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The Orville - The Road Not Taken - Review

28 Apr 2019

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'The Orville' took its story in an unexpected direction to close out the season.

In The Road Not Taken' we see team Orville on a grittier, swashbuckling adventure through space. It had a refreshing tone, being as much Star Wars than Star Trek. They even had a Han Solo-like spaceship as they flew through a system decimated by the Kaylons.

The episode had familiar time travel tropes, exploring the butterfly effect that Kelly rejecting Ed in the alternate timeline had on the universe. This coming at a time where we are witnessing time travel in entertainment to epic levels via Avengers: Endgame.

There was a lot of story to unpack in under an hour, in fact, the episode could have benefited profoundly if it had been given extra time to breathe a bit, but for what it was, the finale was exciting, at times reaching heart-pounding levels.

It was great to see the return of Halston Sage as Alara, albeit a very brief return. It must be said that hardened and seductive Alara is much more likeable than the innocent one we had gotten to know over a season and a half. If only we could see more of her.

The rest of the Orville crew were pretty much unchanged from the original timeline, maybe a bit darker due to the darker times, but not a lot of drastic changes, which would have been not only nice to see but expected since this is an alternate timeline after all.

Regardless, it seemed the purpose of this finale was simply to have fun, following a couple of very thoughtful episodes, and 'The Road Not Taken' delivered that fun in spades. It helped that the VFX was astounding from when they were travelling through the asteroid field and then to the underwater sequence on Earth.

As a singular episode, or at least as part 2 of an entertaining two-parter, the season two finale worked, but I'm not quite sure if it was the best way to end the season.

Identity Pt. 1 and 2 felt like the true finales of the season. They were as equally exciting as the alternate timeline episodes, if not more, but they involved much larger emotional stakes involving the Orville crew that we as viewers know, while introducing us to new antagonists to look forward to for another season. Instead, Season 2 ended on a meditation on the relationship between Ed and Kelly and how much it impacted the universe, which to me felt like a whimper of an ending.