Caveat: A little background on me, so you can understand where I’m coming from in all this:
First, obviously, I happen to belong to the gender which tends to have the most incidences of rape and sexual assault victimization — which tends also to (usually, not always) be at the hands of the opposite gender, who interestingly enough, has a much lower rate of these incidences happening to them by any gender at all. Hmm…
Secondly, I have not been raped, but I have been a victim of sexual assault, as well as relationship-abuse, general physical abuse, child abuse, and domestic violence, so you can kindly file this Note under the following hashtags: #YesAllWomen, #MeToo. No, I didn’t “do anything” to cause or “allow” these things to happen. These things are so common, so misunderstood by the general population, and they happen so often, that a person can’t seem to throw a stone in any direction without hitting someone who’s just waiting to abuse them or someone else, in some fashion or another — intentionally or not. The victims of these and other abuses don’t “ask for it” or do anything to “cause” them to happen. There are tons of excuses that rapists and abusers try to use (I’ll delve into that towards the end of my review, below), most of which either directly blame their victims or otherwise try to shame or otherwise coerce them into submission to them, but the only way to stop all of these things is for those who abuse or rape to hold themselves alone accountable for their own choices, and for the rest of us to also HOLD THEM ACCOUNTABLE AND THEN SOME…
No one holds a gun to their heads and makes them rape or abuse, and there is no excuse for their doing it, nor is there any justification for letting them off the hook, or merely giving them a slap on the wrist, either. Oh? They suffered everyone’s scorn as a result of making these choices to harm others? Boo-fucking-hoo. I’m drowning in a river of my own tears over it… *Sarcasm*
Yes, this particular episode was all about rape. Also, until further correction, I’ll be spelling “Pappa Smurf’s” real name as D’rulio.
After watching this review on YouTube last night, hoping for some spoilers after accidentally napping right through last night’s airing of The Orville, I was convinced I didn’t want to see it after all. But, after another good night’s sleep, I woke up promptly at 5:50 a.m., and after 4 minutes of grogginess, realized that in another 6+1 minutes, I would be able to watch it over on the Fox site. I thought about it, during those last few minutes, and realized something. I was breaking my own cardinal rule, “Thou shalt not blindly take a man’s word for it – they often don’t have good judgement, even when they do try,” by not watching it, simply on the word of, not only a man, but someone I don’t even personally know. Bless his soul, btw, because it’s important to call rapey things out for what they are. He’s a well intentioned brother-in-arms, and the world needs more men like him, men willing to call rape out for what it is, even in the face of “anti-SJW-warriars”, etc., but in this case, I think he missed the real point, which I’ll get to below.
Last night’s episode basically explores one way in which rape happens and shows how our society tends to mishandle rape in general (regardless of whether drugs/alcohol were involved or not) by going too easy on the rapists in our midst. I also noted how they included music that promotes rape-culture through lyrics like “Any way you want it…” (A more obvious example would be, “I’ll be watching you” though.) I’m not nearly as upset about the airing of this episode as I thought I would be after watching that review last night. The reviewer wasn’t wrong: it does delve into drug-induced rape (in this case, the “drug” was pheromones, but it’s rape because D’rulio knew he was going to have this effect on everyone and didn’t tell anyone in the beginning). But the reviewer stopped with telling everyone that this show involves rape and so that’s supposed to make it bad.
Well, the show’s not bad for delving into that important topic. In fact, I’m grateful that they care enough about this issue to deal with it openly, honestly, frankly, and bluntly. I do think that letting D’rulio go scott-free at the end was the wrong move — and The Orville crew (in general) is accountable for the rapey nature of the “new relationship” between the two dignitaries of the warring species. I feel like the consequences of rape, for the rapist, weren’t dealt with at all in this episode, and they should have been, were this show all about idealic endings (which it’s not). Had D’rulio told everyone about his “condition” as soon as he saw Ed and Kelly in the docking bay, then he wouldn’t be a rapist at all – they would have been able to take precautions and warn the crew, etc. Or even to just send him packing right then and there (the best option, in my personal opinion).
