The Orville of late has really impressed me with its complex writing and witty humor. Seth MacFarlane has balanced a serious tone with comedic moments that have stood out over other shows currently airing on television. I would say that the last four episodes of The Orville have been fantastic and have offered big laughs throughout. Last week’s episode focused on a few members of the Orville as they searched for members of The Union on a planet that is similar to Earth but has outlandish rules that put John on trial for his disrespectful humor. The seventh episode of The Orville was easily my favorite of the series because of its smart storytelling and edge of your seat suspense. Unfortunately, the eighth episode takes a step backwards in its writing and humor.
Dr. Finn and her two sons are taking a weekend trip to a nearby amusement park with the aid of Isaac, the ship’s artificial intelligence. Her two sons struggle to get along and cause the ship to enter a wormhole that sends them light years away from their current home. They crash land on a gas-giant planet which has many habitable moons where Dr. Finn’s two sons and Isaac get separated from their mother and struggle to reunite with each other.
Seth MacFarlane decided to focus on two lesser known characters from the Orville as the main characters for this episode. Each of the characters have spent time in the background helping around the Orville and going on missions in other locations around the universe. I do appreciate character exploration in some episodes when it comes in doses and they are around a group of people, but the characters of Dr. Finn and Isaac aren’t interesting characters to explore. I admire each of the characters when they’re in the backgrounds and have a few lines here and there. I don’t think they’re strong enough to carry the whole episode and this week proves it.
Together these characters created a rather dull episode that honestly offers no laughs. Lately Seth MacFarlane has distanced himself from the show while letting other characters serve as the main plot point for each episode and I’m not sure if it’s the smartest move. Last week’s episode showed little of Seth MacFarlane’s character except for him occasionally popping in from time to time. Last week was a very strong episode that had a well-thought out storyline and fun moments. From the beginning of the series, Seth MacFarlane has established himself as the main lead and one of the strongest characters but of late he hasn’t been writing himself into the episodes and it makes the show feel less exciting.
This week feels like a filler episode that wasn’t developed strong enough or that lacked effort. The storyline was rather simple and felt contained with Dr. Finn locked in a local prison and Isaac and the children taking shelter in some wreckage. The show really put no effort into exploring a disease that had wiped out humanity on this planet in the future or even trying to develop a sense of suspense for the crew getting off the planet. It easily could have been an intense episode with a spreading disease, but the lack of exploration felt held back.
Nothing was explored in this episode besides the relationship of Dr. Finn and her sons. While I find moments of their relationship heartwarming, it all feels generic. It was a rather disappointing episode that didn’t catch my interest early on and I hope this isn’t a trend for Seth MacFarlane’s writing since The Orville was just renewed for a second season.
The Orville airs Thursdays at 9:00 PM on FOX.
What do you think this episode? Sound off in the comments below!