Extant 1×12 ‘Before the Blood’: Almost there….

Extant

Molly comes to face-to-face with the offspring, which reveals through hallucinations that its masters are coming down to Earth. Odin’s plan for Ethan to blow up the humanics lab runs into its fatal flaw: basic communication between Ethan and his caretakers. And on the Seraphim, Katie Sparks is alive and well…or is she? (dun dun dun)Quite a busy penultimate Extant this week, as the show barrels toward its likely scatter shot and inevitably unsatisfying conclusion. We saw the culmination of two different plotlines – Molly’s search for the offspring and Odin’s attempt to end the humanics program with a bang. The resolution to these could not have come sooner, particular the former thread. Molly can finally stop talking about how she needs to find her baby as if it ever was her baby. It has gotten a bit grating.

The episode may have resolved some plot threads, but it also creates some questions I bet we won’t find the answers to next week. First, the alien life form coming down on the Seraphim is just the faux-Katie, or the fungus infesting the station, or both? The ISEA’s station is not the only one in orbit – there is at least a French outpost and probably others. Why couldn’t the alien make it down to Earth on one of their ships too? Why was the aliens’ plan to invade (or whatever they’re trying to do) so slow-burn when they can basically control people’s actions?

Sparks wanted more than anything to be a family with Anya and the offspring version of Katie, but when he finds out that the offspring killed Anya, he really doesn’t seem to care. He tells Molly that the offspring never takes away anything without giving it back but…he has no basis to say this. He had the offspring in his possession for…two episodes? It has never taken anything real away from him.  I understand the point of his calmness is to show how thoroughly warped his perception is, but he also doesn’t have access to the offspring’s influence anymore. He has no reason to believe the offspring has any further use for him, in detention and out of power at the ISEA. The appropriate reaction is doubt and guilt that Anya could be really and truly gone. His quest to bring Katie back saw only fleeting success and actually cost him the real Anya. Instead, he’s serene and defiant. It’s strange.

Extant

Source: CBS

A few other major points of note from this installment:

  • Shout-out to the Drake equation, which is used to estimate the number of extraterrestrial civilizations in the Milky Way. You don’t hear that concept even noted in most alien-focused sci-fi television, so kudos to whatever science nerd on the writing staff slipped it into the script, even as a reflection by a minor character.
  • Why did Ethan leave his father in some kind of hallucinatory state without trying to shake him out of it. The physical contact apparently did the trick when Julie tried it. It seemed he went to tell Molly, when he found her about to let the offspring in. While his reaction to scare it away was a good one, it led to another “Molly and/or Ethan is missing” sequence. How many is that now this season? Can they fit another one into the finale?
  • It’s a good thing they had a memory-enhancing drug on hand for Molly’s hallucination. It’s a shame it wasn’t invented yet when, say, she had to remember
  • The new director of the ISEA says that Molly’s the only one who can handle the situation by traveling up to the Seraphim. Why? She definitely knows more than anybody, but she’s also proven to be extremely susceptible to the alien’s manipulation. She is definitely not the “only one” who could handle the crisis in orbit.

We’re still waiting to see the role Ethan’s going to play in the main alien storyline. I can only imagine his inability to have his perception controlled is going to save humanity here. It will be truly disappointing if the best-acted character isn’t brought fully to bear in the final hour. Watch and see with me next week for the finale of Extant.

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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