"Ed, they're sending you into enemy space, and you're acting like it's some big joke. My God, if you are discovered" ― First Officer Kelly Grayson[source]Krill is the sixth episode of the first season of The Orville. Captain Ed Mercer and Lieutenant Gordon Malloy of the USS Orville go undercover aboard a Krill ship to steal a copy of the Krill holy book.
The episode was written by David A. Goodman, breaking from the majority of episodes which were written by creator Seth MacFarlane, and directed by Jon Cassar. It was scored by Joel McNeely. Kelly Hu and James Horan guest star as Admiral Ozawa and High Priest Sazeron respectively, and Dylan Kenin returns to the show as Captain Haros.
Though Krill was one of the least-watched episodes of the series, it was perhaps the most favorably-reviewed by critics until that point, praised for developing the Krill species as a complex, nuanced antagonist.
On October 5, 2017, Fox released a thirty second promotional video. Admiral Ozawa orders off-camera persons to infiltrate a Krill vessel. Commander Kelly Grayson tells Mercer to be careful. A narrator says that the Orville's crew must "become the enemy." A Krill soldier (Malloy) warns against letting children die. The teaser concludes with a joke about Krill names.
Act 1 Edit
Lieutenant Alara Kitan, Second Officer Bortus, Lieutenant John LaMarr, Isaac, and Lieutenant Gordon Malloy congregate in the Mess Hall. Conversation starts with Kitan's recent dating history but soon turns to challenging Bortus to eat a variety of unusual objects.
Commander Kelly Grayson calls the group to the bridge. Kastra 4, a new Planetary Union colony, is under heavy attack from the Krill destroyer Kakov. "Sir, the offensive capabilities of the Krill ship are significantly superior to our own," Bortus cautions, yet with no other Union ships nearby, the USS Orville is forced to engage the enemy alone.
Act 2 Edit
The Krill ship proves far too strong for the Orville and the Orville rapidly loses deflectors. Captain Ed Mercer is forced to innovate. In a gambit, he orders the Orville to flee through the dense atmosphere of the planet. The immense friction damages the Orville but also creates a thick smokescreen, obscuring the ship from the pursuing Krill. Once the Kakov enters the atmosphere too, the Orville bolts up, away from the planet, and fires its entire payload of plasma torpedoes on the enemy ship.
The gambit works. The Kakov is immediately destroyed and Kastra 4 leaders confirm their colony is battered but survives. In the wreckage of the enemy ship, a Krill shuttle is discovered.
The recovered shuttle proves an invaluable find, and Admiral Ozawa pays a personal visit to the Orville to commend the Captain's bold leadership but also to order personally a new mission. Ozawa wants two officers to use the shuttle to go undercover aboard a Krill ship to obtain a copy of the Anhkana, the Krill holy text. Union intelligence believes that the Anhkana guides the highly-religious Krill, but no copy has been obtained.
Act 3 Edit
The Orville approaches the border of Krill space. Malloy and Mercer play a practical joke on the crew by Malloy pretending to take Mercer hostage as a Krill soldier. Mercer reveals that Malloy's disguise is created through holographic generators, and that the two would infiltrate the enemy's vessel through these devices.
Malloy and Mercer take the shuttle into Krill space until they are found by the Yakar, pretending that they are Krill survivors of the battle with the Orville. The plan works and Yakar Captain Haros and High Priest Sazeron welcome them on board; Mercer and Malloy introduce themselves as "Chris" and "Devon."
The pair are just in time for services, the religious practice of the Krill. They sit beside a civilian, Teleya, who is very interested in them as her brother served on the Kakov. Services begin: Sazeron preaches the teachings of their supreme deity, Avis, from the Anhkana, and mashes with a dagger the Human head of a dead, captured Union colonist of Chara 3.
Act 4 EditMercer and Malloy are horrified by what they witnessed at services, but remain determined to complete their mission. The sneak into the empty religious hall and begin copying the pages of the Anhkana. In fact, the room was not empty and Sazeron asks what they are doing. Mercer invents an excuse and the two leave.
