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What else can I do? I'm going home.Alara Kitan[1]
Home is the third episode of the second season of The Orville. Chief of Security Alara Kitan returns to her family on Xelaya after her strength begins to deteriorate, but they must confront their past if they are to come together.

Home was written by Cherry Chevapravatdumrong and directed by Jon Cassar. Music was composed by Joel McNeely. Special guest stars include John Billingsley and Kerry O'Malley as Cambis and Floratta Borrin, Candice King as Solana Kitan, and Patrick Warburton as Lieutenant Tharl; while Robert Picardo and Molly Hagan reprise their roles as Alara's parents.

The episode was praised by fans and critics alike for a deeply emotional story that dealt uncompromisingly with Alara's strained relationship with her family. Over three million households watched the episode live.[2] It currently holds a rating of 8.4 on IMDB.[3]

Plot Edit

Act 1 Edit

On a Friday night in the Mess Hall, Chief of Security Alara Kitan arm wrestles Isaac. Crew members place bets with their comscanners. Isaac wins when Alara's arm breaks.

In Sick Bay, Doctor Claire Finn reports that while Alara's bone will knit in about 30 minutes, she is worried because Alara's muscle mass has decreased by 20 percent and her bone density by five since arriving at the USS Orville. The Chief of Security's strength is rapidly deteriorating.

Act 2 Edit

Finn tells Alara that her body is adjusting to Earth-like levels of gravity. She needs to return to her home planet of Xelaya to re-acclimate or, eventually, her body will permanently be weaker and frailer.

Alara struggles unsuccessfully to lift weights in her quarters. "When I first got here, I could lift 100 kilos more," she tells Captain Ed Mercer. The Captain says that she would not lose her job on the ship but Alara is adamant to return home.

After one final look at the Bridge, Alara takes a shuttle to her house on Xelaya with Helmsman Gordon Malloy and Mercer.

Act 3 Edit

Once they land, Gordon activates a gravity shield to protect the Humans but Alara collapses as soon as she leaves the shield. Her parents, Ildis and Drenala Kitan carry her into the home. Ildis rebuffs Mercer for his concern, and the Captain tells Malloy he would like to punch her father for his attitude.

Alara is confined to a floating mobility chair. Her sister Solana Kitan joins the family for lunch. Ildis and Drenala hope that Alara will pursue academic studies at the university, and tell her that she cannot be sure she will ever recover and rejoin the Orville. Alara grows upset, so Solana reveals that she is engaged to her boyfriend Terlus. "And now that you're home," Drenala tells Alara, "Who knows? Maybe you'll have some luck in the romance department."

That night in her old bedroom, Alara tells her father that she grew up constantly reminded of her intellectual disability. Ildis replies that it "broke their hearts" to see their daughter to join the military. Alara retorts that the Orville offered more support than her own parents. Ildis says that a trip to the family beach house could bring the family together though Alara doubts the trip will improve their fraught relationship.

Act 4 Edit

Upon arriving at the beach, they are greeted by the caretaker who says that the property is ready to be occupied. Solana spots a wild eevak.

That evening, Alara gazes into the ocean and dreams of being a Human[n 1] and riding the animal. She looks out and sees a light on in a house down the beach.

Act 5 Edit

An interim Chief of Security arrives at the Orville: Lieutenant Tharl.

Other vacationers, Cambis Borrin and his wife, Floratta, stop by the home and ask if anyone suspicious has been seen around their property as personal items had been moved around the night before. Alara and Solana offer to investigate the cottage.

Back on the Orville, Doctor Claire Finn and Chief Engineer John LaMarr announce they have a remarkable idea for Alara.

In their commuter pod, Solana admits that many Xelayans look at Alara and think they are better and "more evolved," but she feels only pride in her sister. At the cottage, Alara notes that the caretaker's personal effects are untouched, so he cannot have left the island.

Act 6 Edit

The Kitans host the Borrins for dinner. Cambis boasts that his prodigious son Galdus Harona is an associate professor at the local medical school. When Ildis' trivalve sauce begins to boil, Cambis pulls out a PM-32 and forces Ildis to dip his hand into it.

Holding the Kitans at gunpoint, Cambis and Floratta reveal that their son committed suicide when his career was marred by Ildis. "He needed more peer-review," Ildis pleads but Cambis grows angrier. "You are going to renounce your position... You are going to tell the world you lied." When Ildis refuses, Cambis finds a pair of garden shears and Floratta plans to cut off Solana's fingers.

Act 7 Edit

A Planetary Union shuttle arrives. Cambis and Floratta hides and force Ildis to greet them. Mercer says that there is important news for Alara, but Cambis jumps from behind a pillar and shoots him. Alara manages to jump out of her chair, fight Floratta for her PM-32, and shoot her. Realizing Floratta is dead, Cambis backtracks to Alara, chasing her.

Meanwhile, Malloy sees that Mercer's gravity suit is failing. From the second floor, Alara convinces Ildis to fall to the ground to rescue Mercer. Cambis enters from the stairwell but Alara shoots him from the bathroom. Once on the ground, Ildis spots the corpse of Serris, the caretaker, hidden in the garden before dragging the Captain inside the protection of the shuttle's gravity shield. The shuttle quickly returns to the Orville.

