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Recap / The Orville S1E09 "Cupid's Dagger"

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Ed has to try and prevent a civil war between two contentious alien races. While also dealing with the arrival of Darulio, the man he caught Kelly cheating on him with.


Tropes:

  • Actor Allusion:
  • Ambiguous Innocence: It's left up in the air whether Darulio knowingly used his pheromones to seduce Kelly (again) and Ed, or if he did it by mistake, seeing as they were both telling him that they wanted nothing to do with him prior to being touched. It's also ambiguous as to whether that first time with Kelly — the one that incited the divorce — was also chemically induced, though Kelly's comments on that incident compared to the current one seem to indicate that it wasn't.
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  • "Ass" in Ambassador: On both sides. Of course, both species hate each other, so the ambassadors are no worse than the people they represent.
  • Big Badass Battle Sequence: The two enemy fleets open fire on each other and destroy a few ships before their respective ambassadors call it off.
  • Big "OMG!": Alara after she walks in on Yaphit and Claire.
  • Bizarre Alien Biology: Two examples re Darulio's pheromones. First is the fact that he produces them once each year, and second is that Yaphit is immune to their effects (but can still transfer them inadvertently).
  • Brain Bleach: Alara is grossed out when she walks in on Yaphit and Dr. Finn in flagrante delicto.
  • Brick Joke: Twice, a reptillian crewmember awkwardly interrupts Ed and Kelly in the elevator, suggesting that music should be playing in the elevator. The second time, Ed irritably suggests that the crewmember do it himself. The third time Ed and Kelly ride the elevator, music can be heard playing inside.
  • Call-Back:
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    • It turns out, yes, Bortus can sing. But he is cut off before we hear his take on Céline Dion.
    • Ed walking in on Kelly and Darulio plays out very similarly to the first time.
    • And speaking of the pilot, Darulio walks through Yaphit just like Ed did. And just like last time, Yaphit takes it in stride.
  • Cerebus Retcon: It's entirely and horrifyingly possible that the Plot-Inciting Infidelity that kicked off the whole series was an act of rape via mind control.
  • Culture Justifies Anything: Darulio waves off objections to his conduct with a shrug and the statement that Retepsians consider it rude to decline an offer of sex. He's an anthropologist, understanding other cultures is part of his job.
  • Death Glare: When Darulio first boards the Orville, Ed's glare damn near vaporizes him.
  • Double Standard: Rape, Sci-Fi: The closest the episode comes to acknowledging the rampant consent issues plaguing the plot is Kelly asking Darulio at the end if he was in heat when they slept together in the pilot.
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  • Even the Guys Want Him: Darulio's pheromones work on Ed just as well as they do on Kelly.
  • Free-Love Future: Darulio claims that in his society it is actually considered rude to turn down an offer of sex. Human mores are not anywhere near so relaxed, but even so the attitude seems to mostly be more casual than in real life. For example, Ed suddenly being into Darulio elicits only a bit of surprise from Gordon.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: The Dr. Finn-Yaphit sex scene is actually quite explicit for mainstream US network standards, even with the absence of nudity. Especially for those who are familiar with how his body works. Becomes even moreso in hindsight after viewing how he's able to use an appendage to, uh, enter Bortus in "New Dimensions".
  • Heartbreak and Ice Cream: After Ed manages to outdo Kelly in getting Darulio's attention, she's seen in her quarters, crying and chowing down on brownies.
  • Hot Skitty-on-Wailord Action: Yaphit finally gets some with Claire, under some very odd circumstances.
  • Karma Houdini: Considering he basically roofied the captain, first officer and medical officer and nearly caused a full-scale war, Darulio gets off lightly by being allowed to leave and a shrug of "hey, it happens."
  • Kissing Under the Influence: Good Lord!
  • Living Aphrodisiac: Darulio's species goes into heat once a year, releasing pheromones through skin contact that make anyone they touch irresistibly attracted to them. The effect wears off after a few days.
  • Never My Fault: Darulio is unapologetic about all the trouble he's caused, insisting it's just harmless fun. It takes seeing two fleets about to destroy each other while Ed and Kelly are incapable of caring thanks to the pheromones to finally impress upon him just how much he's screwed up.
  • "Not If They Enjoyed It" Rationalization: Darulio has this attitude about the consent issues raised by the way his pheromones affect other people. In his mind, so long as they end up having great sex where is the harm?
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • Alara when she learns that Darulio is coming aboard.
    • Yaphit when Claire goes yandere and pulls a gun on him.
  • Questionable Consent:
    • At best. Darulio doesn't seem to see anything wrong with what he did, and states that the pheromones just help along attraction that's already there, and they both happily sleep with him. But seeing as he touched Ed and Kelly when they were arguing with him, inducing lust and getting them to agree with him, "questionable" may be an outright understatement. What really puts the lie to Darulio's claim, though, is when they use his pheromones to make two opposing ambassadors who had done nothing the entire episode but try to escalate a war between their countries fall in lust with each other.
    • Yaphit ironically comes off smelling like roses after spending the better part of the previous eight episodes verging on sexual harassment of Claire: when they have sex, he doesn't know that she's under the influence of Darulio's pheromones, and actually rejects later attempts after learning of the problem.
  • Running Gag: Ed and Kelly riding the elevator with a Rubber-Forehead Alien who wants to have music playing on the elevator. He gets his wish the third time.
  • She Cleans Up Nicely: Claire shows up at Yaphit's quarters in a sexy dress and hairstyle. "Daaaaaang" is the appropriate response.
  • Ship Tease: It appears Alara is immune to the pheromones being given off by Darulio. But possibly not, as she takes the time to ask Kelly what it was like to be Ed's wife; when Kelly replies that Ed's the type of guy who'd go out and buy "tampons or bagels" for her and "always made me laugh", Alara's response is a wistful "That sounds nice." This follows a moment in "If the Stars Should Appear" in which Alara talks about how Ed treats her with more respect than her ex-boyfriends and "Pria" in which she looks on somewhat sadly during a party sequence as Ed begins his relationship with the character Pria.
  • Sick and Wrong: This is Alara's reaction to finding Claire and Yaphit having sex.
  • Skewed Priorities: Ed, Kelly, and Darulio become obsessed with their chemically-induced Love Triangle while a major diplomatic crisis threatens to erupt into a full-scale war.
  • That's an Order!: Alara orders Yaphit to stay away from Claire until she can figure out what's going on. To his credit, he actually follows that order.
  • Uncomfortable Elevator Moment: There's a Running Gag with Ed and Kelly running into a reptilian crew member in the elevator and making awkward conversation. He suggests adding elevator music to lighten the mood.
  • Yandere: Claire becomes this after a mishap with Yaphit and Darulio causes her to be attracted to Yaphit. When he is forced to ignore her messages, she comes after him with a pistol. We're not shown how he talked his way out of it, but it did prevent him from getting to engineering and helping Chief Newton set up a force field between the two fleets. The resulting battle causes the destruction of at least a few ships.

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