Title: Cupid’s Dagger
Director: Jamie Babbit
Writers: created by Seth MacFarlane, written by Liz Heldens
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
Tonight’s episode of The Orville was a silly one, with a plot based on reworked ideas from Star Trek TNG that brought us back, once again, to revisit the relationship of Ed and Kelly and the event that caused the breakup of their marriage, Kelly’s infidelity. The last time the show had an episode that revolved around their relationship, I thought it was one time too many, so when I saw the show was going to do it again, I came close to turning it off. Afterall, enough is enough, but then, after seeing the set-up, I thought well maybe this is the last time, they will work through it, and the show will finally move past it. I can only hope its true, only time will tell.
The rest of the show occupied itself with another familiar Trek scenario about two warring planets squabbling over a small moon or planetoid, and The Orville is assigned to arbitrate a deal to prevent them from going to war. Representatives from the two factions are brought onboard the Orville while a deal will be hashed out. Of course, it’s not as simple as it sounds because of a surprising (and silly) reason that interferes with and nearly destroys the entire process.
I would like to take a moment to express my appreciation of the opening credits of the show. It’s a genuinely gorgeous collage of images of the ship in outer space that is pleasantly trippy to behold, and I have come to look forward to seeing it every week.
(*warning spoilers follow*)
The episode begins with the crew hanging out and having a karaoke night, Kelly wraps up her song, and it’s Bortus’ turn next when the call comes through about a mission to help make peace between two races, the Navarians, and the Bruidians squabbling over a moon. (nice work on the alien makeup)
It’s decided that an archeologist will be brought in to look for any DNA on the territory in question and any old samples from ancient dwellers will resolve the issue. Enter Durillio (guest star Rob Lowe), the blue alien that Kelly cheated on Ed with that split them up.
Long story short, the entire plot revolves around the fact that Durillio has some potent pheromones that have an aphrodisiac effect on anyone he has contact with and those affected fall victim to thinking they are in love including Ed who falls for Durillio even after he catches Kelly in the sack with him again. The entire show is a running gag of people suddenly feeling overcome with affection. After the dust settles, its revealed that Durillio’s chemical effects may have been responsible for Kelly hopping in the sack with him the first time, which is what gives me hope, that since its now been explained, this may be the last we hear about it.
Even the doctor finally succumbs to Yaphit’s romantic overtures to have a relationship with her when she suddenly shows up at his door dressed for love and eventually, has a version of intimate relations with the gelatinous alien. It makes for one of the show’s more memorable moments. Ed and Kelly compete for Durillio’s affections to the point of completely ignoring their duties and the ongoing alien crisis. The aliens are onboard and are getting increasingly agitated because they are getting ignored by Ed and Kelly who are the Union arbitrators. Crew members that have no contact with Durillio are not affected. Durillio himself seems oblivious to what’s going on around him until he gets confronted by Alara who figures out he is behind the puzzling behavior of the crew. He then makes a full confession in a matter of fact manner of his chemical effects on others when he is in heat.
The alien conflict comes to a head when the fleets of both hostile aliens meet near the Orville, and they begin to engage in a brief outer space battle that was the highlight of the episode for me. The conclusion was not only predictable but somewhat disappointing when Durillio uses his love-inducing pheromones on the squabbling aliens who behave as if they are suddenly and completely infatuated with each other and call off the battle. The DNA proves that the aliens had a common ancestor and both have a claim to the moon they have been fighting over.
Cupid’s Dagger was by far the weakest episode of the series yet, and since each chapter is a stand-alone story, it’s not too surprising that it happened and probably will again.