This week's episode of The Orville featured an extra treat for Star Trek fans as it brought together two fan-favorite actors from the franchise.
Thursday's episode was titled "Home" and focused on Alara Kitan (Halston Sage), Orville's super-strong Xelayan chief security officer. As hinted in the title, the episode involves Alara taking a trip back to her home planet.
This leads to the first Star Trek cameo of the episode. Robert Picardo returns as Alara's father, the scholar Ildis Kitan. Picardo appeared via a video transmission in the first season of The Orville, but here he actually shares the screen with other members of The Orville's cast.
Picardo is best known to Star Trek fans for playing the Doctor on Star Trek: Voyager, the Emergency Medical Hologram that served as Voyager's chief medical officer and eventually surpassed the confines of his programming. He also played Lewis Zimmerman, the Starfleet scientist who designed the EMH and served as its physical model.
But another Star Trek alumnus made their Orville debut in "Home." That would be John Billingsley, who played Cambis Borrin, another Xelayan. Ildis published a paper that ruined the career of Cambis' son, driving him to suicide. Cambis shows up unexpectedly in the episode seeking revenge, which leads to some intense moments featuring the two former Star Trek stars.
Billingsley played Dr. Phlox in Star Trek: Enterprise. Phlox was the Denobulan chief medical officer aboard Enterprise NX-01 during the ship's historic first voyage.
After the episode aired, Picardo shared a couple behind-the-scenes photos of himself with Billingsley on the set of The Orville.
"This was a tough secret to keep!" Picardo tweeted. "John Billingsley and I shot The Orville last spring with [director] Jon Cassar, [creator and star] Seth MacFarlane and their great cast and crew. Glad the cat is finally out of the bag!"
This was a tough secret to keep! @JBillingsley60 and I shot @TheOrville last spring with @joncassar @SethMacFarlane and their great cast and crew. Glad the cat is finally out of the bag! pic.twitter.com/Sp7RnasHfh— Robert Picardo (@RobertPicardo) January 11, 2019
"Just to prove there are no hard feelings between me and John Billingsley for his having terrorized me, Molly Hagan [who plays Drenala Kitan, Ildis' wife and Alara's mother] and our family on The Orville last night, here I am eating his right cheek," Picardo tweeted.
Just to prove there are no hard feelings between me and @JBillingsley60 for his having terrorized me, @mollyhagan and our family on @TheOrville last night, here I am eating his right cheek. pic.twitter.com/VXXNIDylGb— Robert Picardo (@RobertPicardo) January 11, 2019
With Alara's apparent departure at the end of "Home," it is unclear if fans will be seeing Picardo on The Orville again, though nothing official has been said as of yet. As for Billingsley, considering the way Cambis' night ended in the episode, it seems unlikely that he'll be back.
What did you think of the double Star Trek cameos on The Orville? Let us know in the comments!
The Orville airs Thursdays at 9 p.m. ET on FOX.