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"I, and others who do what I do, travel back to a specific time and place in which a ship like yours was destroyed. I prevent the destruction, then I take the ship into the future and I sell it to the highest bidder." Pria Lavesque[source]
Pria is the fifth episode of season one of the The Orville. Charlize Theron guest stars as Pria Lavesque, a time-travelling antiques dealer determined to steal the USS Orville for private collectors in the future.

The episode was written by Seth MacFarlane and directed by Jonathan Frakes. It features the music of John Debney.

Despite middle-of-the-road ratings among television audiences in the United States, Pria proved a hit among critics who gave the episode some of its strongest reviews until that point in the season.

Teaser Edit

Fox released a 30-second promotional teaser on September 28, 2017.[1] A narrator announces that actress Theron will guest star on The Orville the upcoming Thursday and that Pria may be "the most surprising episode yet." Commander Kelly Grayson says, "She may not be what she seems." Captain Ed Mercer tells someone off camera, "Give me back my ship." Lieutenant Gordon Malloy tells the bridge: "I think everyone's going to want to see this."

The Orville Promo "Pria"

The Orville Promo "Pria". Charlize Theron

Plot SynopsisEdit

Act 1 Edit

The bridge crew enjoys an episode of the show Seinfeld. Isaac, however, does not understand the humor of the show. Malloy explains that slapstick comedy is enjoyable, and promises to show Isaac why later.

The Orville shortly after receives an emergency message from a mining ship caught on a sun diver, a moribund comet trapped in the gravitational pull of a star. From her ship, consortium miner Pria Lavesque is patched to the bridge, who says that she is in trouble.

Act 2 Edit

Pria Lavesque Charlize Theron

A battered-but-alive Pria Lavesque is checked out in the ship's Medical Bay.

Lavesque tells the Orville that the heat of the nearby star has damaged her ship beyond recovery. Mercer, Malloy, and Lieutenant Alara Kitan land on the ship by shuttle. They take Lavesque aboard and quickly launch back to the Orville. The star's gravity proves too strong for the shuttle's engines, but Lieutenant John LaMarr reins it in via the ship's tractor beam.

Back on the Orville, Lavesque is given a temporary quarters and invited to join the officers for cocktails later that evening. Meanwhile, Isaac enters the bridge with Mr. Potato Head pieces on his robotic head. Malloy cackles and explains that this was a practical joke and that it is now Isaac's turn to prank Malloy.

At cocktail hour, Mercer and Lavesque connect over similar childhood experiences growing up in Massachusetts, Earth. After, Lavesque invites herself into Mercer's quarters to thank him personally and he kisses her cheek.

Act 3 Edit

Grayson searches the Vega Mining Consortium data logs for anyone named "Pria Lavesque" but to no avail. She approaches Mercer in Engineering, where he is introducing Lavesque to the greater crew. Grayson tells Mercer in private that the lack of a personnel file for Lavesque is suspicious, but Mercer dismisses her request to search Lavesque's quarters.

Mercer convinces Kitan to investigate Lavesque's room, and the two find a strange metallic box under her bed, which their scanners are unable to penetrate. Lavesque enters and the pair is forced to end their search early.

Act 4 Edit

Pria Lavesque Charlize Theron Kelly Grayson

Lavesque and Commander Kelly Grayson join Captain Ed Mercer for drinks.

Mercer is furious that Grayson and Kitan searched their guest's room without probable cause. They mention the impenetrable box, but Mercer retorts, "So it could just be a belt buckle pin for all you know?" He formally reprimands Kitan. When Kitan exits, Mercer discloses that he believes Grayson is concerned only as he develops intimate feelings with Lavesque. They are interrupted by an emergency on the bridge.

The ship is rocked by collisions with invisible objects in space. Isaac believes that the ship is caught in a dark matter storm. With no way to detect dark matter, their deflectors deplete rapidly and destruction becomes imminent. However, Lavesque convinces Mercer and Isaac to flood space with neutral axion particles through their weapons array, which renders the dark matter visible.

Act 5 Edit

Malloy is unable to navigate through the astounding amount of destructive dark matter. With no options left, Mercer turns helm control over to Lavesque, who successfully navigates them to safety. The Orville survives but its communications array was completely destroyed. Lavesque gives Mercer the coordinates to a nearby mining outpost capable of repairing the ship.

Mercer takes Lavesque on a date in the Environmental Simulator to show her a recreation of Unuk 4 and better get to know each other. They kiss and have sex in Mercer's quarters. In bed, Mercer opens up to her about his marriage and the affair, and admits that she is the first person he trusts since the divorce.

Later, Malloy wakes to find his left leg missing below the knee. He hops angrily to the bridge to confront Isaac, who informs Malloy that he played a practical joke on Malloy. Malloy is sent to Sick Bay to regenerate the limb in the Mass Tissue Regenerator.

Lieutenant Yaphit discovers the metallic box planted inside their computer system, which cannot be removed. Mercer, Grayson, and Kitan storm Lavesque's room; she tells them that she is a time traveler from the 29th century.

Act 6 Edit

Theron Lavesque Pria

Nearing the wormhole to the 29th century, Lavesque commandeers the USS Orville. The crew is helpless against her advanced technology that has taken control.

