Friday, November 4, 2022

The Orville Season 3, Episode 9: Domino

This week on The Orville we get... well, one thoroughly amazing episode! One that's so packed full of plotlines and developments that it could have easily been stretched into two or even three episodes!

Among the many storylines in this episode: There's a Moclan/Krill Alliance, a new weapon that can destroy the Kaylons with the touch of a button, the death of a minor character, a Union/Kaylon Alliance (!), another massive space battle, the death of a major character and a treaty between the Union and their biggest enemy. Whew! All that packed into seventy eight minutes of screentime!

It's a lot to take in, and feels like Seth MacFarlane & Co. are trying to wrap up all the major storylines before the end of the season— almost as if this is the series finale.

Good gods, I hope not! The Orville's currently the best sci-fi show on TV— hands down. Heck, it may be the best series of any genre, period. I swear to Thor, if dreck like STD, er, I mean Star Trek: Discovery and Puke-Hard, er, I mean Picard get four seasons and The Orville doesn't... I will burn Utica to the ground.

This episode definitely subverted my expectations, as I gotta admit I did not see the Union ever making nice with the Kaylon. After building up the Kaylon threat all season long, I just assumed they'd always be the enemy.

Glad to see they worked out their differences though, as it made for a more interesting episode— as well as playing into the whole "Hopeful, Positive Star Trek" vibe the series has.

I also wasn't expecting Charly's demise in this episode, as that was definitely a shocker. But now that she's gone, I can't help but wonder— what the hell was the point of her character? 

It's clear that she was introduced so the writers could kill off a member of the Bridge crew without actually losing a major character. And to a lesser extent to create an unlikable character so they could give her and inevitable and obvious redemption arc.

I think they may have gone a bit overboard and made her a little too obnoxious though!

Anyway, on with the review!


The Plot:
On the planet Krill, Supreme Chancellor Teleya surveys the capital city. She then receives some surprise guests— Moclan Captain Rechik and his delegation, who propose an alliance. They tell her that together their worlds will pose a formidable threat against the Kaylon.

The Moclans demand to be in charge though, since Teleya's a lowly female. She says she'll only consider the alliance if it's an equal partnership. Rechik reluctantly agrees.

Elsewhere, a Union fleet (including the Orville) protects Xeleya from an approaching armada of Kaylon Spheres. We see that Charly and Isaac have developed a new Anti-Kaylon weapon, and are ready to test it out. Charly reports the device is fully powered, and Mercer orders her to fire.

A wave of glowing energy erupts from the Orville and slices through the Spheres like butter, completely destroying them all! That was easy!

Sometime later at Union HQ, Mercer, Kelly, Charly and Isaac meet with Admirals Halsey, Ozawa and Perry. They congratulate Charly and Isaac for working together and coming up with the Kaylon Killer so quickly. Perry ask about the device's range, and Charly says it's limited only by the amount of power pumped into it. With enough energy, it could theoretically wipe out every Kaylon in the galaxy.

Isaac explains how it works, which is basically by disrupting the wifi signal that connects every Kaylon. He's immune because he disconnected himself from their network.

The Admirals are ecstatic, and discuss building a bigger version of the device to destroy the Kaylons for good. Mercer objects, questioning the ethics of wiping out an entire species. They then discuss whether it's right or not, and Halsey says it's a matter for the Union Council.

Back on the Orville, John, Talla, Gordon and Charly are in the Mess Hall discussing the new weapon. Charly's all for using it of course, as is Gordon. John and Talla aren't so sure, as genocide goes against Union values.

Admiral Halsey informs Mercer and Kelly of the Council's decision. They'll inform the Kaylon of the device and use it to force a cease-fire. If they refuse, then and only then will the Union use it.

Halsey comes aboard the Orville, and they set course for Kaylon-1. As they approach the planet, five Spheres head out to attack. Halsey orders them to stand down, warning them they're armed with the device. The Spheres continue their approach, so Mercer activates the device. Once again it easily cuts through the Spheres and destroys them.

They're then hailed by Kaylon Primary— who's apparently been resurrected after the Battle Of Earth. He grants them access to the surface. The Orville lands and Mercer, Kelly, Halsey and Charly (?) meet with the Kaylons.

Halsey says their demands are simple— end their attacks on all biologicals or they'll use the device to eliminate them. Primary asks if the Union intends to enslave them. Halsey says of course not— they just want peace. Primary says they have no defense against their weapon, so they're forced to agree to their demands. He ominously warns them that they'll find a weakness in their weapon some day.

Sometime later, the Orville crew is celebrating their victory on Earth, in Kelly's family cabin. As the others drink and whoop it up, Mercer joins Charly on the porch. She tells him they made a huge mistake by not destroying the Kaylon when they had the chance.

She says she's seen that Isaac and Timmis could change, but she doesn't trust the race as a whole. Quite rightly she points out that the Kaylon didn't have a moral awakening— the Union forced them into peace. Mercer says it's a fundamental law of the Union not to kill if they don't have to. Charly says she hopes their morals don't get them all killed. Foreshadowing!

Back at Union HQ, the Kaylon weapon is being stored in a secure facility. A lieutenant enters with suspicious orders to transfer the device to a different site. When the guards say they don't know anything about it, he shoots them all, steals the device and places it in a shuttle.

