Last week’s The Orville season 2 episode may be one of the most psychologically-upsetting installments of the show in a rather long time. It’s hard to think of it in any other way when you consider the brutal ending for Ed Mercer and the rest of the team — they were captured by the Kaylon, with their formerly-beloved information specialist Isaac working among them.
Basically, it did not seem as though there was any way for the team to survive entering this episode — how could they, facing these sort of extreme odds? No matter where they turned, it looked as though death awaited them. Isaac had betrayed them, they were outnumbered, and they were almost certainly outgunned. By the midway point of the episode, it seemed as there were only three hopes that the team had.
1. Gordon and Kelly – The two managed to escape out from the Orville in hopes of getting some help courtesy of the Krill … yep, those Krill. This is about as last-ditch of a mission as you’re probably going to see given the Krill’s tendency to want just about every earthling they find dead.
The good news is that somehow, Gordon and Kelly made it to the ship in time; beyond that, some of the Kaylon followed them. That worked out to their benefit since they were able to convince them that this was not some sort of elaborate ruse.
2. The human fleet somehow discovering they were in danger – Some of the attempts that Ed made to reach out to others were futile, and of course, led to deadly retaliation from the Kaylon primary. Luckily, though, eventually a message did make it back to command, who wanted to send all ships in the fleet in that direction.
3. Isaac himself – Could he realize the error of his ways and defect back to the Orville? He did want the same goals seemingly as other members of the operation; yet, he didn’t have anywhere near the same proficiency for violence.
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The breaking point for Isaac came when he discovered that Dr. Finn’s son Ty was responsible for one of the attempts to rebel against the Kaylon. Primary wanted him dead as a result and that put Isaac in a delicate position: Kill or watch the boy be killed. Do we think that he really has learned how to be sympathetic? Maybe so, or maybe he has just been conditioned to be programming this way. Machine learning, right? Maybe that is the key to who Isaac is now.
No matter what your theory here, it is Isaac who really was able to turn the tide around before the Krill or the humans could even arrive. Moments after Isaac saved the day (but deactivated himself in the process), the entirety of the human fleet was waiting. That’s good given that Isaac could only help The Orville — he couldn’t stop anything else.
Humanity vs. the Kaylon fleet
This is where things got a little bit crazy. The Orville had to find a way to survive while many others were being pummeled. The Kaylon meant business — their ships were powerful and despite the interruptions, they were still intent on taking out Earth at all costs. The entire fight sequence at the end of the episode was awesome, vintage space drama — a battle between ships with the fate of the universe on the line. It’s the sort of stuff you rarely see on television.
This is where the Krill, of all people, saved the day. Their ships arrived just in the nick of time and were able to, with the help of Ed, temporarily defeat the Kaylon. Sure, there was a victory within this episode, but that doesn’t mean that they are out of the woods. It just means the ship can catch its collective breath for now.
Is there a way to save Isaac?
We thought that he’d be gone for good, but this is where you think Yaphit. After oozing into one of the evil Kaylon early on in the episode, he learned the wiring well enough to revive Isaac and bring him back to the crew. He’s back! The good Kaylon is back on the team’s side, but we think it’s going to take a lot of time to get him on the same page with the rest of the team.
Beyond that, there is still the issue of the Admiral — Ed and Kelly had to convince him at the end of the episode that Isaac was worth keeping on the ship, even though his initial betrayal is what caused all of the chaos in the first place. It was his sacrifice, though, that gave them a fighting chance.
So where do we go from here on The Orville? That is a mighty-fine question to wonder in the aftermath of everything we saw tonight. This was an episode as intense and crazy as they come, and one that felt as though it couldn’t possibly end in time.
Does this episode signal to us a major change in the mythology of The Orville? Maybe so. If nothing else, it brings to you a possible change in Krill – human relationships. There’s nothing like a common enemy to bring people together.
In the end, consider this entire arc the saga of Isaac — an AI who discovered his true self, lost everything, and now, has to find a way to get it all back. He’s decided that this life aboard the crew is worth more than siding with the Kaylon — it’s a lonely place to be, but he does have a family. It may just take them time to warm to him again.
What did you think about The Orville season 2 episode 9 overall? Be sure to share right now in the comments. (Photo: Fox.)