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Fridge Brilliance

  • After all of his gushing over the super-redwood seeds and how his associates' discoveries will revolutionize crop production, it's not that surprising that Dr. Aronov is the only one to get Mercer's "Happy Arbor Day" joke right away. Although his specialty as a scientist is never stated, he's probably a botanist himself.
  • At first, the crew not knowing a lot about different species, including Ed in the first episode in regards to Moclans and Xelayans (Kaylon gets a pass as their being part of the Union seems relatively recent), comes off as the crew being ignorant. Then you remember that The Orville is a (respectful) deconstruction of Star Trek. Ask a 21st century human about, say, Kenyan culture. Most would fumble with the question. Now add a bunch of planets to the mix and suddenly, Ed comes off as just inquisitive and interested in his new crew's cultures.
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  • The song that the bandit plays in "About A Girl" is "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun". Considering the topic of the episode, it's somewhat appropriate.
  • Why did The Orville's databanks contain an archive of trashy reality TV? Well, it's not like there's a lot to do when you're on an exploration vessel. And, like what happened in the episode, some cultures might actually consider it high art.
    • Plus, that far in the future storage space is probably really cheap. They probably have every song, film, or tv show ever made by every union culture with them.
    • That, and there's always the potential to jam an enemy's computer systems with several zettabytes of porn, which would not only be a great Shout-Out, but fit perfectly with the show's sense of humor.
    • Despite how horrifically stupid Reality TV is, it is, unfortunately, a part of our culture, and it will be a part of our future society's cultural historical database due to its historical impact (much like many trends of the past that we now can't understand why they were popular).
    • Plus, multiple episodes that follow establish that people in the show's future time are very well-versed on 20th and 21st century pop culture, from recognizing advertising slogans for car rental agencies to being able to compare a spatial anomaly with something from Sesame Street.
  • Of course, Pria's device could repel an energy blast but not an antique drill. The builders would have been prepared for someone to use an energy blast, but they wouldn't have thought of some centuries-old tech that would be more common in a museum than actual use.
  • Somewhere between brilliance and horror. How much you want to bet that time-traveling "acquisitions specialists" like Pria do extensive research on their time periods and targets? She would have had access to all kinds of biographical and psychological profiling information on the crew, especially Ed, all the better to know what buttons to push.
  • Isaac's failure to understand the humor of the Seinfeld episode, his utter apathy at being covered in Mr. Potato Head pieces, and his later practical joke on Malloy going too far, is played off as his being a robot and unable to understand human emotions or the social idiosyncrasies on which humor is based. Except, as a robot Isaac's body is completely superfluous, and judging from the fact amputating Malloy's leg ends up being such a minor inconvenience for him he doesn't even get out of bridge duty, human bodies are becoming that way in the face of 25th Century medicine as well. Isaac understands humor just fine, and even Malloy admits amputating his leg in his sleep was a pretty good practical joke; he just thinks "Seinfeld" Is Unfunny.
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  • Little wonder Ed isn't the slightest bit intimidated by Alara's fighting ability and Super Strength. Just look how tough Grayson is. Grayson either broke him of the idea that a guy should be intimidated by a woman who could kick his ass, or Ed is a downplayed Amazon Chaser.
  • Moclas being an industrialized planet that specializes in military manufacture and military culture makes a lot of sense when you remember that Moclans are all male. Moclas is an example of historically masculine culture at its apex. Why bother about the environment when one can make weapons that make bigger explosions. Why go on a candle light dinner when a combat simulation will do. Moclas and the Moclans are the male ego turned up to eleven.
  • Mercer describes Kermit the Frog as an ideal leader, which sounds absurd until you consider the literal circus that Kermit is tasked with wrangling. Kermit really is a pretty talented leader, given the highly dissimilar folks he has working as a team (most of the time).
  • The Krill, the Caylon, and the Cailvon are intended to be reflections of humanity's various racist attitudes to other humans over the centuries as projected into a spacefaring civilization. The Krill in particular seem to be a reflection of pre-Modern European racism towards other groups - such as seeing others as soulless with the same sort of arguments that have historically been made to justify oppression and enslavement.
  • "Old Wounds" may very well be a Pun-Based Title, given the plot's MacGuffin being a time distortion ray. Both times the distortion ray is used, the victims ended up being decades older within moments. In fact, this seems so obvious now that this troper suspects he's just Late to the Punchline.
  • In "Majority Rules", why didn't they just use their hacking of the Master Feed to stop or slow down the Down-Votes instead of trying to sway public opinion in John's favour. Simple, if they did that then chances are that at least some people would have noticed and then the planet's population could've easily been thrown into mass panic when they realize that their entire Justice System can be compromised.
  • Also in "Majority Rules" the plot of the week depending on Lamarr dry humping a statue for no apparent reason. With the reveal in "New Dimensions" that Lamarr is actually a certified genius, who was forced to hide his intellect. Then his actions become a result of him overcompensating when trying to hide the fact that he is a lot more intelligent then he lets on.
  • Isaac's 'petting' of Gordon. Yes, it's a moment of funny. But given that he was just told what having a pet is and how to bond with it, take a moment then to realize what he's doing. He's ACTUALLY trying to BOND with Gordon and thus, he actually is showing that he does care about his fellow officers and crew.
  • Let's look at what we know of the crew so far. We have Ed, who got his command after nearly self-destructing due to the divorce because Kelly pulled strings. We have Alara, who subverts her Planet of Hats by being brawn when her species prizes brains. We have John, the genius who was forced to massively underachieve just to avoid being ostracized. We have Gordon, the Joker-level pilot who can't keep off the sauce or out of trouble. We have Isaac, the only Kaylon in the Union (and whose species openly view the Union as inferior). On paper or as individuals they would all be the bottom of the barrel, despite being trained professionals. They may have even been set up to fail. And somehow, because they put all the nuts on that boat, the end result is Crazy Awesome.