The next morning Admiral Halsey contacts Mercer and the others and informs them the device has been stolen by an unknown party.

Cut to Krill, where we see Admiral Perry (!) presenting the device to Teleya. She says she's surprised to see a Union officer committing treason. He says he's simply doing what has to be done. He says the Union will never use the device to wipe out the Kaylon, but the Krill will. 
He says once he hands it over he'll return to Earth and turn himself in.

Perry leaves in a his shuttle, and Teleya fires and destroys it. RIP Admiral Perry!

On Earth, Halsey informs Mercer and Kelly of Admiral Perry's betrayal. Mercer takes the Orville to Perry's last known coordinates, where they find his shuttle debris. Isaac runs a scan, detecting traces of Krill AND Moclan weapons (more on that little whoops below). Mercer realizes the two worlds have formed an alliance.

Kelly says the Krill & Moclans won't be able to figure out how to use the device without Charly and Isaac. Bortus says they'll likely to take it to Doctor Kalba, Moclus' most brilliant scientist— who'll no doubt get it working. He says Kalba's stationed on an outpost on Draconis 427, and Mercer orders the Orville there.

The ship arrives at Draconis 427 and the crew secretly observe a huge battle fleet orbiting the planet, with an active base on the surface. Isaac detects a massive quantum core inside the base, bigger than any he's ever seen. Charly says with that much power, the new alliance could wipe out all Kaylon in the galaxy. Mercer grimly says they're gonna need help.

Cut to the Orville back in Kaylon space. Mercer contacts Kaylon Primary and tells him about the Krill/Moclan alliance, and how they're planning to activate the device. He suggests THEY join forces to recover and destroy it. Amazingly Primary agrees to a temporary alliance, saying that once again Mercer leaves him no logical choice.

Primary and two other Kaylon come aboard the Orville, where they're led to the Briefing Room to discuss their strategy. Bortus says the quantum core is deep under the base, and their best bet for entry is an emergency tunnel. Kelly, Talla, Isaac and Charly will infiltrate the base while a squad of Pteradon fighters provides a distraction for the Krill & Moclan forces.

Primary agrees on the plan, but insists on going with the ground team. The combined Union and Kaylon fleets will take on the Krill/Moclan ships in orbit.

The mission begins, as Kelly and the others take a shuttle down to the planet. Gordon and John lead the Pteradons to provide cover. The shuttle's hit and begins losing power, so Talla suggest using "egress packs" (basically spacesuits with jets) to continue the mission.

The team suits up and jumps out of the shuttle right before it's destroyed. They fly low to the ground, landing just outside the base. Talla rips the door off its hinges and they enter.

Back in orbit, the Krill are surprised when the Union ships are backed up by hundreds of Kaylon Spheres. Another fierce and expensive space battle ensues.

Inside the base, we see Dr. Kalba is indeed there, working on a larger, more powerful version of the device. Teleya's there too, overseeing the project.

The Orville strike team sneaks through the base's corridors. They encounter heavy resistance as they make their way to the core. Kelly covers the others while they head for the control room.

Teleya's alerted that the base has been breached, and tells Kalba to hurry it up. He powers up the device, which will take eight minutes to fully charge. When it fires, it'll destroy every Kaylon within 10,000 light years.

Gordon's team sees the device's array powering up, and do their best to damage or destroy it. Unfortunately it's heavily shielded and remains unharmed.

Elsewhere, Kelly's sneaking through the corridors when Teleya appears from behind and holds a knife to her neck. The two then have a VERY violent fight.

Charly, Isaac and Primary burst into the control room. Primary uses his head cannons to take out all the Moclan guards. Charly tries to deactivate the device, but Kalba tells her she can't stop the power up sequence once it's been activated. Charly tries anyway.

Back in the corridor, Teleya gets the advantage over Kelly. Just as she's about to deliver the killing blow, Talla appears and knocks her out. She and Kelly head for the control room.

Doctor Kalba tries to escape, but Primary kills him. Rechik starts to fire on Charly, but Isaac deploys his head cannons and tells him to leave. Rechik slinks out of the room so he can return in Season 4. Primary's puzzled, and asks why Isaac doin't just kill the Moclan. Isaac said it wasn't necessary.

Just then Kelly, Talla and a handcuffed Teleya enter. Charly reports that she can't shut down the device, so she's gonna try overloading it. Unfortunately that means she'll have to stay behind to do so. She tells Kelly and the others to go.

Kelly refuses to leave Charly, saying they can rig a timer or something. She says there's no other way, and they have two minutes before the core blows, which will take out half the planet. Kelly reluctantly leaves, as Charly and Isaac share a look. Primary stays behind a few seconds, puzzled by Charly's selflessness. before he exits as well.

The team piles into a shuttle and blasts off. Kelly contacts the Union/Kaylon fleets and tells them to get the hell away from the planet.

Back in the control room, Charly works frantically. She successfully overloads the core and says, "I'm here, Amanda," as the room erupts in a flash of light. Charly— and everyone else on the planet— are vaporized instantly. 

Kelly's shuttle docks with the Orville. Mercer asks about Charly, and Kelly informs him she didn't make it.

