"If you were caught in an ion storm, who would you want at the helm?" ― Ed Mercer, on Gordon Malloy[source]
Gordon Malloy is a Human Helmsman and Lieutenant aboard the USS Orville. Gordon is renowned throughout the Planetary Union as possibly its most skillful pilot. In December, 2419, Gordon and Captain Ed Mercer successfully capture the Krill destroyer Yakar, recovering a wealth of information on the secretive, highly aggressive Krill species.
Prior to joining the Orville, Gordon worked an office job at Planetary Union Central in New York City. He was personally requested to serve as Helmsman by his long time friend and the current captain, Ed.
Gordon is played by Scott Grimes.
Little is known of Gordon's life before joining the Union. He once said that his father was often drunk and abandoned him for long periods of time.[n 1]
Gordon has been friends with Ed since their days as drinking buddies at the academy Union Point. Even then, Gordon was known a gifted up-and-coming young pilot, respected for his dexterity and brashness. As a student in flight school, Gordon was able to "hug the donkey," an extremely difficult and dangerous fighting tactic.
After matriculation, Gordon soon established himself as the best helmsman in the Planetary Union. Years later, Navigator John LaMarr said that Gordon's piloting skills were "legendary" throughout the Union.
Yet Gordon's relaxed attitude and puerile behavior often got him into trouble. He was disciplined for drawing "a penis on the main viewing screen of Outpost T-85," and on other things as well. A final straw came some time before 2419. Wanting to impress a girl, Gordon manually overrode shuttle docking. Though no one was hurt, a cargo bay door was sheared off and 300 crates of authentic autumn squash were sucked into space. Gordon was suspended indefinitely and placed on desk duty soon after.
When Ed is offered command of the Orville in September, 2419, he immediately asks Admiral Halsey that Gordon be made its helmsman. Though Halsey is concerned about Gordon's record of churlish behavior, he defers to Ed's judgment if Ed believes he can "keep Gordon focused." Later that same month, Gordon flies to the Orville by shuttle while drinking a beer, and by afternoon pilots the ship out of the Union Dockyard on its maiden voyage.
Gordon's dismissiveness of command and authority, which got him into trouble in the past, soon re-surfaced. In October, Ed and Commander Kelly Grayson are kidnapped by Calivon zookeepers. When acting commander Alara Kitan follows Union orders to abandon the two as lost in the line of duty, Gordon is outraged. He angrily criticizes Alara's decision and is removed from duty. He is reinstated only after speaking bluntly with Alara, convincing her to disobey orders and rescue Ed and Kelly:
You know what the really heinous thing is? If the Captain were in your shoes, he would've gone after you. He would've risked his career to save your life. You suck... sir.
Military engagements Edit
Battle of Epsilon 2 EditGordon quickly proves his renowned piloting skills to the Orville's bridge crew only a week after joining. Forced into a battle with a Krill destroyer, the Orville was outclassed and outgunned. Recognizing that their ship could never fight tit-for-tat with a heavier destroyer, the Pilot "hugs the donkey" like he did in flight school in order to distract the Krill from capturing a shuttle holding the ground team, Doctor Aronov, and valuable technology.
Though Gordon successfully hugged the donkey, the Orville is heavily damaged by Krill torpedoes and the shuttle is heavily by wreckage from the Orville. The shuttle loses helm control and is unable to dock itself in the Shuttle Bay. Faced with nearly impossible odds, Gordon manages to orient the Orville so that the shuttle can enter the Bay. Gordon's ingenuity and unparalleled piloting skills saved the Orville and rescued the crew.
Rescue of the Druyan EditIn November, Gordon's skills would be required again. The Orville receives a Priority One distress call from the USS Druyan, a colony transport under attack from the Krill. After a brief 20 minute flight, the Orville engaged the attacking Destroyer. Again outgunned and heavily damaged as they were at the battle over Epsilon 2, Gordon and John worked together to attack the enemy's engines. The idea to attack the engines was a gambit; the traditional theory would be to attack the weapons, but John argued that the enemy's engines were near collapse. John's idea worked, and the Orville lived to fight another battle.
Battle with the Kakov EditSeveral weeks later, Gordon pilots the Orville through a fight with the battle cruiser Kakov. The Orville was called to rescue the new colony planet Kastra 4. Under Ed's orders, Gordon eludes the enemy by flying through the planet's atmosphere, then drops the entire payload at once, destroying the Kakov utterly.
