The Orville S01E06 -“Krill”
The Orville Goes Undercover
The Krill have rapidly become The Orville‘s go to bad guys. Much like Star Trek‘s Klingons in the original series, we don’t know much about them. With Star Trek Discovery concentrating on the actions of Klingon renegades, it’s only fitting Seth MacFarlane turns his attention to his hostile alien lifeforms. In Krill, Captain Ed Mercer and navigator/best friend Gordon Malloy go undercover to find out more about this strange new civilization.
After a run-in with a Krill destroyer over a Union colony, the Orville manages to capture a working Krill shuttle. The local union admiral (guest star Kelly Hu) suggests a covert mission. Ed and Gordon will go undercover in the shuttle to infiltrate a Krill vessel or planet. Their goal is to find a copy of the Krill holy book, the Anhkana, which tells the Krill has intergalactic “manifest destiny” over everyone else. With the help of holographic projectors to make them appear like Krill, Ed, and Gordon head out and are soon picked up by a Krill vessel. Complications, of course, ensue due to their varying levels of competence…and the discovery of something shocking.
As this episode of The Orville covers the Krill, a quick anthropological essay is in order. They come from a planet practically engulfed in darkness. They are also religious fanatics whose god, Avis, commands them to rule over everything. They consider anyone not of Krill to be disposable and beneath contempt. Think of them as reptilian Taliban or Mike Pence. Their entire day revolves around their religion, with gruesome services being held daily. A priest is on every ship, and one could argue they might be more powerful than the captain….
More Drama Than Comedy
This is a more dramatic entry in the Orville series so far. The opening contains the funniest gags, mainly involving Bortus’ ability to eat almost anything, ranging from giant balls of wasabi to cacti. There is humor on the Krill ship, but a reoccurring gag with the Krill deity having the same name as a certain car company gets tiresome after a while. Some real stakes ensue in this episode, and Ed and Gordon are forced to make very tough decisions, some that might even make war with the Krill even more likely. MacFarlane is great as always as Ed, but Scott Grimes finally gets to be more than comic relief as Gordon. Kelly Hu is authoritative as the Union admiral, and frequent Trek star James Horan is wonderfully oily as Krill priest Sazeron. The scene-stealer, however, is Michaela McManus as Teleya, who depicts a more nuanced look at the Krill. Overall, the episode feels like a classic episode of The Next Generation than a more farcical comedy. That drama is a bit undercut by the jokes.
The Orville continues its string of strong episodes that explore new worlds. While the drama/comedy balance could be adjusted, it’s an overall strong episode which expands the lore of this brave new universe.