Lavesque presses buttons on the skin of her arm to activate the box and assume control of the ship. She explains that the Orville and its crew were supposed to be destroyed in the dark matter storm, but that she traveled back in time to rescue the ship, in order to sell to private antique collectors from the 29th century, who will bid high prices for the Orville. The good news, Lavesque continues, is that the crew gets to live on in her century when they "should" have died in the 25th. It is also revealed that Isaac hid Malloy's severed leg in the ceiling in Lavesque's room.

Chief Engineer Steve Newton uses a diamond drill to break into the box and Isaac scans its data stored inside, but the box sends a fatal electrical shock into Isaac before he can report his findings.

The Orville enters the wormhole to the 29th century. On the other side waits a Benzian ship of extraordinarily advanced technology. However, Lavesque is surprised by a sudden attack from Grayson and forcibly restraied. LaMarr modulates the ship's deflectors to evade the Benzian craft's tractor beam while Malloy pilots back through the wormhole.

Kitan hauls Lavesque to the brig and Isaac is revealed to be alive, having upload his consciousness to the ship's computer just before inspecting the box. A humbled Mercer tells the crew that he will never again make the mistake of not trusting his First Officer.

Act 7 Edit

Lavesque, now captured, pleads with Mercer to send the Orville back through the wormhole before the current timeline is irreparably damaged. Mercer explains that the time is always open to change and that he is not beholden to continue the future's preferred version of events. He orders the bridge to destroy the entrance to the wormhole and Lavesque disappears.

Production Edit

Wormhole Pria

The Orville drifts alongside the wormhole, a gateway to the 29th century.

Filming was completed sometime in 2016 or early 2017 under the direction of Jonathan Frakes. Filming took roughly eight days while composer John Debney's score took three weeks to complete.[2]

Creator Seth MacFarlane wrote the script for the episode some time between June and October, 2016.[3] However, even after completing Pria, MacFarlane lacked a suitable, suspenseful scenario where the crew of the Orville would be introduced to the character of Pria Lavesque. Science consultant André Bormanis suggested stranding Lavesque on a "sun diver," a comet colliding with a star. MacFarlane loved the idea. "Everybody thought that could look really amazing," Bormanis recalled. "And it gave us a good 'ticking clock' to build suspense into a rescue mission."[4]

After Entertainment Weekly leaked news that Charlize Theron would guest star in the episode, MacFarlane revealed that recruiting Theron was remarkably simple. "I had worked with her on the western that I did [A Million Ways to Die in the West], and I had one of the best experiences of my life. You know, call and ask her to do the show, and . . . she astonishingly said, 'Yes, I'll come do your little TV show.'"[5] (In fact, Theron once said that working with MacFarlane on the Western film helped her recover from a two-year malaise on acting.[6]) Coincidentally, Frakes recommended Theron to MacFarlane for the role of Pria, unaware that MacFarlane had already cast her.[7]

Comparisons with Star Trek Edit

"I call it Star Trek with comedy." ― Jonathan Frakes[[source]]
The episode has received attention for its notable similarities with the Star Trek franchise, especially the series The Next Generation. The character of Pria Lavesque, in particular, parallels the time-travelling antiques thief Berlinghoff Rasmussen and the ethically-questionable archaeologist Vash. For example, Rasmussen claims to be a historian from the future in order to gain the trust of the Enterprise and steal valuable items from the ship.

The similarities are not coincidental. Frakes as director intentionally aimed to recreate the look and feel of the show The Next Generation, in which he co-starred about 20 years before, while capturing a lighthearted, funny tone to appeal to younger viewers:

I was afraid that it was going to be like Family Guy, and it’s not really, but it’s also not really as serious as Next Generation. I think Seth [MacFarlane], and Brannon [Braga], and whoever else is involved in all this, they found a tone that clicks with this audience, either the millennial audience or the old school audience. Everyone is very pleasantly surprised at how well the show has been received. I’m happy to see the homage, and I’m happy to see success for whoever wants to steal good ideas.[8]
Additionally, several Star Trek shows had visitors from the 29th century, which may have inspired the choice to have Lavesque come from that particular century.

Reception Edit

Viewership Edit

For more information on the episode in the context of the season, see main article: Season 1.
Pria was well received by TV audiences, and enjoys an 8.2 rating on IMDB.[9] It was seen by 3.43 million viewers in the United States. Although respectable, it was the lowest viewer rating until that point and the third-lowest of the season.[10]

Critical Response Edit

After Pria aired, The Orville enjoyed some of its highest praise of the season from critics. Michael Ahr of Den of Geek gave the episode 3.5 stars, writing that the time travel plot was well-done but that the romantic subplot felt "clunky."[11]

Jammer of Jammer's Reviews awarded the episode 2.5 out of four stars, noting: "Pria' features probably the most successful and natural integration of comedy into an Orville episode yet — so much so that I'm beginning to wonder if this series would be better off just embracing itself as a comedy and not trying to be Star Trek so damn hard."[12]

