Thursday, July 17, 2014

Extant - "It's Ok."



Is it ok?  Because if I see another dead person reappear I would be inclined to think not.

Extant did without the massive world building we saw in the pilot episode and got right into the conspiracy aspects. 

Fine with me.  The pilot was a thrill ride while this one, "Extinct" was a bit more sedate.  But we learned a few things including one real biggie.  Let's get to it.


Who gets to sleep this late these days?  I'm on vacation and I still wake up to my mental alarm clock.  So much for regimented astronaut training.  Fans of Fringe will remember this time of the day as Olivia's favorite.  I thought of her right away. 

Molly hears some thumping in the background.  This thumping sound will come into play later in the episode.  Cross my "heart."





As Molly descends the stairs to investigate we the viewers are greeted by several "skeletal tree" images that I mentioned in my first Extant blog post.

Trees are supposed to bear fruit right?  At the very least they represent our family trees that are also fruitful in that they represent the fruitful generations of our extended families.  Both living and dead are represented to remind us how we've passed on the family name throughout generations.  We remember our past and celebrate our future.

So what does a barren tree represent?  Just the opposite I would assume.  Knowing the premise of this show and the episode title, "Extinct" it seems the family tree of humanity is at it's collective end.


John heads off to work where he is greeted by "Jealous Julie."  It seems they can monitor Ethan from afar which I found to be a bit spooky.  I don't know why this surprised me but it seems to fit.  It has a big brother connotation and it also serves to dehumanize Ethan to some degree.  Some pseudo parents these two are.  Oh, why do I call her Jealous Julie?


Now there's a sad face of resignation.  Not only did John's wife make coffee for him but Ethan is going to visit the museum with his real mom.  You've been supplanted lady.  I wonder how this will play out?  (Crackpot theory!  She's going to remotely control Ethan into strangling Molly.)

Hmm, that was a bit dark. Maybe I should try to sleep in later myself.  Either way, I think "JJ" was more than just a pseudo mom to her little "Rabbit".  Methinks she may have been playing "wife" while Molly was in space.  She did mention what a long time 13 months was.  (How dare you come back!)


 Lest I get too far ahead, guess who's back?  Marcus!  And he was preceded by that thumping I mentioned earlier.  This time it wasn't sneakers tumbling about in the dryer.  The hearbeatbeat like thumping is thematic and it will soon return.  In the meantime Molly passes out again and as Ethan comes to investigate we get this little gem.


Circles and spheres are prevalent in Extant but what these raised spheres represent is a mystery.  (And a little disconcerting.)  Did Ethan see them?  Does the fetus have it's own satellite TV?  Maybe it is a way of communication the babies progress.  Not to ISEA necessarily but to some other "group."



I'm glad Molly is communicating all this to Dr. Sam.  (See the sphere in the background? They're in Ethan's floating ball game too.)  Sam seems trustworthy and she is keeping Molly's secret.  It'd be good for Molly to have a confidant but confidants on TV usually have a short life span.

Our friend Harmon Kryger has been watching Molly as she proceeds through the museum and boy does he have a tale to tell. 



We get a nice little flashback to Kryger's stay aboard the Seraphim station.  His visitor is his deceased mother and she is just as he remembered her just before she died.  (The same as Molly's visitor, Marcus.)  She's a bit wet too.  I'm going to go out on a limb here and say she drowned herself.  Maybe Kryger bore witness to this event which led to his immediate dismissal as she being the real thing.  She also repeated the things that Kryger said to her much like Marcus did. "Mother" and "no."



It wasn't long before the spirit of "Mother" learned the true meaning of no.  Harmon was so aghast at her that he airlocked her.  Did you notice her countenance changed as she she repeated no over and over?  I think she knew what Kryger was planning.  Someone or something is not going to be happy.  

I'm merging both of Kryger's flashbacks here to get to a point.  In my previous post I had wondered what "they" had done to Kryger during his stay aboard the Seraphim.  Ben winks out on him and he gets the solar flare treatment.  (Is "Ben" complicit?)  Mom appears.  What's her role.

To get pregnant.

At least that's my theory.  Molly is the Earthbound vessel and dear ol' Mom is the space bound one. Yes, it's creepy but it seems to be the direction the show is heading.   Close call Kryger.


