have not. I often look at Topa, and I wonder if I should have fought harder to keep him female. But there was nothing more I could have done. No one could have stopped what happened to her except Klyden, and he did not. I resent you, Klyden. I resent what you put our child through. And I do not know if I can ever move on."

Mercer: "What's the status of the shuttle upgrade?"

John: "It's moving along, Captain. Should be done in about ten hours, give or take."
Mercer: "Chief, that planet will be gone in ten hours. Make it five."
John: "Sir, that's impossible."
Mercer: "Make it possible! Mercer out."
(John frowns as he returns to his work.)
Dann: You know what I just found out last week? The captain and I have the same birthday."

Mercer: (after discovering Bortus' Cove Of Pleasure porn) "Okay, now, I know this is awkward for all of us, but at the moment, we need to focus on this virus."

Bortus: "I am ashamed beyond measure, Captain."
Mercer: "Bortus, that is a whole other conversation that comes later, and it's not going to be pleasant for either of us."
Gordon: "It's okay, dude. Everybody does it sometimes. I went to town on myself this morning. It's why I look so relaxed right now."
Kelly: "God, this whole ship is gross."

Thece's Husband: "You could have included yourself. You're the First Minister."

Minister Thece: "You know that would be wrong. Please understand, my love. Make a life out there with Nathius. A beautiful life among the stars."
Thece's Husband: "All the days we'll never have."
Minister Thece: "Your heart is full of the days we did. That's what you take with you. Now go."

Simulated Moclan: "Let me quench your thirst for passion."

John: "I'm not thirsty!"

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