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I wish I could give you something more exciting for your maiden voyage, but it's pretty straightforward. You'll be delivering supplies to the science station on Epsilon 2.🔈ℹ︎— Admiral Halsey to Ed Mercer[1]

Old Wounds is the pilot episode of The Orville and the premiere of the first season. Ed Mercer is awarded command of the USS Orville, only to learn that his ex-wife is his new first officer. Meanwhile, a run-of-the-mill resupply mission to Epsilon 2 turns into a race to save the colony and its technology from the enemy Krill.

The episode was written by Seth MacFarlane in March 2016 and directed by Jon Favreau in March 2017. The episode's score was composed by Bruce Broughton, who also composed the show's theme music.

Old Wounds opened to very strong viewer ratings. Nearly nine million United States viewers tuned in, and the episode was warmly received by general audience reviewers. However, professional critics gave the episode sharply negative reviews. Because of the very wide divide between the opinions of general audience reviewers and professional critics, Old Wounds is held to be one of the most polarizing episodes of the series.


Fox produced a nearly-three minute promotional trailer published on May 15, 2017. Fox gave Old Wounds special attention because it would launch the series, and the trailer was far longer than the 30-second teasers produced for subsequent episodes. The trailer focused on many of the comedic elements of the series through humorous highlights of the first four episodes, as well as some action sequences.


The Orville Promo - 01x01 Old Wounds

Plot synopsis[]

Act 1[]

Admiral Halsey offers the captain's chair to Ed Mercer. "Look, the truth is, you're nobody's first choice for this job. But we have 3,000 ships to staff, and we need captains."

The show opens with an establishing shot of New York City, New York in the year 2418. Ed Mercer arrives by commuter pod to his apartment. He hears his wife, Kelly Grayson, giggle from the bedroom. He opens the door to find Kelly in bed with a Retepsian named Darulio. She pleads to talk with him but he returns to the pod and leaves.

A year later, Admiral Halsey summons Mercer to his office in Planetary Union Central. Halsey acknowledges that Mercer's performance in the past year has markedly declined, tardiness and sloppy workmanship hurt Mercer's record, but "the Union needs captains" and offers Mercer command of the USS Orville, a mid-level exploratory cruiser. Mercer hurries to find Gordon Malloy, a former pilot, and enlists him as helmsman of his new ship.

Mercer and Malloy fly to the Union Dockyard orbiting Earth, where the Orville awaits.

Act 2[]

In the ship's Shuttle Bay, Mercer introduces himself the crew of the ship. He meets the senior staff: Chief of Security Alara Kitan, Navigator John LaMarr, Second Officer Bortus, Chief Medical Officer Claire Finn, and Science and Engineering Officer Isaac.

Before departure in the afternoon, LaMarr meets Malloy in his quarters. Malloy explains that he was disciplined for damaging a Union craft with a risky flight maneuver. "I was trying to impress a girl," he admits. Halsey tours the ship's interior with Mercer one final time before wishing the captain good luck.

The Orville departs the Dockyard and embarks on its first mission under the new captain.

Act 3[]

Kelly Grayson joins the USS Orville as its new First Officer, much to the chagrin of Mercer.

The bridge crew discuss their mission to resupply the Epsilon Science Station on the colony planet Epsilon 2. While on route, Halsey sends orders to briefly rendezvous with a nearby station to pick up their new First Officer. Mercer reads the new addition's name and stampedes to his office.

Mercer calls Halsey, incensed that the new First Officer is none other than his ex-wife, Kelly Grayson. Halsey dispassionately replies that complaining about the placement on his first day "will not look good," and Mercer is stuck with the decision.

Grayson tepidly enters Mercer's office and apologizes for her affair. She continues that she requested the transfer to Mercer's ship to atone for her behavior, but the conversation quickly devolves into an argument about their relationship prior to the divorce. Grayson concludes by saying that she will transfer to another ship as soon as an opening becomes available.

Grayson meets Malloy in the hall. She hopes that their relationship will be professional considering that Malloy and Mercer are close friends.

