Sunday, September 7, 2014

Extant - The Promise of A Life....



......without the consequences of death

One of the more fascinating vignettes of the past episode of Extant, "A New World," was the interrogation of Yasumoto by Molly Wood.  In this scene, we learned some important back story into the life of Yasumoto, his motivations and how they fit into the greater mythology of the Extant world.

With his conspiracy exposed, Yasumoto implored Molly to understand his reasoning and asked her with this promise of life, "If it wasn't an illusion but a reality, wouldn't you do anything to be with Marcus again?"

But there's the rub, is what we have witnessed on Extant real or an illusion?  Are these visions as seen by the players of Extant, an actuality or just hallucinations?

Let's skip back to a point earlier in the episode where Kern questions Molly over what she has seen.  She reveals to him how she saw her once dead infant now alive in an incubator.  She touched him and felt his heartbeat.  He was real.

Kern counters that the Offspring is "creating an entire fictional world."  That is a pretty revealing statement.  Is that what is really going on?  Can the Offspring create an alternate timeline that is real in the physics of what we understand.  Or is this timeline only real in the minds of those experiencing it?  Who's to say that isn't real?

This is a real mind bender and it is something that Einstein and Schrodinger endlessly wrestled with.

Are splinters in time real or are they only real until proven otherwise?  We don't even know if they can be proven otherwise!


Let's further explore these points by discussing the religious allegory that was prevalent in this episode.  Despite being of Japanese descent, Yasumoto used Christian themes to explain his motives.  That's not to say he is or isn't Christian, he may have thought it easier for we the viewing audience and or Molly to understand.

Yasumoto claims to have found the "Architect of Eternal Life" when he finally discovered the asteroid.  By any standard this "Architect" would be a God like being.  Does this mean Yasumoto is his Peter, the "Rock" of the "Architects" church?  Yasumoto had found the meteorite rock when he was a lowly miner just like Peter was a lowly fisherman.  Both men went on to greatness.  Only with Yasumoto, he has yet to bring his "gift" to humanity until he has found a permanent cure to the curse that afflicts us all, death.

Peter wasn't quite so selfish.  His "gift," as taught by Jesus, was eternity in the afterlife.  Will Extant be willing to explore who is right and which path humanity should really follow?  I would think only in the terms as they play out for Yasumoto specifically.

Yasumoto also try to co-opt John by telling him there was room for a "Joseph" in the story of the "virgin birth."  From this we could surmise that Yasumoto is really deluding himself by constructing his own fictional world in order to rationalize his efforts.  I don't think John quite bought it.  It'd be quite a leap to see his wife as a Virgin Mary of sorts.  Yasumoto's tale actually led John into formulating some leverage against Yasumoto and discovering the last of the immortality serum.  I wonder if John is reflective enough to see himself a Dr. Frankenstein just like Yasumoto is and they both have been playing God.   



There is some major hubris going on here.


Yasumoto's hubris may be further exposed by revealing that his has long outlived his wife and their child.  Where are they now?  Was his fear of death, as Molly accused him of, so great that he was unwilling to share the gift of life with them?  It seems so.  Joseph led Mary and the infant Jesus into Egypt to avoid persecution.  Yasumoto left his family behind.

Extant explored some pretty heady themes with this past episode and asked the viewing audience some serious questions. There is only two episodes  left in which to finalize these arguments.  I have a feeling we will be left trying to answer these questions as we always have since our very beginning.  

Those who insist on an answer will be left behind.

Odds and Ends


We opened this episode with some pretty familiar themes and set design.  We got our skeletal tree and the Golden Gate picture.  We also got the book of Genesis once again.  What was different?  The group picture of Molly, John and Ethan,  With them as the backdrop to "A New World" are we to think there will be a happy outcome for this little family?


Who could blame John for feeling threatened before he could work out his plan to trap Yasumoto?  He was framed by at least three martial artifacts and or pictures.  He even had a predatory dinosaur skull facing him much like the previous episode.  Poor John!


Did anyone else think that Anya gave herself the kiss of death when she exclaimed she didn't care what happened to Harmon Kryger?  Sparks felt guilty but Anya said it didn't matter as long as the Offspring provided her with her new world.



Many of us thought that Ethan would be somehow weaponized.  I specifically thought that Ethan would be come sort of rampaging monster controlled by whomever. (Julie? Yasumoto?  The Cultists?)  As it turns out Extant had a different idea.  Ethan is weaponized all right but it looks like he is intended on taking out not only himself but those closely associated with creating him.  Not good.



I thought of the TV show Lost when we witnessed the life giving pool of golden goo.  It reminded me of the subterranean lair of "The Island's" life giving source.  I think Extant is handling it origin mythology a little better.


I figured it was Katie that was walking through that airlock door but only seconds before she was revealed.  What an awesome and major surprise!  But here are some major questions....