Now safe, Ildis weeps. "I don't know you,' he tells Alara. "I never even tried to know you." Alara replies quietly, "I wanted you to know me, Dad. All I ever wanted was for you to be proud of me."

Back aboard the Orville, Finn has developed a treatment that will allow Alara to recover and maintain her strength. Alara declines, revealing that she wants to return home. "You were my family," she tells the Captain.

You and this entire crew, but I found something on Xelaya. Something I'd only ever seen from afar. I always thought it was just for other people, but not for me. And now I have a chance to experience it for myself. I've already missed out on so much time. I don't want to miss out anymore.
In the Shuttle Bay, the senior staff gives her a silent, tearful farewell. In his office, Mercer opens Alara's parting gift: a jar of pickles.

Production Edit

Writing Edit

Home was written by Cherry Chevapravatdumrong.

Many of the ideas in the script are found in early suggestions from supervising producer and science consultant André Bormanis made while in production of Season 1 in 2017. Bormanis proposed to the writing team that Alara's private quarters on the Orville hosts a special device that simulates the high gravity of her planet to prevent her muscles from atrophying, and the gravity device is a reason she has trouble dating men. At the close of Season 1, it was uncertain even to Bormanis whether the idea has been adopted by the other writers.[4]

Perhaps the most quietly intriguing scene of Home was Alara's dream sequence wherein she rides a wild eevak along the beach as a Human, or at least with Human-like qualities. "That was in the script," director Jon Cassar noted. "Some people online thought maybe it was a mistake and we forgot to put makeup on her. ... Maybe that was her hidden secret that she wanted to be Human. ... It put a little question mark on it, and I thought it was great."[5]

Filming Edit

The cast assembled for a table read of the episode on March 6, 2018 and filming began shortly after under the direction of Jon Cassar during the week of March 13.[6]

During the arm wrestling scene, director of photography Marvin V. Rush suggested placing a device called a 'periscope' on the lens of the camera to make the lens thin and small, allowing the camera to shoot under the arms of Alara and Isaac.[5]

All beach scenes were filmed at Leo Carillo State Beach in Los Angeles, California. Rain drenched the beach on the scheduled day to shoot Alara's dream sequence, leaving the cast and crew huddled under production tents, and Cassar worried that the filming would be impossible. Fortunately, the rain broke for a few moments just before the sun set. Cassar recalled: "We filmed like mad. We were very, very lucky."[5]

Producers desired a "cool" and "graceful" creature to the show, and asked senior concept artist Lex Cassar to invent one on a limited budget. Lex was restricted to innovate upon only a horse's head, legs, and tail. The original design of the eevak had four eyes.[7] For filming, the wild eevak was in fact a horse with special markers on its body for post-production visual effects artists to digitally add eevak features.[5] Lex recalled, "I wanted to do something a little [tropical and] Star Wars-y. You take something familiar and turn it on its head; that's why it has a beak. ... Maybe it eats hard shellfish."[8]

The red ribbon sculpture in front of the Kitans' beach house was original to the owners of the actual home in California. "They just have this beautiful sculpture that was there. There was a whole back-and-forth: 'Should we get rid of it?'" Lex Cassar later recalled. "But between you and me, I'm glad it stayed. ... We're 400 years into the future. We can't just walk up to something and slap some lights on it."[8]

The scene where the senior staff say their goodbyes with Alara was, unsurprisingly, the last to be filmed. "We did that on purpose.... Actors, believe it or not, are human," Lex Cassar explained. "And when they know they won't see someone for a bit, there's a real emotional thing that happens, and I wanted to take advantage of that. ... It really helped."[5]

Music Edit

Music was composed by Joel McNeely. MacFarlane was reportedly so pleased with the music during Alara's farewell that he took actor J. Lee (John LaMarr) to a bar to listen to it on his phone.[9]

Post-production Edit

Sound editing was completed at some point before November 21.[10]

Adding a gravity shield to the shuttle made producers nervous: if the shield were too subtle, audiences could forget it exists; if the shield were too obvious, it would be distracting or, worse, annoying. Cassar settled on a "shimmering" effect where the shield would sporadically shine.[5]

Preparing to air Edit

Home Ed Kelly

On March 13, creator Seth MacFarlane broke the news that Robert Picardo, who plays Chief of Security Alara Kitan's dad, Ildis Kitan, joined the set for filming, leading to speculation that the USS Orville will be traveling to Alara's home world of Xelaya.[6]

On March 19, actress Halston Sage left a cryptic hint: "One of my favorite things in the first season is that you did get to see that arc of [Alara] coming in to her own and really finding her place on the Orville, and you definitely get to see more that in the second season. I don't want to tell you, but there might be something involving a horse."[11]

On December 20, 20th Century Fox published a synopsis in a press release: "Ed, Gordon and Alara visit Alara's home planet of Xelayah" [sic].[12]

