The Orville 'If the Stars Should Appear' [Season 1 Episode 4] Review

***Spoilers Ahead***

If the Stars Should Appear

Seth McFarlane, Penny Johnson Jerald, Mark Jackson, Max Burkholder (left to right).
Michael Becker/FOX

After two episodes centered on single characters, 'If the Stars Should Appear' returns to focusing on the ensemble as a whole. And, after a relatively tedious episode last week, The Orville is back to the blend of comedy and adventure that made the first two episodes fun to watch.

The episode opens with a fight between Bortus and Klyden. Bortus eventually decides to go to work early and the crew members attempt to get him to explain what happened. Despite the initial emphasis, this shred of a storyline is scrapped a couple minutes in. While I didn't like how it was left unresolved, I'm happy that this installment shifted towards something more action-packed as opposed to another mellow episode with Bortus.

Ultimately, 'If the Stars Should Appear' shines in the main plot and produces The Orville's best outing yet. One thing that really helped strengthen the plot is the setting. I really enjoyed the dystopian elements that came with the biosphere on the ship. From the ruthless dictator to the sheer denial that the citizens had about their impending doom, there were many great allusions to past and current events that made the episode feel cinematic and realistic at the same time. Additionally, the outing produced many outstanding dramatic moments. For example, the interrogation scene between Kelly and Hamelac was just as gruesome as it was well-done. Scenes like the former help show that this series is not just a comedy and that The Orville is not afraid to add components that are unlike anything McFarlane has done in his career.

Nevertheless, that doesn't mean that the comedy department did not deliver in the episode. For the most part, Issac provided the bulk of the laughs in this installment. While his character isn't particularly original, I can't help but enjoy his straight-forward demeanor and the way he explains simple things in a ridiculous manner. He really gets his moment in the sun in "If the Stars Should Appear" after being neglected in the first three episodes.

On the other hand, the B-plot doesn't really deliver. It focuses on the rest of the main cast (Bortus, Malloy, Lamar) as they fight off the Krill. The payoff of this underdeveloped plot is when Lamar exclaims "Boom Bitch!" after they defeat the ship. That brief moment serves as a nice nugget of comedy gold in an otherwise tedious storyline. Other than that exclamation, the plotline does not add much to the jam-packed outing. Overall, this storyline is far from bad, it just ends up being more than a bit forgettable. The writers should really utilize Lamar & Malloy more in future episodes instead of putting them in insignificant roles. But, I guess it's not realistic to expect every character to receive an equal amount of attention in each individual episode.

'If the Stars Should Appear' is the best episode of the series to date. The Orville has nailed the comedy-to-drama ratio and the dystopian premise helped create a great setting for another entertaining adventure. I hope that the series will continue to focus on action and adventure while also giving each character their moment to shine.

Stray Thoughts
  • The intro is simply too long. Sure, the ship looks great, but I wish they would do away with it.
  • Yaphet and Dr. Finn have great chemistry. I hope to see more of the former in the future.
  • I wonder if Klyden & Bortus's argument may be leading to a divorce.
  • On that note, the writers seem to have dropped Kelly & Ed's flirting/bickering shtick.

Grade: A-

What did you think of "If the Stars Should Appear"?

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Leave your thoughts in the comments below. Catch an all-new Orville next Thursday at 9/8c on Fox.

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