Deflectors is the seventh episode of the second season of the The Orville. When a renowned engineer joins the USS Orville to upgrade the Deflector Screens, a shameful secret is unearthed. Meanwhile, Kelly breaks up with her boyfriend Cassius.There'll be love and laughter and peace ever after,— "The White Cliffs of Dover"
Tomorrow, when the world is free.
Through its rich use of analogy, Deflectors criticizes prejudice against homosexuality. Locar, a deeply closeted Moclan, hides his sexuality under threat of life imprisonment. The title refers directly to a ship's Deflector Screens and metaphorically to hiding one's life from others while the song "The White Cliffs of Dover" speaks of one's fears and tribulations during the "darkest hour."
Deflectors was written by executive producer David A. Goodman, directed by creator Seth MacFarlane, and scored by composer Andrew Cottee. Kevin Daniels guest stars as Locar and Bruce Willis makes a surprise cameo appearance as Groogen.
The episode received an overall positive response from fans. It was watched by 3.065 million Americans live, and it currently holds a rating of 7.7 on IMDB. Deflectors received an even warmer reaction from professional critics who praised Goodman's writing for its sensitive, balanced portrayal of the show's characters.
Act 1 Edit
First Officer Kelly Grayson goes on a date with her boyfriend Cassius in the Environmental Simulator, a program set in New York City in 1945. Cassius wants to go on a romantic excursion with Grayson, but she demurs because the USS Orville is about to enter unexplored space. Cassius takes her excuse as an insult to his job as a school teacher. Kelly realizes that she does not want their relationship to head to marriage, while Cassius does, so she breaks up with him.
A Moclan shuttle arrives with Captain Rechik and Locar, a brilliant engineer. While the Orville is in orbit over planet Moclus, Locar will make upgrades to the ship's Deflector Screens. After Locar leaves for Engineering, Second Officer Bortus reveals they had dated.
Act 2 Edit
Locar interrupts dinner between Bortus, his mate Klyden, and their son Topa, and the four spend an uncomfortably tense meal together. Locar admits he has no mate but asks to be friends with Bortus, causing Klyden to choke on his drink.
The next morning, the Orville tests their new, upgraded deflectors by allowing Captain Rechik's ship to fire upon them. The gradual bombardment reduces the Orville's screens, but the starboard emitter array loses power causing deflectors to fail. Thankfully, Locar's upgrades programmed the array to reset and his installation was a rousing success.
In her office, Grayson tells Captain Ed Mercer that she broke up with Cassius. Bortus reports that finalizing upgrades to the deflectors will take Locar 48 more hours. Meanwhile, Keyali enters her quarters to find Locar admiring the stars: "I must speak with you."
Act 3 Edit
Locar confesses his attraction to Keyali. Even though Moclans are, for the most part, an all-male species, a few are attracted to females. Keyali is overwhelmed, and asks for time to think.
Mercer and Grayson chat about Cassius in the Mess Hall, reading Cassius's messages attempting to win her back. Several tables away, Keyali enjoys dinner with Chief Engineer John LaMarr, Helmsman Gordon Malloy, and Isaac. The conversation turns to their commanders, and Keyali realizes that "the galaxy is full of so many unhappy people. Why ignore something good?" And she goes to Locar in the Briefing Room.
Locar confesses that his sexuality, if discovered, would mean life in prison and shame upon his entire family. They bond over the fact they are both alone in their own ways as Keyali is the ship's only Xelayan. She takes him to Grayson's 1940s program in the simulator, a place where they can be unseen. After a brief tour, Keyali gives Locar a brief lesson on Human dancing to the song "The White Cliffs of Dover." Locar kisses her. "Was I wrong to do that?" he asks, before she returns a more passionate kiss.
Grayson calls Keyali to her quarters, leaving Locar to practice dancing on his own until interrupted by Klyden: "I know what you are."
Act 4 Edit
Keyali returns to the simulator but Locar is gone, and the ship's Computer cannot locate him. During playback, she is horrified to witness an obscured figure murder Locar.
In the Briefing Room, the senior staff and Rechik convene. LaMarr says that he and Isaac will try to "clean up" the image of the figure in playback; Keyali admits the two were romantically interested in each other. Rechik is disgusted, causing Keyali to lash out. Mercer orders her out of the room but retains her as investigator of the case.
In the Armory, Bortus calls Keyali a "dangerous fool" for encouraging Locar's desires. "Was what you felt worth his death?" Keyali is repulsed: "I thought you'd be more evolved. Especially given what they did to your daughter." Bortus is incensed and the two depart furious.
In the Simulator, the image of the figure is revealed to be Klyden. Klyden is interrogated in the Brig. He adamantly denies killing Locar, but admits he visited him and would have exposed his sexuality to authorities on Moclus.
