Extant 1×06 ‘Nightmares’: Do humanics dream of electric sheep?

Extant

Molly confirms that Sam is being blackmailed by the ISEA, and she must meet with Harmon Kryger to uncover more of the agency’s secrets. Meanwhile, Ethan has a bad dream.

My expectations for Extant have declined pretty consistently week-over-week, and I can’t say as this was much of an exception, though the episode contained less infuriating moments than last week’s. Discussion of Ethan’s bad dream made up a significant amount of screen time, and the episode title refers to it, but for all the hub-bub, we didn’t get much out of it in the end. We can assume that the dream and Ethan’s quick “cognitive” advancement in the lab tests is due in some part to the alien, but it’s not clear why or how or what it means going forward. It’s an interesting concept overshadowed by the need to advance the “A” plot, Molly v. The Evil Space Agency.

A couple of important bits of info were revealed in this installment tbough. The agency tried to bring the alien down to Earth previously, by allowing the ship Aruna to be exposed to the alien energy wave thingy. Aboard the Aruna was Director Sparks’ daughter Katie, who sent a transmission home during the ship’s last hours, which the agency covered up. Back on Earth, the alien fetus is causing hallucinations in the research team and trying to use them to escape. How it can escape as a fetus and why it wouldn’t wait until it fully developed is beyond me, but I’m chalking it up to “Extant logic.”

In terms of feeding into the larger arc, these plot points are fine. However, how they’re revealed is a little problematic. Kryger stole the encrypted transmission from the ISEA using the assistant director’s fingerprints. OK, but he’s still Harmon Kryger, a well-known astronaut that supposedly killed himself. How did he get into the building, into the server room and out without anyone recognizing and reporting him? Imagine trying to do that somewhere you worked previously, albeit without a need for sci-fi fingerprint copiers. Why were there no shouts of “Oh my god, it’s Harmon Kryger! He’s dead, and also clearly not the assistant director!” I guess the agency’s top-secret commando squad was on a lunch break or something. I have no problem with the transmission being swiped by Kryger because it moves the plot along, but at least put him in a disguise or something! It’s just silly to think that he could infiltrate his former workplace and get out without notice.  Unless, of course, you’re thinking with Extant logic.
Extant

Source: CBS

On a separate note, we’re all in agreement that John’s assistant is either going to a) try to kidnap Ethan at some point or b) spy on him to Yasumoto, right? He’s always ignoring her even when she tries to be apologetic or nice. He disregards her advice about Ethan. It’s established that she wants to keep Ethan safe at all costs. I’m sure once the alien exhibits more control or connection with Ethan, something’s gotta give there.
Finally, now that Molly has some proof of foul play at the ISEA, it’s time for her to go to the police or the media. We’ll see if the writers decide to even address that possibility. The government in the Extant universe doesn’t seem to be very interested in all of the deaths and illegal detainments and interrogations coming out of this private space program.
As already noted, my expectations of the show are low at this point, but I do hope for and require some competency in explaining how a character’s accomplishes something when it’s unlikely to happen by itself or easily. All it would take is a little extra thought on the writers’ part. Maybe that’s too much to ask? What do you think, kind reader?
J.P. Laub

is a pop culture connoisseur, politics wonk, sometimes gamer and consummate nerd. To give you some idea, he is an avid reader of Wikipedia entries about fictional and theoretical faster-than-light drives. Seriously, he once saw a random Dune reference on a website and spent 45 minutes reading about the Holtzmann effect and related entries.

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