“Future Unknown” is a fun victory lap for The Orville: New Horizons
Hard to believe, but the season finale of The Orville: New Horizons is upon us. The show has had a great run this season, but did it stick the landing? The answer is: yes, of course…but not in the way you’d expect.
As always, there are SPOILERS ahead for this week’s episode of The Orville: New Horizons.
The Orville: New Horizons Episode 10 review
After one of the most spectacular seasons of television of 2022, The Orville: New Horizons has come to a close for now. While the Seth MacFarlane-helmed comedic science fiction drama has had plenty of enormous, breathtaking episodes, this finale is a bit different. Rather than carry on with the epic action, The Orville dials things back and returns to its humorous roots. “Future Unknown” feels like a victory lap for the show, where it reminds us how awesome it is that we’re able to take this journey and that nothing should be taken for granted. It kind of felt like the show was throwing a party for itself for reaching the end of this epic season, and I was here for it.
The Orville’s finale is all about relationships. The episode starts off with Bortus (Peter Macon) and Klyden (Chad L. Coleman) renewing their partnership in ridiculous fashion. Moclans don’t do things quite like humans, with their parties and fancy speeches. Instead, Bortus and Klyden go down to a forested planet, strip down to their skivvies, and then chase each other through the woods until Bortus can catch Klyden and they re-consummate their marriage. It’s just as hilarious as it sounds, and the show totally plays to Bortus’ deadpan humor by framing and scoring the chase as though its a normal action sequence, even though it’s two Moclans racing through the woods in speedos. I laughed a lot.
Bortus and Klyden aren’t the only people on The Orville feeling the love. After researching human matrimony, Isaac (Mark Jackson) proposes to Dr. Claire Finn (Penny Johnson Jerald). Much of the episode is dedicated to the preparations and eventual ceremony for Claire and Isaac, and The Orville takes ample advantage of the situation to crack quite a lot of jokes. This was the funniest episode of the season by far, but it also strummed the heart strings pretty well. There’s a sense that everyone involved in The Orville put a lot of love into this thing, and “Future Unknown” is all about honoring that.
Every one of the main cast gets their own time in the spotlight this episode, from Talla (Jessica Szohr), Commander Kelly Grayson (Adrianne Palicki), and Claire’s hangouts; to Gordon Malloy’s (Scott Grimes) jealousy that Bortus has railroaded him out of the job of best man; to LaMarr (J. Lee) giving questionable marital advice and being subsequently chewed out by Dr. Finn. Isaac invites the entire Kaylon population to the wedding. The costuming and effects are as good as ever, and the music perfectly fits the lighter tone. This episode was just a lot of fun.
Lysella returns, bringing with her many questions
That’s not to say that it was only fun. A character named Lysella (Giorgia Whigham) seeks asylum on the ship. She helped the crew out back in one of season 1’s best episodes, “Majority Rule,” which was about a society ruled by an upvote/downvote social media form of government. Apparently things have gotten worse on that planet, Sargus 4, which is why Lysella has left.
Lysella’s return is interesting. It allows the show to explore the ethics of whether the Union, with its advanced technology, has a moral obligation to help other societies that are still struggling to reach the stars. It also gives the show a final few chances to show off its special effects; the simulator trip to the inside of an asteroid inhabited by glowing aquatic beings is a feast for the eyes.
Despite trying and failing to smuggle off schematics for the Union’s advanced technology, Lysella eventually decides to stay on the ship, seemingly joining the crew. If the show gets a fourth season, Lysella being a fully fledged member of the Orville will provide a fresh perspective we haven’t had before, since she grew up in a world without the utopian luxuries of the wider universe.
Ultimately, it all leads to the wedding and reception. As “Forever Unknown” is somewhat of a party for the show, it’s fitting that the season ends with a literal party. Captain Mercer’s officiation of the wedding and Claire and Isaac’s vows gave us one last tearjerker moment. Gordon ends up being called on to give the best man speech after Bortus’ sense of humor falls offensively flat. There’s even a surprise appearance by Alara (Halston Sage), who exited the show during its second season.
It’s a wonderful way to end what has been an excellent season of television. We can only hope Hulu renews The Orville for a fourth season, because while this could feel like a fitting ending to the show, it’s been so good that it would be a crime if there wasn’t more.
The Orville: Bullet Point Horizons
- The bachelor and bachelorette parties were both hilarious in their own ways. The ladies made a stripper version of Isaac in the simulator, complete with robotic nipple tassles. Meanwhile, the guys botched their party because Bortus was more determined to dress up like an Elvis impersonator than plan out a vibe appealing to humans.
- The Orville has really killed it with subtle context this season, and this episode was no exception. I think anyone who has gone through a wedding and seen how they can cause people to project their own personal stuff onto the proceedings will relate to how different characters latched onto different parts of the event. As true to life as it was funny to watch.
- It was an interesting juxtaposition to have the wedding stuff happen in the same episode as Lysella questioning how the Union’s utopian society works. Because the buying into the wedding industrial complex and throwing expensive weddings is a thing in our society…but money doesn’t exist in the Union.
- Gordon’s final song was a nice way to sing out The Orville: New Horizons.
- Speaking of Gordon, I guffawed when his egg salad sandwich, which he sent forward in time a few episodes back, popped up while he was in the middle of griping about the best man drama.
- Kelly slipping her hand into Ed’s during the final moments of the episode was a great touch. Their relationship has always been a central part of the show, and though it wasn’t at the forefront in New Horizons, this was a nice way to give them a moment before the credits rolled on the season.
What a season it’s been for The Orville: New Horizons. “Future Unknown” may not have been the most exciting way to finish it out, but it felt like it was the right choice to dial things back and just celebrate everything the show has achieved this season. Give us a season 4, Hulu!
Episode Grade: A-
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