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Recap / The Orville S1 E11 "New Dimensions"

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Our first glimpse at John LaMarr in a high pressure situation. See; he's doing great!
The Orville observes a 2-D Space anomaly. While on the ship, Kelly tries getting John to put his surprising smarts to work.

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  • 2-D Space: The anomaly that damages the ship's engines, and that the ship and its crew are forced to travel through to hide from the Krill ships.
  • Bigger on the Inside: The ship's engines are disabled partway through 2D space, so they have to use a shuttle to tow it to the nearest aperture into 3D space. Although the outside is flattened, they devised another quantum bubble that keeps the inside in three dimensions. At one point Mercer even gives a Shout-Out to trope namer Doctor Who while discussing this.
  • Brick Joke:
    • Mercer notes that he passes a Lizard Folk crew member in the halls and greets him with Hey, You! because he can never remember the guy's name. Sure enough, he passes the guy in the hall after an argument with Kelly and does exactly that.
    • One of the engineers notes that he likes pancakes. When pancakes are used as a euphemism about the ship being flattened, he overhears and asks if they're talking about pancakes.
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  • Call-Back: When Yaphit goes to Sickbay, Claire grumbles that he's the last person she wanted to see. Guess she's still upset over what happened between them.
  • Change the Uncomfortable Subject: When Gordon muses on how higher-dimensional beings may be observing them as they are observing 2-D space, specifically hinting at A Date with Rosie Palms, Mercer decides to just change the subject without confirming what Gordon is getting at.
  • Character Development: For LaMarr. Up until this point, he was just Gordon's Token Black Friend who fooled around a lot on the job. Turns out he has a reason for being so unassuming.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Finally goes off in this episode when Mercer finds out Kelly helped get him the position.
  • A Day in the Limelight: The first time LaMarr gets some real focus (and no, "Majority Rule" doesn't count).
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  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: Yaphit reaching into Bortus' mouth to retrieve a piece of himself is reminiscent of tentacle porn. It could have been worse, though: Yaphit later indicates his piece was in Bortus' colon and he does give Bortus the option of using any orifice for the procedure before just going down his throat.
  • Double-Meaning Title: Both for the Orville exploring a new dimensional realm and LaMarr revealing a new dimension of himself.
  • Easily Forgiven: Considering his animosity towards LaMarr for the first half of the episode, by the second half Yaphit appears to be working well under him, with LaMarr sticking up for Yaphit when some crewmates criticize him. And no more is made of Yaphit's strongly-worded objection to Ed about LaMarr being promoted over him.
  • Eldritch Location: 2-D space is essentially a giant circuit board with electron-like lifeforms moving about its surface.
  • Fantastic Racism: Yaphit accuses Mercer of possessing this when he learns that LaMarr is in the running for the job that otherwise would be his.
  • Godzilla Threshold: Normally, our heroes wouldn't consider flying into an anomaly that's already killed someone, but with their quantum drive offline and three Krill ships on their way, they need somewhere to hide.
  • Hidden Depths: LaMarr, in spades, with his slack attitude and lack of ambition concealing a mind that's the most brilliant on the ship save Isaac's, and an inherent instinct for leadership.
  • Hypocritical Humor: LaMarr warns Mercer that the transition to 2-D space in the shuttle might be disorienting, only to vomit his guts out while Mercer doesn't seem to feel a thing.
  • I Ate WHAT?!: The teaser has Bortus accidentally eating a piece of Yaphit, thanks to a prank from Gordon and LaMarr.
  • Internal Reveal: Mercer discovers that Kelly recommended him for command when she accidentally lets it slip during a discussion.
