The Orville crew takes on a large task this week, in what is easily the best episode yet. For anyone out there who has doubted what The Orville is about and trying to do, a mandatory viewing of “If The Stars Should Appear” should be required. There is so much done well on The Orville and last night’s episode deserves all the praise it’s been given. The Orville doesn’t have to be a copy of another sci-fi show, The Orville is it’s own beautiful thing, showing television fans all over that comedy, drama, and sci-fi can blend into something brilliant.
I want to take another moment to talk about both the score for the show and the use of actual props. The Orville doesn’t just give you that CGI space feel, the use of practical effects in combination with special visual effects is something that stands out greatly in this genre. Visual effects only have become the norm when there is just a certain authentic feel you get when using practical effects. I absolutely love that they have an actual model USS Orville to film scenes with, and don’t just rely on computer graphics. But you don’t only get that authentic feel with the visuals in this show, The Orville has the best soundtrack for any show on television right now. Sound brings a whole different entertainment factor to each episode and The Orville has yet to disappoint on that front.
The characters are settling into the comic routine a bit more each week, with less and less jokes falling flat. Klyden this week eating rocky road ice cream and watching The Sound of Music after an argument with Bortus was the winning moment for me this week. The crew of The Orville is so well cast and each character has been given a chance to shine and really stand out. Though the missions and stories we’ve seen on The Orville feel like they could come out of various space based shows, The Orville always surprises with an extraordinary ending or outcome. “If The Stars Should Appear” has been the best episode yet and really pushes forward the idea that The Orville should be taken seriously. Though if there are two on the crew who you can always count on for a joke, or two, or four, it’s Helmsman Malloy and Navigator LaMarr. These two hands down are the best duo on the show. (Which is saying a lot because Adrianne Palicki and Seth MacFarlane have such a spark on screen.)
While out mapping stars, The Orville come across this massive spaceship just drifting by. It’s engines are down and their technology can’t scan through the thick hull of this gigantic beast. With the course it’s currently on though, in just 6 months it will drift right into a star, burning any living thing that might be on board. Being the good Samaritans that they are, a landing party is formed to go down and see if there is anyone on board and if there’s anything that can be done to repair their engines. Not only is this ship gigantic, it’s 2 thousand years old so there’s no telling how long it’s been drifting for. They discover that the ship is actually a large biodome, holding millions of lifeforms inside. It’s quickly discovered that their leader Hamelac holds everyone under a “dictatorial theocracy” that they are all there is to the universe and nothing more. Pretty interesting theory considering they are on a ship in outer-space. Kelly and Alara are attacked almost immediately and Kelly is taken to Hamelac as prisoner. Ed, Issac and Claire find a group of “Reformers” who help rescue Alara and then find Kelly. It’s clear that Hamelac knows more than he lets on, but he still doesn’t want to believe that anything more is in the universe.
After torturing her, Ed arrives to save the day. But Hamelac is still set in his ways on outsiders being impossible. The landing party decides their time is up and makes way for their shuttle. The Reformers though have something else to show them, it’s a door that looks much like the door they came in after docking. This one however, is functional. Issac is able to hack into it, discovering a lift. They find what once was the bridge of the ship along with a message from the original captain, played by none other than Liam Neeson. He explains that their engines went out and what should have only been a trip that lasted two generations now might last forever. The inhabitants of this ship were fairly one-dimensional, but hell they don’t even remember that they’re on a ship it’s been so long since that original mission started. Ed retracts the dome so that all the inhabitants see, for the first time in their life, the stars and blackness of space. Claire perfectly summarizes the moment with a bit of poetry, “If the stars should appear but one night every thousand years, how man would marvel and stare.”
The Orville was also busy while Ed and the landing party were away. They received a distress signal from another ship being attacked by the Krill. With Bortus in the captains chair, they assist the other ship, leaving the landing crew behind. Though Ed wanted help with finding Kelly, he didn’t need The Orville as back up for that, so I was glad to see the rest of the crew get some kind of action. It seems those Krill are gonna be like pesky cockroaches this season though. In the end, after saving this entire population from a sun fill fiery death, The Orville did more than just save those lives. A special team is now on the way to finish repairs the large ship and train the crew on how to fly it, giving these people back their dreams and their entire future.
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