[Contains flipped tables and SPOILERS!!!]
Although I was happy to see Seth MacFarlane’s Star-Trek-spoof/homage The Orville return for a second season this year, I didn’t have much more to say about it, despite the replacement of ‘Lt. Alara Kitan’ (Halston Sage) by ‘Lt. Talla Keyali’ (Jessica Szohr) as the ship’s super-strong security officer. I’m not going to get into the backstage gossip about why Sage was jettisoned from the show, but I was glad she got a decent send-off, with a starring role in a solid and suspenseful episode (#2.3), capped with lots of sweet (and open-ended) goodbyes. This series rarely taxes the brain, and actually gets a little worse the more you dwell on the plot-holes, but it definitely gives the tear-ducts a regular workout… and that was extra-specially true with this week’s episode (#2.6), as the seemingly level-headed ‘Dr. Claire Finn’ (Penny Johnson Jerald) finally admitted her long-simmering feelings for coldly-logical (but surprisingly supportive) mechanoid ‘Isaac’ (Mark Jackson). The ups-and-downs of their dating experiment would give any rollercoaster a run for its money, and sap that I am, I bought into it hook-line-and-sinker… largely because of Jerald’s performance, as her giddy excitement and patient romantic tutoring (metaphorically) melted Issac’s shiny metal “heart” (or at least, disrupted his subroutines). Bless. MacFarlane (the writer of this episode, as well as the showrunner) is unashamedly indulging his sentimental side here, while giving his female cast-mates some fantastic material to sink their teeth into, and I for one salute him.
I’ve no idea what the future holds for Isaaclaire’s relationship, though I have been impressed by the way the writers have maintained the continuity so far, keeping long-running story threads alive, and calling back to previous adventures/events in casual conversation… so this clearly isn’t going to be one of those “And then they hit the reset button and no one ever spoke of it again” flings that some shows trade in. Besides the emotional investment they’re encouraging from their audience, I’m sure there’s still plenty more jokes/truths to be mined from Isaac learning about this human emotion we call “Love”…
Oh, and for the record, I thought ‘Bortus’ (Peter Macon) was really rockin’ that ‘tache.