'The Orville' May Have Just Said Goodbye to a Core Cast Member

The Orville may have just lost one of its core crewmembers.

The most recent episode of the show, “Home,” may have been bittersweet for fans of The Orville. On one hand, the episode gave the chance to see two classic Star Trek actors working together. On the other hand, this could be the last fans see of Halston Sage as Lt. Alara Kitan.

Alara is the chief security officer aboard the Orville. Despite her petite frame, she’s actually incredibly strong in Earth-normal gravity. That’s because she’s Xelayan and Xelaya has a gravitational pull exponentially stronger than the average Planetary Union planet, giving its natives extra strength in other environments.

But not necessarily forever. As “Home” revealed, Xelayans who spend a lot of time away from their homeworld will eventually adjust to Earth-normal gravity. For some Xelayans, this happens more quickly and suddenly. Alara discovered she was one of those Xelayans when she broke her arm in an arm-wrestling match with Isaac.

Luckily, there’s a cure. Spending some time on Xelaya will readjust the Xelayan’s body to the weight of Xelayan gravity, restoring their super-strength in Earth-normal gravity. However, this process can take days, weeks, months, or years.

Alara spends that time at home trying to reconnect with her family. Her parents and sister are all scholars, and so they’ve never really understood or appreciated her calling to join the Planetary Union fleet. When Alara saves the family’s lives from vengeful home invaders, she finally gains the respect of her father.

Dr. Finn devises a treatment that, while painful, would allow Alara to return to the Orville and still regain her strength. Alara passes on the treatment and decides to return to Xelaya to reconnect with her family. She leaves a gift on Capt. Mercer’s desk. Mercer opens it to discover a large jar of pickles.

So is this goodbye to Alara forever? That remains unclear. Nobody involved with the show in any official capacity, including Sage, has commented on Sage’s future with the show, but there have been rumors about her departure for months as she was noted to be working on other projects while The Orville’s second season was still in production.

The Orville has also added Jessica Szohr as a series regular playing the character Talla. She still hasn’t made her debut, but photos from The Orville’s set suggest that Talla is a Xelayan security officer, just like Alara. This has led to speculation the Szhor’s character is meant to replace Alara.

And then there’s the pickle jar. Some might speculate that Alara’s departure is temporary, and that may be the case, but the pickle jar suggests otherwise, referencing jokes between Alara and Capt. Mercer throughout the show’s first season. Alara choosing to leave a jar of pickles behind as a gift to Mercer seems to suggest a finality to her decision.

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