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You and your helmsmen are gonna take that shuttle across the border and infiltrate a Krill vessel. You're going to obtain a copy of the Anhkana.— Admiral Ozawa[1]

Krill is the sixth episode of the first season of The Orville. Captain Ed Mercer and Helmsman Gordon Malloy of the USS Orville go undercover aboard a Krill ship to steal a copy of the Krill holy book.

The episode was written by David A. Goodman, breaking from the majority of the season's episodes which were written by creator Seth MacFarlane, and directed by Jon Cassar. It was scored by composer Joel McNeely. Michaela McManus, Kelly Hu, and James Horan guest star as Teleya, Admiral Ozawa, and High Priest Sazeron respectively; and Dylan Kenin returns to the show as Captain Haros.

Though Krill was one of the least-watched episodes of the season, it was perhaps the most favorably-reviewed by critics until that point, praised for developing the Krill species as a complex, nuanced antagonist.


On October 5, 2017, Fox released a thirty second promotional video. Admiral Ozawa orders off-camera persons to infiltrate a Krill vessel. Commander Kelly Grayson tells Mercer to be careful. A narrator says that the Orville's crew must "become the enemy." A Krill soldier (Malloy) warns against letting children die. The teaser concludes with a joke about Krill names.


The Orville Promo "Krill"

Plot Synopsis[]

Act 1[]

Chief of Security Alara Kitan, Second Officer Bortus, Navigator John LaMarr, Isaac, and Helmsman Gordon Malloy congregate in the Mess Hall. Conversation starts with Kitan's recent dating history but soon turns to challenging Bortus to eat a variety of unusual objects.

Commander Kelly Grayson calls the group to the bridge. Kastra 4, a new Planetary Union colony, is under heavy attack from the Krill destroyer Kakov. "Sir, the offensive capabilities of the Krill ship are significantly superior to our own," Bortus cautions, yet with no other Union ships nearby, the USS Orville is forced to engage the enemy alone.

Act 2[]

The Kakov stares down the USS Orville, which has come to the rescue of the colony of Kastra 4.

The Krill ship proves far too strong and the Orville rapidly loses deflectors. Captain Ed Mercer is forced to innovate. In a gambit, he orders the Orville to flee through the dense atmosphere of the planet. The immense friction damages the Orville but also creates a thick smokescreen, obscuring the ship from the pursuing Krill. Once the Kakov enters the atmosphere too, the Orville bolts up, away from the planet, and fires its entire payload of plasma torpedoes on the enemy ship.

The gambit works. The Kakov is immediately destroyed and Kastra 4 leaders confirm their colony is battered but survives. In the wreckage of the enemy ship, a Krill shuttle is discovered.

The recovered shuttle proves an invaluable find, and Admiral Ozawa pays a personal visit to the Orville to commend the captain's bold leadership but also to order personally a new mission. Ozawa wants two officers to use the shuttle to go undercover aboard a Krill ship to obtain a copy of the Anhkana, the Krill holy text. Union intelligence believes that the Anhkana guides the highly-religious Krill, but no copy has ever been obtained.

Act 3[]

The Orville approaches the border of Krill space. Malloy and Mercer play a practical joke on the crew by Malloy pretending to take Mercer hostage as a Krill soldier. Mercer reveals that Malloy's disguise is created through holographic generators, and that the two would infiltrate the enemy's vessel through these devices.

Malloy and Mercer take the shuttle into Krill space until they are found by the Yakar, pretending that they are Krill survivors of the battle with the Orville. The plan works and Yakar Captain Haros and High Priest Sazeron welcome them on board; Mercer and Malloy introduce themselves as "Chris" and "Devon."

The pair are just in time for services, the religious practice of the Krill. They sit beside a school teacher, Teleya, stationed on board who is very interested in them as her brother served on the Kakov. Services begin: Sazeron preaches the teachings of their supreme deity, Avis, from the Anhkana and mashes with a dagger the Human head of a dead, captured Union colonist of Chara 3.