Act 5 Edit
Keyali and LaMarr speculate that someone framed Klyden. Later, Bortus tells Keyali about dating Locar; Locar cheated on him with a woman from Theta Draconis 4, which ended the relationship. Keyali is depressed that heterosexuality is so taboo on Moclus and casually remarks that she would kill herself if she had to live on the planet. When Bortus replies that suicide would bring shame upon her family, she has an idea.
Keyali tells the senior staff that Locar might have masked himself and framed Klyden, and a search for the engineer begins. She finds him hiding in a shuttle. When she refuses to allow him to continue hiding, he in turn refuses to request asylum from the Planetary Union, deciding instead to face judgment on Moclus. "More hiding? More lies. No, I will go home and I will face them. And if I am condemned, it will be on your conscience." Locar returns to his planet.
Mercer and Grayson are back in the Mess Hall, this time pondering how long an alliance between the Union and the Moclans can last when their core values are so opposed. When Mercer leaves, Cassius asks Grayson if she is still in love with her ex-husband but she declines to answer. Cassius reveals that he will transfer to the USS Watson soon.
Klyden thanks Keyali for freeing him, but she is revolted by his hatred for Locar and tells him not to speak to her ever again. "Because of you, his life is over for no reason but your own prejudice." He exits and she bursts into tears. In their quarters, Klyden and Bortus stare at each other wordlessly.
Locar is sentenced to life imprisonment. On the ship, Keyali's tears have dried. She gazes upon the red planet one last time and leaves.
Deflectors was written by executive producer David A. Goodman. According to creator Seth MacFarlane, the producers wanted to deliberately position the Moclan species as problematic to highlight polarized political dialogue in the United States at the time of writing (late 2017). "Their viewpoints do not align with ours, but we have to find a way to coexist. There's nothing more relevant than that right now."
Sound effects and noises were added by December 17. Editing took place during the week of December 28. Editors worked on the footage in MacFarlane's studio in New York City, New York so that he could shoot a short film while monitoring the edits.
Preparing to air Edit
Unlike other episodes of the season, Deflectors was rarely mentioned leading up to its premiere aside from a single remark by MacFarlane that Jessica Szohr (Talla Keyali) would play a prominent role.
The episode premiered on February 14, 2019, leapfrogging the expected air date of February 7. Reportedly, the break came at the request of the visual effects department so that more shots could be added in post-production.
General audiences responded warmly to the episode. Deflectors is often cited as turning popular opinion against Klyden for his behavior toward Locar. The episode was watched live by 3.065 million households, including 0.7 million ages 18-49. It currently holds a rating of 7.7 on IMDB, slightly below the show's average.
Critical response Edit
Professional critics gave Deflectors very positive reviews, perhaps even more positive than by general television viewers. Den of Geek, now reviewing through Alejandro Rojas, loved the episode and awarded it four stars. "Deep stuff for a comedy," he surmised. Nick Wanserski of AV Club enjoyed the episode, though he repeated his comments on Primal Urges that the season drew upon Moclans too frequently. Jammer of Jammer's Reviews gave Deflectors three stars and called it "a solid dramatic outing."
- Talla orders the Computer to play the simulator at "time index 1701.7." This is believed to be a reference to the hull number of the USS Enterprise from the science fiction franchise Star Trek.
- The hull number of the Enterprise is 1701, and there were six ships to bear the name and number. The Orville would be a putative "seventh Enterprise."
- Bortus recalls serving on a ship that once docked at the planet Theta Draconis 4, home of the Thetans. In the real world, Theta Draconis is a star in the northern circumpolar constellation of Draco about 68.6 light-years from Earth.
- Given the Orville's top speed of over 10 light-years an hour, it would take just short of seven hours to cover this distance.
- Locar and Talla dance to a 1941 rendition of "(There'll be Bluebirds Over) The White Cliffs of Dover" performed by Glenn Miller and His Orchestra.
- Outtakes and bloopers from this episode were compiled by the show's editors for the Season 2 wrap party and were published by the Planetary Union Network.
- Klyden tells Bortus never to keep secrets from each other or Topa, but when Klyden is arrested for murder he instructs Bortus only to tell Topa that he loves him.
- In Kelly's simulator program, a newsie announces that the Japanese military surrendered to the United States, which would place her program on September 2, 1945.
- The movie Anchors Aweigh can be seen on simulator's theater marquee, which came out on July 19, 1945.
- The surnames of the movie's stars, Gene Kelly and Kathryn Grayson, make up the name of Kelly Grayson.
- It is established that Moclans dance, though Locar notes that dancing on Moclus is "much less restrained". In the first draft of Old Wounds, Bortus states that Moclans do not dance as it is a "foolish waste of stamina." This was removed in subsequent revisions.
