- Captain Mercer puts Grayson's plan into action, to stunning (and improbable) results as a giant Redwood tree suddenly sprouts through the Krill's ship.Mercer: Happy Arbor Day.
- Commander Grayson for coming up with a plan to save the entire ship and crew from almost certain death.
- Captain Mercer again for putting aside his personal feelings and asking Kelly to stay on board for the good of the ship and crew.
- What first seems like just a fun nod to one of the more infamous foibles of Star Trek ends up saving the day when an intruder sneaks aboard their shuttle:Mercer: We have something he doesn't.
Grayson: What's that?
Mercer: Seatbelts. [cue hard brake that slams the Krill against the window]
- Malloy flying tight circles around the Krill destroyer, weaving in and out between its protrusions and sticking so close that its weapons can't target Orville. Not even the Enterprise could maneuver like that. And then pulling off a near-impossible maneuver to catch an out of control shuttle in the Orville's shuttle bay manually.Malloy: Time to hug the donkey.
- Alara Kitan gets two - smashing a huge door out of a wall to allow them to escape the science facility and then covering the entire distance to the shuttlecraft in a single bound to get the device to safety on board.
- Alara Kitan finds herself unexpectedly in command during a crisis when Captain Mercer and Commander Grayson are both abducted while Bortus is on paternity leave. She initially handles it poorly, first literally running away from the bridge to try and find someone else to be in charge, and then later overcompensating and failing to heed the advice of her subordinates, leading to the ship nearly being destroyed. By the end of the episode, she's found the right balance, developed a plan (with Isaac's help) to infiltrate the Calivon homeworld, and rescued their crewmates, despite orders from Admiral Tucker to return to Earth instead, all without antagonizing the technologically superior Calivons.Kitan: Can I have everyone's attention, please? I have been given a direct order from the fleet admiralty to abandon the search for Captain Mercer and Commander Grayson. But as far as I'm concerned, they can bite me because we're going anyway!
- When she orders all power to be rerouted to the scanners, the chief engineer points out that this means the ship won't be able to go anywhere. She counters that there's nowhere to go until they find Ed and Kelly, then reminds him to call her "sir", not "kid." Way to command respect, Alara.
"About a Girl"
- Mercer delivers a huge blow to the entirely male-gendered Moclans' sexist assumptions by revealing their most revered author was one of the rare members of the race to be born female, and didn't have the usual transgender surgery at birth. It doesn't work in the current case, but it does clearly pave the way for a serious reexamination of their culture.
- Ed telling off the Jerkass Advocate.Ed: Dude, you have been a colossal dick all friggin' day. Shut. The hell. Up.
"If the Stars Should Appear"
- Grayson endlessly sassing Hamelac during her brutal interrogation was seriously hardcore. Ending with the mother of all Teeny Weenie jokes.
- The out of nowhere (and uncredited) appearance of Liam Neeson as the ship's captain.
- Dr. Finn gets an understated one, patching up Alara's bullet wounds with a couple of her medical gadgets in less than a minute. Downplayed because she credits Alara's Xelayan physiology for the security officer's survival.
- The bio-ship opening up at the end is some Visual Effects of Awesome.
- LaMarr showing his piloting and targeting chops while taking on the Krill ship, saving the Union colony vessel. "BOOM, bitch!" indeed.
- Ed's black belt in Confusion Fu. He walks up to the guard, pretending to be an old college pal. By the time the guard realizes what's going on, Ed stuns him with a palmed raygun, pretends to be giving the now-unconscious man a hug, and hurries the party inside.
- Alara's was when they found Commander Grayson being tortured and she picked up Hamelac by his throat and barked out one word, "TALK!" If looks could kill, everybody else in the room would have been hit by the shrapnel.
- The No-Holds-Barred Beatdown between Grayson and Pria. There's no cat fighting, hair-pulling, or Fanservice. It's just a full-on brawl where both of them come out with black eyes, split lips, and blood.
- Knowing they're outmatched against the Krill ship, Mercer brilliantly has the Orville skim the surface of the planet's atmosphere, creating a makeshift "smoke screen" that blinds the Krill sensors so they can't lock onto the Orville. At the right moment, the Orville banks sharply and fires all its torpedoes to destroy the Krill ship.
- In the end, Ed and Gordon are able to save a colony of 100,000 people and capture an entire Krill destroyer with no backup and Gordon only suffering a stab wound and severe sunburn.
