Director: Jon Cassar
Writer: Seth MacFarlane, Brannon Braga, André Bormanis
Starring: Seth MacFarlane, Adrianne Palicki, Penny Johnson Jerald, Scott Grimes, Peter Macon, Jessica Szohr, J. Lee, Mark Jackson, Anne Winters
Last week’s opening episode of the third season of The Orville was absolutely brilliant, it was a welcome return for the show with a strong story, great character moments and a darker tone than before. The second episode of the season is a lot weaker, feeling like a typical ‘monster-of-the-week’ that could have been from any of the previous seasons. It’s a decent episode but does feel like a let-down considering how great last week’s episode was and how short this season is going to be.
In this episode, Shadow Realms, The Orville is chosen to help with negotiations with the Krill. Admiral Christie (James Read) joins the crew in order to lead the talks, while at the same time reconnect with his Claire (Penny Johnson Jerald), who he hasn’t spoken to in almost twenty-five years.
After the negotiations go well the ship is given permission to explore areas of space previously out of reach, and while doing so they pick up a distress call from a space station. From that point on the episode becomes pretty much the plot to the original Alien film. The crew go to the distress signal, find the station uninhabited, but an egg-thing on the wall opens up and infects Admiral Christie, who brings back an alien lifeform back to the ship without realising. He then slowly transforms into a spider-like alien and starts to attack and hunt down the rest of the crew. The Alien references aren’t exactly subtle, and it still works. The design of the creature is pretty good and looks creepy, even if the episode is never close to being scary.
Claire is one of the main focuses for this episode, with some revelations about her past. Claire is one of the better characters of the show, so it’s always good to see more of her. Talla (Jessica Szohr) also gets a good fight sequence with one of the creatures that attacks the ship. Hopefully some of the later episodes will give more time to Bortus (Peter Macon) and Lt. Malloy (Scott Grimes), who have taken a back-seat so far this season for the most part.
The big thing about the opening episode is how everyone distrusted Isaac (Mark Jackson) after the events of the previous season, to the point that even his closest friends seemed to have turned on him. There’s a moment when Lt. Malloy, someone who seemed to be close to Isaac, voiced his growing dislike towards him to a crewmate, but this isn’t build upon at all this week. Isaac is just one of the crew, and any ill feelings towards him seem to have been completely forgotten.
Shadow Realms is a decent episode of The Orville, but fat from the best. It’s a riff on Alien and does a decent job of that. There’s a few laughs, and it’s never dull, but let’s hope the rest of the season is a lot better.
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