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"And the only feeling I am left with, the only thing I know, is that a death has occurred." Bortus[source]
Primal Urges is the second episode of the second season of The Orville. The crew of the USS Orville race against time to save a group of survivors on a planet about to be destroyed by its sun. Second Officer Bortus and his mate Klyden start marriage counseling after Bortus develops an addiction to the Environmental Simulator.

The episode was written by Wellesley Wild and directed by Kevin Hooks. Music was composed by John Debney.

Primal Urges underwent significant re-scheduling by the 20th Century Fox network. For most of 2017, the episode was slated to be the twelfth episode of Season 1 and to air on December 7, after New Dimensions and before Mad Idolatry but was moved to Season 2 for unknown reasons. After a brief stint as the scheduled Season 2 premiere, Primal Urges was made the second episode.

Plot Edit

Act 1 Edit

The bridge crew of the USS Orville watches an exploding red giant star devour the final planet of its system.

Second Officer Bortus retires from his shift 15 minutes early and heads to the Environmental Simulator. He initiates program Bortus 486, which turns out to be an erotic simulation with another Moclan.

Act 2 Edit

Bortus enters his quarters late at night, having spent the last few hours in the simulator. He resists Klyden's requests for sex and the two sleep. The next morning, Bortus, Klyden, and Topa eat plotka. Klyden requests Bortus makes more time for the family. Bortus refuses to discuss the matter further but does agree to return to quarters after work.

On the Bridge, Isaac detects possible deposits of dysonium ore beneath the surface of the final surviving planet. Captain Ed Mercer directs Isaac to assist Chief Engineer John LaMarr and the Engineering team to modify the ship's tractor beam, which will be used to extract the dysonium once the giant star devours the planet's crust.

Bortus requests to leave work, ostensibly to spend time with the family, but he returns to the simulator for another erotic program. That night, Bortus lies to his mate that work kept him late. Klyden is deeply upset but attempts to make love. Bortus refuses and goes to sleep. In the middle of the night, Klyden stabs him in the chest with a short sword.

Act 3 Edit

Doctor Claire Finn and her medical team save Bortus' life. Awake, Bortus learns that Chief of Security Alara Kitan heard him scream and that Klyden is now in the Brig. He wishes that Finn had let him die and explains that Klyden was divorcing him: On Moclus, a Moclan divorces his mate by killing him. He petitions Mercer to release Klyden and, after tentative permission from Planetary Union Central, Mercer allows it on the grounds that the couple receive counseling.

Isaac informs Mercer that the deposits of dysonium on the planet were not naturally formed, a vast, subterranean culture once existed. Unfortunately, the imminent breakup of the planet renders any recovery of the culture impossible.

In couples counseling, Bortus promises that he still feels attracted to Klyden. Finn assigns them "homework" to make a list of ten fun activities to do together. On their way out of Finn's office, Bortus says that he has a small task for the Captain, but he will return to quarters at 1800 hours to craft a list with Klyden. Bortus leaves for the simulator for another erotic simulation.

Act 4 Edit

Bortus meets with Lieutenant Unk, an alien whose species is famous for highly stimulating pornographic simulator programs, and requests a Moclan orgy program. Unk promises to deliver a new one from a friend on his planet.

Scanner logs show the subterranean civilization is still active. Mercer speaks with Hallan Theece, First Minister of the Nyxian people. One hundred years ago, the planet's scientists learned their sun would engulf the planet and the people retreated underground. Only 75 inhabitants survive and the planet will break up in 24 hours. LaMarr believes that if the Orville diverts all power to its deflectors and moved the ship very close to the planet, the deflectors could shield a shuttle that could travel to the surface and evacuate the survivors.

Elsewhere on the ship, for reasons unknown, the Food Synthesizer produces only an inedible black slop and LaMarr sends a technician to work on it. Meanwhile Klyden catches Bortus in the Simulator with the new orgy program.

Act 5 Edit

Bortus is addicted to the simulator and Klyden wants a divorce. Bortus confesses that he lost his desire for sex with his mate since the Tribunal on Moclus.[1] He feels deep shame that Topa's sex was changed without consent and resents Klyden for forcing it: "I resent you, Klyden. I resent what you put our child through and I don't know if I can ever move on."

The Engineering team notices persistent power disruptions in the shuttle they planned to use. Thanks to LaMarr's hunch, Isaac finds a computer virus that is responsible for both the food synthesizer's problems and the disruptions. The virus' source is Bortus' new program running Environmental Simulator 3. Isaac writes a program to eradicate it, which can be implemented in the simulation room.

Act 6 Edit

Meanwhile, the shuttle's power was re-routed to avoid the virus altogether. Bortus and Isaac, the only two beings on board that can withstand the star's enormous radiation output, are sent to Nyxia. En route, the two discuss Bortus' addiction and the toll it has on his psyche. Bortus and Isaac make contact with the Nyxians but the break up accelerates, leaving only time to evacuate 30 people.

