CBS’ Extant Double Vision & The Greater Good TV Show Reviews. Extant: Season 2, Episodes 12 & 13: ‘Double Vision’ & ‘The Greater Good’ (everybody: “The Greater Good”) closed out the season in convincing enough fashion, but still left me unconvinced that the show has settled on anything but its Mecha Messiah mythology. Maybe a Messiah Mother Molly (Halle Berry) component has been added – but as of the season’s final moment, that addition could lead to a very messy Thanksgiving family portrait scenario, in the event of a season 3.
Almost to that end, the two part finale started with a morbid note of optimism – suggesting that Osama Bin Laden’s 911 attacks would be the last emergency comparable to what was at stake, by the time of Extant’s setting. There may be past shows set in a future where nothing has happened since Pearl Harbor. Here’s to hoping Extant doesn’t become similarly dated, in its predictions.
Less optimistic was Charlie (Tyler Hilton) opting to check himself out, the hard way, than go on hoping that he could find the abducted Julie (Grace Gummer). I’d just as soon reason that it was the alcohol, making him both a quitter & inept at making a proper noose, and not another stupid genius moment. Too late in the game for more of those; but – spoiler – he gets help.
With Lucy 2.0 (Kiersey Clemons) wielding her snazzy new henchwoman black catsuit, with all the flair of Darth Vader, it was only a matter of time before her very own Grand Moff Tarkin – Sec. Stanton (Kate Burton) – had to make way for TAALR’s true Dark Lord of the Synths. That opportunity came in the form of meek messager mech, Ethan (Pierce Gagnon), and a clever way of getting a sit down, between Molly & Stanton, to point out the obvious.
Molly’s case was, of course, only obvious, because TAALR was careless. An A.I. “of that magnitude,” without the hacking chops to wipe/ falsify drone records (while no one is actually looking for/ at them), or the foresight to swap out a virus, so no one notices it’s missing – after wiping footage of its removal? Clearly Humans wrote his part – even seeming to make him envious of Lucy having a body. Not only should communication, between TAALR & the Humanichs, be akin to telepathy, but TAALR should be able to tap into the live senses of any/ all of them. Heck, you’d think TAALR would be at least as sophisticated as an ancient Master Vampire, from The Strain.
While Stanton did her best to play at cool turncoat insider, Molly & Co. were reunited with Teen Terra (Genneya Walton). Nothing was said, about events since her retrieval by Ares (Cleo Anthony); but it was a convenient way of getting JD (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) some family closure time. It was also a clumsy way of reminding Molly that the Hybrid thread needed to be resolved, as well – regardless of how much more interesting the Skynet/ Sentinels thread has been. Molly was still acting on her vision fears; but, luckily, TAALR’s carelessness necessitated a GSC shake-up – and Lucy promotion – that took matters out of her hand.
It also took matters out of Lucy’s hands, as her reign served only to facilitate her replacement. After a run-in with JD, leaving him a candidate for Hybrid status, our new Humanich boss picked up where Mad Molly left off, regarding having fun playing bad. Yes, with all the fun I’ve been having, coming up with titles for each facet of the Multi-Molly-verse, it was inevitable: Mecha Molly formally introduced the Terminator to the show’s Skynet dynamic.
Has Molly been wearing the same outfit, this whole time? How’d Mecha Molly wind up identically dressed? As brilliant as Ethan’s Julie tracking method was, why wasn’t TAALR immediately aware of his & Charlie’s little side adventure? Why didn’t Meat Molly just give Mecha Molly victim, JD, the eye – to prove she was the genuine article, right away? Why not rig the apartment – or at least the butler bot – to blow, when Mecha Molly & Lucy returned? Why? Because speechifying, that’s why. There always has to be some kind of sentimental Molly moment, which oversights like those facilitate. Must I come up with a Motivator Molly tag?
The good news was that the show made some sense of Molly’s vision being actually literal – while invalidating all the stupid things she would have previously done, for the sake of avoiding it. Hybrid Magic Mother or not, Molly’s mere mortal mind didn’t grasp the concept that the harder you try to control the universe, the more firmly it reasserts itself.
