CBS’ Extant The Other Side TV Show Review. Extant: Season 2, Episode 9: ‘The Other Side’ refers to an old world concept; one of a Limbo, or shadow dimension, which contains answers to all our earthly questions, but also every kind of terror we can think of (and many more we can’t). Any request, or bridging of the Other side comes with great peril to the seeker, and this was the case for Molly (Halle Berry), as the effects of the anti-Hybrid virus left her in a between-worlds of her own making. Squaring the other worldly subplot with the events in the waking world, however, was the episode’s real challenge.
After getting a taste of her own medicine (I’m not being flip – the virus was mostly her own doing), Molly was in no mood to mince the few words she had left. Matter-of-fact Molly laid it on pretty thick, to a visibly shaken Tobias (David Morrissey), to the point where some real doubt was cast on his being the season’s villain. I’d like to think Extant capable of such character complexity; but, for the time being, quality time with JD (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) was how Tobias made his case, for the balance of the episode.
More productive guilt came by way of Julie (Grace Gummer), who sought to make things right by Molly, Ethan (Pierce Gagnon), Charlie (Tyler Hilton), John, and… viewers, I guess. Next to her deathbed confession, that mostly boiled down to restoring Ethan’s memories, and heading off the wrath of Lucy. That first bit went off without a hitch; but….
Adult Adhu’s origin set the stage for the big twist of the episode; so I guess Nate (Michael Gladis) & the Hybrid autopsy crew never read the reports. We knew it was coming – so the fake out scene wasn’t necessary – but leave it to someone named Ares (Cleo Anthony) to resort to a Trojan Horse gambit; and when he says things are going to be done his way, he means his namesake.
I’m guessing the Hybrids eye-balled their way into the GSC, up to the inside job going into effect; but wouldn’t the combination of smart building security, facial recognition, and frontline Humanich input mean a matrix that would flag Ares’ party, as in the moment they came to town? Did the GSC stop global surveillance, after the hit on Hybrid Haven? So it fell on analog JD to catch a glimpse, regular monitor duty style. So the cracks in Extant’s technology just keep getting wider.
I’m also thinking that the showrunners wanted to keep the Ares incursion a secret (as the trailer to the episode sort of skipped focus ahead to the objective); but the timing couldn’t have been worse for Julie & Charlie’s act of conscientious sedition. The prospect of the GSC becoming a cross-fire zone, between the Hybrids & both of its anti-Hybrid assets, was left at just that, however. Molly’s trip to the Other Side wasn’t just a prime motivator of events, it was the undercurrent bind of the whole episode.
All the guilt on display linked back to Molly coming to grips with her own. Unfortunately, in coming to grips with a formative issue, involving her father (Louis Gossett Jr.), Molly seemed to reaffirm her Reverend Mother view that Humanity may not be worth saving; thus, allowing her to check out, completely. I guess she forgot about Ethan.
That, there, was the problem with the whole exercise. Molly’s trip down Carny Way was meant to add context to her trust issues, spanning both seasons; but between her single issue, with her dad, and the various cameos by current cast members, all she managed to do was re-affirm her deathbed rebuking of Tobias’ cause: saving humanity. Somehow, she failed to make any connection between her father’s parental failing, and an opportunity to make good on her own responsibilities. Ethan himself had to remind her that he mattered; so what happened to all that Momma Bear obsessing, that so dominated season one, then found its way back into season two?
Anyone – willingly or not – who braves the Other Side for answers, risks a serious price for great rewards. Molly practically volunteered for the former; so what more is there for her to do? Given the finality of her choice, she may have to either make amends, somehow, or double down on the price to be paid. As either option suggests a lot of afterthought schmaltz, I can only hope the show gets back to the more interesting side of things, in short order.
Never mind who deserves to be saved – put them all in a secure facility, and let Darwin sort out who deserves to survive.
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