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Recap / The Orville S2 E6 "A Happy Refrain"

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It is really hard to choose between this, a human Isaac, or Bortus with a mustache for the most fantastic image from this episode.
Doctor Finn begins developing feelings for Isaac, but finds dating an emotionless robot is a bit of a chore.

Tropes in this episode include:

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  • Badass Mustache: At Gordon's suggestion, Bortus requests that Claire give him one, despite Moclans having no facial hair. She uses a follicle stimulator to have him grow one in a matter of hours. Naturally, he gets odd looks from everyone. Klyden complaints about it interfering with his enjoyment when they kiss and that food got stuck in it after they last ate. Eventually, Bortus gets rid of it and admits that it itched.
  • Blue-and-Orange Morality: Isaac's purpose is to gather information on biological lifeforms. As far as he's concerned, his relationship with Claire is just an extension of this, and he breaks it off when he believes he's acquired sufficient data from it. The idea of continuing the relationship past this point simply doesn't occur to him, which comes across to human eyes as selfish and insensitive. Claire even seems to acknowledge the cultural disconnect, as later on she tells him that she can't really hate him for what he's done, but she's still hurt by it.
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  • Breather Episode: Compared to the previous episode, when Kelly and Bortus got arrested for having birthdays on different dates. Even the title gives this impression.
  • Brutal Honesty: Yaphit tells Claire he's genuinely impressed by Ty's piano recital, having assumed it would be terrible.
  • Call-Back:
  • Door-Closes Ending: The doors to the simulator close when Claire and Isaac go on another date, ending the episode.
  • Drowning My Sorrows: Claire hits the bottle in the simulator after her break-up with Isaac.
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  • Flipping the Table: Isaac does this literally when Claire uses the phrase to suggest she should learn about his home since he knows everything about hers. Since they're in the simulator, he simply has the computer reset the table once the confusion is cleared up.
  • A Form You Are Comfortable With:
    • When Claire breaks up with Isaac, at John's suggestion he adopts a human appearance in the holodeck for his next date with Claire to make her feel more comfortable.
    • Yaphit attempts the same thing to catch Claire on the rebound. It fails, as it's just... well, Norm MacDonald in all his sleazy glory. The fact that he uses his gelatinous form to make his avatar look like it has Rubber Man powers by stretching its arm all the way across the bar desk to the back wall of the bar to grab a bottle of booze from it doesn't exactly help either.
  • Get Out!: When Isaac suggests that Claire might be on her period as a means trying to get her to break up with him, he tells her to get out. Then, when he reveals that she figures out what she's doing and he tells her she's correct in her assessment of "You slept with me so you now you're finished with me?" she tells him "Fine, then. You just got what you wanted. We're done. Get out."
  • Gilligan Cut: LaMarr and Gordon offer Isaac some sincere tips for his date with Claire, then just stare as Isaac leaves. Cut to them dashing madly through the corridors like a couple of excited kids so they can inform the bridge crew of what just happened.
  • Grand Romantic Gesture: Realizing he really does have whatever the programming equivalent of "feelings" are for Claire, Issac invokes the hell out of this trope by staging "Singin' in the Rain" on the bridge, with the song playing, plus reprogramming the fire suppression system to simulate rain.
  • Holographic Disguise: Mark Jackson and Norm MacDonald get to appear in the flesh thanks to the simulator.
  • I Need a Freaking Drink: Kelly instantly goes to the replicator and orders wine after Claire tells her about her feelings for Isaac, even though she had refused a minute earlier because she's on duty.
  • Innocently Insensitive: While this is par for the course for Isaac, he takes it to new heights in this episode.
  • Literal-Minded:
    • When Claire suggests to Isaac that they should "flip the tables" during their dinner date (i.e. he should tell her about himself for a change), he immediately flips over the table they're seated at. He has the computer reset it after.
    • Isaac is told to be spontaneous with Claire and Kelly tells him about the time Ed baked her a cake. Isaac does just that and wakes Claire up at 3:00 AM to deliver it.
  • OOC Is Serious Business: Isaac makes a simple brief error in calculating a star's size due to his guilt about how he treated Claire, which freaks everyone out as it's totally unprecedented.
  • Robosexual: The crux of the episode is Dr. Finn developing a crush on Isaac. As she later finds out, he's... fully equipped (at least in the holographic simulator).
  • She Cleans Up Nicely: Once again, Claire is stunning when she's off-duty.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The symphony refers to the oft-mocked tendency of Star Trek: The Next Generation in particular in the franchise to act like music ceased to exist after the classical era. Thus we get a full symphony orchestra as usual for that show, but they play "Singin' in the Rain," which of course would seem equally "old" in the show's future setting.
    • It's also highly reminiscent of the episode "In Theory" in which Data experimented with a romantic relationship, with less-than-ideal results.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: The entire Bridge Crew is on Claire's side after the breakup, and give Isaac the business.
  • Writers Cannot Do Math: Isaac gives the circumference of his home planet as 57583km, an average density of 4.42g/cm^3, and a gravity of 1.13g. Close, but not quite: a planet with those characteristics should have a gravity of 1.15 to 1.16g.

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