Into the Fold is the eighth episode of the first season of The Orville. Science Officer Isaac, Doctor Claire Finn, and her two sons, Marcus and Ty, are stranded on a previously undiscovered moon whose starving and sick inhabitants have resorted to cannibalism.
The episode is considered the darkest of the first season. It was co-written by Brannon Braga and André Bormanis and directed by Braga. Music was composed by Joel McNeely. Star Trek veteran Brian Thompson guest stars as the alien survivalist Drogen.
Into the Fold performed above-average for its time slot. Based on critical responses, it is regarded as a "hate it or love it" episode, as Into the Fold received some of the most highly disparate reviews of any episode of the season.
On October 26, 2017, Fox released a 30 second promotional video. The teaser was notable as it departed from the usual lighthearted tone of The Orville's promos and not using the show's high-energy theme song.
Doctor Finn crash-lands on an alien surface. Captain Ed Mercer orders the crew of the USS Orville to set a course for Finn's last known coordinates. A narrator says "this Thursday, it's the Orville's most dangerous mission yet." Scenes from the episode play in quick succession. The video concludes with a joke from Mercer.
Plot synopsis Edit
Act One Edit
The episode opens to Ty Finn waking up his mother, Doctor Claire Finn, in her bed on the USS Orville. Ty is excited because the family will be going on a vacation. She rouses her other son, Marcus, out of bed, who grumpily says that he does not want to take a vacation to a "play planet."
Soon, the Finn family is the Shuttle Bay of the Orville, ready to depart. Commander Kelly Grayson tells her that Navigator John LaMarr is unable to accompany them on their voyage because he will be supervising an upgrade to the ship's spatial manifold. Instead, Isaac will pilot their shuttle, who relishes the opportunity to study Humans in greater detail.
Traveling through space, Marcus and Ty bicker while Isaac and Claire discuss the children's behavior. Isaac cannot understand why Claire does not discipline her children more severely. Irritated, Claire rebuffs Isaac's advice by saying that she chooses to raise them how she wills.
Ty, enraged with Marcus, grabs his portable game and throws it at the shuttle's main controls, sending the vessel off course into a spatial fold, a type of Spatial Anomaly. The shuttle is sucked into the fold and sent into uncharted space, lightyears from their former location. The shuttle was badly damaged by the fold, and the group crash-lands on a habitable, but uncharted moon of a gas giant planet. The shuttle breaks into two pieces, Isaac and the children landing on one half and Claire in the other, and land in very different locations on the moon.
On one end of the crash site, the Doctor is knocked unconscious and is taken by a nearby inhabitant of the moon. In the other half of the ship, far away, Isaac snaps Marcus' dislocated knee back into place.
Act Three Edit
Isaac, Marcus, and Ty agree that they must find Claire. Isaac decides to search alone, and leaves the boys with a gun before setting off.
That night, Ty and Marcus hear movement in the woods. An indigenous humanoid bursts from hiding in a brush to grab Ty. The man attempts to abscond with Ty, but Isaac has returned and stuns him. The man releases Ty and flees.
Meanwhile, on the the Orville, the whole of Engineering (joined by Captain Ed Mercer) installs the new spatial manifold. Mercer receives word from Grayson that Finn's shuttle never arrived and that she is missing. With the navigational array on the floor of Engineering, the Orville is unable to easily track the shuttle. Mercer decides they will have to navigate the "old fashioned way" with star charts.
On the moon, Isaac tries to repair the shuttle as Ty and Marcus continue to fight. Isaac demands they stop and explains how he needs the element dysonium to send a distress single for help. Marcus claims he learned that the element often exists in deposits on planetary bodies. Isaac searches the moon and finds traces of it located within the mountains.
Claire wakes to find herself in a strange room. A man enters and gives her a bucket of food, claiming she needs to eat. Claire attempts to learn more of her situation but he merely responds that she is "in a safe place." The scene ends with Claire attempting to force open a panel on the wall after the man left.
Isaac and the two boys walk through the mountains but are waylaid by hostile natives who demand the children. Isaac early dispatches them with his PM-44, and observes that the men are seriously ill and assumes that they wanted to eat Ty and Marcus.
Claire continues to pry open the panel of the room until the man returns and demands she eat. Introducing himself as Drogen, he explains that the moon suffered a great war. The enemy tainted the water supply with Poloxus. Those who survived the initial attack were made sick and began to starve as food supplies dwindled.
