TV Show Review

TV Review: EXTANT: Season 2, Episode 4: Cracking the Code [CBS]

Halle Berry Extant Cracking the Code

CBS’ Extant Cracking the Code TV Show ReviewExtant: Season 2, Episode 4: ‘Cracking the Code,’ had a lot of familiar elements to it. Whether this was due to laziness, or an attempt at connecting the ‘new’ show to the ‘old’ one, I’m not sure it’s the kind of familiarity the series needs.

‘Cracking the Code’ made an early point of Mad Molly (Halle Berry) ridding herself of her Cougar nails. There was a point to be made about that; but, for now, let’s all just resist any/ all references to Catwoman. Deal? Awrighty, then.

As for her friendly fire mishap, with Tobias (David Morrissey): leave it to a Hawk to appreciate being the near victim of fratricide. Tobias’ Gal-Friday-with-Benefits, Velez (Necar Zadegan), however, was much less obliging; but Extant seems intent on letting that particular melodrama string out for a bit (although, suffice to say, Toby’s got 99 problems, and two of them keep throwing each other dirty looks). For now, Mad Molly – regardless of the compromised nature of Mother Molly – has been left in the kind of choice position where she can both get away with hearing gene code crying for help, and making off with valuable research.

That was where JD’s (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) personal melodrama, involving estranged daughter, Kelsey (Lyndon Smith), and her possibly alien tainted pregnancy, intersected with Molly’s office hi-jinx. While I appreciated the extra dimension Kelsey brought to JD’s backstory, the justifiably rebellious daughter thing was really just an exercise. Forcing your adult daughter to stay indoors seems a lot less risqué than shooting out the tires to the vehicle she is in – if only because that would mean shooting in your pregnant daughter’s general direction – but I guess that was the point. Where’s the melodrama in just keeping her in? In any case, there was the about face easy way out, of having her finding her way around to her dad’s view, on her own.

Molly’s other serious problems (besides realizing that Mad Molly & Mother Molly will need to have a reckoning) came in two varieties: present & future. At present, Mad Molly has been suffering the kind of black out moments that epic Walks of Shame are made of. This would be one of season two’s flashback moments, as ‘Cracking the Code’ reverted back to the original Species dynamic – with Molly playing Sil. Never mind that she hasn’t been packing the kiss-of-death of either Sil, or her son; average Joes: if a woman, clearly out of your league, picks you up – without talking compensation – assume something is very wrong. Sure, you could get off easy (no pun intended), like the latest ‘victim’ did (lucky bastard); but still, kinda risky. Of course, good ol’ JD had the grizzled wherewithal to resist her charms (?) & restore her senses (for the moment); but Maneater Molly likely has a bigger role to play, this season.

Molly’s future problem? The cracks in Julie’s technology left Ethan (Pierce Gagnon) hitting the road again, like he did last season. Ah, but this time was different – he took a motorized scooter, instead of a bicycle. Of course, he wound up being robbed of his scooter… just like with last season’s bicycle. No matter – Lucy (Kiersey Clemons) managed to fill the role of mechanized vigilante justice; leaving Ethan free to secure a ringside seat, for the Mad vs Mother Molly face off.

Not only did Lucy get to show off her people skills, she got to assume some of Ethan’s season one potential Cyber Creep duties (thanks, in part, to Niccolò Machiavelli). Lucie wasn’t bad; she was just built that way (tee hee). While she seemed to be working hard on channeling Bell, Biv, DeVoe’s ‘Poison’ (check up your music history, kids), the Lolita element, inherent to the whole ‘let’s keep secrets from Julie’ thing, seems less about enabling Ethan, than creating a point of conflict for Charlie (Tyler Hilton) – with, or without Julie.

As I had said, ‘Cracking the Code’ seemed to go over a few areas of familiar ground, and there may have been reasons as well intentioned as, say, reaching out to season one viewers – not entirely onboard with the changes made. What the showrunners have to keep in mind, however, is that any interest, garnered from the new direction, might suffer from perceived backtracking/ retreading.

Familiarity can breed contempt.

Oh, and those nails Molly made a point of laser trimming? They kept coming back – Cougar sized fashion. Symbolic of Maneater Molly sticking around, sure… but maybe someone just really wants those Catwoman references….

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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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