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.

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 guest stars as Admiral Ozawa.

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.

Teaser Edit

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.

The Orville Promo "Krill"

The Orville Promo "Krill"

Plot SynopsisEdit

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

Kakov Krill Orville

The Kakov stares down the USS Orville, which has come to the rescue of the colony of Kastra 4.

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 Edit

Krill Sazeron

High Priest Sazeron approaches Captain Haros to request a guard be placed on their new guests.

Mercer 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.


"They will be." A captured Teleya vows that the Krill children of the Kakov will never forgive the Planetary Union for what Captain Ed Mercer did.

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."

Production Edit

The script was written entirely by David A. Goodman at an unknown date, unusual in that creator Seth MacFarlane wrote the majority of episodes. Composer Joel McNeely scored the episode in a span of roughly three weeks, and filming took about eight days, completed sometime in 2016 or early 2017 under the direction of Jon Cassar.[1]

Reception Edit

Viewership Edit

For more information on the episode in the context of the season, see main article: Season 1.

Krill Mercer Malloy

Mercer and Malloy peer around a corner in their Krill disguises in this promotional image from Fox.

Krill was well received by general audiences, and enjoys an 8.3 rating on IMDB.[2] It was seen by 3.37 million viewers in the United States.[3] 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."[4] 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."[5]

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.[6]

Trivia Edit

  • 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.[7]
  • 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.
  • 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 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.
  • 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.[8]
  • 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.

Mistakes Edit

  • 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.

Main CastEdit

Special Guest StarEdit

Recurring CastEdit

Guest CastEdit

Uncredited Edit

References Edit

  1. "I believe each score takes roughly 3 weeks for the composer to write". MacFarlane, Seth. Twitter. Oct. 12, 2017.
  2. ""The Orville" Krill (TV Episode)". IMDB. Last accessed Dec. 30, 2017.
  3. "The Orville:Season One Ratings". Last accessed Dec. 6, 2017.
  4. Ahr, Michael. "The Orville Episode 6 Review: Krill". Den of Geek. Oct. 12, 2017.
  5. Epsicokhan, Jamal. "Krill". Jammer's Reviews. Last accessed Dec. 30, 2017.
  6. 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.
  7. 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).
  8. "The Orville's Krill Makeup Demo at KNB EFX!". TESTED. Oct. 16, 2017.