  • Isaac makes a small but notable change in speech in "Mad Idolatry" when [he offers to stay on the planet for 700 years. He notes that 'his body' would survive versus something like 'I would survive'. It's unusual because normally he speaks and acts like his body is him (as it is for organics). But considering what he's offering to do, he's probably trying to help his fellow officers overcome resistance to the idea by disassociating his body with him.
  • The Moclan drink opsada which isn't meant to be excreted, but it does for Ed. This is actually a nice little Call-Back to the first episode, where it's mentioned that Moclans go to the bathroom only once a year. Also probably an aversion of No Biochemical Barriers; the parasite might not be able to grow inside the human system, having evolved for the Moclan one.
  • In Into The Fold, there's a throwaway gag about the damage reports including some Ensign reporting that he spilled soy sauce on his pants. Being an Ensign Newbie, he's most likely very inexperienced, and somehow thought he was supposed to report personal property damage as well, in order to get reimbursed for cleaning or replacing his uniform.
  • Little wonder Alara wasn't about to buy Darulio's Culture Justifies Anything line and shrug off the damage he caused. First, she's security chief, and three compromised senior officers amounts to sabotage. Secondly, due to the delicate negotiations that are going sour due to said compromise of the officers, the ship is in danger from not only the fleets around the planet, but the parties aboard the ship. Thirdly? In Earth-normal gravity, Alara probably has to be on guard all the time not to accidentally snap someone's arm or their neck, even when justifiably enraged. Darulio shrugging off his species ability as "I can't help it" would definitely press a Berserk Button on someone who always has to be mindful of hers.
  • Teleya's belief that Belloq is the hero of Raiders of the Lost Ark is indicative of the cultural blinkers she has on. In that film, it is Belloq's arrogance and single-minded/shortsighted pursuit of the power of the Ark of the Covenant that resulted in himself and the Nazis horrifically dying, similar to how the crew of the Krill destroyer Ed and Gordon took down in "Krill" met their ultimate fate due to what's shown to be a one-sided interpretation of the Ankhana, the Krill holy text.
    • Also a bit of fridge logic in the writing department is the fact that she probably saw the Nazis as the good guys because of the fact that they are similar to the Krill in the one regard of them trying to take resources from neighboring lands, much like how the Krill have been doing with neighboring sectors. And with a dash of fridge horror at the fact that she has no idea that the Nazis killed a lot of people due to their religious belief (as she probably wouldn't have taken the time to do research on Earth's past as it wouldn't have been an concern of hers).
  • Alara's departure, while sad, is also understandable from another angle. That treatment that Dr. Finn proposed is experimental and theoretical. It has no guarantee of restoring her strength, and risks making her condition worse. The tried and true method of returning to her homeworld is the only sure way of going about it, and Alara would never want to risk being anything less than her best.
  • Mercer's gambit with the real codes leading to a fake database of authentic-looking and completely bogus information? That is less likely to be a standard operating procedure and more likely to be a Mercer operating procedure. Think about an argument Ed and Kelly have had over several episodes; Kelly has pointed out time and again that Ed may have to sacrifice her for the sake of a mission. Ed would know this, but he's also the type to have a plan in place for when, not if, some enemy pulls an I have your ex-wife. It also fits with his Guile Hero style; an enemy is never going to know for sure if they got the real information or a load of good looking bullshit until they sort through it, which would buy Mercer time to figure out a rescue plan.
    • I’m pretty sure she’s only brought it up once or twice, certainly not enough to motivate him to put together such an extreme plan that he probably wouldn’t have the authority to do in any case. Counter-intelligence operations go through very specific, complicated channels. Doing something like that on your own gets you fired.
  • In the episode "Ja'loja" of Season 2, Ed tells Cassus that Kelly is a fan of the rock band Journey. The first hint that Kelly liked Journey was seen in Season 1, Episode 9, "Cupid's Dagger." The song "Any Way You Want It" is the song she sings during karaoke. And in Season 2, Episode 4, "Nothing Left On Earth Excepting Fishes," her love of Journey is on display, as she has the cover art for the band's seventh studio album, "Escape," hanging on the wall in her office.
  • The fact that Talla exhibits none of Alara’s angst and self-doubt suggests that Xelayan culture may be more diverse that it first appears. Alara’s family are quite obviously very wealthy and well-connected, and Ildis has enough stature to be able to (allegedly) trash a young researcher’s career. He lives in the rarefied world of the academic elite, and it’s not surprising that he is disdainful of the less accomplished. But there’s no real reason to assume he is truly representative of the society as a whole. Yes, intellectual pursuits are valued, but it may well be that Ildis was simply a terrible father who projected his own elitism onto his perfectly competent daughter, who just wasn’t a 4.5 student. There are plenty of people like that in real life.
  • Talla admits in "Deflectors" that she comes from a military family, and that her family are openly disdained by their fellow Xeleyans. She's grown used to it, which is why she has the thicker skin and confidence Alara didn't. Being a Black Sheep and cultural rebel from a family who refuse the species hat probably helped things along when she saw Locar as a fellow misfit who was better off among Union culture.
  • Xelayans being fast-tracked in the military makes sense in light of "Home." They may not be able to stay long in Earth-normal gravity without suffering poor health, which would make their careers short but eventful.
