Extant Episode 2: I See Dead Space People

If you thought last week’s episode of CBS’ ambitious Immaculate-Conception-in-space was too much set-up, I am happy to report that this week begins the payoff.  The Halle Berry-headed mystery dives right back in, and Extant gives us more to mull over.

extant s01e02

Molly is still adjusting to her life with her family and to living back on Earth—even the sounds of shoes in the dryer freaks her out.  Well, come on, that’s always a scary sound, so we will give Molly a pass.  John furthers his work with Humanichs in his new offices.  Femi Dodd (the overly concerned B who questioned John’s motives last episode) visits the space, and expresses her disappointment that Yasumoto went around the board to provide Humanichs more funding.  She tells John that she will be keeping an eye on the project.  My question last week of how the Humanichs will “grow” is answered later in the episode.  Another worker shows Ethan his new arm and tells Ethan “I’ll let you pick out your own nose.”  The way the characters talk to Ethan about his own growth is odd and fascinating.  Even though Ethan is Humanich, one can’t help but wonder if this is affecting him in some way.  We don’t get to choose how our own bodies grow and morph as we get older, but Ethan basically gets to pick and choose.  It’s a somewhat throwaway line that I couldn’t help but dwell on.

One begins to wonder if maybe Humanichs will be as successful with more artificial intelligence.  Ethan is a good example on the surface, sure, but they didn’t see him standing over that dead bird last week.  Yeesh.   While at home, Molly experiences pain in her stomach and then she sees Marcus standing in her kitchen.  He assures her that everything is ok, but she passes out.  Ethan finds her on the floor, and we see circular outlines rippling on her stomach.  She comes to and takes Ethan to the natural history museum.   This museum, by the way, is like a giant video game.  Elephants and schools of fish come to life.  I guess that’s one way to get the kids excited about learning.

Sam meets Molly at the museum to talk to her about her kitchen vision.  She insists that Molly tells Alan Sparks about her visions, but Molly is reluctant.  She tells Sam about seeing Harmon in her driveway and his warning not to trust anyone (maybe she shouldn’t be telling Sam this…).  Sam tells Molly that his brain scans showed abnormalities including a neuro-virus, and Molly’s scans (Dun dun DUUUUN!) show the same abnormalities.  Whenever Manheim and Berry appear in scenes together, I get really excited.  Berry is such an emotional actress (especially in a role like this), and I always love Manheim no matter what she does.  Can someone, anyone, please give them better dialogue?  Whenever the conversation turns to Molly’s pregnancy, the dialogue itself, for some reason, feels like someone out of a Square Pegs episode (“I don’t get pregnant!”).  As Molly and Ethan get ready to leave, Molly tells him to not tell John about her little spill in the kitchen.  Now, now Molly.  We all know that will come to bite you in the ass. Asking your kid to keep secrets from your spouse will only ensure that it will come up later…

If you thought the Molly/Marcus flashback sequence was nuts, you will have nightmares about Harmon’s.  In a flashback, we see Harmon aboard the Seraphim during his mission.  A solar flare occurs, and the power flickers just like in Molly’s mission.  When he begins to investigate, Harmon finds Blair Witch-esque footprints and then his dead mother appears.  What Extant expertly does in this episode is feature two sequences prevalently featured in a lot of thrillers.  When Molly goes to ISEA to do some digging, she finds surveillance footage of Harmon’s mission, but her access is eventually denied.  She removes the monitoring device in her mouth in the restroom and she becomes a woman on the run.  The sequence with Harmon and his mother aboard the Seraphim is both creepy and sad (I loved how Harmon would be floating but his mother could walk).  It all begins to build, and, by the end, the paranoia really begins to set in.  Are Molly and Harmon simply having the same reactions to being in space, or were they themselves the experiment?

Near the end of the episode, you might be feeling like the paranoid one.  Alan and Yasumoto meet to discuss the connection between Harmon and Molly, and Alan asks whether “we’ve found them.”  Yasumoto tells Alan that they’re “already here.”  He then assures Alan that they’ve followed Alan’s daughter’s sacrifice.  What the what?!  What does Alan Sparks’ daughter Katie have to do with anything?!  I need another episode!  Does it all have something to do with Yasumoto scanning his little finger and finding out that he only has a life expectancy of 102 days?  Does Molly’s future space baby have a connection with Yasumoto’s potential condition, and is that why he and Alan looking for “them”?

While the otherworldly mysteries and the sci-fi paranoia are captivating, the characters deepen more in this episode.  Did John have something going on with Grace Gummer’s Julie while Molly was gone?  Molly and Julie have a somewhat awkward exchange at John’s new office where Molly thanked Julie for all the time she spent with her son while she was in space.  There is a brief shot of John longingly looking at a couple holding hands at a restaurant.  Surely, Ms. Gummer will get more screen time as the season progresses.  I want to see more of her.  I hope she doesn’t just play John’s co-worker.  The same goes for Manheim’s Sam.  Does anyone else think that she might be in on something bigger?

There are two moments that I loved during this episode, and they both feature Ethan.  In the scene where Molly asks Ethan to not tell John about the incident in the kitchen, she assures Ethan that she’s just adjusting to living back on Earth.  She tells Ethan that she doesn’t want John to think she’s sick.  Ethan then asks her, straightforward and innocently, “are you weak?”  At the very end of the episode, Ethan tells Molly that he learned about extinction at the museum, and he learned about how the stronger and smarter species overcome while the others don’t.

Is John too naïve in what he is creating at Humanichs?  Is Femi Dodd reasonable in her concerns about artificial intelligence?  All I know is that I want to keep watching.  These episodes are piling on the intrigue.  Just when I think I am learning about one mystery, something else pops up.

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