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Recap / The Orville S1 E03 "About a Girl"

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Awww, what an adorable baby! Hope nothing bad happens to her!
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Bortus and Ed find themselves at odds when Bortus wants a controversial procedure performed on his newborn child.


Tropes:

  • Actually, I Am Him: Advocate Kagis accuses Hevina of bastardizing the words of Gandis Eldin. Hevina then reveals that she is Gandis Eldin, stunning all in attendance.
  • Ambiguous Situation: The incident where the Orville's shuttle flies through a newly-scheduled weapons test that the Moclan air controllers neglected to warn them about. On their way to a controversial court hearing. After there have already been implications that the Moclans and the Union could come to blows over the issue. An oversight by a group with lax safety standards, an outright hostile act, or something in between?
  • Bittersweet Ending: Ultimately, the child is made male, but Bortus and Clyden still intend to raise him as best they can. Moclan society now also has to deal with the ramifications of one of their most famous modern philosophers outing herself as female.
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  • Bring My Brown Pants: Malloy requests a pair of pants after a Moclan weapons test nearly hits the ship. He's not kidding.
    Kelly: He's kidding.
    Malloy: No, I'm not.
  • City Planet: Downplayed with the Moclan homeworld. They're said to have industrialized the surface, but there's still mountain ranges which would have been impractical to pave down for more room.
  • Closest Thing We Got: When Bortus asks Mercer to be his advocate, he refuses and nominates Grayson instead, on the grounds that she has interstellar law experience. When she protests that she took one class for a single year, he says it's still better than none at all in his case.
  • Courtroom Episode: The latter half has the crew participating in a Moclan tribunal over the fate of Bortus's daughter.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: Parents are discussing corrective surgery for a newborn with genitals that do not match her species' accepted sex, and an advocate for foregoing surgery happens to identify as an unrecognized (or at least looked down on) gender. Oddly enough, intersex issues are never directly referenced among the comparisons to third legs and circumcision.
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  • Dramedy: Although there were moments in the first two episodes, this was the episode that established that The Orville wasn't going to actually be a sitcom in space as the story turns on a dime from comedy to covering a very serious topic.
  • Easy Evangelism: Bortus considers the female gender a deformity that must be surgically corrected... until his mind is changed by the Rankin-Bass Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: When Kelly uses Alara to disprove the Advocate's assertion that females are too weak to succeed in the Moclus industrial society, he correctly points out that as a Heavy Worlder her entire species have Super Strength and thus this doesn't reflect in any way on the capabilities of a Moclan female. (This also served to invalidate Alara's earlier defeat of Bortus in the boxing ring as any Xelayan would have been able to do so.)
  • Moustache de Plume: Hevina became one of Moclus's greatest novelists writing under the male name of Gandis Eldin, presumably to avoid the prejudice against females.
  • Noodle Incident: Mercer apparently has an anti-bullying law named after him.
  • No OSHA Compliance: The Moclans test their weapons anywhere they please, since it's their primary export and they don't have much room on the surface to work with. Mercer's shuttle is almost shot down by a test they weren't warned of.
  • Punched Across the Room: Alara does this to Bortus in their boxing match.
  • Reality Ensues: Of course one surprise witness, no matter how famed or influential, is not going to change a long held belief in one go.
  • Shout-Out:
    • When Ed, Malloy, and LaMarr are in the Old West simulation at the beginning of the episode, Ed's outfit is nearly identical to the one Seth McFarlane wore in the poster for A Million Ways to Die in the West.
    • Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer is both referenced and shown—as Malloy and LaMarr intend, it completely changes Bortus's opinion about the validity of corrective surgery for his daughter; he compares it to what would have happened if Rudolph's parents had decided he should be euthanized.
    Malloy: Uh, I don't know if that was ever on the table, but sure.
  • Titled After the Song: From Nirvana's Bleach.
  • Values Dissonance:
    • Openly discussed, as Ed notes that if he and Kelly had had a child with a third foot, they'd have been tempted to have it removed to fit their beliefs on what a "correct child" looks like. Whereas an alien species for whom three feet is normal would consider it terrible. Thus, they can understand Bortus's feelings. Meanwhile, Finn is adamant she will not perform a surgery like this, finding it against her belief and oath.
    • The advocate scores points by comparing this surgery to a circumcision, while Finn protests it's a religious belief and uses it to defend their ways.
      • This could also be a jab at the completely unnecessary circumcisions many American males undergo at infancy for no religious reasons, simply because it’s what their fathers are used to.

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