  • It might initially seem strange that it can be made to rain on the bridge, but consider: as with most series of this type, the crew is made up mostly of Earth-type humans, along with a handful of token Rubber-Forehead Aliens who are apparently from worlds with similar environments. But the producers have been pretty ambitious in including Starfish Aliens, making it clear the Union is very diverse. Since the rain obviously had no negative effect on control systems, Union ships are likely designed with adaptable environmental configurations, and there may be ships crewed predominantly by people who are more comfortable in, say, a very rainy environment.
    • It may also just be the bridge's sprinkler system, co opted for a rain-like effect.
  • A number of details about Issac's home-world and the Kaylonians in general may seem impractical or illogical for such an advanced, artificial species. Most would chalk this up to budget restraints, but said details are cleverly vindicated later.
    • Why are the Kaylons stuck in clunky humanoid bodies? Being A.I., they could download into any shell they choose (such as floating orbs, for example). One would assume that actors in costumes were cheaper than the CGI or practical effects that would demand, but it's revealed that their creators were originally humanoid, and they were likely built to resemble them.
    • The security on Kaylon is downright pathetic for such a hyper-advanced species. Even though they're obsessed with intellect, they're not competent enough to prevent a small child from waltzing right by them. However, since most ships that got anywhere close to Kaylon would have been blown up, ground security is probably of little concern, and in any case, the Orville never had any chance of escaping and the crew was helpless from the get-go. So what if Ty found out their dirty little secret? They were going to tell them anyway.
    • There are apparently no chairs on the planet, yet there are guide rails and doors (things that a robot wouldn't use). Even the architecture doesn't match the inhabitants; large swaths of floor space are complacently empty (even though the Kaylons have no concept of personal space) and many buildings seem almost abandoned. One would naturally assume that the producers had to make do with whatever set was available. Yet it all makes sense in context when you realize those buildings were never built for the Kaylons in the first place, but their organic creators. The robots are essentially squatting in the ruins of the race they drove to extinction and simply haven't bothered to modify it.
    • They are also a race of very advanced robots who feel very comfortable in their superiority. They likely feel no imperative to improve their designs, and Creative Sterility (already a big problem for AI) has probably kicked in hard. It's probably going to end up as their Fatal Flaw, since humans adapt quickly and the Kaylon probably can't.
  • In A Happy Refrain Ed reminds Malloy to be careful about what he says to Bortus hinting at Malloy's hidden potential and Ed connecting the dots on Bortus' change of heart.
  • How is the ship able to put up with the massive beating it takes in "Identity?" Because it had its shields upgraded two episodes earlier by the Moclans so it can take far more hits than a regular Union ship. Isaac also made a few tweaks to the shield frequencies during his Heel–Face Turn, which were likely specific to defending against his own people.
  • If Isaac has head-guns, why didn’t he use them during the siege in “Into the Fold”? He was probably not supposed to let the biologicals know he has them. He’ll probably use them occasionally now that things have changed.
  • Why did the random frequency trick work? Computers are very bad at actually generating random numbers. If you need something truly random, then an organic (especially a small child button-mashing) is going to out-do the AI.
  • Why would the Krill be happy to take out Kaylons? Well, there might be some debate behind the scenes as to whether or not other organics may be able to have or obtain souls. But Mechanical Lifeforms? Perfectly justified in saying they're Just a Machine and fit for destruction. Add that the Krill seem to have a side order of Proud Warrior Race going on, and they're probably drooling over a chance to nuke a few abominations for Avis's glory.
  • Speaking of Avis, Gordon flying a Krill fighter? He probably had a chance to test one out when he and Ed took that entire warship back to Union Command. As for why the Krill let him? They were likely shy on pilots after the attack, and those craft look vaguely suicidal to be piloting anyway. They probably figured that if he wanted to try harder and die for the glory of Avis in honorable combat, why not let him "rent" one of their craft?
  • In hindsight, Isaac trying to dump Claire in "A Happy Refrain" makes sense. He was probably trying to keep himself from getting too attached, only to end up hit with a form of In Love with the Mark. Likewise, the Kaylons deciding to pull the plug the instant he and Claire told the boys (making it a "serious" relationship) was probably the Kaylons realizing that Isaac was Going Native and was going to be a liability to their plans...which, they turned out to be dead-right on, especially when Primary managed to piss him off by threatening Ty.
  • Primary tried to convince Isaac that organics, particularly humans, weren't worth saving by bringing up the history of slavery and giving him a copy of Roots. Isaac downloads it, but it doesn't change his opinion. Why? He's had access to the whole ship's computer, including the media archives. Ten to one, he already read it (or similar works) well before Primary tried that stunt. On a meta level, Ty's ethnicity would play into Isaac realizing that Primary, like a lot of "liberators", is full of shit and more interested in power than justice.
  • It should also be noted that Isaac has witnessed - first hand, over centuries - an organic species evolve completely beyond their incredibly warlike ways, and has watched their society develop intellectually, emotionally, socially, and technologically, to a point far in advance of the Union, and possibly even the Kaylons. He's not merely of the opinion that humanity and many other species are capable of shifting from violent to benevolent, he's experienced it, in a manner that no other Kaylon could likely fully understand, no matter how many status reports he sent them. He simply knows that Primary's perspective is flat-out factually wrong, and has clear evidence-based proof to back him up.
  • Tim Russ's guest role in "Lasting Impressions" is a goldmine of Fridge-Funny. Lord Helmet, this time we found lots of sh*t!
