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Friday, April 26, 2019

The Orville Season 2 Finale: Alternate History!

The Orville really brought it home last night with a season 2 finale (2.14) that built on last week's superb time travel episode (2.13), in effect making both parts a brilliant two-part time travel engenders alternate history story.   Although time travel and alternate history can and do often happen independently of one another, the two science fiction genres are naturally connected.  If I go back in time with knowledge I obtained from the future, that instantly creates an alternate reality in which a different series of events are spun, put in motion by the knowledge of the future I now have in the past.

The Orville 2.13 tried to deal with that problem by erasing the memories that Kelly had of The Orville, and specifically, her relationship with Ed, that she had from the future.  But as we saw at the end of that episode last week, the memory wipe failed.

Last night we found out why - Kelly's brain lacked a compound necessary for the memory wipe to take effect.  And, much more importantly, we saw the consequence of that change in history.  Kelly's saying no to Ed's asking her on a second date resulted in his not being Captain of The Orville - Kelly, having not married him and broken his heart, had no motive to get him in the Captain's seat - and without Ed in charge, the Kaylons destroyed The Orville.  And, as a result, Earth and Moclus as well.

This made last night's episode not only a direct sequel to last week's hour, but a powerful sequel to the two-episode Kaylon hours - "Identity" (2.8 and 2.9) - as well.  And it was one powerful, instant classic episode indeed, with resonances to Star Wars in the early battles inside the ice ball, and Battlestar Galactica, which I realized the Kaylon story had all along.  Although we humans didn't create the Kaylons, they have a lot in common with Cylons.

And like all great alternate history, The Orville Season 2 finale even brought back, all too briefly, Security Chief Alara - who unexpectedly left the show back in episode 2.3.   This gives this finale, and the episode that preceded it, even more of the texture of "Yesterday's Enterprise," one of the very best episodes in the entire Star Trek genre, where time travel and alternate reality were also masterfully merged, with the reappearance of Chief of Security Tasha Yar.

If only I could travel to the future - without unduly altering history - and see the debut of Season 3 of The Orville tonight.

See also The Orville 2.1: Relief and Romance ... The Orville 2.2: Porn Addiction and Planetary Disintegration ... The Orville 2.3: Alara ... The Orville 2.4: Billy Joel ... The Orville 2.5: Escape at Regor 2 ... The Orville 2.6: "Singin' in the Rain" ... The Orville 2.7: Love and Death ...  The Orville 2.8: Recalling Čapek, Part 1  ... The Orville 2.9: Recalling Čapek, Part 2 ... The Orville: 2.10: Exploding Blood ... The Orville 2.11: Time Capsule, Space Station, and Harmony ... The Orville 2.12: Hello Dolly! ... The Orville 2.13: Time Travel!

And see also The Orville 1.1-1.5: Star Trek's Back ... The Orville 1.6-9: Masterful ... The Orville 1.10: Bring in the Clowns ... The Orville 1.11: Eating Yaphit ... The Orville 1.12: Faith in Reason and the Prime Directive

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