- One of the Moclan jurors at Locar's tribunal is played by Humberto Montalvo. Montalvo earlier played a Moclan present for Bortus' ja'loja.
- It is unclear whether Montalvo played the same or two distinct Moclans.
- When Talla tells Bortus, "I thought you'd be more evolved, especially given what they did to your daughter," she is referring to Tribunal in the episode About a Girl.
- When John and Gordon have lunch with Talla, they reference a number of earlier episodes:
- The episode has been compared to the episode "The Outcast" from Star Trek: The Next Generation. Both episodes use a taboo relationship between a crew member and an alien from a repressive culture as an allegory for homophobia. In the Star Trek episode, Commander William Riker has a relationship with Soren, a J'naii who secretly identifies as female. The J'naii are androgynous, and regard any gender expression or sexual relationship as perverse.
- John tells Talla, "One time I almost died 'cause I humped a statue." In reality, he faced a drastic neurological procedure on Sargus 4 known Social Correction, but never death.
- It's unclear if this is a mistake as characters can exaggerate, mis-remember or simplify the past. In addition, the results of the procedure may be considered effectively death by some people.
Names and titles are as they appear in the credits unless otherwise noted.
Main Cast Edit
- Seth MacFarlane as Capt. Ed Mercer
- Adrianne Palicki as Cmdr. Kelly Grayson
- Peter Macon as Lt. Cmdr. Bortus
- J. Lee as Lt. Cmdr. John LaMarr (as J Lee)
- Jessica Szohr as Lt. Talla Keyali
- Penny Johnson Jerald as Dr. Claire Finn
- Scott Grimes as Lt. Gordon Malloy
- Mark Jackson as Isaac
Special Guest Cast Edit
Uncredited Special Guest Cast Edit
Recurring Cast Edit
- Chad L. Coleman as Klyden
- Chris Johnson as Cassius
- Mike Henry as Dann
- Norm Macdonald as Yaphit
- Rachael MacFarlane as Computer (voice only)
Uncredited Recurring Cast Edit
Guest Cast Edit
- Wren T. Brown as Captain Rechik
- Vivienne Rutherford as Little Girl
- Yvette Tucker as Window Dancer #1
- Steve Hanneman as Window Dancer #2
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 The Orville:Season Two Ratings. TV Series Finale. Last accessed March 13, 2019.
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 Episode List. IMDB. Last accessed March 13, 2019.
- ↑ Holbrook, Damian. "Seth MacFarlane & Adrianne Palicki Talk Balancing Comedy & Drama in 'The Orville' Season 2". Tucson.com. Dec. 26, 2018.
- ↑ Listings - ORVILLE, THE. The Futon Critic. Last accessed Jan. 24, 2019.
- ↑ Listings - ORVILLE, THE. The Futon Critic. Last accessed Jan. 27, 2019.
- ↑ @vintageivy. "This Assistant Costume Designer is all packed up and ready for #theorville few weeks of hiatus. #seeyounexttime #shipmetoanywherefun #willtravel #packituppackitin #behindthescenes". Instagram. May 12, 2018.
- ↑ The Orville Official Fan Podcast w/ Jessica Szohr and Kevin Daniels (30). Planetary Union Network. Feb. 16, 2019.
- ↑ Dilip, Mangala. "'The Orville' sound designers on breaking sci-fi conventions and bringing 'new flavors' to season 2". Dec. 17, 2018.
- ↑ @TomCostantino. "🙄🤦🏻♂️ @TheOrville #TheOrville @planetary_union". Twitter. Dec. 28, 2018.
- ↑ "#253: Scott Grimes from The Orville and American Dad". Comic Book Central. Dec. 23, 2018.
- ↑ "‘The Orville’ Season 2 To Premiere In December + More Production Updates". TrekMovie.com. May 14, 2018.
- ↑ /u/TonyQuark. "Next episode in two weeks?". Reddit. Feb. 3, 2019.
- ↑ 13.0 13.1 Wanserski, Nick. "A new romance fights an old prejudice on The Orville". AV Club. May 15, 2019.
- ↑ Rojas, Alejandro. "The Orville Season 2 Episode 7 Review: Deflectors". Den of Geek. Feb. 15, 2019.
- ↑ Epsicokhan, Jamal. "Deflectors". Jammer's Reviews. Last accessed May 10, 2019.
- ↑ Established in Episode 1x05: Pria
- ↑ THE ORVILLE SEASON 2 GAG REEL. Planetary Union Network. April 30, 2019.
- ↑ MacFarlane, Seth. The Orville 1x01 - Pilot. Fox Broadcasting Co.
- ↑ 19.0 19.1 19.2 "Episode #2.6". IMDB. Last accessed July 8, 2018.