Doctor Finn takes two of the worst, most horrible little children, her two sons, on a vacation with Issac as her pilot, but when their shuttle crash lands on a remote moon, she must overcome terrifying large and scary character actor, Brian Thompson to reunite with her sons while Issac gets a crash course in parenting.
The Orville is becoming a tragically unpredictable hit or miss show. Sometimes, it’s surprisingly good and others… it’s a bad Star Trek fan film that doesn’t even bother playing with the tropes. It just wants to follow them because it what it thinks it’s supposed to do.
Take this episode for example. Please.
All right, so… “Into the Fold” might not be what I would call a bad episode, but it’s another episode that takes a trope and plays it out. Not for laughs, not for subversion, but plays it out just to do it. This time, it’s the tried old tale of the crashed shuttle and unlikely team-up. The idea of Issac being saddled with two kids practically writes itself and that’s the problem… the episode feels like it was written on autopilot. All of the conversations you think are going to happen, happens. All of the cliches you’re expecting happens. There’s nothing surprising about it. Sure, it’s cute sometimes, but cute can’t quite sell it particularly when these two children are written like monsters for the first third of the episode. I’m sorry, but I was actually rooting for the cannibals.
The side plot finds Finn trying to escape from an alien holding her hostage and this subplot was just confounding. The alien has no reason to save her, no reason to keep her, and, if the episode it to be believed and food is scarce, no reason to care for her as he did for the whole episode. Perhaps he’s lonely, but it’s never made clear. Maybe he wants to keep her as a sex slave, but that’s purely conjecture. He held her prisoner because it was in the script and that’s all the motivation that this episode needed.
What’s more is that Doctor Finn came off as a huge hypocrite in this episode. I don’t blame her for killing two aliens to escape and save her life, but when she goes on and pontificates about how they respect lives when the aliens don’t less than ten minutes later, it’s eye-rolling. It’s almost like two different people wrote the script without checking to see what the other person wrote.
Now, there are some nice touches. Issac and Finn has some great character moments and it is nice to see Issac actually comprehending and using the human behaviors he is observing. It’s those moments and a few other that elevated this – abet, only slightly – above average.
I’m personally ready for this show to be surprising again. I’m so tired of watching a fan film.