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The Orville - Lasting Impressions - Review

27 Mar 2019

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As we approach the end of Season 2, The Orville has, for the most part, delivered consistently good to great sci-fi, paying tribute to the best of the original Star Trek series while developing its own identity. 'Lasting Impressions,' however, took things to a whole other level, giving us a brilliantly written episode that painstakingly reflected on the complexities of human nature, while debating the age-old philosophical question of what is real?

In episodes previously we had gotten to know Lt. Malloy as a man who, beneath all the toilet jokes and child-like immaturity, battled a serious case of loneliness and anxiety, someone in search of the simplest of human connections. We had seen Malloy struggle on how to have a simple conversation with women and finally, in 'Lasting Impressions,' he had found that someone to connect with, albeit a simulation based on a woman's life centuries ago.

It was both heartbreaking and bittersweet to see Scott falling in love with Laura. Their moments were extraordinarily poignant and to see Scott handling himself so relatively well around her made us feel just how comfortable she made him feel in his shoes. But the reality of it all was always hanging over their 'romance,' which made it equally heartbreaking.

When Malloy got into an argument with the crew about what constitutes as real, it is hard not to empathize with him. Yes, this is not a real person and yes it is just memories based off of the life of a now-dead woman, but would it not be a good enough lie to live if it makes him happy, if happiness is even the word you want to us?

Malloy misplaced love does begin to go off the rails though when he erases Laura's boyfriend from the file so he can have her for himself. It makes sense that her life would be significantly altered as we are, as Grayson more poignantly put it, affected by those around us - but it makes it no less shocking to see it all unfold. The heartbreak that Malloy feels as reality hit was truly felt and actor Scott Grimes did an exceptional job taking us through the emotional journey Malloy went through.

The theme of falling in love with a simulation/AI has been done before, but the storyline was written so well that it was still impactful drama.

Elsewhere was Bortus' smoking addiction after discovering cigarettes in the time capsule. Is this the first science fiction show where we saw an alien smoking on a spaceship? The idea sells itself, but to see it on screen as Bortus puffed away on deck and sparred with Klyden over their addiction was some genius comedy. This whole side story was absolute hilarity that often had me in stitches.

Overall, 'Lasting Impressions' was a poignantly written medidation on human nature, while balancing it out with riotous comedy. Malloy has slowly become more than just the butt end of a joke, he is a severely flawed human being and one with very sweet romantic intentions, but the inability to connect to show that side in him..

This whole season has often kept things within the confines of the ship, exploring the intimate lives of the crew of the Orville, 'Lasting Impressions' chief among them, and while some viewers may long for more action, I think episodes like these are important to make us feel for these characters.