"Paul Levinson's It's Real Life is a page-turning exploration into that multiverse known as rock and roll. But it is much more than a marvelous adventure narrated by a master storyteller...it is also an exquisite meditation on the very nature of alternate history." -- Jack Dann, The Fiction Writer's Guide to Alternate History

Saturday, July 23, 2022

The Orville 3.8: Dolly Parton and Topa

The Orville checked in yesterday with another superb episode -- 3.8 -- a ninety-minute bases loaded home run that continued the story of Topa, and, believe it or not, had the real Dolly Parton in the holographic flesh singing and playing a significant role.  You may be getting tired of hearing me say the episode of The Orville I'm reviewing is the best so far in the series, and/or the episode clearly puts The Orville in the best of any Star Trek territory, but both are true once again about this episode.

[Spoilers ahead ... ]

First about Dolly: Heveena's haven of Moclan women, striving to increase their number, and free themselves of the Moclan male insanity of wanting them to have no existence at all, venerate our very own Dolly Parton.   We first hear about this, then get a tantalizing playing in the background of "Jolene" (good choice -- my favorite Dolly song), and then Dolly herself on The Orville's whatever its called holodeck, summoned by Captain Mercer to talk sense to Heveena.   Dolly succeeds, at least in part because she sings "Try" (another great and very appropriate Dolly song, about the stars).  Dolly (de-aged) looked and sounded great.  She would have looked and sounded great without the de-aging.

Meanwhile, we get a powerhouse story of Topa, with all the trimmings.  Back on Earth, we're treated to a meeting of all the Union delegates, including the humorous slime (the voice of which was played by the late Norm MacDonald), who, unfortunately don't speak.  I was hoping we'd at least see them raise their amoebic extended hands, like we did for Yaphet in a recent episode, helping Isaac and some tech creature frantically working to fix something.

Grayson and Bortus put in some good hand-to-hand combat with the Moclan who are keeping Topa hostage in a black ops enclave, and Bortus gives the Moclan who was torturing Topa just what he deserves.  I was sorry to see Grayson order Bortus to stand down.

Before the episode is over, Klyden is back in the fold, he invites Grayson to the family dinner table, and Bortus and Klyden have renounced their Moclan citizenship.  Their home is now The Orville.  The Moclans leaving the Union may not be good for the fight against the Kaylon, but it made for one really satisfying ending in this outstanding episode.

See also The Orville 3.1: Life and Death ... 3.2: "Come and Get Me ..." ... 3.3: What Do Bill Barr and Ed Mercer Have in Common? ... 3.4: The Captain's Daughter ... 3.5: Topa ... 3.6: Masterpiece of Time Travel with a Missed Opportunity ... 3.7: Seconding that Emotion

And 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! ... The Orville Season 2 Finale: Alternate History!

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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