All the World is Birthday Cake (spoileriffic)

All the World is Birthday Cake (spoileriffic)

Postby Graham Kennedy » Fri Jan 25, 2019 10:49 pm

In short, loved this episode! I don't think it tops Nothing in the world excepting fishes, but its close to that.

So...

Bortas and Kelly's birthdays are close. One has to assume that the Moclan year is different to the human one, but they do say it's close "this year". Bortas's birthday would therefore kind of drift through the human year, passing by everyone else's. Nice that they thought to specify that.

I was bracing myself for silliness when the signal went out because I figured the Orville had picked it up like a few minutes later, which wouldn't make a whole lot of sense. So I was very happy when the planet guys said they had sent the signal out "a few years" ago. This makes the opening scene of this episode the earliest we've ever seen in the timeline, happening maybe 2-3 years before Ed got command of the Orville.

I love how excited the whole ship was to be on a First Contact mission. Trek folks often said it was a great mission, the kind of thing they were out there for, but we never saw people literally whooping and cheering over it the way they did here. I love how the Orville crew seem more 'human' than the Trek folks often were. They may not be the high flyers of the Union, but they're good people. Orville is a place you can see yourself wanting to be.

Was quite impressed by the exterior landing shots! For a show with a limited budget they sure do rise to the occasion and splash what they do have around on the screen. The city was very impressive, as was the landing.

I do like this kind of episode. Very similar to last season's Majority Rule and to many Star Trek episodes in structure. You go to a new place, it all looks fine except for one of two strange things, then the twist comes and shows that the entire society has some weird anomaly in how it's run, and now you're in huge trouble. And you can't use force, but in the last act you come up with a clever and creative solution. I like those kinds of stories, they're fun and engaging for me.

One minor issue I had with Majority Rules is that it wasn't clear exactly how the voting worked - can you work downvotes off, etc. This was less so, but there are still queries. Like Kelly and Bortas are from different planets with different star signs, so why do the Regorians take them as being Giliacs just because their birthdays fall there? One can assume that the Regorians know that every alien world would have its own star signs, but that they also assume that those signs are equivalent - so when their sun is in Giliac, every planet's sun is in that system's equivalent of Giliac. Or maybe they figure the important thing is the confluence of the birthday and the sign, so that Kelly and Bortas's birthdays bring them under the influence of Giliac when they come to this system, but they're fine elsewhere. Or maybe they just don't put thought into it, and just assume birthdate = Giliac. It would be nice having a line or two on this, but at the end of the day it doesn't matter too much. Astrology is after all fundamentally an irrational system, so would we even expect it to be logical?

I like how hardline the Regorians are about the system. The leaders, entirely reasonable people otherwise, point-blank to even consider that the system may be wrong. And interestingly, even the victims are this way. The imprisoned Giliacs may complain about their living conditions and wish they could have better lives, but not one of them ever critises the system itself, nobody ever suggests that this might be a bad or wrong idea. They just wish they were on a better side of it.

Some have complained that the camp seemed very flimsy, with towers built for hastily assembled plywood etc. I didn't notice this first time through, didn't care second time through. The prisoners are unarmed and none of them seem interested in trying to escape, so it's not like you need concrete bunkers for the guard posts.

The Regorians wind up with custody and Kelly and Bortas's uniforms and weapons. The fact that nobody seems concerned by this makes me think that they handed it all back to Ed when they released him and the others, without trying to reverse engineer it.

Love the resolution to the episode, too. Very smart to show how the Giliac sign became so hated, can totally see that happening in a society like that, especially one three thousand years older than what we saw. And very smart to 'replace' the star! My one gripe with this is that the satellite seemed awful close. The Regorians already had some degree of space travel, and with that satellite in orbit sooner or later they're going to see what's happened. Hell parallax measurements on the surface alone would make it obvious. Would have preferred if they had placed it a few light hours away.

Okay... so, Talla. I like her! She's similar to Alara in many ways, but different in character. I was glad of that! I took the "punched my captain in the face" story to be kind of analogous to Riker's "refused to let his Captain beam down" story - coming to the ship with a blot on your record, but one which is actually a positive. She seems more into kicking ass than Alara was, and waaaay more confident. And I like that they explained how Ed wound with with another Xelayan security officer - he literally begged the Admiral to give him one, and they did.

...Ted Fricken Danson!

All in all a great episode.
Give a man a fire, and you keep him warm for a day. SET a man on fire, and you will keep him warm for the rest of his life...
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Graham Kennedy
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