If you thought that The Orville Season 2 Episode 11 felt kind of deja-vu-ish, you'd be right. All this has happened before... and that's okay.
At its heart, The Orville is an homage to sci-fi shows and, in the overwhelming majority of cases lately, it does it well so I'm willing to cut it a lot of slack when it chooses to tighten its focus to one or two crew members for an episode.
And Malloy has been stepping up considerably this season, with Scott Grimes really demonstrating some chops in dramatic situations while still wielding his trademark comedic sabre.
With Tim Russ (of Star Trek: Voyager fame) appearing in the very first scene as Dr. Spencer and a script borrowing heavily in vibe from Star Trek: The Next Generation season 3 Episode 6, we get a lot of Star Trek-ness early on.
There's even a smidgen of Disney's The Little Mermaid in how the crew and Dr. Spencer approach the items from the 2015 time capsule ("Look at this stuff! Isn't it neat?") and, later, in how they interpret the information on Laura's phone.
Look at this. She's clearly asking her friend where to find the nearest repair service for her device. But instead of writing 'wireless telecommunications facility,' she just wrote 'WTF.' We can decode things like this by applying historical context.Dr. Sherman
Mostly, though, we spend a lot of time watching Malloy fall head over heels for a woman who has been dead several hundred years.
No real awkwardness potential unless one of her descendents happens to be on board the Orville (unlike on Star Trek: The Next Generation where Geordi was canoodling with the holographic version of a woman who worked elsewhere in Starfleet.)
Emotionally, it all felt very plausible. Malloy's been looking for a relationship all season. He's even had some recent trauma with encountering his buddy, Channing, on The Orville Season 2 Episode 10 which may have isolated him even more.
He's watched Mercer get involved with a Krill spy and Dr. Finn begin a relationship with Isaac. He had LaMarr give him dating lessons.
It really makes a lot of sense for him to want that intimacy with someone and to be a bit hurt when his friends aren't supportive when he actually finds someone.
Malloy: Y'know, this is the first person I've been involved with on this ship. I'm not allowed to be happy? You can bang a Krill but I can't date a sales rep at Macy's?
Mercer: She lied to me. I didn't lie to myself. There's a difference.
What bothered me was the technology.
How was the computer able to figure out how to interface with Laura's iPhone simply because Malloy told it it was a cellular phone?
How did the computer know what information on the phone was pertinent to Laura's personality and what was GIF/meme/emoji spam? At least a third of my camera roll is incidental screen shots I never got around to deleting.
Don't even get me started on Malloy's replicated phone and Laura calling him when the simulator program wasn't even running.
When Malloy deletes Greg, we get a hint of the Butterfly Effect in the shift in Laura's personality. It's interesting that Malloy wanted Laura to be as she was and didn't even consider playing the Greg role for her and encouraging her to explore her music more.
The point may have been that it was Greg's influence nine years previously that sparked that music dream in her and that by 2015, it was too late for her to buy into that. Fair enough.
Every single one of us is shaped by the totality of our relationships. People we love and people we hate. All make their mark.Grayson
I liked that they had Grayson have the talk with Malloy after the deletion incident. Not because she's a woman but because she used that example of Mercer's effect on her and Malloy would be able to relate, being best friends with him.
It definitely put them on some even footing and she was able to speak to the social nature of humans without the obligation to end it with a punchline the way Malloy and Mercer tend to do in their interactions.
As to the secondary plotline with Bortus and Klyden's cigarette addiction, I'm feel like there really needs to be another married couple brought into the mix because every marital woe is being piled onto our Moclan family unit.
Does it seem that it's becoming a Moclan thing that they are susceptible to addictions in general?
Are we to assume that all vices are potential dangers to them?
I feel as if I've been standing my entire life and I just sat down.Klyden
And it seems a little unfair that Dr. Finn is able to cure substance addictions with an injection but porn addiction requires talk therapy.
Furthermore, was it strange to anyone else that she could remove Topa from their home? I'm not arguing that Topa shouldn't be around all the cigarette smoke and his fathers' withdrawal process, it just seemed sudden and awfully casual the way she mentioned it.
What little non-Malloy comedic moments were delivered by Bortus and Klyden which sort of made the situations even more awkward.
I mean, Klyden eating the cigarette was funny but Bortus having to physically fight his husband to keep him away from the replicator was a little hard to watch.
If he hadn't been in the midst of withdrawal himself, maybe he would have thought to just disable the replicator?
Overall, it was solid, relatively thoughtful episode with very pleasant singing.
(With all the times Malloy's had the mic, I keep expecting a balls-out big production musical episode because #SethMacFarlane but that may end up being a bonus track on the DVD boxset.)
The universe is not governed by individual perception. It matters what's true.Mercer
You have loads of time to watch The Orville online as they're on hiatus for the next two weeks. Time to watch and time to think.
Let me know what did and didn't work for you here. Better yet, what are your thoughts on this season so far?
Who do you think will be the next crew member at the centre of a bottle episode like this one?
How do you think the final three episodes this season will play out? Return of the Kaylon? Krill immersion courses?
Another simulator-centred episode?
Hit me with your wildest ideas!
Diana Keng is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.