Isaac and the boys attempt to cross a river but Ty falls in the water. Ty says the he is fine, and the group continues onward.
Back on the Orville, Second Officer Bortus detects a "Class 2 Spatial Fold" and Mercer speculates that the missing crewmembers entered through the fold. The Orville goes through the fold and finds itself lost in space. LaMarr finds the nearby gas giant with over thirty habitable moons, and the bridge assumes Isaac set down on one of them for repairs. Mercer concludes that they will have to search each moon "one at a time."
Act Five Edit
After a night of storytelling and rest, Isaac awakens both boys only to find Ty afflicted by the same disease the natives have. Isaac carries Ty until they can locate enough dysonium.
Still trapped in her makeshift cell, Claire manages to shimmy open a window only to discover out she is extremely high up within an abandoned apartment building-turned-compound. Desperate to escape, she cuts herself and then calls for Drogen. She tells him that she needs special medicine from her crashed ship or will die of infection. Drogen leaves for the supplies; Claire gets into another room of the facility to find a knife and her communicator. Claire contacts the other three. Marcus apologizes for his insolent behavior, and Isaac and Claire form a rendezvous plan.
Drogen returns with the medicine. Claire stabs Drogen and snatches his handgun from his holster. Drogen charges her but Claire shoots him, killing him instantly.
Claire rendezvouses with Isaac at the shuttle crash site. Claire tends to Ty and Isaac hastily installs the dysonium. Unfortunately, the dysonium's quality is poor and the shuttle's signal strength is weak. Isaac fears it may take weeks for any one to receive it at all. Claire begins feeling disheartened that she cannot make an antidote for Ty without her lab. "Ty doesn't have weeks, dammit," Claire says tearfully to Isaac. "I can't just wait and sit here." Isaac attempts to console Claire by holding her hand.
On the Orville, Lieutenant Alara Kitan picks up the signal. The crew scans the location of the signal's source and finds three Humans and one artifical lifeform. However, two dozen sick, cannibalistic natives are also spotted charging Isaac and the Finns. Isaac and Marcus manage to hold off the natives until the Orville arrives, which uses its cannons to demolish the entire horde.
Act Six Edit
Safe on board the Orville, Claire gives Ty an antidote. Grayson says she hopes the Planetary Union allows them to return so they may use their new cure to help the moon's remaining survivors.
While Ty rests, Claire finds Isaac in the engineering room and tells him that Ty will be fine and that her sons miss him. He explains that in spite of their vindictive and aggressive behavior, he is deeply fond of them. Claire smiles and replies, "Welcome to the family."
Creator Seth MacFarlane tasked producers Brannon Braga and André Bormanis to write the eighth episode - what became Into the Fold. However, Braga was inexperienced with comedy scripts and "terrified" that he could not write a suitably funny episode. It turned out that while he was responsible for adding jokes, most were removed by MacFarlane. Braga presented a draft to the writing team for a comedy pass, where the writers discussed the humor of the episode at length and helped peppering the script with humorous moments.
While Braga recalled it relatively easy to write for Claire Finn, his great "challenge" was writing for Isaac. Braga worried that a faceless, relatively nondescript android could undermine the emotions evoked in the episode's more sensitive scenes. Fortunately, he was very pleased with actor Mark Jackson's performance.
Writing was completed some time between June and October, 2016. Filming was completed sometime in 2017 under the direction of Braga. Filming took roughly eight days while composer Joel McNeely's score took three weeks to complete.
After The Orville premiered, MacFarlane commented on the ethics behind the final battle of the Finns and Isaac against the indigenous attackers. Claire orders Marcus to set his weapon set to stun. "They may not care about life," she says. "But we do." From a production standpoint, Claire articulated the philosophy of MacFarlane:
[Star Trek creator] Gene Roddenberry’s philosophy was always very meaningful to me when I was a kid. I always loved that the phasers were set on stun. That was something you really only saw on that show. That there was actually an ethical code, that it wasn’t about just shooting faceless bad guys. It was about respect for life.The effects supervisors Luke McDonald and Brandon Fayette said that the episode was the first where the post-production staff understood how to work most efficiently and "hit [their] stride."
Preparing to air Edit
Relative to other episodes, the cast spoke relatively little of the episode prior to launch. Mark Jackson (Isaac) promised only that Into the Fold would show Isaac develop relationships with other members of the Orville's crew.