Sometime later, Kelly reports to Mercer that Teleya's in the Brig. Mercer turns to Primary and asks what happens next— peace or continued war. Primary asks why Charly terminated her existence. Isaac explains she did it to save the Kaylon race, and that all biologicals aren't evil like their Builders. Primary admits their assessment of biologicals may have been wrong.

Mercer visits Teleya in the Brig. telling her they're taking her to Earth where she'll be tried for war crimes. He says there's someone she seems to have forgotten about, and Teleya hisses that their daughter Anaya is in safe hands. She vows that as long as she's in prison he'll never see his daughter.

At Union HQ, President Alcuzan, Senator Balask and Admirals Halsey and Ozawa meet with Kaylon Primary. Halsey says as long as they abide by Union rules, they can have a provisional seat on the Council. Primary says their form of government is inefficient, but agrees to their terms.

Back on the Orville, Mercer holds a funeral service for Charly. Isaac stands and delivers a eulogy, saying Charly saw him as an enemy but chose to save his life, and later his entire race. He says her existence was brief, but her impact will be felt far into the future.

• This episode begins with a Moclan delegation offering to work together with the Krill to defeat the Kaylon threat.

Wow. Everyone who had "Moclus Forms An Alliance With Krill" on their BINGO card, come up and get your prize! I gotta say, I did NOT see that coming! 

I figured the Moclans would end up becoming a threat in their own right, which would force the Union to fight a war on two fronts. I like this alliance idea much better though.

If I had one complaint here it'd be that it seems unlikely that an all-male society like Moclus would ever consider teaming up with Krill in the first place— especially since the planet's currently ruled by a lowly female. Doesn't seem like something they'd be interested in, but eh... I'll allow it.

• In this opening shot we see a massive two pronged skyscraper on Krill. That HAD to be an homage to Barad-Dur from The Lord Of The RIngs! You can't convince me otherwise!

• Teleya meets with a Moclan delegation in her office. Although she calls the central Moclan "Ambassador," he sure looks like Captain Rechik to me. It's tough to tell though, since all Moclans tend to look the same (racist!).

If this really is Rechik (and I'm gonna go ahead and say it is), he's appeared a couple times before on the show, in Deflectors and then last week in Midnight Blue.

• Rechik proposes an alliance to Teleya, but says Moclus would have to be in charge because the idea of a female leader is "offensive" to his culture. She's both offended by his rudeness and impressed with his hubris, saying:

Teleya: "There is a phrase I once heard uttered by a human helmsman aboard the Union ship Orville: You have got balls."

Of course the human helmsman she's talking about is Gordon! Who else?

• Teleya's office contains a fireplace filled with glowing green rocks, which are presumably giving off heat. That's a cool little sci-fi touch!

• We then cut to the Orville, where we see the crew's cobbled together a deadly new anti-Kaylon weapon and uses it to defend Xeleya.

WOW! Where the hell did THAT come from?

I really wish there'd been some kind of buildup or even a slight hint to the fact that Charly and Isaac were working on a doomsday weapon. This is a major game-changer for the series, as all season long the Union's been fretting about the Kaylon threat. Then suddenly in this episode they can wipe out the entire race with the mere touch of a button! 

I can't emphasize enough how jarring this new development is. It's bad form for the writers to just pull something like this out of their collective asses. Deus ex machina doesn't even begin to describe this!

At the very least they could have had Charly mention she was working on an idea for a weapon a few episodes back. It didn't even have to be a lengthy scene, just a brief snippet of dialogue. 
Something that big most definitely needs some foreshadowing!

Annnnd just like that, the Kaylon armada's destroyed!

Honestly when I first saw this scene I was convinced it was taking place in the Environmental Simulator, and John & Charly were testing out an idea for a new weapon. Nope! Turns out it's 100% real!

• I've brought this up before, but it still makes me laugh every time.

TOS had the "Kirk In His Command Chair Pose," TNG had the "Picard Maneuver" and now The Orville has the "Mercer And Kelly Slowly Stand In Unison Move." You know sh*t just got real whenever you see 'em do that.

They take it even further this time, as both of them walk around the helm and nav stations to stand right smack in front of the forward window. I bet that extra fifteen feet really helped them see the Kaylon debris field better!

• If nothing else, this season has given us a ton of spectacularly impressive shots like this. I love these scenes of the crew visible through the windows as the camera pulls back to reveal the ship, as it gives it a much needed sense of scale.

• Back at Union Central, the Orville crew meet with the admiralty to discuss their new Kaylon Killer. Charly and Isaac explain that the Kaylon are all connected through a synchronization matrix, which links them all across the galaxy. Their device overloads this connection, which creates a feedback loop in the Kaylons and "kills" them.

In order words, it overloads their wifi signal. Sure, why not. 

OK, I'll accept the fact that overloading their space wifi will kill the Kaylons. But why in the name of sanity would that cause their SHIPS to disintegrate as well? Whoops!

• Admiral Perry asks if the Kaylon Killer's range could be expanded. Isaac says the weapon's effectiveness is limited only by its power source, and with a sufficient amount of juice its range would be infinite. 

