TV Show Review

TV Review: EXTANT: Season 2, Episode 3: Empathy for the Devil [CBS]

Tyler Hilton Grace Gummer Extant Empathy for the Devil

’ Extant Empathy for the Devil TV Show ReviewExtant: Season 2, Episode 3: ‘Empathy for the Devil,’ opened with the closing of the five year gap, between the Starchild (Shannon Brown) exit, and the full grown model, Adhu’s (Henderson Wade) Species 2 (Electric Eyes Boogaloo) exploits. After all the obsessing involved, you’d think somebody would’ve named the kid; but, yeah, he has a name, now.

So, about the resurrection scene: I understand that Coroners are assumed to be relatively jaded; but watching a definitively dead body trash about, then split open, should be the kind of thing that warrants at least a phone call – if not breaking the nearest pane of emergency glass. I won’t even call on the ‘black man having no time for morbid curiosity’ stereotype – nobody should, watching one of John Carpenter’s more memorably horrific scenes (the resuscitation of Norris, aka torso teeth) play out before their eyes. Mind control didn’t leave them transfixed – that came later; no, this was just plot convenience.

Assuming he didn’t spend all five years just soaking up multimedia minutia (I imagine his urges were just out of this world), the recap gave us some idea of how Hybrid processing power might stack up against the A.I.s they may be up against; but that comes later.

At present, Adhu had his sparklers set on Molly (Halle Berry), while Tobias (David Morrissey) had eyes on them both, and a collateral damage heavy kill order. Never mind drone strikes, or JD (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) getting the ‘elsewhere eye,’ for trying to crash the reunion; was Adhu really going to let Mad Molly suck face with him? He might’ve missed a few details, during the home schooling years.

In any case, the drone strike near miss left Adhu on the run, and the X-Files duo in Tobias’ hands. The interrogation/ debrief amounted to an opportunity to add more dimension to JD’s rogue charm, for Molly & Velez (Necar Zadegan) to get subtly catty, and for Molly to revisit the season one shadow government leash dynamic, with shadow governor, Tobias.

Speaking of leash dynamics, OCP overlord Anna Schaefer (Hilarie Burton) was bringing out the worst in Julie (Grace Gummer), and the fallout was everywhere (this week’s Humans worse than monster/ machine moment: conscientious dissenter having to remind overseer about the importance of ethics). The pressure resulted in quick fixes that left Ethan (Pierce Gagnon) memory wiped, Lucy (Kiersey Clemons) prematurely primed for a military debutante ball, and Charlie (Tyler Hilton) finally drawing the line, in what had to be the most backhanded professing of love I’ve seen (this week). So, of course, Julie’s efforts to control her environment crashes, across the board; of course, Julie manages to fixate on the affection behind Tyler’s rebuking.

I gotta say, I’m seeing some major regression, here, with both Julie & Molly falling back on their season one weaknesses. The showrunners may have intended this to all be an exercise in mitigating the excesses of principle players (hence the title); but no new territory was covered, here. What was annoying in season one, has remained as such. Julie has been replaying the role of someone incapable of controlling her passions – either regarding her work, her need for acceptance, or the attention of the opposite sex. Molly, on the other hand, seems to be tail-sliding back into the dilemma of savior of mankind vs protective mother.

Somehow, Tobias’ demonstration of the Adhu effect lost some of its potency, once Adhu allowed her to see the glowing eyed faces of his handiwork. Blame it on Adhu vision (it was useful in finally getting JD on board… before Molly drove him off, again), but Molly’s reaction seemed entirely too familiar. She’s going to be a backdoor vulnerability to any serious alien hunter effort, and Tobias may have gotten that point the hard way (although, it does pay to call, first).

I’ll be honest: the emotional component being fed to us, to add some juice to the meat, leaves me feeling like I’m being handled. Extant has long telegraphed where it’s going (at least, this season); so all the ham-fisted melodrama comes across as something we have to get through, in order to get to the only promise worth fulfilling. Humans trying to manage which agent of its extinction, android or alien, is the lesser evil; and the three-way conflict that determines the outcome.

At this point, I’m really looking forward to the tomorrow when the war begins.

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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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