TV Show Review

TV Review: EXTANT: Season 1, Episode 11: A New World [CBS]

Goran Visnjic Extant A New World

CBSExtant A New World TV Show Review. Extant: Season 1, Episodes 11: ‘A New World’ provided some important answers, regarding the grand conspiracy, while also providing some idea as to what may ultimately come of it. Having started with enough material to cover most of the sci-fi staple bases, Extant currently seems content with narrowing the field to suspense/ horror. I would consider that a downgrade in ambitions, but there is still a lot to work with; even as some characters continue to make eyes roll.

Molly (Halle Berry) had been given a taste of what Star Child had in store for her (although, I suppose it was Star Child doing the tasting), but still couldn’t shake the mommy mission. A rescue attempt, by Kryger & Gordon (Brad Beyer & Maury Sterling) got things half right; but Alan & Anya Sparks (Michael O’Neill & Jeannetta Arnette) had made off with Star Child, knee capping Team Molly in the process. Yasumoto (Hiroyuki Sanada) played his strong hand, in order to secure both Molly and Star Child, but that ended with another puppet stringed blood bath. After enduring a Molly scolding, Yasumoto came forward about her (actual) family, figuring that would realign her priorities. It did, and it was back to the Star Child hunt.

So, as far as I’ve been able to gather ’till now, the Star Spore game plan seems to be assimilation through the rewriting of memory/ personal history, rather than DNA. I’d say that isn’t the most gruesome take over I can think of; but only because I’d be comparing life in the Matrix to John Carpenter’s Thing going global <shudder>.

Yasumoto’s ‘hosting’ of John & Ethan (Goran Visnjic & Pierce Gagnon) had worn thin on the guests (John, anyway), and John arranged for Ethan’s escape. Only that played into the hands of Femi Dodd & Odin (Annie Wersching & Charlie Bewley); the latter set to receive Ethan on the outside, taking him into his ‘care.’ John then went about covering the escape (from Yasumoto – Femi let it happen), while also looking to score some useful information.

Even as Yasumoto was running out of options, Star Child was exercising more of his, seemingly cutting one of his charges loose. Anya switching vehicles resulted in a fatality; but also left a useful witness for Molly. I’m not sure why this particular witness hid at the mere sight of Anya, but was it ever convenient that she did.

Odin made his move, regarding Ethan, by using his Ethan taught knowledge, of the power cell process, to rendering the wunderkind android inert. As Ethan was sharp enough to subconsciously block John’s attempted remote access to him, willful ignorance, rubbed off from Molly, is the only reason I can think of as to why he couldn’t tell what Odin was up to. Trust issues ahead.

Alan Sparks managed a convincing Trojan Horse sacrificial play, which got him back into ISEA, but Molly & Gordon got him pinched before he could make his escape. Having pulled the trick, herself, I guess it wasn’t hard to figure out; but ISEA has turned out to be where NASA people go to get their sucker certification. Part of Sparks’ plan has been setting a return course for the current deep space mission, which would yield an outcome of serendipitous interest to him & his wife. For that moment, however, he was content that Star Child was moving on to the next phase. Not being there to see it seemed to be a price he was well willing to pay; but he did have to put up with Molly sermonizing.

Molly’s inability to see herself as manipulated as Sparks leaves some cause for concern. Everyone tends to be the hero of their own story, true; but just because Molly has been presented as the actual hero of this story, makes her no less deluded. Remember the hero from Momento? Well, somehow Sparks got carted off, after using his illusion, but Molly was left a free hand to pursue hers – actually getting all judgmental on Sparks, as their paths diverged. Yasumoto still needed her on point.

Yasumoto’s apparent loss of field options may have necessitated the single biggest share of the season: the origin of his former immortality, and the quest for its restoration. It was a nice reminder that crisis & opportunity are the same thing, in Chinese; but the fact that a lot of lives were thrown at securing interstellar Lazarus Pits, makes Yasumoto more pathetic than villainous. His addiction to longevity has left him more terrified of mortality than the would-be life ending moment that first set him on his current path. Now that I think about, I’m not sure why his first instinct was to touch the alien substance he was trapped with. That was the single dumbest thing about the film Chronicle.

Molly’s oversimplification of his story, however, may have been the smartest thing she has said all series long.

Not that Yasumoto has been entirely brilliant, or anything. For a fading immortal with understandable control issues, I found it odd that he had no internal surveillance, or means of limiting wireless communication, at his own residence (you can’t trust people with cell phones at today’s level of tech). He also forgot the first rule of leveraging: secure any/ everything that can be used against you – such as your last stash of longevity goo. Advantage: John.

With Sparks under wraps, and an ‘understanding’ reached, between Molly & John and Yasumoto, what comes next has been left almost entirely to the children. Ethan in the hands of Odin; what would have been a very awkward family reunion, for the Sparks family, avoided only because Star Child broke up the band; and what Star Child finally going solo, out into the world at large, means for everyone.

Halle Berry has brought some big screen chops to this show; but has largely drawn upon experience as a ‘woman in jeopardy.’ That alone should have informed as to the direction the series was taking – even as I had hoped that it would evolve beyond her. If Extant winds up being more than a suspense/ horror sci-fi series, then its getting pretty late, in the baiting game, to pull the switch.

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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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