  • Also for "Lasting Impressions:" Laura's house. It's hard to believe that a Macy's manager could afford a place that big and nice, all by herself, especially in New York. But the whole program was created from information on the phone. The house the simulation gave her was probably nothing like the home she really lived in. It was probably her affluent parents' home, which she'd have more pictures of on her phone. (After all, what location is a single adult most likely to be taking photos in? Their own home, where nothing remarkable usually happens, or the place where the family has most of their get-togethers?)
  • Also, why Laura and all her friends looked like TV stars. (In universe-that is.) We can assume everyone on the Orville has perfect-for-TV hair and skin, and never has wrinkled clothing, because of future cosmetics. But very few people in 2015 looked as perfectly clean and made-up as Laura and her friends...except at events when one would be taking photos. Or making a recording for a time capsule. Of course Laura would look her best for her time capsule video. And everyone who appears in her photos will either be looking better than usual, and/or look better due to a small photo not showing things like acne or greasy unwashed hair.
    • Alternatively, the holo-simulation automatically "cleaned up" all the figures it drew from Laura's photos.
  • Basically, it's rather ironic that when trying to express their concern for Gordon's fantasy, no one brings up the obvious issue of how wildly inaccurate the simulation probably is. The people populating "Laura's" life are surely just figures pulled from her photos, many of whom might just be friends' friends or people caught in the background who she wouldn't really have known well, or at all; the aforementioned house, and pristine looks; and finally, the simple fact that the phone can only show the tip of the iceberg of who Laura was. Who knows what passions, habits, conflicts, and so forth the real woman dealt with every day, and would've brought up to a boyfriend, that she wouldn't mention too often on her phone?
  • Yes, Ed is still very much in love with Kelly. The season ending two parter indicates she feels the same, but The Chains of Commanding are holding her back. The brilliance is that Ed would have told himself all those same things at one point or another, and realizes that those were the reasons he torpedoed his marriage to her, which he views as the biggest mistake he ever made. He also knows Kelly isn't happy. If she were, he would back off as we saw with Cassius. But he's watching her make the mistakes he made, which is hurting them both.
  • On a more poignant note, Kelly's love of Journey has a meta bit of brilliance. Many of their songs ("Faithfully," "Wheel in the Sky," "Open Arms") are about reunion after a separation.

Fridge Horror

  • Any members of the collection in episode 1X02 within hearing distance of the new display of 21st-century Reality Television, which they will now be listening to whenever the zoo is open for the rest of their days. Seems like a Fate Worse than Death.
    • Alternately, depending on their own tastes, they might find it downright fascinating. We do see one of the imprisoned aliens trying to see past the Calivon crowd to see what's on the screen.
  • In one respect, the Orville crew were actually very lucky that the Calivon don't care more about "inferior" species. Had they taken enough interest to do a thorough scan of the Orville and its occupants, the Head Zookeeper might well have seen fit to capture the entire vessel, despite Isaac's protests: if a couple of random humans are a rare and valuable exhibit, how much more priceless would he consider a soon-to-be-hatched female Moclan to be?
  • It's a throwaway gag in "About a Girl" that Ed has an anti-bullying bill named for him. Seeing as, in Real Life, those bills usually come about because someone was killed or injured to the point of being near death from the abuse, there may be some elements of Dark and Troubled Past at work.
  • Another bit of Fridge Horror, same episode. Moclans want to claim that a female birth is a very rare thing that must be "corrected" immediately. Yet, in the episode, we see three examples of Moclans born with the "condition" (two forcibly corrected, one left to develop, but forced to keep her gender a secret). It's possible that it's a lot more common than anyone admits to, much like the Trill in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine covering up the fact that fifty percent can support a symbiont, but this is hidden so that the Joined can maintain their elite status.
  • That generation ship has been under the control of a theocracy for decades, if not centuries. Sure, they literally opened the sky and handed log access to the heretics, but belief systems die very hard. Worse, they implied that the prairie was only part of the ship's population, and that there were even more people in the lower decks.
  • How the hell did Malloy sleep through Isaac amputating his leg? It could mean his alcohol issues are even worse than they seem.
    • Isaac stated he'd sedated Malloy.
    • Gordon seems to have taken the whole incident amazingly well considering we later learn he has a morbid fear of surgery. Or was this incident the reason?
  • The woman who dies when her head gets stuck in the accelerated time bubble— from her perspective (possibly), she spent one hundred years in that bubble, with her head stuck, completely unable to move her body or communicate with the people just a few feet from her.
    • Maybe not. The rest of her body was still in normal time, which from inside the bubble would have been virtually the same as non-functioning. It’s possible she lost consciousness within minutes. Still awful, but less so.
  • The Krill's Absolute Xenophobe tendencies now paints Pria's attempted capture of a mid-level explorer in a much darker light. The Krill obviously either mellowed out or were subdued by the 29th century but something must have gone down, something that made ships like the Orville rare enough to be pulled from the past for collectors...
    • Like 400 years of advances happening? The only place you're likely to find a ship from 400 years ago on Earth is the bottom of an ocean or harbor. Even the oldest ships today were specifically preserved due to history and symbolism and few if any top 300 years of age. Pria is human and offers no hints that the lot of humans in the galaxy is a harsh one.
    • Also, unless they are incredibly sentimental, the Union probably decommissions and dismantles ships that have reached the end of their service lives. In the real world, despite the vast numbers of aircraft that were manufactured for conflicts like WWII only a very small number remain in any kind of decent condition during the present day.
  • Unless the Krill destroyer from episode six is some sort of exception, then there were possibly Krill children "trainees" on every ship the Orville has destroyed thus far.
