'The Orville' Introduces Alara's Replacement

The Orville has officially found its new chief security officer following the departure of one of its original crew members.

Two weeks ago, in the episode “Home,” Lt. Alara Kitan resigned her post aboard the Orville to return to her home planet, Xelaya. ComicBook.com later confirmed that this was the last episode of The Orville in which Halston Sage, who played Alara, would be featured as a series regular.

In this week’s episode, “All the World Is Birthday Cake,” The Orville introduced Alara’s replacement. Lt. Talla Keyali, played by Jessica Szohr, is another Xelayan per a special request put in by Capt. Ed Mercer. But the episode quickly distinguishes Talla from Alara. Where Alara was something a people-pleaser and still trying to prove herself and find her place, Talla feels like a confident veteran. In fact, she left her last post after punching her captain in the face (for diplomatic reasons).

The Orville Talla
(Photo: Andrew Eccles/FOX)

Capt. Mercer isn't entirely sold on Talla at first, but she quickly proves her worth as more than just a strong right hand. The Orville makes first contact with a planet in the episode. The initial meeting goes well, but then Cmdr. Grayson and Lt. Bortus are taken prisoner because their birthdays fall under a cursed astrological sign. It’s Talla who discovers why the civilization views that sign so poorly, the death of a star in that constellation during the society’s formative years. This is all the information Orville’s crew needs to hatch a plan to free Kelly and Bortus and earns Talla the respect of her new captain, even permission to punch him if the situation calls for it.

There had been rumors about Sage's 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 added Jessica Szohr as a new series regular between seasons. Photos from The Orville’s set revealed that Talla was a Xelayan security officer, just like Alara, before she made her debut in the series, which led to speculation she was going to replace Alara.

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What do you think of Talla's introduction to The Orville? Are you still sad that Halston Sage left the series? What have you thought of the show's second season so far? Let us know what you think about the situation in the comments!

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