Act 5[]

The Orville arrives at Epsilon 2. From the Bridge, Mercer speaks with the Epsilon Science Station's overseer, Doctor Aronov. Aronov looks panicked; the station needs no supplies, but the request was sent for an urgent matter that he will only discuss on Epsilon's surface.

The quantum accelerator, a device capable of accelerating time, is a valuable resource for the Planetary Union and a powerful weapon in the wrong hands.

A small away team to the planet is formed: Mercer, Grayson, Finn, and Kitan. Aronov gives them a brief tour of the facility, including giving Mercer a handful of modified redwood seeds that can can grow into a tree in any environment.

Aronov ushers the team into a wing of the facility where temporal fields are studied. A recent breakthrough has led to the creation of quantum accelerator, a device that can accelerate time inside a "quantum bubble." Janice Lee, a physicist researcher, demonstrates by aging a month-old banana to 100 years in only seconds. Kitan realizes that the accelerator is more than scientific equipment, it can be used as a weapon to turn "entire armies into frail armies."

Suddenly, a nearby lab technician pulls out a PM-32 and demands the accelerator.

Act 6[]

The technician is Derek Ashton, an undercover Krill spy. He calls for a Krill destroyer to raid the facility and steal the device. From the Orville, Bortus attempts to communicate with Mercer, but Ashton forces Mercer to say the Krill come in peace.

Kitan manages to subdue Ashton. The team grabs the accelerator and flees to the shuttle, pursued hotly by Krill soldiers. In space, the Orville (now aware of the situation), distracts the superior Krill ship by firing on it.

Safe on the shuttle, Finn dresses a shoulder injury sustained by Mercer en route to the shuttle from Krill Plasma Rifle. Nearly at the Orville, the team is interrupted by a Krill soldier who managed to board the shuttle and hide.

Act 7[]

The quantum accelerator is activated and the Krill destroyer is obliterated by a modified redwood tree.

The soldier holds the shuttle at gunpoint with a Plasma Rifle, demanding the device. Mercer decelerates rapidly and the inertia sends the soldier flying into the front of the ship. The shuttle parks in the Orville's Shuttle Bay, and the away team hurries to the Bridge.

Though the Orville was able to distract the Krill destroyer, the spatial coils are badly damaged and the ship is no longer able to match the destroyer in battle. The Krill captain demands the device lest the Orville be destroyed.

Grayson schemes to place a redwood seed inside the quantum accelerator and send the device to the Krill by remote shuttle. Mercer gives the activation code to the Krill captain, which activates the device and causes the seed to grow rapidly into a massive redwood tree, destroying the enemy ship.

In Mercer's office, Grayson announces that she will transfer to another ship. Mercer admits that Grayson is a brilliant officer whose talents the Orville cannot afford to lose. Problems stemming from the divorce can be overcome.

Grayson meets Halsey in his office in New York to thank him for her position. It is revealed that she requested that Mercer was promoted to captain of the Orville.


Jon Favreau, who previously directed Hollywood blockbusters Iron Man and The Jungle Book, was enlisted to direct the episode and to serve as a consultant for the show.

This section describes only production of the first episode. For information on series-wide production, see: The Orville#Development.

Creator Seth MacFarlane began working on the script for Old Wounds in March 2016, when the show was still only an idea. By April, a finished script was presented to Fox and approved for production with 13 episodes ordered.

For nearly a year, the production crew began work building sets, designing costumes, and writing other scripts. The sequence of the USS Orville leaving the Dockyard for Epsilon 2 was designed and created by visual effects supervisor and second unit director Rob Legato.[2]

Originally, the Krill were to have no problem in sunlight, but after David A. Goodman wrote the script for Krill, where the Krill burn in contact with strong light, the writers edited Old Wounds to give the Krill helmets when outside.[3]

Storyboarding was completed by artist Marc A. Vena on November 14, 2016.[4]


For the show's premiere, MacFarlane turned to Jon Favreau to direct and Bruce Broughton to compose the score, both established professionals in full-length movies. MacFarlane pitched the show to Broughton as a drama that demanded a serious score. Broughton later described the challenge of composing for episodic television:

[T]here were some scenes that were obviously lighthearted and I tried to more or less ignore that and focus on the drama ... The last thing I wanted to do was step on any comedic lines or timing, and this seemed like a good way to do that.[5][6]

To compose the show's theme music and the music of Old Wounds, Broughton met with MacFarlane to discuss influences. MacFarlane requested Broughton turn to the scores of older science fiction shows like Lost in Space and Spaceship Earth for material, especially the former.[7]

MacFarlane created a temporary music track to inspire Broughton. "He liked the tone of Lost in Space," Broughton recalled.

