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Nightmare Fuel / The Orville

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Having 2001: A Space Odyssey flashbacks yet?
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Just because it's a comedy doesn't mean it can't bring the nightmares.

  • What happened to the poor scientist who got caught in the time-acceleration beam in "Old Wounds." She shrieks, ages 100 years in a second, and drops dead while the rest of the team looks helplessly.
    • Take a moment to think about that. There's no indication that the beam makes you unconscious, and no reason why it shouldn't accelerate your consciousness along with everything else. Which would mean that from her point of view she was essentially tied down and left there, immobile in that same position, for the entire rest of a full lifespan. It's about the most horrific way to die that one can imagine.
  • "Krill" has Mercer and Malloy infiltrate a ship of nightmares belonging to an Always Chaotic Evil enemy that Looks Like Orlok, but special mention goes to the travesty of a church service. Watch what they do to that severed human head and try to get a good night's sleep.
    • Even more fridge horror is this: during the first episode of the series, the Orville goes up against a Krill ship, which they destroy. At the start of "Krill", they go up against another Krill vessel, successfully destroying it. Then we learn that the one that picks up Ed and Gordon has children on it. There is the horrifying likelihood that there were children on the past two ships that Ed and company have destroyed.
  • The purely democratic law system of Sargus 4 in "Majority Rule" is eerily similar to the society in the Black Mirror episode, "Nosedive". Everyone has to wear a badge with a up-vote/down-vote button from the beginning of adulthood. Unfortunately, if you get caught doing something disrespectful — intentionally or not — it has the potential to go viral and get you in a lot of trouble down the line. Every downvote you received in your early adulthood will stick with you for the rest of your life, to the point that public services can reject people with 500,000 or more downvotes (as demonstrated by the middle-aged woman in the cafe, who claims she got those downvotes in her 20s and has turned over a new leaf since then, but was denied service nonetheless). If it gets past a million, you get arrested. If it gets to 10 million, the accused is "corrected" through electroshock therapy, but since the technological development stage of Sargus is comparable to 21st-Century Earth, this method is effectively a lobotomy. Not even Union medical technology can reverse the damage done.
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    • While we don't follow the planet long enough to see anything else that could happen to John, the fact that he ends up just a few votes shy of 10 million downvotes brings up another dark realization: those downvotes don't go away, and he could still potentially get brain zapped if he gets just a couple more. Think about how many people react in the slightest negative way to you in a day. If John stayed on the planet, he wouldn't last five minutes. What happens to people that escape brain zap judgment?
      • And following on that, given the way people react to others with 500,000 downvotes, imagine how badly they would react to someone that did an Apology Tour and survived, but ended up with more than a million downvotes. Homeless would be a polite way to put it.
    • Picture what the events of the episode must have been like from Lysella's perspective: Here she is, minding her own business, living an ordinary (by Sargun standards) life, when all of a sudden she discovers that not only have beings from another planet infiltrated her world, but that they weren't the first to do so. On top of that, she got a first hand look at Alara's super strength, so she knows that people with such abilities exist. Sure, these particular alien beings are benevolent, but now she'll always have that little voice in the back of her mind wondering who else isn't who she thinks they are.
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  • The Technically Living Zombie population of the planet in "Into the Fold." Drink the water, fall into the water, bathe with the water...and end up a brainless monster. Worse, this was the result of a bioweapon gone wrong.
  • Darulio of "Cupid's Dagger." He never raises his voice or seems to show strong emotion, even when the ship he's on is caught between two hostile fleets that could obliterate the Orville. And he comes from a culture that is so open about sex that it's considered rude to refuse an offer of a roll in the hay (that is, if he is telling the truth), and has such powerful pheromones that it can induce obsessive lust in another person, even if that person just told him that they hate his guts. Worse, he doesn't see anything wrong with the whole idea - as far as he's concerned, the worst that happens is "great sex." It's left open as to whether or not he used his pheromones on Kelly the first time they slept together...y'know, the time that Ed walked in on, the one that sent him and Kelly to divorce court, sent his career in a tailspin, and so forth. But the fact he uses a fantastic date rape drug on both Ed and Kelly, accidentally doses Claire, and shrugs the whole thing off as no big deal is a terrifying look at a sexual predator and how the victims will likely end up blaming themselves for it.
