You know the problem with being “woke?” Everyone around you knows you’re woke because you’re so insufferable about it. Everything you do is tainted with your damn wokeness. Because you just KNOW better. And you KNOW what those other people really are all about. And it’s your job to share this divine knowledge with the world.
Whether the world wants it or not.
That’s one of a couple of the problems with The Orville. The other is the intelligence behind the stories. If Star Trek was legos, then The Orville is Duplo. Duplos aren’t terrible, they are almost fun but they are for the little kids. There’s no complexity to them.
That’s The Orville. It’s frustrating. It’s not like I’m saying Star Trek is lego and The Orville is a pile of poop.
There’s a germ of some ideas there but McFarlane just isn’t deep enough to explore these ideas in any depth. Then he tries to show how “woke” he is with the current events of the day and manages to just create a 2-dimensional cartoon of an idea. It’s obvious and a little insulting.
In this episode, we have a little of an Enemy Mine situation along with the season 3 Star Trek: TNG episode “The Enemy“ where Geordi and a Romulan have to work together and learn a little about each other’s culture.
Captain Mercer has been in a romance with a new crew member, Janel Tyler. He finally decides to go public with the relationship by way of taking a vacation together. They grab a shuttle and head out to some vacation spot but don’t get far when they get intercepted by the Krill, this universe’s version of the Klingons or Romulans. At first, they put on their cloak and the Krill appear to simply pass them by. But the Krill make a u-turn and find them using gas to smoke them out. It was actually a little clever. They get captured.
Take a moment before I go on and take a guess on what’s going on. Got it? Ok.
The Krill demand control codes for the Orville and torture his girl to get them. He finally gives it up only to find out uh-oh! This girl was actually a Krill in disguise all along. This is a great example of the frustration I have with this show. I saw this “twist” coming a mile away.
Well then out of nowhere, the ship gets attacked and boarded. The lady-Krill, Teleya, and Mercer end up on an escape pod and head to the planet.
Then it’s a cat and mouse game with the invaders who are chasing them. She keeps Mercer at gunpoint and he keeps trying to talk her into how wrong she is.
The beats are completely expected and nothing surprising happens. Krill can’t handle sunlight (weird) and so Mercer has to be the one to set up a rescue beacon. Of course, he calls the Orville and they find them both.
It was during one of the talks that the Wokeness came into play. And here’s where I get frustrated. McFarlane’s NPC worldview just can’t help itself from being injected in. See the Krill are a religious race. Which makes them believe they have a divine right to murder or conquer everyone else in the galaxy. They are xenophobic.
Sound familiar? Yeah, if you’re against illegal immigration then you are a religious zealot and Xenophobic. While there could be a good argument that this is how ISIS behaves, it’s clear where McFarlane’s opinions lie.
The thing is, the B story of this episode wasn’t too bad, even though it’s still well-tread ground. Malloy decided he wanted to take the command test and worked with Kelly to start studying. Again, this is a watered down version of what we’ve seen before and done better.
Specifically, Troi taking the test herself in ST: TNG. That one ended with her having to figure out that she may have to order someone to their death. In The Orville, it ended with Malloy learning that he shouldn’t try to get command just to try to get chicks? I think? He didn’t finish but I guess more to come later.
Anyhow after they get rescued, Mercer lets her go. That I didn’t mind, it’s the kind of decision I could see Kirk or Picard doing.
It’s a show that tries hard but clearly, you have don’t have some of the deeper thinkers of sci-fi writing working on this. And to be fair, if you make a Star Trek clone, you’re going tread some well-worn ground.
They had 5 series to figure it all out. So I want to be fair about the whole thing.
But as soon as the political bullshit goes in, I can’t help start rolling my eyes. It’s simplistic and with the near-religious arrogance that it’s presented, they don’t put any thought into it. The Krill are stand-ins for a bunch of Christian bigots. There’s no need to dig any deeper. You have been shamed. We’ve done our job.
Remember DS9 and how the Bajorans were very religious? That was a source of conflict but there was a lot of interesting stories mined from that. It was always done in a respectful way to both sides. Speaking as a non-religious person, I appreciated that. I don’t appreciate this simple, watered down version of an argument.
And this gets me back to being “woke.” Or at least my awareness that everyone in Hollywood is so damn woke. There’s a reason that so many properties are getting remade from older movies or why we just find ourselves tuning in to older stuff. Because it isn’t dripping with this SJW crap that’s being shoved into our eyeballs.
Their goal is clear: You will be made to care. It isn’t enough to just enjoy a story anymore. Hell, I can’t even shave with a Gillette razor now apparently.
The sad part is The Orville has some real possibilities to it. It certainly embraces the general optimism and tone of the old Star Trek shows. The current Star Trek show also shoves a lot of SJW garbage down your throat but it’s also dour, dark, self-serious, and joyless. So I guess the Orville has that at least.
Yes, the old Star Trek did political stories as well but it at least tried to treat both sides as valid. It really tried to grapple with the questions, even if the answer was clear. It made the shows interesting and gave you a new perspective on old questions. The Orville doesn’t seem to push those boundaries very well.
It has done a much better job this season of making the characters a little smarter and is pulling back on the cheap and stupid jokes.
I know this sounds like I’m totally crapping on the show, I’m not. I’m actually pulling for it. It’s not there yet, but I’m seeing improvement. I’ll keep reviewing this season and once done, I’ll go back and start at the beginning.
On a side note, I wanted to thank the Goblins for letting me participate. I plan to merge some current events with the entertainment of the day since that seems to be what they keep churning out.
Whether we want it or not.