"I was chosen to represent my planet. I see it as an ideal opportunity to study human behavior." ― Isaac[source]Isaac is a Kaylon Science and Engineering Officer on board the USS Orville. Unlike most serving on the Orville, Isaac is not an official member of the Planetary Union. He instead works as a representative on behalf of the Kaylon to help foster better relations between his people and the Union.
Isaac is portrayed by Mark Jackson.
Isaac was assembled within a factory on Kaylon 1 similar to most of his species.
Prior to 2419, the Union admiralty offered a posting to any Kaylon willing to take it. Isaac was chosen by his people to serve on the Orville in "an effort initiate relations between Kaylon and the Union," to study human behavior and serve as a representative for his planet.
The precise date that Isaac first joined the Orville is unclear, although it was probably September, 2419.
Captain Ed Mercer meets Isaac during introductions with senior staff and notes that his species is said to be "legendarily racist;" Isaac explains that Kaylons simply view biological life forms as inferior. He adds that the Captain will find him to be "his most capable officer" aboard the ship.
Exploring the BioshipEdit
The Orville comes across a strange bioship which Isaac scans as being made of an unknown alloy as well as appearing to be several times larger than the Orville. As the only one with reflexes fast enough to properly dock the Shuttlecraft within the bioship's airlock, Isaac joins the investigating team. After entering the interior ecosystem he uses his Comscanner to learn that there are millions of inhabitants onboard, in addition they are also outside The Orville's communication range. Captain Mercer decides it would be best for them to split up, and requests Isaac and Doctor Claire Finn accompany him in exploring the environment.
While walking Isaac asks Mercer about the reason Kelly Grayson cheated on him while they were married. He tells him to drop it, but Isaac continues to ask. Ed explains that sometimes two people just aren't right for each other even if they are in love, the relationships simply ceases to work. They eventually come across a cabin and after knocking on the door a man attempts to shoot them with a shotgun. He fortunately misses and Isaac stuns him with a PM-44. The trio enter the cabin and startle the man's wife & son, Tomilin. Isaac introduces himself, explaining what he is and bluntly asking them about the bioship's origins. Tomilin is confused by his questions and insists the ecosystem is all of existence and there is nothing beyond it. Isaac concludes the residents must be unaware they're on a vessel. Tomilin says if they are truly from the outside they need to come with him.
Tomilin explains that he is part of a group called the Reformers who believe there is more to the universe then what they can see, a philosophy that is against their primary religion, worshipping the omnipotent deity Dorahl. Isaac comments the need for biological species to associate the creation of the universe with an all-knowing god is most fascinating. Isaac is then asked how he thinks the universe began and he proudly explains the science of quantum fluctuations, how it is observed to create matter & energy in spaces where none exist. The team is escorted into a large hall where they are offered food and seats from Kemka. He tells them that the First Guardian of Dorahl and leader of their bioship, Hamelac, is trying to wipe out the Reformers for alleged blasphemy. Isaac observes their society must be a dictatorial theocracy.
The three crew members are later informed by Alara Kitan that Kelly Grayson had been kidnapped by Dorahlian guards and taken to Hamelac. Mercer realizes they're gonna need backup to save her and assigns Isaac to go back to the Shuttlecraft and inform The Orville of their query. He does as told but informs them the Orville is gone, the buoy they left claims they needed to respond to a distress signal sent by the USS Druyan.
Isaac makes his way to the capital after the rest of the crew had saved Kelly and dispatched of Hamelac. Kemka leads them a doorway they found months before and Isaac uses technopathy to unlock it and figure out that it leads to an elevator. They take it to the highest level of the bioship and Isaac plays the last recording on a monitor, which is simply the ship's late Captain Jahavus Dorahl speaking about the history of the bioship. Meant to take his people to distant worlds, but that their engines were damaged by an Ion Storm which left them stuck adrift in space. Isaac tells the crew that the bioship's engine damage is only minor and could be fixed in under a day, he also says that the outer hull is retractable. Ed Mercer tells him to open it so that all the Dorahlians living inside can see the stars for the first time.
