The Orville #21: Identity, Part 2

 "Just a walk in the park, Kazansky!"


IN THIS ONE... The Kaylons show their true colors and go on the warpath.

REVIEW: Well wow. This episode certainly looks gorgeous, and apparently, they had to create new software just to be able to put so many objects on screen (more than 12,000 in one particular shot). It's a little bit like when Deep Space Nine started doing involved battle sequences. You get used to no more than a couple ships on screen at the same time, and then they pull this stuff on you. Thrilling. And for a comedy series, they certainly don't spare the casualties. But the real excitement comes from wondering how much of the status quo they are willing to upend? With the Kaylon as the biggest bad yet, with the Krill join forces with the Union? (Yes, proving you can use religion to support any policy and its opposite). Has Isaac really gone bad, and if not, will his ultimate sacrifice be permanent? The episode even lets you believe Yaphit is killed saving little Ty! (His goo certainly LOOKED fried to death.) That it doesn't pull the trigger on these two characters is besides the point, the suspense is nevertheless real. Which means they really did they job keeping us on our toes vis-à-vis just what the status quo is meant to be.

Isaac gets his Get Out of Jail Free card pretty early, when we find out he was made some time after the genocide of the biological Kaylons. I find this a little convenient. Not that it is so, but that they mention it overtly and that it seems at odds with the lack of individuality that seemed to be part of their culture in the previous episode. If Isaac is an individual, then why were they going to re-incorporate him into their main computer and recycle his parts and code? Still, if it means that stain isn't on his "soul", it simplifies his reintegration into the crew, and makes his attempts to prevent the deaths of the hostages more harrowing. On a purely reasonable basis, however, he is correct that these punishments only serve to heighten the officers' resolve. They of course push him beyond endurance by giving him a loyalty test where he has to kill Ty. The boy is the MVP of the episode, not only turning Isaac with his faith, but also assisting (a more serious than usual) Yaphit in sending a secret distress signal to Union HQ.

The crew of the Orville generally steps up, whether it's with that resolve and resistance, flying into Krill space for help (a real hail Mary, but Mercer HAS laid the groundwork for an armistice), or showing forgiveness to Isaac after the Kaylons have been routed. The jokes are naturally kept at a minimum - the pee corner and Gordon riffing on Top Gun in a Krill fighter - and feel in character, rather than a distraction from the serious (and lethal!) plot.

WHERE SOMEONE HAS GONE BEFORE:
An alien character being their planet's reject is a tradition as far back as Spock, and including Worf, Odo, Seven, and others.

REWATCHABILITY: High -
The Wolf 359 of The Orville, the second part of Identity has exciting eye candy, but is also built on character. Good stuff!


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