Extant ‘Care and Feeding’ and ‘Pack of Cards’ Recap – Episodes 01.09 & 01.10

Extant
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Sparks is completely in the control of the Space Baby through visions of his daughter. He works under the baby’s instructions from a remote camp, ruled by his desire to be with Katie. Harmon traps Molly in the underground laboratory so he can pursue and destroy the Space Baby unchallenged. Molly escapes the lab and reluctantly teams up with Yasumoto to find her baby. Meanwhile, John – having gone to Yasumoto for help to save Molly – is now basically being kept prisoner in his house along with Ethan. Odin, having had plenty of opportunity to harm Ethan, seems to be biding his time for a larger plan or purpose, working instead to corrupt Ethan against his father/creator.

Sparks and the Space Baby

Sparks is enchanted by the visions of his young daughter that the Space Baby projects for him. His desire to continue seeing Katie – a chance to start over and do things right by her – keeps him in the Space Baby’s control. This causes Sparks to smile almost constantly in a really creepy, brainwashy kind of way. It makes me uncomfortable. The baby has Sparks bring him to a safe, secluded place – a camp that Sparks used to visit with his daughter – and has him arrange what amounts to psychic feedings. These feedings are often at the expense of unsuspecting passersby (which include the local Sheriff), who seem to experience a great deal of agony as the baby does something that raises the circular symbols all over their heads, ultimately leaving them brainwashed and completely in the power of the baby.

The Space Baby really isn’t a baby anymore either. We have yet to see him, but he’s independently mobile and growing at an accelerated rate. Sparks convinces his ex-wife to come to the camp and they reconnect over the miracle of their resurrected daughter. It is unclear what the Space Baby wants, but when Molly finally arrives at the camp to see her baby, it tricks her into giving up top secret clearance information by projecting a vision of an alternate past where Marcus and her baby survived the car crash. The Space Baby wants more than just that, though, and sees Molly as its mother. As Sparks and Co. pack up to vacate the camping ground they try to bring Molly with them for the baby, but are intercepted by Kern and Harmon. Molly remains free, but at the cost of Harmon’s life. Sparks escapes with the Space Baby.

Molly

Molly is more determined than ever to find and protect the Space Baby, what she feels is her chance to be a real mother. After being trapped in the lab by Harmon, she manages to escape up the elevator shaft to the next floor before a recovery team arrives to capture her. She hides in an office and disables the recovery leader by shining a light into his night vision contact lenses and stealing his gun. He claims to her that he knows where her family is – that they’re not at home and that she needs him to take her to them. She packs him up in a van and prepares to drive away when his phone starts ringing. When Molly answers it, Yasumoto is revealed on the other end – the real mastermind behind everything – and he suggests they have a talk.

When they meet, Yasumoto tells Molly about his involvement in everything and offers her his help recovering the Space Baby. He claims that everything will be on her terms, apparently having realized that all the Space Baby really needs is its mother. Yasumoto teams Molly up with a guy named Dr. Mason and they head out to the campsite to intercept the Space Baby. Along the way, Molly notices armored vehicles and suspects a double cross. She receives a signal from a flock of birds, indicating that the Space Baby doesn’t want her to be with Dr. Mason. The birds attack Mason and she escapes briefly in order to call John about her predicament. Molly is recaptured and Mason swears to her that the armored team is just a precaution. When they arrive at the campsite, however, Mason is knocked out and Molly is brought to see her baby. Instead of interacting with the Space Baby, she is given an alternate reality vision in which Marcus and her child survive the car crash.

When her baby appears to be in danger, Ben walks her through a procedure to save it by entering her clearance code and a computer command into the computer. As she does this in the vision, she also does this in real life for Sparks. The purpose of this is unknown. As Sparks leads the hypnotized Molly to the car, he is intercepted by Kern and Harmon. There is some yelling that interrupts Molly’s vision, followed by a brief gunfight that kills Harmon. Before he dies, he tells her that the Space Baby is too dangerous, and that no matter what she feels, she has to destroy it.