This is an old, old sci-fi tradition, one that was seen on every Star Trek series old and new. Virtually every weapon or device on those shows could be made more powerful by simply increasing the wattage.

Problem is, electronics don't work that way. Pump more power into a device and it doesn't work harder or faster, you'll just end up frying it!

• Regardless of how realistic it is, Admiral Perry wants to bump up the weapon's power and wipe out ALL the Kaylon everywhere in the galaxy. Fortunately Mercer's there to object to the idea of the Union committing genocide against an alien species.

The Admirals make some pretty good points too though, as they remind Mercer that the Kaylon are actively trying to eradicate all biologicals from the galaxy. Plus, is it really genocide to wipe out a "species" that isn't really alive in the first place? 

It's a classic Star Trek-style morality play. Which side's right? Who knows? That's what makes this show so good!

• I know Isaac doesn't have any emotions, but surely he has something to say about the fact that the Union wants to eradicate his entire species. Or maybe not. After all, he just helped Charly develop the weapon, so maybe he really doesn't give a sh*t!

• Back on the Orville, the crew discuss whether the Kaylon should be eliminated or not. Of course Charly's all for it, which should come as no surprise to anyone who's been watching this season. 

But Gordon is as well, as he's back in his "I Hate Kaylons" mode this week. Of all the characters on the show, he's been written the most inconsistently this season, ranging from likable goofball to unlikely genius and now hateful racist!

• Charly goes too far with her anti-Kaylon comments, and gets slapped down hard by John. Good! It's about time someone called her out on her constant harping against them, and the fact that she lost her pal Amanda. She's not the only person whose had loved ones who were killed! Her Persecution Complex is gettin' mighty stale at this point.

• The Orville flies out to Kaylon-1 to demonstrate their new weapon. As the ship approaches the planet, we see Admiral Halsey standing behind Mercer— like he's riding in a shuttle!

Seems like someone could have gone down to the Mess Hall and brought up an extra chair for a freakin' admiral to sit in. How long did he stand there? An hour? More?

• The Orville's given permission to land, and we see the surface of Kaylon-1 again, looking just like it did back in Identity, Part 1. It looks even better this time, thanks to the show's increased budget.

• Oddly enough, the grappling pads that spring into action to hold the Orville in place look identical to the ones used in the Union dockyard. Same round design, same glowing blue tractor field, everything. What are the odds of that?

• Once the ship's docked, the crew's greeted by Kaylon Primary and two of his aides. A couple things here:

First of all, Primary's presence here is quite the trick, considering he "died" when Isaac pulled his head off at the end of Identity, Part 2.

Primary explains that he got better after his death because a Kaylon's neural matrix can be regenerated indefinitely. Hmm... Maybe the crew should have called him for help in the season premiere, when Isaac committed suicide and they were trying to resurrect him.

Secondly, Kaylon Primary— and in fact all the Kaylons we see in this episode— inexplicably have the same body design as Isaac.

In the first two seasons of the show the Kaylons had a completely different and inferior look, which consisted of what looked like a ski jacket and silver pants! They even wore little silver boots! Why the hell would a robot wear pants? 

Then in the Season 3 premiere Isaac got a much-needed upgrade, which finally made him like a proper robot. Gone were the pants and boots, replaced with modular armored pieces. It was a superior look in every measurable way.

Unfortunately his new look opened up a huge can of Plot Hole, as it was somehow shared by EVERY other Kaylon in the universe— retroactively. In From Unknown Graves we saw that K-1 somehow sported Isaac's new look, hundreds, and maybe even thousands of years ago! Same goes for Timmis, the friendly Kaylon we met in the present day of that same episode. 

And somehow everyone on Kaylon-1 is now walking around with the new design as well.

Obviously what happened here is that the costume designer upgraded Isaac's look for Season 3, and Seth MacFarlane summarily decided that the Kaylons have ALWAYS looked this way (despite mountains of evidence to the contrary). Apparently we're all just supposed to go along with it— even though it doesn't make the least bit of sense.

• I love that Kaylon Primary thinks the Union is there to enslave his race. He needs to drop that notion and realize that all biologicals aren't out to conquer his planet. I guess maybe that's part of the Kaylon's binary thinking— artificial lifeforms are good, biologicals are inherently evil, and there's no in between.

By the way, why the hell is Charly, a lowly ensign, present at this historic meeting with the Kaylons? Yeah, she helped build the weapon they're discussing, but so what? She's not part of the command staff OR a diplomat. There's absolutely no reason for her to be there other than to give her a little more screentime in her swan song episode.

• After making nice with the Kaylons, the Orville crew celebrates back on Earth in Kelly's family cabin.

If the place looks familiar, there's a good reason for that. It's actually the Kelly (!) Gulch Cabin, located in the Blackberry Creek Farm in Topanga Canyon, California. Over two hundred film and TV shows have been filmed at the cabin over the years, including Parks & Recreation, The Good Place, This Is Us, Extant and Entourage.

• Inside the cabin, Gordon entertains the crew with yet another song. Did Scott Grimes have a 
rider in his contract guaranteeing he'd get to sing a certain amount of songs this season? Seems like he's done it a lot lately.

