Extant – Season 1

This past year has seen so many shows being premiered, shows that mostly look good and are seemingly ones that you want to see and follow for a few years. When the plot behind Extant was first shown, I was so excited yet now that the first season is over I am left unsatisfied, puzzled and wondering what it was all about. Extant is a science fiction television drama series created by Mickey Fisher and executive produced by Steven Spielberg. The story revolves around astronaut Molly Woods (Halle Berry) who returns home to her family inexplicably pregnant after 13 months in outer space on a solo mission.

Set sometime in the near future, astronaut Molly Woods of the International Space-Exploration Agency (ISEA) is assigned a 13-month solo mission aboard space station Seraphim. While there an alien entity, shown in forms of a blue spore, takes the form of her dead former lover Mark (who died in a car crash in which Molly survived but her unborn baby also died). She opens a hatch and sees him and after he points to her belly, he disappears. Once she gets back to earth, Molly feels off and asks her best friend and ISEA staff physician Sam Barton (Camryn Manheim) to run a separate check on her – the tests come back that she is pregnant! Molly is stunned as she & her husband John have been trying and were told that she could never get pregnant. She does not initially tell John about the pregnancy and returns home to him and their son Ethan! Dr. John Woods is a robotics engineer heading the Humanichs Project and he & his team consisting of Julie (Grace Gummer) & Charlie Arthur (Tyler Hilto) had created Ethan, a humanoid robot and the prototype for the Humanichs Project. Molly & John are treating Ethan as their own son.

While Molly tries to come to terms with her pregnancy she discovers that her bosses at ISEA, in particular director Alan Sparks and Hideki Yasumoto, owner of the Yasumoto Corporation had planned for the alien entities to come in contact with Molly. Two previous astronauts, Katie Sparks (Alan’s daughter played by Tessa Ferrer) and  Harmon Kryger (Brad Beyer) had also come into contact with the aliens and were killed. Molly is contacted by Harmon, who faked his death and has been hiding in seclusion and he tells her that there is more than meets the eye. Molly getting pregnant with a half human, half alien child means a lot to both individuals; Yasumoto is aware of previous encounter with the aliens, which can provide humans with a cure for aging and illness and needs it to help him as he is dying, while Sparks believes that it can bring back his daughter Katie. Also in the mix is Gavin Hutchinson (alias Odin James), a man Julie begins dating. He secretly leads an underground organization dedicated to eradicating advanced technology, and has targeted the Humanichs project. Sparks has Molly abducted and has the fetus removed from her, covering up all traces of a surgery on her using state of the art medical care and blackmailing Sam into keeping quiet by using her former addict brother as collateral.

The Offspring grows at an alarming rate as shows Sparks a vision of Katie as a child to keep him under control. ISEA’s DeputyDirector who initially was hostile changes his mind and helps Molly & Harmon infiltrate the warehouse where Sparks is keeping The Offspring but as they run into the team of security men. Fearing it’s own death The Offspring influences the minds of armed security personnel to kill each other while it contacts Sparks, using Katie’s image and has him smuggle it out. The Offspring needs to feed on people’s mind’s to survive and Sparks helps it to do so. He also brings Katie’s mom, his ex-wife to see Katie’s image and although initially she is protective of it, the Offspring kills her too. When Molly, Kern & Harmon confront Sparks, the latter is forced to kill Harmon by shooting at him and the Offspring escapes from there. Meanwhile an alien being shown as Katie is found by a French astronaut crew onboard a pod and they bring her to the Seraphim where ISEA astronaut Sean, now on duty, is reunited with her. However he realizes that she is a fake Katie when he spots the real Katie’s dead body in storage and is locked up. The Offspring influences Molly to enter codes that verve the Seraphim off it’s course and heading towards earth – when it crashes a large collection of alien spores will be let loose on our planet making it fertile for them to take over.

Odin meanwhile gains Ethan’s trust and uses that to plant a sophisticated bomb inside him. The Offspring makes contact with Molly; he looks human except for his eerily-glowing eyes. The offspring reveals that “the ones before the blood” and “without bodies” are coming to earth in order to survive, and he is powerless to stop them. This convinces Molly that she must go back into space agrees to take a shuttle to the Seraphim and attempt to re-establish communication with ground control, as well as install a replacement computer module to redirect the station back to its original orbit. Should this fail, Plan B is for Molly to set timed explosives to destroy the Seraphim and quickly undock the shuttle to return Sean, Katie and herself to earth. At ISEA ground control, the Offspring breaches the facility, leaving Ryan with no choice but to evacuate the crew. Though Molly is able to replace the module, the lack of ground control leaves her to use Plan B. She sets the explosives and tries to take off in the shuttle, but B.E.N. will not let her, citing ISEA protocol as she and Sean are contaminated and would endanger the earth. Molly tries a manual override, but B.E.N. has locked that out, too. At the lab, John wakes Ethan to tell him his fate. He has also learned about the ISEA evacuation, and tells Ethan that his mother may not return.

Ethan volunteers to go to the ISEA control room, knowing that the Offspring’s mind control will not affect his brain. Ethan manages to get manual override returned to Molly, but at a price: he had to heat up his body to simulate a human hand to enable override control, and the explosive is now in danger of detonating. By this time, the Offspring has made it to the control room. The doomed Ethan urges him to run away. At home five days later, Molly and Sam discuss whether the Offspring is alive, with Molly saying she is certain that he is. Molly and John lament the loss of Ethan, as do Julie and Charlie at the lab, only to have “Ethan” appear in a body-less form on their monitors and speak to them. Elsewhere, a passing couple see the Offspring walking down a city street. They ask if he is okay, and invite him into the car.

Strange and disjointed series, way too much happening in a shirt 13 episode season. The storylines causes much confusion and it’s not clever enough to close the holes in the plot. The evolution of Ethan is a cop out in the end, offering very little explanation (hopefully season 2 will fill that) and the Offspring too is not very clear about his intentions. Best thing about the show is the clever usage of technology & special effects to show us how our lives could be and what gadgets and gizmos we could use in say 20-40 years from now. The show started off very well but went off track from a scifi story to elements of a horror flick with alien/ceature bits in it. I hope the next season is more lucid.

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