The Orville: 2.11 Lasting Impressions
Remember that time in Star Trek: The Next Generation when Geordi La Forge created the holodeck version of the Enterprise D warp driver creator Leah Brahms. And then he fell in love with her? And then a year later the real Leah Brahms turned up and found out that Geordi was in love with her. Or the holodeck version of her. And she was married? Well this week, Gordon was Geordi.
The Orville's love for Star Trek continues to be a joy. The discovery of the time capsule was straight out of something from the Star Trek: The Next Generation era. The quasi holodeck recreation of 21st century's Laura Huggins (Leighton Meester) was something that would have fit right into that period of Star Trek. And we had Star Trek: Voyager's Tuvok himself, Tim Russ, onboard to play Doctor Sherman, who was transporting the recently discovered time capsule from 2015 to a new facility.
Amid the many items in the capsule was Laura's mobile phone, which through a bit of out of the box thinking, was recharged. At first, Gordon's fascination with Laura and her text messages and videos were sweet. But the moment he programmed the phone into the imager and created an interactive version of her life, it started to take on that creepy Geordi-vibe. Not too dark though; Scott Grimes' earnest performance kept him grounded and endearing to the audience for the most part as he began to fall hopeless in love with Laura. Meester was a great guest character too with plenty of spark with Grimes and a genuinely compelling, lovely life for Gordon to fall into.
It also gave us that wonderful scene where Gordon invited his friends over to Laura's apartment for game night - grunge Talla Keyali in her big hat was a delight. The logistics of how Gordon was able to create a phone that interacted with the fake Laura's life aside, the phone call while he sat at the helm was pretty funny too. and let's not delve too deep into his night of passion with Laura in the program - again him ending the program and falling to the floor was pretty funny too.
Of course it all ended in tragedy, with Laura's ex turning up - something that had been clear in her text history all along - leading to the somewhat disturbing manner in which Gordon erased him from the program, only to realise that without Greg, she wasn't the music-loving woman he fell in love with. After reversing the erasing of Greg, Gordon and Laura's song at the bar during the episode's final scene was a lovely, bittersweet moment.
The B story was hilarious. You thought Bortus growing a moustache was funny? Wait to you see him and Klyden on a 200 cigarettes a day addiction. It was something you wouldn't get on a Star Trek show, but The Orville, with its own brand of humour was the perfect setting for this tale. Bortus sat on the bridge, talking with half a cigarette in his mouth was fantastic, but it was the scene Klyden confronted Bortus about where he had hidden the cigarettes that was the comic highlight of the episode. The fierce, forced nature in which Bortus presented each cigarette, ended with the mass of cigarettes pouring out of the cushion case, was one of the funniest scenes the show has done yet.
After a brief break and some recent heavy-hitting episodes, Lasting Impressions was a lovely heart-warming and comic episode. Between this episode and the previous Blood Of Patriots, Scott Grimes has had some great material to play with. There's a lot of heart in The Orville, but Grimes' Gordon Malloy might just be at the centre of it all.