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The Orville Season 3 Ep 1 "Electric Sheep": BCTV Best Episodes of 2022

One of the trickiest things about science fiction shows like The Orville: New Horizons, when they tackle serious subjects, is how they can deliver enough nuance for their characters and provide a proper path that helps advance them while making the serious subject matter integral to the storyline and not just as a reason to get from Point A to Point B. Death and remorse are probably some of the trickiest, especially in non-serialized storytelling. How the Hulu series handled the Planetary Union's feelings toward its lone Kaylon (Mark Jackson) crew member following his betrayal is why the season three episode "Electric Sheep" (written & directed by Seth MacFarlane) remains arguably the best episode of television in 2022.

The Orville: Season 3 Episode 1 Review: A New Long Road Ahead
Anne Winters and Mark Jackson in The Orville: New Horizons. Image courtesy of Hulu

Late in season two, during the FOX years before The Orville made its new home on Hulu, it's revealed that Isaac's status as an emissary from the Kaylons was an elaborate ruse from the artificial lifeforms to eliminate all biological life. As a result, the Union found themselves allying with their mortal enemies, the Krill, to stave off their invasion of Earth. With the Kaylon defeated thanks to Isaac's change of heart (and by employing an electromagnetic pulse to disable the Kaylon fleet while also taking himself out in the process), the crew of the Orville was able to retake their ship and turn the tide in the battle. The season three premiere "Electric Sheep," served as the fallout, with survivors of the battle (like Anne Winters' Ensign Charly Burke) and new crew members harboring deep resentment towards Isaac's presence.

The Orville Season 3 Ep 1 "Electric Sheep": BCTV Best Episodes of 2022
©2018 Fox Broadcasting Co. Cr: Kevin Estrada/FOX

Isaac's harassment reached a fever pitch to the point where even his closest loved ones, like Marcus (BJ Tanner), also wished ill of him, which is exacerbated by his nightmares from the battle. While Isaac had a few allies in Ed (Seth MacFarlane), Dr. Claire Finn (Penny Johnson Jerald), and her youngest son (and Marcus' younger brother) Ty (Ky Wener), he made what he thought was the most logical and non-emotional decision to commit suicide "to improve crew efficiency."

The Orville: New Horizons: S3E9 Review: Strange New Bedfellows
The Orville: New Horizons — "Domino" – Episode 309 — The creation of a powerful new weapon puts the Orville crew — and the entire Union — in a political and ethical quandary. Issac (Mark Jackson), Primary (Graham Hamilton), and Charly Burke (Anne Winters), are shown. (Photo by: Greg Gayne/Hulu)

Orville's chief engineer John LaMarr (J Lee), couldn't find a way to restore Isaac, given his precise methodology. His only chance is the one who offered the bluntest, gut-wrenching, and visceral judge of character in Charly. After starting to hear what Isaac meant to those who loved him, she saved him. With most similar non-serialized sci-fi shows, they would find a way to get along in a copacetic fashion, but it's a trust Isaac would dedicate the remainder of the season to rebuild.

When you take 'The Orville's "Electric Sheep" and how it handled something as serious as betrayal compared to Star Trek: The Next Generation's two-parter like "Descent," where Data (Brent Spiner), under the influence of negative emotions fed by his twin brother Lore (Spiner), harmed his friends, it's almost night and day. While Isaac dealt with the backlash and awkwardness from his complicity throughout the season, Data's guilt was confined to the episode. Without diving into other incidents, it certainly wasn't the first time Data turned on his crewmates, even if there were external factors. While there are some benefits to having short-term memories on television, we develop a greater appreciation when it weaves into long-term storytelling.

If you or someone you know is struggling with depression or suicidal thoughts, please do not hesitate to call the National Suicide Hotline at 1-800-273-8255, visit the main website or text "988" for the crisis text line. If someone you know is struggling, do your best to reach out to them because they might not have the strength to ask for help.

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Tom ChangAbout Tom Chang

I'm a follower of pop culture from gaming, comics, sci-fi, fantasy, film, and TV for over 30 years. I grew up reading magazines like Starlog, Mad, and Fangoria. As a writer for over 10 years, Star Wars was the first sci-fi franchise I fell in love with. I'm a nerd-of-all-trades.
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