All of the characters on The Orville are unique in their own way, but some crew on the USS Orville are far more intelligent than others.
Seth MacFarlane’s live-action venture, The Orville, first premiered on FOX back in 2017. The series follows the adventures of the USS Orville, an exploratory space vessel in the distant future. MacFarlane also plays the ship’s captain, Ed Mercer. During the show’s run, there have been nine series regular characters, with the tenth being a frequently recurring presence.
The crew onboard is an eclectic cast of characters hailing from different, exotic alien planets. Some have been hired for high-functioning tasks while others have jobs that fit their abilities. Read on for the ranking of the USS Orville’s crew by their intelligence.
Played by Scott Grimes, Gordon was Ed Mercer’s best friend before the series. Considered the “best helmsman in the fleet,” he was also reckless and immature. A stunt that went wrong led to a cargo door being sheared off and Gordon being relegated to desk duty, before being recruited by Ed in the pilot episode.
While harmless, friendly, and without a bad bone in his body, Gordon is by no means the smartest crew member. He is highly competent at his job, but many others have displayed greater intelligence, especially in stressful or life-threatening situations.
Played by Halston Sage, Alara was the original security officer onboard The Orville. Hailing from Xeleya, a planet populated by beings much stronger than humans, the ship was safe in her capable hands. She was also only twenty-two years old, making her the youngest senior officer.
As mentioned, Xeleyans are regarded for their physicality rather than their wits. Alara’s youth also meant she had less life experience when compared to some of her older colleagues on the ship. While bright, Alara is nowhere near the top of the list.
Played by former Gossip Girl actress Jessica Szohr since season two, Talla is Alana Kitan’s replacement on The Orville. A fellow Xeleyan, although she is older and has more experience working in the Planetary Union. Talla joined the crew after Ed Mercer specifically requested another Xeleyan replace Alara.
Talla is not unintelligent, and since being assigned to The Orville, she has helped her friends out of tight spots. That being said, she is in the unfortunate position of being compared to colleagues who are much smarter than she is, with some even possessing genius-level intellects.
Played by Agents Of Shield alum Adrianne Palicki, Kelly is Ed Mercer’s ex-wife, who later becomes his second-in-command on The Orville. Their marriage ended after Kelly had an affair with Darulio (Rob Lowe), a Repetesian, which is a blue-skinned alien species. A twist revealed in the pilot is that Kelly, regretful for her actions, helped get Ed his new job on The Orville.
Kelly has the rank of Commander, which means that she has presumably worked in the Planetary Union for some time to achieve this. That being said, she either didn’t know (or chose to ignore) that Repetesians have hormones that influence people’s romantic attractions. Neither of the outcomes is an intelligent option.
Brought to life on page and screen by Seth MacFarlane, Ed is the captain of the USS Orville and thus the highest-ranking individual onboard. While many of his crew, with the exceptions of Kelly Grayson and Gordon Malloy, were strangers to him in the pilot, he quickly established himself as an effective leader despite it being his first time in the role.
Being the main character of the series, many of the events are seen through Ed’s eyes. As the captain, many of the perilous situations are as a result of his actions, direct or otherwise. A more intelligent person would know when to avoid trouble.
A gelatinous blob voiced by Norm MacDonald, Lt. Yaphit is usually defined by his infatuation with Dr. Claire Finn or amusing situations with his body, such as Ed running through straight it or Bortus being tricked into eating part of it. On the face of it, he is a comedic side character, which is true, but there is also more to Yaphit.
Despite not having a humanoid appearance, unlike other aliens whose facial features are the only difference, he obtained the rank of Lieutenant. This, along with the fact that he was a contender for the position of Chief Engineer after the previous holder’s departure shows that he is very intelligent.
Brought to life by Peter Macon, Bortus is an alien from the planet Moclus and the ship’s third-in-command. Typically stoic, he often serves as a straight man to other characters’ antics, such as Gordon Malloy. He lives on the ship with his husband, Klyden, and their child Topa.
While narrow-minded in his planet’s conservative beliefs, Bortus is not unintelligent. His cold, almost emotionless disposition provides him with the cool logic required to effectively perform as Lieutenant Commander. He also quickly adapts to unfamiliar Earth-cultures, such as smoking cigarettes or growing a mustache.
The ship’s doctor is played by veteran television actress Penny Johnson Jerald, known for roles on 24 and Castle. A kind, empathetic woman, she defies typical doctors on similar shows. Claire is an active presence in missions rather than just treating the injured after the fact.
First of all, to have obtained a medical degree, Claire is intelligent. Another clue into this is the fact that Claire intuitively requests her transfers where she feels she’s needed. Hence her assignment on The Orville just as Captain Ed Mercer was made captain.
Portrayed by former Family Guy receptionist J. Lee, LaMarr is the Chief Engineer and Malloy’s former bridge mate on The Orville. In season one, he and Malloy were the classic workplace jokers, pranking everyone from Bortus to Yaphit. However, it turned out there was more to John LaMarr than what met the eye.
In “New Dimensions,” the penultimate episode of season one, LaMarr is revealed to be secretly an engineering genius and becomes a candidate for the soon-to-be-vacated Chief Engineer position, which he later receives. LaMarr is second to only one crew member in intelligence.
A robot-Esque being from the planet Kaylon, Isaac is one of the few non-humanoid senior crew members on The Orville. Being from a species that thinks they are of superior intellect, Isaac often looks down on his companions, though in an analytical, matter-of-fact manner rather than any particular smugness.
In season two, Isaac was involved in an arc where his planet attempted to invade Earth using The Orville. While initially onboard with the plan, Isaac later betrays his kind to save Dr. Finn’s son, Ty, from being killed. This shows he now has developed emotional intelligence as well as the more literal kind.
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