A lottery is held and the 30 Nyxians board the shuttle. The First Minister abstained from the lottery, but her husband and their daughter Nathius were among those selected. The shuttle returns with the survivors and the planet is destroyed.

Unfortunately, the virus has severed helm's control over the ship, and the Orville begins descending into the star. Isaac employs a counter-virus that restores control and the Orville, badly damaged, escapes.

Act 7 Edit

The Captain is furious with Bortus, and the Moclan tenders his resignation. Mercer refuses to accept it, recognizing that Bortus saved 30 lives.

Back at home, Bortus speaks with his mate. "I do not know that I will ever be fully at peace with what happened to Topa. But today, I witnessed events that I am very fortunate to have you and Topa in my life, and I do not wish to lose you again."

"I do not wish to lose you either," Klyden answers, and the family spends the night together.

Production Edit

"Seth built this world where the comedy is slap sticky and wrong. There are some things where I was saying I can’t believe that we are filming this." Peter Macon[[source]]
Primal Urges was written by Wellesley Wild between June and October 2016 although, curiously, the earliest cast lists reported the episode as written by Seth MacFarlane,[2] which may represent an old clerical error.

The concept of Bortus' addiction to sex in the Environmental Simulator was inspired by Star Trek. In panel discussion at the 2017 San Diego Comic-Con, MacFarlane pointed to executive producer Brannon Braga, remarking "we used to joke about, that if there are actual holodecks (Star Trek's version of the Simulator) you wouldn't be playing Robin Hood,[n 1] you'd basically be going in there to masturbate."[3]

The set of the surface of Nyxia was constructed in the Orville's large and spacious Shuttle Bay.[4] Filming began in late July or very early August 2017 under the direction of Kevin Hooks.[5]

In an interview with The Orville Podcast, Macon spoke of how being a father has helped him understand Bortus's role as a father and Second Officer. He believes that Bortus ran to his family when the Orville was nearly destroyed by the red giant star:

There's an episode that comes up where Isaac and I get off the shuttle, and the ship is not good. We did two separate runs and I was like, 'Where would I be going right now? Maybe he's going to go check on his family 'cause his family is on the ship.[6]

Continuity Edit

Mess Hall-0

Scenes inside the Mess Hall were re-shot to include the new Season 2 dining tables (right). Note the old Season 1 tables from Krill (top-left) and Mad Idolatry (bottom-left)

To comport with the timeline of the show, Macon said that scenes were either re-shot or otherwise edited in order to make them comport with the timeline.[7] According to associate producer and editor Tom Costantino,[8] those new scenes are:

  • The argument between Bortus and Klyden at breakfast was re-shot so that Topa (played by the older Blesson Yates) caught up to his correct age.
  • All scenes inside the Mess Hall were re-shot as different tables were used in Season 2.

Preparing to air Edit

"There's definitely some interesting things that go on in that simulator. Some mildly disturbing things..." Adrianne Palicki[[source]]
On June 10, 2017, Fox announced Primal Urges as the twelfth episode. A short cast list was published briefly on IMDB,[2] which - though later removed - was independently confirmed by its actors.[9][10]

Because actors and crew expected Primal Urges to air in the first season, the episode was the subject of much discussion from the cast. The plot or elements of the plot were teased by Peter Macon (Bortus),[11] Chad L. Coleman,[12] MacFarlane,[3] Adrianne Palicki (Kelly),[13] Scott Grimes (Gordon),[14] and the executive producers.[15][7]

Macon especially found the episode hilarious,[16][n 2] frequently addressing it interviews with statements such as, "There's things on this show that happen I cannot believe that this is what we're doing. It's so wrong; it's so wrong; it's so wrong. You'll see and remember me saying that."[17]

Season rescheduling Edit

Moclan Prison Guard

Actor Jude Lanston published this image to his Twitter as a Moclan Prison Guard from the unaired episode.

Fox renewed The Orville for a second season on November 2, 2017. On November 14, Fox announced that the first season would lose an episode, Primal Urges, and move it to Season 2 as its premiere. On November 21, 2018, Fox announced that Primal Urges would air on December 30, 2018 after Sunday Night Football.[18] However, on December 18, Fox quietly moved the episode to January 3, 2019, and made Ja'loja the premiere episode.[19] No explanation has ever been given for the schedule changes although the Planetary Union Network, which had intimate knowledge of the show's production, reported that the order was always intended to start with Ja'loja.[20]

Reception Edit

Viewership Edit

Several days after airing, actor Scott Grimes (Gordon Malloy) reflected: "What surprises me is that we can have an episode about porn addiction in a simulator. I watched that episode and wondered how the people were gonna take it. This show surprises me, every week, with the social and political commentary that is underlying and sometimes not underlying."[21]

Relative to preceding episodes, Primal Urges' performance was disappointing. Nearly three million Americans watched the episode live and of them, 0.63 million were ages 18-49.[22] Primal Urges was the least-watched episode of The Orville by a wide margin. Fortunately, an additional 2.152 million viewers watched Primal Urges in the three days after its premiere, making The Orville easily the highest percentage growth in viewers that week.[23]

Critical response Edit

Trivia Edit

  • According to science consultant André Bormanis, the spectrum of the red giant star that appears on the Orville's monitors is a real spectrum from a star.[24]
  • Nana Visitor, who played Major Kira on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, was originally cast as Minister Theece, but lost the role after her agent forgot to tell her.[25]

Cast Edit

Names and titles are as they appear in the credits unless otherwise noted.

