Extant episode 11 review: A New World

Review Holly Hogan 4 Sep 2014 - 20:40

Extant tries its audience's patience with this week's episode. Here's Holly's review...

This review contains spoilers.

1.11 A New World

This week: they’re all looking for The Offspring; The Offspring is Molly’s baby; Molly wants to find The Offspring because The Offspring is her baby; The Offspring will hurt anyone who’s looking for him if they’re not Molly because Molly is The Offspring’s mom. Also: robot kid, dying rich guy, and some other people with concerned facial expressions.

Yeah, sorry... I’m a little fatigued. As endearingly off the rails as Extant has been from pretty much the beginning, I’ve found it worth watching. I’m not saying I still don’t, but, after two weeks of two-hour “events” - the latter of which took us to as close to a climactic turning point as we’re likely to get - this episode felt like expositional filler. This close to the finish, the show can’t afford filler. Especially filler that, for some reason, feels the need to emphasize over and over the mysterious and volatile connection between Molly and “her baby.” Several episodes into the chase, it seems like it should be about time for them to find each other.

Rant aside, a couple of significant things do happen. It’s been insinuated for weeks that the baby/Offspring somehow held the cure to Yasumoto’s terminal condition. We learn the history behind his illness and his obsessive persistence regarding the ill-fated space missions. Turns out, he’s whatever the term is for “centenarian and then some.” He’s been kept alive by some asteroid goo this whole time (long story), but he only has one vial and eight days left. These missions have been fueled by his determination for more healing goo.

Now, to be perfectly frank, I remain confused as to the finer points of how the two are related - Yasumoto’s cure and li’l Offy - but as Molly points out, this is a lot of death and destruction just so one scared jillionaire won’t die. Still, it was nice to get at least a little bit of an origin story for Yasumoto. I guess we’re left to wonder about what happened to the pretty pregnant wife; since he’s so old, it’s safe to imagine she’s not around anymore. Still, there could be a Yasumoto III or IV still around. Whether there will be any significance to that - or any mention of it at all again - is up in the air. As are a lot of things.

The Sparks storyline turns pathetic and dead this week, as Daddy Sparks quadruple-crosses Molly out of his ever-more-frenzied desperation to keep “Katie” around. Here is a man who has completely hollowed out and barely resembles the character he once was, which is fitting, as anything interesting or moving about his family’s story has disintegrated. It’s all just frustrating - his interaction with Molly at the end (“it’s already done” “what did you do?!”) is most likely intended to be sinister but is really just vaguely annoying. I don’t really care what he did anymore, and Halle Berry has to do some overacting to pretend she cares, too.

Whatever Sparks has done, it wasn’t to the Offinator, whose silhouette we finally see from a distance, bounding away from Anya in a dark tunnel. It’s hard to tell whether she’s dead or sleeping; it looks like the latter, but we know that’s not exactly his MO. It’s definitely nice, regardless, that we’ll be getting the show on the road as far as the ‘Spring goes.

Finally, Ethan has very little screen time this week, but in his few scenes, he’s subject to even more of Odin’s manipulation. This time, he’s to believe that his dad, John, is considering shutting him down because he’s getting too advanced. And, since he now trusts Odin to give him “a flip” (a recharge), he’s completely vulnerable to any of Odin’s intentions. I’m not sure why he keeps swallowing the lies about his dad/creator, or why no one’s blinking an eye at just letting him go off with this guy he barely knows all the time, but now Odin has effortlessly set the stage for his big humans-against-the-machines war. They’re going to have to do some major wrangling to fit that into the two remaining episodes, unfortunately.

I didn’t start writing this with the intention of trashing the whole episode. I’ve just been an apologist for the series for just about the whole time, and it’s given me plenty of reasons to be; sadly, this particular episode seemed to contain all the elements the haters have complained about from the beginning and very few of those I’ve come to be affectionate about. Okay, Extant, you’ve got two more episodes...

Read Holly's review of the previous episode, A Pack Of Cards, here.

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