Well, I asked The Orville to flesh out Kelly a bit more and the show delivered last night with not one but two Kellys. "To-morrow, and To-morrow, and To-morrow", written by Janet Lin, also showed, once again, The Orville is at its best when it focuses on relationships.
Spoilers after the screenshot
I always love a Shakespeare reference--the title, "To-morrow, and To-morrow, and To-morrow," is one of the famous lines from Macbeth; the title character speaks it when he's contemplating a prolonged, hollow existence. It doesn't have a lot of relevance to this fun time travel episode in which the ship's first officer, Kelly (Adrianne Palicki), encounters a version of herself from seven years ago, brought forward in time by an experimental machine developed by Isaac (Mark Jackson).
I guess we're never going to get the follow-up I wanted with Isaac. Did we not even get a moment where he explained why he chose to turn against the other Kaylons? Oh, well.
This episode has a lot in common with the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "Second Chances" in which the first officer, Riker, encounters a second version of himself created by a transporter accident. Like that episode, "To-morrow, and To-morrow, and To-morrow" explores the value of maturity and experience compared to the energy and idealism of youth. But on The Orville, the first officer is the ex-wife of the captain, Ed Mercer (Seth Macfarlane). He's been wanting to get back with her for a while so when seven years younger Kelly asks to go out with him he ultimately can't say no.
I loved the end of their first date on the ship and the flirty lines surrounding their good night kiss. The actors play it really well with just the right amount of awkwardness and evident desire on both sides.
The shots with two Kellys generally felt a bit stiff but Palicki did a good job distinguishing the two versions of her character. Though younger Kelly's hair and makeup kind of made her look like Aurora from Disney's Sleeping Beauty.
The episode's climax is a surprisingly effective suspense sequence with the Orville hiding in the ice rings of a planet from a couple prowling Kaylon ships. CGI is still especially good at making ice.
I still feel like most of Kelly as a character is based on her reactions to Ed but it was cool watching her reflect on what her ambition to be captain meant. It looks like next week we get an alternate timeline. I wonder if we'll actually see her in charge of a ship?