- Bear in mind, command was impressed when he managed to capture a Krill shuttle. And they sent him on a mission simply to take photos of the Krill holy book. Instead, he brings back the physical book... saves 100,000 lives and captures the Krill destroyer in perfect operating condition! One can only imagine a few of those Admirals who considered Mercer a "bottom of the list" kind of guy just a few months ago are revising their opinions pretty sharply. Not to mention Gordon, reputed to be a drunken idiot who was only part of the crew because Captain Mercer insisted on it.
- Bortus rather succinctly explaining to Lysella why her planet's philosophy, "The majority are the truth" is flawed.Bortus: A voice should be earned, not given away.
"Into the Fold"
- Claire escaping her captor (played by perennial '90s TV badass Brian Thompson) with some quick thinking that lets her get her hands on a knife and a gun. She also braves a trip along a high, narrow ledge.
- Isaac and Claire's son hold off the locals for a bit but clearly can't do it much longer...then some much bigger blasts send them scattering as the Orville arrives.
- One for the SFX team: when Yaphit is facing gun-toting Yandere Finn, he shows actual fear on his face — which is pretty impressive for a blob with no eyes.
- We finally get to see Isaac and Alara throw down. Even if it's just a simulation. It's predictably awesome.
- There's also Alara channeling Ripley and T2 Sarah Connor. She makes one hell of a Final Girl.
- The 2D world is a jaw-dropping sight, resembling a computer processor stretching to infinity while its inhabitants are visible as a constant stream of lights. It's perhaps the clearest sign yet of Seth McFarlane's love of old school exploratory science fiction.
- LaMarr proving himself in a crisis, in the midst of a surprising amount of Character Development. Capping it off is his promotion to Chief Engineer.
- The Admiral, when Ed calls him out on not telling him that Kelly recommended him for command, points out that yes, the Admiralty had their reservations about giving Mercer his command on the Orville. But then pointing out that since he took command, he has more than proven he's qualified for the job and banished any doubts. Yes, all that stuff in the last ten episodes was noticed and didn't happen in a vacuum.
- Ed referencing Flatland, cementing once and for all that the show is not just a low-brow comedy set on a spaceship.
- Isaac proves himself to be the biggest trooper ever by staying on a phase-shifted planet for seven hundred years - you read that correctly - just to fix Kelly's cultural contamination. That's insane.
- But then again, to a robot, the passage of time holds no emotional significance. And machines have infinite patience, and no capacity for loneliness or isolation-induced insanity. So even if Isaac's patience is not remarkable by machine standards, it's still a truly impressive feature of synthetic life in general.
- With the planet collapsing too fast to save everyone, Isaac, in the usual cold logic of his species, suggests saving the smartest among them. Bortus doesn't let that go.Bortus: I may be a "primitive organism", but I am happy I am not like you.
Nothing Left on Earth Excepting Fishes
- Gordon spends most of the episode trying and failing the test to go into command. He eventually admits that he wants to try something other than piloting because he's worried that girls just see him as a one-trick pony. Finally, at the end of the episode, he is sent to pilot a shuttle to rescue Captain Mercer, and is questioned how he is going to rescue them on a planet where there's really no good to place to land. He states simply that's he's a pilot and proceeds to prove it by making a point-perfect landing right in front of where Mercer and his alien kidnapper are standing, then safely pilots them away from the aliens that are shooting at them.
All The World is Birthday Cake
- Even though the situation goes sideways almost immediately afterwards, and even though Ed admits that he "plagiarized it from, like, nine different things," Ed's speech at the state dinner is both impressive and heartfelt. Jean-Luc Picard and Carl Sagan would both be proud.Mercer: In the vast emptiness of the universe, we have found a fullness of cultural diversity. And when a First Contact unfolds like this, the cosmos becomes a living, breathing organism, so that, within that organism, we become a way for the universe to know itself. We are honored to know Regor II.
- Given how the writers have tended to use Bortus mostly for comedic value, it was refreshing to see him in full-on badass mode at the prison camp. Go away, indeed.
A Happy Refrain
- Its pretty clear that the cast got rained on for real in the last scene, in what was probably a long, complicated shoot. Thats dedication!
- Gordon once again subtly proves his status as the best pilot in the fleet during the test exercise. The Moclan warship can't even keep up with him.Mercer: Gordon, we want them to hit us, remember?Malloy: Aye, Sir. Dumbing it down.
