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'The Orville' director says the latest episode is 'the biggest I've done in my career'

The latest episode has actor Scott Grimes in some unexpected situations.

By Vanessa Armstrong
The Orville Season 3 Episode 3

“Mortality Paradox,” the third episode in The Orville’s latest season, has the crew going to a lot of unexpected places. It also confirms what show creator Seth MacFarlane said in an earlier interview — that the third season of The Orville is truly made up of 10 mini-movies rather than a typical television episode. 

SYFY WIRE had the chance to talk to “Mortality Paradox” director Jon Cassar and actor Scott Grimes, who plays Lt. Gordon Malloy on the show, about their experience shooting the latest mini-movie, which premiered on June 16. 

Read on for their takes on shooting particular scenes, though be warned! There are spoilers for the third episode of the third season of The Orville ahead. 

The Orville Season 3 Episode 3

In “Mortality Paradox,” Capt. Ed Mercer (MacFarlane), Lt. Malloy (Grimes), Cmdr. Kelly Grayson (Adrianne Palicki),  Lt. Talla Keyali (Jessica Szohr), and Lt. Cmdr. Bortus (Peter Macon) take a shuttle to a supposedly deserted planet that keeps warping reality. 

What do we mean by warping reality? We mean literally that — one moment, the planet is a barren desert, the next, it’s a lush forest full of life. And in the moment after that, the crew finds themselves outside what looks like a 21st-century high school on Earth. 

Things get weirder from there, with the crew ending up on a 21st-Century airplane about to crash, walking down a stairway that overhangs an endless abyss, inside a Moclan morgue, and many other unexpected and unlikely locations. 

The Orville Season 3 Episode 3

“This episode is probably one of the biggest episodes I've done in my career, just because there was so much happening,” Cassar told SYFY WIRE about shooting “Mortality Paradox,” which was the first episode the cast and crew shot, in part because the ship was still undergoing a big refit when production started. 

“We have other episodes this year that are huge, but they are visual effects huge. This one, we had to find all those locations,” Cassar added. “I'll never forget reading that script and going, ‘Wait, what are we doing now? Where are they?’ I couldn't believe how many set pieces there were. I mean, the plane crash alone would be a season finale on any other show on television. Just the one plane crash. And that was just one of the things that happened in that episode.”

Shooting in a present-day high school wasn’t something that Grimes thought he’d ever do when playing Lt. Malloy, especially the scene where some bullies dunk his head in a toilet in the boy’s bathroom. 

The Orville Season 3 Episode 3

“No, I never thought I'd be getting the crap beat out of me and grabbed by a giant monster,” Grimes said about the bathroom altercation and, later on, getting picked up by a massive creature straight out of a D&D playbook. “But that's the show, and we started with [this episode], that’s how we started filming Season 3 … so I was like, ‘Oh, this show has just taken a whole other level with the stories Seth wants to tell.’”

We’ll get to see for ourselves what MacFarlane has in store for us when new episodes of The Orville drop on Hulu on Thursdays.

Looking for more sci-fi? Check out Battlestar Galactica, Brave New World, and more streaming on Peacock.