‘The Orville’: Seth MacFarlane has some thoughts about religion, y’all.

The Orville
October 12, 2017

How’s this for a B-plot: Bortus can eat stuff. Like anything. Like a cactus or glass. That’s it. That’s the entire B-plot.

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But it’s not that hard.

As for the main storyline, The Orville manages, improbably, to blow up a Krill destroyer that was attacking an innocent colony just for laffs. Somehow, equally improbably, a Krill shuttle manages to survive the explosion and The Orville drags it aboard.

However, instead of taking the shuttle apart and exploring its engineering, the Union has a spectacularly stupid idea for how it should be used: Seth MacFarlane and Gordon are going to disguise themselves as Krills, fly the shuttle to another Krill ship, infiltrate it so that they can learn their nefarious plans and thwart them rescue someone get the blueprint to the Death Star get a look at their Krill bible.

You see, the Union suspects that the Krill are all enormous assholes because unlike all of the other advanced societies that have rejected religion, the Krill cling to a very rigid ideology that views the Krill as superior to other races, and they believe they have a divine right to destroy other races and take their resources. The Union is hoping to get a looksee at their closely guarded spiritual text to get better insight into their society, and maybe make nicetime with the Krill.

Just so we’re all clear: the Union is absolutely positive that the Krill are driven by dogma, but they have never read the Krill bible.

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Whatever. So Seth MacFarlane and Gordon, using holographic technology, head over to the Krill ship where they introduce themselves as “Chris” and “Devon” and spin a story about surviving the destruction of the Krill ship.

Soon they are invited to attend chapel where they meet a nice Krill lady and lie to her about being friends with her brother who died on the ship they destroyed. The worship service itself involves praising their god “Avis” and pulling a human head out of a box and then stabbing it with a ritual knife.


Then Gordon spends the remainder of the episode making Avis Rent-a-car jokes because that is DEFINITELY a reference that will survive four centuries into the future.

After the service, Seth MacFarlane and Gordon sneak back in the chapel and scan images of the Krill bible, one-by-one, which is no kind of plan, look at the size of that thing. The High Priest walks in on them and they give some excuse about looking for solace after the destruction of their ship or whatever, but he’s suspicious and convinces the Captain to add a guard for the chapel. So when Seth MacFarlane and Gordon return to the chapel later, their scanning project is interrupted by a guard, and then their holograms are interrupted by a nearby frequency which leaves them in their human form on a very hostile ship.

But don’t worry, they manage to return to their quarters without being seen and fix their holograms. Once restored to their Krill disguises, they investigate what caused the problem in the first place and discover a huge nuclear weapon, which they learn from Lady Krill will soon be used on a non-Krill colony just for laffs.

Before Seth MacFarlane and Gordon can come up with a plan to prevent this, Lady Krill invites them to meet her “trainees” who happen to be a bunch of kid Krills. This complicates matters because now they can’t just blow up the Krill ship without feeling guilty about killing a bunch of Krills, so Seth MacFarlane and Gordon come up with an even more ridiculous plan:

Since the Krills’ home planet does not have much sunlight, the Krill have evolved to live in near-darkness and are hypersensitive to powerful light. So the plan is for our heroes to lock the Krill kids and Lady Krill in the classroom which is specially shielded or some such nonsense, while they turn up the lights on the rest ship so high that it gives the humans a sunburn while killing the rest of the Krill like the vampire-aliens they are.

Because that is how light systems work: they can be turned up to “FULL SUN,” especially on a ship built by a race hypersensitive to light. That’s just logic.