  • "Krill" establishes that the Krill species comes from a homeworld where very little sunlight penetrates the cloud cover, making the Krill fatally vulnerable to ultraviolet light. The Union colonies we have seen them attack look like Earth-type planets, which means that they would be unsuitable for Krill habitation without massive terraforming. That indicates that they are not simply attacking in order to conquer new planets for their own occupation. They really are just committing genocide for its own sake and may not even bother to use these worlds otherwise.
    • The Krill frequently mention resources and the non-krill having no rights to them, it could be they attack colonies with the intention to strip-mine the planet and leave it.
  • The Orville has thus far battled three Krill destroyers - and won, yes, but just barely and courtesy of some clever tricks. Consider, though, that with just a few exceptions like the Imperial Navy from Star Wars, destroyers are among the smaller ships in a combat fleet, and Krill destroyers are noticeably larger than the Orville. What must the Krill equivalent of a heavy cruiser be like? And what chance would our heroes have against one?
    • It is some consolation that the Union is also shown to have their own larger flavors of ships, like the one Orville rendezvoused with in "Krill". Also, it's worth noting that the status of "Destroyer" as referring to a smaller warship is a bit arbitrary and subject to linguistic drift. In the modern US Navy, for example, Destroyers are among the largest warships in service, second only to a small handful of older Ticonderoga class cruisers which mostly only distinguish themselves by being able to carry more missiles. The World War II era Fletcher Class was 376 feet long, the modern Arleigh Burke Class is 509 feet long, longer than many pre-World War One battleships.
    • Also, Bortus identifies the Krill vessel in "Krill" as a battlecruiser even though it appears externally identical to the destroyers seen in earlier episodes, implying that the destroyers might be a lighter version of their battlecruisers built on a similar hull but equipped for a different mission (presumably with lighter shields and/or weapons and less extensive command and control facilities). This would parallel many real-life examples; for instance, the US Navy's Ticonderoga class cruisers were built on essentially the same hull as the Spruance class destroyers (lengthened by four feet), and many World War II light cruisers were similar in dimensions to their heavy cruiser contemporaries with the primary difference being lighter armour and smaller guns. Conversely, being a "mid-level exploratory vessel," the Orville is not necessarily the Union equivalent of a frigate or destroyer (if we consider the probable heavy cruiser USS Olympia seen in "Krill" equivalent to a Constitution or Excelsior class starship from Star Trek, Orville could be equivalent to the small Oberth or Nova class research ships, with a Miranda class analog falling somewhere in between).
  • What happens if that Krill child who inspired Mercer to use the UV attack realizes what he did as he gets older? He's partially responsible for his entire ship being horribly burned alive. This is especially horrific if his parents were among the crew.
  • "Majority Rule" is running on 55-gallon drums of Fridge Horror. Cameras are everywhere, no one dares express an opinion that could be offensive or ask a question that could be construed the wrong way. Even the wrong choice of hat or being too distracted could get you a lobotomy. No one wants facts. No trial. No rule of law. And how long until the one person the Orville's crew managed to work with gets found out about her decision to turn off the Master Feed and how soon will that get her enough down votes to be turned into a vegetable? It's also worth noting that even 25th century Union medicine (at least 400 years ahead of what's on that planet) is unable to reverse the brain damage caused by "Correction". Claire states that a victim is basically completely lobotomized and there is nothing she can do.
    • Probably worst of all, view the native girl's actions on that planet and her rationale for doing so, particularly at the start and end of that episode. At the start, she just blindly reaches for the downvote button on her TV while absentmindedly talking on the phone and she nearly does the same thing at the end of the episode. If she is truly representative of the society of Sargus 4, then we've got a planet that determines EVERYTHING by popular vote, including whether to lobotomize people, what food they should eat, what medical treatments are considered effective, and so on, while few if anyone actually pays any attention to any actual reasons for downvoting or upvoting anybody, just doing it for the sheer sake of it. A smear campaign could result in treatments that could save millions of lives being thrown out as useless because of this system, while literal poison could be considered a life extending miracle with enough of a publicity campaign and kill countless people before anybody realizes it enough to start downvoting it. Then there's the whole "reconditioning" that could easily be decided by a bunch of downvoting on a master feed anyone hardly pays any attention to and just downvotes out of habit.
    • There is also the fact that this true democracy (in the Athenian sense) is already corrupted and manipulated by public relations and marketing experts. The last-ditch tricks that Isaac pulled to save John may be even more pervasive than the public imagines and any number of conspirators could be working to deliberately flood the network with lies. Everybody seems to have a vote, but nobody has any real rights and the system is probably already corrupt.
    • There's also how dangerous cyberbullying/trolling could be in this society. Imagine if a bunch of teenagers decided they wanted to mess with a fellow student for whatever reason; if they were organized enough, they could get them lobotomized.
      • That might have already been a consideration. You don’t get a badge until you turn 18, presumably to protect children from the whims of public sentiment. I’m willing to bet children are also banned from voting on the feed.
      • Possible though we do have one example of someone who got a lot of downvotes when she was younger. How young that means is never mentioned. And it is an odd example because on one hand, it's suggested that she has a hard time getting any kind of service, but she's also present as at least above homeless (she's wearing a pants suit and can pay for service).
      • The woman in question who got a lot of downvotes states on screen that she got those downvotes in her 20's. It's never made clear if she is being honest about that or just trying to gain sympathy.
    • The episode also establishes that ethnicity and nationalities play a factor in this world, so if enough of one group of people are prejudiced towards someone for their ethnicity or nationality alone, they could start to down vote them just based on that. And we know how persistent trolls can be in our own social media, so it isn't impossible to imagine that at least one innocent person has been lobotomized based on negative votes based upon, say, the color of their skin, instead of any of their personal actions.
