Extant: Morphoses Review

Extant enters the atmosphere hot but threatens to break apart at this velocity. Can the show sustain this level of insanity?

One thing’s for sure: Extant is not messing around with exposition. “Morphoses” is only the second episode, and already chaos threatens to reign. On the one hand, that makes for an edge-of-your-seat, heart-in-your-mouth, wild ride. But on the other hand, it makes me want to wave my hands and say, “Hold up, people!” Not because I need them to slow down so I can understand what’s going on; it’s just that some actions in this episode were almost too much to take.

This Anna Schaefer character, for example, the lady played by Jeffrey Dean Morgan’s real life wife, Hilarie Burton, is completely over the top in pushing the Humanichs project to militarize.  Has she never seen the Terminator movies? This scenario has been seen many times in movies and on television, but here the careless negligence in ignoring safety protocols comes off as criminally dangerous. Could it be that whoever’s behind the accelerated pace of the project wants to use these new robots to fight the alien threat? That’s the only way it makes sense.

Julie’s decisions made more sense at first in light of the pressure from those who took over Humanichs for “national security” reasons. Perhaps she really did just want to protect Ethan in his vulnerable situation. I assumed last week that she made the call to have John killed, and perhaps that’s still true. But I get now why she’s keeping Ethan given what she’s been told about Molly’s fate. And as unforgivable as her tampering with Ethan’s core programming is, the sheer audacity of her actions made Ethan calling her “Mom” one of the highlights of the episode.

Meanwhile, Molly herself was a real piece of work this week, and I love it! Again, though, one has to question how J.D. Richter could possibly have fallen for all of Molly’s tricks as a veteran patrolman with every incentive to take her back to Restwell and conduct his own investigation without her. I mean, she produced results, but was it worth it? All he has to show for his material witness’ assistance is another victim and no idea who the father of her child was. The intent, of course, was to show Richter reluctantly start to buy in to Molly’s story, and they did a great job with that. But man, what a rube!

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Molly herself shouldn’t even rely on Molly. Apparently, the spores her arm was exposed to in last season’s finale have lain dormant waiting for the opportunity to influence her actions. Her flashes of sexual encounters with strange men make her as dangerous if not moreso than the full-grown Offspring, who isn’t dead after all it appears. She has the appropriate amount of anxiety about her missing time, but her fortuitous meeting with what may be her alien son at the end of the episode seems almost orchestrated. Color me intrigued.

The fact that the show’s protagonist is out of control is great; don’t get me wrong. The chemistry between Halle Berry and Jeffrey Dean Morgan is amazing! But everything around her is out of control as well, and it stretches credibility. I mean, a drone strike on a civilian target on American soil? Very exciting, but we’re reaching 24’s level of Jack Bauer instability here. How can the show possibly sustain this level of crazy?

Crazy is fun, but things could easily go off the rails. Let’s hope this train has a destination in mind.


3.5 out of 5