Anyway, Seth MacFarlane brings Lady Krill and the Krill kids back to the Orville, where he tries to explain to Lady Krill that they came to their ship on a mission of peace, but had to kill everyone on board, because. Lady Krill will be sent … somewhere, but not harmed, Seth MacFarlane claims. As for the Krill kids, they are being sent back to their families on their home planet (which 1. should be a fun mission for some lucky Union members and 2. who’s to say their families WEREN’T ON THE SHIP THAT WAS JUST BLASTED WITH ALL THE SUNLIGHT BEAMS?). But Lady Krill warns Seth MacFarlane that the Krill kids are going to remember what he did, and he just made himself a bunch of new enemies. As if they wouldn’t have already killed him for being human anyway. BUT I DIGRESS.

this episode was badly written the orville galaxy quest

Leaving aside the fucking stupid “hey let’s turn on all the lights really high” deus ex machina — WHY WOULD THE KRILL EVEN HAVE THAT SETTING ON THEIR SHIP, IT MAKES NO SENSE — but leaving that aside, this episode is a nice exampled of everything that is wrong with this dumb show. While it was not as offensive or fumbling as the gender reassignment episode, it suffered from what we shall call “Seth MacFarlane Thinks He’s Deep” syndrome.

With this episode, Seth MacFarlane was trying to grapple with high-minded issues like moral ambiguity and the difficulties of compromising with orthodox religions, but he came off sounding like a shielded high school freshman who has discovered atheism and moral subjectivism for the first time. Oh, do we sometimes have to make difficult decisions for the greater good? And do strict religious societies sometimes use their faith as an excuse for otherwise objectively immoral and violent behavior? Tell me more, Chris Hitchens, I’m fascinated.

And this is what is most irritating about this show, that Seth MacFarlane 1. thinks he’s more intelligent and more insightful than he actually is and 2. really believes that he is carrying the Star Trek legacy into the 21st century. He’s not. It’s dumb. This is a dumb show that is convinced that it’s smart and important. Had he just made a silly space comedy, we’d be all good, Seth MacFarlane and me. I wouldn’t watch, and he could make all the lame fart and dick jokes he wanted, and I wouldn’t be spending all this time out of my life yelling about Seth MacFarlane’s intelligence and he wouldn’t be offending me with his ham-fisted portrayal of religion. I’M AN ATHEIST, YOU GUYS, AND THIS EPISODE MADE ME OFFENDED FOR RELIGION.

This show is not good, y’all.

The Orville airs on Thursdays at 8 p.m. on Fox and I’ll never forgive you guys for this.

7 thoughts on “‘The Orville’: Seth MacFarlane has some thoughts about religion, y’all.

  1. And now you know why I apologized for this one in advance. It might make a good Family Guy episode. That seems to be where MacFarlane is trying to go with this show … a live action Family Guy satire of Star Trek. Except he seems to want to be taken seriously at the same time. The show has some promise, once it decides what it really, really wants to be.

  2. I really don’t think he was trying to have this show taken seriously. He made his own character pretty below average. And his sets are terrible. I think he was just trying to poke fun at the whole subgenre of space shows.

  3. It’s a comedy- and he mocks everything, especially the extremist right wing and religious bigotry that seems so pervasive in the 3rd, errr – 21st century America. Star Trek, well ahead of its time, used science fiction to convey a social message that would have been impossible to do in the standard TV format of the time. So does this show, with a little extra comedy. To me, it’s specifically non-intellectual in its attempt to mock where we are at this time in our history, as opposed to an attempt to educate. The entire premise rolls like a cover band, paying great homage to the original artist. This, while the rest of us are in on the joke. And therein lies the genius. It may not last but it’s a fun ride, especially for those of us who were once ST fans. Hey, atheists, progressives, Intellectuals and the like, are under fire every day now and they need a little break from the stupidity of the current situation. If you didn’t notice, We’re not exactly in a period of enlightenment right now. Lighten up.

  4. Dude, chill out a little bit. It’s a comedy. Religious extremists exist and that’s the role the Krill people play. Sorry to burst your bubble…

  5. Wow seriously. Think “poetic license”. This is a futuristic comedy/satire with a tinge of drama and realism. Try and be entertained, not influenced. The joke references have to be modern day or before or we wouldn’t get them. Am I just talking to myself out loud?

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