    • A further horror comes in how easily Isaac and the crew save John. Never mind the power of a company or group to enforce themselves on themselves or the rest... all it took was Isaac flooding their internet with fake postings to change mass opinion (or at least, mass voting). That's it; Isaac wasn't even manipulating the system but just using what was already there. A group could literally just make something up to get votes - no matter how untrue - and so it would go. This could be malicious, sure, but it could also be a group of people 'making a joke' or what not and that joke could end up as law, as punishment, as... anything. Further still, look at how easy it is for other places on the internet in our world to radicalize themselves - imagine an up/down voted community with 500k people rallying behind one thing or another and that having real legitimate sway over simple due to numbers.
  • "Majority Rule" also gets more horror-ish when you realize that the constant surveillance and policing of the population was NOT done by a government nor enforced by it. Instead, it was done willingly by the people themselves, at all levels - from detection to enforcement to execution - and at all forms - from publicity officers to talk show hosts to officers of the law. It is a truer form of the 1984-style dystopia than any sort of actual police state even as it is also a truer form of democracy (in practice, if not in philosophy or ideology by Western standards).
    • It might be that all of this is overstated, simply by sheer numbers. Much like our own social media, the vast majority exist in virtual anonymity, and probably spend more time trying to get upvotes than worrying about downvotes. That might actually motivate people to be more polite and helpful than they otherwise would be. The only people we see on “trial” are aliens to the culture who didn’t grow up learning how to navigate public opinion, and also how to look properly remorseful, so it might actually be a rare occurrence. That said, while John’s jackassery was pretty egregious, it’s odd how not relinquishing a seat on a bus went viral to the degree it did.
  • Pretty much most of "Into the Fold", which lands Isaac, Claire and her two sons on an After the End world filled with Technically Living Zombie people.
    • Why does Claire's captor have a holding cell inside the apartment he is using as a sanctuary from the feral members of his race? It seems likely that she is not the first person he has "rescued" for companionship...
    • Likewise, the attacking horde of zombie people seems to consist entirely of males. Are the females all dead, or are they all being kept as prisoners? Did the males outcompete them?
    • Or, it could be possible that the reason why he knows so much was that he was able to capture one of the infected and did tests on them, ala I Am Legend by Richaed Matheson.
  • Darulio is a walking bomb of Fridge Horror. That slimebag knows what his pheromones do. Even if his own culture treats sexual matters casually, he's been off-world long enough to know other cultures (like humans) do not. And as much as he claims that all it does is amp up what's already there? The whole Claire and Yaphit incident would point to it being More Than Mind Control. And not only did he pull his pheromone roofie on both Kelly and Ed in the episode, it's entirely plausible that his initial encounter with Kelly - the one that broke up Kelly and Ed's marriage, sent Ed's career into a tailspin, and kinda trashed their lives - was due to Darulio exploiting both his pheromone roofie and Kelly's loneliness. Worse, he put the ship at risk and nearly caused a diplomatic incident that could have easily escalated into war. And the lowlife still doesn't seem to have a clue about how much damage he caused, much less have any remorse about it.
    • One of the first things Darulio does upon facing an angry Ed is to offer to shake hands. Darulio knows that he is in heat and that his pheromones will affect anybody he touches. That implies that he was deliberately trying to use his pheromones to disarm Ed's understandable hostility towards him and the sex was just a bonus. Worse, Darulio still has sex with Kelly again, fully aware that he has Ed lined up for his next score and indeed he does ditch her to take a tumble with Ed once the pheromones kick in.
      • Everyone is assuming that Darulio was in heat and that he knew it primarily because of how he acts (since we haven't seen another member of his species on the show, for all we know, he may act the way he does because that's how all of his species does). However, how do we even know if he knew he was? People assume that being in heat is a regular as clockwork type of thing, like the Pon Farr from Star Trek, where there's a certain period of time that elapses in between (in this case, it's seven years in between mating cycles). Did no one else think that maybe, for Darulio's species, its time and duration changes regularly? Since we do not get a clear explanation, it could be possible that it may be one day out of a year one year, it may be one day in three years the next. This would account for when he answered Kelly's question of if he was in heat when they hooked up a year before with an "I don't know": because even he can't be sure when he's in heat or not at times. For all we know, at the time the events of the episode occurred, he probably had no reason to suspect that he was in heat because he may have already had one period a short while ago or he probably assumed he was in a stretch of a long time in between the last time. That makes things both Fridge Brilliance and Fridge Horror: Fridge Brillance for an interesting twist on an alien species' reproductive system that shifts so many times that even they can't be sure when their next moment of heat is (Can anyone think of seeing something like that on Star Trek before?) and Fridge Horror for the fact that the species may not even know when they're in heat or not or when their next moment of being in heat may be coming.
      • The crew did not figure out that Darulio was in heat, he explicitly told Alara that he was after she confronted him about all the weird behavior. So even if he did not know when he stepped onto the ship, he had to have figured it out quickly enough. Despite that fact, he still decided to get it on with both Kelly and Ed and he showed no concern about the fact that Claire was also affected.
      • It is possible that Darulio didn't realize he was in heat until after he noticed how both Ed and Kelly started acting towards him during the drink date scene. Before that, he clearly seems like he has no clue about it, as if he did, he would have been more careful with physical contact, wouldn't he?
