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The Orville - Nothing Left on Earth Excepting Fishes - Review

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In 'Excepting Fishes' The Orville seemingly spoofs on Star Trek Discovery (both airing on the same day now) by revealing that a character named Tyler, in a romance with the main protagonist, is actually a spy for the main antagonists, using technology to make her look human.

According to Tom Constantino, Associate Producer of The Orville on Twitter, this is a coincidence, but regardless whether it was or not, the story that the The Orville told had a lot more emotional resonance, dealing with human themes that were more akin to Gene Roddenberry's vision than this new installment of Star Trek (which I'm not trashing, it is entertaining in its own way).

The episode, in essence, was about hope. Mercer had a resilient sense of hope that the Krill and mankind can one day coexist, even amidst all the animosity happening between both sides. On a more personal level, Mercer had hope that Teleya will see the light, that all the goodness and passion she displayed when disguised as Tyler wasn't entirely an act - there was something real there.

MacFarlane hit all the right notes not just in the writing, but in the acting department too as he did a solid job as Captain Mercer expressing these very feelings. The line when he says, "if she is in there somewhere, tell her - tell her I miss her" was very profound and heartbreaking. And after a moment of resonant silence, her "lie on your" side as he lay down was not only humorous but also showed a hint of her humanity, which was a brilliant way to end that scene.

We also got a sense of who the Krill were before they became colonizers of worlds. Apparently, they were a less fanatical species and then, when the universe opened up to them, they developed a superiority complex and the xenophobia spread. Mercer makes this known after she called those not created by her people's God, basically non-Krills, as soulless animals without morals.

The Krill and their ways are a call on the religious extremism and xenophobia that has plagued so many cultures in the world today, making this whole conflict feel very relevant.

Taleya herself makes for an interesting and complex character because we see that she is molded by the xenophobia of her species, which was further aggravated by her anger at the death of her brother by Mercer and his people. Yet, through it all, we do see that compassion. We saw it in her last appearance in how she treated the Krill children she taught, and we see a glimmer of compassion in 'Excepting Fishes' begin to show through in her interaction with Mercer . McManus did a great job portraying this two-sided character. It'll be interesting to see how Taleya progresses in future episodes.

I also like how the writers found a way to tie the humorous part of the episode into the main story with Cmdr. Grayson using Captain Mercer's tough decision to let an enemy go as a lesson on what it takes to be a leader after Malloy questions the personal risk of the decision.

That whole storyline with Malloy, by the way, was not entirely needed on a story standpoint, but it did provide the humor we come to expect from this show. And Scott Grimes as Malloy did deliver some laughs in his reaction to the shapes and later in his complete incompetence during the simulation, without ever going over the top.

Overall, one can argue all they want on how too similar 'Nothing Left on Earth Excepting Fishes' was to a recent story in STD, but all that aside, I think the episode dealt with this story with a lot of heart while touching on issues that remain resonant in today's world. And by the way, ending the episode with Billy Joel's 'She's Always a Woman' was brilliant.


What did you guys think? Leave your comments below!

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