For our review of the last episode of The Orville, click here.
Synopsis: The Kaylons take control of the Orville with the intention of destroying all biological lifeforms. (IMDB)
Writer: Seth MacFarlane
Director: Jon Cassar
Running Time: 44mins
Airs: Thursdays at 9pm on CityTV (Canada)/Fox (United States)
Following on the heels of last week, Identity Pt. 2 continues to follow the crew of The Orville after they were taken hostage at the hands of the Kaylon, a superior race of machines that are set to destroy every living biological organism in the galaxy.
Capt. Mercer discovers that the Kaylon race were first created by bio life forms for the purpose of servitude. This quickly escalated to resemble forms of slavery that the human race were familiar with and resulted in a mass rebellion from the Kaylon against their creators. As a result of their mission, The Orville’s crew is left alive so that the Kaylons can enter Earth’s airspace without suspicion. In a dual effort to attempt to tip the scales back in The Orville’s favor, Commander Kelly and Lt. Gordon steal a shuttle and embark towards the territory of the Krill, the Union’s sworn enemy, in hopes that they can convince them to fight alongside the Union against the Kaylons. While this is occurring, Ty Finn (Kai Wener) and Yaphit (Norm MacDonald) sneak into a control room in order to send a message to the Union Admiral to prepare as many ships as possible for an attack.
Isaac is caught in the middle of this power struggle between the two races as Kaylon Primary, the leader of the Kaylon, forces him to eliminate Ty after being caught delivering a distress call. Despite Isaac’s previous stance with his race, he is unable to carry out this order and aids in the retaking of The Orville by its crew just in time that they are able to join the massive battle against the Kaylon fleet above Earth. When the dust settles, Capt. Mercer claims responsibility for Isaac and with the approval from the Union asks to keep him as a member of The Orville’s crew as an effort to separate themselves from that of Isaac’s creators.
Identity Pt. 2 managed to be one of the best episodes from the entire series and is the best episode of this second season to date. The choice of having a two-part episode in the middle of a season was a great one. Everything building up to this were strong stories with subtle yet powerful messages about gender equality, family, loss and love all for them to reach a climax when faced with the certainty of extinction at the hands of one of their own crew members. Isaac’s storyline this season provided a wonderful arc involving Dr. Finn and their budding romantic relationship only for it to be completely obliterated when the Kaylons entered the narrative.
From here, it will even more intriguing how crew respond to Isaac as he resumes his position back on the ship. At the close of the episode, Dr. Finn mentioned the possibility of forgiveness in time towards his actions and however meaningless the concept is to his non-biological form it still remains to be seen how the lack of trust with his fellow crewmembers affects the story going forward.
Another impressive aspect of last night’s episode was its major battle scene. The large scale battle involving the Krill and Union fighting off the Kaylons for the defense of the galaxy was incredible. Typically, The Orville’s practical effects are what makes it intriguing as it features incredible alien race renderings each episode that appear painstakingly detailed, however, Identity Pt. 2 featured a massive space battle that was well-produced and exciting. Whether or not the show blew its second season budget on it remains to be seen in the latter half but fingers crossed they still have some money left.
The only issue with the episode was in Isaac’s turnabout from his people. Identity Pt. 1 did such a good job of showing just how machine-like and cold Isaac could be if required without any hint of remorse. This carried well into last night’s episode only for him to seem to explore a form of sympathy in order to save Ty at the last moment. He did not attempt to explain his actions towards Ty with logic which is what he did for the crewman that was killed from the open airlock and so for this change to occur in him at the last possible second before The Orville reached Earth with the Kaylon fleet felt unearned and slightly rushed. Truthfully, it was by no means a deterrent for a fantastic episode overall but it was a note that could’ve been dealt with across both episodes more clearly to have the ending feel more understandable.
As mentioned, Identity Pt. 2 was an excellent episode and is by far one of the best of the entire series. It was a welcomed change of pace that featured a great deal of action with a compelling story arc that will have a ripple effect for the show from this point forward. The Orville is an acquired taste as far as TV shows go, but being able to see it slowly find its voice and confidence over the course of its two seasons has been a fun journey and hopefully it continues to take narrative risks as it progresses forward.