"I wish I could give you something more exciting for your maiden voyage, but it's pretty straightforward. You'll be delivering supplies to the science station on Epsilon 2." ― Admiral Halsey to Ed Mercer[source]Old Wounds is the pilot episode of The Orville and the premiere of the first season. Ed Mercer is awarded command of the USS Orville, only to learn that his ex-wife is his new First Officer. Meanwhile, a run-of-the-mill resupply mission to Epsilon 2 turns into a race to save the colony and its technology from the enemy Krill.
The episode was written by Seth MacFarlane in March, 2016, and directed by Jon Favreau in March of the following year. The episode's score was composed by Bruce Broughton, who also composed the show's theme music.
Old Wounds opened to very strong viewer ratings. Nearly nine million United States viewers tuned in, and the episode was warmly received by general audience reviewers. Yet professional critics gave the episode sharply negative reviews. Because of the very wide divide between the opinions of regular and professional critics, Old Wounds is held to be one of the most polarizing episodes of the series.
Fox produced a nearly-three minute promotional trailer published on May 15, 2017. Fox gave Old Wounds special attention because it would launch the series, and the trailer was far longer than the 30-second teasers produced for subsequent episodes. The trailer focused on many of the comedic elements of the series through humorous highlights of the first four episodes, as well as some action sequences.
Act 1 Edit
The show opens with an establishing shot of New York City in the year 2418. Ed Mercer arrives by commuter pod to his apartment. He hears his wife, Kelly Grayson, giggle from the bedroom. The door opens to find Grayson in bed with an alien (Darulio). She pleads to talk with him but he returns to the pod and leaves.
A year later, Admiral Halsey summons Mercer to his office in Planetary Union Central. Halsey acknowledges that Mercer's performance in the past year has markedly declined, tardiness and sloppy workmanship hurt Mercer's record, but "the Union needs captains" and offers Mercer command of the USS Orville, a mid-level exploratory cruiser. Mercer hurries to find Gordon Malloy, a former pilot, and enlists him as Helmsman of his new ship.
Act 2 Edit
In the ship's Shuttle Bay, Mercer introduces himself the crew of the ship. He meets the senior staff: Chief of Security Alara Kitan, Navigator John LaMarr, Second Officer Bortus, Chief Medical Officer Claire Finn, and Science and Engineering Officer Isaac.
Before departure in the afternoon, LaMarr meets Malloy in his quarters. Malloy explains that he was disciplined for damaging a Union craft with a risky flight maneuver. "I was trying to impress a girl," he admits. Halsey tours the ship's interior with Mercer one final time before wishing the captain good luck.
The Orville departs the Dockyard and embarks on its first mission under the new Captain.
Act 3 Edit
The Bridge crew discuss their mission to resupply the Epsilon Science Station on the colony planet Epsilon 2. While on route, Halsey sends orders to briefly rendezvous with a nearby station to pick up their new First Officer. Mercer reads the new addition's name and stampedes to his office.
Mercer calls Halsey, incensed that the new First Officer is none other than his ex-wife, Kelly Grayson. Halsey dispassionately replies that complaining about the placement on his first day "will not look good," and Mercer is stuck with the decision.
Grayson tepidly enters Mercer's office and apologizes for her affair. She continues that she requested the transfer to Mercer's ship to atone for her behavior, but the conversation quickly devolves into an argument about their relationship prior to the divorce. Grayson concludes by saying that she will transfer to another ship as soon as an opening becomes available.
Grayson meets Malloy in the hall. She hopes that their relationship will be professional considering that Malloy and Mercer are close friends.
Act 5 Edit
The Orville arrives at Epsilon 2. From the Bridge, Mercer speaks with the Station's overseer, Doctor Aronov. Aronov looks panicked; the Station needs no supplies, but the request was sent for an urgent matter that he will only discuss on Epsilon's surface.
A small away team to the planet is formed: Mercer, Grayson, Finn, and Kitan. Aronov gives them a brief tour of the facility, including giving Mercer a handful of modified redwood seeds that can can grow into a tree in any environment.
Aronov ushers the team into a wing of the facility where temporal fields are studied. A recent breakthrough has led to the creation of quantum accelerator, a device that can accelerate time inside a "quantum bubble." Janice Lee, a physicist researcher, demonstrates by aging a month-old banana to 100 years in only seconds. Kitan realizes that the accelerator is more than scientific equipment, it can be used as a weapon to turn "entire armies into frail armies."
