Extant: Shelter review

Did this week's episode of Extant give you the creeps? It gave us the creeps. Here's Michael's review...

Unexpected directions was the name of the game in this week’s Extant episode entitled “Shelter,” and it seemed like everyone was trying to out-creepy each other. Creepy merc on the beach, creepy grandpa using the robot kid as a shill, creepy ISEA director threatening Sam, creepy Russian guys experimenting with meteor goo. It’s very telling that when Molly had another Marcus hallucination, it wasn’t nearly as shocking as everything else. I was like, “Oh, hey Marcus. ‘Sup.”

First of all, Molly picked the worst possible place to hide from her pursuers: a family member’s house. In this case, it was the home of her estranged father, Quinn, who is a not-so-recovering alcoholic. Given the dubious task of taking Ethan out for dinner so that Molly and John can talk about things, Quinn was bound to screw things up. This was the only problem I had with this episode: unbelievably bad choices. Yes, I was impressed by the rock-skipping and the Bimini ring toss, but wow – way to draw attention to yourselves! And Molly going off on her own was just plain silly; how obvious was that Ethan bait?

I couldn’t help but feel sorry for Ethan, though. I was impressed that he learned the “Nobody’s perfect” adage at such a critical juncture, despite the loss of Quinn’s money. He definitely felt the sting of his grandfather’s rebuke and was fearful of what the ISEA goons would do to him. To use him as bait that way showed as little regard for his well-being as the insensitive cop showed or even Quinn himself displayed. I like how the writers continue to walk an ethical line with Ethan, forcing the viewers to make a moral choice about the nature of his existence and motivations for themselves.

And what of Yasumoto’s values? Are the two Russian doctors correct about his ruthlessness once they’ve stopped producing results? Time is running out for the dying man, and failure is apparently not tolerated. The pursuit of Molly’s baby appears to be tied to the fight for a cure for whatever ails Yasumoto. Not a completely surprising detail, but I relished the chance to get such a close-up look at the facilities so early in the season.

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The main revelation for me is that I can finally decide once and for all whether Sparks is a good guy or not. Clearly he isn’t. His method of keeping Sam in line was both cruel and underhanded. Yasumoto likewise seemed to have little regard for the scientist who died clutching the lethal meteor goo. And the cliffhanger scene with the laser cutting into Molly’s abdomen can presumably only be selfishly motivated.

So how about Marcus? Is he a good guy? What does “Don’t let me go” mean, his first non-echoed phrase? The circles pushing out from Molly’s flesh seem to appear in times of stress. Did they somehow help her grab the syringe that assisted her ineffectual escape? The tide is shifting, and I’m starting to wonder if the aliens, not the humans, are the ones we should be trusting.

Actually, as one Extant fan (@IxChel2025) said during the live tweet, “The only one I trust is the dog.”

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

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4 out of 5