Here’s the thing about intergalactic space travel and The Orville, it’s really just Star Trek with some humor thrown in. And five episodes in that becomes really apparent when our crew encounters a special guest star that’s not who she says she is. Charlize Theron (Pria Lavesque) boards our titular vessel after a stressful first encounter that sees our ship save her from certain doom, or did they? That’s what this latest hour plays with as the series continues to try and balance juvenile with smart, which doesn’t always go well but when it does the results are good.
Here’s the thing about “Pria” it’s going to be really hard to review this without talking about who our guest star actually is so be warned there may be spoilers coming. But let’s start off with the fact that for our captain, Ed Mercer (Seth MacFarlane), it’s obvious that he has a romantic interest and considering where things stand with his ex plus the inspiration for this franchise it all adds up to one thing. And their interactions make or break the experience this week, as other characters take a bit of a backseat to them while highlighting our primary’s trust issues.
On the backside of things we have our first officer, Kelly Grayson (Adrianne Palicki) full of suspicion and carrying an ally, Alara (Halston Sage) along for this “I seem jealous but I have reasons for acting this way” ride. A lot of their story plays by the normal plot beats that we’ve all come to expect, all the way to them being yelled at but later proven right. Now what was great happened to be a minor series of events involving two pranks featuring Isaac (Mark Jackson) and Gordon (Scott Grimes). It was by far my favorite part of the episode which honestly surprised me.
Now for me the yarn didn’t get good until the ending when things more or less lined up. After the reveal of who Pria is and where she comes from the show gets the direction it needs. It allows the writers to focus on a worthwhile turn of events that does a lot of stuff while embracing a core element of sci fi. Now the journey to get there had some worthwhile moments but it dragged quite a bit. Still the end result is a largely enjoyable outing that makes use of the crew but under serves how good the narrative could have been if handled just a bit better than it was.
As a whole The Orville “Pria” really was a solid hour of TV that used the cast well enough in its second half. The journey remains interesting from start to finish mostly thanks to a side story and our capable guest star plus I avoided spoiling who she really is!
(7 / 10)