Several hours later, the pair return to copy the book. Sazeron has left to request Haros place a guard on the spies. "You have always had a suspicious nature, my friend," Haros replies. "But then, you have earned that right." Haros agrees to send guards to watch "Chris" and "Devon."
Meanwhile, still in the religious room, Mercer and Malloy's holographic generators fail and their disguises disappear. One of Haros's guards enters the room in search of the two, but they manage to sneak back to their quarters. Magnetic interference caused the generators to fail. The generators' emitting frequency is changed and their disguises return. Mercer and Malloy decide to investigate the source of the magnetic interference and find an enormous Krill bomb several decks below.
Act 5 Edit
Teleya finds the two and invites them to dinner. She explains that the bomb is a prototype capable of annihilating an entire colony in seconds; it will be used on the Union colony of Rana 3.
Mercer is determined to undermine the Krill's mission, and they agree to detonate the bomb themselves and destroy the Yakar. Teleya returns to request the pair talk to her classroom about battle. It turns out that Teleya is a teacher of Krill children on the ship. Mercer and Malloy attend the class, and soon excuse themselves. Back in their quarters, they agree that destroying the ship (and thus killing all children) would be unconsciousable. Coja, a child from the classroom, interrupts their conversation to ask more questions about Earth and the enemy Planetary Union.
When Coja leaves, Mercer notices that the Krill are extremely susceptible to UV radiation. They devise a plan for Mercer to hack into the ship's engineering and cause the ship to emit large amounts of light; enough to kill a Krill but not enough to kill a Human. Mercer, meanwhile, would gather the children in a classroom and preemptively destroy the lights, sparing them.
Malloy leaves for engineering, successfully hacks into the ship's computers, and sets a timer for the UV blast. After, he is caught by the Sazeron, who finds his generator and takes Malloy to the bridge to Captain Haros. Mercer succeeds by finding Teleya and letting him talk to her class some more.
The ship arrives at Rana 3, so Haros decides that Malloy should watch its destruction before killing him. Krill soldiers, dispatched early by Sazeron, pursue Mercer and a confused Teleya through the ship. Fortunately, Mercer manages to flee with Teleya into the classroom and destroy the lights. The timer expires and a UV blast emits, killing all life on board but Mercer, Malloy, Teleya, and the children.
Unfortunately, deployment of the bomb was auto-scheduled by the ship's computer, and the Yakar fires on Rana 3 anyway. With the entire bridge crew decimated, Malloy is able to gain control of the ship's weapons array and fire torpedoes at the bomb, destroying it in space.
Mercer and Malloy guide a nearly-empty Yakar back into Union space where they reunite with the Orville.
Act 6 Edit
Teleya is in the Orville's Sick Bay. Mercer speaks with her alone and apologizes for the necessary deaths of her shipmates. He informs her that she is to be a prisoner, but the children will be returned to the Krill. The children, he continues, "have their whole lives ahead of them. They're not my enemies." Teleya solemnly predicts, "After what they saw what you do today, they will be. They will be."
The overarching narrative of the episode was crafted by the entire writing team, with creator Seth MacFarlane making final decisions on major plot points, although the script itself was written entirely by David A. Goodman around July, 2016. Composer Joel McNeely scored the episode in a span of roughly three weeks. Filming took about two weeks (relatively long compared to other episodes of the season),[n 1] completed some time in 2017 under the direction of Jon Cassar.
The idea for the episode came very early in the show's history, back when MacFarlane and Goodman first developed the elements of the show through long conversations. One of Goodman's first contributions was to develop MacFarlane's concept of the Krill into an enemy species motivated by a brutal god. MacFarlane had the idea for members of the Orville to go undercover on a Krill ship.
The pair were tinkering with ideas that were dormant since before The Orville was picked up by Fox. Goodman and MacFarlane had long discussed the idea of an alien race that regarded all other species as non-sentient and valueless during their conversations developing the show.