Reception Edit

Viewership Edit

Home was well received by audiences and praised by fans for its dramatic, emotional story that said 'goodbye' to a beloved member of the cast. The episode was watched live by 3.063 million Americans, including 0.74 million ages 18-45. While below the Season 1 average of 3.5 million, it was up from the previous episode Primal Urges.[2] The episode currently enjoys a rating of 8.4 on IMDB, making Home the highest rated episode of Season 2 until that point, though it would be resoundingly surpassed by later episodes.[3]

Critical response Edit

Critics gave overall positive reviews of Home. Ryan Britt of Den of Geek found the episode "heartbreaking" but average, and gave it two stars.[13] Nick Wanserski of AV Club thought Home was the most "middling" in Season 2.[14] On the other hand, Jammer of Jammer's Reviews enjoyed the episode as a "dignified and poignant" farewell to Alara, and awarded it three stars.[15]

Trivia Edit

  • The Orville Season 2 Gag Reel

    The Orville Season 2 Gag Reel

    A composite video with outtakes from this, and other, Season 2 episodes.

    Olix's comscanner code to bet on Alara or Isaac is 7-4-9-9-alpha-6.
  • Robert Picardo (Ildis) and John Billingsley (Cambis) both portrayed doctors on the Star Trek shows Voyager and Enterprise.
    • Director Jon Cassar explains that Ildis' line, "We have doctors on Xelaya," was intended to be wink for Star Trek fans.[5]
  • Gordon says that he and his family are "trash." Moments later, Gordon crushes a beer bottle and leaves the trash on the Kitan's lawn.
  • Seth MacFarlane was reportedly so pleased with the music during Alara's farewell that he took actor J. Lee (John LaMarr) to a bar to listen to it on his phone.[9]
  • As well as featuring the departure of Alara, this episode also marks the last appearance of the Union Fleet uniform's original colored badges. From the next episode onwards, the badges' outline and section insignia will be colored gray. Curiously, however, Alara can be seen wearing the new badges in several promotional images taken for Season 2, despite never having sported it on-screen.
  • 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.[16]
  • In her dream of riding an eevak on the coast, Alara appears Human, not Xelayan. This was not a mistake. The original script called for Alara to appear humanlike in the fantasy to "put a little question on her."[5]

References Edit

  • Alara's parting gift of a jar of pickles nods to Ed frequently asking her to "open this jar of pickles for me." (However, the actual line hadn't been uttered at all in Season 2 up to this point, and not since the first half of Season 1.)
  • Ed's doll of Kermit the Frog has become a recurring question for non-Human officers. Lieutenant Tharl asks about it in this episode and Bortus asks in Command Performance.
  • The plot point of Galdus Harona's unsupported claim that vaccines are dangerous has been compared to the anti-vaccination movement in the United States and Europe.

Cast Edit

Names and titles are as they appear in the credits unless otherwise noted.

Main Cast Edit

Special Guest Star Edit

Recurring Cast Edit

Uncredited Recurring Cast Edit

Notes Edit

  1. See director Jon Cassar's comments under sub-section Production in this article.

References Edit

  1. Home
  2. 2.0 2.1 The Orville:Season Two Ratings. TV Series Finale. Last accessed Jan. 11, 2019.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Episode List. IMDB. Last accessed May 6, 2019.
  4. "The Orville Fan Podcast “THINK”sgiving Episode w/ André Bormanis". Planetary Union Network. Nov. 21, 2017.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 5.6 5.7 5.8 "PLANETARY UNION NETWORK: EPISODE 26". Planetary Union Network. Jan. 13, 2019.
  6. 6.0 6.1 @SethMacFarlane. "GREAT work on The Orville today from @halstonsage @robertpicardo @joncassar and the rest of the team! Stay tuned!" Twitter. March 13, 2018.
  7. "Lex Cassar, Senior Concept Designer". Quantum Drive. Aug. 27, 2019.
  8. 8.0 8.1 The Orville Season 3 Is HUGE! Moving To Hulu, Art Of The Orville, Reboots & More | LEX CASSAR pt. 1. Egotastic Funtime. Aug. 14, 2019.
  9. 9.0 9.1 "'The Orville' Star J Lee Talks Second Season of the Comedy Series". Cheddar. Jan. 30, 2019.
  10. "TRP Interviews #1 - Joel Shryack and Jon Greasley of King Soundworks". Topless Robot Podcast. Nov. 21, 2018.
  11. Surette, Tim. "The Orville: Everything We Know About Season 2". TVGuide. March 19, 2018.
  12. Listings - ORVILLE, THE. The Futon Critic. Last accessed Dec. 20, 2018.
  13. Britt, Ryan. "The Orville Season 2 Episode 3 Review: Home". Den of Geek. Jan. 14, 2019.
  14. Wanserski, Nick. "A crew member departs on an otherwise middling The Orville". AV Club. Jan. 11, 2019.
  15. Epsicokhan, Jamal. "Home". Jammer's Reviews. Last accessed May 6, 2019.
  16. THE ORVILLE SEASON 2 GAG REEL. Planetary Union Network. April 30, 2019.
  17. Billingsley Cast In The Orville
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