- Talla's big moment comes in the final scene. Klyden catches up with Talla, to say thanks for clearing his name. Talla coldly points out that Klyden's prejudice against heterosexual Moclans is what set the events in motion to ruin Locar's life in the first place, so Talla more or less tells Klyden to fuck right off. (Doubles as a Tear Jerker - after Klyden shrinks away, Talla can't help but burst into tears.) Adding to Talla's awesomeness here is that she knows this the whole time. She's fully aware of how awful Klyden's prejudice is and the consequences of it. She COULD just let Klyden take the fall and rationalize that he deserves it. But she doesn't. Klyden is innocent of murder and she will not let an innocent man, no matter how repugnant she finds him, be wrongfully convicted.Talia: You wanna repay me? Here's how. When you see me in the corridor, walk the other way.Klyden: I do not understand.Talia: Locar didn't hurt you. He didn't hurt anyone. All he wanted was love. And yet because of you, his life is over. For no reason, except your own prejudice. So as far as I'm concerned, you can go straight to Hell.
Identity, Part 2
- When his Kaylon masters order him to kill Ty, Isaac finally turns against his masters in grand fashion - he takes out all of them in the briefing room, then strolls onto the bridge and wipes them out in mere seconds. Keep in mind we've never seen Isaac use his... uh, head-gun things till now. Becomes a Tear Jerker when Isaac has to deactivate all the rest of the the Kaylon on board to get his crew in control again, including himself. And all Ty can do is watch.
- And how exactly does Isaac begin his coup d'etat? By throttling Kaylon Primary and yanking his titanium spine clean out of his chassis with about as much effort as pulling a weed. It's a stark reminder that, in spite of his quiet and reserved nature, Issac is perhaps the deadliest character throughout the setting.Isaac: Deactivation complete.
- And how exactly does Isaac begin his coup d'etat? By throttling Kaylon Primary and yanking his titanium spine clean out of his chassis with about as much effort as pulling a weed. It's a stark reminder that, in spite of his quiet and reserved nature, Issac is perhaps the deadliest character throughout the setting.
- Gordon taking Kelly to Krill space to get some unlikely reinforcements. Twice Gordon attempts something with the ship that's only theoretical, and is not at all recommended for Union ships, and being the Ace Pilot that he is, he pulls these tricks off easily.
- Yaphit, of all people, gets two. The moment two Kaylon appear near Ty, Yaphit immediately launches his gelatinous form into one of them and shorts them out even though it nearly kills him. Ty still gets captured by the other, but that was a great Papa Wolf moment from an unlikely source. Also a moment of awesome for Ty as well - he helped Yaphit send a scrambled signal to the Union on Earth.
- The other doubles as a Heartwarming Moment. Having new knowledge of what the Kaylon look like from the inside, he's the one to singlehandedly reactivate Isaac while everyone else was unsure of what to do with his body.
- Mercer's going to bat for Isaac to Admiral Halsey after he's reactivated. Ed refuses to let the Admiral install an "off" switch to control Isaac, saying they can't make Isaac a slave like his race's creators did.
Blood of Patriots
- Talla gets a knife pushed against her throat by Orrin's "daughter." Unfortunately, as Talla points out, this lady has clearly never met a Xelayan before, and Talla throws her sorry ass against the wall with no effort whatsoever.
- Claire's subsequent jump to action once she realizes "what" Orrin's daughter is. Talla has absolutely no objection when she starts firing off orders. Although flustered by the reveal, she spouts off protocol without the slightest hesitation.
- Gordon's handling of Orrin. Faking a defection, he gets them on a shuttle, and forces Orrin to tell the whole plan. Realizing that his former friend has gone completely insane, Gordon not only covertly signals the Orville with an open channel so they hear the whole thing, but manages to try and subdue Orrin...but not before the bomb is armed. Gordon then suits up and gives Orrin a Last-Second Chance, but Orrin is too far gone to take it. That's when Gordon jumps out the shuttle airlock and into the black with nothing but his survival suit and hope the Orville's going to find him. Sure, it's not the ending Gordon hoped for, but it was certainly awesome.
- In a way both funny and awesome; Gordon figures out immediately how the Moclan scientists are cloaking their vessel...because he used the same trick in the academy to make a "party bus" out of a stolen shuttle. Genius Ditz, thy name is Gordon Malloy.
- Mercer eventually gets fed up with the Moclan ambassador's threats that Moclas might secede from the Union and forge a separate alliance with the Krill, denying the Union two powerful allies in the war against the Kaylon. He points out that, without full Union backing, the Kaylon would probably wipe out a Moclan-Krill alliance, but might overlook the planet of fugitives, in which case all surviving Moclans would be female.Mercer: But hey, at least you'd still be a single-sex species.
