Season 3 of “Orville” Makes One of the Oldest “Star Trek” Tropes Much Darker

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Attention: SPOILERS for the 3rd season of the TV series “Orville”, the 1st episode is “Electric Sheep”.

The third season of the series “Orville”, renamed “Orville: New Horizons”, began with an episode that gives a dark coloring to the old “Star Trek” trope. In season 3, episode 1 “Electric Sheep”, the Orville team is still dealing with the consequences of exposing the true mission of emissary Kaylon Isaac (Mark Jackson) – to gather information about the Planetary Alliance. In Orville’s second season, episodes 8 and 9, “Identification”, Kaylon used Isaac’s information to take control of Orville and launch a full-scale attack on the Planetary Alliance. Although Isaac eventually gave up his species in order to save his teammates and the Union, it is clear that many on board the ship are not ready to forgive him for participating in the attack.

“Identity” was very similar to “The Best of Both Worlds” from Star Trek, consisting of two parts of Borg, of which creator Seth MacFarlane is a big fan. He also received an Emmy Award for the incredible work of the Orville visual effects team in embodying the scope and scale of the space battle with Kylon. This is something the show is obviously very proud of, as there are many memories of the battle during the opening of the third season of “Electric Sheep”. The battle with Kylon is just one of the many ways in which “Orville” pays homage to MacFarlane’s beloved “Star Trek,” and the beginning of the third season revisits the franchise’s recurring image of how artificial life experiences human emotions.

Star Trek regularly explores how androids or holograms want to experience positive and unique human emotions. “Star Trek: Next Generation Data” (Brent Spiner) experienced what it’s like to laugh, love and even feel the touch of human skin during his stay on the Enterprise. As Orville Data’s own commander, Isaac has also explored similar emotions, especially in his attempts to pursue a romantic relationship with Dr. Claire Finn (Penny Johnson Gerald). Claire’s son Marcus (B. J. Tanner) is the first character to show his concern due to the fact that Isaac is still on board the Orville. During the episode, an artificial life form experiences a human emotion known as hate for the first time, undermining the positive emotions usually experienced by similar sci-fi characters. Thus Orville can deftly subvert the classic emotional image of AI, using it to explore the dark side of human nature, rather than to create a comic effect.

Seth MacFarlane’s “Orville” became famous for its deft balance of science fiction, comedy and pathos. “Electric Sheep,” written and directed by MacFarlane, largely puts comedy aside to explore how destructive stereotypes and prejudice can be in a working environment. Viewers see Isaac going through several horrific examples of bullying, culminating in Marcus telling Isaac that he wishes him dead.

Although Isaac cannot feel emotional pain, his reaction to bullying is very painful. He ends his life by deactivating himself forever, leaving a message of increased efficiency and his best wishes to Claire’s family. When he is eventually resurrected due to Marcus changing his mind, Isaac explains his decision. He believed that the efficiency of the Orville would increase if he was no longer on board, which is an AI version of someone who believes that everyone would be better off if they were no longer alive.

The third season of Seth MacFarlane’s “Orville” continues the series’ reputation as a sci-fi allegory of how prejudice and bullying in the workplace can have devastating, and often devastating, consequences for mental health. Isaac’s death forces the team to reconsider their thoughts about suicide and understand how their own actions led to his decision. This dark twist on the classic image of artificial life forms experiencing positive human emotions proves once again that “Orville” often more skillfully updates the allegories and ideals of “Star Trek” for the modern world than the modern “Track” shows. For anyone affected by the issues raised in this article, a list of toll-free hotlines and emergency numbers for a number of countries can be found at OpenCounseling.com .