Mad Idolatry is the twelfth episode and season one finale of The Orville. The crew encounters a planet from another universe whose inhabitants start to worship Commander Kelly Grayson as a goddess. Meanwhile, Grayson and Captain Ed Mercer consider getting back together.
Plot synopsis Edit
Act 1 Edit
The episode opens to Captain Mercer knocking on doors inside the USS Orville, unsuccessfully asking his crew if they would like to grab drinks, until Mercer approaches Lieutenant Bortus, who invites Mercer in for apsada with Klyden and him.
At Mercer's insistence, Bortus and Klyden introduce Mercer to the traditional Moclan party game of latchcomb, where people quickly pass a ball between themselves. Mercer ignorantly holds the ball too long and a blade ejects from it, impaling his hand.
In his quarters, Mercer hails Commander Grayson and she asks why he won't go to the Medical Bay to heal his hand. Mercer answers that he is too embarrassed and requests she bring a dermoscanner the next day to heal the injury. The two agree to meet in the ship's mess hall for a drink.
Mercer acknowledges that Darulio's powerful Retepsian pheromones was responsible for the affair in Old Wounds, and that her behavior was not "cheating." He asks Grayson to go on a date later that week and she accepts. The scene concludes with the two excitedly pouring themselves generous amounts of alcohol.
Act 2 Edit
The following day, Bortus and Isaac notice an unusual spatial anomaly nearby. Grayson, Isaac, and Helmsman Gordon Malloy take a shuttle to inspect the anomaly up close. On board the shuttle and in the middle of space, the trio suddenly finds themselves in planetary atmosphere. From the bridge of the Orville, observes that a planet mysteriously in what was originally uninhabited space.
The shuttle crash-lands on the newly arrived planet. Isaac and Malloy report that the engine malfunctioned due to suddenly entering a dense atmosphere, but that they can repair it within an hour. Grayson decides to survey the area and happens upon a small village in a distance. She reports it to Mercer, who authorizes her to explore but not to interact with any of the inhabitants. Grayson finds two young girls who flee, but one stumbles and cuts her forehead. Using her dermoscanner she brought for Mercer, Grayson heals the girl's cut. Grayson realizes that a group of indigenous men and women are watching her intently. Aware that she has broken Planetary Union rules restricting contact with developing planets, Grayson runs back to Isaac and Malloy.
Back aboard the Orville, Mercer and Grayson describe to Admiral Ozawa the planet's strange appearance. She instructs the Orville to observe the planet for seventy-two hours before she can send a science cruiser for further study of the anomaly. Grayson thanks him for not reporting her infraction.
Meanwhile, the planet suddenly disappears. Isaac proposes that the planet is locked in a multi-phasic orbit, meaning it travels through multiple different universes while orbiting a star existing simultaneously in all universes. Calculations of the planet's orbit suggest it would return in approximately eleven days. Next, Mercer and Grayson go on a date for dinner in his quarters, concluding with a passionate kiss. After eleven days have passed, the planet returns but a scan shows that the population and its state of technology have rapidly progressed.
Mercer, along with Grayson, Malloy, Lieutenant Commander John LaMarr, and Lieutenant Alara Kitan take a shuttle to the surface. They note how the town Kelly witnessed the last visit had grown into a city akin to the 14th century as opposed to the village witnessed before. Isaac on the ship calculates that while it may appear to them the planet was gone for eleven days, the natives perspective was seven centuries have passed. In order to blend in the team goes to a nearby cottage and try to find clothes for them to wear. The owner however comes out and stares at Commander Grayson in awe begging Kelly to please bless her baby. She awkwardly does so and everyone gets changed while walking down the road, they come across a dozen corpses hung on stakes. Ed asks a traveling native what happened and he explains they were killed for speaking ill against the word of Kelly.
They go into the city and note a mother scolding her child, claiming that Kelly is all around and always watching him. Prisoners are being put on trial and are cut by the Jail Master while the priest claims if they truly have no guilt Kelly will heal them. Commander Grayson is terrified and tries to step in, but Ed claims her effort will only manage to mess up the situation even further. The crew keeps walking until going into the palace and finding a giant statue of Kelly constructed within.
Act 3 Edit
On The Orville, Admiral Ozawa is frustrated with Captain Mercer for not telling her what happened before. He explains that he didn't believe it would make a significant impact, but the Admiral doesn't want to hear it. She says if he neglects to mention essential details such as that in the future she'll personally make sure he will only be qualified to clean toilets at Union Point. Ozawa then orders them not to alter the cultural trajectory of the natives in any other way.
