9.23.2017

Television: The Orville, "About a Girl"

So. Bortus (who, let's be honest, is really just a discount Worf) and his mate Klyden have . . . hatched? . . . a baby girl. Thing is, in their culture being female is considered a disability. Women are weaker and inferior intellectually (or so they believe). So Bortus and Klyden want to give their baby a sex-change operation. Which is apparently a thing where they're from. But of course everyone on the ship loses their shit when they hear of this.

Eventually, watching Rankin/Bass' Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer gives Bortus fresh insight. All at once he believes their baby should remain a girl! Seriously, though—I thought in that scene Bortus was playing John and Gordon. Like, that he was pretending to go along with their "plan" to reform his way of thinking. Turns out I gave every single one of these characters too much credit. Or the show's writers. Or, really, everyone involved in any way.

Whatever. The result is litigation between Bortus and Klyden. The Orville goes to their home world for a tribunal to hear both sides. [spoilers follow] I guess the lesson is: You can't win them all? Or maybe that some societies (like patriarchal ones, perhaps) aren't going to be swayed by facts and logic? There is no changing some people's minds, no matter how much information you deal them. And some people and cultures will blindly cling to tradition rather than open their eyes.

Meanwhile, despite his defeat, Bortus still loves Klyden and loves their now son. So I guess they're just going to pretend it never happened. [end spoilers]

I have to wonder, though, why being female on the Orville would be a disability. Like, I understand the decision if they lived on their home world, where females are discriminated against. To be clear: I understand the decision, I'm not saying I agree with it. But that discrimination is not likely to happen aboard the Orville, or in any of the situations in which this child is likely to find herself (now himself) amid the Union or whatever. So this is really a matter of cultural preference. Bortus' culture values males, and somehow their baby is more valuable to them if it is male. They claim that, no, they are only trying to make their child's life better, but . . . Their child wasn't going to have a terrible life as a female. And may even have a more difficult life as a male than s/he would have otherwise. Just sayin'.

Now let's look at this episode in context of the three we've thus far seen. Was it better than the first two? Yes. But that was a very low bar. Will I watch more? I might try another one to see if they continue to make progress, but at the same time, I have so many other shows on my viewing list that I'm not 100% sure I'll stick with this one.