It's an indicator of the level of confidence MacFarlane and his team have developed in their writing that The Orville Season 2 Episode 12 was able to avoid cliche and the expected conclusion in this Moclan conflict.
Mind you, the diplomatic conclusion we DID get left a lot of issues on the table.
At the level of the Planetary Union, the Moclans are the first dissenters we've met and they are neither appeased nor denied their demands.
Their threat to renounce their membership over the colony of females really drives home the utter misogynistic nature of their culture.
Mercer gets to trot out a lot of righteous indignation over the interplanetary relationship with the Moclans, specifically with their weapons technology.
If we are not willing to stand up for the values that this union was founded on, what exactly are we defending?Mercer
So, yeah, with the Kaylons as the obvious threat and the Krill in the tenuous early stages of treaty, the Moclans are kind of small fish.
At the level of Moclan society, you'd think they'd appreciate a totally seperate planet for females.
After all, gender separation is exactly what Klyden suggested to the new classroom teacher (played by MARINA SIRTIS!! OMG!!!).
It has to be assumed that the sanctuary planet isn't 100% female since the Moclan engineer and his partner brought their daughter there and it didn't look like they were being rushed out the door.
So would the planet also provide sanctuary for Moclans who are heterosexual like Locar from The Orville Season 2 Episode 7?
And are female Moclans homosexual as well? That's something that's never been broached with Heveena.
Of course, when they first encountered her on The Orville Season 1 Episode 3, she was pretty much the only female on Moclus, completely isolated from society.
With no other females and any males who would be interested being persecuted themselves, she really had no opportunity to have any sort of intimate relationship.
Then there's a biological question of whether all Moclans are capable of producing eggs for reproduction regardless of sex.
At the level of the ship, Klyden and Bortus' relationship has never looked so problematic.
From their fundamental beliefs which have obviously diverged dramaticallly from when they met and married to their individual relationships with their son, Topa, it is clear it's going to take more than couples' counseling to heal their divide.
And, speaking of Topa, the only topic that was brought to any sort of conclusion was his classroom behavior towards females. Seeing him cooperate with his female classmate probably evoked the biggest smile we've ever seen on Bortus.
It turned out to be a remarkably focused episode despite the red herring teaser with the Moclan engineer and his partner.
I'll admit to being a little worried when they couldn't find the research vessel. I was genuinely entertaining the idea that Bortus had aided a pair of kidnappers. Well played.
There were lots of little reveals and twists in this episode which I probably only guessed correctly about 50% of the time.
I was able to predict that Topa wouldn't be able to keep the secret and that Klyden would report it but that probably wasn't much of a surprise to anyone.
I also guessed that the planet would be a sanctuary (it WAS the title of the episode, after all) for female Moclans.
I kind of hoped that when Grayson and Bortus arrived, the female Moclan militia would've taken care of the male Moclan assault party but the Dolly Parton-soundtracked fight was pretty awesome.
(I continue to be amused by how the show buys the licensing for one song (seemingly) each episode and then just plays and references it to death.)
Heveena: Who is she?
Mercer: That's Dolly Parton.
Heveena: She speaks with the might of a hundred soldiers!
Mercer: Yeah, yeah, I guess she does.
Heveena: This is the voice of our revolution.
Malloy as voice of reason is always an odd play in my mind. When he tries to reign in Keyali from firing on the Moclans, it seemed overly cautious for the I'll-just-turn-this-shuttle-into-a-party-bus pilot.
At the same time, he solved the masked ion trail mystery AND came up with the evasive manuveur through the nebula to fool the Moclan ship.
Although I question the chain of command that put Keyali in the captain's seat in the first place, I loved her approach to the conflict.
And not to tarnish her integrity as a Planetary Union officer, but she does have a bit of an axe to grind with the Moclan culture after what happened to Locar.
She must've enjoyed ordering the shot on some level.
The moral question of protecting the oppressed population of a foreign nation is pretty on-the-nose political messaging.
And ridiculously timely considering the current state of American affairs.
Taking it in purely the context of The Orville's futuristic 'verse, you'd think the Planetary Union would also have had provisions for refugee claimants.
The history of moral progress can be measured by the expansion of fundamental rights to those who have been denied them.Heveena
Heveena gets the bulk of the speeches here and Rena Owen delivers them with gravitas and panache.
Which is probably why her instant enamourment with Dolly Parton is so chuckle-worthy.
I think the hardest thing to accept when watching The Orville online is how truly difficult it is to change an established ideology.
It doesn't matter that Heveena is Moclus' greatest novelist.
It doesn't matter that many of the Moclan males got their butts kicked by the females.
It doesn't matter that the female sanctuary planet thrives in the absence of any strong male influence.
Moclans like Klyden are dogmatic in their adherence to what they've learned as truth.
It's a disheartening situation at best for individuals like Bortus who dream of a better future for his people.
The only possible counter is optimism like Heveena's.
The revolution has begun. We will rise, one small victory at a time.Heveena
So how happy were you to have a new episode of The Orville?
Where does the Moclan delegation's position leave the Planetary Union in terms of the Kaylon threat?
Where does all this leave Bortus and Klyden?
Were there any inconsistencies that stood out to you?
How awesome was the P.U. Council Chamber? It was like a Noah's Ark of aliens! Totally reminded me of the Star Wars Episode 1 Senate Scene.
Which aliens were you most excited to catch sight of?
Diana Keng is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.