Kelly is deeply concerned about their worship for her. Ed tries to comfort her but she insists that she simply wants to be left alone. Later that night while Kelly is sleeping, Ed wakes her up saying that he will go back with her any way to try and make things right. Back on the planet, the crew goes into the palace and finds the Religious Leader named Valondis. Kelly explaining to him in fine detail that she is no way divine and that her healing the girl hundreds of years ago was simply the result of her Union technology, and not any sort of supernatural ability. Valondis is eventually convinced and everyone returns to The Orville. In the palace there is a discussion if the public should be informed about Kelly not being god-like. One of the guards says they must keep the idea going so they have better control over the people, but Bolandus says they must be responsible and say what is truly the truth of the matter. He is assassinated by the guard for this, keeping the cultural charade alive.
Days later, the planet re-emerges and is investigated by The Orville. It is revealed to have made another jump in technological evolution. Now having functioning satellites, a booming population, as well as pollution in the air. Ed asks if Isaac can scan for any mentions of "Kelly" he does and finds a high amounts of results, the crew noticing that she remains to be viewed and worshipped as a deity by the civilization. In the meeting room, Alara asks why nothing changed despite Kelly explaining the situation to them. They guess Kelly wasn't there for enough time, and Claire Finn suggests that they might need to leave something permanent to actually shift the cultural paradigm. Kelly volunteers to be dropped off the planet and spend the rest of her life there educating the natives.
Ed strongly opposes this saying she'll die away from everyone she loves and on a primitive world, but Kelly says it's a sacrifice she must make for starting this ordeal. Isaac, to the shock of the entire room, volunteers to go in her place. Saying that his Kaylon body is built to last for millions of years and he doesn't perceive time the way organic beings do. He can stay for the seven-hundred years to try and change their perspective and the ship can pick him up once the planet returns, that it would seldom feel as though any significant time has passed for him. Everyone believes this is the best course of action and Isaac is sent forward to do it, the entire crew feeling melancholy about it.
The eleven days pass and The Orville notes how the Planet has evolved to the modern 25th century standards. Soon after a vessel begins approaches and hails for them to be let on the ship, Ed accepts it and Isaac along with two of the planet's natives teleport to the main deck. Kelly asks what happened this whole time, and the natives say that they no longer worship Kelly as a deity, but a woman who played a big role in their planet's evolution. Ed says Isaac being there must've worked but the two say Isaac didn't lead the way to secularism, they got there naturally. If Kelly had not landed on their planet 2000 years prior they would've just found something else to follow. They end their speech by telling the Captain & Commander that they must have faith in the endurance of the logical mind.
Ed has a drink in the Mess Hall and is met by Kelly again. He is delighted for her to join him for a drink but the Commander insists their relationship will not work, as he had to defy an Admiral to protect a grave mistake she made with a primitive society. That they need to take more time for themselves. Ed says he understands the reasoning but is disappointed, as he does still love her. Kelly concurs and leaves to perform more duties. Ed sits back in the Mess Hall with his drink, heartbroken.
Completion of Mad Idolatry was remarkably late. On November 20, 2017, creator Seth MacFarlane and writer and producer David A. Goodman confirmed that the episode was still in editing, only two weeks before it aired.
Main Cast Edit
- 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. Cmdr. John LaMarr
- Mark Jackson as Isaac
- Chad L. Coleman as Klyden
Guest Cast Edit
- Kyra Santoro as Ensign Turco
- Jasper McPherson as Little girl
- Kelly Hu as Admiral Ozawa
- Lenny von Dohlen as Valondis
- Nick Toren as Kelly's church dignitary
- Erica Tazel as Baleth
- Philip Anthony-Rodriguez as Fadolin
- The title "Mad Idolatry" refers to the worship of Commander Grayson as a deity by the developing planet.
- Originally there were supposed to be 13 episodes in season 1, but was cut short of one episode, thus making the twelfth episode the season 1 finale.
- Lieutenant Malloy holds a pair of binoculars which are in fact a repainted toy periscope from the game Sub Assault.
- ↑ "Brannon Braga & The Orville Cast Full interview 2017 Panel NYC convention". NYC ComicCon. Nov. 20, 2017.