"This is humor? - Yes! I must admit, it is quite challenging." ― Isaac's response after experiencing a practical joke[source]Gordon Malloy tries to educate Isaac on humor after he fails to understand the appeal of the television series Seinfeld. He plays a practical joke on Isaac by taping Mr. Potato Head attributes to his head. Unaware of that, Isaac walks onto the Bridge and sits down at his station, while everyone else stares in confusion. When told of the joke, Isaac explains that his glowing "eyes" exist merely for aesthetic purposes that he "sees" by using an array of sensors located elsewhere, hence he failed to detect the attributes, as they were not classified a threat.
Gordon explains what he did to Isaac was an example of a practical joke. That he would need to do one back to him to further enhance the humor and enjoyment of the activity. Isaac, believing he understands the concept, amputates Malloy's left leg in his sleep and hides it in Pria Lavesque's quarters. Malloy however doesn't find this amusing and claims that Isaac went too far with his follow up joke.
After Pria Lavesque's device is discovered in Engineering, Chief Engineer Newton manages to get through the housing with an old-fashioned diamond-tipped drill. Isaac attempts to use technopathy in order to study the data within it. However, the device explodes shortly after & ends up severely damaging his body. While Malloy sits in the Sick Bay waiting for his leg to regrow, Isaac is brought in alongside him. Gordon confesses to his unconscious form that cutting off his leg was quite possibly, the best practical joke ever. Shortly after, Isaac announces to the crew that he managed to transfer his consciousness into the Orville's computer, where he is able to successfully override the device's control. After the repairs are complete, Isaac is downloaded back into his own body.
Isaac's pursuit of humor is followed up in New Dimensions when Malloy suggests that the Bridge should get a cat. Isaac asks how a cat on board would improve their morale. Alara explains that animals are fun for have around and express unconditional love, Gordon reaffirms this and explains that humans bond with cats by petting them, that Isaac should try it sometime in order to better understand biological beings. Isaac later gets up and begins to gently stroke Gordon's arm, asking if they're bonding.
Hacking the Master Feed Edit
When the designated team arrives at Sargus 4, Isaac joins Mercer in commenting about its uncanny similarity to 21st century Earth. After John LaMarr is arrested, he along with the Bridge crew watches his Apology tour in confusion.
Lysella is eventually brought aboard the Orville, Isaac briefly educates her regarding himself and Bortus. After Lysella describes her planet's society, Isaac realizes that Sargus 4 is a rare example of an absolute democracy and explains to Lysella that the system confuses the concepts of knowledge with opinion.
After John LaMarr fails his Apology tour, Lysella suggests that public opinion could be swayed by messages posted on the planet's Master Feed. Isaac hacks in and floods the chat room with content suggestions by the crew and Lysella, which saves Lieutenant LaMarr from undergoing Social Correction.
Moon Landing Edit
"Dr. Finn, I look forward to joining you and your offspring on this recreational outing. It will give me an opportunity to observe human familial dynamics at close range." ― Isaac[source]When the Orville returns to Earth for a navigational upgrade, Doctor Finn is due to go on vacation with her sons, Ty and Marcus, John LaMarr is assigned to escort them. LaMarr, however is needed for work on the upgrade and Grayson instead assigns Isaac to co-pilot Finn's shuttle.
During the flight, Claire's children bicker and tease each other consistently. Isaac asks the Doctor if her children are always so ill behaved and she affirms whenever they aren't asleep. Isaac explains that on his homeworld when a program is functioning in a disruptive manner it is terminated, he then offers to vaporize Claire's children to the same effect, but she sternly demands him not to. Ty & Marcus continue to misbehave and Isaac observes that Claire's scolding does little to appease them. Doctor Finn claims that she doesn't have to take that from a "taking hub cap". He accuses her of prejudice against non-organic lifeforms, and she corrects him only ones who think they're better than everyone else. Isaac responds only saying that he doesn't "think" he "knows" that Kaylon are better. Claire sarcastically comments on Isaac's arrogance, and he claims their superiority is simply an observable fact. Reminding her that the only reason he is there is to study the behavior of Union species to further better relations with his people.
