TV ReviewsThe Orville Season 2 Episode 1: Ja’loja Review

Critics w/o CredentialsDecember 31, 2018

News of a second season of The Orville being green-lit was both surprising and exciting. This show has been enjoyable from the beginning and always maintained that it was the result of one lucky Fox executive’s secret wish that the movie Galaxy Quest actually became a real thing. Even into this new year this belief has stood, but nevertheless, many have benefited from that wish becoming reality and so we march on into season two. For our review of the first season, click here.

Synopsis: The crew face personal challenges on their way to witness Bortus perform a Moclan ceremony on his homeworld. (IMDB)

Writer: Seth MacFarlane

Director: Seth MacFarlane

Rating: TV-14

Running Time: 44mins

Airs: Thursdays at 9pm on CityTV (Canada)/Fox (United States)

At last we saw Captain Ed and his crew, the Captain was left drinking alone in the ship’s bar after confessing to Kelly, his first-mate and ex-wife, his remaining feelings for her. This interaction serves as the center point for this season’s premiere to which Kelly reveals that she has been dating someone new for a month. There is clearly still remnants of love within her towards Ed, however, rather than confessing those feelings she chooses to hide behind the dangers of having a relationship while working together. What makes matters even worse is that Kelly’s new boyfriend, Cassius, is a nice guy who is also in love with Kelly.

Elsewhere on the ship, Bortus explains to all that it is time for his annual ritual of Ja’loja which translates to “The Great Release.” His species only urinates once a year signifying a cleanse of the body and soul and his wish is to have his closest friends and family in attendance while he engages in the ritual. Yes, you read every word of that correctly! The Great Release is followed by a large celebration that according to Bortus is bad luck if one attends alone which sends Alara and Gordon scrambling for dates.

This buildup of stress in finding the right person for the party sends both of them on very different paths as Alara recognizes her shortcomings in the love department which results in her being set up by Bortus with Dann, a crewman who is deeply into writing poetry as a hobby. Gordon’s bar is set much higher as he strives to ask the ship’s new Dark Matter Cartographer (that’s a thing?), Lt. Tyler (Michaela McManus) but in a hilarious culmination of his mustered courage completes what I like to call the Lap of Fear around Lt. Tyler walking right around her and never asking her out.

Finally, the third story within the episode centers around Dr. Finn’s ability to parent her teenager as he befriends a troublemaker in James who ends up getting caught along with Marcus drinking vodka in the simulation room by Kelly and Cassius. This leads Finn to question her parenting methods to Isaac, the ship’s robot, who provides little encouragement due to his inability to see beyond logic and reason.

Despite this road block, the two do share a win when James’ parents claim that Marcus is the source of all of the bad behavior exhibited by their son and in an effort to disprove this they are able to reveal that it was James who stole the vodka. In retrospect, this storyline felt off-kilter from the others because it featured little to no humor and seemed to buckle under the weight of being the “serious” storyline of the episode.

The Orville’s return for a second season is a welcomed change to the TV landscape post-holidays. While Ja’loja was not an incredibly strong effort to begin the season and its pacing clunky at times, it still did its job in reintroducing us to the crew of The Orville and setting them on a new path of adventure. What stories lie ahead remain to be seen, however, just be thankful this show has returned after what seemed to be a overly long hiatus.

Score: 7/10


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