Synopsis: In From Unknown Graves The Orville discovers a Kaylon with a very special ability. Meanwhile, Lamar and Tall have to make a difficult decision with regard to their relationship.
When Ed and Kelly have to swap roles in order to entertain The Janisi who consider Men to be inferior. Ed is relieved to go off and explore when the ship intercepts a signal coming from a planet where they are only able to pick up one life sign. As Ed, Gordon, and Bortus arrive at the source of the signal they find themselves in a lab where they meet Dr. Vilka and her Kaylon friend Timmis. Vilka tells Ed how she found Timmis after he’d crashed and put him back together again and proceeded to activate something within his design that enabled the Kaylon to feel a wide range of emotions.
After some convincing. Ed decided to take Dr. Vilka and Timmis back to the Orville where the two engage with various members of the crew. Including a skeptical Ensign Charly Burke. This whole story is interspersed with a flashback story, which gives us the horrific story of how the Kaylons were designed to be a slave race. However, as they became self-aware and began to question their masters. They were cruelly mistreated, which triggered them into taking action. When he meets Charly. Timmis is extremely apologetic and remorseful for the actions of the Kaylons during their first major Battle with The Orville and Earths people. And he proceeds to give Charly the story of his people to give her some context for why the conflict happened to begin with.
Also, given the fact that Timmis is able to feel emotions and empathize. Dr. Finn asks Isaac if he’d consider having the procedure that will allow him to feel. As she feels it would enhance their relationship. Elsewhere, Lamar’s relationship with Talla runs into problems when things get physical, which forces them both to make a very difficult decision.
It has to be noted how difficult it must be to play emotions through a mask that covers your face and has no room for expression. That is what Mark Jackson has had to do with Isaac for about three years now, even though his character does not have emotions. It is still a big ask for any actor to do. That said, Christopher Larkin who played Timmis played an absolute blinder. I was totally taken in by his performance and believed it when he expressed his remorse to Charly. Likewise, Charly’s (Anne Winters) apology to Isaac at the end of the episode felt sincere and was a really big moment for her growth as a character on the show.
We also get great comedic performances from Seth MacFarlane, Adrianne Palicki, and Scott Grimes as Ed, Kelly, and Gordon maintain their deception in order to entertain the Janisis delegation who believe that Kelly is the Orville’s Captain.
From Unknown Graves was a really big and thought-provoking episode and perhaps up there with A Tail of Two Topas as one of the best episodes of the season. The story dealt with some really difficult issues and provided a pretty decent range of viewpoints. I really enjoyed how the writers juxtaposed the Flashbacks to the Kaylon origins and their role as a slave race with Timmis’s story and his general remorse for his people lumping all biological beings in with the Kaylon’s creators.
The Janisi delegation and the deception that the crew we pulling on them offered a little comic relief, but even that raised some interesting points for discussion when it comes to striving for a more equal society. Also loved the whole relationship story between Lamar and Talla. But I do think that Lamar needs to drink more milk and needs more calcium in his diet:)
Overall. A really powerful story. Writers of the Star Trek shows really need to look at The Orville when it comes to nuanced narratives that explore social issues. Sure Strange New Worlds did a bit of it. But there was a time when Star Trek did a lot more of it. They need to go back to that.
- CGI & Stunts10
- Incidental Music10