The Shuttle then begins to shake and Isaac notes they're approaching a Spatial fold and need to adjust course to successfully avoid it. Ty and Marcus fight more and accidentally throw a portable gaming device at the ship's controls, causing it to go off course directly into the Fold. They pass through into an entirely unmapped section of space. To make matters worse, the Fold's gravity had fractured the Hull and put the Shuttle offline from communication with The Orville. The fracture begins expanding, and Claire insists they have to land somewhere soon before the vessel destroys itself. Isaac calculates there are planets nearby with habitable moons they can temporarily take refuge on. Finn likes the idea and Isaac takes them to a Moon with an atmosphere akin to Earth's.
Losing stability, Isaac tells Claire to go back and replace the vessel's plasma reserves. The Shuttle breaks apart on the Moon's surface and splits into two. Isaac is left with Marcus and Ty while Claire is marooned by herself. Isaac tries to call Doctor Finn with his Comscanner but she doesn't answer. He later notices Marcus' knee is dislocated, and sets it back into place. He then scans the nearby forest where he attempts to calculate where Finn and the rest of the Shuttle could've crash landed. He walks back to the refuge and gives Marcus a PM-44, asking him if he knows how to use one. After explaining how, Isaac walks off to find Claire, much to the boys confusion, but he insists that the weapon will increase their chances of survival by 24%.
After walking through the forest, Isaac is able to successfully find Finn's half of the Shuttle, but is unable to actually locate her. He returns to Ty and Marcus at nightfall just in time to save them from a violent native of the moon. He begins working on repairs to his half of the Shuttle as Ty and Marcus both accuse each other of being responsible for the crash in the first place. Isaac informs them the consistent bickering is distracting him, they continue until he finally stops what he's doing and scolds them to cease their arguing. After they both calm, he informs them the Dysonium supply from the Shuttle is depleted and he will need more to send a signal to The Orville. With encouragement from Marcus, Isaac uses his Comscanner to search the nearby vicinity for Dysonium, locating a sizable amount atop a mountain near them. Marcus insists they should go look now, but Isaac, aware of how biological beings need a rest period before strenuous labor, tells them they will look in the morning after the boys get sleep.
The next day, walking to the mountains Marcus & Ty argue over who gets to play the handheld game. Ty is frustrated by his brother's refusal to let him have a turn he calls for Isaac to help. Answering, he takes the device and destroys with his own PM-44. To alleviate Marcus' boredom, Isaac begins asking him why he appears to hold his mother, Claire, in such contempt. Marcus denies it but Isaac synthesizes his vocal patterns to show how disrespectful his comments to her sounded the day before. They're soon attacked by a group of natives and Isaac dispatches then, Ty tries to hold his hand but Isaac refuses. After encouragement from Marcus to continue doing so again, Isaac complies. They eventually make it to a river and try to cross, but Ty trips on a wet rock and falls in. Seemingly unhurt, Isaac insists they must continue to move.
At dusk, they set up camp and start a fire. The boys request that Isaac tell them a story, he then recites the events of everything that had happened to them thus far. Ty asks if can read Peter Rabbit instead, synthesizing Doctor Finn's vocal patterns Isaac does just that until they fall asleep. The next day, Isaac and Marcus are horrified to see Ty's health has decreased significantly overnight. His scans indicate the Ty had ingested a water born toxin. They get the needed Dysonium and Isaac is soon called on his Com by Doctor Finn and explains everything to her. They rendezvous at the crash site and Isaac escorts Claire to help Ty. He then puts the Dysonium into the Shuttle and it regains power. Isaac realizes the Dysonium was not as concentrated as he had believed and was only able to send a faint distress signal. Meaning it could take The Orville weeks assuming their scanners even picked anything up at all.