We'll skip back to Molly's ultrasound with Dr. Sam (woof, woof!) A normal 14 week old human fetus.  (Well, there are some circle things in the background Sam, any comment on those?  No?)

We get our thumping noise again and it's from the baby's heart.  As the viewing audience we know there is more to it than that!


Molly confronts Sparks and he goes running to Yasumoto.  Major conspiracy confirmation!

But that wasn't the "biggie" I mentioned earlier.  Here's how that confirmation/conversation unfolded.

Sparks, "You think we found them?"

Yasumoto, "I think they are already here."

I knew it.  Aliens.  Oh wait, the next evolution of humanity prematurely here?  Nah, I'm sticking with aliens because of the whole space angle.

And these guys are either in cahoots with our new alien overlords or they are laying out the welcome mat.


 Are you my mummy?

This moment wasn't without its creep factor either.  Yasumoto mentions the dearly departed daughter of Sparks, Katie, and how her sacrifice wasn't in vain.  That better not be her in the foreground!  You know, mommy/mummy an early run at the alien impregnation gone wrong.  (I said it was creepy.)


We saw the mummy earlier when John and Ethan went visiting with Yasumoto.  I had thought it was just thematic of man's wanting to preserve himself beyond death and it was coupled with the dinosaur skull and talk of extinction.  Everything comes to an end.  (I'm looking at you humanity!)



Speaking of mummification.  According to Yasumoto's little finger box he has a 102 day lifespan.


This explains the tub of goo Yasumoto awakes from in the first episode.  New age mummification.

Here's a theory, not only is Yasumoto trying to manipulate his own lifespan but humanity's also.  That's where all the alien cross breeding comes into play.  Either that or if you can't beat 'em then join 'em and preserve what little of humanity as you can.

Oh, and ha, I thought Dodd was "in bed" with Yasumoto's corporate plan but literally?  That's one way of finding out why Yasumoto brought John on board.  You sure you "won" John?

Well, all is not lost.


More tree imagery and this time they are fruitful!  Nice drawing Ethan,  I think I can climb down from the ceiling fan now.


Ethan also comes up a metaphorical plan to preserve humanity in this drawing of staving off extinction.

There's hope!

This suggests to me that the "Humanics" may have a hand in our preservation.  (And Dodd was worried.  Well, she was worried we may cause our own demise.  But let's not muddy the water too much just yet.)


Our closing scene is of the family dynamic just like in Ethan's drawing.  Safe in sound in their little bubble.  Only this time John is separated and Molly is close to Ethan as opposed to all those John and Ethan pictures sprinkled around the house.  Drat.  No matter, we still have the fruitful trees.

Hope!


10 comments:

  1. Extant has been impressive so far. I hope it gets more than one season, because there are so many layers to it.

    It seems you were prescient in your first post bringing up the phrenology poster. Molly's doctor in this episode brought up the fact that she and Kryger had their neural pathways altered. So I am going to pay attention when you bring up other symbols like the tree.

    Some of the other sci-fi shows like Falling Skies and Under the Dome are waning a bit for me. Glad Extant is showing much promise.

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  2. I'm glad Extant is doing well also. Something to sink my teeth into. If you hire Halle Berry then you better spend some money and it looks like they have.

    I like looking for little clues in the background and what they might portend. But I don't catch everything so feel free to add anything you spot.

    Did you know I do a Falling Skies podcast with Steve Salyer? It's fun but I'm aware of Falling Skies shortcomings. Sometimes you can drive a bus through the plot holes.

    Thanks Chris!

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    1. No, I didn't know about your & Steve's Falling Skies podcast. I listen to a couple but will give you a listen. I listened to Steve's Sleepy Hollow one.

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    2. Please tune in Chris, we'd love to hear from you!

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  3. Tummy circles = crop circles! :-D

    Return of the Jedi refs! :-D (the tube the dude goes into with his mom, he was really channeling Luke Skywalker)

    Well, I wish I'd seen the preview, but I'm glad I watched anyway. I'm sure I'll catch the first episode eventually.

    Dave, I'm constantly amazed at how good you are at themes and allegory... These shows should really hire you.

