Martin Carr reviews the eighth episode of The Orville season 1…
This narrative segue might be old-fashioned, stereotypical and not without a blatant appeal to audience’s heartstrings, but it works effectively to put Doctor Claire Finn and Isaac together. Laying down a foundation of high-ranking, hardworking single mother ‘Into the Fold’ broadens our understanding, gives her character serious backbone and provides drama outside the family dynamic.
Essentially stranded it gives Penny Johnson Jerald and Mark Jackson time to explore their roles outside the confines of the work place. There is isolation, capture, fire fights, resourceful escapes and life lessons learned for all. Providing Claire Finn with multiple layers, a depth of performance and purpose outside of soul healer. Similarly the two young actors who play opposite Jackson and Jerald hold their own in emotional moments without distracting.
There are a few scenes on board ship which give MacFarlane room for verbal gags and musical nostalgia but for the most part they take a back seat. What we also get beyond the expansion of character with Jerald is an opportunity for Isaac to grow as an artificial intelligence. His time with the young boys where he forced into the role of protector throws up opportunities for solid entertainment. When I recently spoke to Mark he inferred that the audience would see moments where Isaac is forced to reassess his approach to interaction with humans. I suggested that he became more human but Jackson said he merely learns to react differently without any added humanity. Something which proves all too true as the lack of understanding opens him up to unintentional humour, unorthodox parenting decisions and an unexpected bond between himself and the boys.
Once again The Orville provides another solid episode which continues to lay the groundwork for a greenlit season two which was confirmed a few days ago by FOX. MacFarlane has held steady against fluctuating ratings, major American sporting events and the fickle nature of television audiences. There are flashes of more traditional Family Guy humour but they are shrouded in misdirection, alien species and circumstantial delivery. This is slowly becoming what MacFarlane had potentially hoped it might which is a family friendly science fiction show, where character not location brings people back week on week. With five episodes left The Orville is into its stride having cemented the show dynamics and focused more on building a world than feeling the need to explain it.