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Recap / The Orville S1 E02 "Command Performance"

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Alara Kitan, the bridge is yours. (Once you clean the piss out of your pants.)
Alara takes command after Captain Mercer and Commander Grayson are imprisoned in a replica of their old home.

Tropes in this episode include:

  • Amazingly Embarrassing Parents: Ed's parents talk at length about how he should get his colon checked out while communicating via the main bridge screen, in front of the entire senior crew. Even after it's revealed as a trick, Ed indicates this is exactly how his parents would have behaved.
  • Bizarre Alien Sexes: Bortus, and his mate Klyden for that matter, are considered male, but still lay eggs. Their child is considered female, and we see in the next episode that female Moclans have the expected Non-Mammal Mammaries.
  • Blatant Lies: The euthanasia process for exhibits is said by the zookeeper to be painless. The laser beams slicing up Ed and Kelly's fake apartment are clearly not a quick and painless way to go.
  • Cliffhanger: Features the only cliffhanger ending of the first season, although it's not of the jeopardy variety and the follow-up episode can be viewed without having seen this one.
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  • Divorce Is Temporary: Initially it looks like Ed and Kelly's romance is being rekindled as they reminisce about some of the good times in their marriage. Reality Ensues after a short while in confinement as they're reminded of the things that annoyed them about the other and they start driving each other up the wall.
  • Easily Forgiven: Alara by the crew, who immediately jump back to her side when she decides to defy the admiralty's orders.
  • Famous Last Words: Ed repeats Elvis Presley's last words when it appears he and Kelly are going to die. He couldn't think of anything else.
    Ed: I'm going to read on the toilet!
  • Fantastic Racism: The Calivon see anyone less advanced than themselves as no better than animals, refusing to even talk to them as equals. Fortunately, Isaac's machine race passes the threshold for the Calivon to actually listen to him.
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  • Heroic BSoD: Alara experiences a brief one after she begs Dr. Finn to relieve her of duty after a bad decision results in the ship being damaged and crewmembers hurt. She experiences another when she realizes the crew hate her for abandoning Ed and Kelly.
  • I Need a Freaking Drink:
    • Kelly replicates a pot brownie when it appears she'll have to deal with Ed's parents.
    • Alara replicates some tequila when pressures of command get to her, and gets some more from the bar later when she's ordered by the Union to abandon Ed and Kelly.
  • Mama Bear: Ed's mother apparently came to truly hate Kelly after learning of her infidelity, even loudly calling her son's ex a "bitch" 46 times in front of a crowded restaurant.
  • Naked People Are Funny: Alara barges in on Bortus incubating his egg while fully nude, treating viewers to the sight of a Moclan's butt crack.
  • The Obi-Wan: Claire name-checks the trope when Alara goes to her for advice about dealing with the stress and responsibilities of command. Alara doesn't get the reference.
  • Omniscient Database: The Orville's data banks hold thousands upon thousands of hours of 400-year-old Earth reality television shows... for some reason.
  • Percussive Therapy: Kitarn smashes Mercer's office desk into rubble in frustration after being ordered to leave her superiors for dead.
  • People Zoo: The Calivon kidnap members of less-advanced races and keep them in a giant zoo for the entertainment of their people.
  • Pop-Cultural Osmosis Failure:
    • Quickly turning into a Running Gag. Two different aliens fail to recognize references to famous human fictional characters, first when Bortus asks about Mercer's Kermit the Frog toy, and again when Alara doesn't know what an "Obi-Wan" is.
    • An example which gets a Lampshade: Alara openly admits that she doesn't understand LaMarr's metaphor about white people going to Compton, but she acknowledges that it's probably apt.
  • Protagonist-Centered Morality: The fact that Mercer and Grayson, along with the cute kid, were rescued from the zoo is considered a happy ending worthy of a party... but all the other sapient beings in the zoo are left to their horrible fates without any hint that anyone is going to lift a finger to save them.
  • Reality Ensues: Alara was able to get three of the "exhibits" out via trade, but the Calivon are stated to be so technologically advanced that there's no realistic way to force them to give up the rest of the zoo.
  • Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right!: Alara initially obeys orders when she's told not to engage the Calivon to rescue Ed and Kelly, but decides to do so after Malloy and LaMarr call her on it.
  • Something Only They Would Say: When they appear on the screen, Ed's "parents" talk in embarrassing fashion, from needling Kelly's cheating on him to Ed's dad insisting he get his colon checked out. When it turns out to have been a holographic trap, Ed has to admire the programmers as that's exactly how his parents would have talked and acted.
  • Take That!:
    • Alara trades the Orville's archive of 21st-century reality TV in exchange for Ed and Kelly.
    • The show serves up several jabs at the idea of zoos and performing animals, and indicates that they have been phased out on Earth.
  • Wham Line: When Bortus hatches his egg, his partner says, "It's a female." Strange for a One-Gender Race.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Sure, they got the kid alien out, but what about the others Ed and Kelly spoke with, the Xelayan the zookeeper mentions is already on hand, and the thousands of other sentients that have been imprisoned?
  • You Are in Command Now:
    • Alara is put in command while Ed and Kelly meet Ed's parents, since Bortus is busy hatching an egg. It quickly piles on when they're teleported to places unknown by a Calivon trap.
    • Alara later pulls it on Claire when she and Isaac head down to negotiate the release of Ed and Kelly, though we never get to see Claire exercise the position.


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