The Orville: Mad Idolatry

Friday June 21st 2019

Written by: Kayleen Wu
Featured image by: Helen Wang
Episode number: S01E12
Original air date: December 7, 2017


Last week’s Friducation was a good time, as always. PDT watched an episode of The Orville starring Seth MacFarlane and Adrianne Palicki. For those who are not familiar with this sci-fi comedy-drama series, The Orville is a show that sets 400 years into the future when humans and aliens work together in a spaceship to explore the galaxy (yes, just like in Treks). And of course, the discovery of new worlds often come hand in hand with new challenges.

What happened during the 60 minutes?

This final episode of Season 1 started with a (rather shitty) romance debrief between the captains. However, it surprisingly did not focus on the on-and-off relationship, but instead on something much deeper.

A new planet pops out of a flaming circle like the one Doctor Strange created with his sling ring.

Let’s see thaaa ring

Our gorgeous and kind captain Kelly decides to step out of the spaceship and investigate this Earth-like planet. During her investigation, she helps an injured girl with her wound-healing laser gun. Though this is solely an act of kindness, it turns out to be problematic.

Cultural Interference

Interacting with lives on an unknown planet is a big no-no, as it can create major unforeseen change to the native culture and beliefs, which is what happened in this episode.

“This is cultural contamination!”

Kelly’s personal decision – to help an injured girl, is initially a good gesture of showing kindness and care. However, this underdeveloped planet is not used to the much more advanced technology, hence their only conclusion to this: Kelly is a god.

The power to change

Given the power to time travel and to alternate the entire history of a planet, would you do it? This is putting ourselves in roles as homo sapiens (the wise man) and homo deus (the human god). We evolved from sapiens, and sometimes we see ourselves as the saviours of cultural chaos and technical problems. Power is a strange thing to have, because the use of it can be driven by so many unpredictable initiatives. It could be Kelly’s kindness. It could also be jealousy, hatred, and greed.

The major take-away message is that we see how power is explained and normalized. As Kelly explained to the pope,

“I just used this tool to heal the wound. It was not me, it was this tool. And you can do it too with it.”

Kelly tried to persuade the pope that she’s no god. That she also bleeds. That she’s a normal human being just like everyone. She tried to de-god herself when she heard about how many people were killed because they denied her sacred fame. This is a use of power driven by a good cause.

Last Thoughts

We ask a lot of what-ifs when the final result doesn’t meet our expectations. We spend time thinking about different outcomes. We are fascinated by undiscovered options. However, the way we treat the world is based on the vision of ourselves in this world. We wonder how WE will be different. What is powerful is not power itself, but the intention of the power holder.

Let’s see the trailer!

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