Act 4[]

High Priest Sazeron approaches Captain Haros to request a guard be placed on their new guests.

Mercer and Malloy are horrified by what they witnessed at services, but remain determined to complete their mission. The sneak into the empty religious hall and begin copying the pages of the Anhkana. In fact, the room was not empty and Sazeron asks what they are doing. Mercer invents an excuse and the two leave.

Several hours later, the pair return to copy the book. Sazeron has left to request Haros place a guard on the spies. "You have always had a suspicious nature, my friend," Haros replies. "But then, you have earned that right." Haros agrees to send guards to watch "Chris" and "Devon."

Meanwhile, still in the religious room, Mercer and Malloy's holographic generators fail and their disguises disappear. One of Haros's guards enters the room in search of the two, but they manage to sneak back to their quarters. Magnetic interference caused the generators to fail. The generators' emitting frequency is changed and their disguises return. Mercer and Malloy decide to investigate the source of the magnetic interference and find an enormous Krill bomb several decks below.

Act 5[]

Though badly injured, Gordon manages to save Rana 3 from annihilation.

Teleya finds the two and invites them to dinner. She explains that the bomb is a prototype capable of annihilating an entire colony in seconds; it will be used on the Union controlled planet of Rana 3.

Mercer is determined to undermine the Krill's mission, and they agree to detonate the bomb themselves and destroy the Yakar. Teleya returns to request the pair talk to her classroom about battle. Teleya is a teacher of Krill children on the ship. Mercer and Malloy attend the class, and soon excuse themselves. Back in their quarters, they agree that destroying the ship (and thus killing all children) would be unconsciousable. Coja, a child from the classroom, interrupts their conversation to ask more questions about Earth and the enemy Planetary Union.

When Coja leaves, Mercer notices that the Krill are extremely susceptible to ultraviolet radiation. They devise a plan for Mercer to hack into the ship's engineering and cause the ship to emit large amounts of light; enough to kill a Krill but not enough to kill a Human. Mercer, meanwhile, would gather the children in a classroom and preemptively destroy the lights, sparing them.

Malloy leaves for engineering, successfully hacks into the ship's computers, and sets a timer for the UV blast. After, he is caught by the Sazeron, who finds his generator and takes Malloy to the bridge to Captain Haros. Mercer succeeds by finding Teleya and letting him talk to her class some more.

The ship arrives at Rana 3, so Haros decides that Malloy should watch its destruction before killing him. Krill soldiers, dispatched early by Sazeron, pursue Mercer and a confused Teleya through the ship. Fortunately, Mercer manages to flee with Teleya into the classroom and destroy the lights. The timer expires and a UV blast emits, killing all life on board but Mercer, Malloy, Teleya, and the children.

"They will be." A captured Teleya vows that the Krill children of the Kakov will never forgive the Planetary Union for what Captain Ed Mercer did.

Unfortunately, deployment of the bomb was auto-scheduled by the ship's computer, and the Yakar fires on Rana 3 anyway. With the entire bridge crew decimated, Malloy is able to gain control of the ship's weapons array and fire torpedoes at the bomb, destroying it in space.

Mercer and Malloy guide a nearly-empty Yakar back into Union space where they reunite with the Orville.

Act 6[]

Teleya is in the Orville's Sick Bay. Mercer speaks with her alone and apologizes for the necessary deaths of her shipmates. He informs her that she is to be a prisoner, but the children will be returned to the Krill. The children, he continues, "have their whole lives ahead of them. They're not my enemies." Teleya solemnly predicts, "After what they saw what you do today, they will be. They will be."


Jon Cassar directs Scott Grimes dressed as Devon while shooting this episode.