      • Also, his "I don't know" response to whether or not he was in heat the first time that he and Kelly had sex came across as deliberately ambiguous, and was a great way to twist the proverbial dagger even more. If he was in heat, then the whole "cheating" was an act of rape with Kelly not being able to give consent (and realizing she was raped twice by that jerk) and Ed having to live with the idea that he divorced Kelly for being raped. But it would leave a door open for them to forgive one another (as they're already starting to do) and move forward. If he was not in heat? Well, that would mean Kelly gave knowing consent, which would justify the divorce and all the fallout, but it would actually set the record straight and they can still move forward. Leaving them to doubt is the best way to hurt them both and keep them from moving forward, which gives Darulio continued power over them. (Remember, it's never about the sex, it's about power and control).
      • Or Darulio's "I don't know" was meant for Kelly's benefit. It could be seen more as, "If blaming me makes you feel better about the whole thing that happened between us before, I'm okay with that." Basically, it could be seen as him taking the full blame for the destruction of Ed and Kelly's marriage if it makes her feel better.
    • Aside from the issue of his sexual assault of Ed and Kelly and Rape by Proxy of Claire and Yaphit (Yaphit did ask permission and had no idea Claire was dosed and not freely consenting), he left three of the senior staff unable to perform their duties during a delicate diplomatic affair on the ship. This led to a brief, but nasty skirmish between the enemy fleets that left at least a few hundred dead. At the very least, his ass should be strung up on sabotage charges and/or negligent homicide, not being allowed to leave with a shrug and a "shit happens."
    • Something missing from all of this discussion, however, is the A-plot and how that's resolved - while it's debatable on how aware and social conscious Darulio was on his role in the Orville/Kelly and Ed, in turn, the Orville's senior officers intentionally used his pheromones on unwitting and non-consenting aliens in order to broker a peace. Whatever judgment made on Darulio must also be applied to the Orville itself because they did the same thing. Though perhaps future ethics are different or 'because it was for a good cause' may be answers, those both seem like easy outs.
      • It could be barely justified by necessity. The Orville was caught in a crossfire that had already left dozens of ships and hundreds of people dead and they were going to be next. Everyone was going to die unless something drastic happened. It's akin to the trolley dilemma of killing one person to save six, only with dosing the ambassadors with a Love Potion instead of having them be killed with everyone else. And it's likely that Alara and her team kept the chemically-induced lovebirds in separate rooms or took other precautions to try and mitigate the damage.
  • "Firestorm" shows us that the Union has Mind Wipe technology. That is terrifying.
    • It's probably just yet another Shout-Out to the mothership, as the Federation has it in both medical and psychic forms.
    • Terrifying but limited. The Doc notes that it's a very dangerous procedure and Alara had to make up an excuse of protecting top secret information to even get her to do it. So while it's there, it's clearly either difficult and/or they're very very aware it has many ethical implications.
  • In “New Dimensions,” they plow a 3-dimensional quantum bubble through the 2-dimensional universe at very high speed, including FTL. No concern is expressed for the effect this might be having on that universe.
    • Ed specifically asks if they may be interacting harmfully with the 2D space. Both Isaac and LaMarr explain that the actual interaction is so small as to be unnoticeable. This is consistent with some scientific theories regarding how such an interaction might play out.
      • And for context, Ed even brings up the book Flatland, perhaps just as a bonus, perhaps as an aside reference. If so, then at most, the inhabitants would see a strange floating shape speeding through their world. (Some theories involving UFOs suggest this might be a possible origin for some sightings.)
  • As noted under Reality Ensues on the main page, Mad Idolatry shows EXACTLY how important something like Star Trek's Prime Directive is and how one little thing, even if done with the best of intentions, can throw everything out of alignment. Fridge Horror sets in for Star Trek when you realize the Orville crew only realize how badly Kelly affected the planet because the planet advanced 700 years by going through an anomaly to an alternate universe and coming back every 11 days. Kirk, Picard, Sisko, Janeway, Archer, and Lorca may have done a TON of damage but they wouldn't know since they're not around long enough to see how far-reaching their actions are (and Kelly only healed a little girl).
    • But’s it’s made clear that those things would have happened regardless. It’s a natural, necessary part of a culture’s development. And cultural contamination is pretty much inevitable unless all societies become isolationist to the point of hostility. Take a look at the North Sentinalese people for a striking illustration of how that really works. If aliens showed up with a cure for cancer, I’d be pissed if they decided we “weren’t ready” and refused to share it (unless, of course, it’s a cookbook).
      • I imagined the point was less the natural development of a culture but rather disruption of that culture to the point that it is wiped out. That is, they couldn't be certain that they wouldn't cause a nuclear holocaust, bring unintended pathogens, or any number of situations that would be destructive. Intervention is probably inevitable, particularly at a point when a culture could handle an early reveal. It's also possible that it's a rule in order to discourage/prevent people from intentionally doing what Kelly did and taking over a planet - that could stop development altogether or send a species down a very dark path. Making it such a fundamental rule gives it strong legal and ethical grounds on which to stand.
    • One that is strictly this episode's: when the shuttle crash-landed on the planet, they didn't know yet the planet shifts forward 700 years in 11 days and were not rushing to do repairs. If the shuttle hadn't been fixed in time, the Orville probably would've still figured out about the planet returning in 11 days and waited. Remember, they didn't know about shifting 700 years until the 2nd visit. By the time the planet returned, Kelly and Malloy would've been long dead, leaving Isaac to explain in great detail what happened.
    • Some potential Fridge Horror for the Union and in fact the entire galaxy and universe. The time difference between the Union galaxy/universe and the time phasing planet and its universe is an astonishing rate. 700 years per 11 days is a breakneck pace. In a single year in the Union galaxy, 23,000 years will have passed in the other universe. Which is three times as long as 'organised' human civilization has existed for. 50 years in the Union will mean 1.1 million in the time shifted planet. In the cosmologically small timeframe of 500,000 years, the other universe will have pushed through 10 billion years. It's envisioned that star formation itself will cease after 100 trillion years, which will happen much quicker than in the Union galaxy. A species that develops in the twilight of their galaxy may invade for pure survival, to leave behind the darkness of a dying universe.
