The Orville: New Horizons Review contains spoilers.
The Orville: New Horizons Season 3 Episode 9
The Orville: New Horizons appeared to be everything you wanted to see. It was shiny, big, bold, exciting, and, most important, it introduced new ingredients that would take the program in directions that it had yet to explore.
If New Horizons lacked vision, then this might be an overinflated last horizon for the show. Domino opens on the rainy planet of Krill, where Chancelor Teleya (Michaela McManus) and a Moclan delegation meet to discuss a planetary union.
The Union and the audience are thrust into a sense of danger and unease throughout the episode, although it is a brief teaser of a scene, which provides an immediate payoff in terms of several story threads that have been weaved throughout the season. This dramatic tension lasts almost all of the episode, and the writers, Brannon Braga and Andre Bormanis, provide everything they need in these first five minutes, including a fearlessness of chastising The Union and their hypocrisy,
The Orville and her crew are part of a large Union fleet in position around Xelaya to defend against an oncoming Kaylon force. When the Kaylons arrive, the Orville is the lynchpin of the defensive effort as they have developed a new weapon (simply called the device for most of the episode) that overloads the Kaylon networks relays. The device destroys the Kaylon ships and puts the Union in danger of another threat.
When Orville's crew, including Ensign Burke (Anne Winters), Isaac (Mark Jackson), and Captain Mercer (Seth MacFarlane), meet with the Union Admiralty, they debate the use of this weapon, once more addressing the issue of morality. The Union, if given a large enough energy source, is considering whether or not to end the Kaylon once and for all.
After the Admiralty has convened, It is decided that The Orville and Admiral Halsey (Victor Garber) should meet with the Kaylon to discuss a cease-fire, since the race of artificial beings will have no choice but to accept their terms. When The Orville arrives at Kaylon 1, they must use the weapon twice in a massive display of destructive capability before the Kaylon agrees to meet and eventually, to accept the conditions of a treaty.
Despite seeing interludes of The Orville decimating Kaylon ships and reducing them to broken pieces around the halfway point of the episode, it appears that Domino will lean towards a more politically driven episode. Yet, the writers this season have demonstrated time and again that balance was a word that was frequently thrown around the writers room when they were drafting the scripts.
The Union, perhaps in a bit of dramatic irony, feels a little secure for the first time in years, until the device is taken from Union Headquarters and sent away into the deepest space. It is revealed that Admiral Perry and a small group of Union defectors are giving the weapon to Teleya and the Moclans to do what the Union could not do forever.
Teleya shoots on the shuttle, claiming that the Union does not need to know about the new alliance or that they are the ones with the weapon just yet. It may be delaying the inevitable, but it still gives them time to prepare the weapon.
The Orville crew has cut short their time off from investigating the missing weapon. When they discover the remnants of Perry's ship, and scan the area, they discover the truth, and realize the enormous threat that a Krill/Moclan alliance poses. Both the Union and the Kaylon do not want to see the artificial race dismantled.
At this point, it is difficult not to think about some of the helpful writing that has been present in an otherwise enjoyable episode packed with thrilling twists. Burke once again being the wonderkind, and her under-explained gift for four-dimensional geometry, has been forced and overused throughout this season. Yes, it is leading to something massive, but its a straightforward macguffin.
When the Orville arrives to investigate the scene, you'll be able to suspend your disbelief. As he detects weapon signatures from both cultures, the Moclans never shoot on Perry's ship. Bortus is the first person to realize there's an alliance between the Krill and the Moclans, as he discovers weapon signatures from both cultures.
Yet, for the remainder of the episode, forget any planned plot flaws, because the writers and director Jon Cassar provide a consistent action sequence that for The Orville is simply unparalleled. When Domino was renewed on Hulu, there was a concern over what the show's Disney flavor would be like, and it is delicious for any science fiction enthusiast.
These were the most memorable action sequences The Orville ever produced; it was evidently inspired (or at least subconsciously inspired by) A New Hope. The magnitude of all three conflicts is absolutely stunning and creates one of the greatest memorable moments of the show's run.
Because of a series of falling dominoes audiences have witnessed throughout the last eight episodes, The Orville has remained enticed and failed to utilize episodic adventures that might be missed week on week.
Domino wraps up several threads, and to varying degrees of success. Burke sacrifices herself to destroy the weapon, as once again, her gift is the only weapon The Orville crew can use against the Moclan offensive algorithm. Sadly, the impact of her death could have been more enticing, as Winters and the character needed more time to settle the emotion.
Yet don't forget that Burke's life was an instant hit, and her dying will serve as a model for others. That's because you'll never agree with the Krill. That's because she was able to create a compelling character. And that's because of excellent writing. The tenth and final episode of Future Unknown.