- Heveena, last seen in "About A Girl," is revealed to be the Moclan equivalent of Harriet Tubman, running a secret network to smuggle females to a planet hidden inside a nebula where they can live as their true selves. And when the Orville crew accidentally exposes them, she simply accepts that it was inevitable and switches to open defiance, taking on "9 to 5" by Dolly Parton as her anthem. And she actually manages to make a dead serious and earnest delivery of the lyrics to the Union's top members work as a Rousing Speech.
- Bortus finally calls Klyden out on his sexism and close-mindedness, pointing out how he didn't even bother to acknowledge the presence of Commander Grayson, and how he's teaching their son to be just like him. And Bortus would've kept going, had he and Kelly not been called to the bridge.Bortus: Has your time aboard this ship taught you nothing?
- Doubly awesome when you remember that Klyden is Bortus's husband, who once stabbed him in his sleep with the intention of divorce, showing that Moclans don't take each other's crap just because they're married. And they're still married!
- Take a guess what song plays when Kelly and Bortus lead the colonists fighting off the Moclan forces...
- Kelly and Bortus in that scene are merely the start of the awesome. It begins with Kelly telling the Moclan soldiers that her initial shot was her one warning shot. It continues when both Kelly and Bortus start soundly handing the Moclan soldiers their asses, with Bortus having to go hands-on when the soldiers come too close for him to shoot. It piques when the colonists begin fighting back, dropping soldiers and taking their weapons. Wusses, these colonists decidedly are not.
- Up in the nebula, Talla has command, Gordon has the helm, and they lead the ship against a firefight with a freaking battlecruiser. Mind you, the Orville is a relatively dinky exploration boat and this is a full-on battlecruiser from the Proud Warrior Race guys. They still manage to hold their own, using the nebula as a distraction.
The Road Not Taken
- Gordon and Ed's epic getaway from the Kaylon ships in the opener. No matter what timeline, Gordon's still an Ace Pilot.
- The surprise return of Alara (albeit an alternate timeline Alara) who gives the crew the supply they need, and makes a Heroic Sacrifice with her resistance faction so they can get away.
- LaMarr is able to jury rig time travel with limited resources, no engineering team, and by data mining a technology advanced AI that used to be his ship mate.
- The opening shows the bigger budget is being put to good use with a stunning battle between Union and Kaylon forces. True, it turns out to be All Just a Dream but it's still a fantastic showcase.
- The Orville in general has gotten a major glow-up. Aside from new additions like the astrophysics lab and the Pteradon starfighter, all of the existing sets have gotten improvements and refinements. The engineering set is the real standout, as it has been tremendously expanded with a new upper level and a visible engine core that wouldn't look out of place in a series like Star Trek or Mass Effect.
- When Charly Burke refuses to help reactivate Isaac after he commits suicide and starts questioning Ed's judgment, he promptly fires off a one-two Patrick Stewart Speech and "The Reason You Suck" Speech combination to try and get through to her. A Kaylon attack interrupts before we can see if it was going to work, but Seth MacFarlane still sells the hell out of his dialogue.Charly: What has happened is that they have killed thousands of people!
Ed: All right, so be better than they are! Show the galaxy that humans are different, that we value life even when our enemies don't!
Charly: Do you think Amanda would agree?
Ed: You know, Charly, you're not the only one who lost friends in that battle. And I'm really sorry that you did and I'm sorry that I did, but this thing you do where you act like you have some kind of a monopoly on grief is starting to wear a little thin. Now, I am imploring you to do this. Will you help?
- As the ship is gradually being overrun by the monsters of the week, Talla once again demonstrates why one does not fuck with a Xelayan; she leads a pack of the creatures into a cargo bay, then starts punching, slamming, and tossing the creatures around like they weigh nothing. At one point, she casually dodges a glob of mutagenic spit from one of the creatures, then hits another one so hard that she launches it across the bay and into the wall hard enough to leave a dent. And because the monsters are mutated crew-members and could potentially be saved, she's probably holding back.
A Tale of Two Topas
- When Klyden storms into Kelly's quarters to confront her about showing the truth to Topa, Kelly refuses to take his shit. When Klyden attacks her, she slams him into a wall.Kelly: I'm going to use my imagination and pretend that didn't just happen. Then I'm going to let you go and you're going to get the hell out of my office. And if you ever try to strike an officer again, I'm going to tear your goddamned arm off and mount it on my wall. Do you hear me? Do you hear me?
