[S3E6] The Other Time _TOP_
Meanwhile, in the present day, Mike points out that Cameron has another witness, heavily protected by U.S. Marshals. Harvey realizes Cameron's case is becoming solid and will stop at nothing. Meanwhile, in the middle of packing for her visit to Law schools, Rachel and Mike engage in an argument.
[S3E6] The Other Time
Flashing back to the past, Trevor and Mike attend a party, where they decide to win some money by playing poker. At the DA office, Harvey and Cameron celebrate after their latest win (due to Harvey's successful idea). Afterwards, Harvey begins to flirt with Donna, however Bertha interrupts with a piece of evidence, which may have screwed them over. Mike continues to play, however one of the players lures him by making him go 'all in'. Running out of money, Trevor offers to lend him $500, unaware this becomes a trap and they lose their money when one of the other players cheat. Lacking the support to call the police (due to both of them drinking) and unable to fight them off, they decide to leave.
In that installment, Lt Malloy (Scott Grimes) falls in love with the long-since deceased owner of an iPhone that was contained in the time capsule, a struggling singer named Laura Huggins (Leighton Meester). He uses the holodeck to recreate scenes from her life and interacts with her, even accompanying her in song in a small-time, back-street club. And now, through a very bizarre series of events, we get to see Laura Huggins once more.
We begin with Lt. Cmdr. John LaMarr (J. Lee) performing an experiment with what has become known as the "Aronov device." Do you remember the very first episode of the first season, "Old Wounds?" The Orville was dispatched to the Epsilon Science Station on Epsilon 2 to collect a prototype time manipulation device developed by Dr. Aronov (Brian George). Despite an ambush by the Krill, they are able to escape relatively unscathed. Then, during the epic two-part Season 2 finale, the device is used once again to reset the timeline after a young Kelly Grayson (Adrian Palicki) is accidently bought into the future.
Needless to say, if this device fell into the wrong hands, namely the Kaylon, they could go back and change history. The weaponization of time travel has always been the unthinkable horror, as Admiral Perry (Ted Danson) remarks. An impressive fleet of Planetary Union ships is assembled to escort the Orville and the Aronov device to the maximum-security research station on Saavik III. However, in yet another amazing space battle (we are being so spoiled this season) the fleet is ambushed and nearly destroyed.
Why is he specifically back in 2015? Well, that's a very good question. According to Isaac, "When Commander Grayson's younger self was transported to our time, we were able to confirm that human cognition played a role in the temporal displacement." As such, as a result of his thoughts earlier in the episode returning to Laura Huggins, that's where he ended up.
The whole discussion/argument dialogue between Mercer and Malloy isn't convincing, at all. Both Seth MacFarlane's and Adrian Palicki's characters are uncharacteristically unsympathetic and seem to have zero empathy for Malloy's TEN YEARS of time spent on 21st century Earth, even informing the already-extremely-confused lieutenant that he will have to face criminal charges for just staying alive and interacting with other people. Moreover, during the planning stages of this away mission, it's hard to imagine that no one saw this coming. Absolutely no one said, "Hey, he's been down there for 10 years, has anyone considered he might not want to come back?"
With everyone safely back on the Orville, they return to 2015 and rescue Malloy, who at this point is obviously very happy to see them. In fact, when the Orville arrives, Malloy has only been on Earth for about a month, so theoretically he hasn't sent the message yet. This takes us back to the egg salad sandwich. The implication is that the timeline may have split and the version of events where Gordon sent the distress call, stayed in the 21st century, had a family, and lived a full life there may still exist in a branched timeline.
It's unclear why the production deliberately had Malloy rescued after just a month without having sent the message. It's unlikely to be carelessness, given how meticulous production values are on this show, but at the same time, the COVID-19 pandemic was at full strength during the principal photography phase of production, so it's possible this episode was simply a victim of very difficult working conditions. Perhaps we will revisit this alternative reality once again going forward. Who knows.
