Sanctuary is the twelfth episode of the second season of The Orville. When the crew of the USS Orville discovers a hidden Moclan colony for females, the secret threatens to fracture the Planetary Union.
The episode was written by Joe Menosky and directed by Jonathan Frakes, who also directed the Season 1 episode Pria. Music was composed by Andrew Cottee. Sanctuary aired on April 11, 2019, after a repeat of the episodes Identity, Pt. 1 and Pt. 2.
By relying upon diplomacy and debate to create (and resolve) the story's problem, fans accepted the episode as one of The Orville's best almost immediately after it aired. Interestingly, Sanctuary is one of several Season 2 episode that received overall higher praise from professional critics than from general audiences. It holds a rating of 8.4 on IMDB, above the show's average, but was watched live by only 2.585 million American households, the lowest in the show's history.
Admiral Halsey informs the senior staff of the USS Orville that in the light of the Kaylon attack the Moclans have proposed a new round of weapons upgrades for all Exploratory-class vessels and above. He also informs them that they are transporting a Moclan engineer to a research vessel in the Nekkar system.
The Orville receives weapons upgrades at a space station orbiting Moclus. Chief of Security Talla Keyali escorts the engineer, Toren, and his mate Korick to their quarters. In the privacy of their unit, the two Moclans nervously discuss secret "cargo" they managed to sneak past the Orville's scanners.
In the ship's classroom, Second Officer Bortus' son Topa gets into a fight with a girl named Olivia and shoves her. Topa says he doesn't have to share with females. The teacher reprimands him. That evening, she summons his parents Bortus and Klyden to discuss his behavior. Klyden suggests separating the boys, but Bortus says he will speak with their son. When Bortus speaks with Topa, the boy justifies his behavior by arguing females are inferior and says it was Klyden who taught him that. Topa leaves; Klyden defends himself, arguing that he is only passing down Moclan traditions.
Captain Mercer and First Officer Kelly Grayson send Bortus to investigate a power fluctuation on Deck C. The Second Officer visits Korick and Toren, who claim they had simply adjusted their food synthesizer. After a quick scan of their quarters, however, he discovers their "cargo" is siphoning power from the ship. Bortus orders them to open the case and discovers a Moclan child asleep in a stasis chamber.
Act 3 Edit
The couple reveals that the child is their daughter and they do not want her to undergo a gender corrective procedure or to live in hiding on Moclus as an outcast. They continue that the Retepsian government has granted them asylum and that the captain of the research vessel has agreed to take them there. They beg Bortus not to report them to Ed and reveal their secret. Bortus tells the commanders that the Moclans are using a stasis chamber for perishable supplies. Grateful, Toren replies, "We will not forget your kindness."
Bortus removes Topa from class and takes him to Korick and Toren's quarters to see the female child. Topa thinks there are no Moclan females, but Bortus explains that there are a few born each generation.
The Orville rendezvouses with the Moclan vessel and Korick and Toren depart by shuttle.
Later, Captain Mercer summons Bortus to his office, where Kelly, Talla, and Doctor Claire Finn await. Topa has revealed the truth of Toren and Korick's child. Bortus should have informed them so Claire could have verified their story. Ed orders an interception with the Moclan ship.
The Orville's bridge crew are unable to trace the Moclan vessel, but after Helmsman Gordon Malloy suggests Isaac scan for mass ion signatures, the vessel is found not heading to Retepsia but a nearby Class 6 nebula. Realizing the Moclan ship's mission has nothing to do with research, Ed commands Gordon to set an intercept course at maximum speed.
Once the Orville arrives, the crew finds a K-type star hidden inside the nebula with an orbiting, habitable planet. Scanners show thousands of Moclans living there. Mercer, Grayson, Bortus, and Keyali travel down by shuttle, but are quickly surrounded by a dozen armed Moclan women.
Act 4 Edit
The Moclans bring them to a village inhabited with Moclan women and children, as well as Korick and Toren. In a hut, their leader Heveena recognizes Mercer and his crew. She reveals that far more females are born than the Moclan government admits. The planet alone is home to six-thousand women. Heveena and Osaia, debate fleeing the planet, but Ed proposes they apply to be an independent colony in the Planetary Union. Heveena accepts.
Admiral Halsey informs Ed and Kelly that Heveena's request for a hearing was approved by Planetary Union Central. The Moclan delegation is furious and demands to know the location of the system to extradite the "fugitives." Ed and Heveena fly to the USS Burnell to the Union headquarters on Earth while the Orville will remain in orbit over by the planet.
While shuttling to the Burnell, Heveena listens to Dolly Parton's song "9 to 5." Enamored, she declares the song the voice of their "revolution."
The Planetary Union Council convenes. Heveena addresses the Council over the objection of Dojin, the ambassador of Moclus. Heveena asks the Council to admit the sanctuary planet as a colony and quotes the lyrics of Dolly Parton. After, Dojin promises that Moclus will leave the Union if the Council admits the planet.
Dojin argues the colony is essentially a child-trafficking planet, and reminds the Union that Moclus is their main arms supplier. Captain Mercer and the Human admiralty debate the morality of their next move, and what would happen if Moclus allies with the Krill against the Kaylon.
