Let’s just call this one B-movie bliss. It’s not the smartest sci-fi TV show we’ve ever seen, but it’s also not the dumbest. It has some simple ideas (robots, aliens, master computers, cars that drive themselves), but it’s learning to combine them in interesting ways. And casting has been pretty creative throughout, with discovery of a major new talent (the uncannily good Pierce Gagnon, so convincing as a nice little robot boy), several colorful character roles (Lou Gossett Jr. as Berry’s unreliable father; Kate Burton giving us her steeliest Hilary Clinton as Fiona Stanton – no, I’m not stuttering), plus some tragic turns for the conflicted Julie Gelineau (played by Streep daughter Grace Gummer) and the amoral Lucy (given a wide-eyed spooky vibe by Kiersey Clemons). The guys have been largely wasted, but if Molly Woods is the Superman of this story (and morally she is the lesson-teacher not just for her two children, but also for President Stanton, for Julie, and for most of the other people she encounters), that’s because they’re all the Lois Lanes, destined to be imperiled and rescued, as long as no one finds Molly’s kryptonite. It’s rather interesting watching a he-man (“I see you as a cowboy,” says Molly at one point) like Jeffrey Dean Morgan have to talk Molly into taking him along on a dangerous mission, since she’s frightened over having seen a vision of his death. He should really heed her warning, seeing as David Morrissey’s General Tobey was taken out by a drone missile while seeking her and Goran Visjnic’s John Woods was also killed while they were estranged. Really, some of the most credible scenes have been those between Berry and Melina Kanakeredes as JD’s estranged ex-wife, and that’s sort of a testament to the girl power stone this show keeps leaving unturned, because some part of it still really wants to be a romance novel, too. We got sexy shower scenes with Molly and John last season, and we get sexy camping out tent scenes with the cowboy this year (and would have had some with David Morrissey too, probably, if he wasn’t so long in coming around to her point of view). Anyway, what happens this episode is that we meet another charismatic character, the recently revealed and hard to believe in Nicholas Calderon, who may or may not have been orchestrating all the disasters that have been unfolding, including Tobey and John’s deaths and the humanichs takeover of their own production and deployment worldwide. Hardworking voice and character actor Keith David was given the role, and he runs with it, selling us on Calderon’s sincerity, fear and frustration (once they find him living in seclusion under an invisible force field). He even almost makes a very silly plot point work, in that he needs to steal Ethan’s voice modulator because that of his own humanichs companion has failed, and Frankie (Frankenstein’s bride? Of course) can no longer speak. Ridiculous and beneath everyone involved (when Frankie’s first words are “What the hell is wrong with you?” it’s a clue of how clunky things can be), but I know why they did it. So that when Calderon makes his “zugzwang” gesture later in the episode, we’ll have any sympathy at all for him. Overblown, but it’s the script, not the acting at fault. Of course it isn’t Calderon behind it all. No, instead it’s the super-computer TAALR, and now we know why he was introduced with such fanfare several episodes back. Can Extant make three sci-fi disaster scenarios work together in the two hour finale? Signs point to …. 60% probability of maybe? We already know they’ve got one great idea in store from the teaser: Robot Halle Berry! When you did the alien pregnancy cliché as most of your first season, of course you need an evil doppelganger to round out your second! Extant 2.11 "Zugzwang"Shawn's Rating3.0Overall 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.