This fact is also overlooked on "The Orville" and a simple bit of helpful exposition could've explained this away. Instead, the crew of the Orville face another dilemma: the unexpected trip to 2015 has all but destroyed the Aronov device. However, Lamarr comes up with an intriguing solution that, while utterly impossible in the real world, within the laws created within this fictional universe, is almost possible. And it would've been totally possible, had the writers not decided to be suddenly constrained by the real world laws of physics.
Lamarr postulates that whenever the Orville is using the quantum drive, they're moving faster moving than light, but the quantum field creates a bubble around the ship, isolating it from the normal spacetime continuum. Otherwise, it would be subject to Einsteinium relativity: time dilation. The closer it gets to the speed of light, the faster time passes outside the ship. So Lamarr just shuts down the field. The very thing it's supposed to prevent, he just allows to happen. And in fact, in-universe, this actually some very clever writing. However, it wasn't perfect, which is a shame, because it could so easily have been.
Mercer and Grayson are certainly obliged to tell him the whole story and we would hope they would. It also remains to be seen whether we will revisit this potentially new timeline that's been created, if indeed one has. Or at the very least, a mysterious egg salad sandwich suddenly appearing out of nowhere and nearly unravelling the fabric of the space-time continuum.
In other news, Scott Grimes shows once again that he's so much more than a funny face as Malloy revisits his The Orville Season 2 Episode 11 love by basically living out his own Star Trek: The Next Generation Season 5 Episode 25, "Inner Light," plotline.
Setting aside the fact that the quantum accelerator is called the Aronov Device when that was what it was called in the alternate timeline, not the prime timeline where Dr. Janice Lee invented it, how bored is LaMarr that he's messing with time travel?
Perry: It's undeniable they've achieved something extraordinary. But I have to admit, I wish they hadn't.Grayson: March of progress. Can't stop it.Perry: The weaponization of time travel has always been the unthinkable horror. If the Krill or the Kaylon ever achieved it, they could skip the galactic brinkmanship and simply destroy the Union at its inception.
Laura: I had just broken up with this guy, Greg, and the last thing that I wanted was another douchebag.Malloy: But she went out with me anyway.Laura: That's right, yeah. Look at us. Seven years later, that douchebag's my husband.Malloy: I'm her douchebag.
Does anyone else wonder why Malloy landed on Earth in 2015 when the ship had to travel to Earth after traveling back in time? Shouldn't Malloy have ended up in the same space where the destroyed research station would be built in a few hundred years?
Grayson: Seems like you've acclimated to this century.Malloy: Yeah, you know, this time period gets a bad rap. But there's a lot to like about it if you look hard enough.Mercer: Like what?Malloy: Well, you know, it's like watching your little brother make a bunch of stupid mistakes. Yeah, he's an idiot now, but you can see him learning. And growing. And you know that someday, all those mistakes are going to turn him into a smart guy.
In the chaos, Malloy volunteers to run down to the lab to destroy it, to ensure a powerful tool like that is never in the hands of their enemies. As he does, The Orville unleashes a massive blast from their quantum drive to try and shake free from a Kaylon tractor beam, and Malloy is sent flying in a flurry of multi-dimensional time distortions.
This season, each week, we are ranking members of the main cast of Succession based on how fast they are speeding toward moral ruin. Or, if you will, how efficiently they are flying down the highway to hell. Not everybody appears every week, depending on how much they have to do. Sometimes, you just idle.
This is a hard week for Shiv. She continues to learn that nobody in the family has any respect for her, even when her political expertise seems most relevant. They mock and ridicule her input when she pushes back on Mencken. Shiv is pushing for Rick Salgado (Yul Vazquez), who has approached her with a kind of alliance offer, not unlike the alliance she made with the second Sandy at the shareholders' meeting. Her atop the news, him atop the White House, wouldn't that be something? But this time, it doesn't work.
I may wind up being in the minority on this, but I didn't care for the literal political storyline here that much. I actually like Succession less when it's as explicit about its connections to our current crises as this episode is. Roman mocking Shiv and sarcastically threatening to get "cis white male stank" on her is just another day in any internet comment section. And I think the bit where they think Boyer is a secret vegetarian is just a little ... you know. A little '90s, let's say. I think you can establish that rich people sit around making cynical decisions about politics in ways that are a little less explicit than this.
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