Charly joins him this time, as they sing Simon & Garfunkel's Flowers Never Bend With The Rain. Her duet with Gordon's clearly meant to soften her character a bit and make her more likable. Sorry, but it ain't working. Too little too late and all that.

• Back in the first two seasons I had fun mocking the ridiculous looking outfits the crew wore in their off duty hours. Most of their futuristic fashions were truly heinous.

They seem to have really toned that down this season, as the crew's casual clothing doesn't look all that different from 21st Century ensembles. Either the show got a different costume designer this year, or the old one got tired of fans making fun of their designs and dialed 'em back.

• During the party, Bortus and Klyden are frustrated when they can't properly crack walnuts to "access the interior meat." 

It's a funny scene, but why are they trying to crack 'em in the first place? We've seen before that Moclans can eat literally anything, including glass. Why don't Bortus & Klyden just pop the entire walnuts in their mouths and be done with it?

• Outside the cabin, Topa plays futuristic catch with Marcus and Ty. 

A bit later Claire and Isaac join them as everyone gazes at the night sky. It looks for all the world like Marcus has his arm around Topa in this scene!

I wonder... are they setting up a Marcus/Topa teen romance here? Would Marcus be weirded out by dating a friend who used to be a guy? Apparently not, as 25th Century kids have likely moved beyond stuff like that.

• Outside the cabin, Topa sees the aurora borealis in the sky and admires it. She says that she's never seen such beauty. 

Seriously? Sure, the Northern Lights are pretty and all, but they absolutely pale in comparison to the nebula that surrounded Heveena's Sanctuary planet— that Topa just visited last week!

• For weeks now we've been seeing exterior establishing shots of Union Central. In this episode we finally get to see the interior! 

I got nothing profound to say about this shot, other than I love it.

• Apparently while we weren't looking, the Orville crew decided to store the Kaylon Killer weapon in a secure storage unit deep in the bowels of Union Central. Of course it doesn't take lone for a rebellious faction to steal it. 

Jesus, you'd think something that important would be protected by a bit more security! It literally took just two traitorous officers to steal the thing!

On the other hand, this is the Utopian Union we're talking about here. Most likely the Admiralty never conceived of the notion that anyone would try to swipe their only protection against the Kaylon!

• Once the terrorists pilfer the Kaylon Killer, they radio their contact and report they're rendezvousing with him. We then hear and electronically altered voice reply, "Acknowledged." 

Obviously the voice of the Mystery Person on the other end was distorted so the audience wouldn't know their identity. But just two scenes later we find out the Mystery Person's really Admiral Perry. So why bother with the deception? I guess the producers were waiting to reveal his identity in front of Teleya and Rechik.

• Back at the cabin, Kelly & Claire get up early to watch the sunrise and talk about the fact that the Kaylon threat is over.

Claire: "So what are we gonna stress about?"
Kelly: "Today? Hangovers."
Claire: "Ugh. No kidding. It's mornings like this I'm jealous of Talla."
Kelly: "No liver?"
Claire: "Yep."
Kelly: "Yeah, we were born on the wrong planet."

The joke here is that because Xeleyans like Talla don't have livers, they can't get hangovers. Wait, what? 

One of the functions of the human liver is to break down and metabolize drugs and alcohol into substances the body can use. Unfortunately hangovers are a side effect of this process. So without a liver, a person would indeed not get a hangover.

On the other hand, if a person didn't have a liver, alcohol would quickly build up in a their bloodstream and kill them. In which case not having a liver would be a bad thing. You'd think a freakin' DOCTOR like Claire would know such basic anatomy!

It's like the writers only read the first half of the liver entry on wikipedia and ignored the rest!

• Admiral Halsey contacts Kelly at the cabin, and asks if Mercer's there as well. She hesitantly replies, "He's... still sleeping."

Did that tentative line delivery mean something? Is Mercer just sacked out by himself in one of the rooms, or did he and Kelly spend the night together like old times?

• Admiral Perry decides to take matters into his own hands and give the Kaylon Killer to Teleya and Rechik. Teyela then mocks Perry, accusing him of treason:

Perry: "I see you've found a new friend."
Teleya: "Friends are scarce these days."
Perry: "Well, that's what happens when your government sanctions kidnapping and torture."
Teleya: "True to his ethics even as he commits treason. What a noble creature."
Perry: "This is not treason. Quite the opposite. I believe in the idealism of the Union. But my compatriots have made a grave mistake. Sooner or later, the Kaylon will figure out a defense against this weapon, and we will lose our tactical advantage. The Union won't do what needs to be done. I know you will."

Sorry, Admiral, but Teleya's right. You ARE most definitely committing treason here. By its very definition, it means "to betray someone or something," which he's definitely doing. I guess he's attempting to justify his actions by twisting logic any way he can.

• As Perry hands over the weapon he tells Telaya, "The device does not come with an instruction manual. At the moment, the only ones who know how to use it are Isaac and Ensign Burke. I wish I could help you there. Your scientists are just gonna have to do some reverse engineering."

What reverse engineering? The heavy lifting's already been done at this point. All they need to do now is hook the thing up to a power source and flip the on switch!

• The second Admiral Perry leaves, Teleya orders her ship to fire on his fleeing shuttle in order to shut him up about the alliance.