As encouraging as it was that JD’s buddy (Richard T. Jones) was all Merc, in the face of saving the World stakes (note to Star Wars prequels: everything’s better with a Han Solo rogue), their idea of tech disguises (wearing glasses) seemed old school jock mentality. More troubling: as lousy shots as the GSC guards were, why weren’t Humanich guards already in place (once state of emergency went into effect)? I almost wondered why Molly bothered to get Ares & the remaining Hybrids involved, at all, if only to serve as disposable interference. Hardly the way to wind their thread into the climax.
In any case, TAALR still managed to sucker them all into his fully operational station – even splitting them up, for a little single gamer action. I gotta tell ya: this point in the finale made up for a lot of stupid smart people moments… until the sentimentality came back.
It was sentiment, not any kind of… I dunno – blood connection – that allowed JD to get past that which-one-is-which convention; and I assume some inexplicable sentiment to Mecha Molly taking a slow kill approach to Meat Molly, for the final round. Still, how else was Meat Molly going to remember she was also the Hybrid Reverend Mother Magic Molly <phew>, and achieve a victory to make future Mecha Messiah, Ethan, proud?
It was there for the season’s resolution, as Molly made the Hybrids an official matter of Human history. Of course, there wasn’t anything Molly said, in her characterization of Ares & the others, that couldn’t be applied to H.R. Giger’s Alien; but maybe the mindset of her audience doesn’t go to some of the dark places mine does….
Then there was Lucy.
For all her talk of Humanich kind, she just wanted to be special. Somewhere between being strangely insecure, and being the original Humanich Hipster, she wore her uniqueness like a security blanket (the kind Linus would wear, if he ever went postal). So it wasn’t terribly surprising that she didn’t take to being replaced by Mecha Molly, or how Charlie’s ‘don’t be an expendable TAALR asset’ tact played out. Enough groundwork had been laid to provide an out for Ethan, in the TAALR doomsday scenario; but the writing was on the wall for Lucy. I just wish it were handled better.
Frankly, it was like the Darth Vader last act conversion all over again – starting out as bad ass regulated to observer status, for Hope; going full bad ass, for Empire; turning lap dog, for Return, and just plain turning, at the end. It had to happen, sure; but it really just served to highlight how much better Empire was.
Lucy had more potential than anyone on the series, except for Ethan. I won’t get into what they may have in mind for Terra. I suppose there can be only one Mecha Messiah, and that Lucy may have served her purpose, as a negative example of how that could go; but I get the feeling they’ll be milking the Pinocchio dynamic for as long as possible – in which case, we really could use a Dark Horse over his left shoulder, just to keep things interesting. Both Baron Harkonnen & Alia Atreides, of the Dune series, stuck around after expiration – and a fun time was had by all (just sayin’). Consider that Extant’s ‘resurrection’ aspect is a lot more convenient than Dune’s Ghola concept….
The elephant-leaving-the-room-with-a-cup-of-coffee needs to be addressed, of course. The second season of Extant was a near complete break from the first; and like a lot of retooled shows, came with a cast & character purge. That could be considered the bad news. The good news is that, with the addition of this season’s departed, ‘The Greater Good (“The Greater Good.” “Stop that!”)’ last minute resurrection left an opening for a list of comeback candidates (albeit, strictly male). Once you factor in TAALR’s use of Mecha Molly, and the convoluted hierarchy of season one’s GSC/ Humanich programs, our too-cool-to-drop-the-acronym-version-of-a-people-name walk-out could wind up being a Face Dancer version of John, Toby, or even Hideki Yasumoto (hey, kids, remember Yasumoto? The immortal orchestrator of S1, that sort of went away – maybe to play an immortal on Helix?).
In a future with Terra (maybe), but without Lucy, the question of the resurrected’s face – and how its demotion, to a singular corporeal form, may affect its ‘character’ – is certainly the best reason to check back in, if the series is renewed. Whether the series should be renewed…?
I’m good for now, thanks; so either way….
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