In Review: The Orville – Mad Idolatry

The Orville does its own version of a Star Trek prime directive story

Synopsis: Ed and Kelly consider getting back together. However, while Kelly is on a mission with Isaac and Gordon to investigate the origins of an uncharted star, they crashland on a planet from another universe. Kelly then makes a decision with unforeseen consequences for the planet, which puts Ed in a difficult position.

Review: This episode starts off with Ed and Kelly talking about getting back together, but then turns into a what could well have been a ‘Star Trek: The Next Generation’ story dealing with the Prime Directive. In particular the part about not interfering with the culture of a pre-technological culture. When Kelly investigates the surface of a planet, which she and the team of crash landed on. She unwittingly helps a young child by healing a cut on her head. This action has the consequence of Kelly being worshipped by the planet as a God.

With the prospect of him getting back together with Kelly. Ed’s capability to make command decisions gets fogged up when he lets him pending personal relationship get in the way of duty. In essence, Ed tries to cover up Kelly’s mistake in the official report to the UNION, but gets found out and has a permanent reprimand placed on his record.

This does not stop Ed from disobeying orders to help Kelly try and put things right on the planet, which is a difficult thing to do given that the planet is phasing between its own universe and that of the Orville roughly every 11 days. In which time 700 years have passed for the planet.

This is the sort of story that ‘Star Trek’ used to do best in that it is the type of story that can spark interesting discussions and debates. I enjoyed the fact that the writers managed to keep a serious tone when discussing the implications of Kelly’s simple act of kindness and how that was perceived by a far less developed culture.

Overall. This is an excellent note for ‘The Orville’s’ first season to end on. We get a solid performance from Adrianne Palicki as Kelly and a fun guest appearance from Kelly Hu as Admiral Ozawa. The few comedy beats at the start of the episode were fun, but not really laugh out loud. This show seems to do better when it goes for more dramatic moments. It may do better by perhaps using Isaac as the more comedic character somewhat how Data was used in TNT. 

The Orville - Mad Idolatry
  • Story
  • Acting
  • CGI
  • Incidental Music

Ian Cullen is the founder of and has been a fan of science fiction and fantasy from birth. In the past few years he has written for 'Star Trek' Magazine as well as interviewed numerous comics writers, television producers and actors for the SFP-NOW podcast at: When he is not writing for Ian enjoys playing his guitar, studying music, watching movies and reading his comics. Ian is both the founder and owner of You can contact ian at:
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