RIP Admiral Perry! I definitely wasn't expecting them to kill him off this season!

• The Union discovers Admiral Perry's treason and sends the Orville out to investigate for some reason. Once they reach Perry's last known location, they discover a debris field:

Bortus: "Scans indicate traces of Union alloys, as well. And residual weapons signatures."
Kelly: "What kind of weapons?"
Bortus: "They appear to be Krill... and Moclan."
Kelly: "Isaac. Verify scan."
Isaac: "Confirmed. Data is accurate."
Gordon: "Oh, Jesus."
Charly: "An alliance?"
Mercer: "Molotov-Ribbentrop all over again."

A couple things here. First of all, Bortus and Isaac must both be having a bad day. Just five minutes ago we clearly saw Teleya's Krill vessel— and ONLY her vessel— fire on Perry's shuttle. The Moclan ship next to it didn't do jack. So where'd the Moclan weapon signature come from? Whoops!

Obviously they added this bit so the Orville crew could figure out that Krill & Moclus formed an alliance. Unfortunately it didn't make any sense.

Second, Mercer's little aside refers to the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact of 1939, in which Russia and Nazi Germany agreed on a policy of non-aggression towards each other. It lasted less than two years before Germany turned on and attacked Russia.

Who knew Mercer was such a student of ancient Earth history?

• When the Orville discovers the device is in the hands of the Krill/Moclan alliance, Kelly says they won't be able to figure out how to use it without Charly and Isaac.

Again I ask, what the hell is there to figure out? All it needs is a power supply.

Think of it this way— imagine you could somehow send a smart phone back to the 1940s. There's no way they'd be able to duplicate it with the technology of the day, but they could probably figure out a way to power it up. Same deal with the Kaylon weapon.

• Mercer then orders the Orville to the Moclan outpost on Draconis 427. Looking at this shot made me realize just how much the Moclans are into hexagons. Their secret bases are hexagonal...

Their uniforms are festooned with hexagons...

Their doors are hexes...

Even their corridors are heagon shaped!

• After finding the Krill and Moclans have formed an alliance, Mercer proposes the Union and Kaylons join forces to oppose them. 

As I said in the intro, this episode definitely subverted my expectations! That's something I never expected to see on this show— especially after the events of Identity Parts 1 and 2. Yet here we are.

• There's definitely some MAJOR time compression going on in this episode. Back in Identity, Part 1, Admiral Halsey mentioned that Kaylon-1 is a long way from the Union. This week the Orville goes there, returns to Earth, flies over to Draconis 427, then and zooms back to Kaylon-1 again— all in what seems like a couple of hours. It's gotta be wayyyyyy longer than that though— possibly even days.

Ah, but the time compression gets even worse! Admiral Perry delivers the device to the Krill, and in what appears to be less than a day they reverse engineer it, build a giant version of it and install it in a secret Moclan base. Impressive! As well as unlikely!

Director Jon Cassar seems to have a fetish for cramming as many ships on the screen as possible!

I'm torn on this. On the one hand it looks awfully cool. On the other, spread those ships out a bit, wouldja? They're gonna crash into one another!

• Have we see Kaylon shuttles detach from the circular ships like this before on the show? I don't think we have, but I honestly can't remember.

• Mercer welcomes Kaylon Primary onboard the ship to discuss an alliance. I loved this exchange between Primary and the crew:

Mercer: "Welcome aboard the Orville. If you'll follow us, we'll escort you to the conference room."
Kaylon Primary: We are familiar with its location. As you recall, we occupied this vessel during our previous encounter.
Kelly: I do. And as you recall, we kicked your asses!

• We then get the battle of the millennium as the Krill/Moclan forces attack the Union/Kaylon armada.

Jaysis, those Union ships must be made out of paper. It's like they explode at the slightest touch. We know from past episodes that they have deflectors and shields, but they apparently don't do much.

Hopefully there aren't families onboard all those ships that are destroyed!

• One of the Krill ships is commanded by Captain Dalak (not Dalek!). We've actually seen him before, as he first appeared back in Identity, Part 2. Last time he appeared, he seemed to be a ray of hope for a Union/Krill understanding. Apparently that wasn't to be, as he's definitely a villain here.

• The abysmal Nu-Trek shows could all learn a thing or two about how to do diversity and representation from The Orville.

In order to infiltrate the Moclan base on Draconis 427, Mercer assembles an away team consisting of three female officers and two Kaylons. This lineup's presented so casually and without fanfare that I didn't even think about it till later. He simply chose the right people for the mission, which made if feel completely natural.

Compare that to a show like STD, er, I mean Star Trek: Discovery. They would have relentlessly trumpeted this lineup, pointing out how the all-girl team was infinitely superior to one made of icky old males. And then everyone would have had a good old fashioned emotional crying session. Feh.

• AT LAST! After an entire season of buildup, we FINALLY get a payoff for the Pteradon fighters we've seen in the Orville's Shuttlebay every week, as a squadron of them escort the away team down to Draconis 427! 

It's about damn time! I KNEW the Pteradon was gonna play a huge role at the end of the season. Otherwise why would they have made such a fuss about it in the Season 3 premiere?

