‘The Orville’ Season 3 Episode 7: Penny Johnson Jerald & Mark Jackson
THE ARTIST | Penny Johnson Jerald and Mark Jackson
THE SHOW | The Orville
THE EPISODE | “Unknown Graves” (July 14, 2022)
THE PERFORMANCE | The Orville did some really special things this season, using its unlimited Hulu runtimes to bask in the moments and vibes. And the fading, then heartbreaking, developments this week between Claire and Isaac were a prime example of that.
The relationship between Jerald’s human chief medical officer and Jackson’s artificial lifeform (which is usually concealed in Kaylon’s dwelling) has been, well, complicated over the years. Claire, however, always seemed to see something worth exploring – even when the Kaylon race as a whole became persona non grata – so when Isaac this week chose to undergo a procedure that would allow him to actually feel emotions, you had be in search of emotional gain. And boy, did Jerald and Jackson deliver on that promise.
In a six-minute “dinner date” sequence that gave the two actors time to mine every little microexpression, Isaac (in his holographic, humanoid form) warmly welcomed Claire, “It’s gorgeous see you!”, instantly affirming for her that he could now feel. “Just the anticipation of seeing you, the waiting… I got the hunger, the loneliness,” Isaac shared, with Jackson infusing his line reads with just the right amount of extra texture. “The way you look at me, I feel safe, like…,” added Isaac. “And I feel so sadfor all those people who live their life without you.
Jerald in turn met each of his scene partner’s ultra-romantic professions with wide, delighted and loving eyes, while Claire experienced everything she could have hoped for.
If only for a few minutes. Before the duo tragically realized that the emotion simulation procedure “didn’t fit”, due to Isaac’s advanced operating system.
During a meeting with the cybernetician who developed the procedure, Isaac learned that his software could be rewritten to allow permanent emotions, but at a cost – his memory. Isaac magnanimously handing that decision over to Claire was the greatest show of love of all.
“I can have your heart…or I can have your soul,” Claire observed, as Jerald’s face registered what must have been a whirlwind of emotions happening behind his own loving eyes. Still, the choice was clear. “I won’t let you give up on who you are,” she explained. “I fell in love with him.” And because of Jerald and Jackson’s incredibly moving two-handed game, viewers felt every moment of that deep connection.
HONORABLE MENTION | We have already established our happiness in front of the increased role of Andrea Martin in Badthe current season, and Sunday’s heavy episode of Sister Andrea was another reason. The trial scenes were great – Martin infusing the nun with kindness and serenity no matter the persecution – but we’d like to draw your attention to the sister’s exchange with David towards the end of the hour. Martin filled the nun with quiet regret for the way she dismissed David’s racial concerns, then smoothly transitioned to David’s biggest cheerleader when he admitted to doubting her visions. Martin’s ability to make Sister Andrea so confident (almost) all the time? In a word: divine.
HONORABLE MENTION | A great TV villain is something to cherish, so we were sorry – spoiler alert! — say goodbye this week to You better call Saul‘s Lalo Salamanca, the cartel mobster played with delightfully terrifying charisma by Tony Dalton. Lalo’s swansong allowed Dalton to sink his teeth into Lalo’s best and worst qualities, blending charm and menace as he dragged Jimmy and Kim into his evil plan and used his almost supernatural criminal skills to corner Gus at gunpoint at Superlab. Even his final moments were vintage Lalo, as Dalton managed a bloody grin and disbelieving laugh after Gus managed to turn the tables and take Lalo down. (He loved being bad, and we loved watching him.) We knew Lalo probably wouldn’t survive after the series ended – and we weren’t cheering him on either – but Dalton’s deftly malicious portrayal still made it hard to see him. leave.
HONORABLE MENTION | After six episodes of light-hearted supernatural shenanigans, we thought about Netflix’s latest episodes Boo, bitch! would be just as smooth. But the penultimate episode of the limited series took things in a whole new direction, thanks to a killer twist (no spoilers!) and a revealing performance from Zoe Colletti as Erika’s neglected best friend, Gia. . From his frantic confession at the top of the episode to his harrowing (and long overdue) confrontation with Erika, Colletti stole the show, taking every opportunity to rip our guts out with his devastating vulnerability. And don’t even get us started on how she told Gavin he was the only person who had ever really seen her. Gia’s story may be over, but we’ll never forget how Colletti made us feel.
Which performance(s) hit your socks this week? Tell us in the comments!