Suddenly, a nearby lab technician pulls out a PM-44 and demands the accelerator.
Act 6 Edit
The technician is Derek Ashton, an undercover Krill spy. He calls for a Krill destroyer to raid the facility and steal the device. From the Orville, Bortus attempts to communicate with Mercer, but Ashton forces Mercer to say the Krill come in peace.
Kitan manages to subdue Ashton. The team grabs the accelerator and flees to the shuttle, pursued hotly by Krill soldiers. In space, the Orville (now aware of the situation), distracts the superior Krill ship by firing on it.
Safe on the shuttle, Finn dresses Mercer's shoulder injury--he was shot while running to the shuttle. Nearly at the Orville, the team is interrupted by a Krill soldier who managed to board the shuttle and hide.
Act 7 Edit
The soldier holds the shuttle at gunpoint with a Plasma Rifle, demanding the device. Mercer decelerates rapidly and the inertia sends the soldier flying into the front of the ship. The shuttle parks in the Orville's Shuttle Bay, and the away team hurries to the Bridge.
Though the Orville was able to distract the Krill destroyer, the spatial coils are badly damaged and the ship is no longer able to match the destroyer in battle. The Krill captain demands the device lest the Orville be destroyed.
Grayson schemes to place a redwood seed inside the quantum accelerator and send the device to the Krill by remote shuttle. Mercer gives the activation code to the Krill captain, which activates the device and causes the seed to grow rapidly into a massive redwood tree, destroying the enemy ship.
In Mercer's office, Grayson announces that she will transfer to another ship. Mercer admits that Grayson is a brilliant officer, whose talents the Orville cannot afford to lose. Problems stemming from the divorce can be overlooked.
Grayson meets Halsey in his office in New York to thank him for her position. It is revealed that she requested that Mercer was promoted to captain of the Orville.
This section describes only production of the first episode. For information on series-wide production, see: The Orville#Development.Creator Seth MacFarlane began working on the script for the episode in March, 2016, when the show was still only an idea. By April, a finished script was presented to Fox and approved for production with 13 episodes ordered. For nearly a year, the production crew began work building sets, designing costumes, and writing other scripts.
Filming began on March 27, 2017. For the show's premiere, MacFarlane turned to Jon Favreau to direct and Bruce Broughton to compose the score, both established professionals in full-length movies. MacFarlane pitched the show to Broughton as a drama that demanded a serious score. Broughton later described the challenge of composing for episodic television:
[T]here were some scenes that were obviously lighthearted and I tried to more or less ignore that and focus on the drama . . . The last thing I wanted to do was step on any comedic lines or timing, and this seemed like a good way to do that.
Old Wounds was the series premiere and debuted on a Sunday night to 8.56 million television viewers, a very high number and the strongest series premiere for Fox since Empire in 2015. Though audiences generally enjoyed the episode, Old Wounds turned out to be the Season 1 episode least enjoyed by fans. It holds a 7.4 rating on IMDB which, while respectable for the science-fiction genre, is the lowest score of the season.
Critical Response Edit
Despite the warm reception from general television audiences, the pilot received mostly negative reviews. Critics often decried the lack of humor and heavy drama. Fox had advertised The Orville as chiefly a comedy, yet the pilot seemed to walk a thin line between both genres.
Some critics, however, gave more even-handed reviews of the episode. Michael Ahr of Den of Geek gave it three stars, writing that the show was a welcome homage to older science fiction television, and the characters as flawed individuals living in a utopia were interesting and add a modern flavor to a show rife with nostalgia.
Jammer of Jammer's Reviews, who overall enjoyed the series, excoriated Old Wounds as "unimaginative" and a "Trek clone:"
When you're a guy with the clout of Seth MacFarlane, sometimes you just get to have your way. Sometimes that means spinning Family Guy into an animation empire. . . . And other times, I guess, that means you get to make the most expensive and unbalanced mishmash of a fan production of Star Trek ever conceived.He gave the episode 1.5 stars, concluding that The Orville may improve as Star Trek: The Next Generation did, but that he did not enjoy this episode.