A lot of the [temp track] was from Lost in Space, and some of it was Jerry Goldsmith, but even with that he didn't want me to do the temp track, he just put it there to play the tone of the scene, which worked out pretty well. Everyone was pretty happy with the opening score.[8]

According to The Orville: Original Television Soundtrack - Season 1, the songs composed for this episode are "Shuttle to the Ship," "She Requested It / Departing for Landing," "Krill Attack / Shuttle Escape," "Emergency Docking," and "Kelly Has a Plan / Asking Kelly to Stay."

  • "Shuttle to the Ship" was intended to capture a "lavish feeling of grandeur" for the listener.[8]
  • Broughton composed "shrill, brassy" music for the Battle of Epsilon 2 in "Krill attack / Shuttle Escape," and attempted to put a "heroic" twist on the show's main theme song.[9]


Filming began on January 13, 2017 at 6:30 AM under the direction of Jon Favreau, whom Seth MacFarlane later called his "conscience." Favreau encouraged him to tone down the script's comedy and remove jokes that disrupted dramatic or suspenseful scenes. "Trust what you have here," he advised. "I'm into it. I read the script and I didn't put it down. The story works and you don't need the crutch of all these jokes."[10] MacFarlane later said Favreau's comments became a pivotal moment when he realized The Orville could be a primarily dramatic show.[10]

According to the filming schedule, the first scene filmed was Ed's introductions with the Orville's crew in the Shuttle Bay.[11] Filming concluded on January 29, making the pilot the longest episode by shooting schedule.[12]

After filming concluded, the cast and crew celebrated with a wrap party at MacFarlane's house[13] with music disc-jockeyed by Favreau[14] and drinks and food served by staff dressed as aliens from the show.[15] Mark Jackson (Isaac), who had only recently moved to the United States, remarked that MacFarlane

knows how to throw parties. He turned his entire garden, I think he’s renovating at the moment so he could, into a spaceship bar, it was extraordinary. All of the waiting staff were done up like aliens in full prosethetics and there was a full ice sculpture of a spaceship as you walked in. That was very Hollywood, I feel.[16]


A behind-the-scenes look: Derek Ashton holds Claire Finn hostage while Ed Mercer and Kelly Grayson attempt to reason with him.


Old Wounds was the series premiere and debuted on a Sunday night to 8.56 million television viewers, a very high number and the strongest series premiere for Fox since Empire in 2015.[17] Though audiences generally enjoyed Old Wounds, it turned out to be the lowest-rated Season 1 episode. For instance, it holds a 7.4 rating on IMDB which, while respectable for the science-fiction genre, is the lowest score of the season.[18]

Actress Halston Sage (Alara Kitan) was pleased with the numbers, "It's really exciting just because we've been working on this show for so long. It's finally out there and people are liking it; it gives you butterflies."[19]

Critical Response[]

Despite the warm reception from general television audiences, the pilot received mostly negative reviews. Critics often complained about the lack of humor and heavy drama. (Fox had advertised The Orville as chiefly a comedy, yet the Old Wounds seemed to walk a thin line between both genres.) MacFarlane was unfazed. "It happens almost every time I release a movie or a TV show. I've grown to expect it from critics and so it's not something that really fazes me anymore."[20] He noted that critics often respond tepidly to his works in a way not reflective of popular opinion.[20] Speaking before the Paley Center for Media, he elaborated:

Working with comedy and science-fiction is a challenge because every time it’s a reinvention as to how the comedy fits into the narrative; it’s a learning process. I’m someone who tends to be a punching bag for the critics, so it’s great to see such a positive response from the fans — which is really all that matters.[21]

Mark Jackson (Isaac) was in England at the time and read several scathing reviews the morning after the premiere.[22] "Seth is one of America’s leading satirists, and therefore one of the world’s leading satirists, and he is not afraid to speak his mind," he said. "So I think he’s probably rubbed a few people up the wrong way, including critics."[23]

Some critics, however, gave more even-handed reviews of the episode. Michael Ahr of Den of Geek gave it three stars, writing that the show was a welcome homage to older science fiction television, and the characters as flawed individuals living in a utopia were interesting and add a modern flavor to a show rife with nostalgia.[24]

Jammer of Jammer's Reviews, who later came to enjoy the series, excoriated Old Wounds as "unimaginative" and a "Trek clone." He gave the episode 1.5 stars, concluding that The Orville may improve as Star Trek: The Next Generation did, but that he did not enjoy this episode.[25]

Nick Wanserski of the AV Club wrote that episode was "tepid" and too ordinary. The Krill, he wrote, were simply a standard television show's antagonist and the world-building necessary to develop was insufficient. And yet, Wanserski enjoyed the episode with the possibility that the show may improve as time goes on.[26]


  • For a brief moment, Captain Mercer's crew manifest is visible. The names on the manifest after "Laura Lamour" are in fact people who worked on production of the show.

The ship manifest highlights the names of many crew members who labored behind-the-scenes on the show.

The original script contained a number of differences from the final version:

  • Mercer's surname was Stevens. Aronov's name was Peter Leonid.
  • When Derek Ashton holds the facility hostage, he forces Grayson and Mercer to sing karaoke as part of the ruse to fool the Orville that there is a pizza party in the facility.
    • Grayson sings karaoke at the start of Cupid's Dagger, so the idea may have been moved to later in the season rather than excised from the show.
  • The aerial tactic "Hugging the Donkey" is called "The Electron Maneuver." The rapid circling of the Krill vessel causes LaMarr to spill his soda.
  • In the final version, then the Krill soldier who sneaks aboard the Orville shuttle is thrown into the front windshield by braking hard. In the script, the Krill soldier is knocked out by Mercer, who found Malloy's beer bottle from when the pair originally joined the Orville on Earth.
  • The final scene between Grayson and Admiral Halsey does not exist. Instead, Halsey speaks directly to the bridge crew through the monitor, congratulating them and requesting to stay on the call so as to avoid having to attend a later meeting.

Top: In Old Wounds, the captain's chair's armrests are upholstered fabric. Bottom: That switches to a thick padding starting with the next episode, Command Performance.

  • Actress Halston Sage (Alara Kitan) shaved her eyebrows for the role, and in this episode appears with a prominent forehead and no eyebrows. Her look went over poorly with the production staff, and in subsequent episodes she wore false eyebrows "to give her a sense of humanity."[27]
    • Oddly, a number of publicity images depicting scenes from this episode show her with her later makeup. In keeping with The Orville being an homage to Star Trek, the change in makeup, perhaps unintentionally, mimics how Leonard Nimoy's makeup as Spock underwent noticeable changes between the two Star Trek pilot episodes and the regular series.
  • One of the Krill soldiers is played by actor Dylan Kenin. He would later portray Captain Haros of the Yakar in the episode Krill.
  • In this episode, the armrests of the captain's chair on the Orville are thin and upholstered. After, the armrests are several inches high and padded.
  • Actress Adrianne Palicki (Kelly Grayson) has said that filming the bedroom scene where Darulio covers her in blue liquid was especially difficult because she was laughing in every take.[28]
  • According to Scott Grimes (Gordon Malloy), the beer Gordon drinks in the shuttle really was beer.[27]
  • Editor and associate producer Tom Costantino posted an alternate, unused version of the Orville departing from the Dockyard for Epsilon 2 to his Twitter.[2]
  • The quantum accelerator's activation code is 6 A 9 3 7 A 3 0 0.