Nick Wanserski of the AV Club, who had given the show some of its harshest criticism, praised the episode as "the first episode of the season that feels like taking a lungful of real air. It’s clever . . . and generally delivers a packed, often very funny hour of television."[13]

Trivia Edit

  • This episode features one of the smallest casts of the entire show, with only the main cast and Steve, Yaphit, Pria, and the ship's Computer.
  • The beverages drunk by Mercer, Lavesque, and Grayson at the officer's cocktail hour were in fact really alcoholic, and were glasses of whiskey.[14]
  • This was the second episode in a row to feature a major cast member from Seth MacFarlane's film, A Million Ways to Die in the West.
  • Director Jonathan Frakes is best known for playing Commander Will Riker in Star Trek: The Next Generation. He also directed the first-season Star Trek: Discovery episode, "Despite Yourself", which aired a couple of months after "Pria," making Frakes the first individual to direct episodes of both "competing" shows.
    • Coincidentally, the Discovery episode also includes a time-travel element in its plot.
  • To simulate Gordon as one-legged and hopping onto the Bridge, actor Scott Grimes wore a large green sock over his "amputated" leg. The sock was then greenscreened out during digital processing.[15]
    • According to Peter Macon (Bortus), that scene took 15 to 20 takes due to the cast laughing constantly.[16]
  • Pria says she captured Amelia Earhart and brought her to the 29th century for the same reason that she sought the Orville.
  • Adrianne Palicki (Kelly Grayson) and Theron declined the use of stuntwomen for their fight on the Bridge, preferring to duke it out themselves.[17]
  • This episode was written to take place after Krill but the order was swapped due to availability issues with Theron.[3]

References Edit

  • The song that plays during Ed's cocktail hour is "Penthouse Serenade" by Errol Garner.
  • MacFarlane has confirmed that Mercer's heated response to Grayson, "I never do it near the food. You know that," is in fact a nod to writer P.G. Wodehouse and the show Jeeves and Wooster ("I never do it near the food. You know that, Jeeves.").[18]
  • The Bridge crew watches the Seinfeld episode "The Junior Mint."
  • Ed and Pria reminisce about growing up in Massachusetts, both visiting a Salem witch trials museum. Ed had "nightmares for a month" after seeing a holographic interrogation of Giles Corey at the museum. In real life, Salem, Massachusetts has several visceral witch trials museums, albeit none with holographic projections.
  • Ed chastises Kelly for playing "Nancy Drew," the titular character of a number of mystery detective books.

Mistakes Edit

  • Isaac severs Lieutenant Gordon Malloy's leg at the knee. However, when the amputated limb is shown, it is severed at the hip.

CastEdit

Names and title are as they appear in the credits unless otherwise noted.

Main CastEdit

Special Guest StarEdit

Recurring CastEdit

References Edit

  1. "The Orville 1x05 Promo "Pria"". Fox Broadcasting Co. Sept. 28, 2017.
  2. "I believe each score takes roughly 3 weeks for the composer to write". MacFarlane, Seth. Twitter. Oct. 12, 2017.
  3. 3.0 3.1 "The Orville Fan Podcast w/ David A. Goodman (06)". Planetary Union Network. Oct. 14, 2017.
  4. Mahon, Chris. "Aliens and AI: André Bormanis Explores the Science Behind 'The Orville'". Outer Places. Sept. 20, 2017.
  5. "How Seth MacFarlane Got Charlize Theron To Be On 'The Orville' | SDCC 2017 | Entertainment Weekly". Entertainment Weekly. July 26, 2017.
  6. "Charlize Theron Says Seth MacFarlane Made Her Enjoy Acting Again". Entertainment Weekly. May 2, 2014.
  7. "The Orville Fan Podcast w/ Jonathan Frakes (05)". Planetary Union Network. Oct. 8, 2017.
  8. "Jonathan Frakes Compares 'Star Trek: Discovery' and 'The Orville'".
  9. ""The Orville" Pria (TV Episode)". IMDB. Last accessed Dec. 27, 2017.
  10. "The Orville:Season One Ratings". TVSeriesFinale.com. Last accessed Dec. 6, 2017.
  11. Ahr, Michael. "The Orville Episode 5 Review: Pria". Den of Geek. Oct. 5, 2017.
  12. Epsicokhan, Jamal. "Pria". Jammer's Reviews. Last accessed Dec. 28, 2017.
  13. Wanswerski, Nick. "With a little help from a guest star, The Orville feels like it’s finally coming into its own". AV Club. Oct. 6, 2017.
  14. "Seth MacFarlane and Adrianne Palicki". The Talk. Nov. 30, 2017.
  15. Twitch. "The Orville • New York Comic Con 2017 • interview". Youtube. Oct. 7, 2017.
  16. "THE ORVILLE PODCAST EPISODE 3 - THE PETER MACON INTERVIEW". Planetary Union Network. Sept. 22, 2017.
  17. "NYCC 2017: Adrianne Palicki & Scott Grimes - The Orville". WithAnAccentTV. Oct. 13, 2017.
  18. "Hey book-learnin’ types: Spot the P.G. Wodehouse quote in tonight’s episode of #TheOrville". MacFarlane, Seth. Twitter. Oct. 5, 2017.