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Recap / The Orville S2 E3 "Home"

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Alara reconnects(?) with her family.
When her strength begins fading due to the low gravity of the ship, Alara must return home to Xelayah to re-acclimate. And deal with her less than supportive parents and a home invasion mystery.

Tropes in this episode include:

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  • Big Eater: Tharl, the interim head of security, comes from a species that has two esophagi, and as such they can "just pound it."
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Cambis and Floratta act like humble folks when they introduce themselves to Alara and her family, but are later on revealed to be murderous and revenge-seeking sociopaths.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Alara has gotten her strength back, but chooses to stay with her family on Xelayah.
  • Bizarre Alien Biology: Tharl's species has a second esophagus on the outside of their bodies.
  • Body Horror: Ed's suit to withstand the gravity of Xelayah is damaged, and his legs are crushed before he can get back into the safety field.
  • Buffy Speak: Tharl's a man of few words. When Ed talks about how highly recommended he was and how good his references are, Tharl sums it up like this:
    Tharl: My last captain had a total boner for me. Not a boner-boner. A professional boner.
  • Call-Back:
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    • Alara's sister brings up the Orville's journey into 2D space.
    • Alara's last gift to Mercer is a jar of pickles, referencing his love of that phrase when asking her to use her strength.
  • Calling the Old Man Out: Alara's very bitter toward her father for never accepting that she joined the military, and she is not at all shy about calling him out for his condescending attitude.
  • Casting Gag: Robert Picardo and John Billingsley both played doctors in Star Trek.
  • Condescending Compassion: This is Alara's main issue with her father. He is nothing but frank about learning difficulties and attempts to help her from that perspective, believing that it was best to be realistic about her problems instead of encouraging her to succeed in spite of them. He realizes his mistake at the end of the episode.
  • Cool Big Sis: Solana can be. Of Alara's whole family, her sister is the only one who's interested in, and supportive of, Alara's work. She also offers to accompany Alara when the latter wants to investigate a suspicious situation. On the other hand, it's implied that she’s proud of her sister for having overcome being "less evolved." A back-handed compliment for sure.
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  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: The theory that Cambis and Floratta's late son proposed was that a certain vaccine was responsible for a medical condition in children, a theory that the Xelayan scientific community in general and Ildis Kitan in particular proved to be complete bullshit and the result of shoddy science. This situation resembles pretty closely the real world anti-vaxxer beliefs.
  • Fingore: The entire hand, in this case, courtesy of a pot of boiling sauce. Barely averted later when Cambis almost slices off Solana's finger.
  • Handicapped Badass: While still struggling to readjust to the gravity of her homeworld, Alara tackles and takes out Floratta, and leads Cambis into a trap.
  • I Choose to Stay: Despite all the chaos of the trip home, Alara eventually realizes she misses home, and leaves the ship to stay on Xelayah.
  • Imagine Spot: Alara briefly imagines herself happy as a girl riding along the beach on the back of the eevek her family encounters near their vacation home.
  • Just in Time: Mercer is dragged back into the shuttle with just seconds to spare before his gravity suit fails, though his shins are crushed by the gravity thanks to those portions of the suit losing integrity before the whole thing goes.
  • Kick the Dog: Cambis forces Ildis to scald his hand in boiling sauce just to torment him. He then prepares to slice off one of Solana's fingers, even after Ildis agrees to do what he says, just to continue causing pain.
  • Kryptonite-Proof Suit: Mercer wears a gravity suit which allows him to walk around normally in Xelayan gravity. In the climax, Cambis damages it with his blaster, leaving Mercer paralyzed by the gravity and with three minutes before the suit fails completely.
  • Meaningful Echo: Early in the episode, Alara tells her father how she wished that just once, he had told her, "You can do it," even if he didn't believe it. Near the end, when he's unsure about his ability to go rescue Ed, she tells him, "You can do it, Dad. You can do this."
  • Mix-and-Match Critters: The Xelayan creature Alara's sister shows her, the eevek, looks like a cross between a horse and a parrot.
  • Mood Whiplash: The episode looks like it's going to be a fairly low-key family drama, right up until Cambis pulls out a pistol and pleasantly suggests that Ildis stick his hand into some boiling sauce.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Alara's father has one of these moments when he realizes Alara's true worth as a person.
    Ildis: I don't know you! ... I never even tried to know you... I'm so sorry that you got me for a father.
  • Put on a Bus: Alara leaves the Orville to stay with her family.
  • Reality Ensues:
    • Like Earth's astronauts in space, extended exposure to Earth-normal gravity has caused Alara's body to acclimate to the reduced gravity through reduced bone density and muscle mass. She has to return to Xelayah before the changes are irreversible.
    • After Ildis is forced to stick his hand in boiling liquid, for the remainder of the episode, he has horrific, and clearly painful, 2nd degree burns.
    • Having just lost a valuable teammate, the crew of the Orville is understandably finding her replacement a bit difficult to adjust to, as evidenced by their clear discomfort at him eating lunch on the bridge.
  • Revenge: Cambis and Floratta want to force Ildis to issue a retraction of his critique of their son's work, as being outed for his shoddy science drove their son to suicide.
  • Scenery Porn: Xelayah has long been described as the most beautiful planet in the universe, and the crew's arrival certainly bears that out.
  • Shout-Out: The vaccine that Ildis and Cambis debate is called the Melloran vaccine, which is possibly a shout-out to Melora, the Lightworlder from the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode of the same name, who like Alara had to choose between a career in Starfleet and her home.
  • Silence Is Golden: Alara's departure has no dialogue, just music as she says goodbye to everyone.
  • Terse Talker: Tharl, Alara's replacement while she's gone. He doesn't say much, and what he does say comes off as completely flippant of everyone and everything around him.
  • The Unfavorite: Alara's parents are clearly proud of her brilliant older sister, Solana, while they challenge all of Alara's choices and insult her intelligence.
  • "Well Done, Daughter!" Girl: Played straight. Alara's barely there for half a day before she lashes out about how her father never respected her decision to join the military.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Invoked by Alara, who knows that Cambis and Floratta will kill them once they've gotten what they want.

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