Last week’s episode of The Orville was a surprise with a lot of really funny scenes and Seth MacFarlane perfectly balanced humor and drama very well. The previous episode ended with Bortus, a Moclan who is a member of a race made up entirely of men, giving birth to a female Moclan. Having a female Moclan is rare which sets up the third episode of The Orville titled “About a Girl”. The third episode focuses on Bortus and his decision to seek out a gender correction procedure for his daughter. He believes that if he corrects his daughter’s gender, he is doing the right thing according to his Moclan race. Heading into the newest episode I was expecting a lot of dramatic moments due to the storyline provided, but honestly, I laughed harder than I ever have before.
One thing I admire in Family Guy and American Dad is all the cutaway scenes. They are some of the funniest things in television and I was hoping before even seeing episode one that MacFarlane would transfer that humor over to The Orville. In the first two episodes, it has been lacking. The third episode has a lot of moments that veer off from the plot and honestly have nothing to do with the storyline but provide the most laughs and utilize MacFarlane’s style of humor. A perfect example of this style is when Mercer and crew travel to a planet dressed as cowboys and fall into a showdown with the species of that area. Instead of a traditional gunfight, the showdown results in a dance off which is typical Seth MacFarlane humor.
A lot of the hilarious moments come in the beginning of the show and the rest of the episode deals with some very serious themes. The Moclans aboard The Orville believe that they should change the gender of their daughter but other members try to persuade them that it is morally wrong to do so. Reasons provided are that the girl wouldn’t have the chance to make the decision for herself and they will be stripping that away from her, but it is not easy reasoning with the Moclan species.
I found the themes that The Orville tackled in this episode to be surprisingly emotional. It was interesting to see a set of parents that refused to accept the fact that their child had a “disorder” and couldn’t live with it. It had some heartwarming moments when one of the parent’s eyes opened and realized that the child needed to make her own decisions and she may be destined for great things further in life.
I honestly think that too much humor would have ruined the end and taken away from the message so I was happy that MacFarlane used all the comedy in the beginning and decided to focus on building the character of Bortus. I appreciated the character development that MacFarlane provided for some minor characters. Last week, Alara shined as a character when she acted as commander while Mercer and his ex-wife were locked up in a zoo and we saw moments of strong conviction in her. In this week’s episode, we get to see moments of strong character development as well. Bortus has been rarely shown in the first two episodes and I didn’t view him as an important member of the ship but he is someone that I will be paying attention to in further episodes.
Overall, I was pleasantly pleased with the third episode of The Orville. Seth MacFarlane is settling into his comedic style with this space adventure. He is providing us with some really emotional drama while his comedy continues to pulls punches.
What do you think this episode? Is the balance of drama and comedy better? Sound off in the comments below!