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Recap / The Orville S1 E12 "Mad Idolatry"

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Kelly learns that it's tough to be a God.
When the crew discover a multi-dimensional planet on an accelerated time frame, Kelly inadvertently becomes a deity to them. And gets to experience the ups and downs of acts carried out in her name.


  • Alien Lunch: Moclans enjoy a "beverage" called opsada that grows into a parasite when ingested. It has the consistency of liquid chocolate, though Ed refers to it as "poo". It apparently is not meant to be excreted, but Ed learns the hard way that, in humans, it can.
  • Anchored Ship: A season's worth of Ed and Kelly realizing they still love each other climaxes in the two deciding to start dating again. However, after Ed jeopardizes his career to cover for Kelly after she accidentally reveals herself to the planet's inhabitants, she requests that they go back to being just friends. Ed agrees, and their ship is anchored.
  • Call-Back: People mistaking the medical device used by Kelly to heal a wound for magic or godlike ability recalls Dr. Finn receiving a similar reaction to her use of the device in "If the Stars Should Appear".
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  • Cassandra Truth: Kelly considers staying on the planet to try to fix the problems, but since the planet has reached the computer age (not unlike 21st Century Earth) Ed points out that they won't believe she's their "god" and assume she's crazy (or a blasphemer to some).
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: The planet's 21st Century period has televangelists, discussion of the appropriateness of religion in secular institutions, and holy wars, just like our world.
  • Fanservice Extra: The ensign baring Absolute Cleavage in LaMarr's quarters, played by Sports Illustrated swimsuit model Kyra Santoro.
  • For Want of a Nail: All Kelly wanted to do was heal a little girl who had a bad fall. Next thing you know, she's a god.
  • God Guise: Kelly heals a girl during the Bronze Age period of the planet using a piece of tech, and is quickly spun into a god figure for their culture. 700 years later, she tries to talk them out of it by proving her mortality, but the high priest is murdered by one of his disciples before he can reveal the truth because the church's power lies in the people believing in Kelly. 700 years after that, society has started to move beyond religion, with the next 700 years eliminating it completely.
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  • Hangover Sensitivity: Ed and Kelly are both struggling to get through their shift after getting drunk the night before.
  • I Have Many Names: Kelly is known to the inhabitants as the "Healer of men", "Divine hand of the heavens", and "God of all creation".
  • Impaled Palm: This happens to Mercer when he wins the game of Latchcomb; apparently, if this happens, you win the game.
  • In Spite of a Nail: During the final interaction with the planet's inhabitants, they have since surpassed the tech level of the Union, and reassure Kelly and the crew that if not Kelly, their primitive ancestors would just have deified something else, and that it's a common observation they've made among primitive cultures in their own universe.
  • Is This Thing Still On?: Mercer mockingly mimics the Admiral after she orders him and Kelly to make no attempt to correct the damage Kelly accidentally caused, but forgot to close the channel. He profusely apologizes before hanging up.
  • Killed to Uphold the Masquerade: When the high priest plans to reveal the truth about Kelly to the masses, he's murdered by one of his disciples because the revelation would threaten the church's power.
  • Macho Masochism: Moclans have a game called Latchcomb where they toss an egg-shaped ball back and forth. Whoever holds it for too long gets a spike through the palm and wins. Mercer, not understanding how the game works, learns this the hard way.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Kelly is horrified to see what her one act of kindness led to on the planet.
  • No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: Kelly violates the Alien Non-Interference Clause to heal a wounded native. This results in the rise of a brutal theocracy that takes nearly two millennia (by the planet's time) to fully recover from. However, after they get over it, the aliens themselves think that all she really changed is that it had her name and face associated with it instead of something else.
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome: We are given only a hint of Issac's activities — and, potentially, his impact on the world's society — during his 700 years taking The Slow Path. According to him, it's less than you'd think; they got used to him fairly quickly, and worked out their problems on their own.
  • Outgrown Such Silly Superstitions: After the final shift, the planet has advanced beyond the Orville and now understands what she and the Orville are, regarding their past worship as a common thread of most intelligent life that they learned was illogical.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: The Valondis of the 14th century styled church, once Kelly reveals herself and explains her apparent miracle was just advanced technology, is understandably very shaken as his faith was honest. But he does understand the situation and agrees the people should know the truth. Unfortunately, his power hungry minister kills him before the Valondis can reveal it to the masses.
  • Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right!:
    • Kelly uses one of her doodads to heal an injured girl in violation of whatever Alien Non-Interference Clause the Union has. Ed then "omits" that detail from his report to protect Kelly. However, after they find out the locals have formed a religion around Kelly, Ed is forced to admit what happened, and the Admiral he's reporting to is not amused. Ed and Kelly both get in deep trouble for this.
    • It happens again when Mercer is ordered to make no attempt to fix their culture after contaminating it, but decides to try anyway.
  • "Shut Up" Kiss: Kelly pulls one during her date with Ed when the latter starts rambling about his lack of cooking skills, or to be more specific, he made peanut butter and jelly sandwiches as a backup but put them in seperate sandwiches so that if Kelly wanted both, she'd have to kiss him to get a taste of it, or so he claims.
  • The Slow Path: Isaac stays on the planet as it shifts back into its universe so he can correct the record regarding Kelly. Since he's an artificial lifeform, he can live out the entire period with no issue, and does.
  • That's an Order!: The admiral says this to Mercer and Kelly when telling them not to try to fix the cultural damage Kelly caused.
  • Unwanted False Faith: Kelly gets this from the native people of the planet. She tries to talk the high priest out of worshiping her, but one of his disciples will not have that.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: The boy accused of stealing fruit during the medieval period, and the guards holding him. They were present for Kelly's presentation to Valondis and know she's not a god. Does the disciple kill them as well?
  • Whole Plot Reference:
  • Year Inside, Hour Outside: When the multi-dimensional planet phases out of our universe, it experiences severe time dilation. This means that for the eleven days it spends outside of our universe, the planet advances seven centuries. By episode's end, they've gone through three more shifts and have advanced beyond the Union.