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Orville Episode 10: You’ve Heard of Saving the Best for Last?

Well, decide for yourself if you think that’s what the writers did. Some of us would describe it in other terms

Episode 10 fails for many reasons, but it’s not the kind of terrible where the episode is so bad you can throw your head back and laugh. Not only is it bad; it’s boring. Mixed up scenes, clunky dialog, and pretentious diatribes spread through the story.

The story opens with Moclans Bortus and Klyden renewing their vows.

Apparently, the all-male Moclans have a ritual where they essentially run naked through the forest until the “dominate male” catches the “submissive male” and . . . I’ll let you use your imagination. This scene is painful to watch. Two overweight men shamble through the woods in G-strings and the viewer is subjected to every horrendous second. I’m sure you’re wondering, “what kind of twisted blue humor is this?”

But here’s the puzzler: I’m not entirely sure the scene is intended as a joke. It has all the cringe of an off-color gag, but without humor. In fact, when Bortus and Klyden return from the “ritual,” serene music plays in the background. It’s as if we’re supposed to be truly moved. I wasn’t.

Once the rite is concluded, the crew returns to the ship, where the robot Isaac, who cannot experience emotions, decides to look up “marriage rituals.” He concludes that he wants to marry Dr. Finn.

Dr. Finn’s reaction to his proposal is odd:

On the one hand, the show really wants the viewer to take this relationship seriously. On the other hand, Dr. Finn is hesitant to marry the robot for reasons the dialogue doesn’t really address. She just says she never imagined herself marrying again — which is the complete opposite of what has previously been implied about her motives.

Dr. Finn thinks Isaac would be a good father. Seasons 1 and 2 spent a great deal of time addressing Isaac’s relationship with her son Ty. If she fancied Isaac as a potential parent, then marriage would be a part of that scenario. But now she is hesitant. Discussing the matter with Isaac, she gives reasons like the fact he will never age — which is something she should’ve thought of before dating him. Isaac counters by saying he would take care of all Dr. Finn’s relations in the future. A marriage with him now would ensure his loyalty forever. Upon hearing this, the doctor is sold.

There is so much to pick apart here. The idea of Dr. Finn falling in love with a robot is ridiculous, as is the idea that a robot could replace a human father. Men have emotions. How is a robot who has no emotions supposed to teach a child how to deal with them? Half the human language is filled with words this robot is incapable of understanding — just articulating the emotions associated with any kind of experience would be a futile task.

In reality, Dr. Finn would still be a single mother even if she did marry the robot because about the only thing the robot is good for is washing dishes. How is Isaac supposed to teach Ty and Marcus anything about being men at all? The show doesn’t offer answers to these questions because, as it becomes clear, everything is about Dr. Finn being happy. Forget what’s best for the kids. Forget what’s best for Dr. Finn in the long term. Happiness is the only thing that matters because the writers of this show seem to be children.

There’s also a subplot where this girl from a previous season asks for asylum on the Orville. She’s from a planet which is supposed to approximate the 21st st century in terms of technology. Her story would not rate a mention except for this: The writers take the opportunity to have Kelly deliver a monologue about the wonders of working without a profit-and-scarcity incentive… because such social experiments have worked so well in the past. As usual, their understanding of such topics is about as deep as a puddle.

But here’s why I even mention the subplot. Lysella, the girl from a planet which is meant to be like our own, goes to Isaac and Dr. Finn’s wedding and says nothing. Think about that! A woman, who is essentially from our time, sees another woman marry a robot and doesn’t blink! The writers are so desperate to ignore the idiotic nature of Dr. Finn and Isaac’s relationship that even when an avatar from our time enters the scene, she just rushes up to the doctor and gives her a big old hug! And why not? Love is love! Don’t judge! Even if a woman’s union with a can opener is a farce.

And they even drag poor Gordon into the episode so he can once again pay for the sin of marrying a real woman. He should’ve married a robot instead. Gordon spends the whole episode upset because he was not the best man until he’s forced to give the best man’s speech after Bortus botches it.

As Gordon spoke, all I could think about was how he’d once had a wedding himself in another timeline. That wedding, along with his wife and children, were snatched away from him so he could serve the Union whole-heartedly. The pilot is allowed to share in the robot’s happiness, but he’ll never remember the fact that, once upon a time, that happiness was his.

But everyone is smiling and jubilant, so it’s all okay, right?

The wedding lasts about ten minutes longer than it needs to, and the entire episode is about forty minutes longer than it should’ve been as well. This momentum problem is due to a barrage of clunky writing. The script is filled with redundant scenes that repeat information. It breaks up jokes during moments that could’ve been funnier if those same scenes had been cut in a different order.

If a writer, preacher, or philosopher ever has the displeasure of stumbling across this travesty of an episode, they’ll groan in agony, provided they can stay awake. I’ll give my final thoughts on the Orville Season 3 as a whole next time.

Here are my thoughts on Episode 9: Should a woman die in order to save a race of robots? In The Orville, Episode 9, Charly is confronted with that very choice. Part 1 of my review of Episode 9 explored whether killing a race of dangerous robots would be wrong. Ambiguity about their sentience confuses both questions.

Gary Varner

Gary Varner is the Assistant to the Managing and Associate Directors at the Center for Science & Culture in Seattle, Washington. He is a Science Fiction and Fantasy enthusiast with a bachelor’s degree in Theater Arts, and he spends his time working with his fellows at Discovery Institute and raising his daughter who he suspects will one day be president of the United States. For more reviews as well as serial novels, go to www.garypaulvarner.com to read more.

Orville Episode 10: You’ve Heard of Saving the Best for Last?