Extant ‘Shelter’ Recap – Episode 01.04

Extant
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Molly hides out with Ethan and John at her estranged Father’s place while she works to identify the origin of her pregnancy. Yasumoto pushes for progress replicating a mysterious “life giving” substance from a meteorite. Sparks blackmails Sam in order to take her out of the equation while Yasumoto prepares an elaborate lab space and surgery for Molly’s anticipated arrival.

The Space Baby

John and Molly’s first priority after escaping from Sparks is to determine the origin of the baby. They go to stay with Molly’s father, Quinn, mainly because he lives in a remote area and has vital lab equipment. Otherwise, it seems that Quinn would not have been first on Molly’s list of hideouts. John spends the better part of the day repairing an old DNA sequencer before they can even test the fetus. Molly and John are hopeful that the baby is actually theirs and are desperately happy at the thought, wanting to move past the fear and grasp that happiness without reservation. Then, just as they set the test in motion, Ethan conveniently disappears, sending the family on a search for the missing boy robot. Ethan is used as bait for Molly to lure her into a secluded area to be taken by helicopter to a remote laboratory. She awakes, drugged and frightened, on what turns out to be a boat. She escapes one room only to stumble into the operating bay, where she is put under before a laser begins to cut into her abdomen. Sparks, investigating Quinn’s place after the raid, reviews the results of the DNA test, which are left a mystery to the audience.

Yasumoto and the Substance

Yasumoto visits a pair of Russian scientists who appear to be working under duress for fear of being returned to their undesirable home country. They have been working on replicating what Yasumoto calls the “life giving substance” that apparently originated from a meteorite. After ten years of work, the substance can be handled but still causes immediate death when breathed. Yasumoto demands that one of the scientists demonstrates this consequence himself. Disappointed, Yasumoto presses for Sparks to find Molly and capture her for tests. He believes that the fetus inside her is the only answer to replicating the substance. His ruthless determination and his escalation of method is understandable given that he apparently has just a little over 100 days left to live. Whatever deadly, slow burning disease Yasumoto is suffering from, it appears his only hope for survival is the replication of this substance. What this substance has to do with the beings Molly, Harmon, and Katie have experienced in space, how either of them came to be discovered, and how Yasumoto expects to use Molly’s baby is still a mystery.

Molly and her Dad

It is unclear at first what is between Molly and her Dad, and why at their first meeting there seems to be old resentments and reservations at work between them. It quickly becomes apparent that Quinn is a struggling alcoholic who has been periodically relapsing for years. Molly’s mother, who is implied to be dead, seems to be a large part of the resentment she holds for Quinn. There is no information about what happened to her mother or what Quinn may have had to do with her death, or of what kind of parent he was to Molly. One indication of his parenting skills comes when he takes Ethan out for dinner and uses him to con money away from tourists at the local bar. Quinn takes the opportunity to have a drink and then gets mad at Ethan when a mistake loses him all his winnings. He yells at Ethan, berates him for not being good enough and how “sorry” doesn’t bring back what’s lost. Then when Quinn is distracted, Ethan is kidnapped by Sparks’ men and set as bait for Molly. For Molly’s part, one thinks that maybe she’s a bit hard on Quinn at first, but once we have evidence of his unreliability, we understand her reservations and mistrust. And its hard for her to be so pragmatic about Quinn, because he’s a charming and witty guy who worms his way into your heart. Molly can’t help but smile when he prods her with his charm, but there’s a hint of exasperation to her fondness, as if she’s been through it all before.

Sam and Sparks

Sam has been detained by Sparks and his men after infiltrating ISEA and warning Molly. Sam smartly talks her way into the bathroom where she tries to dispose of Molly’s blood sample before being caught in the act by Sparks. Yasumoto demands that Sparks neutralizes the threat that Sam poses to their operations. The viewer immediately assumes that Sam will be killed – and that’s probably what Yasumoto meant – but instead Sparks blackmails Sam by threatening to reveal that she changed her brothers identity after he killed a man and saved his life by recommending – as a respected, unbiased, and apparently unrelated doctor –  that he be treated in a mental facility rather than face prison time. Sam claims that her brother Billy is stable now, that he’s on the right medication, and that he’s not a threat to anyone anymore. Sparks vaguely notes that Billy is in a very delicate stage of his recovery and that any disruption could cause permanent damage. Sam agrees to do whatever Sparks wants, and just to bring the point home he sets her up on a video call with Billy. How Sam might be of any help or hindrance to Molly now that she’s constrained by Sparks is unclear, but its likely we may see some betrayal of Molly by Sam in future episodes, and then perhaps an act of penance should Sam defy the consequences and help Molly in a moment of need.

 

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About the Author

Bethany Lewis
My cinema education started when, at three years old, Charlie Chaplin's "The Gold Rush" became my earliest memory of cinema. Since then, I've been obsessed with film and television, learning more about it, analyzing it, researching it, and experiencing different kinds of it. After getting my BA in Theater, I went on to get my MFA in Film Studies. I now spend my free time watching and writing about movies.
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