  • Is this really Katie or an illusion given by the proximity to the life giving architect?
  • Is this a splinter in time or alternate reality?
  • If this is really Katie and she has been preserved in space by the life giving substance?
  • If this is really Katie where is her child/offspring?

The final scene was "illuminating."  I don't quite remember the specifics of my birth but this seems like a birth canal of sorts and our Offspring is being born into a new world.  Walking into the light is also metaphorical of death but that doesn't seem to be the message here.  Maybe perhaps for Anya.  I don't think she is alive down there.  I'm think she has been drained of her own life giving substance.  Her dismissive words have come back to haunt her.  Where is she anyway?  I thought she might be in some sub level of the ISEA building but I doubt they have graffiti there let alone access to the outside world.  That would be a security risk!

Final question, wouldn't it be ironic that the Offspring and it's life giving substance required our own life giving energy to live?  Maybe it existed only as pollination of sorts and needed humanity to evolve.  I'm hoping it existed as a "Space Seed" that preserved some ancient race until discovered by Man and we can evolve together.  Well, that was my original theory.  We'll see how that plays out

Two episodes to go!.

4 comments:

  1. As you say, it was quite the mind-bending episode. I never did catch that episode I missed so there are likely details I'll need to catch up on eventually (and my post I left you on the previous episode just disappeared).

    The alternate time lines are an interesting point, although I'm kind of hoping it doesn't go in that direction. It doesn't seem to fit, I don't know why.

    I'm not sure I understand the real connection between the alien and Ethan - and I feel really REALLY dense here. Are they one and the same? A group? Are the things that are using humans as hosts guardians?

    I have nothing intelligent to say, except that your post is well thought out, and makes more sense to me that the show does, at the moment... All in a good way, of course.

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  2. Ha, thanks Ingrid. I'm always happy to make sense of things even when I'm confused.

    The connection between the Alien and Ethan has been thin at best. Most of the alien's contact has been with the living and as an avatar of their dead loved ones. So we have to ask ourselves, how is it Katie is alive when we see the childhood version of her? Shouldn't she be dead? That seems to break the rules. Unless, of course, the adult Katie we just saw is just a projection from the Offspring.

    There have been a few plot holes and that's been worrisome. Not enough to derail the show but with just 2 episodes left I hope the can pull it all together.

    I joked with lemoneyes in my last post that the spores are from a type of fungi and that's it's victims are getting high off it's "mushroom" like effects. It would explain a lot.

    Thanks Ingrid.

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  3. I'm confused too. Why does Yasumoto think the alien is going to replenish his supply of life-extending goo? Does he expect the alien to create it? When and how did he decide the alien was the actual source and therefore better to have than new goo from the asteroid? Is he in for a big disappointment?

    I'm assuming Sparks surrendered himself as a diversion, to draw resources away form the search for the alien.

    I think the dead loved ones are just extremely vivid hallucinations that fool all of a person's senses. I can't cope with anything as complex as alternate time lines. Besides I don't think they are the real people at all. Little Katy isn't Katy, she's just the alien pretending to be Katy. The biggest support for this theory is that observers don't see the "dead person" they see people interacting with thin air.

    Biggest lost opportunity of the week was when Kern didn't ask Molly "How did you save your baby?" But based on the information available to him it wasn't an obvious question.

    If Odin wants to shape public opinion to take the view that humanics are too dangerous to create then he might choose to detonate Ethan in a situation that seems safe. A school assembly for example. Although I'm optimistic that Odin's tinkering will be discovered and Ethan will be defused.

    It's hard to justify but I think that might be the real Katy who boarded the Seraphin. Maybe the alien can unravel a pregnancy if it chooses. Being confronted with the real Katy would force Sparks to re-evaluate his behavior with little Katy in a way nothing else could.

    There are a lot of open questions. I hope the last two episodes resolve enough of them to make this journey seem worthwhile.

    @lemoneyes

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    Replies
    1. You know, much earlier in the series Sparks had wondered aloud to Yasumoto when would "they" arrive and Yasumoto replied "I think they are already here." Really? Who are "They?" We know only of the Offspring now. What happened to "They?" A lost plot thread?

      As far as supplying Yasumoto with the "golden goo" I think Yasu thought as long as he had the Offspring held essentially as a prisoner that it would be no problem getting the life supporting substance from him. Not very nice in my opinion.

      If your theory is correct about Sparks then he is in for a surprise when he finds out his wife is dead. (At least I'm assuming she's dead.)

      "Extremely vivid hallucinations" I'll say! They can even be felt! Did you see my comment that the space spores might be some sort of hallucinogenic mushroom? I'm only half kidding!

      I like your thinking about the school bombing. Seems right if not horrific. Do you think the Offspring will warn Molly and John about the bomb?

      I'm disappointed the Offspring can project both the living and the dead. It would have been eerier if it was just the dead. Both seems a cheat and makes the Offspring more manipulative and or malevolent. I think Sparks is way past redemption.

      More answers tonight! (I hope.)

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