The Third Episode Of 'The Orville' Is A Must-Watch For 'Star Trek' Fans

Tonight’s episode of The Orville may be a make or break moment for Seth MacFarlane’s new series.

The Orville debuted to the highest ratings for a new Fox series since Empire premiered in 2015. The show was watched by over 8 million people in its premiere, and those numbers grew to over 11 million as DVR and streaming numbers came in.

Despite that, the series has received mixed reviews from critics and confusion from some viewers who aren’t really sure what the show is supposed to be. Fox advertised The Orville like it was pure comedy, but that doesn’t seem to be what MacFarlane has in mind.

Instead, MacFarlane seems to envision his series as being a more comedic successor to Star Trek: The Next Generation and the other Star Trek shows of that era. “About a Girl,” the first episode to air in The Orville's permanent Thursday night time slot, achieves that goal with almost startling success.

As teased at the end of last week’s episode, “About a Girl” deals with the newborn child of Lt. Commander Bortus (Peter Macon) and his mate Klyden (Chad Coleman). Bortus and Klyden are Moclun, what is believed to be an all-male alien race, but the birth of their daughter raises a lot of questions in the minds of the non-Moclun members of the cast.

Without spoiling too much of what happens in the episode, because Star Trek fans and other viewers should really see what this episode of The Orville has to offer for themselves, suffice it to say that "About a Girl" has a much different tone than the previous two episodes. “About a Girl” is significantly lighter on humor, though there are still some jokes and at least one major pop culture-based plot point, but for the most part MacFarlane and his co-stars wrestle with ethical questions about what it means to do right by a child when cultural relativism is involved.

Watching Captain Mercer and his crew debate the proper course of action feels reminiscent of watching Captain Picard do the same thing with the crew of the Enterprise. There’s even a point where the debate turns into a legal battle that almost seems inspired by the classic Next Generation episode “The Measure of a Man.”

“About a Girl” feels as if MacFarlane found a lost Next Generation script and brought it to life, adding a few of his own touches along the way. For Star Trek fans still trying to figure out how they feel about the new Fox series, this episode of The Orville is a must-watch.

The Orville airs Thursdays at 9 p.m. ET on Fox.

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