The overarching narrative of the episode was crafted by the entire writing team with creator Seth MacFarlane making final decisions on major plot points, although the script itself was written entirely by David A. Goodman around July, 2016.[2] However, two years later, actor Scott Grimes (Gordon Malloy) said that MacFarlane heavily edited Goodman's script and that the end result was something closer to a complete rewrite - a comment echoed by the cast for the episode Cupid's Dagger as well.[3]

Composer Joel McNeely scored the episode in a span of roughly three weeks.[4] Filming took about two weeks (relatively long compared to other episodes of the season),[n 1] completed in late May 2017 under the direction of Jon Cassar.[5]


The idea for the episode came very early in the show's history, back when MacFarlane and Goodman first developed the elements of the show through long conversations. One of Goodman's first contributions was to develop MacFarlane's concept of the Krill into an enemy species motivated by a brutal god.[6] MacFarlane had the idea for members of the Orville to go undercover on a Krill ship.[2]

The pair were tinkering with ideas that were dormant since before The Orville was picked up by Fox. Goodman and MacFarlane had long discussed the idea of an alien race that regarded all other species as non-sentient and valueless during their conversations developing the show.

The idea was a powerful space empire that believed that if you are not in their bible [the Anhkana], you don’t exist. That was something we all worked together in the writer’s room. We knew who the Krill were going to be before this episode. That was something we decided with Seth early on before even the pilot script, but there was no way to get it across before that episode.[6]

Make-up artist Tami Lane surveys work on Seth MacFarlane as the undercover agent Chris.

The idea was tabled until the sixth episode, which MacFarlane gave to Goodman to write. Goodman sought to craft the Krill as religious fanatics as an allegory for dangerous religious extremism in our world. When asked about whether the show was finding a balance between dramatic storytelling and comedy with this episode, Goodman remarked that shows often take time to find their footing, and The Orville is no exception. "[A]ll the Star Trek shows took a while to figure out who they were. For me Deep Space Nine didn’t get good until season four and Voyager as well. All these kinds of shows take a little time to find themselves. If you are saying we are finding it on episode six, I’ll take it."[6]

Executive producer Brannon Braga noted that Gordon and Ed's consideration of Krill families and children when deciding whether to destroy the Yakar was an intentional departure from Star Trek (a science fiction series that Braga worked on in the 1990s and early 2000s), which never made those ethical considerations in like circumstances.[7]


According to The Orville: Original Television Soundtrack - Season 1, the songs composed for this episode are "Distress Call," "Krill Attack the Orville," "Bomb Found," "Intruder Alert / Preparing the Weapon," and "Turning on the Lights / New Enemies."

  • According to Jeff Bond, McNeely composed "Distress Call" and "Krill Attack the Orville" as action music that is "more in keeping with his energetic style than his earlier music for About a Girl."[8]
  • "Bomb Found" and "Intruder Alert" have "grim, atmospheric music."[9]
  • "Preparing the Weapon" is intended to add suspense.[9]
  • "Turning on the Lights / New Enemies" was written as an "action-packed finale."[9]


The entire set of the Yakar was built inside the set of the Orville's Shuttle Bay.[10]

Director Cassar recounts that the episode was his first with the show, and he had not seen MacFarlane before joining the set. However, MacFarlane was in-costume as a Krill by the time he arrived, so Cassar directed nearly the entire episode without seeing MacFarlane's face.[11]



Mercer and Malloy peer around a corner in their Krill disguises in this promotional image from Fox.

Krill was well received by general audiences, and enjoys an 8.3 rating on IMDB.[12] It was seen by 3.37 million viewers in the United States.[13] Although respectable, it was the lowest viewer rating until that point and the second-lowest of the season.

After Krill aired, Goodman said to the Planetary Union Network:

Just seeing that already people are dedicated fans of the show is extremely satisfying. To be working on this thing and have people already loving it. You know, we were very scared. The critical response before the show came out was really negative, and the critics really went after us.[14]

He reserved some of his sharpest words for professional critics who disliked the show:

It's crazy. You look at critics and say, "Okay, you need to do any sort of self-reflection and say, 'Why does the audience love this show and I didn't?'" Do you just look down on the audience and say they're stupid? Or do you say you're not connecting to what an audience likes and what's good about the show.[14]

Critical Response[]

Producer David A. Goodman was pleased with audience feedback to the episode but took umbrage with the negative response from professional critics.