Relative to other episodes of The Orville, Into the Fold performed unevenly among TV audiences. It was seen by 3.8 million United States viewers, slightly higher than expected given its Thursday night time slot (though a marked drop from the previous episode Majority Rule). On the other hand, the episode holds a 7.6 rating on IMDB, the second-lowest of the season.
Critical Response Edit
Critics of the show were widely divided in their opinions of Into the Fold. Michael Ahr from Den of Geek gave the episode four stars, one of his highest grades of the season, writing that Into the Fold's departure from the show's characteristic airy humor was a welcome change. Nick Wanserski praised the episode for its excellent acting by Penny Johnson Jerald and innovative script.
Jammer of Jammer's Reviews awarded the episode only 1.5 stars, one of his lowest grades of the season. Into the Fold failed, in his opinion, because "it's so utterly pedestrian. It's a lifeless crash/survival/kidnap/rescue story that has an absentee plot, and characterization that, while not terrible, is mundane."
Impact on Season 2 Edit
See main article: Season 2.Creator Seth MacFarlane has hinted that the dark tone of the episode may be repeated in episodes for Season 2. In a January, 2018, interview, MacFarlane stated that the success of Into the Fold convinced him that The Orville can be taken in a more serious direction:
One of the really successful episodes to me in the first season was the one where Claire and Isaac are trapped on that planet alone. It was a very dark, kind of somber episode that still lived in that world very successfully. That episode for me in the first season was a real test of how far we can take the genuine science fiction aspect to it.
- The episode aired near Halloween, and, given its dark content, is regarded as thematic for the season.
- Ty wakes his mother by nagging her with "mom, mommy, mom...," mirroring a famous Family Guy scene where Stewie nags his mother in the same fashion.
- In the episode If the Stars Should Appear, Claire reveals that she suffers from near-debilitating acrophobia, a fear of heights, and grabs Isaac's hand for comfort. In this episode, she is forced to overcome her fear when she has to escape from Drogen's compound. Later, Isaac holds her hand to comfort her.
- Engineering plays the music of Barry Manilow while they update the navigational array.
- A production error results in a continuity error in this episode: the Finns and Isaac are shown boarding shuttle ECV-197-2, while the shuttle that crash lands on the moon is marked ECV-197-1.
- As explained by McDonald and Fayette, the generic texture for the digital model of the shuttle was "ECV-197-1." Season 1's post-production schedule allotted twelve days of editing per episode, an amount of time discovered to be far too brief. By the time the error was noticed (after rendering the scenes), the scenes could not be re-rendered and Fayette had no choice but to leave the mistake in.
- Isaac and the Finns are attacked by 37 cannibals. However, Lieutenant Bortus says there are 24 life-forms on the planet.
- In one cut, the cannibals attack from three directions. In the next cut, the cannibals are approaching en masse from a single direction.
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
- Kai Wener as Ty Finn (as Kai Di'Nilo Wener)
- BJ Tanner as Marcus Finn
- Norm Macdonald as Yaphit (voice only)
- Larry Joe Campbell as Steve Newton
- Rachael MacFarlane as Computer (voice only)
- Brian Thompson as Drogen
- Brett Easton as Feral Alien Man
- Heidi Pascoe as Feral Alien Woman
- Brandon Melendy as Feral Alien #5
- Tim Soergel as Feral Alien
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 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/ Brannon Braga (08)". Planetary Union Network. Nov. 5, 2017.
- ↑ "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.
- ↑ Kain, Erik. "Interview: Seth MacFarlane On The Orville's Unique Tone, 'Star Trek' Roots". Forbes. Sept. 26, 2017.
- ↑ 6.0 6.1 "The Orville Fan Podcast w/ The Visual Effects Team". Planetary Union Network. May 23, 2018.
- ↑ "Mark Jackson Interview | AfterBuzz TV's Spotlight On". AfterBuzz TV. Sept. 13, 2017.
- ↑ ""The Orville" Into the Fold (TV episode)". IMDB. Last accessed Jan. 9, 2017.
- ↑ Ahr, Michael. "The Orville Episode 8 Review: Into the Fold". Den of Geek. Nov. 2, 2017.
- ↑ Wanserski, Nick. "In an excellent episode, Dr. Finn emerges as The Orville's best character". AV Club. Nov. 3, 2017.
- ↑ Epsicokhan, Jamal. "Into the Fold". Jammer's Reviews. Last accessed Jan. 9, 2018.
- ↑ Surette, Tim. "The Orville Season 2 Will Be Bigger, But We'll Probably Have to Wait for It". TVGuide. Jan. 4, 2017.