Captain Ed Mercer holding a latchkum moments before his hand is impaled by the ball's dagger.

There is a popular Moclan game called latchkum that we play from time-to-time. I do not believe you would enjoy it; it is not for humans.🔈ℹ︎Bortus to Ed Mercer[1]

Latchkum (or Latchcomb) is the name of a popular Moclan party game as well as the name for the ball used in the game.

From what is seen, Moclan children are deemed ready to play latchkum by their 2nd birthdays.[2]

Description[edit | edit source]

Players quickly pass the latchkum to each other, similar to the children's game hot potato. After a time, the latchkum ejects a hidden blade, piercing the hand of the player currently holding it. At this point, other players shout, "Latchkum!" Little is known about the game beyond this, including whether the blade has the same effect on Moclan physiology as on human players, or whether the game continues after the latchkum has been triggered once.

The latchkum is heavy, egg-shaped, has the appearance of matted bronze and is lined by hexagonal shapes resembling a honeycomb. The hidden blade is double-edged and approximately 15 cm long (6 in.). The name "latchkum" may derive from the ball itself: a honeycomb-patterned game ball hiding a blade that is ejected by a latch.

History[edit | edit source]

Around April or May 2420, Klyden and Lieutenant Bortus hesitantly invited Captain Ed Mercer to play latchkum with them. They neglected to inform Mercer of the latchkum's blade, however, and Mercer unknowingly held the ball until the blade pierced his hand.[3]

Production[edit | edit source]

The latchkum was designed by property maser Bryan Rodgers who simply drew an egg on a paper covered in alien symbols. Rodgers made two versions of the ball, one of hard rubber and the other solid wood. A blade from within the latchkum seemed to pop out when Seth MacFarlane (Ed Mercer) grabbed the latchkum, but in reality the blade was taped onto MacFarlane's hand.[4]

Deleted scene[edit | edit source]

In a scene cut from Lasting Impressions, with Topa's birthday approaching, Klyden tells Bortus that he believes their son is old enough for his first latchkum. Bortus agrees and suggests that they select the latchkum's pattern together while Topa is asleep.

Trivia[edit | edit source]

  • Ed Mercer claims the winner of latchkum is the one whose hand is impaled.
  • The latchkum prop was given away to a fan by The Orville cast at the 2018 San Diego Comic-Con.[5] It is undetermined whether the gifted latchkum was the rubber or wood version.
  • The spelling variant "latchcomb" is found in the episode's subtitles. However, the canonical spelling has been independently confirmed to be latchkum.[6]

Appearances[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

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