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Recap / The Orville S2 E4 "Nothing Left on Earth Excepting Fishes"

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You wanna talk "bad date" stories; Ed's is gonna be hard to beat.
Ed is stranded on a planet with a Krill, and is forced to deal with Krill fanaticism and a terrible secret. Meanwhile, Gordon, in the midst of a crisis of confidence, decides he wants to take the command test.

Tropes in this episode include:

  • Always a Bigger Fish: Ed's shuttle is captured by a Krill destroyer, which is later stomped by a much larger Chak'tal warship.
  • Brutal Honesty:
    • When Gordon applies for the command track, which Kelly accepts, Bortus waits for him to leave the room then tells her, "He will fail."
    • Teleya coldly dissects Ed's struggle with finding love.
      Teleya: You are painfully attentive. The failure of your marriage has caused you to overcompensate in the moment. And yet, paradoxically, despite this, your work remains your first priority. You have no balance.
      Mercer: My god, you sound like my ex-wife.
  • The Bus Came Back: Teleya returns after her last appearance in season 1's "Krill."
  • Call-Back: The Krill sensitivity to light, revealed in "Krill," plays a part in the plot.
  • Can't Kill You, Still Need You: Ed asks why Teleya doesn't just kill him right off when they crash on the moon. She says she needs him to carry the communication gear and, as much as she hates to admit it, can't handle the raiders on her own. This comes up again later when they realize a day on this planet can be nearly a month long and Teleya needs Ed to get into the sunlight to set up the signal. Ed openly tells her, "You can shoot me or you can trust me," as he walks out with the beacon.
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  • Comically Missing the Point: Teleya really likes the heroes of Raiders of the Lost Ark, by which she means the Nazis.
  • Crazy-Prepared: Ed appears to give up some command codes to save Janelle from being tortured. After the truth comes out, Teleya asks about the codes. Ed admits that they actually access a special database used just in case of these emergencies and it would have taken the Krill weeks to realize all the information inside it was false.
  • Double Tap: The Chak'tal boarding party methodically does this to all the Krill they have gunned down.
  • Endless Daytime: The planet Ed and Teleya land on has days that last nearly an entire month, which is problematic considering Teleya cannot survive in sunlight and their rations will only last a few days. Ed convinces Teleya to let him activate the emergency beacon alone.
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  • Enemy Mine: Teleya and Ed have to work together to escape the planet and the pursuing Chak'tal, a proposition considerably more difficult for Teleya than Ed.
  • Evil vs. Evil: The Krill ship is attacked and destroyed by the Chak'tal, a brutish race that the Krill are at war with. While Teleya explains that the Krill started the hostilities by wiping out one of their colonies, the Chak'tal appear just as eager to engage in a bit of Guilt-Free Extermination War.
  • Forced to Watch: Ed is forced to watch Janelle being tortured (not yet knowing that she's really Teleya).
  • Inkblot Test: A holographic version as part of Gordon's command test. He quits halfway through, since everything he sees is so explicit that he starts thinking Dr. Finn is sexually harassing him.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Teleya does raise a good point on Ed putting his work first and how "you wish to educate others but your own world-view is narrow."
  • Meaningful Echo: At the start of the episode, Ed puts his coat around Janelle when she complains of being cold. When they have to head into the sunlight to escape, Ed uses his coat so Teleya can block out the sun. This clearly isn't lost on Teleya.
  • Primal Fear: According to Ed, it's normal for some races to get rabidly xenophobic upon discovering that they're not alone in the universe. He assumes that the same thing happened to the Krill, since his study of their history indicates that during their pre-space days they weren't even close to being the Church Militants they are now.
  • The Reveal: Janelle is Teleya, having been surgically altered to look human, and placed on the Orville as a spy. Great, that's all Ed needed.
  • Rooting for the Empire: In-universe. When Ed asks Teleya whether she enjoyed Raiders of the Lost Ark while she was disguised as a human, she admits that she sympathized with Belloq and the Nazis.
  • Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right!: Ed breaks protocol to return Teleya to her people in spite of her crimes, hoping it will help open dialog between the two species. Teleya doubts it will change anything, but agrees to take his offer of negotiation back to her people.
  • See the Invisible: The Krill marauders release drive plasma to expose Ed's shuttle despite its Invisibility Cloak.
  • Shout-Out: To The King and I (the source of this episode's Title Drop), Raiders of the Lost Ark, and Billy Joel. And several to Star Trek:
  • A Taste of Their Own Medicine: After revealing the truth, Teleya gloats that Ed now knows just how Teleya felt when she discovered Ed had been masquerading as a Krill after she befriended him.
  • Title Drop: Ed and Janelle watch The King and I, and the line from the song "A Puzzlement" is shown. Later, Ed quotes the line to Teleya to try and convince her to let him set up the rescue beacon alone, and make the larger point that the Union and the Krill need to try and talk to each other.
    Ed: Don't you remember The King and I? "Unless someday somebody trust somebody, there’ll be nothing left on earth excepting fishes."
  • Was It All a Lie?: Ed asks this of Teleya when her deception is revealed. She insists it was.
  • Wham Line: Teleya drops the bomb on Ed.
    Teleya: [Janelle] no longer exists. She never existed. [in Janelle's voice] "We should take a trip. When was the last time you actually had time off?"
  • Yank the Dog's Chain: Poor Ed. He finds the perfect woman to move on with, only to discover she's a Krill who hates his guts.


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