  • Old Wounds opens in late 2418 with the affair, then jumps to September 2419 for the rest of the episode.
  • On September 10,
    • At 9:00 a.m., Ed and Gordon take a shuttle from Union Central to the Orville, a journey of about 15 minutes.
    • In the afternoon, the Orville departs for the science station at Epsilon 2, a journey estimated at 19 hours, 51 minutes.
    • Kelly joins the Orville from Station 794.
  • On September 11, the Battle of Epsilon 2 is fought. Ed mentions at the start of battle that the time is before 5:00 p.m.
  • A few days later, Kelly offers to transfer off the Orville and recommends Murphy for her position. Ed asks her to stay.


  • When Ed asks the Krill Captain to move to the center of the monitor, that is an intentional nod to classic science fiction shows where the subject always stands in the center frame of a screen. It was also one of the first jokes thought of by MacFarlane.[29]
  • Doctor Aronov's pet beagle is a reference to Captain Archer's dog Porthos in the show Star Trek: Enterprise.
  • Doctor Aronov's falsified re-supply message to lure the Orville resembles a plot point of the episode The Menagerie, Part 1 from Star Trek: The Original Series, where Spock falsifies a message to take the USS Enterprise to Starbase 11. (Note that The Menagerie significantly influenced the following episode, Command Performance.) See also Influences of The Orville.

Episode titles[]

Title Language Translation
舊傷口新氣象 (Jiù shāngkǒu xīn qìxiàng) Chinese "old wounds and new weather"
Les Vieilles Blessures French "the old wounds"
Alten Wunden German "old wounds"
Régi sebek Hungarian "old wounds"
Vecchie ferite Italian "old wounds"
古傷 (Furukizu) Japanese "old wound"
Старые раны Russian "old wounds"
Viejas heridas Spanish "old wounds"
Старі рани Ukrainian "old wounds"


  • At the start of the raid on the Epsilon Science Station, Isaac states that two Krill shuttles are approaching, and two Krill shuttles land at the station. When the away team and Doctor Aronov fly away, the camera pans across three Krill shuttles parked in front of the station.
  • Severe damage to the Orville disappears in the final scenes.
  • It has been speculated that crewmember Josh Pierce, who is listed as 'Chief' in the crew manifest, is actually the Chef; and that the title is misspelled. That would also explain why Pierce has no listed section or profession (for examples, Chief of Security and Chief Medical Officer).
    • A counterargument is that because the ship uses food synthesizers, there is no need for a chef. However, the Orville does have a bartender[30][31] and crewmembers sometimes enjoy cooking with authentic ingredients,[32] so the possibility that 'Chief' is a misspelling of 'Chef' remains persuasive.
  • Doctor Claire Finn tells Ed that she does not have drugs because "everything is back on the ship." In fact, she is carrying a Medical Kit containing a Multijector, a syringe-like device equipped with the powerful quad stimulant drug.
    • It is possible Claire was lying to deter Ed from seeking drugs from her.


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

Main Cast[]

Recurring Cast[]

Guest Cast[]

Uncredited Guest Cast[]

See also[]


