The Orville season 2 episode 12 recap: Sanctuary

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THE ORVILLE: L-R: Seth MacFarlane, guest star Ron Canada, guest star Victor Garber, guest star Kelly Hu and guest star Ted Danson in the “Sanctuary” episode of THE ORVILLE airing Thursday, April 11 (9:00-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. ©2018 Fox Broadcasting Co. Cr: Kevin Estrada/FOX

The Orville transitions to Ed and Heveena in a shuttle. Ed shows her how to look up Earth’s history of art created by women. Heveena pulls up the Dolly Parton classic “9 to 5,” which she immediately identifies as the voice of their revolution. (Ed tries to say there are other options, but no, it’s gotta be Dolly.)

Then, at the council meeting, Heveena is called to make a statement in front of all of the members of the Union. The Moclan male representative, Dojin, erupts, demanding they not allow Heveena to speak.

Halesy steps in and says they’ve already voted to let her talk and Dojin will get his turn to talk too.

In a powerful speech, Heveena notes that throughout history, groups have been oppressed for reasons that seem small in hindsight. The diversity in the council chamber, she points out, shows the value of progress. She hopes the council will recognize their independence so their voices are not erased and they will no longer live in fear of oppression.

She ends her speech by quoting Dolly Parton and, you know, it kind of works.

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When the chairman moves to give the Moclan males their chance, Dojin erupts again. This time saying that, if the council acknowledges the Moclan women as independent, Moclus will leave the Union.

Back on the Orville, they detect a Moclan ship approaching. Kelly talks to the commander of the other ship. The Moclans are there (in a ship prepared for battle) to make sure, if the council decides in their favor, that they can swiftly carry out justice on the colony. Both Kelly and the other commander agree that they’ll both wait for the council’s decision.

In his speech in front of the council, Dojin uses the Kaylon threat and his threat of leaving the union against Heveena by saying their plea for independence is putting themselves above the safety of the Union as a whole. After all, Moclus is the primary source of the Union’s weapons.

Later, in a private meeting with Ed and a group of admirals, Ed can’t understand why the debate is still even happening. It’s basic rights.

Admirals bring up the fact that they can’t judge Moclans simply by human standards and, according to their customs, Dojin is right to say that the parents are forcing a life on the children that they didn’t get to choose. The children, in the Moclans’ eyes, are victims.

Ed then shoots back that the Union only ignores the strange Moclan customs because they need Moclus’ weapons. He argues that the Moclans couldn’t actually afford to leave the Union because without the Union, they would be massacred by the Kaylons as well. The admirals aren’t as certain the Moclans see it that way.

Ed, ending the conversation, asks the admirals what they’re even defending if it’s not the values upon which the Union was founded.

Back on the Orville, Kelly asks what Bortus would do if Moclus left the union. He’s not sure. But before they can talk more, an angry Klyden comes up to them, saying he’s been looking for Bortus. Klyden wants to talk about the possibility of them having to go back to Moclus.

This opens up a whole argument with Bortus saying that Klyden never liked it on the Orville because there were women around and it made him uncomfortable. He notes that Klyden didn’t even say anything to Kelly or even acknowledge she was there when he walked up. Bortus goes on to say that Klyden’s mind is closed to progress and Klyden is raising their son to have the same ignorance.

Just then, Talla calls Kelly and says that there are Moclan shuttles headed to the surface.

Kelly gets to the bridge and learns that the Moclans were told to arrest the colonists. The commander of the other ship warns Kelly not to interfere. Kelly then calls Union Central to see what’s going on.

Back at the Union, the admirals confront the Moclan delegation. The Moclans argue that the colonists are under their jurisdiction. And, if the Union wants a diplomatic solution, the Moclans demand one be presented that is acceptable to them. They storm out of the room, leaving Ed and the admirals stunned.

As they admirals leave to talk to the council, Ed tells Halsey that he can’t just tell Kelly to sit on her hands and do nothing. Halsey orders Ed to tell her to do nothing, but also implies that maybe that order mysterious doesn’t get to Kelly due to some “communications failure.”

Kelly, getting the “order” from Ed, prepares to take a shuttle to the surface to help protect the colony. Bortus says he’s going with her. Kelly tries to protest—after all, this could be the end of her career for disobeying an order, plus Bortus would have to fire on fellow Moclans.

Bortus stands strong and says he’s going and the two head down to the surface.

Before they get too far in the shuttle, the Moclans grab the shuttle with their tractor beam. Talla prepares to fire on the Moclan ship. Gordon protests, saying that firing on them is an act of war. But Talla says that she’s prepared to take responsibility for that choice.

They fire on the Moclan ship, who returns fire. The two ships begin to battle.

Meanwhile, on the ground, Moclan women are being dragged and hurled by the Moclan men. Kelly and Bortus get to the ground and, when the Moclan men don’t lower their weapons, get into a firefight with the Moclan men.

As they free more and more of the Moclan women, they pick up weapons and join the fight. They easily overwhelm the Moclan men.

In space, Gordon and Talla work to keep the Orville from being destroyed by the Moclan battle cruiser. Gordon decides to take them into the nebula, which will mess with the Moclan’s targeting. It works, allowing the Orville to evade more hits.

Back at the council, some of the members are arguing that the Union is not a policing body and it would be dangerous for them to start determining what is right and wrong within other races. Heveena argues that allowing oppression sets an equally bad precident.

Admiral Halsey then brings up the fact that Moclus leaving the Union would open the door for everyone to be destroyed by the Kaylons. But, Dojin says, not if the Krill join with the Moclans in the fight against the Kaylons. The Krill, he points out, are more likely to join whoever has the better weapons.

Ed then jumps in. He says the Krill wouldn’t even be able to save the Moclans from being destroyed by the Kaylons. But the tiny, hidden planet the Moclan women are on could survive. So, if the Union protects the Moclan women’s planet and the Kaylons wipe out the other Moclans, the only Moclans left would be women. But hey, the Moclans would still be a single sex group at least.

Halsey then (in what I think is supposed to be a big moment) offers up a really stupid compromise. Basically, he says that the Union won’t officially recognize the Moclan women as independent right now and the Moclan women will stop smuggling female children to their planet. In exchange, the Moclan men will leave the female planet alone.

(Which, you know, still means that any future females born on Moclus will be subject to the same situations that caused the Moclan women to form their own planet in the first place, so why would that be ok? It sets up no way to protect future Moclan women or their parents who don’t want to follow Moclan customs. But anyway.)

Back at the colony, one of the Moclan men announces that an agreement has been reached and everyone stands down.

This episode of The Orville starts to wind down with Ed apologizing to Heveena for everything that’s happened. (Though, let’s be real, Ed owes Bortus a big apology for not listening to him and trusting his instincts in the first place.)

Heveena acknowledges that, while they didn’t succeed in the way they had hoped, they also didn’t fail in their goals. Much worse could have happened had the Moclan men won at the council. Instead, the Moclan women who are on the planet can live safely. Heveena also says that yes, their smuggling system is gone. But she knows that future generations will continue to push for more change. This was just the beginning of the revolution.

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Back on the Orville, Bortus goes to visit Topa’s class. When he goes in, he sees Topa playing cooperatively and happily with another female student.

What do you think of the Union’s agreement? Let us know your thoughts on this episode of The Orville in the comments.