Claire starts to sob noting that the disease would have ravaged Ty's body by the time The Orville arrives, and Isaac attempts to be comforting and hold her hand. He waits outside and is soon ambushed by a group of natives, he holds them off but tells Doctor Finn he can't fight all of them by himself. Marcus comes to Isaac's side with a PM-44 and helps him. In the middle of the skirmish, Isaac gives him advice on how to better use the weapon. After awhile the two realize they're severely outnumbered, but The Orville arrives just in time and uses its firepower to scare the natives away and save all of them. The next day, Claire finds Isaac in Engineering and informs him that Ty will make a full recovery. He claims he's glad to hear it and Doctor Finn asks if he could visit Sick Bay since Ty misses him. Isaac finds the gesture odd, but agrees to do it. Claire then thanks him for everything he did for her kids on the Moon. Isaac makes one last observation to Claire, saying that even though Marcus and Ty frequently exhibit poor behavior he has found himself to be fond of them.
While working on the Bridge, Isaac informs the crew that scanners are picking up traces of an unusual Spatial Anomaly near a star's photosphere. Captain Mercer, hungover from the night before, tells Isaac they can study it later. But he insists that the opportunity to encounter such a phenomenon might not come again and The Orville would be foolish to not take advantage of it.
They send a Shuttle to check it out and Isaac observes space itself begin to change drastically in the area as a literal Planet soon appears out of seemingly nowhere. Isaac studies what could've happened but is unable to find anything. Hours later the Planet vanishes once again. Isaac presents a theory to the Bridge that the planet is stuck within a Multiphasic orbit, and disappears from that area of space every eleven days only to return temporarily.
After waiting the necessary time the Planet returns in the exact spot as Isaac theorized. He scans that the natives seem to have grown considerably in both population and technology during the eleven days. He accompanies a team back onto the surface and Kelly explains the Bronze Age town she originally saw had grown to a technological level comparable to the 14th century. Isaac informs them that time must accelerate at a different rate within the Multiphasic orbit, what "appears" as eleven days for them is seven hundred years to the planet's natives.
After another seven century cycle, Kelly begins to notice that her actions on the planet have led to her being viewed as a god-like being, and her attempts to mitigate such thoughts before did nothing. The crew discusses how they could proceed in the Briefing Room and Claire Finn suggests that they leave Kelly on the planet to continuously remind the natives she is not divine. Isaac however, offers to go instead. Claiming that his Kaylon body is built to last millions of years and that he perceives time much differently than biological beings do. Kelly realizing this essentially saved her life, thanks him for his sacrifice as the crew sends him to the planet.
"You harbor prejudice against artificial life-forms.Similar to most Kaylon, Isaac firmly holds the belief that biological lifeforms are mentally and physically inferior to himself. Though this mentality on the surface might appear to be the result of irrational bigotry, Isaac seems to exhibit more simply chauvinistic attitudes. Having little problem conversing with organic lifeforms while simply acknowledging their status as "lesser" beings.
Only against life-forms that think they're better than everyone else.
I am better than everyone else.
Oh, and so modest.
It was not intended as a boast, merely a statement of fact." ― Isaac and Claire Finn[source]
As per his position on The Orville as a mediator between The Kaylon and Planetary Union, Isaac is often curious about the culture or mannerism of biological lifeforms. Concepts that aren't data, such as humor and love are difficult for him to fully understand or rationalize. However, he has shown the ability to replicate those feelings when put into situations that would generally reinforce them for most biological species, such as when he held Claire Finn's hand after she was saddened by her son being infected with the Moon's water born virus. Though he does appear to have the strongest connections with Alara Kitan and Claire Finn, who are the most tolerant towards his ignorance on biological species.