The idea was a powerful space empire that believed that if you are not in their bible [the Anhkana], you don’t exist. That was something we all worked together in the writer’s room. We knew who the Krill were going to be before this episode. That was something we decided with Seth early on before even the pilot script, but there was no way to get it across before that episode.The idea was tabled until the sixth episode, which MacFarlane gave to Goodman to write. Goodman sought to craft the Krill as religious fanatics as an allegory for dangerous religious extremism in our world. When asked about whether the show was finding a balance between dramatic storytelling and comedy with this episode, Goodman remarked that shows often take time to find their footing, and The Orville is no exception. "[A]ll the Star Trek shows took a while to figure out who they were. For me Deep Space Nine didn’t get good until season four and Voyager as well. All these kinds of shows take a little time to find themselves. If you are saying we are finding it on episode six, I’ll take it."
Executive producer Brannon Braga noted that Gordon and Ed's consideration of Krill families and children when deciding whether to destroy the Yakar was an intentional departure from Star Trek (a science fiction series that Braga worked on in the 1990s and early 2000s), which never made those ethical considerations in like circumstances.
Actor Scott Grimes (Gordon) famously hates wearing Krill costume and, for that reason, loathed acting in this episode. "It took two-and-a-half hours and it sucked. I'm glad I don’t have to do what the others have to do every day.”
For more information on the episode in the context of the season, see main article: Season 1.Krill was well received by general audiences, and enjoys an 8.3 rating on IMDB. It was seen by 3.37 million viewers in the United States. Although respectable, it was the lowest viewer rating until that point and the second-lowest of the season.
Critical Response Edit
After Krill aired, The Orville enjoyed some some of the strongest critical acclaim of the season until that point. Michael Ahr of Den of Geek gave the episode 4.5 stars, writing, "Genuinely entertaining humor and a multi-faceted moral dilemma combine amazingly well in one of the best The Orville episodes yet." Ahr echoed a common point among critics: The Orville finally introduced the Krill as a nuanced, complex antagonist.
Jammer of Jammer's Reviews awarded the episode three out of four stars, opining that Krill was the best episode so far. Unfortunately, he continued, even this episode suffered from its uneven use of comedy and drama, "where I'm supposed to ponder the future of these poor Krill kids after the story fairly glibly just barbecued a bunch of adults."
Nick Wanserski of the AV Club gave the episode a positive review, and especially praised developing the Krill as a villain, whom he said were introduced as stale, stock enemies in Old Wounds but now show the Krill as a complex enemy that raise deeper questions of morality.
- Guest star James Horan continues The Orville's use of actors with connections to the Star Trek franchise. Horan made guest appearances on The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, Voyager, and Enterprise. He is best known in Trek circles for playing an unnamed humanoid character colloquially referred to as "Future Guy" in five episodes of Enterprise.
- The severed human head prop used for the chapel scene was molded after famous special effects artist Tom Savini.
- There are 111 unique Krill characters in this episode alone.
- In this episode, the Planetary Union ship that carries Admiral Ozawa is the USS Olympia (LCV-529), a heavy cruiser, and a larger ship than the Orville. However, in the episode Cupid's Dagger, Darulio is carried aboard the USS Olympia (SCV-183). Thus the show has used "USS Olympia" as the name of two different Planetary Union ships, one smaller than the Orville and one larger.
- It remains to be seen if this was intentional or simply an oversight on behalf of the writers.
- Because the Union was unable to project holograms as disguises prior to the year 2419, it seems the technology used to disguise Malloy and Mercer was in fact a continuation of the technology taken from the Calivon in Command Performance.[N 1]
- The episode was written to take place before Pria but the order was swapped due to availability issues with guest star Charlize Theron.
- When Malloy is stabbed in the leg with a knife by Haros, he shouts "Dammit, that's a brand new leg." He is referring to the events of the previous episode Pria, in which Isaac severed Gordon's left leg in a misguided attempt at a humorous prank, and a new limb was slowly regenerated.
- The Yakar nearly attacks the colony Rana 3. The name refers to Star Trek: The Next Generation's episode "The Survivors," where the Federation colony Rana 4 was attacked.
- Alara references masturbation when she spurns Isaac's offer to "attempt sexual relations" and says she is "working on herself right now."
- The Krill's obsession with Avis and their destructive religion parallels Earth's history with extremist forms of religion.