Note that every week this season we've see one Pteradon parked in the Shuttlebay (usually right smack in the way of approaching ships!). Yet in this episode there are suddenly a dozen or more of them. Apparently the Shuttlebay must have a basement where they stored extras!

• At one point Krill and Moclan fighters attack the shuttle and its Pteradon escort. This prompts John to say, "Group leader to Kaylon, get your shiny asses down here. We need reinforcements!"

Wow, a Futurama reference in The Orville!

• They fly now? They fly now.!

So this week we see the Orville personnel can apparently fly with the help of previously unseen "egress packs." Kelly and her team use them to get to the surface of Draconis 427 after their shuttle's destroyed. Eh, I guess so.

This shot of the airborne team landing is a little suspect though. They're all clearly zooming through the air at a hundred miles per hour, yet they all manage to stop on a dime. 

Yeah, I don't think so. In real life they'd have skidded along the ground for several hundred feet before finally coming to a stop.

It's too bad Kelly & Bortus forgot these egress packs existed last week in Midnight Blue. In that episode, the two of them went to another secret Moclan base to rescue Topa. They then parked a good ten miles away though, forcing them to trudge across the barren landscape for several hours before they reached the base. They could have prevented Topa from being tortured if they'd thought to simply fly to her rescue.

• For some reason Isaac can't use his finger tendrils to override the electronic lock on the door to the Moclan base, so Talla just rips it open. Now that I think about it, she hasn't had a chance to use her strength much this season.

• The corridors inside the Moclan base look suspiciously like the ones in the Moclan black ops site from last week's episode! Identical even!

Nothing wrong with that! Makes perfect sense, since they're both Moclan installations. Plus it's good, economical filmmaking!

• Apropos of nothing, Talla detects the Quantum Core 900 meters ahead of the team's current position. Charly says it'll take them about six minutes to reach it. That works out to about 5.6 miles per hour, which is a little fast, but still an entirely possible walking speed. Well done, writers!

• At one point the away team gets pinned down by Moclan and Krill forces. Like pretty much everything else on this show, each race has color-coded energy beams. The Union fires blue blasts, the Krill green and the Moclans a brownish yellow.

• We then cut to Teleya standing wayyyyy too close to the newly-constructed Quantum Core that's powering the Kaylon Killer device (that's her on the platform at extreme left). 

As big as the Core is, it still looks a lot smaller than I thought it would be. I expected a power source that could wipe out every Kaylon in the entire galaxy to be the size of a moon or a small asteroid. This Core honestly doesn't look all that much bigger than the one that fuels the Orville!

• Now that the Kaylons know how the device works, couldn't they all just shield their wifi signal in order to prevent the Moclans from using it against them? Or was there just not time to do a major overhaul of their entire population?

• Charly and the Kaylons (that sounds like a band name!) enter the control room and quickly take it over. Charly then starts frantically pushing buttons on a panel to try and disarm the device. Note that the readouts are all in Moclan— which I guess she can somehow apparently read!

Eh, this isn't the first time a crew member's been able to decipher and operate an alien control panel. Mercer and Gordon both did it while infiltrating a Krill ship way back in Season 1's Krill.

• RIP Doctor Kolba— the Moclans' most brilliant scientist. He tries fleeing the control room, but Kaylon Primary zaps him with his head guns. Note that Primary kills all the Moclans in the room except for Rechik. That's because he's an established villain with a thick layer of plot armor, who needs to live another day in order to reappear.

• Charly says the only way to stop the Kaylon Killer is to overload it— meaning she'll have to stay behind to do so. Kelly realizes what she's saying, and wishes her good luck. Charly then exchanges a quick but meaningful look with Isaac.

Once again, you can't tell me that Isaac doesn't have emotions! Primary gives Charly one last look as well, clearly puzzled by her sacrifice.

• Charly manages to overload the Core and save the Kaylons. She says, "I'm here, Amanda" a second before she's vaporized.

Thank the maker we won't have to hear about her dead girlfriend Amanda anymore after this episode! Kee-rist, did Charly's constant whining about her get old fast. I get that she was bitter about Amanda's death, but as I said before, Charly's not the only person who lost a loved on in the Battle Of Earth.

• Kelly and the away team then take off in a stolen Krill shuttle. She contacts Mercer and tells him to get the Union and Kalyon fleets away from the planet before it blows. 

She might also want to let everyone know the team's flying in a confiscated enemy vessel and ask them to please not blow them out of the sky!

• I can honestly say I did NOT think we'd see the Kaylons sitting down with President Alcuzan to discuss becoming part of the Union!

Speaking of sitting, I bet it's weird for Primary and his aides to do so. As Mercer found out back in Identify Part 1, there are no chairs on Kaylon-1!

• Mercer visits Teleya in the Brig, where she tells him he'll never see their daughter again. Let's all hope we get a Season 4, otherwise this is a plot thread that'll forever be dangling.

• We then see there's quite a turnout for Charly's funeral. Lots to cover here:

First of all, Mercer says a few remarks as he stands next to a photo of her (since there was nothing left to bury!).

Amazingly this image looks like he downloaded her official publicity shot from the internet!\

Mercer then says a few words about Charly, calling her, "An outstanding Union officer and an extraordinary human being." Wow, let's dial it back a little there, Ed! 

