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Recap / The Orville S1 E05 "Pria"

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Pictured: Isaac's idea of a good practical joke
Ed is attracted to Pria (Charlize Theron), the captain of a rescued ship, but Kelly suspects she is more than she appears.

Tropes in this episode include:

  • Actually Pretty Funny: After the initial shock and horror wears off (and Isaac is incapacitated by Pria), Malloy admits that cutting off his leg in his sleep was actually a pretty awesome prank.
  • An Arm and a Leg: Isaac amputates Malloy's leg and hides it after being told to think of a creative prank. Mercer just has Dr. Finn grow him a new one instead of searching the ship for the one Isaac hid.
  • Asteroid Thicket: The Orville gets caught in a dark matter storm that surrounds the ship with large bubbles of matter that threaten to crush the ship.note 
  • Black Comedy: Discussed when Isaac wonders why Seinfeld and Kramer potentially killing a patient through their comical fumbling is funny. The lesson Isaac takes from this is that amputating Malloy's leg is funny as long as he isn't otherwise harmed by it.
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  • Brain Uploading: Isaac uploads his mind into the ship's computer when feedback from Pria's device nearly destroys his body.
  • Brick Joke: Isaac amputates Malloy's leg as a prank and hides it somewhere on the ship. When Mercer confronts Pria about hijacking the ship, the leg falls from the ceiling.
  • Cat Fight: Inverted. The first full-on hand to hand brawl in-series and it's between Pria and Grayson (aka Furiosa versus Morse). No hair-pulling or scratching or sexy. It's a brawl, and both of them come out bloodied. Ed is too stunned to intervene.
  • Collector of the Strange: Pria travels through time collecting artifacts from the past that would have been destroyed. Amelia Earhart's plane was apparently one of her acquisitions.
  • Comedic Sociopathy: Isaac went through the trouble of amputating Malloy's leg as a prank and hiding it. After the shock of being minus a leg wears off, Malloy admits it's pretty funny.
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  • Disney Death: Isaac is seemingly killed by a surge from Pria's navigation override device, but it turns out he uploaded himself into the ship's mainframe.
  • Don't Explain the Joke: Malloy and LaMarr try to explain the scene from Seinfeld to Isaac, which is making it less hilarious.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: While she's not evil per say, Pria believes Grayson was wrong for cheating Mercer.
  • Eye Lights Out: This happens to Isaac after he's seemingly killed by Pria's device.
  • Fish out of Temporal Water: Any crew of the ships Pria hijacks (Amelia Earhart, for one) are sent to the future with them so their survival doesn't change the timeline, in what must be a huge shock. Pria tries to convince Mercer that life is good in the future, but he and his crew strive mightily to avoid being trapped there.
  • Gilligan Cut: After they start kissing in the Environmental Simulator, Mercer tells Pria they should take it slow. Smash Cut to them lying naked in bed.
    Mercer: Or we could do that.
  • Good Old Fisticuffs: When Grayson jumps Pria, there are no fancy martial arts involved, just haymakers back and forth until Pria's face is a bloody mess.
  • Popcultural Osmosis Failure: Mercer tells Pria "you know where you can go." When she asks where, he adds "to Hell." However, by the 29th century, that phrase appears to have been long forgotten so it doesn't have the effect Mercer was hoping for.
  • Properly Paranoid: Grayson
  • Reality Ensues: Even though medical technology has advanced to the point that lost limbs can be regenerated, losing a limb (or waking up to suddenly realize you are missing a limb) is still a traumatic experience for any person. Malloy doesn't admit that Isaac's prank was Actually Pretty Funny until after the shock of missing his leg wears off and he's sitting in the regeneration chamber.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Pria tells Mercer if they destroy the wormhole, having no reason for her to travel back in time, then they never would have met and he'd still be the "messed up guy who can't get over his ex-wife".
    Pria: Is that what you really want?
    Mercer: Mercer to bridge. (beat) Fire.
    [Pria closes her eyes, either waiting to be erased or expressing her disappointment to Mercer.]
  • Ret-Gone: Mercer destroys the wormhole Pria used to travel through time, causing her to cease to be in the present since she had no means of traveling back.
  • Ripple Effect-Proof Memory: It's not really clear whether this trope is in effect, but given the Timey-Wimey Ball nature of the episode, it very well might be. When Pria becomes Ret-Gone, we see Mercer's reaction, and his expression seems to show that he's fully well aware that she's vanished. However, in their dialogue up to that point Pria implies that if the wormhole is destroyed, Mercer would not remember meeting her.
  • Right for the Wrong Reasons: Averted, maybe. Grayson was right to distrust Pria, but it wasn't because she was jealous Mercer was making "googly eyes" at her.
  • Rock Beats Laser: Pria's device resists attacks from all the Orville's advanced equipment, but Newton's 21st century power drill with diamond-tipped drill bit gets past its casing.
  • Running Gag: Mercer again attempts to open a door by brute force, fails miserably, and passes the task off to Alara with the usual line, "Could you open this jar of pickles for me?"
  • Set Right What Once Went Wrong: The Orville would have been destroyed in a concentrated dark matter storm. Pria came back to prevent that from happening so she could take the ship to her future and sell it. She manages the first part, but the crew foils the rest.
  • Ship Tease:
    • Alara pays close attention to Ed's interaction with Pria, in particular his making "goo-goo eyes" at her, and doesn't need much persuading from Kelly to investigate Pria. (This follows "If the Stars Should Appear" in which a potential Alara–Ed pairing ended up on some fan's shipping radar after Alara gushes to Kelly about how Ed respects her in the way an ex-boyfriend doesn't.)
    • The ongoing "will they or won't they reunite" debate regarding Ed and Kelly continues, with Kelly's barely contained jealousy about Pria (despite the fact that her concern about Pria from a security perspective—shared by Alara—is not only appropriate, but vindicated).
    • Then there's Kelly and Alara being able to get on the same page regarding Pria and their partnership in finding out the truth, which makes a case for a third or fourth option.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Newton uses an old-school power drill to defeat Pria's future tech. The fact he has one on hand may be a shoutout to the Star Trek novels that established that Montgomery Scott, chief engineer of the Enterprise, often carried an old-fashioned Swiss Army knife.
    • The crew watches Seinfeld on the bridge in an attempt to teach Isaac about humor.
  • Teleporters and Transporters: Pria has a personal teleportation device. Mercer admits that at least it’s a nice thing about the future. They have previously been exposed to teleportation from a Higher-Tech Species.
  • Timey-Wimey Ball: Mercer destroys the wormhole so it isn't there for Pria to use in the future—but somehow the Orville still isn't destroyed by the dark matter storm. Mercer explains that the wormhole's existence allows for multiple futures to coexist and its destruction will "lock" time on one course, but this doesn't explain why Pria would be erased but not anything else.
  • Tricked Out Time: The standard procedure of Pria and her colleagues. They prevent the destruction of a ship and the death of all onboard, changing their own past. However, they immediately take both ship and crew to the future so that History still records them as having been destroyed as they were “supposed” to have been.
  • The Unapologetic: Mercer points out that Pria had not once said she was sorry for lying to him and using him even though she supposedly does have feelings for him.
    Pria: It's a good rule in life never to apologize. The right kind of people never want apologies, the wrong kind take advantage of them.
    Mercer: Fair enough.


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