If you missed last week’s episode and you’re just now tuning back in to watch The Orville then you might be a little confused to see that Alara’s not around, and someone else is working as the Chief of Security. What happened to her? Here’s a quick plot refresher.
Last week, in the episode “Home,” Lt. Alara Kitan learned that she was suffering from severe bone density and muscle mass loss because of the change in gravity. Earth-level gravity (which the Orville has) is much lighter than the gravity on her home world of Xelaya. So as a result, she’s getting weaker and weaker.
She had to return home in order to acclimatize herself to the gravity again. But when she first got home, the gravity was so tough on her that she couldn’t even stand on her own without help.
Being back home brought a lot of tension, since she left at odds with her family. Her parents considered her intellectually disabled and were disappointed when she joined the Orville crew. Her sister, meanwhile, said she had always been proud of her.
Alara gains back just enough strength to save her family from an attack from someone who was mad about her dad’s work as a scientist. After all the craziness and barely escaping alive, her dad finally found the value in his daughter. He cried and tearfully asked for her forgiveness.
Alara didn’t have to leave the Orville crew. They figured out a way to slowly give her back her lost bone density and muscle mass while she could keep her job. The only catch was the treatment would be very painful. Alara, however, had just found peace and a new relationship with her family. She decided to leave the crew and stay on her homeworld so she could grow close to her family again.
Behind the scenes, Fox confirmed that last week was Halston Sage’s last episode as Alara and a series regular on the show. However, the door is still open for her return and Fox did not provide a reason for her departure, ComicBook.com reported. Some have speculated that she had to leave because the movie The Last Summer was filming at the same time as The Orville and she couldn’t do both. (She’s starring in the movie alongside K.J. Apa, who plays Archie on Riverdale.)
In real life, Halston Sage is happy and has been posting photos on Instagram, showing her spending time on a beach and loving life.
David A. Goodman, Brannon Braga, and Jon Cassar were asked point blank in Comic Con 2018 if Halston Sage was still on the show and if Jessica Szohr was possibly taking her place. See their reaction below, starting at 8:39:
Their answers weren’t conclusive. “I think that’s really a question for Seth… I think you’re going to be interested in seeing what we do for both of those characters. And I don’t want to spoil it. … It’s unexpected. … What happens with those two characters is unexpected and I don’t want to ruin it. This is a very important piece of our storytelling… If you tell too much, the audience experience can really be ruined.”
“There’s a big surprise this season.”
Maybe the surprise was Alara leaving, but maybe there’s more to come.