Nick Wanserski of the AV Club wrote that episode was "tepid" and too ordinary. The Krill, he wrote, were simply a standard television show's antagonist and the world-building necessary to develop was insufficient. And yet, Wanserski enjoyed the episode with the possibility that the show may improve as time goes on.
- For a brief moment, Captain Mercer's crew manifest is visible. The names on the manifest after "Laura Lamour" are in fact people who worked on production of the show.
- Chief of Repairs Kit Stolen and Assistant Medical Officer Alex Maynard are members of the Art Department.
- Medical Officer Matt Chase is a member of the Costume Department.
- Assistant Science Officer Jack Lineweaver is Stephen J. Lineweaver, part of Series Production Design.
- Chief Josh Pierce is Location Manager.
- Linda Herrera of Medical is credited as Buyer.
- Gary Rake of Repairs is the First Assistant Director.
- Sabrina Plaice and Tony Lattanzio of Repairs are Construction Assistants.
- The original script contained a number of differences from the final version:
- Mercer's surname was Stevens. Aronov's name was Peter Leonid.
- When Derek Ashton holds the facility hostage, he forces Grayson and Mercer to sing karaoke as part of the ruse to fool the Orville that there is a pizza party in the facility.
- Grayson sings karaoke at the start of Cupid's Dagger, so the idea may have been moved to later in the season rather than excised from the show.
- The aerial tactic "Hugging the Donkey" is called "The Electron Maneuver." The rapid circling of the Krill vessel causes LaMarr to spill his soda.
- In the final version, then the Krill soldier who sneaks aboard the Orville shuttle is thrown into the front windshield by braking hard. In the script, the Krill soldier is knocked out by Mercer, who found Malloy's beer bottle from when the pair originally joined the Orville on Earth.
- The final scene between Grayson and Admiral Halsey does not exist. Instead, Halsey speaks directly to the bridge crew through the monitor, congratulating them and requesting to stay on the call so as to avoid having to attend a later meeting.
- Actress Halston Sage (Alara Kitan) shaved her eyebrows for the role, and in this episode appears with a prominent forehead and no eyebrows. Her look went over poorly with the production staff, and in subsequent episodes she wore false eyebrows.
- Oddly, a number of publicity images depicting scenes from this episode show her with her later makeup. In keeping with The Orville being an homage to Star Trek, the change in makeup, perhaps unintentionally, mimics how Leonard Nimoy's makeup as Spock underwent noticeable changes between the two Star Trek pilot episodes and the regular series.
- One of the Krill soldiers is played by actor Dylan Kenin. He would later portray Captain Haros of the Yakar in the episode Krill.
- In this episode, the armrests of the captain's chair on the Orville are thin and upholstered. After, the armrests are several inches high and padded.
- During the raid on the Epsilon Science Station, several Krill shuttles disappear and reappear.
- Severe damage to the Orville disappears in the final scenes.
Names and titles are as they appear in the credits unless otherwise noted.
- Seth MacFarlane as Capt. Ed Mercer
- Adrianne Palicki as Cmdr. Kelly Grayson
- Penny Johnson Jerald as Dr. Claire Finn
- Scott Grimes as Lt. Gordon Malloy
- Peter Macon as Lt. Cmdr. Bortus
- Halston Sage as Lt. Alara Kitan
- J. Lee as Lt. John Lamarr (as J Lee)
- Mark Jackson as Isaac
- Brian George as Dr. Aronov
- Joel Swetow as Krill Captain
- Patrick Cox as The Ogre
- Christine Corpuz as Dr. Janice Lee
- Sean Cook as Dr. Derek Ashton
- Dee Bradley Baker as Dr. Jorvik (voice only)
- ↑ Bond, Jeff. The World of the Orville. Titan Books. 2018. Pg. 15.
- ↑ "The Orville:Season One Ratings". TVSeriesFinale.com. Last accessed Feb. 6, 2018.
- ↑ ""The Orville" Old Wounds (TV Episode)". IMDB. Last accessed Feb. 6, 2018.
- ↑ Ahr, Michael. "The Orville Episode 1 Review: Old Wounds". Den of Geek. Sept. 10, 2017.
- ↑ Epsicokhan, Jamahl. "Old Wounds". Jammer's Reviews. Online. Last accessed Feb. 6, 2018.
- ↑ Wanserski, Nick. "The Orville fails to make a strong case for its existence in a tepid series premiere". AV Club. Sept. 10, 2017.