Extant 1×11 ‘A New World’: Fool me thrice…

Extant

As the offspring grows ever stronger and able to defend itself, Molly learns Yasumoto’s background and plans. Meanwhile, Odin plants a bomb in Ethan. Yep, you heard me.After a whirlwind of new developments the past two weeks, we’re treated to…plenty more of the same in this installment. More teams of armed men trying to stop the offspring and shooting themselves, more Molly trying to find “her baby,” more Sparks being diabolical, more Ethan being a little kid with batteries. You’d think after the second team of highly trained mercenaries fell to this thing, Yasumoto would change his approach somewhat. Try to take the offspring without guns, or lure Sparks somewhere it can be captured. Nope! Say what you will about earlier episodes in the season, there was at least some promise that the show might be leading to something interesting.

For me, the show has really devolved into a mish-mash of half-baked ideas and poorly executed melodrama. Molly seems sure she needs to be the one to find the offspring, and assumes a lot about what the creature is and wants. Kern smartly tries to warn her that its motives may not be as pure as she hopes, but she refuses to listen. Protagonists are allowed to be wrong, but they eventually have to face facts if they are to avoid an unhappy ending. Molly is headed for that unhappy ending if she doesn’t approach the offspring as a threat first and foremost.

I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again. Where is the government and law enforcement in this universe?! John is held against his will by Yasumoto, is released, and just goes back home without informing the authorities. I mean, I feel like I’m taking crazy pills here.

With regard to Yasumoto’s backstory, the fact that he has stayed alive for more than 140 years thanks to the meteorite is a genuinely cool reveal. In a show that goes for cliché more often than not, that piqued my interest. However, it’s still not clear what he hopes the offspring can achieve for him, besides maybe producing more of the substance. Sure, it could show him his long-dead wife but it could also kill him easily.

A solid concept though it might be, the way Yasumoto’s backstory is portrayed contains a bit of an anachronism and something else that’s simply absurd. The series creators have said that Extant takes place “20 to 30 years out” from now, so the mid-2040s at the latest. Yasumoto claims he was a miner who discovered the meteorite containing the immortality substance, and later, when he had gained money through his stake in Claypool Industries, began research into the location of the asteroid and its orbit. It took 25 years to find it, and another 29 before we landed on the moon in 1969. That puts the beginning of his research at 54 years before the moon landing, or 1915. He says he’s been waiting for over 140 years, suggesting that the mine accident happened in 1900-1905.

Extant

Source: CBS

Now, you’ll have to excuse some excess nerdyness for this next part.

The scene portrays him wearing a miner’s cap with an electric light. Some cursory Googling shows that in 1905, the state of the art in mining lights was oil wick lamps involving open flames. The first electric lamp for mining was invented in the mid 1910s. I know that the writers don’t really care that much about the details, and maybe I shouldn’t either, but they should at least try. These are verifiable historical facts we’re talking about here. I don’t need complete accuracy. I just need them to make it plausible that he’d be using an electric light. Would there be a huge difference between 140 years and 120 years?

And don’t get me started on how Yasumoto’s battery is still supplying power to the light a month after he was buried. Extant logic!

Finally, it looks like Odin’s going to use Ethan to blow up the humanics project and John in one fell swoop. That’s a shame, because it seems like Ethan may be the only way to stop the offspring. As an android, he has no mind or memories to exploit. My prediction: Ethan will talk the offspring into standing down somehow.

I bet you didn’t think you’d get a history lesson along with this review. Just one of the many bonus services I provide. Until next week and the penultimate episode of this season (and hopefully the series), dear 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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