TV ReviewsThe Orville Season 2 Episode 6: A Happy Refrain Review

Critics w/o CredentialsFebruary 1, 2019

For our review of the last episode of The Orville, click here.

Synopsis: Claire’s personal life takes an unexpected turn; Gordon makes an unusual grooming suggestion to Bortus.(IMDB)

Writer: Seth MacFarlane

Director: Seth MacFarlane

Rating: TV-14

Running Time: 44mins

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

A Happy Refrain wasn’t the best, funniest, saddest or even strongest episode of The Orville but it still managed to produce one of its more memorable storylines in the series. One of the best parts about watching a new show is when it takes risks with its characters and storylines is when it is successful in finding its voice. When the right tone and emotional weight is applied, everything seems to click between the plot and players to create a beautiful harmony that can allow a show such freedom in striving to make a statement. And in the case of The Orville – it has finally arrived.

This episode focused on Dr. Finn’s developing realization that she has feelings for Isaac, the ship’s robot. Over the course of the series, they have slowly bonded and she eventually expresses her feelings albeit to a blank-faced machine that only agrees to go on a date in the name of science as part of his research which is sent back to the robots on his home planet for further analysis. As the two attempt an honest attempt at a relationship, the show begins to explore the idea of spontaneity and unpredictability within relationships that lead to two people actually striving for longevity with one another instead of moving from one to the next.

At first, this concept is lost on Isaac who despite being a machine displayed many human characteristics in questioning the motive of remaining with someone beyond the short-term. Isaac chooses to confide in Malloy and LaMarr in order to better understand his role in the relationship while Dr. Finn does the same to Kelly and newcomer Lt. Talia. {SIDE NOTE: I still cannot get used to Alara not being a part of the show. I’ve been deep diving on the inter web and it is unclear if she left the show on good terms. TBD}

Needless to say, both Dr. Finn and Isaac go the path of successful couples and people that truly want to try with one another by compromising – Finn by way of understanding that Isaac is still relatively naive in this endeavor and Isaac by deleting his prior knowledge of Dr. Finn’s life and humanizing his outward appearance to better suit Finn’s needs. The only moment throughout their journey that was slightly strange was their date resulting in ROBOT COITUS. But hey, The Orville “went there” and the series should be commended for the risks it takes.

The secondary story for A Happy Refrain does need to be briefly mentioned as it involved Bortus being convinced by Malloy that growing a mustache would make him look better. This was kind of fun as it gave him an alien police captain vibe that was humorous when seeing it. Alas, by the episode’s end Bortus had shaved it, one can’t help but to hope that it might make a return before the season is finished.

Yet again, The Orville has proven successful when presenting modern issues from our society by creatively adapting them to be explored within their quirky space dramedy. A Happy Refrain achieves a perfect balance of comedy and drama while still conveying a much larger question to the viewer all within a humorous setting.

Few shows are able to continually improve upon itself with each episode in such a way as The Orville which speaks to its ability to keep me eager to watch each week. Despite coming off as a bit on an apologist, this show`s ability to exist in the current TV landscape and seek to pose big questions using unorthodox means is admirable.

Score: 8/10

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