Infiltration of the Yakar EditPerhaps the highlight of Gordon's career came in December, 2419. In the aftermath of the destruction of the Kakov, a rare Krill shuttle was recovered from the wreckage. Admiral Ozawa joined the Orville to give Ed and Gordon a new mission: pose as Krill survivors from the Kakov, infiltrate a Krill destroyer, and escape with a copy of the Anhkana. The Anhkana is a Krill holy text that preaches the destruction of all other species believed inferior, which the Union understands motivates the Krill. Though an Anhkana sits in every destroyer, the Union had not yet procured a copy.
Advanced holographic projection technology recovered from the Calivon was adapted to fashion holographic disguises for Ed and Gordon. Posing as Krill soldiers "Chris" and "Devon," Ed and Gordon are picked up by the Yakar.
Ed and Gordon manage to make a partial copy of the book, and, later, discover a massive bomb several decks below. The bomb is a protoype to be dropped on the Union colony planet of Rana 3. Ed notices that the Krill are extremely susceptible to UV radiation, and they devise a plan for Gordon 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.
Gordon successfully hacks into the ship's computers and sets a timer for the UV blast but he is caught by the High Priest, who finds his generator and takes Gordon to the bridge to Captain Haros. The ship arrives at Rana 3, so Haros decides that Gordon should watch its destruction before killing him. Fortunately, the Krill never realized that Gordon had hacked their lighting system. A blast UV radiation is emitted, killing most Krill life on board.
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, Gordon is able to gain control of the ship's weapons array and fire torpedoes at the bomb, destroying it in space. Ed and Gordon guide a nearly empty Yakar back into Union space where they reunite with the Orville. The mission is a rousing success. Not only did the two successfully acquire a copy of the Anhkana, but steal an entire Krill destroyer to boot.
Gordon is an outgoing, fun-loving officer who loves classic movies and television of the 20th and 21st centuries, drinking, strip clubs,[n 2] and playing practical jokes on his fellow crewmembers. Compared against other members of the crew, he is considered a bit of a dullard. On one occasion, Kelly quizzes Gordon about information considered basic on Earth. He is unable to identify the capital of the former United States, the four chambers of the Human heart, and the scientist responsible for eradicating cancer.[n 3]
As a dedicated bachelor, Gordon loathes the idea of settling down with a wife. When John asks if he has ever been married, Gordon replies, "Hell, no. In fact, when I imagine the person I'd fall in love with, the person who could bring me so much happiness that I'd want us to spend the rest of our lives together, God, it just makes me want to kill myself."
Gordon loves passing time in the Environmental Simulator. He programs a charismatic battle ogre named Justin and tweaks a pre-existing program of a shoot-out with Vásquez to make the desperado a dancer.
Occasionally Gordon's strong personality clashes with his job. He finds star-mapping to be extremely boring and persistently requests to wear shorts at the helm. More seriously, he drinks alcohol while piloting several times. First, when flying a shuttle from Earth to the Union Dockyard. Second, he admits to being drunk while at the helm outside the Multiphasic Planet.[n 4]
Relationship with the crew Edit
Gordon has been friends with Ed since their days as students at Union Point. Even then, Gordon loved off-color humor and high-risk aerial tactics. The two were drinking companions, and remained close friends through Ed's marriage and divorce.
The Helmsman gets along well with his bridgemate, John. The two quickly bonded in the morning of their first day aboard the Orville, and are laid-back, often disregard decorum, and together enjoy pranking other members of the crew. In one notable prank, Gordon and John place a piece of gelatinous Lieutenant Yaphit in buffet food, which Bortus unwittingly eats. For their jape, Gordon and John are formally reprimanded by Kelly.
Gordon's relationship with Kelly is rocky. Thanks to his friendship with Ed, he knew Kelly prior to the Orville and found her to be a "bitch" because of the affair. After telling the Bridge crew that she is a bitch, he lies to her, saying he told them "that you're actually a pretty good person."
Practical jokes Edit
On one occasion, Gordon was the victim of a prank gone awry. In late November, Gordon sticks large Mr. Potatohead pieces on Isaac's face and encourages the Science Officer to prank him back. As a Kaylon, Isaac struggles with understanding humor. He responds disproportionately by surgically removing Gordon's leg, which requires Doctor Claire Finn to regenerate his leg over the course of several days. Gordon is initially horrified by Isaac's macabre sense of humor, but in time forgives him. "I was just angry 'cause you took my leg," he later confesses. "But, when I really stopped to think about it, that was honest to God the best damn practical joke I've ever seen in my life."
Isaac's prank is woefully ill-timed. The time-travelling thief Pria Lavesque commandeered the Orville and took it into the 29th century. Ed orders Gordon to the Bridge, as only he is talented enough to pilot an escape. Though Gordon is successful, Ed forced Gordon to fly against Claire's medical recommendation, interrupting the regeneration process. Fortunately, Gordon's leg is fully restored.
