The Orville - 3.07: From Unknown Graves


Non Bio
Staff member
Jan 5, 2001
Way on Down South, London Town
The Orville discovers a Kaylon with a very special ability.
Basically, it's just TNG Data's 'emotion chip' and some variety of Noonian Soong. I think they have gone backward with this story - Isaac seeking to have emotions, or at least, Clare seeking Isaac to have emotions. However, this was another long episode and it also featured, a flashback origin story for the Kaylon, where we meet the Builders, and another story about diplomatic negotiations with a race who view men as inferior. That story wouldn't have made the grade as a primary story as it is really the Moclan in reverse. Bortas's hypocrisy was shown twice. Queue sex jokes. A fourth story concerned LaMarr and Keyali's inability to make love without her breaking him.

For Isaac, it was the reset button. Timmis was a Kaylon created by the Builders as a slave. As a Kaylon created by other Kaylon, the emotion upgrade is not permanent.
I really liked this, although packing four narratives into a slightly extended episode might have been a bit over-ambitious.
The Kaylon origin story dovetailed into the Claire-Isaac relationship. The diplomatic negotiations could have been saved for another episode. Lamarr's romance with Keyali was painfully funny. I loved Malloy's suggestion that they limit their coupling to once per year -- with Lamarr wearing a helmet.
In the immortal words of Nazareth, "Love Hurts."
the emotion upgrade is not permanent.
I expected that revelation to go in a more sinister direction. It made me think that Timmis had been faking his empathetic conversion, and all Kaylon hell was about to break loose.
I was intimidated by this episode, because on the morning it came out I went and read .... well, glanced a couple of reviews, and they were talking about four storylines. Something in me just said no, and therefore I moved it to another day. And then to the next one.

The writing in the third season has been well above the bar in all episodes. Seth MacFlarne really made sure that he'd put out only the best, and it shows. This one was very touching, very emotional, and I'm kind of glad that I didn't write about it. Let this one be a hidden gem, and worthy of an Emmy. Especially for the writing.
I think that the writing has improved for this series season by season. No doubt about that.

However, I feel these storylines belong in the past. The Isaac-Claire/Isaac-emotions stories were done and dusted. Jokes about Keyali's strength have been done. The Moclan story has been overdone, and this new race were Moclan in reverse. Bortas was even shown to be quite liberal this season, but here his attitude reversed. We had also stopped needing to have a joke punchline every few minutes. So, only in those respects I found it retrograde and I should have made that clearer. If this had been a first season episode then it would certainly have been the best written episode.

I think they really wanted to do the Kaylon origin story and to do it pretending it was concurrent, so they needed to scratch around for some some other stories to fill in, and these were possibly unused ideas that had been knocking around for a while.
  • Like
Reactions: ctg
What I mean with above the bar writing is when I compare all series to this one. Thing is as you said, they've done the storylines before, but in this season they've gone very deep into the background and given time to give a comprehensive look into the societies, histories and the events surrounding the main issues.

Thing that I don't like is that the Orville acts like the Enterprise(s) and all the important events seems to happen in it ... for the story reason, even though the reality has shown that it's very unlikely that one thing is at the centre of all the events. We never hear any other events or vessels or people. Only those that are in the Orville or have been presented in the cast ... even though things could be happening without the Orville's involvement.

Like I said in the Picard, he had to have his own watcher in form of Q, because he happened to be so important person for all the important events in the ST's history. The same thing has happened with the Orville and especially with the bridge crew.

I like that they devote time to give the viewers a comprehensive look into the history of the Union and why things happened the way they happened, instead of keeping things bland as it has been with many, many other series. In places it feels a bit like an infodump, but at the same time the series has reached the highest of the greatness, and it can be easily put in the same locker as for example B5.

So you could say that it has gone from comedy and become a masterpiece in the classical SF. And that's why it deserves an Emmy for the writing.

Similar threads