The Orville enjoyed some some of the strongest critical acclaim of the season until that point. Michael Ahr of Den of Geek gave the episode 4.5 stars, writing, "Genuinely entertaining humor and a multi-faceted moral dilemma combine amazingly well in one of the best The Orville episodes yet."[15]

Jammer of Jammer's Reviews awarded the episode three out of four stars, opining that Krill was the best episode so far.[16] Nick Wanserski of the AV Club gave the episode a positive review.[17]

Both Ahr and Wanserski praised the show for developing the Krill as a villain, whom he said were introduced as stale, stock enemies in Old Wounds but now show the Krill as a complex enemy that raise deeper questions of morality.


  • Scott Grimes (Gordon) famously hated wearing a Krill costume and, for that reason, loathed acting in this episode. "It took two-and-a-half hours and it sucked. I'm glad I don’t have to do what the others have to do every day.”[18]
  • Guest star James Horan continues The Orville's use of actors with connections to the Star Trek franchise. Horan made guest appearances on The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, Voyager, and Enterprise. He is best known in Trek circles for playing an unnamed humanoid character colloquially referred to as "Future Guy" in five episodes of Enterprise.
  • Howard Berger, the head of the make-up department for Season 1, modeled the severed human head prop used for the chapel scene after famous special effects artist Tom Savini.
  • There are 111 unique Krill characters in this episode alone.[19]
    • For that reason, make-up artist Berger says this episode was the most difficult of the season.[20]
  • In this episode, the Planetary Union ship that carries Admiral Ozawa is the USS Olympia (LCV-529), a heavy cruiser, and a larger ship than the Orville. However, in the episode Cupid's Dagger, Darulio is carried aboard the USS Olympia (SCV-183). Thus the show has used "USS Olympia" as the name of two different Planetary Union ships, one smaller than the Orville and one larger.
    • It remains to be seen if this was intentional or simply an oversight on behalf of the writers.
  • Because the Union was unable to project holograms as disguises prior to the year 2419, it seems the technology used to disguise Malloy and Mercer was in fact a continuation of the technology taken from the Calivon in Command Performance.[n 2]
  • The episode was written to take place before Pria but the order was swapped due to availability issues with guest star Charlize Theron.[2]
  • Notice that when Teleya is held in the Orville's Sick Bay, the bay's lights are dimmed considerably to accommodate her sensitive skin.
  • The episode is the favorite of actress Adrianne Palicki (Kelly Grayson),[21] Grimes,[22] and director Jon Cassar.[21]
  • This episode has been the focus of an academic study, "Avis Vult!: Krill and the Dangers of Religion", a chapter by Darren M. Slade in Exploring The Orville.
  • Director Jon Cassar had been filming the series Medici in Italy at the time shooting began for this episode. He flew from Italy to California to direct Krill for a week and then promptly flew back.[14]
  • Halfway through filming this episode, creator Seth MacFarlane asked Cassar if he would like to come back should the show be renewed for a second season. Cassar joked that he would only return if he got to shoot "a whole bunch of episodes." MacFarlane mistook him to be serious and hired him as permanent director for Season 2.[14]


  • The episode takes place around December 2419 or possibly January 2420.
  • The Krill attack Kastra 4 three times in the last 30 days.
  • Services at the Yakar's chapel happen during the day. Ed and Gordon copy the Anhkana at night, two hours after the Yakar's night shift begins.
  • Within a single day: Ed and Gordon kill the crew of the Yakar, capture the ship, and return to the Orville.


The head "mashed" by Sazeron was modeled after legendary artist Tom Savini.