Meanwhile, Kelly asks Bortus what he will do if Moclus leaves the Union, but he does not know. When Klyden approaches, Bortus confronts him about his prejudice against women. They are interrupted by news that four Moclan shuttles are heading to the planet and the battle cruiser raised its Deflector Screens.
Kelly confronts Jakohn. He answers that they have been given orders to extradite the colonists to Moclus. The Orville contacts the Union.
Act 6 Edit
The Human admirals demand Dojin to retract their soldiers, but he responds that they are merely apprehending "fugitives" under their jurisdiction. While official orders to the Orville are "to do nothing," Ed subtly directs Kelly to go to the planet.
Kelly and Bortus take a shuttle, which is caught in the battle cruiser's tractor beam. Keyali makes a crucial decision to fire on the Moclan ship's tractor beam emitters, which ignites a battle between the ships. On the surface of the sanctuary colony, a skirmish breaks out between the two Union officers and the Moclan soldiers. Moclan women also join the fight and together they overpower the soldiers. In space, the Orville runs circles around the Moclan battle cruiser but take hull damage. Malloy takes the ship into the nebula to confuse their electromagnetic scans.
At the Council, the prospect of peace looks fraught. The Xelayan delegation and a delegation of an unknown species believe the conflict to be an internal Moclan matter, while the Moclan representative threatens to secede. Captain Mercer has a different argument: He warns that if the Kaylon destroy the Moclans, the only Moclans in the galaxy will be female because their world is masked by a nebula; then Mercer quips that they would still be a single-sex species.
Admiral Halsey proposes a provisional compromise to delay their recognition of the colony and the colonists end their clandestine trafficking network immediately. In exchange, the Moclan government will agree to leave the colonists in peace and take no further action against them now or in the future.
Back on the colony world, battle is interrupted when news of a Council agreement arrives.
The colonists rebuild their lives. Ed apologizes to Heveena that their plan did not succeed as they had hoped, yet she reassures them that the colonists escaped corrective surgery and imprisonment. She says that her people can rest with the knowledge they are safe; a revolution has begun and they will rise one small victory at a time. She asks if Dolly Parton will be proud of them, and Mercer answers 'yes.'
On the Orville, Bortus sees Topa playing with the same girl he had pushed, and smiles.
Sanctuary was written by executive producer Joe Menosky at an unknown date, possibly as early as 2017 (see discussion under sub-section Writing).
In an interview with Trek Movie, director Jonathan Frakes teased that the action in Sanctuary would be "epic." Adding:
We spent a lot of time on another planet I can say. The casting is epic with Ted Danson, Victor Garber, Tony Todd and somebody named Marina Sirtis is in it. It is a big ambitious episode. But The Orville has done that this season. They have expanded their approach. It used to be – not a ship-based show, but a more traditional episodic event. But now I don’t know if it is influenced by [Star Trek:] Discovery or if it is just audience appetite, but the episodes compared to what I did last season is more fun when it is a bigger event.
He also commented that the show sought to transition from episodic storytelling to character studies.
The first mention of the episode might have been in December 2017 when wardrobe designer Joseph Porro told Planetary Union Network that one episode would feature a great many aliens, far more than seen in any episode of Season 1, and described it as "eye candy." It is believed Porro was referring to the many aliens of seen at the Planetary Union Council, the most number of costumes of any episode of Season 2. However, the episode's writer, Joe Menosky, was not hired until February 2018, two months after Porro's comments.
The most likely explanation is that another writer, possibly creator Seth MacFarlane, engineered the scenes in the Union Council for a different story, which Menosky later incorporated into his script for Sanctuary. Writers have done this for other episodes; for example, Cherry Chevapravatdumrong wrote the episode Firestorm, but many elements of the story came from MacFarlane.
Another possibility is that Menosky wrote the script for Sanctuary prior to joining The Orville as part of a speculative script pitch, and the script was quickly purchased prior to formally hiring Menosky and circulated among development heads for early preparation.
Preparing to air Edit
Jonathan Frakes spoke candidly and excitedly about Sanctuary during the summer of 2018, revealing that F. Murray Abraham would join as a Union admiral, Tony Todd would appear as a Moclan, and Ron Canada would return as Admiral Tucker.
Frakes' comments reflect an early stage of development. Abraham's character may be an admiral, but his canonical title is the Planetary Union Council's chairman and he does not wear a uniform on screen. Todd appears as the Moclan delegate Dojin.
The title Sanctuary was first revealed on January 25, 2019.
Deleted scenes Edit
General audiences enjoyed Sanctuary greatly, and it quickly garnered a rating of 8.4 on IMDB - above the show's average. Sadly, the episode was watched live by only 2.585 million American households, the lowest in the show's history.
Critical response Edit
Professional critics adored the episode for its reliance upon diplomacy and debate, which some likened to a return to "classic Trekkian" storytelling elements.
Nick Wanserski gave the episode its second 'A' grade of the series, after Identity, Pt. 2. He called attention to its strong central plot and good editing during action sequences, and added that Sanctuary "hits home what a damn shame it would be" if The Orville were not renewed for a third season. (The Orville was not renewed for another month.)