When Charly first appeared she was petulant, insubordinate and downright racist toward the Kaylons. Sure, she learned to be a better person, but only after circumstances forced her to— not through any effort of her own. I have to wonder whether she sacrificed her life because it was the right thing to do or because she was simply duty-bound to do so.

We then get this wide shot of the funeral attendees. If you zoom in you'll see that Claire's in the front row, and directly behind her are Marcus, Ty, an Hispanic woman and a green-headed guy. So far so good.

But then in this closeup we see that Green Guy's still there, Hispanic Lady's presumably hidden behind Claire, but Ty's suddenly aged ten or fifteen years— as well as changed into a completely different costume.

What the...? Who the hell's this guy? He doesn't look remotely like either one of Claire's kids! Was he a stand-in who ended up onscreen by mistake?

• Charly's death was clearly meant to be a tragic and heart-tugging moment in the series, one which would leave the audience in tears. Sorry, but I didn't feel a thing when she died, and sat stone-faced through her funeral.

Her character was just too obnoxious and unpleasant for the audience to suddenly care about. And yes, I get that the writers made her that way on purpose, to give her a meaningful redemption arc. But they did a little too good a job of making her unlikeable at the outset. Having her sign a duet with Gordon this week didn't suddenly turn her character around. 

Heck, she was still spouting anti-Kaylon rhetoric in this episode, right up to the very end! 

• All season long I've been hearing rumors that Seth MacFarlane was dating actress Anne Winters (who plays Charly) in real life. I could never find any definite confirmation of this, but it definitely seemed to fit— she was added to the cast out of nowhere, and she's honestly not that great an actress. How else would she get the gig?

But here we are at the end of the season and she's been summarily killed off. So maybe the rumors weren't true after all. I doubt MacFarlane would kill off his girlfriend— unless he was in the mood for trouble at home!

• Isaac then delivers a heartfelt (for him) eulogy for Charly, mentioning the few personal things he actually knows about her:

Isaac: "Ensign Burke loved pancakes. She consumed them with butter but no syrup and was indifferent to the addition of berries or other condiments. As a child, pancakes were her favorite breakfast. I served with Ensign Burke for 257 days, 17 minutes, and 49 seconds. And yet, my understanding of her remained incomplete. She had an impressive brain for a biological. She perceived the universe in ways others could not. Ensign Burke regarded me as an enemy. Yet despite her animosity, she chose to save my life when no one else was able. And in the final seconds of her own life, Ensign Burke substantiated for all the galaxy her true nature. One of integrity and selflessness. And in her sacrifice, she inspired the enemies of the Union to become friends. Her existence was brief. But, much like the first domino in a succession, her impact will be felt far into the future."

• As I said in the intro, it's obvious that Charly was created so the writers could give her a redemption arc, and so they could have a major death without losing a main cast member. That's pretty much her only reason for existing.

Unfortunately her death here leaves a couple of curiously unresolved storylines.

Back in A Tale Of Two Topas, there was a subplot about the crew discovering a Hemblicite temple on a deserted planet. For no good reason other than to give her more screentime, Charly was placed in charge of this major find, apparently because her hobby was archeology (?). She began obsessing over the Hemblicites, going so far as to create a hologram of what they looked like.

It felt like the whole Hemblicite thing was leading up to something, but it went absolutely nowhere as it sputtered and died.

Then in the third act of that same episode, there was a scene in which Charly accidentally gashed her leg in the Hemblicite tomb, and Doctor Finn patched her up. Based on the amount of screentime this scene had, I assumed this was a setup for a future plotline. Maybe one in which Charly would become infected by Hemblicite bacteria and transform into one of them or something. 

Nope! This episode firmly pinched off any possibility of that ever happening. So again I ask, what the hell was the point of the whole Hemblicite subplot? It appears it was simply included as padding to extend the runtime of A Tale Of Two Topas!

This Week's Incongruous 21st Century (And Earlier!) References:
Again, none that I could see this week. It's like they suddenly became a thing of the past in Season 3.

This Week's Star Trek Swipes:
There were several I noticed this week.

The Kaylons all being connected with one another through space wifi is virtually identical to the Borg in TNG. There the members of the Collective were linked together by a subspace signal, which created a vast hive mind.

The Away Team captures Tayala and tosses her into the Brig. Note that the Orville's Brig looks exactly like the ones seen in every TNG-era series— complete with a forcefield instead of bars.

Admiral Perry turning out to be a traitor is very similar to Admiral Cartwright's betrayal in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country.

Of course this episode's biggest swipe isn't from any iteration of Trek at all, but from old school Doctor Who. In the 1982 episode Earthshock, the Doctor and his companions travel to the distant past, where they encounter a Cyberman ship. They discover the evil cyborgs' plan to ram their ship into Earth at warp speed, which will destroy the planet.

Unable to stop the Cybermen, the Doctor & Co. flee in the TARDIS. At the last second, the Doctor's companion Adric decides to stay onboard and try to stop the ship. Unfortunately he fails, and is killed when the ship slams into Earth. On the bright side, the explosion wipes out the dinosaurs, allowing humanity to become the dominant lifeform.

Although the situation's a bit different, Charly's sacrifice is identical to Adric's.

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