Season One Episode Seven
The episode opens on a world similar to Earth in the 21st Century with a young woman going through her morning routine and being oblivious to two men speaking on television behind her. Without thinking, she down votes one of the men because of how he looks. Later, the two men are taken to a room where one of them is shot while trying to escape and the other is strapped to a chair where the final vote tally results in his being seemingly executed.
All of this is the cold open for the newest episode of The Orville. The Orville is in orbit of Sargus IV. A research team on the planet has been missing for a month and the Orville is sending a landing team to find out what happened to them. The Doctor (Penny Johnson Jerald) has a friend on the surface and she is clearly worried. We get a sense of the culture of the planet with a montage of interactions that show people up-voting or down-voting their various interactions with each other.
When LaMarr (J. Lee) starts grinding against a statue while playing a joke on Alara’s (Halston Sage) last boyfriend, his actions are recorded by the locals and he starts being down-voted, causing a panic when he and the rest of the landing team attempt to leave the cafe. As the team tries to leave the area, they are stopped by the police. Lamar meets with his publicity officer, who is there to help set up his apology tour. After the find out what the punishment is for failing the tour, Lamar and Grayson (Adrianne Palicki) go off together as Alara and Dr. Finn continue the search for the missing anthropologists.
As Lamar continues his apology tour and the Orville is ordered not to extract him, Alara and Finn run into another problem when Alara’s alien features are discovered. Mercer (Seth Macfarlane) decides to try a desperate gamble to try to prevent Lamar from suffering the same fate as the anthropologists.
There are some definite Black Mirror vibes about this episode and they actually work without being preachy. The ridiculous elements of the society itself is a pretty on the nose representation of many of the aspects of our society today. I enjoy anything that skewers our current cultural climate and this episode did so with subtlety and without pretense of trying to please the online culture at large.