  1. Episode 1x01: Old Wounds
  2. 2.0 2.1 @TomCostantino. "Rendering, so therefore MORE-@TheOrville. Early Rob Legato dock sequence of ECV-197’s first Ed Mercer led mission (Pilot). Muted the music for legal reasons. ;) @TheOrville #TheOrville 🚀🚀@SethMacFarlane @planetary_union". Twitter. May 5, 2019.
  3. Pascale, Anthony. "Interview: David A. Goodman On How ‘The Orville’ Wrapped Up Season Two And Where It Could Go Next". TrekMovie. May 3, 2019.
  4. @TomCostantino. "MORE - @theorville that brings me fond memories. RIP Justin 👹@ol.dirty.patrick @planetary_union @foxtv #TheOrville 🚀". Twitter. Nov. 14, 2016.
  5. Bond, Jeff. The World of the Orville. Titan Books. 2018. Pg. 15.
  6. "Voyage to Utopia" in The Orville: Original Television Soundtrack - Season 1 by Jeff Bond (2019). Pg. 5.
  7. "The Orville Fan Podcast w/ Bruce Broughton (07)". Planetary Union Network. Oct. 30, 2017.
  8. 8.0 8.1 "Voyage to Utopia" in The Orville: Original Television Soundtrack - Season 1 by Jeff Bond (2019). Pg. 6.
  9. "Voyage to Utopia" in The Orville: Original Television Soundtrack - Season 1 by Jeff Bond (2019). Pg. 7.
  10. 10.0 10.1 "Mindscape 58 | Seth MacFarlane on Using Science Fiction to Explore Humanity". Sean Carroll. Aug. 5, 2019.
  11. @planetary_union. "Happy Independence Day U.S. fans! Today’s @TheOrville behind the scenes photo is a little different than you’re used to. This is part of the call sheet from the 1st day of shooting for Season 1! #TheOrville #PUNcast #bts #FoxStudios #Television #PilotEpisode". Twitter. July 4, 2018.
  12. @SethMacFarlane. "That's a wrap on the pilot episode of #Orville -- Thanks to the masterful @Jon_Favreau and our spectacular cast and crew!". Twitter. Jan. 29, 2017.
  13. Flemmons, Heather W. "Small Town Goes Big Time: Sean Cook". Life in Minnesota. May 11, 2017.
  14. "How Seth MacFarlane Got Charlize Theron To Be On 'The Orville' | SDCC 2017 | Entertainment Weekly". Entertainment Weekly. July 26, 2017.
  15. Orville Wrap Party. Bites and Bashes. Last accessed Oct. 16, 2018.
  16. Flint, Hanna. "Mark Jackson Says The Orville Is For 'Disgruntled Star Trek Fans'". Screen Rant. Aug. 30, 2017.
  17. "The Orville:Season One Ratings". Last accessed Feb. 6, 2018.
  18. ""The Orville" Old Wounds (TV Episode)[1]". IMDB. Last accessed Feb. 6, 2018.
  19. "Halston Sage Talks THE ORVILLE Season 1, Alara's Makeup & More | Interview". Shine on Media. Sept. 21, 2017.
  20. 20.0 20.1 Kain, Erik. "Interview: Seth MacFarlane On The Orville's Unique Tone, 'Star Trek' Roots". Forbes. Sept. 16, 2017.
  21. Fernandez, Matt. "Seth MacFarlane’s ‘The Orville’ Hopes to Brighten Up the Sci-Fi TV Universe". Variety. Sept. 14, 2017.
  22. Morine, Nicholas. "‘The Orville’s’ Mark Jackson Calls Role As Isaac A ‘Dream Come True,’ Seth MacFarlane A ‘Joy To Work With’ - Part 4". Inquisitr. Dec. 30, 2018.
  23. Collinson, Gary. "Exclusive Interview: Mark Jackson on The Orville, working with Seth MacFarlane and Jon Favreau, and more". Oct. 31, 2017.
  24. Ahr, Michael. "The Orville Episode 1 Review: Old Wounds". Den of Geek. Sept. 10, 2017.
  25. Epsicokhan, Jamahl. "Old Wounds". Jammer's Reviews. Online. Last accessed Feb. 6, 2018.
  26. Wanserski, Nick. "The Orville fails to make a strong case for its existence in a tepid series premiere". AV Club. Sept. 10, 2017.
  27. 27.0 27.1 "Trailer Breakdown: The Orville". Xfinity. 2017.
  28. Radish, Christina. "‘The Orville’: Adrianne Palicki on the Incredible Sets and the Hopeful Side of Sci-Fi". Collider. Oct. 5, 2017.
  29. Pascale, Anthony. "Interview: Brannon Braga On How ‘The Orville’ Pays Tribute To Star Trek While Setting A New Course". Sept. 14, 2017.
  30. Alien Bartender is a credited position in this episode and Episode 1x02: Command Performance.
  31. Leaks from the season two premiere script hint that Kanoot's position on board the Orville is bartender.
  32. Mercer cooks for Grayson in Episode 1x12: Mad Idolatry.