The Orville delivers again with “Firestorm” an episode mainly focusing on the youngest officer in the crew and the harsh realities of what Union Officers signed up for upon joining the crew. “Firestorm” is a clever episode, with just enough humor poking through and a moment for each of the main crew to shine, and is a solid episode even if it doesn’t particularity move the overall season 1 plot much farther along. Exploring a range of emotions and exposing some of the crew’s deepest fears gives the viewer a better understanding of our beloved crew and what drives them forward.
Alara is the backbone to this story, but as I mentioned before, each of the main crew members are given a moment to shine. Which they all do of course, every single actor on this show has done a fantastic job all season long. During an emergency down in engineering, Alara freezes up upon seeing a fire. Those few moments of hesitation delay her from getting to a pinned crew member, before she can get there he is crushed even further and does not survive the incident. Alara takes this very hard and even tries to resign. She feels that her hesitation is what caused this man to lose his life and therefore she is not fit for duty. Her senior officers try and work her through an acceptance process, it’s hard to lose a crew mate at all, let alone feel responsible for it. But before we are certain Alara is okay, strange things begin happening on the ship. We’ve suddenly gone from The Orville to The Twilight Zone as phobia manifestations begin appearing all across the ship with no legitimate explanation as to why.
From killer clowns and spiders to being dissected alive or murdered by robots, “Firestorm” offers up a little bit of everything on the paranoia plate. Something is amiss on The Orville, but nobody can seem to figure out what, or why. Every room that Alara enters, yet another insane and improbable danger is putting her crew mates lives in danger. With no understanding of how or why this is happening, there is also not a way to figure out how to stop it. So for the time being we’re just stuck on this carnival of crazy. As Alara works through each danger, it becomes more and more apparent that there is a very good reason for why everything just feels off. she’s been hogging the simulation room this whole time as a way to process recent events.
In arguably one her worst career moves ever, Alara instructs Issac to enter her into a simulation program that will force her to work through the fears of herself an her fellow crew members, putting them into dangerous situations so she is forced to react. She also uses a high level directive quite improperly, basically making any order Ed gives to Isaac about her being in the simulation moot. Then she has the bright idea to have Dr. Finn erase her memory of that conversation with Isaac, really making her believe that the simulation is real. Though she does have a point that the simulation needs to feel like it’s real to her, she went about this whole healing process in all the wrong ways. By the time Ed is called over, Alara’s heart rate and blood pressure are through the roof, making it a danger to herself to stay in the simulation for much longer.
Though this episode doesn’t really push the over-arcing story line ahead much, we do get a look into what our crew is terrified of — which gives them another layer and makes them all more dimensional characters. We also see how Alara’s parents really feel about her career choice, and how she is not only a black sheep to her parents but probably most of her society. The Orville and her crew have a special meaning for Alara and losing someone from that group was a hard lesson for her to have.
There are only three episodes left this season, but it’s pretty clear that The Orville pushed itself into the spotlight and dug it’s way into the hearts/minds of many. The Orville brings us a fresh and invigorating story while also feeling nostalgic at the same time. It started out strong and has remained consistent throughout the entire first season, bringing everyday humor and relevant situations to attention in a whole new light.
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