Extant Season Finale Recap – Episode 01.13

Extant
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Molly prepares to fly to the Seraphim to rescue Sean and prevent the extraterrestrial spores from invading the Earth. Meanwhile, John must convince Ethan to submit to some diagnostics in order to disarm the explosive device that Odin implanted.

The Seraphim

When Molly reaches the Seraphim she finds Sean trapped in the hatch where Space Katie left him. Molly releases him and they form a plan to leave the Seraphim and to keep it from crashing to Earth and spreading the spores. Molly has a special helmet that has a filter programed with algorithm that allows her to see the spores, allowing her to tell fantasy from reality. When Molly goes into a storage room to find the backup Comm Module to replace the damaged one, she is prevented from leaving by Space Katie. Molly knocks her to the ground and escapes the room, but finds that she’s been infected with the spores, making it difficult to function normally. Later, when Sean comes across the same storage room, he finds Molly banging on the door and begging to be let out. This is Space Katie in the form of Molly trying to trick Sean into letting her out. Molly tells him this over his comm link, but she finds him later, infected, attacking her, and having committed sabotage. Molly sedates him and skips ahead to Plan C, where she blows up the Seraphim and escapes with Sean in the escape pod. Just as she is about to take off, the computer calculates that the chance of infection is too great to allow her to return and locks her out of the system, leaving her to helplessly await the detonation of the timed charges. Meanwhile, the Space Baby has infiltrated the ISEA and everyone evacuates, leaving no one on the ground to help Molly.

Ethan

While Molly carries out her mission, John takes Ethan to the lab and wants to run some diagnostics to check for anything Odin might have done to harm Ethan. Ethan is still frightened, believing that Odin is his true friend and that John is intending to shut him down forever. Ethan threatens to call Odin on the special phone, but John recognizes it for the potential detonator that it is. John convinces Ethan to trust him and promises that he will never leave his side until he is awake again. Once they are able to run the diagnostics they find a device in Ethan’s spinal column. They call Kern consult and he tells them it’s called a “honeycomb bomb” and that its designed to be unstable and irremovable. Before they can decide on anything to do, word comes down about the situation at the ISEA and the danger of the Space Baby. Ethan, unaffected by the Space Baby’s psychic powers, volunteers to infiltrate the ISEA and make contact with the Seraphim. As Molly says her goodbyes, Ethan says he can override the computer and take control of the Seraphim, allowing Molly access. However, Ethan has to heat up to body temperature before being able to gain access, a safe guard against viral access. John and Molly beg him not to do it, afraid for the strain it will put on his system and on the bomb inside him. He doesn’t listen, telling them that it’s his purpose. He gives Molly access to the Seraphim just as the Space Baby confronts Ethan. The bomb inside Ethan activates and begins its detonation process. Ethan tells the Space Baby to run just before he explodes. Later, as Molly and John mourn his death, they are surprised by his living consciousness coming to them through the electronics in their house, alive and well.

The Space Baby

While Molly and Sean struggle with the beings on board the Seraphim, it is the Space Baby’s job on Earth to prevent any interference from the ISEA. He infiltrates the building, forcing the control team to evacuate in case the Space Baby makes them do anything destructive. This leaves Molly helpless on the Seraphim, which is exactly what the beings want. Without a body, they survive as a collection of sentient spores, which is what the mold growing along the outside of the Seraphim is. If the Seraphim disintegrates in the atmosphere, there is a chance that the spores will disperse through the air and infect the world. While the Space Baby is clearly tied to Molly, he previously made it perfectly clear that he has no strength to defy the others of his kind. He pursues Ethan through the ISEA, but is too late to prevent him from helping Molly and destroying the other beings. In the end, Ethan did the most human thing and sacrificed himself for the people he loved, and even saved the Space Baby. At the end of the episode, the Space Baby is seen walking along a busy bridge at night when a kindly couple stop their car and attempt to help him. The Space Baby is last seen driving away in the back seat of the couple’s car. Molly, for her part, knows that the Space Baby is still alive somewhere out there.

Overview

The series as a whole was a little confounding at times. In many ways it was a very progressive show – the potentials of artificial intelligence, the portrayal of Molly as an intelligent, independent, and driven woman and the avoidance of making her a mere set piece – but in many ways it was just as conservative as you might expect a CBS show to be – the focus on the heteronormative nuclear family, the complete avoidance of any discussion or thought of terminating the mysterious fetus. The fact that the “bad guys” were the ones to remove the fetus from Molly – and by means of subterfuge and force – says a lot about the underlying beliefs of the show. I respect whatever choice a woman makes for her own body, but I find it staggering that abortion was never presented as an option, especially considering the danger in which it put Molly’s body and mind. Someday in the future I can see a politician trying to add an amendment that prevents women from undergoing abortion in the case of alien impregnation, in addition to rape and incest.

And at the same time many of the storylines were wrapped up very nicely, some were left dangling vaguely. Like whatever happened to Yasumoto after John was able to escape his house? How was Femi Dodd involved in the attempted terrorist act that Odin planned? Whatever happened to Odin after he planted the bomb in Ethan? I suppose these are left open in case a second season is planned or commissioned. It all seemed rather trite, though, and the awkward wonder with which John and Molly greeted the disembodied Ethan was hokey and forced to say the least. Just watch their arms – half-heartedly outstretched in wondrous incredulity, their identical pose, the awkwardness of their posture, and the unnatural length of time the pose is held is all strikingly strange and clearly staged. My high school theater teacher used to call that Penguin Arm Syndrome.

I wouldn’t care much to see a second season. First of all, I don’t think one is necessary. The story that needed to be told has been wrapped up – not terribly well, mind you – and anything else would be gratuitous and pointless. Secondly, I’m not terribly interested in what a second season would have to say. Whatever storyline they might come up with, I’m pretty done with these people and their awkwardly impersonal lives. Despite all the protestations of love and family, no one really seemed to express it genuinely with their body language. Everyone was always so stiff with each other. It was a stretch for me to care about them long enough to get through this season. I can’t imagine stretching that suspension of indifference for another platitudinous season arc.

 

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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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