- Kelly refers to the Bible, specifically Genesis 1:26, when she contrasts the Krill against earlier Earth beliefs about subjugating animals.
- While on a shuttle to be found by the Yakar, Gordon sings along to Creedence Clearwater Revival's "The Midnight Special."
- Seth MacFarlane used the song as a nod to the opening scene of the 1983 movie The Twilight Zone.
- Ed says the Anhkana reads like a Bret Easton Ellis novel. He is author of Less than Zero and American Psycho.
- While brainstorming Krill-sounding names, Ed and Gordon think of the names "Frusen Glädjé" and "Häagen-Dazs." Häagen-Dazs is an American ice cream brand and Frusen Glädjé was a popular frozen dessert treat in America from the 1980s until early 1990s.
- When Mercer and Malloy are discovered by soldiers in the Krill chapel, the Anhkara disappears from the altar. It reappears in the next cut.
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
Special Guest StarEdit
- Michaela McManus as Teleya
- James Horan as Sazeron
- Michael Dempsey as Mining Chief Harry Leidecker
- Makabe Ganey as Coja
- Gabriella Graves as Krill Girl Student
- Caleb Brown as Krill Boy Student
- Tim Neff as Krill Soldier
- Brandon Melendy as Krill Guard
- Jordan Lane Shappell as Krill Bridge Helmsman
- Fred Tatasciore as Krill Voice (voice only)
- Dirk Rogers as Captains Guard / Chapel Guard
- Alina Andrei as Krill Soldier
- ↑ The Orville adapted the holographic projector discovered on a Calivon buoy to enter Calivon space---this was not technology that the Union was able to reproduce. Further reinforcing that the disguise is adapted from the Calivon is that participants in the Environmental Simulator must wear their own costumes, they are not able to have the Simulator project a costume onto them. Recent adaptation of alien technology would also explain why the Union is unfamiliar with its use, and use it sparingly (Alara Kitan did not use the projector for her disguise in the following episode, Majority Rule).
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 "The Orville Fan Podcast w/ David A. Goodman (06)". Planetary Union Network. Oct. 14, 2017.
- ↑ "I believe each score takes roughly 3 weeks for the composer to write". MacFarlane, Seth. Twitter. Oct. 12, 2017.
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 Pascale, Anthony. "Interview: David A. Goodman On ‘The Orville’ As Sci-Fi Gateway And How ‘Futurama’ Landed ‘Enterprise’ Job". TrekMovie.com. Oct. 23, 2017.
- ↑ Pascale, Anthony. "Interview: Brannon Braga On How ‘The Orville’ Pays Tribute To Star Trek While Setting A New Course". TrekMovie.com. Sept. 14, 2017.
- ↑ "The Orville Fan Podcast w/ Jason Roberts (The Orville Unit Production Manager)". Planetary Union Network. April 19, 2018.
- ↑ Miller, Bruce R. "Ready for launch: 'The Orville' gets set to blast off". Sioux City Journal. Aug. 18. 2018.
- ↑ ""The Orville" Krill (TV Episode)". IMDB. Last accessed Dec. 30, 2017.
- ↑ "The Orville:Season One Ratings". TVSeriesFinale.com. Last accessed Dec. 6, 2017.
- ↑ Ahr, Michael. "The Orville Episode 6 Review: Krill". Den of Geek. Oct. 12, 2017.
- ↑ Epsicokhan, Jamal. "Krill". Jammer's Reviews. Last accessed Dec. 30, 2017.
- ↑ Wanserski, Nick. "The Orville explores a stock villain in an episode that's strong on story, but weak on jokes". AV Club. Oct. 13, 2017.
- ↑ "The Orville's Krill Makeup Demo at KNB EFX!". TESTED. Oct. 16, 2017.
- ↑ The Martini Shot Show. "Ep. 5 Howard Berger talks The Orville, breaking into the industry, and more!". YouTube. March 2, 2018.
- ↑ "David M. Smith, Ice Cream Heir and Founder of Smith Global Ventures, Establishes Frozen Happiness". WBTW News. May 10, 2018.
<ref>tags exist for a group named "n", but no corresponding
<references group="n"/>tag was found.