  • "Firestorm" takes this to new levels when Alara unknowingly gets trapped in a nightmare simulation that combines the worst fears of all the main characters. Among the ordeals she faced was a Monster Clown with superhuman strength, a giant spider immune to energy weapons, being Strapped to an Operating Table by an insane Dr. Finn, and getting stalked relentlessly by a murderous Isaac on an otherwise abandoned ship on a collision course with certain doom.
    Do you ever sit in your quarters and look out the window? Do you ever stop and watch the darkness out there? It's very, very dark in space. Looks so empty. But there are terrors lurking all around us in the infinite shadows. You can't see them but they're there...
    • And she has no idea why this is happening, because of what happened with Dr. Finn she can't trust anyone around her, and she can't trust reality itself.
    • And the icing on the cake is that she literally brought it on herself by insisting that she go through a simulated house of horrors and had her own memory of the decision wiped so she would be convinced that it was all real.
  • "Mad Idolatry" puts any lesson from Star Trek on why the Prime Directive exists to shame, as a planet's Year Inside, Hour Outside setup shows Kelly that a brief incident where she healed a local's injury has become an entire religion, with countless people having been killed over the course of centuries as their justice system is to inflict a fatal wound on the suspect and see if she heals it. In the course of a few weeks, she has to deal with being the cause of mass suffering on a literal planetary scale.
  • Ed's gravity suit failing in "Home," leading to the lovely sight of his shins snapping as they're crushed under the gravity of Alara's home planet. He lets out a blood-crudling shriek and almost immediately passes out from the pain. Unlike with previous leg injuries on the show, it's not played for comedy.
    • Alara's father is forced to put his hand into a pot of boiling sauce. The rest of the episode features several close-ups of the horrific burns and blisters, and Robert Picardo never lets up in acting out the pain of using it.
    • Hell, everything about Cambis torturing Alara and her family as revenge for his son's suicide, refusing to acknowledge that Alara's father wasn't responsible for it. John Billingsley sells the Tranquil Fury frighteningly well.
  • "All the World is a Birthday Cake":
    • Just the idea that if you're born in a certain month, you're somehow a murderous monster on this planet. That means countless pregnant mother undergo C-sections to ensure their otherwise perfectly healthy children aren't born in this time period to "save" them. Finn openly rants on how "they're pulling these babies weeks, even months before birth."
    • On top of that, it's announced any child who is born in this month must be turned over to the government immediately.
    • Ed, Talla and Finn are subjected to a rough treatment of having their mouths probed to "prove" they're not born under this month.
    • The concentration camp for those born under the sign is as nasty as you can expect when Kelly and Bortus show up.
    • How deeply bound is this belief in the race? The actual prisoners in the camp don't even bother trying to escape as they're convinced they're "monsters" and thus this is where they belong.
  • Pretty much the entire second half of "Identity" runs on this trope, as Kaylon's dark secrets and Isaac's real mission are revealed. Reveals like Mass graves with billions of bodies buried under the planet, and the Kaylon conquering the ship like a Sunday errand. And plotting course straight for Earth.
    • In part two as a punishment for Ed trying to warn a Union ship (which the Kaylon destroyed), Primary has a random crew member flushed out an airlock. He makes it clear he's ready to do it again if the crew try to fight back.
    • The shear lividness of supposed emotionless robots doesn't gel well with their power or how potentially meaningless fighting them could be Isaac has shown the ability to survive his bodies destruction at least twice and their 'massive' fleet was mostly assembled on screen while characters were watching.
  • In "Blood of Patriots" Gordon is forced to walk out into open space, doomed to float helplessly in the emptiness unless the rest of the crew can find him. Scott Grimes' performance fully plays up the existential horror of the situation, which thankfully doesn't last long.
  • "The Road Not Taken" is Bad Future to the extreme. Thanks to time travel antics, the Kaylon have exterminated over half of organic life in the entire galaxy. The worst part is the crew doing a scan on Earth to find no trace of life, not even in the deepest parts of the Marinas Trench.
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