So after last week’s episode, were they able to close it out satisfactorily?
There’s some good in this episode but it does feel like there’s a major emotional point missing in this and that keeps it from reaching greatness.
I’m still digesting this though. The problem or possibly strength of this Isaac. The key will be how they continue to develop his character.
Isaac has been a much better-realized idea of the “emotionless android” trope than any so far.
Data or even Arnie as the Terminator still were humans with human faces. Expressions are keys to us connecting to something emotionally.
While Data may not have emotions, he emulates them through expressions. He also has an innate desire to become human so continually refines and practices looking and acting more human.
The Terminator in T2 also practiced a bit at being more human. He was programmed to blend in and needed to understand John more in order to fulfill his mission. It may have been for different reasons but it’s not unlike Data.
Even if they didn’t possess emotions, they had the ability to express them on their faces. This allowed us as an audience to pick up on the subtleties that go along with that.
Isaac has no face; just a blank, flat egg with two eyes. He also has no desire to have emotions. This makes the character inscrutable.
Just like us, the crew of the Orville have a hard time understanding his motivations. There are no moments where the character has that conflicted moment on his face because he doesn’t HAVE a face. Talk about difficult to read!
In “Identity Pt. 2” the crew is all held together in the shuttle bay. For a long time apparently and the less said about the “pee corner,” the better. They are being kept alive for Mercer to get them through the space uncontested to reach Earth. If Mercer doesn’t comply, they’ll start killing his crew one by one.
When they run across a similar ship to the Orville, Mercer attempts some subterfuge to alert the captain but the Kaylons are well aware of these codes and blows the ship away to show they mean business.
Mercer receives punishment by watching one of his crew members get shoved out an airlock. Pretty heavy stuff. It’s at this point that Isaac starts to push back against the Kaylons.
Meanwhile Yaphet, the gelatinous blob played by Norm MacDonald, and Ty go through a small duct to send a message to the Union. They are successful but get caught. Yaphet leaps into one of the Kaylons to short him out and nearly dies. The other one gets Claire’s youngest and takes him back up to the conference room.
It’s there the Kaylons give Isaac a choice. Kill the child or be deactivated. He rips off the leader’s head and then wipes out all the Kaylons on the bridge. He then sets off an EMP to deactivate every Kaylon on the bridge, including himself.
At this point the Orville reaches Earth to meet the Union fleet and holy shit, they pulled out all the stops. This battle rivals anything on the big screen. I imagine the next several episodes are going to take place strictly on the bridge and have Mercer reading stories to the crew because there can’t be any more money left for the rest of the season.
While this is all happening, Kelly and Gordon have escaped and gotten help from the enemies this whole season, the Krill. They join the battle and turn the tide. The last of the Kaylons limp home but this whole thing is still not resolved.
They manage to revive Isaac and Mercer convinces the admiral to keep him as a crewmember. He says that continuing to treat him as an equal is a better idea since the race that created the Kaylons were pretty much slavemasters to the robots. It makes the genocide slightly more understandable.
Isaac is now homeless and an outcast from his race. He also has a lot of work to do to regain the trust and admiration of the Orville crew.
The issues I have with this episode is Isaac’s change of heart. While it does work as they have built up Isaac’s relationship with Claire and her boys, it still is difficult to connect with precisely because of the problems with Isaac’s inability to emote or create facial expressions.
The turn lacks weight. I don’t know if that’s the story’s problem or mine. Isaac’s turn was not logical, it was emotional. I want to see how he evolves and whether or not he can experience something he’s not designed to do.
I still don’t know why Isaac’s eyes are blue where the others red. One interesting note was that Isaac was constructed after the Kaylon’s massacre. It could be related to that.
Some of the set up to the battle seemed a little rushed. The battle itself was very long. It’s clear they wanted something massive but I think fewer explosions and more story beats would’ve been better.
That said, the battle was well choreographed and easy to follow. Exciting and breathtaking, kudos to the effects guys on this one.
Overall, this was a very good episode and a good wrap up to the two-parter. A few of the things I mentioned kept it from being a great episode.