This The Orville review contains spoilers.
The Orville Season 2 Episode 5
The big news on The Orville is week is that Alara has been officially replaced by Talla, a character who is of the exact same species, though seemingly, has a harder edge. The bigger news though, is that the show seems to be back on its feet after a few muddled episodes. Unlike the last couple outings, this is a true return to form, mostly because the concept is totally original and pro-science at the same time.
If this episode offends anyone, it will be people who totally love and believe in astrology. Essentially, the entire episode meditates on what would happen if an entire planet applied certain extreme aspects of astrology and mixed it in with population control. When members of the landing party are arrested for having a birthday on a certain day, the premise of the episode reveals itself as being one of The Orville’s best ideas ever.
Basically, the inhabitants of the planet Rigor 2 practice a form of eugenics by ascribing certain negative personality traits to astrological signs. Anyone who knows anyone who is reallyinto astrology knows what this can be like. If you’re someone who irrationally believes that astrology controls people’s moods – and that you’re having a bad month because “Mercury is in retrograde” — this episode was not for you. Pseudoscience like astrology should be the enemy of good science fiction, and in this episode of The Orville nails the dangers of pseudoscience to the wall. Is it a little over-the-top and hyperbolic? Yes. But, blowing a concept out of proportion is often what good, populist science fiction does.
The best part about this episode is the clever way Ed and the crew had to use ignorance and reliance on astrology to actually get themselves out of the tough situation they are in. In essence, the crew makes a “fake star” in order to convince the Rigor 2 people that everything is okay. This is brilliant, because it doubles down on the idea that a society built around astrology would be susceptible to all sorts of huge errors in judgment like this. And, this solution also should make anyone who really believes in astrology wonder where these astrologers get their information from.
Because if the crew of the The Orville can mess with the horoscope of an entire planet, who’s to say you’re getting any kind of real information about your astrological sign, either. I’m not saying we have the technology now to convince people stars are there that aren’t really there, but it’s something worth thinking about the next time you start to make life choices based on your sign.
All in all, this was a standout episode of The Orville. A brilliant premise that was executed thoughtfully, complete with a surprising and unexpected solution. Hopefully, the rest of the season will be more like this.