  • When Malloy is stabbed in the leg with a knife by Haros, he shouts "Dammit, that's a brand new leg." He is referring to the events of the previous episode Pria, in which Isaac severed Gordon's left leg in a misguided attempt at a humorous prank, and a new limb was slowly regenerated.
    • The line was not in the script. When Gordon was stabbed, executive producer Jason Clark playfully observed, "Hey, that's his new leg!", and a new joke for Gordon was hastily added.[2]
  • The Yakar nearly attacks the colony Rana 3. The name refers to Star Trek: The Next Generation's episode "The Survivors," where the Federation colony Rana 4 was attacked.
  • According to executive producers David A. Goodman and Cassar, the joke "What happened to the automatic fire suppression?" "That's the panel that caught fire." was an intentional parody of typical sci-fi tropes.[11]
  • When Ed and Gordon recall their fight with "the Krill on Epsilon 2," they are referencing back to the Battle of Epsilon 2 in the episode Old Wounds.
  • Alara references masturbation when she spurns Isaac's offer to "attempt sexual relations" and says she is "working on herself right now."
  • The Krill's obsession with Avis and their destructive religion parallels Earth's history with extremist forms of religion.
    • Kelly refers to the Bible, specifically Genesis 1:26, when she contrasts the Krill against earlier Earth beliefs about subjugating animals.
  • While on a shuttle to be found by the Yakar, Gordon sings along to Creedence Clearwater Revival's "The Midnight Special."
    • Seth MacFarlane used the song as a nod to the opening scene of the 1983 movie The Twilight Zone.[2]
  • Ed says the Anhkana reads like a Bret Easton Ellis novel. He is author of Less than Zero and American Psycho.
  • While brainstorming Krill-sounding names, Ed and Gordon think of the names "Frusen Glädjé" and "Häagen-Dazs." Häagen-Dazs is an American ice cream brand and Frusen Glädjé was a popular frozen dessert treat in America from the 1980s until early 1990s.[23]
  • Ed and Gordon later travel to Outpost 23 to brief a tactical conference on their mission in the Yakar in New Beginnings, Pt. 1.
  • This episode appears to reference the Star Trek: TOS episode The Enterprise Incident where Kirk and Spock go undercover aboard a Romulan vessel in order to obtain a cloaking device.

Episode titles[]

Title Language Translation
克里爾 (kè lǐ ěr) Chinese "Krill"
Infiltration French "infiltration"
Krill German "Krill"
Az ellenség arca Hungarian "the face of the enemy"
Una pace impossibile Italian "an impossible peace"
クリル (ku ri ru) Japanese "Krill"
Криллы Russian "Krill"
Krill Spanish "Krill"
Крильці Ukranian "Krill"


  • The Shuttle Bay when Ed and Gordon leave by shuttle is radically different from the "ordinary" version normally seen. An example from Cupid's Dagger is below.

    While eating a variety of unusual organic and inorganic objects:
    • Bortus takes a bite out of a cactus plant then sets it down. In the next shot, he set it down again.
    • After taking a bite out of a pint glass, Kelly calls the crew to the Bridge. As Bortus and the others leave their table in the Mess Hall, the pint glass is complete and intact.
  • When Ed and Gordon exit the Orville in a Krill shuttle, the CGI version Shuttle Bay is very different from its actual set, featuring incorrect colors, missing lights, and a flat-out wrong version of the control room.
  • As Ed and Gordon's disguises disappear in the Krill chapel, Gordon points at Ed. In the next shot, his hand is open.
  • When Mercer and Malloy are discovered by soldiers in the Krill chapel, the Anhkara disappears from the altar. It reappears in the next cut.


