Wait, what just happened? Did Extant, with only 4 episodes to go in season 2 (and while the new fall season is looming to distract everyone still watching) suddenly get good? Was all that misdirection and overload of plot points mixed in with hoary clichés in recent weeks just a red herring? Because this episode has surprise reveals that actually land, interesting twists and turns, and it even leads us down some predictable paths in unexpected new ways that may yet pay off. I was set to explore racial issues in this review, specifically the roles Extant has cast with black male actors. They’re largely clichés, either vengeful aliens (shades of the casting of Klingons in Trek and other ham-handed science fiction attempts to deal with Otherness). Lou Gossett Jr. embodied Molly’s disappointing father skillfully, but he was an unreliable philanderer and hustler Molly couldn’t trust. Black actors portrayed the alien she encountered in the space station (was he just a dream of born of her own desire, like Uhura’s seduction by the Swahili salt vampire?), and her hybrid son at various ages, including a petulant child, a serial killing lothario, and a ruefully wise leader before his accelerated death. And half-way through this season, we started hearing of Calderon, some sort of gray immanence working behind the scenes to tamper with John Wood’s humanichs program, some sort of evil string-puller with a nefarious agenda of his own. He’s been in charge of TAALR, the computer General Tobias consults for advice, and he may have rewritten the Humanichs software and killed John himself. The few pictures we saw on vid-screens seem to indicate he’ll be played by a black character actor. We don’t know yet because he’s kind of been sprung on us at the last minute. Will he be as corrupt as the Japanese business man from season one played by Hiroyuki Sanada, the obsessed seeker of immortality? The nice surprise at the end is that Calderon (who has commandeered control of the Humanichs army remotely) may offer salvation than destruction. In fact there’s a lot more going on than simple stereotyping, though the characters are definitely designed to embody recognizable archetypes. There’s almost a throw-away moment this episode, when JD (fully on board the save Molly bandwagon just like drinking buddy General Toby), having seen the discarded husk on the floor of Molly’s supposed near-death bed, asks her if she molted? Yes she did (which is what last week’s spectral dream sequence was about). Now she’s been given a second chance at life, better and stronger than she was before. Which is something Halle Berry should always get to say in every project. That’s just the sort of loopy nonsense the show really wants to explore, not love affairs and gunplay but human evolution, societal and personal transformation, revelation coming about through radical, unpredictable change. That’s why they’re pitting robots against aliens, and why they’ve hired a Hilary-esque actress to play the real decision maker at the GSC headquarters, Fiona Stanton. The message is clear: yes, if it comes to that, Hilary will lead the robot uprising. But will she face a counter moral life-force from someone like Molly, or just unleash an angry death-drive from the killer robot Lucy? Where do Ethan and Julie (newly honest with each other and repentant after a season of betrayals), and even John fit into all this. We get a final message from beyond the grave from him (delivered spookily out of his son’s mouth) that throws everything up in the air. Which is great, keep the twists coming, the stranger the better! Extant 2.10 "Don't Shoot the Messenger"Shawn's Rating4.0Overall ScoreReader Rating: (0 Votes)Share this:TweetShare on TumblrLike this:Like Loading... Related Leave a Reply Cancel ReplyYou must be logged in to post a comment.