Jammer of Jammer's Reviews gave the episode 3.5 stars of four, finding Sanctuary to be "well-written ..., well-acted, and well-executed.... This ticks a lot of good old-school Trek boxes, and ticks them well."
- 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.
- Creator Seth MacFarlane originally wanted actress Marina Sirtis for a different role until suggested by Jonathan Frakes.
- Gordon says the colony planet is 12 light years from the Nekkar system. The star Nekkar is in the Boötes constellation, roughly 226 light years from Earth.
- The female Moclan baby Mersa was actually a prop made by property master Bryan Rodgers.
- The Planetary Union Council meeting features numerous species both old and new. In addition to Humans, Moclans and Xelayans:
- The species of Lieutenant Dann and the scientist Samm.
- The species of Lurenek, a captive in the Calivon Zoo in Command Performance.
- The species of Kanoot.
- The species of Palovis and the bartender Olix.
- This marks the first appearance of Retepsians other than Darulio.
- Beyond the photograph of Yaphit and a relative in Cupid's Dagger, this marks the first appearance of other Gelatins.
- Interestingly, Yaphit is not seen in this episode.
- Various unidentified species seen in the show's pilot Old Wounds.
- The sides of Mersa's stasis case code panel read "ǽgh kj mo" both forwards and backwards.
- The center of the panel contain four unknown symbols that are probably numbers as number symbols are still undeciphered.
- The center of the panel also contain two buttons with small sentences that have not yet been deciphered as well.
- This episode marks the first appearance of a Moclan space station and the prominent appearance of a large number of Moclan ships like the battlecruiser and transport vessel.
- This episode takes place over the course of no less than three days.
- Ed complains that the Orville feels like a taxi cab. In the previous episode, Lasting Impressions, the ship was responsible for transporting the Saratoga Springs time capsule.
- Sanctuary features the song "9 to 5" by Dolly Parton.
- This is the first episode to use a musical montage during a fight sequence.
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
Special recurring cast Edit
Recurring cast Edit
- Victor Garber as Admiral Halsey
- Blesson Yates as Topa
- Ted Danson as Admiral Perry
- Ron Canada as Admiral Tucker
- Kelly Hu as Admiral Ozawa
- Tony Todd as Dojin (as Moclan Delegate)
- Regi Davis as Korick
- Shawn T. Andrew as Toren
- Emerson Brooks as Moclan
- Cameron Knight as Captain Jakohn
- Madelyn Grace as Olivia
- Bo Kane as Alien Delegate
- Kathrin Middleton as Retepsian Delegate
- Mark McClain Wilson as Xelayan Delegate
- Yvonne Senat Jones as Osaia (as Yvonne Senat)
- Hanani Taylor as Moclan Girl
- Marlon Sanders as Moclan Soldier #1 (as MC Sanders)
- Jerrell Pippens as Moclan Soldier #2
Uncredited recurring cast Edit
- Chad L. Coleman as Klyden
- Breonna Walker as Alien Delegate
- Paddy Connor as Alien Delegate
- Chase Kim as Officer
- Josef Cannon as Moclan Delegate
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 Episode List. IMDB. Last accessed May 13, 2019.
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 The Orville:Season Two Ratings. TV Series Finale. Last accessed May 14, 2019.
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 Pascale, Anthony. "Interview: Jonathan Frakes On Casting Marina Sirtis And What ‘The Orville’ And ‘Star Trek: Discovery’ Share". TrekMovie. April 10, 2019.
- ↑ "The Orville Fan Podcast w/ Joseph A. Porro (13)". Planetary Union Network. Dec. 20, 2017.
- ↑ Bond, Jeff. The World of the Orville. Titan Books. 2018. Pg. 154.
- ↑ A third explanation is that Porro was not referring to Sanctuary. Sanctuary airs very late in Season 2, and Porro might not have seen a script with such a late production date. The problem with this theory is that Sanctuary was the only Season 2 episode to feature more alien costumes than the Season 1 episodes Old Wounds and Command Performance.
- ↑ Iacovino, Kayla. "STLV18: Jonathan Frakes Reveals Ted Danson And More Stars Join Marina Sirtis In His ‘The Orville’ Episode". TrekMovie. Aug. 4, 2018.
- ↑ The Orville. Fox Sweden. Last accessed Jan. 25, 2019.
- ↑ "Tom Costantino, Co-Producer". Quantum Drive. Sept. 10, 2019.
- ↑ 10.0 10.1 Epsicokhan, Jamal. "Sanctuary". Jammer's Reviews. Last accessed May 13, 2019.
- ↑ Wanserski, Nick. "A smart and kinetic The Orville makes the case for independence". AV Club. April 12, 2019.
- ↑ THE ORVILLE SEASON 2 GAG REEL. Planetary Union Network. April 30, 2019.
- ↑ @BryanRodgerssoa. "Here are a couple more @GDNaturedVLLN renderings of the Moclan baby stasis conversion along with proof it takes a village to create a Moclan village.". April 12, 2019.