The 8th episode of the 3rd season of The Orville is a full-length mini-movie.

Warning: Spoilers ahead for The Orville Season 3 Episode 8.

Every long running TV show has a “filler” or even what is sometimes referred to as a “bottle episode” from time to time, but while they tend to be produced on a smaller budget and limited in scope for use as a few regular cast members. effects and scenery, as far as possible – this week it definitely wasn’t.

However, this week really seemed like a giant melting pot where almost everything was thrown into, along with an impressive budget and the result was a near-feature or mini-movie. At one hour and 26 minutes long, this is an impressive length for a single television episode; THX 1138 is only 88 minutes long, Silent Running is 89 minutes long, and Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956) is only 80 minutes long.

Yes, The Orville is gearing up for its full descent in the Season 3 finale, so a momentary pause before a full descent is to be expected, or at least fairly common. And that’s what this episode is like, a bit. We still have a lot of fun to do and we’ll get back to it, but this week you’re in for high-speed chases, emotional upheaval, torture, escape, melee, reunion and, yes, Dolly Parton.

And by the looks of it, creator Seth MacFarlane is getting ready to blow us away next week.

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We begin this episode by revisiting the life of young Topa (Imani Pullum). Lieutenant Commander. Bortus (Peter Macon) confesses to the Commander. Kelly Grayson (Adrienne Palicki) tells her that since Clyden (Chad L. Coleman) left, Topa has been struggling to open up about her personal feelings, which serves as a good ending to this episode, but more on that later. She confesses that she has feelings for someone she knows, and Grayson encourages her to tell the person her feelings. As it turns out, this is actually Lieutenant Gordon Malloy (Scott Grimes), and the result is a very entertaining exchange of engineering knowledge.

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It’s been almost a year since the Planetary Union granted protective status to Gavina (Renee Owen) and her Moklan refugee colony, as we saw in the second episode of the season “Sanctuary” (S02, E12) and was recently mentioned in “The Tale of Two Tops » (S03, E05). According to the agreement, the Council of the Union and the Moklan government have the right to conduct an annual inspection of the colony to ensure that both parties comply with its terms. Because of the Orville’s history and familiarity with the colony, Admiral Halsey (Victor Garber) appoints Commanders Grayson and Bortus to represent the Union. So, we return to this particular chestnut before the Kylon-themed season finale.

RELATED: Malloy goes through an emotional ordeal in episode 6 of season 3 of The Orville.

We see the classic small utopian settlement so familiar from TV shows like Stargate: SG-1 and Star Trek: The Next Generation, and young Topa gets to meet Hevina in person and view her impressive temple of Dolly Parton. You may remember that in the aforementioned “Sanctuary” episode, Hevina is introduced to Dolly Parton’s music by Captain Ed Mercer (Seth MacFarlane) and calls her “the great earthly poet” in typical MacFarlane humor.

Who doesn't have a shrine to legendary singer/songwriter Dolly Parton at home..?

Who doesn’t have a shrine to legendary singer-songwriter Dolly Parton at home? (Image credit: Hulu)

Everything seems to be going like clockwork… and then Hevina approaches Topa and convinces her to join her cause. You see, despite an inspection to make sure both parties adhered to the agreement, Heveena was not; she continued to smuggle Moklan women out of Moclus despite the potential risk of endangering everyone. Aside from the fact that almost everything, including the shell, was thrown into this part, this part seems oddly fake. Not only does Hevina take a huge risk, but Rena Owen’s pitch seems to be a disinformation ploy. Whether this was intentional is unknown, and to be honest, we hoped it was, as it could add a whole new layer to the story. But alas, it was not destined to be.

Related: The Orville season 3 episode 5 revisits the Mocklans’ gender disputes.

Now, according to insider information (will open in a new tab), the episode was one of several that suffered restrictions and scheduling conflicts due to Covid-19 as well as three pregnant co-stars. So that’s more than likely the reason why this particular episode doesn’t live up to the same exceptionally high standard as the rest of the third season.

Related: The Orville Season 3 Episode 4 Takes Worldbuilding to the Next Level

Agreeing to help pass on the information, Topa strays too far from the quiet camp and is kidnapped by Moklan soldiers who were also nearby as part of a check. Again, this could be part of Hevina’s (clever but slightly twisted and therefore more interesting) counter-intelligence ploy, predicting and actually relying on the capture of the young Top. But alas, it was not destined to be.

This episode has a lot of great - and lengthy - visuals depicting future earthly cities.

This episode has a lot of great – and lengthy – visuals depicting future earthly cities. (Image credit: Hulu)

Orville intervenes instead, and Hevina admits to breaking the agreement. The Planetary Union intervenes – because they have to – and insists that she testify at the hearing, during which evidence of the kidnapping will also be presented. Meanwhile, Gryson and Bortus board their shuttle and attempt to pursue the Moklan kidnappers.

Related: The 3rd episode of the 3rd season of The Orville received 10 points from us

Mercer tries to convince Hevin by recreating Dolly Parton’s log cabin with the country music legend herself in the hololux. Aside from a tiny bit of anti-aging CGI, it’s really a singer/songwriter sensation who shares some deep wisdom and ultimately convinces Hevina to agree to talk to the members of the Council of the Planetary Union… and we get a similar-ish situation to the episode “Sanctuary” once again. Now Grayson and Bortus have to save the young Top from being tortured in a secret underground facility.

RELATED: The Orville Season 3 Episode 2 Hats Off To Classic Sci-Fi Horror

Moments before her rescue, a funny “they-won’t-they” moment occurs between Grayson and Bortus, and interestingly, Bordus does not kill the battle-frightened Moklan who tormented the young Topa. Just moments before our valiant heroes storm the cell where she is being held captive, he confirms that he now has the name of the Sanctuary contact on Moclus and the cipher frequencies. It remains to be seen if this will be revisited in a later episode.

Now the completely blind Moklan who tortured Topa is still alive, does this threaten the sanctuary?

Now the completely blind Moklan who tortured Topa is still alive, does this threaten the sanctuary? (Image credit: Hulu)

Luckily, they are able to rescue her, leading to a dogfight/chase sequence – because we already mentioned this episode has it all – between a fleeing Union shuttle and three pursuing Moclan fighters. And just on cue, they produce a battered and tortured Mohlan girl for the Council of the Planetary Union. Everything more or less resolves itself – at least as much as it can – and then, in perhaps the most touching moment of the episode, Clyden (Chad L. Coleman) returns and even invites Grayson to eat at their dinner table. , explicitly. unlike what happened a few weeks ago.

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So it looks like next week we’ll be back for some exciting space battle episodes, and of course, since Kylon last attacked Earth, the Planetary Union fleet has seen some updates, including the first collaboration between Krill and the human technology that resulted in these Ghost Darts. -like fighters we first saw in the first episode of this season, “Electric Sheep” (S03, E01). Also, there are now two calons aboard the Orville, Isaac and Timmis (Christopher Larkin)… Will this affect the course of next week in any way? We’ll find out soon enough.

Rating: 6½/10

The first and second seasons of The Orville are available to watch on Hulu. (will open in a new tab) in most countries, and US packages start at $6.99 per month. New episodes of the 3rd season will be released every Thursday. Viewers in Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Hong Kong, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Norway, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Taiwan and the UK can watch Disney Plus. (will open in a new tab) with availability soon for Japan and South Korea. Viewers in Latin America can watch Star Plus.

Watch Orville on Hulu

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