Creator Seth MacFarlane developed the character of Gordon with Scott specifically in mind, and Scott accepted the role after a single phone call with Seth, never having read the script. Scott later said of his character: "I might have a cocktail at the wrong time or make the wrong decision, but it’s always from the heart. And I can drive the ship like nobody’s business so that’s why I’m there."
Gordon is mostly unchanged from his original script, and the character was created by Seth MacFarlane with actor Scott Grimes in mind. Grimes later said Seth writes Gordon's dialogue "comes from how he thinks I'd speak," although he also acknowledged that he and actor J. Lee (John LaMarr) improvise constantly when at the helm. According to the original pilot script, Gordon's name was Gordon Stevens, a smoker and a beer drinker who loves the song "Jeremy" by Pearl Jam, and described by Ed as "checked out half the time."
Helmsman Malloy is the only member of the main cast not to have a dedicated episode where the plot revolves around him. During development, Scott Grimes told creator Seth MacFarlane not to worry about giving Gordon a feature episode, and later criticized his own character as transparent:
Everybody in this first thirteen kind of has their own episode and Gordon just kind of flashes into everybody’s episode because he’s... I don’t think we need to delve into who Gordon is or where he came from. I think he’s pretty shallow and obvious.
More so than other characters, Gordon functions as a writing tool to root the futuristic concepts of the The Orville in terms 21st century audiences will understand. His love of period television allows him to allude to events, shows, and ideas that are famous now but would be obscure after four centuries. For example, when John is told that his potential Social Correction would be voted on by Sargans, Gordon calls it "government by American Idol." When Kelly asks him who developed the technique to eradicate cancer cells, he answers, "Bill Nye the Cancer Guy?" In Command Performance, his extensive knowledge of classic television became a crucial plot point, as he suggested to Alara to trade the Union's archives of reality television shows with the Calivon Zoo Administrator in exchange for Ed and Kelly.
- Gordon tells John that he was disciplined for doing a manual shuttle docking onto a ship which heavily damaged the ship. A week later, Bortus has Gordon manually position the Orville to dock the oncoming shuttle, essentially the same tactic that Gordon screwed up but in reverse.
- Gordon loves 21st century reality television, and had the idea to trade archives of the shows with Calivon Zoo administrators in exchange for Ed and Kelly.
- After Moclan weapons testing nearly destroys Gordon's shuttle, Gordon discloses that he defecated in his pants.
- He is terrified of surgery (tomophobia), even having a panic attack during the removal of a skin tag.
- Gordon's fascination with specific facets of centuries-old American culture has been compared to Star Trek: Voyager's Tom Paris, who was enamored of 1950s television and automobiles.
- ↑ When Bortus leaves, John says: "He just left his baby alone with two drunk dudes." Gordon replies, "Reminds me of my dad. I miss him." Episode 3: About a Girl
- ↑ Gordon asks if Epsilon 2 has bars or strip clubs. Episode 1: Old Wounds
- ↑ In another instance, Gordon tells Kelly, "I'm going to look up what 'magnanimous' means." Episode 1: Old Wounds
- ↑ "Can you translate that for dumb guys who might also be a little drunk?" Episode 12: Mad Idolatry
- Episode 1: Old Wounds
- Episode 2: Command Performance
- Episode 3: About a Girl
- Episode 4: If The Stars Should Appear
- Episode 5: Pria
- Episode 6: Krill
- Episode 7: Majority Rule
- Episode 8: Into the Fold
- Episode 9: Cupid's Dagger
- Episode 10: Firestorm
- Episode 11: New Dimensions
- Episode 12: Mad Idolatry
- ↑ Scott Grimes in The World of the Orville by Jeff Bond. Titan Books. 2018. Pg. 72.
- ↑ 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 Episode 1: Old Wounds
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 Episode 2: Command Performance
- ↑ Episode 6: Krill
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 Episode 3: About a Girl
- ↑ 6.0 6.1 Episode 4: If the Stars Should Appear
- ↑ Episode 11: New Dimensions
- ↑ 8.0 8.1 8.2 Episode 5: Pria
- ↑ 9.0 9.1 "THE ORVILLE PODCAST EP 14 - THE SCOTT GRIMES INTERVIEW". The Orville Podcast. Dec. 8, 2017.
- ↑ 10.0 10.1 10.2 Stuart, Alistar. "Scott Grimes Interview: The Orville actor on boldly going the MacFarlane way". MYMBuzz. Dec. 7, 2017.
- ↑ MacFarlane, Seth. Orville 1x01 - Pilot. Fox Broadcasting Co.
- ↑ Episode 7: Majority Rule
- ↑ Episode 10: Firestorm