Title: Mad Idolatry
Director: Brannon Braga
Writers: created and written by Seth MacFarlane
Starring: Seth MacFarlane, Adrianne Palicki, Penny Johnson Jerald, Scott Grimes, Peter Macon, Halston Sage, J. Lee, Mark Jackson, Cad L Coleman, Norm MacDonald
Duration: 1 hr
Rating: 4.75 stars
The first season finale was a good one, it avoided the pitfall of being anticlimactic and was a good example of the sort of reworked story borrowed from Star Trek: The Next Generation we have come to expect from the show. It had a nice twist that made it better.
That’s the real genius of this series, MacFarlane has managed to create the dream job of a science fiction fan and found a way to get paid to do it. First, you take one of your favorite episodes from one of your favorite genre shows and add a simple twist to it that makes it better or at least maybe a little more interesting. Why go through all the stress of trying to create an original new story, especially when it’s a well-known fact they have all already been done? It’s a damn good idea, too bad he already beat the rest of us to it.
The episode brought up some ideas worth thinking about but did not dell on them, this isn’t that show. Ideas like how beliefs based on dogma get started and become an accepted part of society, and how it can sometimes be used to justify cruelty and treating others in an unkind way. It also made some statements about human nature in regards to things we witness and how e interpret them afterward.
(*warning spoilers follow*)
The Orille encounters yet another anomaly, this time it turns out to be a planet that splits its orbit between two dimensions, part of its time in another dimension and part of it in the same dimension as the Orville. The sudden appearance of the planet seemingly out of nowhere causes a crash landing of a shuttle with Gordon Isaac and Kelly onboard. She decides to explore after its discovered the planet has human inhabitants. One thing leads to another and after accidentally encountering two young girls from the planet’s primitive culture, Kelly makes matters worse by using advanced technology to heal the chid’s wound. AFterward, Ed covers up for her in his report further breaking the rules.
Staying around to learn more about the strange planet, Orville’s crew discovers that the planet has another property that makes it still more unusual, It experiences the flow of time differently in each dimension it occupies while its there. Eleven days in our time equals 700 years in the other dimension while the planet is there so each time they observe how things are developing when it returns things are much different. A religion forms on the planet that began based on Kelly’s original encounter with the planet’s native population. It is not a pleasant but a mean-spirited religion that has taken on a nature that is cruel and includes physical torture.
An ill-advised attempt by Kelly to intercede and set things on a different path only succeeds in making matters worse and Kelly wants to stay and set things right. It is decided that Isaac will stay instead. After the next cycle when they see Isaac next the planet is completely transformed into a world resembling a Borg ship and its population has become highly evolved and close to being more advanced than that of the Orville.
The episode also includes what I really believe is the last chapter about the relationship between Kelly and Ed who begin getting closer and intimately involved again. The relationship takes an unexpected turn when Kelly tells Ed she thinks its a bad idea because it’s toxic to their lives in more ways than it’s worth and they should both accept that and Ed agrees. It ends the arc on a bittersweet note that seemed to signal finality and that it was time for them both to move on.