- Isaac tops her when Klyden tries to stop the operation. After his version of "The Reason You Suck" Speech, Isaac just grabs Klyden by the arm and, without a word, forces him to his knees. Klyden can only grunt and glare before storming out.Klyden: I forbid you to do this! You will destroy him!
Isaac: That is inaccurate. He will be altered physically, but he will remain a fully functioning biological organism.
Klyden: He will be a monstrosity!
Isaac: That is also inaccurate. I surmise your capacity to reason has been compromised by your cultural indoctrination. This is to be expected. Please depart.
From Unknown Graves
- Near the end of the episode, Isaac gets a Personality Chip installed, giving him emotions. Mark Jackson absolutely sells the sheer elation of someone experiencing the full range of organic emotions for the first time, especially his love for Claire and her sons. It makes it all the more heartbreaking when he loses said emotions only minutes later and reverts to standard-issue Isaac.
- Timmis, meanwhile, does what no one on the Orville could do: he gets through to Charly. After she angrily tells him that she's not about to forgive him for what he and the rest of the Kaylon did, he admits that he doesn't expect to be forgiven and tells her the whole sad story of why his people are the way they are. Anne Winters does a masterful job of portraying Charly's Jerkass Realization throughout the scene, as her expression and body language slowly go from "Piss off, robot scum" to "My God, I'm no better than they are."
- Heveena refuses to compromise her Underground Railroad to save Topa's life, even after Ed and Admiral Halsey both ask her to do so. So what does the ever-resourceful Ed do? He whips up a simulation of Dolly Freaking Parton, appearing as herself, to get through to her! And it works!
- When Ed finds out Heveena recruited Topa to her cause and put her life in danger, he is incensed by the revelation. When Heveena attempts to justify her actions, Ed responds with a mixture of compassion and barely-restrained fury:Ed: I respect your struggle. I really do. But don't disguise tactical opportunism as pious morality. Because that's where you lose me.
- After 3 seasons of hanging their status at their big weapons supplier over the Union's heads, the Moclans finally get what's coming to them when their blacksite is exposed. The entire planet is summarily booted out of the Union with a unanimous vote.
Gordon: I know I'm not supposed to talk here, and I'm probably gonna get court-martialed, but someone has to call out these assholes. Every time they cross a line, we let it go. Because we're scared to fight the Kaylon without them. And every time we compromise, they still act like they're the ones getting the shaft! You treat people like garbage, and every time you get called on it you bitch and you moan that we're not respecting your beliefs! Well screw you and-!Ed: Gordon!
- Before that, Gordon finally says what everyone has been thinking when he tears into their ambassadors in front of the admiralty board, knowing full well he might get court-martialed for it.
- When Bortus brings Topa before the Council, he unleashes every scrap of the rage and fear that's been building in him throughout the episode, and probably since the tribunal all the way back in "About a Girl". Peter Macon's acting in the scene is stunning.Bortus: My daughter is fortunate to be alive. They planned to murder her. Members of this Union planned to kill my child! (With the mother of all Death Glares at the Moclan ambassador) You are liars, and you are butchers, and you must answer for your crimes!
- After Bortus calls the Moclan representatives out, every Ambassador on the Planetary Union Council stands in solidarity with him.
- Kelly and Bortus arrive just in time to save Topa from death at the hands of the sociopathic torturer. What follows next is Bortus giving the disgusting excuse for a living being exactly what he deserves, carving his face in and stabbing him in his one remaining eye. For bonus points, it's with his most coveted torture tool.
- At one point during the fight - when it could still be called a fight and not a beatdown - the torturer jams his pain stick into Bortus' guts on high setting. To no visible effect.
- The Union and the Kaylon vs the Krill and Moclan fleets is easily the most epic battle sequence the show has ever done. The action is stunning with the space battles as well as the conflict on the ground to show the FX budget put to the ultimate limit.
- Charly - despite still having misgivings about the Kaylon - sacrifices herself for a chance for peace, manually directing the enormous quantum core into an overload. And it works, her sacrifice prompted the Kaylon to actually do a 180 on their anti-organic stance instead of just being bullied into a ceasefire with the anti-Kaylon superweapon.
- Alara Kitan returns as a special guest for the wedding of Claire and Isaac.
- After LaMarr foolishly gives Isaac "advice" on how the marriage can fail, Claire tears him a new one, leaving LaMarr a terrified wreck.