Extant: Cracking the Code Review

The pieces are in place for a confrontation of a massive scale, but this week’s Extant is merely the setup for the coming battle.

This Extant review contains spoilers for the most recent episode.

I can see it coming. Whether it’s the robot uprising, the alien hybrid epidemic, or the battle between the two, the second season of Extant is shaping up to be epic. However, “Cracking the Code” was simply a build-up episode with plenty of meaningful moments to foreshadow the impending chaos. Many of the new dilemmas are enticing despite some head-scratching circumstances, and I was sucked in despite the lack of any real action.

That is, besides Lucy cracking some drug dealer fingers – that was pretty snazzy. The newest Humanich is already rebelling against her programming as she begs Charlie not to change the code governing her respect of authority, an update Julie requested after Lucy chose her own dress last week. Her position seems a trifle sympathetic, even when she tells Ethan that rules limit rather than protect. One of my favorite moments of the episode was when Lucy tells an unseen person, “You were right; it worked,” all while reading Machiavelli. Wow! Lucy could easily be Skynet and Hal 9000’s lovechild!

Meanwhile, Ethan’s quest to rediscover what the name “Molly” means to him serves as a vehicle for viewers to visit the scene of Molly’s arson, which was a factor in her institutionalization. Ethan’s glitchiness is mildly interesting, and it might make him more amenable to Lucy’s manipulations (calling him “soldier,” for one). But this confusion needs a quick payoff to remain engaging. The best part of Ethan’s adventure and Lucy’s subtle defiance was the fact that Charlie lied to Julie about the whole misadventure. Charlie could stand to follow his own advice about honesty and forthrightness. 

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At least Molly is sharing with J.D. that there really is something wrong with her. I can understand her initial reticence given her treatment at Restwell, but I don’t want her to keep getting dizzy and doing inexplicable things. The quickly-growing fingernails were a nice touch, and the lucky bastard in the fast food printing restaurant who ended up in Molly’s bed brought some levity to the situation. Hearing “Help Me” in the waveforms provided by the alien DNA code, though, was a stretch on many levels. The pseudo-science with the sliding base pair puzzle produced plenty of eye-rolls, and the very fact that Molly is allowed to play around in the lab at all is almost laughable.

It does explain Shayna’s skepticism, though. The dynamic between the GSC general, who is thankfully still alive after being gunned down last week, and his assistant/girlfriend provides some great tension. Toby’s affection for Molly allows her to get to places she normally couldn’t go, and Shayna’s open disdain is bound to make sparks fly in the coming weeks. The idea to manufacture a virus that kills aliens but not humans is a good one (just ask The Strain), and I like the CDC initiative to round up potential pregnant hosts. I’m anxious to see where their draconian measures take them. Nowhere good, I imagine.

Against all odds, J.D.’s daughter is not pregnant, but presumably the cop for hire is now all in. He was in a bit of a holding pattern this week, aside from his sneaky misdirection at the hospital, and I’m itching to see this great character back out in the field. Many of the stories remain separate, which is strange at times, like the fact that Molly still hasn’t sought out her son, Ethan, even though she got a call from him on Julie’s phone. But as things draw closer, it’s clear that something big is coming. I’m ready!

Want more Extant discussion? Join me and Dave over at extantpodcast.com each week for analysis, predictions, and plenty of fan interaction!


3.5 out of 5