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The Orville - All the World is Birthday Cake - Review

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'All the World is Birthcake' sees the Orville crew make first contact to the glee of the crew in what turned out to be an interesting story that started off well enough but lacked the thoughtfulness we've come to expect from The Orville.

When the crew received the signal from Regor 2, the music swept in with an upbeat fervour, the crew cheered in absolute delight, and they immediately sprung to action. There is a sense that this is what everyone on the Orville has lived up to in embarking on this journey - to meet new cultures and civilizations - and the episode made it hard not to be excited for them.

I like the concept behind these people on Regor 2 and their culture. It is entirely plausible that there would be a culture that depends on astrology considering how many people in our own world are so encapsulated by it. In fact, this current young generation of Millenials are known to be heavily into astrology compared to older generations - just a little fun fact.

As a result, the conflict that ensues in the episode - its people being discriminative against people born in a certain time of the year due to a missing star - makes sense; it ties into a fundamental flaw of us as humans while tying into the planets culture.

What doesn't make sense, however, is why they had to imprison Bortus and Grayson. I mean, does a planet have the right to inflict punishment based on its law on a visiting species? Why couldn't The Orville just take their crewmates and leave? None of this is really explained and the fact no one on the Orville raised these questions was confounding.

Another problem I had with this episode was the conclusion. Grayson and Bortus literally killed some of the people on this planet to escape the prison, people who were basically doing their job, and did so without any qualms. Who really is the bad guy in all this? The people of Regor 2 acting on a centuries old belief or the cold blooded murderers of The Orville?

Also, this whole idea of using a satellite to make a fake star and putting it in the missing spot in the constellation was all a bit contrived. This would eventually lead to a very rushed ending where the excution is halted and suddenly we are back on the Orville and they are having a birthday party. Scant lines of dialogue reveal the resolution, but it all just felt so passed over.

Amidst all this in 'Birthday Cake' was the introduction of new security chief Talla Keyali (Jessica Szhor), who is also Xeleyan. Her introduction scene established that she is someone who is quick on her feet when it comes to responding to threats. We also saw she has quite the dry sense of humor, while also being someone who does not take prisoners. She would eventually be the one who would come up with the idea of the satellite to get their crew members back. I thought this was a solid introduction of Keyali, though I am not completely sold yet on the actress. I felt some of the delivery of her lines felt a bit stiff, and she did came off as a bit bitter too. I will reserve complete judgement until we see more of her though.

Overall, 'All the World is Birthday Cake' was the weakest episode of this season. I loved this whole concept of a culture being based around astrology, but it ultimately fell flat. It is hard to pinpoint any themes or main message The Orville was trying to point out as nothing was fleshed out, and some holes in the plot that could have easily been explained in dialogue, on top of the rushed conclusion, made this feel like an episode that the writers did not care to put any thought into for a show that tends to be very thoughtful with its storytelling.

Granted, there were some entertaining parts that kept the episode watchable and the humor clicked, like Ed's banter and Bortus not wanting to have a joint birthday party. It was also cool to see Ted Danson making a cameo, but overall the episode was just not up to Orville standards.


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