Relationship with the Finn FamilyEdit
Isaac and Claire originally had a strained relationship, with the Doctor having no patience for Isaac's observations of Kaylon superiority over biological lifeforms. He consistently fails to understand why Finn's sons, Ty and Marcus, continue to misbehave and falsely attributes it to poor parenting, much to Claire's chagrin. After their survival on the Habitable Moon, Claire's outlook on Isaac became much more friendly due to playing such a vital role in protecting her children. His opinions change from the experience as well, becoming genuinely relieved when he finds out Ty will recover from the Water-born virus and even admitting the ordeal has caused him to grow fond to her boys. Isaac even displays empathy to Claire before their rescue when Ty's health begins to fail by gently holding Claire's hand.
On The Orville, Isaac gladly converses with Ty and Marcus whenever they run into each other through the halls. Such as when Isaac and LaMarr are sent to study a spatial anomaly effecting the Orville, Ty and Marcus Finn who are let out of school early and ask if they can come along to help. Despite his positive feeling towards the children, he still responds with a blunt no.
Relationship with AlaraEdit
Alara and Isaac are friendly and helpful towards one another, eating dinner together and sitting close to each other during crew based activities such as Karaoke. Isaac and her often work together to solve problems that arise during missions. Such as when he accompanies Alara Kitan to the Calivon homeworld, due to the fact Calivon respect Kaylon more than they do Xelayans.
Sometime during 2419, Isaac helps Alara again by programming her a Simulation in order to overcome any fears she may subconsciously harbor. He deliberately adds situations where she would be exposed to common phobias inspired by the fears he picked up from the Bridge crew. Alara initiates Directive 38 and commands Isaac not to stop the simulation before she completes it for any reason. Within the Simulator, he has himself attack Alara (this attack is later attributed to Bortus's own fears of facing a superior enemy) and uses his Kaylon strength to match her own Xelayan attributes.
Alara is tolerant to the fact Isaac has a hard time understanding culture and basic social etiquette. When he asked why she wanted to have a cat on the Bridge she explains to him the bond that arises between biological lifeforms and animals. During a discussion about her dating life, Isaac boldly offers to have sex with Alara in order to understand why organic species are so fascinated with dating. Even though she's noticeably taken back by the request, Kitan responds that she is working on herself right now and not looking for a relationship.
Relationship with the crewEdit
Due to his largely alien nature, Isaac is apathetic to the majority of his crew mates. This should not be interpreted as him not caring about the ship's prime objective. Isaac has shown extreme loyalty and dedication to maintaining The Orville during all of its missions. On the Habitable Moon, he worked to protect and help Ty and Marcus from the violent natives and other dangers even before harboring a special connection to them. Isaac also willingly sacrificed himself to be left on the Multiphasic Planet's 700 year cycle when he knew none of the other crew were long lived enough to survive it.
Perhaps due to his technological nature, he infrequently displays any negative emotions towards his crew mates either. When Gordon Malloy tried to embarrass Isaac by putting Mr. Potato Head pieces on him, he showed no anger towards the Lieutenant and simply removed them while explaining the reason he wasn't able to detect them attached to his person sooner. Isaac however, displayed assertiveness on the Habitable Moon multiple times to Ty and Marcus when they continued to argue with one another. Though this may be justifiable as he was simply mimicking Doctor Finn's response to similar situations.
While Fox first introduced Isaac in their May 2017 trailer, it was Mark Jackson who revealed the character and the Kaylon species to the general public in July. He elaborated that Isaac is sent as an ambassador and observer to the Planetary Union, and that his species communicates as a "hive mind."
The costume of Isaac was designed with the look of early science fiction androids and cybernetic beings in mind. It took Howard Berger, the make-up department head for Season 1, 42 drafts before landing upon Isaac's look.
Isaac's helmet consists of two plates that snap together. Jackson wears a microphone to hear better and reads his lines aloud while performing and the audio is manipulated and improved during editing. The helmet's face plate is one-way transparent, allowing the actor to see. "It's not perfect. It's a bit blurry like if I wore glasses," Jackson describes.
