An awkward encounter between Isaac and the crew in The Orville’s pilot episode got a serious improvement thanks to a diverging timeline.
One particular moment that seems to stick out in The Orville got the perfect redo thanks to a small manipulation of time. In a diverging reality, an introduction to one of the show’s most notable characters was altered to better fit the tone the show grew into.
Created by Seth MacFarlane, The Orville is a loving tribute to all things sci-fi, most particularly the Star Trek franchise. The series revolves around the titular ship and its diverse crew of humans, aliens and artificial lifeforms. In the series first episode “Old Wounds”, Captain Ed Mercer gets to meet the Orville’s crew for the first time and is shocked to see a member of the robotic Kaylon race as part of the team. In an awkward moment, Ed questions Isaac about the Kaylon’s notable superiority towards biological lifeforms, only for the emissary to reply that he will be the crew’s “most capable officer“.
While the interaction is a bit uncomfortable, the moment gets a second chance to get it right in a radically different timeline. In the tie-in comic The Orville: Digressions by David A. Goodman and David Cabeza, fans get a deeper look at the alternate timeline established in The Orville episode “Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow”. In this world, Ed and Kelly’s relationship never went past a first date and thus, the chain of events that led to Ed becoming the Captain of the USS Orville never occurred. Instead, control of the ship falls to Captain Griffith. In very similar scene to The Orville’s pilot, Griffith welcomes Isaac to the crew. While Isaac still demonstrates his Kaylon sense of superiority, this causes Griffith to compliment Bortus, saying he now has some competition on the crew.
While the interaction nearly plays out the same as in the first episode of The Orville, Griffith’s comment improves the scene by completely removing the awkwardness. Admittedly, it’s a small change adding Bortus into the moment, but it really adds something the original scene lacked. By going back and reworking the scene, The Orville got a chance to show that after taking some time, it had finally found its footing.
The Orville is indeed a comedy and Isaac’s original line was intentionally played up to maximize the uncomfortableness of having such a discriminatory character in a largely progressive world. Unfortunately, the moment is a bad look on Ed who seemingly has nothing to say to the Orville about Isaac’s views. But the moment also came during the early days of the show, when it was still trying to find that right balance of drama and comedy. The Digressions take on the interaction shows that there’s a way to communicate the backwards views of the Kaylon while also dismissing them by lifting up the other members of the crew. This redone version of the scene may be contained to an alternate timeline, but it really does improve The Orville’s most annoying scene.