TV Show Review

TV Review: EXTANT: S1, E7 & 8: More in Heaven & Earth/ Incursion [CBS]

Pierce Gagnon Extant More in Heaven & Earth

CBSExtant More in Heaven & Earth/ Incursion TV Show Review. Extant: Season 1, Episodes 7 & 8: ‘More in Heaven & Earth’ and ‘Incursion’ were, together, more than a double-feature episode, they represented a double-time pickup to Extant‘s overall pace. While the direction of the show may still be in question, several characters, capable of supporting numerous arcs, have been put on the fast track. Both Molly (Halle Berry) and Ethan (Pierce Gagnon) were left on the verge of a major shift in their relative roles, while Sparks (Michael O’Neill), Gordon (Maury Sterling), and Sam (Camryn Manheim) had their respective roles redefined.

After more of Gordon’s back story was brought to light, his ‘relationship’ with captive Kryger (Brad Beyer) took a wild swing, that took them both back Molly’s way. Molly & Sam had seemingly reconciled, completely, and between Sam & Gordon, Team Molly had its clearest picture yet of ISEA’s covert operation. What they didn’t have was Sparks’ connection to Yasumoto (Hiroyuki Sanada).

With the Yasumoto/ Femi Dodd (Annie Wersching) relationship reveal finally put to use, they hosted John (Goran Visnjic) & Molly to discuss Ethan. With Molly’s Star Child becoming more and more of a liability, it seems Yasumoto (and the showrunners) may be thinking Cymek. Whether that occurred to John, or not, he was more concerned with the full exploration of Ethan’s potential as a sacrificing of the Human developmental process – which had been the point of raising Ethan as an adoptive child, in the first place. John wanted to nip the Full Ethan idea in the bud, since more Human than Human tends to draw the torch-and-pitch-fork crowd.

I suppose it didn’t help that Ethan was constantly proving John unnecessary (if not obsolete), either.

Ethan’s prospects have definitely taken a turn to Robot Messiah. Added to his post-resurrection profile: Rosetta Stone function enabled, enough control (if only ‘sub-consciously’) of his core systems to lock John out (I was really hoping for a “What are you doing, Dave” moment; but it’s still early), a single-minded drive to help his fellow Automatons, a new found contempt for Humans, and a desire for enough power to do something about the last two developments.

Well, what’s the point of having a Robot Messiah without a little persecution to hammer home the point? As I had feared, a certain someone (with an interest in Ethan & his co-creator) turned out to be part of a malicious agenda. The timely reappearance of Femi Dodd, this episode, only serving to give the game away. In any case, a future war has been formally declared, and it wasn’t A.I. in origin.

As it seems like there will be a clueless smart-guy moment, every week, I guess I might as well keep mentioning them. This week’s installment came courtesy of the Ethan evolution. Upon discovering that he could no longer remotely access Ethan’s systems, John’s first reaction was to assume Julie (Grace Gummer) responsible. His first action was to storm off to her place, for a face to face confrontation. Maybe the dressing down he got, on top of being forced to accept that Ethan’s growing powers were now beyond his control, was enough to make him a more thoughtful, deliberate, kind of scientist. The reactionary with no impulse control thing gives the title a bad name.

I would still very much like to see how the other half lives, in Extant‘s setting. Even with some focus placed on one of Molly’s leads living well above his means, the general standard of living has been looking kind of shiny. Said lead getting suicided kept the focus on Molly’s sleuthing, however. Frankly, I fond Molly’s drive a little on the reckless side (confronting Sparks alone, in his home, was Agatha Christie league stupid… as was how Sparks reacted). She was willing to risk life & family over an overdeveloped sense of curiosity about an alien parasite (only a mother can love, I suppose). When that reckless drive failed to deliver severe consequences, thanks to an intervention by both Gordon & Star-Child (remotely), Molly was left emboldened enough to storm the Star-Child holding facility. I suppose expecting the likes of Kryger & Gordon to be sensible enough to let her go it alone would be an affront to their honor. On the other hand, Gordon had demons to confront, and Kryger had demons to kill, so it wasn’t like she really forced them to go along.

Is it just me, or were members of Gordon’s security apparatus just ignoring the obvious? Two Spec Ops men missed the sound of a door slam – when Gordon ducked them, with Molly – despite being well within earshot; one guard does follow Molly & Kryger through a closed door, but doesn’t bother to check a blind spot he should have known about. With careless moments like those, I suppose I shouldn’t scratch my head too hard over Gordon staying in the loop, after springing Molly. He knocked out one of his own men in the process, unmasked & face to face, in the process. Unless he killed the guy, how was his position at ISEA not compromised?

A moot point, once Molly & Kryger’s unprofessional infiltration technique blew his cover. Sparks caught on as quickly as he should have; but his own back story, involving daughter, Katie (Tessa Ferrer) – sacrificed for the Aruna mission that preceded (and necessitated) the Seraphim mission – had made him out to have been well off his game for a while. I suppose that would explain the openings he left for Molly, Gordon, and Star-Child to exploit.

Apparently, no real lessons were learned, regarding the Star-Child’s ‘reach;’ but once that reach was again exercised, what came next was fairly obvious. If you wondered why Sparks never bothered to shoot at any of the people he was chasing, well, that would have made the climactic twist too obvious.

A quick question everyone should ask, if ever confronted by the specter of the dearly departed, is how likely are you to kill someone you know to be dead. The fact that said question didn’t occur to Sparks speaks volumes to just how far gone he really was. Alright, then, so how much of him has been around, up ’till now? I had considered the Gordon/ Sparks dynamic to be one of hawk & dove, with Sparks being the carrot to Gordon’s stick. Now it seems that Sparks has been less the soft-touch, and more touched-in-the-head. It would be a pretty sudden turn, for both characters, but I can make some sense out of them.

For starters, both men had been covering (and overcompensating) for past traumas. Sparks had his guilt, over Katie, while Gordon had been scared hawkish by a visitation experience of his own. Once Star-Child came into Team Yasumoto’s possession, visions of Katie were certainly a game changer, for Sparks, and the Molly confrontation, at a particularly weak moment for him, really didn’t help. Gordon was an ISEA man, from the get go, who may have had misgivings over the notion of a larger agenda behind his boss, with the Molly situation likely underscoring this concern. Having the very thing that haunted him in their midst, however, was probably as much a watershed moment for him, as it was for Sparks.

Star-Child may very well be a go-to excuse for every seemingly inconsistent/ irrational behavior, for Molly, Kryger, Gordon, and Sparks, recently & going forward. Here’s to hoping Extant doesn’t wear this excuse thin.

With this double-time course reset, Team Molly had been left drastically expanded, Team Yasumoto somewhat degraded, Team Ethan under re-evaluation, and Team Ex-terminate Machina getting underway. The real question, going forward, is who gets to be on Team Star-Child? He’s loose, and he’s recruiting.

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About the author

Sam Joseph

Sam is an Avid consumer/observer of Geek culture, and collector of Fanboy media from earliest memory. Armchair sociologist and futurist. Honest critic with satirical if not absurdist­­ wit with some experience in comics/ animation production.

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