  • Irony: It was Yaphit lodging an official complaint against LaMarr that was the cause for Grayson to look at his file, which resulted in her convincing Mercer to give him a chance to prove himself, which resulted in LaMarr getting the position of Chief Engineer that Yaphit would have otherwise moved into.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Yaphit has legitimate reason to be outraged at LaMarr being given a leadership opportunity and possible promotion to Chief Engineer; from Yaphit's point of view, without knowing LaMarr's Hidden Depths, he's some slack-ass idiot being considered for a job he's utterly unqualified for, not to mention that he was specifically next in line for the position and was the victim of a rather cruel (if not outright dangerous) practical joke partially instigated by LaMarr.
  • Meaningful Look: After LaMarr deals with the engineering team's insulting of Yaphit, he grumbles that maybe now people will believe he isn't suited to be in command. Isaac looks up from what he's doing, and although he can't make facial expressions, he's clearly in disagreement.
  • Negative Space Wedgie: 2-D space is accessible through a flat anomaly that momentarily causes anything which passes through it to be flattened to two dimensions. This isn't so bad for technology when the effect ends, but living beings are made of constantly interacting cells which don't react well to sudden squishing.
  • Orifice Invasion: Yaphit has to stick a tentacle down Bortus' throat to grab a piece of himself that Bortus ate by mistake. Bortus initially protests, but Claire notes it's faster than operating on him. Yaphit initially offers him a choice of orifice, too.
  • Put on a Bus: Steve Newton leaves the crew to work on designing a space station.
  • Rank Up: LaMarr is promoted to Lieutenant Commander and made Chief Engineer after proving himself in the crisis.
  • Reality Subtext: Yaphit may have a point about him not getting the promotion because of bias but that anger probably should've been directed at show runner Seth MacFarlane. If all other things are equal, it IS cheaper to film J. Lee than it is to render the CG Yaphit and add him in post (of course, putting J.Lee in some fanciful alien world would be more expensive than Yaphit walking around the hallway but that obviously is everything beside the characters being equal).
  • Shout-Out:
    • Mercer discusses Flatland with Kelly while in the 2D plane.
    • When discussing the Bigger on the Inside example above, it's likened to the TARDIS, Oscar's trash can, and Snoopy's doghouse.
    • This episode is reminiscent to the Star Trek: Voyager episode "Parallax", where two officers are up for the job of Chief Engineer while relations between the two are less than amicable. Not to mention the part about the ship getting trapped in a Negative Space Wedgie.
  • Some of My Best Friends Are X: Confronted by claims of racism by Yaphit, Ed defends himself by saying that he has gelatinous friends. Unsurprisingly, Yaphit is not impressed.
  • Tall Poppy Syndrome: LaMarr explains that the colony where he grew up was mostly farmers and such who tended to resent those of intelligence, so he hid his gifts to be accepted and never stopped doing so even after he left.
  • Too Dumb to Live: The alien who ignores Mercer's warning to stay away from the Negative Space Wedgie.
  • Ungrateful Bastard: Mercer says he was basically this to Grayson in the episode's denouement in light of the revelation that she pulled strings for him. Instead of being grateful, he was, in his words, a "whiny bitch".
  • What the Hell, Hero?:
    • Kelly gives Gordon and LaMarr a dressing down for the incident with Yaphit.
    • Yaphit is incensed when he learns that LaMarr is being considered for Chief Engineer, despite Yaphit being next-in-line.
    • LaMarr calls out the engineering team for blaming Yaphit for the quantum bubble instability, as it was a sound idea at the time and LaMarr signed off on it without hesitation.
  • Working-Class People Are Morons: The basis of John's insecurity about showing off his true intelligence. He comes from a newer colony where most of the people are farmers and builders who looked down on the know-it-all kid that John originally was. So John pretends to be less intelligent than he really is in order to better fit in.
  • You Are Better Than You Think You Are:
    • Once he finds out that Kelly was the reason why he got a ship after the divorce, Ed promptly starts to doubt he's actually qualified to be in command, despite being told that the admiralty is convinced he's proven himself, something he's told directly by both Kelly and an actual admiral. He finally gets over it by the end of the episode.
    • LaMarr thinks he's totally unqualified to lead anyone, and grumbles such right after an excellent display of leadership, which Isaac clearly notices but doesn't comment on. Yet Kelly has faith that he has it in him.

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