Main Cast Edit

Special Guest Star Edit

Uncredited Special Guest Star Edit

  • Unknown as Lieutenant Unk (voice only)

Recurring Cast Edit

Guest Cast Edit

Uncredited Guest Cast Edit

Notes Edit

  1. MacFarlane is referring to the episode "Qpid" from Star Trek: The Next Generation, in which the character Q forces Captain Jean-Luc Picard and several other officers to play Robin Hood characters.
  2. The interview is not dated by the author. However, a different article discusses the interview that is dated September 21, 2017, and thus Macon's comment must be earlier. Eddy, Art. "PETER MACON – MY LIFE OF DAD". Life of Dad. Last accessed Feb. 13, 2018.
  3. Not found in the episode cast list but included in a season-wide cast list released in the Summer of 2017. Confirmed by Jordan's Twitter page.

References Edit

  1. Episode 1x03: About a Girl
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Episode #1.12". IMDB. Archive Nov. 4, 2017. Last accessed Jan. 14, 2018.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Seth MacFarlane at The Orville panel. San Diego ComicCon, 2017. July 20-23, 2017.
  4. Lineweaver, Stephen & Robert Strohmaier. "The Orville: A Chance to Design the Future". ADG Perspective. July-Aug. 2018. Pg. 101.
  5. "SDCC 2017: The Orville - Adrianne Palicki, Seth McFarlane". Whedonopolis Videos. July 26, 2017.
  6. "THE ORVILLE PODCAST EPISODE 3 - THE PETER MACON INTERVIEW". The Orville Podcast. Sept. 22, 2017.
  7. 7.0 7.1 Surette, Tim. "The Orville: Everything We Know About Season 2". TVGuide. March 19, 2018.
  8. /u/editboy1000. "At least one scene of Primal Urges has been re-shot for season 2 - The tables are new". Reddit. Jan. 4, 2019.
  9. https://twitter.com/judeblanston/status/938916052322230272
  10. http://www.imdb.com/name/nm3858390/
  11. Topel, Fred. "SETH MACFARLANE ADDRESSES CRITICS’ HARSH TAKE ON THE ORVILLE STORY LINE". Rotten Tomatoes. March 19, 2018.
  12. Video by The Paley Center for Media. March 17, 2018.
  13. Surette, Tim. "The Orville Is Headed for a 'Bigger' and 'Intense' Season 2". TV Guide. Dec. 23, 2018.
  14. Stuart, Alasdair. "Scott Grimes Interview: The Orville actor on going boldly the MacFarlane way". MYM Buzz. Dec. 7, 2017.
  15. "NYCC 2017: Brannon Braga & David A. Goodman - The Orville". WithAnAccentTV. Oct. 13, 2017.
  16. "SDCC 2017: The Orville - Peter Macon, Mark Jackson, Chad L Coleman". Whedonopolis Video. July 26, 2017.
  17. "SDCC2017 The Orville Interview with Peter Macon". FanboyNation. July 26, 2017.
  18. Griffin, Jennifer. "THE ORVILLE 2×01 “Primal Urges” Photos Read more at THE ORVILLE 2×01 “Primal Urges” Photos | ScreenSpy". ScreenSpy. Nov. 21, 2018.
  19. THE ORVILLE [EPISODE CHANGE]. The Futon Critic. Last accessed Dec. 19, 2018.
  20. @planetary_union. "As we replied to another comment; This is the order they were supposed to run in initially.". Twitter. Dec. 18, 2018.
  21. Radish, Christina. "Scott Grimes on ‘The Orville’ Season 2’s Bigger Scope and Working with Seth MacFarlane". Collider. Jan. 10, 2019.
  22. The Orville:Season Two Ratings. TV Series Finale. Last accessed Jan. 5, 2019.
  23. Pucci, Douglas. "Live+3 Weekly Ratings: ‘The Masked Singer’ on Fox is Also a Hit in Delayed Viewing". Programming Insider. Jan. 12, 2019.
  24. Oulette, Jennifer. "The Orville blends science fiction and science fact into a winning mix". Ars Technica. Dec. 29, 2018.
  25. Ulster, Laurie. "Nana Visitor Says She Wanted To Be Captain Janeway, Explains Why She’s Not On ‘The Orville’". TrekMovie.com. April 10, 2018.