The suit was originally prohibitively hot, so Berger installed a small fan inside the suit after filming the pilot to keep him cool. Jackson also says that he has a "cool shirt on standby, which has a clever network of cold water pipes built into it, but so far I’ve not used it. Coming from a theatre background, part of me thinks ‘if you didn’t sweat, you didn’t work’."
Season 2 Edit
Isaac's origins remained obscure at the close of Season 1 even to Jackson and the rest of the cast, but by November, 2017, creator Seth MacFarlane promised that his background would appear in greater detail in Season 2: "We will learn more about Isaac's people. There's a whole story that's already been written that examines the origins of Isaac's people;" and later, "Next season, we are going to deal with Isaac a little bit, and we have a very clear idea of what we want him to be."
Isaac's suit takes approximately 20 minutes to put on or remove. Jackson describes the experience as being put into an ecosystem, and says he feels powerful and well-protected wearing it. An unexpected perk is that the suit keeps Jackson warm in the cold studio set.
Jackson has confirmed that minute visual adjustments have been made to the costume for Season 2, adding cryptically "but nothing too radical... yet." Further, he revealed that he is slowly changing Isaac's accent to resemble natural Human speech, the product of contact with his bridgemates.
- The name "Isaac" is likely a reference to the Human writer Isaac Asimov who coined the Three Laws of Robotics.
- Isaac draws many parallels to Data from Star Trek: The Next Generation.
- He is the only known crew member of The Orville to have no official rank. Due to not belonging to the Planetary Union and instead being an observer on behalf of the Kaylon.
- According to Mark Jackson, Isaac's voice is an amalgamation between multiple different accents that are spoken within the English language in order to better be understood by all people who watch the series.
- Episode 1x01: Old Wounds
- Episode 1x02: Command Performance
- Episode 1x03: About a Girl
- Episode 1x04: If the Stars Should Appear
- Episode 1x05: Pria
- Episode 1x06: Krill
- Episode 1x07: Majority Rule
- Episode 1x08: Into the Fold
- Episode 1x09: Cupid's Dagger
- Episode 1x10: Firestorm
- Episode 1x11: New Dimensions
- Episode 1x12: Mad Idolatry
- ↑ Ed Mercer: "And finally, Isaac, our science and engineering officer, hailing from Kaylon 1." Episode 1: Old Wounds
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 Episode 1: Old Wounds
- ↑ Admiral Halsey does not state that the spot of Science Officer is vacant when talking to Ed in September, implying that Isaac was already aboard the ship and served under the previous captain. Episode 1: Old Wounds
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 "SDCC 2017: The Orville - Peter Macon, Mark Jackson, Chad L Coleman". Whedonopolis Video. July 26, 2017.
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 5.2 "Mark Jackson Interview | AfterBuzz TV's Spotlight On". AfterBuzz TV. Sept. 13, 2017.
- ↑ "PLANETARY UNION NETWORK: EPISODE 20". Planetary Union Network. June 17, 2018.
- ↑ 7.0 7.1 "THE ORVILLE PODCAST EPISODE 5 - THE MARK JACKSON INTERVIEW". The Orville Podcast. Oct. 6, 2017.
- ↑ 8.0 8.1 "The Orville Fan Podcast w/ Mark Jackson (09)". Planetary Union Network. Nov. 12, 2017.
- ↑ Crookes, Adam. "Interview: Mark Jackson from FOX’s ‘The Orville’ talks about playing an artificial lifeform machine | CROOKES MAGAZINE". Medium. Sept. 22, 2017.
- ↑ "Brannon Braga & The Orville Cast Full interview 2017 Panel NYC convention". NYC ComicCon. Nov. 20, 2017.
- ↑ 11.0 11.1 "Mark Jackson #TheOrville on #FOX interviewed at 35th #PaleyFestLA TV Festival in Hollywood". Red Carpet Report. March 18, 2018.
- ↑ "Mark Jackson on playing the character Isaac in "The Orville"." AfterBuzz TV. March 17, 2018.