    Brief thoughts: Marcus had me confused, the kid is adorable without being Stevia-ish, Mommy in the space station was nicely creepy without overdoing it (very Doctor who-ish), Dr Sam - neat! She used to be on the Ghost Whisperer (yes my god I actually watched a few episodes of that show).

    I wonder if the Humanics will become Humaniacs? Probably.

    There sure are a lot of threads dropped around to pick up if the show manages to continue. I will certainly tag along for another episode or two, bare trees or not.

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    1. Thanks so much for the kind words Ingrid. Some day I'll share some of my episode ideas with you, they stretch back to the X-Files days.

      Marcus was Molly's first love. He died. Not sure how. I mentioned Kryger's mom may have committed suicide but she may well died trying to save Harmon from drowning himself.

      Dr. Sam also has been on Person of Interest as the decidedly evil, "Control."

      Speaking of bare tree, As I was scrolling through the blog post I noticed how trees look a lot like the nervous system of Ethan as portrayed in one of the pictures above. How about that?!!!

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  4. Where can one find more information about the stairway railing shown twice in episode 1?

    Along this stairway?

    http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-yhRQG38flZI/U8gFN8U5ObI/AAAAAAAAEso/PzJ4NUJ6_nM/s1600/0717140814.jpg


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    1. I don't know but Molly always seems to be heading downstairs doesn't she? I guess it is symbolic of her return to Earth.

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  5. Hi Dave,
    I was pleasantly surprised that we got to see Harmon’s flashbacks to his time on the Seraphim. That and the little footage Molly was able to view of his mission lead me to trust that he’s telling the truth as far as he knows it. (As of the end of the pilot Harmon could very well have been another hallucination of Molly’s, now I don’t think that is the case.) More balloons by the way, including blue ones, at the museum where Harmon is lurking.

    So when Molly encounters Marcus on the Seraphim he doesn’t use the words “mother” or “no” that Harmon said to his mother. Different entity? Marcus does write “help me” on the glass, something he didn’t learn from Molly. Has this entity interacted with another astronaut before? I’m thinking of these entities like hitchhiking souls, or programs. Are they hiding in Molly and Harmon’s minds unable to fully take over, but causing hallucinations and wonky brain scans? Doesn’t explain the pregnancy though. Could they have made Molly clone herself as the baby? No clue on the crop circles (Nice Ingrid!) on her belly.

    I thought John’s description of how the humanic program learns for a couple of years before being uploaded into a body very interesting and analogous to what happened on the Seraphim. Also they have conveniently explained how Ethan “grows” (in definite spurts) so the child actor will continue to have a job. What do they do with the discarded Ethan bodies? There is something so odd about Ethan being so self-aware. I think you are right, someone is going to highjack Ethan, Julie or something else.

    Wow now that you point it out there are skeletal trees everywhere. One place we do see happy little plants? The Seraphim. Maybe Ethan was onto to something with his space survival drawing.

    Other I-spy stuff. Molly cooking eggs (fertility yada, yada), did they oddly stand up? The (DNA?) helix Ethan made with the spheres toy. The John and Ethan framed photo was up on a shelf at eye level in the kitchen this time. They must be trying to work it into the background a lot. The medical tracker, boy everyone is terrified of fitbit.

    Please don't airlock me, Lynne

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  6. Hi Lynne,

    Spoiler alert!

    I wanted to get right to your point about the "Entity" visiting the space station previously. And I don't mean the Kryger visit. As you stated, Marcus draws the words "Help me" on the fogged up glass. He didn't learn that from Molly and they seem to regurgitate whatever they hear from the astronauts.

    Last night (hope you watched it) we learned Sparks' daughter, Katie, died aboard the Seraphim. It wouldn't be a stretch to think her last and possibly only words to the "Entity" was help me.

    Spooky.

    Speaking of spooky, Ethan is eerily self-aware isn't he? You'd think he be traumatized by it all. Certainly he is upset over spilled ice cream, other kids and perceived insults. But getting a new arm? Eh, so what, it's cool. I think Julie's lab assistant will be first to go at his hands. (He strikes me as a red shirt.)

    I'm having second thoughts about the medical tracker too. I think it has a more devious purpose.

    No air locking you!

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