The Orville season 2 episode 10 review: Blood that goes boom

OrvilleTonight, The Orville season 2 episode 10 charted a course into Gordon’s past; in particular, with the character of Oren.

Who was this guy, exactly? Gordon owed him his life from many years before and this led to him being a little bit biased towards him. He, at least at first, didn’t see the forest for the trees. Often in life, you run into these sort of people from your past who you want to believe in, no matter the cost or the consequences. Unfortunately, somewhere along the way you run into the cold, hard truth that this person is different. They’ve changed.

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With Oren, the change was night and day. He was not a friend; instead, he was obsessed and desperate to get vengeance on the Krill for what happened to his family. If this was season 1 of The Orville, maybe Ed and his crew could’ve been more understanding … probably not to where Oren wanted, but it’s not exactly like the Orville and the Krill were off singing kumbaya together. Not even close.

Times have changed. Ed and the Orville are now trying to maintain peace with the Krill, mostly because they need them. Following the ends of “Identity,” a new threat emerged from the outward recesses of space. They are the Kaylon — high intelligent, incredibly shrewd, and also dangerous beyond measure. Isaac betrayed them, but Isaac saving the crew is a reprieve rather than a full-stop. These AIs are still out there ready to destroy everything — the Orville, the Earth, and probably all of humankind eventually. It’s not like that haven’t done this before!

Tonight, Gordon had to contend with the fact that Oren’s arrival on the ship didn’t actually have that much to do with a desire to patch things up. Instead, it revolved around his top-secret suicide mission to steal a shuttle and then drive it into a number of Krill ships using exploding blood from a humanoid race. Gotta give the writers credit for this one … explosive blood is new. Who thinks of this? (Apparently, it may be Seth MacFarlane himself — he’s the sole writer credited to this episode.)

Exposing Oren for who he really was tonight was a delicate, multi-pronged task, but there were some twists along the way no one saw coming. Take, for example, him having as much explosive blood as he did; or, actually knowing about his suicide-mission plan before it was too late. Gordon ended up, by the end of this episode, finding himself aboard a shuttle waiting for his life to end unless he took drastic measures … and he did. He was safe and, in the end, he was left to remember his friend for who he was rather than the person that he became.

At least Gordon was alive at the end of this renegade mission … things felt touch and go for a good percentage of it.

CarterMatt Verdict

Was tonight’s The Orville too much of a detour from what we just saw? It’s an interesting way of looking at what we saw.

Think back to “Identity” and some of the character players there, including Isaac and Dr. Finn. They were barely around this week. Heck, Kelly and Ed weren’t really featured all that much save for occasional spots. This was mostly Gordon’s story and a chance to learn about a past incident that defined his past and crowded his present. Talla did also end up getting roped into it, mostly in that she had a part to play in making Gordon’s original “I’m on your side, Oren!” escape plan look believable. (As the two guys got on board the stolen shuttle, it must have taken everything within Talla to allow herself to be defeated. Can’t happen often with someone like her.) Is anyone else starting to think that Talla and Gordon could be something in the future? Not that The Orville necessarily needs more romantic subplots, but just a thought.

The Orville, despite at times the high stakes, does thrive within the small character interactions and the moment these people share with one another. This is more of the defining aspect of this show than some of the effects, cool as they are, or the conflicts between the alien races. If we don’t really care that much about the people, none of it matters. You can probably just inject them into deep space. “Blood of Patriots” was mostly a story of friendship — how it came together and how it came to part. The politics of human/Krill relationships were mostly the backdrop for Gordon realizing that he doesn’t need this old friend anymore. It’s more about the crew in his life now and how they can be a family. They aren’t out to betray him — more than that, they aren’t about to fly into a Krill ship carrying a huge carton of blood-that-goes-boom.

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