After watching The Orville season 3 episode 4, it’s hard to imagine anyone not being emotionally shaken on some level. “Gently Falling Rain” is not only a visual masterpiece; it’s also the strongest episode of the season and maybe one of the strongest ever.
For starters, writers Brannon Braga & Andre Bormanis did a fantastic job paying off the relationship between Telaya and Ed Mercer established in season 2. In the time following her release she transformed herself to become a political firebrand, and eventual Krill leader who showed no mercy in her actions. She also just so happened to have a daughter with Ed in Anaya, who she kept secret from her legion of followers. Ed’s discovery and eventual confrontation with Telaya is some of the best acting work we’ve seen Seth MacFarlane do. This is a man who learned his entire life was different in the blink of an eye, and then had to contend with the fact that he may never see his daughter again by the end. That’s what made the final scene with Mercer and Grayson so powerful at the end; Kelly understand that a moment of kindness, like an invitation to breakfast, meant so much in that moment.
“Gently Falling Rain” (which is what Anaya translates to mean) is also perhaps the most topic story that The Orville has ever done, whether it be its echoes to the 2016 election or the reveal of what happens to Krill who decide not to have birth to their children. There was so much pain in these stories, and seeing much of this play out only inspired Ed to fight harder for peace and a way to change things for good.
Despite all of his efforts, the heartbreaking truth for now is that he failed. While a lot of stories on this show are resolved in some measure by the end of the hour, it made sense that this one wouldn’t be. The stakes are far too high and the universe is not always so neat and tidy. The door is clearly open for an eventual reprisal; Ed knows that there is one more card he could play publicly in Anaya, but he does not want to exploit his own child for political gain. It’s another reminder of who Ed is and the personal values he holds dear.
The Orville is magic in its current form because it can be whatever it effectively wants. Some episodes, this means leaning more into comedy; in others, it means allowing the story to go in darker, more serious directions. Because we believe so much in this world, every single moment felt earned and the heartbreaking conclusion makes us yearn for so much more.
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What did you think about the events of The Orville season 3 episode 4?
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