CBS‘ Extant Care & Feeding/ Pack of Cards TV Show Review. Extant: Season 1, Episodes 9 & 10: ‘Care & Feeding’ and ‘Pack of Cards’ took the series’ two infant subjects down two different paths. Android ascendant, Ethan (Pierce Gagnon), has become the focus of Extant‘s slow boil conspiracy element, but was relegated to secondary plot status. Meanwhile, the Star Child (he is actually referred to as The Offspring, on the show; but to me, The Offspring will always be a rock band… or a really bad 80s horror flick) took center stage, as the main plot went right down the middle of the potentially epidemic alien invasion route.
Molly (Halle Berry) had been given some breathing room, as Star Child took Sparks (Michael O’Neill) for a ride, but a starkly different take on the stakes, between her & Kryger (Brad Beyer), resulted in her being left behind. Kryger rendezvoused with Gordon (Maury Sterling), declaring Molly safe, and the pair went after Sparks.
John (Goran Visnjic), in the meantime, took Ethan and approached Yasumoto (Hiroyuki Sanada) & Femi Dodd (Annie Wersching) for help with Molly’s situation, only to become “secured house guests” of Yasumoto. Yasumoto resorted to a twin tiered strategy of capitalizing on Molly’s situation, in order to draw in John & Ethan, while using John & Ethan as leverage over Molly. Yasumoto wanted the Star Child under controlled circumstances; and given the level of control Star Child has exhibited in thwarting Yasumoto’s control, Molly was to be a factor to that end. As Molly remained convinced of her parental obligation to Star Child, Yasumoto didn’t have to push too hard. Not at first, anyway.
Her first priority was getting out of the facility Kryger left her in, which called upon some of her astronaut training (although, I’m not sure why losing her improvised support belt caused her to lose her grip, while climbing up an elevator shaft), but something else was bugging me about her efforts. Heels, man. I never could understand why heroines would go into action wearing pumps, and I’ve had a lifetime to get used to agent types running around the woods in suits (case in point, later this episode); but Molly led a charge, into a secured Black Site, wearing dress casuals. Just seemed to add to the whole not helping herself habit she’s been exhibiting.
Between the fall in the elevator shaft, and being stalked in not-so-dark blacked out offices, Molly flashed back to the run-up to her Seraphim mission, and her having to deal with John & Ethan having to deal with her going. When she did get the better of the operative stalking her (they were equipped with night vision contacts that do not adjust to bright light, the way goggles we have now do), she learned of Yasumoto’s involvement – which suited Yasumoto fine.
Yasumoto came clean the way he always has: by admitting to only as much as it took to get his way. It worked, of course, with the Molly mother’s quest doing the heavy lifting for him. His ‘assistance’ did come contingent on a ‘suitable partner’ accompanying Molly for Star Child’s retrieval, however. In the brief contact they had, overall, John seemed better about Molly dodging Black Ops types, and chasing after an alien child, than he was about her Seraphim mission. Character growth, maybe?
With Sparks being led around by little Katie (Shree Crooks) on a stick, courtesy of Star Child, he invited his estranged wife, Anya (Jeannetta Arnette) to the family’s old summer vacation grounds. Once she got there, she bought into the Katie illusion completely. Sure, the script toyed with Katie being strictly a figment of Sparks’ imagination, but how would we be expected to take Star Child’s power seriously if she were? In any case, Star Child had a pair of doting parents in tow, but needed more. Star Child wanted feeding of an unconventional variety, and this was actually creepier than it sounds. If the plan is to make him a more sympathetic character, somewhere down the road, the showrunners are making a hard case for themselves, at the moment.
Those feedings involved the assimilation of several persons, including a local Sheriff, that made things much more difficult for not just Molly, but Kryger & Gordon, as well.
Odin (Charlie Bewley) continued to fill the role of Loki, playing to Ethan’s subtle desire for more power & self-determination. I’m beginning to wonder if Femi Dodd’s plan is to control Ethan, rather than destroy him – using the ‘Friends of Humanity’ angle as a front. Cymeks never did get along; that competitiveness had to start somewhere, I guess.
One quick aside: hooray – the future that is Lucy is being kept alive! That’s all.
Star Child’s reach seems to extend through his ‘food.’ Flashbacks, to the accident that cost Molly both Marcus, and their child, began upon her first noticing the assimilated Sheriff. After some intervention by Star Child – involving a flock of birds, and another ‘food item’ – Molly’s memories of her loss became Star Child’s meal ticket.
The fact that Molly allowed for the notion that she was chosen specifically because of that loss, suggesting some understanding that she was being manipulated by Star Child, only makes her obsession over retrieving ‘her child’ that much more irritating. Why are we expected to sympathize with her delusion any more than the Sparks’?
The question Molly never bothered to ask herself was what exactly did Star Child need from her (probably because she was already convinced that he just wanted his mommy). Even when that question was at least partially answered, by way of her being ‘fed’ upon, I don’t think it sank it.
The only person to take the current plot course for the monster movie it has been made up to be has been Kryger. Unfortunately, his attempt to kill Star Child, while supposedly still contained, ran him afoul of Molly, and his abandoning of Molly (then lying abut it) put him at odds with Gordon (some bonding over dodging murderous Star Child minions, aside). He did redeem himself on both counts, but Extant won’t be having Kryger to kick around, for pointing out the seemingly obvious, anymore.
A lot of Extant‘s plot developments have hinged on a blind, wholehearted acceptance of ideal/ perfected scenarios. In other words, characters buying into illusions that make them feel good about themselves. The Matrix plot point, about the Human mind rejecting perfection, made sense to me. So is Extant making a counterpoint, or is Star Child just that powerful? Seems as good a question, to keep watching for an answer to, as any, I suppose.
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