I like a lot how Molly is written and portrayed on screen. She’s intelligent, independent, and strong without being unnaturally gifted. She’s not an action hero – she has to struggle to do things that are and should be hard for a normal person. At the same time, she’s not sexualized or over glamorized. In a lot of other cases, the scene where Molly struggles in the elevator shaft would have been shot a lot differently – perhaps emphasizing her efforts in a more exhibitory, sexualized, voyeuristic way. But it was shot exactly the same way as it would have been with any male in her place. She exerted genuine effort in a task that is difficult and it wasn’t sexy beyond the display of strength, ingenuity, and determination it took to accomplish that task. It was dirty, sweaty, dangerous business and there was no attempt whatsoever to sexualize, objectify, or qualify her actions or accomplishments.

Yasumoto

John goes to Yasumoto for help when he receives Molly’s message before her infiltration of the lab. He tells Yasumoto about the entire conspiracy and the Space Baby without knowing that he’s the mastermind behind it. Yasumoto promises his help, but insists that John and Ethan stay with him for safety until things can be cleared up. Yasumoto sends a team into the underground lab, telling them to bring Molly back alive. Molly, not trusting the recovery team, has other ideas, and ends up discovering Yasumoto’s involvement. When they meet he admits his guilt and apologizes for everything he put her through. He says he realizes now that he went about it the wrong way, that they took from the Space Baby the only thing it needed – its mother.

He sends her to rescue the baby with Dr. Mason and promises that everything will be on Molly’s terms. This seems promising until Molly discovers the discreet armored escort. Meanwhile, with John and Ethan at Yasumoto’s house, they quickly find that they are in fact prisoners and not guests. Any attempt John makes at leaving is politely but firmly refused by Yasumoto under the thin veil of a gentle suggestion. It is almost sinister how civilly he demands his prisoner’s obedience – you would almost think you were at liberty but were merely convinced by Yasumoto’s good sense. It is also unclear how much Yasumoto knows about Femi and Odin’s involvement in this underground anti-robot group. It almost seems like he knows what Odin is up to and arranges time for Odin and Ethan to spend together. As the main Space Baby plot takes precedence, this second conspiracy unravels a bit more slowly.

Odin

Odin’s ultimate goal is pretty mysterious right now. He’s had plenty of chances to harm Ethan, but has instead been working to garner his trust and undermine the authority of his father. Maybe he’s just trying to get Ethan to do something terrible to prove that robots are dangerous. Ethan enjoys Odin’s company and is influenced by his words of wisdom. Odin tells Ethan that parents don’t know as much as they seem to know – that they’re fallible and don’t always know what they’re talking about. For an increasingly independent and preternaturally intelligent child – especially in light of John’s recent sternness – this is important news that can make the difference between where his loyalties lie. Meanwhile, Julie continues to have no suspicions regarding Odin.

John and Ethan

Not knowing who to trust, John goes to the one person who orchestrated the entire conspiracy for help getting Molly out of the underground lab. Now that Yasumoto has John and Ethan in his power, he attempts to keep them that way without alerting any suspicions. John pretty quickly realizes that he’s a prisoner, particularly when he’s not even allowed to go downstairs to his lab. As he attempts to take the elevator down, the heat censors in the hallway activate and alert the guards. John, knowing that instead of bringing Molly safely home has provided her with help to pursue her baby, is suspicious of the extent of Yasumoto’s involvement.

After a few cold interactions with the discontented Ethan, John sits him down and apologizes for treating him like a child. He admits that seeing Ethan grow up is hard and that he’s been too strict. He asks Ethan to help him escape. Ethan is delighted with being entrusted with the responsibility. While John distracts Yasumoto and Femi, Ethan turns down his heat receptors and takes the elevator to the lab. Femi notices, but says nothing. Once at the lab, Ethan is meant to find Julie to give her information from John, but runs into Odin first. Odin says that Julie has left. When Ethan says there’s trouble and he needs to find her, Odin leads the way – ostensibly to find Julie – and has Ethan tell him about what’s happening.

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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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