Director: Jon Cassar
Writers: created by Seth MacFarlane, 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
So, we finally get the explanation of what’s behind the conflict between the Krill and humanity I’ve been hoping for, in an episode that fleshed the hostile aliens out and gave us a much better understanding of them. It turns out Krill society is a dogmatic theocracy based on religion in which the Krill consider themselves superior to all other living beings. Their beliefs go on to say that humans have no souls, so anything they do to humanity is justified. A pretty handy rationalization to get rid of any objection to their antisocial behavior. These aliens don’t do what they do out of hostility; they simply feel it’s their right to take whatever the Krill want when and where they want to, and just like any other time when a theocracy is involved bad things happen. In other words, the Krill are serious dicks.
This week’s edition is probably my favorite episode so far of the rookie series. The narrative turned out to be a pretty sophisticated and multi-layered one that not only addressed religion and being driven by dogmatic, irrational ideas. The story also raised questions about morality in a wartime scenario where deciding on what to do in the face of challenging complex situations is not always as clear-cut as we would like it to be. It’s an episode that reminds us sometimes there just aren’t any easy choices.
The humor worked for me better this time around also with Gordon’s stoner approach to life barely held in check by his friend and Captain Ed. Along with this was a revelation about Bortus and how his fellow crewmates reacted to it that was so politically incorrect it made me smile. That’s the thing about this show and how it humanizes its characters in little ways. Everyone acts and responds to things like kids might, and sometimes it works well, and it’s refreshing to see people behave and react to circumstances and situations in such a natural and candid fashion. The episode managed to combine humor and some dramatic moments excellently.
(*warning spoilers follow*)
This week’s episode begins with the revelation that Bortus is capable of eating just about anything without any unpleasant effects on himself after he gobbles down a significant amount of wasabi without it causing any noticeable response by him after doing it. His crewmates are fascinated by his ability to eat just about anything and begin to entertain themselves by offering him random things to eat. They start treating him like a sideshow geek. They gang are interrupted from this pastime when they are all called to the bridge when the Orville comes across a Krill ship attacking a human colony.
AFter attempting to get the ship to halt its attack verbally, the Orville opens fire on it, and it works too well because the much more massive Krill ship begins attacking the Orville instead. It soon becomes apparent they are outgunned when Ed devises a way to take the Krill ship out. He baits it into position, where the Orville spectacularly makes short work of it. This brief battle was an impressive, noteworthy, well-depicted scene and a classic sci-fi moment. It was the first of several excellent sci-fi moments in an episode with several of them to follow.
Afterwards, they notice an intact raider sized Krill ship that survived the explosion, so the Orville tows it back to base. It’s a big deal and apparently the first time a Krill ship has been captured intact. An admiral (Kelly Hu) explains that instead of settling for the obvious analysis of it to look for any weaknesses to exploit they have something else in mind. They want to use it to gain entry to a Krill ship in a covert operation to acquire a copy of the Krill bible called the Ancota so it can be studied to possibly find leverage of some kind to pursue a more peaceful relationship with the Krill. She explains that an open war would become a religious war for the Krill and possibly last for many years. She goes on to describe what little they know about them before ordering Ed and Gordon to go on the mission.
So, equipped with a couple of portable hologram projectors that make them look like Krill Ed and Gordon leave to complete their assigned task. Of course, I suspect at any mission involving Ed and Gordon is going to be amusing or at least try to be, and it turns out it was. It begins with them realizing they haven’t thought up Krill names and have no idea what a typical Krill name would be, followed by a string of some silly guesses. When the moment arrives to introduce themselves, they settle for a couple of ordinary earth names, Chris and Devon.
Once on the Krill ship, they get quickly introduced to the religion in a ceremony which included a grisly trophy captured from a Krill raid. A severed human head which the high priest puts in a container and stabs violently and repeatedly with a large ceremonial knife in a cringe-worthy fashion while chanting. During the ceremony they meet a young female Krill who it later turns out is a teacher for a group of Krill children. Afterward, they discover the ship has an enormous neutron bomb which the krill plan to use to kill everyone in a human colony, so they meet with the female from the religious service and chat her up about it.
The young female Krill who they run into again later turns out is a teacher who has a classroom full of young children who she invites to Ed and Gordon to visit. After a few awkward questions, they find an excuse to bow out. Shortly after that one of the students visits them in their quarters and while they are talking Ed suddenly has the realization the Krill have a vulnerability they can exploit – a sensitivity to sunlight’s ultraviolet rays. Gordon expresses it as the Krill being vampires and that he and Ed are vampire hunters. They come up with a way to adjust the ship’s lights so it will kill the ship’s crew but Ed is not comfortable with the notion of killing the kids which he refuses to do, which complicates things. They are aware of the irony of killing the ship’s crew while their mission was to find a way to find a way towards peace. Faced with the difficult decision of what to do, they know they must go through with their plan to save all of the humans in the colony.
Ed and Gordon set up their plan but run into problems while carrying out the preparations for it. After setting up a timer so for when the lights will become lethal, Gordon gets exposed as being human and the word is put out to find and capture Ed. There is running firefight while Ed tries to make sure the kids won’t get harmed by the lights. He has to round up one of the kids that wandered away from class. Eventually, the lights go up and the crew gets sensationally killed off. The Krill missile gets launched but for some reason doesn’t go off and Gordon shoots it down from the Krill ship. Ed and Gordon save the day and capture the Krill ship, but not without a cost.
Afterward, Ed visits the young Krill teacher to apologize, and her response is less than understanding She chillingly tells him the children he saved will become his enemy after learning what he has done. The mission for peace has ironically resulted in creating a new generation of enemies.
Krill was a well-done episode with an unmistakable message about the nature of war and how good intentions can get lost along the way in the hellish context it creates. It was also an excellent and classic episode of science fiction action and spy-fi adventure that showed the potential this series has to become a great one.