Not too long after The Orville lost one of its prominent series regulars in Halston Sage, tonight made us ponder something new: Is Mark Jackson leaving? Could the series really jettison off Isaac, one of the show’s most-beloved non-human beings, for good?
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This episode had many a sad note from the get-go, largely in that the science officer “died” in the opening minutes of the episode. Given that Isaac isn’t exactly living and breathing in the same way as anyone else, it still felt heartbreaking. Ed and Kelly were able to revive him, but it took a trip to his homeworld in order to do so. In turn, they learned some valuable intel: Isaac was deactivated by his fellow beings since his mission was, apparently done. They were able to bring him back but, in turn, Isaac announced that he would not be returning.
What does a robot do when his mission is done? With Isaac, he has long been beholden to matters of a mission, and not so much of emotion. Yet, we don’t wanna pretend like everything felt above-board and okay. We know that Isaac isn’t exactly an emotional being, but there was still something amiss underneath all of the wires. Was the revised version of the character the same as the one that was there before? Did he have the same programming in his heart for Dr. Finn? Was this all some sort of trick ruse or glitch in the system?
No matter what was going on, the crew of the Orville still worked to wage a proper goodbye to the character — a proper family member to them. That included Finn’s boys getting emotional and one of them drawing Isaac a picture that he really could’ve cared less about. It was within that moment that our own Personal Concern Level that this wasn’t the same Isaac we knew and loved went from about a 5 to about an 8.
What lies beneath
Well, it goes a little something like this: One of Finn’s boys in Ty not taking the exit particularly well and deciding that they were going to find him at all costs. He was perhaps more convinced than anyone that this was not the real Isaac — basically a window into our own heart — and he wanted to do something about it. He wanted answers, and that led to him exploring a dark underbelly of a world he did not know. That was his desperation to find him soon after his departure.
It didn’t take too long for Finn to realize that her son was missing and because of that, she recruited Bortus and Talla to lend a helping hand. They found the boy, but what they realized was described in rather simple terms: “Something bad.” As it turns out, that was something really bad. Skulls. Many skulls. All of this time, some of Isaac’s own AI race (the Kaylon) had no problem murdering anyone and everyone.
Kaylon history lesson
As it turns out, the Kaylon are responsible for a mass genocide … of the very beings responsible for creating them. They found a way to destroy those who gave them life, and now they could intend to do the same to Ed and his crew — his own family.
At the start of the episode, we posed the question as to whether or not Mark Jackson could be leaving this show. At this point, that question feels almost irrelevant. Instead, it was more about a shocking betrayal … if you can even call it that. Maybe this is us as an Orville viewer going through the seven stages of grief, but we still cannot fathom Isaac, our beloved AI, being somehow responsible for the desturction of the entire team. It’s too bad that tonight’s episode ended in a way where we lingered without answers and were left to wonder as to what could be next.
Aside from the questions over Jackson’s future (it seems as though he’ll be around, at least for one more week), this was a spectacular The Orville episode that reminds you of the greatness of powerful, thought-provoking sci-fi programming. This was no-holds-barred, and this may also be the most terrifying situation that the crew of The Orville has ever experienced.
What comes next on The Orville?
Well, come back next week for more updates on this mystery, the status of Isaac, and a little bit more — “Identity” is meant to be a two-part story. The link here shall be your resource for additional news. (Photo: Fox.)