Five years later and the plot set up in "About a Girl", a first season episode of The Orville, finally came to fruition in last night's new episode. "A Tale of Two Topas" finds the offspring of Bortus and Klyden discovering they'd surgically altered the baby's sex. Once again written and directed by Seth MacFarlane, "A Tale of Two Topas" did an even better job of using an alien scenario to give the audience a new perspective on current issues.
Of course, the standard argument against Star Trek style aliens, and it's a pretty valid one, is that they aren't really so alien. But they're also not really human. They're us but not us, which makes them perfect for setting up hypothetical scenarios without running afoul of cultural preconceptions.
Topa is the victim of a society that pathologically hates women. The story could be read either as an argument against transphobia or an argument against children getting sexual reassignment surgery. It could be a conservative advocacy for heterosexual relationships, or a liberal declaration for everyone's right to present the sexual identity of their choice.
I even liked the subplot about the crew raiding an alien pyramid.
I would have liked a few scenes showing a bond between Topa and Klyden to demonstrate how complicated and difficult the situation is. I suppose it would help if I'd seen other episodes about the Moclan couple more recently. Taken in isolation, this episode makes Klyden merely a cartoonish villain. But I did enjoy Isaac standing up to him.
Once again, The Orville seems like it's the only one doing the things that actually made Science Fiction great.
The Orville is available on Hulu in the U.S. and on Disney+ elsewhere.
Twitter Sonnet #1596
The summer song was loud and weighed a tonne.
We chucked the hay across the horse's trough.
Our dancers sweat the vending machine gun.
The sun is burning up in yonder loft.
The wooden war was stocked with wine and boots.
The trembling man created seven shade.
Forgotten minds began the culture's roots.
With planted math the art at will pervades.
The action dipped below the road in spots.
We travelled light but ate a heavy ham.
Our field dessert was ancient Dippin' Dots.
We asked a prison guard to peel the yam.
They didn't see the lanterns making streets.
The foreign words describe the foreign treats.