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

Main Cast[]

Recurring Cast[]

Guest Cast[]

Uncredited Recurring Cast[]

  • Alina Andrei as Krill Soldier
  • Breonna Walker as Krill Worshiper

See also[]


  1. Based on the fact that Scott Grimes said he was in costume as Devon for two weeks. See Abbie Bernstein, "THE ORVILLE: Scott Grimes beams up for Season 1 of new space trek – Exclusive Interview", Assignment X (Dec. 1, 2017).
  2. The Orville adapted the holographic projector discovered on a Calivon buoy to enter Calivon space---this was not technology that the Union was able to reproduce. Further reinforcing that the disguise is adapted from the Calivon is that participants in the Environmental Simulator must wear their own costumes, they are not able to have the Simulator project a costume onto them. Recent adaptation of alien technology would also explain why the Union is unfamiliar with its use, and use it sparingly (Alara Kitan did not use the projector for her disguise in the following episode, Majority Rule).


  1. Krill (episode)
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 "The Orville Fan Podcast w/ David A. Goodman (06)". Planetary Union Network. Oct. 14, 2017.
  3. Sisk, Angela. "The Orville Panel Comic Con 2018 Part One". YouTube. July 22, 2018.
  4. "I believe each score takes roughly 3 weeks for the composer to write". MacFarlane, Seth. Twitter. Oct. 12, 2017.
  5. @SethMacFarlane. "Thanks @MichaelaMcManus for absolutely slaying it on The Orville this week". Twitter. May 24, 2017.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 Pascale, Anthony. "Interview: David A. Goodman On ‘The Orville’ As Sci-Fi Gateway And How ‘Futurama’ Landed ‘Enterprise’ Job". Oct. 23, 2017.
  7. Pascale, Anthony. "Interview: Brannon Braga On How ‘The Orville’ Pays Tribute To Star Trek While Setting A New Course". Sept. 14, 2017.
  8. "Voyage to Utopia" in The Orville: Original Television Soundtrack - Season 1 by Jeff Bond (2019). Pg. 10-11.
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 "Voyage to Utopia" in The Orville: Original Television Soundtrack - Season 1 by Jeff Bond (2019). Pg. 11.
  10. "The Orville Fan Podcast w/ Jason Roberts (The Orville Unit Production Manager)". Planetary Union Network. April 19, 2018.
  11. 11.0 11.1 "THE ORVILLE: Interview mit den Produzenten um Brannon Braga der SciFi-Serie | SDCC 2018". Serienjunkies. July 24, 2018.
  12. ""The Orville" Krill (TV Episode)". IMDB. Last accessed Dec. 30, 2017.
  13. "The Orville:Season One Ratings". Last accessed Dec. 6, 2017.
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 14.3 "The Orville Fan Podcast w/ David A. Goodman (06)". Planetary Union Network. Oct. 14, 2017. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name ":3" defined multiple times with different content
  15. Ahr, Michael. "The Orville Episode 6 Review: Krill". Den of Geek. Oct. 12, 2017.
  16. Epsicokhan, Jamal. "Krill". Jammer's Reviews. Last accessed Dec. 30, 2017.
  17. Wanserski, Nick. "The Orville explores a stock villain in an episode that's strong on story, but weak on jokes". AV Club. Oct. 13, 2017.
  18. Miller, Bruce R. "Ready for launch: 'The Orville' gets set to blast off". Sioux City Journal. Aug. 18. 2018.
  19. "The Orville's Krill Makeup Demo at KNB EFX!". TESTED. Oct. 16, 2017.
  20. The Martini Shot Show. "Ep. 5 Howard Berger talks The Orville, breaking into the industry, and more!". YouTube. March 2, 2018.
  21. 21.0 21.1 Sun - Main Stage | NYCC 2019 | SYFY WIRE. SyFy Wire. Oct. 6, 2019.
  22. @ScottGrimes. "Enjoy. The krill episode would be my favorite because me and @SethMacFarlane had so much fun filming it and @joncassar is second to none!". Twitter. Oct. 21, 2021.
  23. "David M. Smith, Ice Cream Heir and Founder of Smith Global Ventures, Establishes Frozen Happiness". WBTW News. May 10, 2018.