      • When you consider how many empires have risen and fallen, how many wars have been fought, how many countries conquered for expansion or resources or on ideological grounds on just Earth, should an empire arise on the other side and look to the Union enviously, their level of technology was already far in excess of the Union, any future invasion could be equivalent to a human exterminating a colony of ants. Even if it's less an 'invasion' and more 'sharing a room', the differences between vastly more advanced species could cause its own set of problems without needing hostility.
      • An invasion of the Union universe, even by an envious evil empire from this planet, would be highly unlikely. The reason being that it would take the invaders months, at the least, to conquer even just the nearest planets to this time shifting planet. Those who stayed in the Union universe to conquer it would return to find that several millennia had passed in their own universe, and whatever justification they had for their actions would be long gone. In short, the time shifting planet invading wouldn't really be worth it.
      • You would expect that any invasion would be considered a one-way trip. It might not even need to be an 'evil' invasion, it could be simply escaping a galactic scale atrocity or natural disaster that sends people to leave the 'future' galaxy and come into the union one.
  • "Primal Urges": The "friend" of the alien lieutenant who cooked up that porn program? The lieutenant remarked that guys like him don't deal with Union officers much. And given just how devastating that virus was, are we sure that it wasn't an act of cyberterrorism?
  • Another "Primal Urges" one: Because they were dealing with the fallout from said virus, that diverted resources that could have been used to retrofit a second shuttle and evacuate at least thirty more people. But even then, those people are doomed; seventy-five survivors wouldn't be enough to sustain a population. Thirty people have even less of a chance.
    • The real fridge logic is that the virus didn't affect the modifications to the shuttle (It only affected the Orville after they managed to get as many survivors as they could). The reason why only one was refit was because of the fact that the Orville only carries two shuttles at a time (and a ship as medium sized as the Orville may not have enough power to generate additional shuttles, meaning that any shuttles lost would be replaced at Union space stations). That means due to the fact it takes time to refit one, they couldn't refit two not only because it would have taken more time to do two and there was also the high probably of losing both shuttles (which could have lead to more problems). It falls under fridge logic as well, since it was specifically stated earlier in the episode that they were not equipt to handle a rescue like that, with or without a porn virus affecting the ship (in fact, even without the porn virus, the same problems with the time it takes to refit the shuttle and the quicker deterioration of the planet would have occurred as they did anyway).
    • Not to mention how Isaac's scanning of the planet seems to have been suspended as soon as he located the one underground refuge. Who's to say there weren't more such squatter-bunkers scattered about the place, that were overlooked or too deep to be detected?
  • When Kelly questions if Gordon wants to take the command test just so that people think more highly of him, and assures him he’s already charming, it initially sounds sweet and heartwarming. But considering how she told John the exact opposite, that he should not just coast through life as a navigator and pretty much forces him to improve himself through an unearned promotion, she’s actually being a hypocrite. Since economy is based on “reputation,” she’s essentially telling Gordon to not ask for a raise.
    • I agree with you on this, but there is something to take into account: Gordon was already known for being the best pilot in the Union. When it came to Lamar, he had been playing the role of "dumb" for so long due to where he was raised. Since he was in the Union now, he didn't have to put on that role anymore and Kelly was giving him a chance that he didn't have to become the person he clearly had the ability to be. However, by the end of the episode, Kelly asks Gordon if he still wants to go for the command test, leaving it open for him to decide if he truly wants to or not. She may have started the episode as a bit of a hypocrite, but she didn't force Gordon to stay in that position and even left the door open for him if he wants to.
    • A bit of brilliance and horror in that Kelly may have some personal prejudice towards Gordon. After all, they have a history with Gordon being Ed's best friend, and probably a friend Kelly only tolerated for Ed's sake. Gordon was probably witness to the divorce fallout, too, getting an earful from Ed's point of view.
    • True, but here in this case Gordon wanted to take the command test because he felt he was only good as a pilot and wanted some more achievements under his belt. It's more akin to Gordon asking for a promotion and Kelly gently reminding him that with a promotion comes greater responsibilities.
    • In "reputation-based economy" terms, Kelly could be seen as trying to talk Gordon out of a bad investment. It has become clear, especially post-"Identity", that Gordon is easily one of the best damn pilots the Union has. Going for a command position would mean exchanging a position where he's highly regarded (with a potential to do even better in the future) for one where he'd be mediocre at best. Kelly is in fact protecting Gordon from stunting his own potential - and by the end of the episode, it seems he's come to agree with her.
  • In "Identity", Isaac was purposefully deactivated once his mission was completed. We don't actually learn if this is because the Kaylons view the individuals as disposable, or if this was a plot devised by using the data collected to determine that the Orville command crew would likely risk entering Kaylon space to save him. Not sure which option is worse, though the former begs the question of why the Kaylons expanded their numbers to a point that exceeded planet efficiency.
    • If your verdict on the universe is "It'll have to go", then it would help to increase your numbers before you start demolishing planets that are in the way.
    • Given the Kaylon are described as being assembled for specific tasks, I think it's fair to assume they considered him essentially worthless now that his task had been complete, so just shut him off. If they wanted the crew of the Orville to come to their planet, presumably they'd have told Issac to ask them to take them home, rather than just deactivated him and hope for that outcome.
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