But that’s not what happened, so, yes, he’s a rapist, several times over, and (again, ideally) he should have been put in their brig, and then sent off to some penal colony or a rehab colony somewhere. And that’s not what happened either, so it’s upsetting — but it’s also a reflection of how so many rapists either get away with it altogether, or even if convicted, their sentences are so light (like Brock Turner’s was – read about his victim here, read her letter to the judge about her rape here, and read another rape survivor’s empowered response letter here). We as a society need to face up to that. So, I think that, yet once again, The Orville has held a mirror up to all our faces and called it like it is. I’m alright with that — but I’d still like to see some appropriate resolution to this in the coming episode(s). Also, I’m glad Ed and Kelly know that D’rulio was probably in heat when he met Kelly. Maybe they’ll get back together now.
One thing that upset me was how this show used a forced marriage to resolve a conflict between two warring factions, and somehow that was “ok” with the crew, even in the end. Earth has a history of this, relabeled as “arranged marriages,” usually between two royal families over in Europe or the Middle East (and I think once or twice in the far East as well). Pre-arranged marriages have been happening among common-people around the world, both in the past and in the present (in some parts of the world today), largely to children who do not want to be married but are given no other choice (than death, that is). Sometimes that is done in order to settle disputes between families, though most of the time, it’s a mere financial transaction, where the girls or young women are treated like common cows, pigs, chickens, or what have you. And, for those of us who are Trekkers, obviously, this harkens back to Spock and T’Pring — but mind you, haha, T’Pring logically wormed her way out of that (and is my heroine for doing so!), so that’s not exactly the same thing here. And, this wasn’t something that the leaders of the warring factions agreed to allow to have done to them, nor were they children when it was done to them.
Anyway, yes, it bothers me that the crew was “OK” with this, and that one of them actually happily did the research to make it happen. I assume that Dr. Finn was likely involved in the synthesis of the specialized version of the hormone that was used on them as well. While some would call this “altering the parameters of the test,” thus winning the “no win scenario,” I do call it cheating. In a way much, much worse than what Ed thought Kelly was doing (and what she herself believed she was doing while they were married). Honestly? Maybe it’s because I’m a Trekker, I don’t know, but I do have a problem with chemically inducing two people into believing they’re “in love” and “want to get married.” Wow. Huge problem with that. It might be tempting to not care, or say, “They deserved it” — but… That’s what rapists say to and about their victims all the time, “They deserved it because xyz-excuse-for-the-rapist…”
Another thing that really POed me was that excuse D’rulio made about how, supposedly, in his species, it’s rude to turn down an offer of sex. OMFG. Hello? We’re being asked to take his word for that, when literally, he just called his species a bunch of rapists, and he’s the only one of their species we’ve ever met, so how are we supposed to not take that as a merely lying excuse?! That excuse is just ridiculous. Even birds are allowed to turn each other down, and they don’t have more than the most basic of social structures. Fish do it too, and generally speaking, they have only their biological instincts to go on (which is why they travel in schools – there’s not a lot of cognitive thought that goes into that, it’s instinct). I have a hard time believing that an entire, sentient, cognitively capable and socially able species has some sort of pro-rape rule in their society that they’re not allowed to break.
This show was all about “No! means No!” and what happens when that “No!” isn’t honored. I just wish someone, ANYONE, would have called D’rulio out on that particular load of BS he just sprayed on everyone. Truly social species -always- allow “No” to be the final answer, and those with cognitive abilities beyond that of birds and fish have rules and punishments about what happens when that “No!” isn’t honored. That wasn’t even delved into at all, in this episode, regarding that one “little” statement he made.
Fucking A. They needed to address that. So do we, as a society, when we just look the other way while “that one guy at the table” makes his rapey jokes/commentary. In the words of Dr. Finn, we “can do better.”