For our review of the last episode of The Orville, click here.
Synopsis: The crew opens a time capsule from 2015. (IMDB)
Writer: Seth MacFarlane
Director: Kelly Cronin
Running Time: 44mins
Airs: Thursdays at 9pm on CityTV (Canada)/Fox (United States)
The Orville chose to have a Gordon-centered storyline in last night’s episode proving that it can achieve solid storytelling in both a larger and smaller scale.
Lasting Impressions centers around the crew’s discovery of a time capsule from Earth dating back over 400 years to 2015. In the capsule, there is a cell phone containing the life and memories of Laura Huggins (Leighton Meester), a human who lived during this time. Upon discovering this, Gordon is immediately fascinated with her and chooses to have all of her phone’s data uploaded in the simulator in order to fully experience who she really was.
As we’ve already seen in previous episodes, this proves dangerous as Gordon’s actual life begins to favor his simulated one containing Laura and an emerging faux-relationship with her. Against the crew’s warning, Gordon expresses his love for her despite being dead for hundreds of years and chooses to continue their relationship. This takes an expected turn as Laura (in simulation) gets back together with her ex-boyfriend, Greg (Darri Ingolfsson), which causes Gordon to take extreme measures by deleting Greg completely from the simulation which triggers an unexpected personality change in Laura.
Gordon realizes that this change is not what he wanted with Laura because it removes an entire piece of her that helped create her uniqueness. This sentiment is perfectly summed up by Commander Kelly’s advice towards Gordon once he realizes his mistake – humans are social animals that are born as a blank slate and formed by our relationships with others. It’s beautiful message wrapped in a harmless standalone episode that has no bearing on the larger arc of this season, however, it serves as a pleasant watch.
The Orville kept its wonderfully surprising elements of humor with its secondary story containing Bortus and Klyden’s addiction to cigarettes and their anger-filled journey to quit. Moclans are shown to have a sensibility towards nicotine causing their addiction to the substance to be highly exaggerated which presented humorous moments of Bortus smoking on the job and Klyden sneaking cigarettes in the airlock bay. The one major regret for this episode was that Klyden should have still been in his “mustache phase” in order to make the moments of smoking that much more hilarious. If there was anything negative to say about The Orville’s second season, it would be that it is in need of more of these stories, however, when they do actually occur, their humor becomes even more appreciated and special.
Lasting Impressions served as a reminder that The Orville can be successful both when its focusing on the crew as a whole or it takes a beat to explore a specific crew member. Lt. Malloy has always been someone who has felt like they have needed an episode that centers more around him as a person than just his ability as a pilot. As a fan, one can’t help but hope that the element of time travel would be introduced so that the memory of Laura Huggins could become a reality and possibly a new member on the ship.
Truthfully, it was hard to see Gordon’s heart be broken by a memory that was centuries old, but The Orville’s ability to cause you to feel something emotionally even given the extreme nature of yet another crew member falling in love with a simulation is a testament to its strength in storytelling despite it being somewhat familiar. This season has been thoroughly enjoyable thus far and Lasting Impressions was another strong entry of the series.