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CBS (ended 2015)

Extant S01E03: "With You Were Here"


Hello! Kaitlin is off playing footsie with the ghost of her third-grade sweetheart while orbiting th Jupiter moon Io, so I'm here in her stead to review Extant while we wait for her to re-enter our atmosphere. 

Before we get to "Wish You Were Here," a brief overview of my thoughts on the show so far: It' okay. The series arrived pre-built, with so much stuff going on (namely, alien baby and roboboy) that its early episodes have really only taken simple first steps to expand on its big plot points, without a whole lot of depth to lock viewers in. 

Think about what you knew going into the series: Halle Berry is pregnant with an alien baby, and her son Ethan is a robot. And think about what you know now: Halle Berry his pregnant with an alien-ghost baby, her son Ethan is a robot, and ISEA is bad news. For one thing, of course ISEA is awful; we could have seen that from space. Also, its name reminds me of IKEA, and if you've ever gotten lost in the furniture giant's labyrinth of inexpensive Euro homegoods, then you know that's not a good mental association to have. Extant isn't moving too fast, preferring to build mystery with Molly's continued hallucinations and the dreaded sci-fi trope of strange patterns randomly and repeatedly appearing in unusual places, but there's nothing terribly wrong with it. It's just a little safe and boring.


"Wish You Were Here" was built on a lie. Sparks told Molly that she got preggo in space because she was part of a super-secret government program that tinkered with astronauts unbeknownst to them, and they shot Molly up with some nanotech that was time-released to help fix her anovulation. It was a pretty good explanation, because I had no idea what the F he was talking about; like Molly, we're supposed to just nod and agree. Except that we knew from an earlier scene that Sparks was lying ("I'm going to tell her something more believable than the truth"). The truth is more believable than THAT? Yikes! So we spent the rest of the episode waiting for Molly to catch up, and unfortunately, it didn't happen in a very interesting way. 

After hallucinating her dead boyfriend's brother Tim at her birthday party, Molly decided she was totally cuckoo and agreed to undergo some more tests from ISEA. Dr. Sam, after seeing her office raided by men in suits who were talking WAY too loud about snatching Molly's files, sent Molly a text to GTFO of Sparks' car. Molly and Sparks struggled over the steering wheel (just hit the brakes, dude), an alien baby pushed at Molly's stomach, Molly ran away, Molly's hubby John arrived at the perfect time to pick her up, and for whatever reason, Sparks didn't bother to get out of his car to stop her. It was a pretty thrilling way to end the episode—and Extant has been pretty great at ending episodes—but it didn't make for a very fulfilling hour of television. 

I think my biggest complaint about Extant so far is that I just don't care about Molly. She's too much of a victim, just running away from things and unraveling the mystery at the same pace we are. But the classic "What's happening to me?!?!?" character is better served by the limited runtime of a film; it's just not as compelling on television, where we're following her around for an hour every week. If she were less passive and had more of an edge, she might be more interesting. 

I will also say that Academy Award-winner Halle Berry isn't that good at acting, which doesn't help. Phew, it's such a relief to get that off my chest. You may remember her for her brave performance in Monster's Ball, but all I see is Swordfish. She does look good in a dress, though, and for some reason I'm enraptured by her running. 


The biggest revelation of "Wish You Were Here" (besides the fact that in the future, when the power goes out, everyone holds a candle instead of placing candles around the room) was that Molly told John she's pregnant and John didn't flip a table or call her a cheating whore. (Or maybe he's in on it, too!) It's a promising sign that Extant didn't keep Molly's pregnancy secret from John any longer, because the more John knows about Molly's situation, the more cohesive Extant will seem as stories intertwine. Of course, Molly felt a little better about telling John the truth because Sparks told her the baby is theirs, and we all know it's really an alien ghost baby! At least, it better be. 

CBS's description of "Wish You Were Here" said it would be about Ethan's first day of school, but in my opinion, the episode should've devoted a lot more time to the little android terror unleashing robo-cooties on his classmates. The alien-baby stuff will come out through the typical web of conspiracies and secrets (wake me when we get there), but Ethan's humanity or lack thereof is still delicious territory to explore. That's what I want to see! Instead, Molly unleashed a preachy and horrible speech to some pro-robo-segregation yokels about not being "afraid of different"; I would rather have seen Ethan rub paste in other kids' hair. There was supposedly a big debate about whether or not Ethan should go to school with human children, but we didn't get to see him there to judge who was right or wrong. Also, LOL at John demanding that Ethan have random experiences so that he can develop naturally and then chastising him for making his own decisions like going outside to catch pigeons. How about springing for a babysitter, John?

Extant isn't breaking new ground in the network sci-fi department, plodding along with the steps we all expect it to take. There are interesting aspects of the show—Ethan, most notably—but the focus wasn't on them in "Wish You Were Here." I'm hoping that Extant will keep John and Molly (and I suppose Ethan) on the run to add some stakes, but I'm guessing it will find a way to rein Molly back in to cooperating with the ISEA, probably to negotiate Dr. Sam's release from the goons who caught her snooping.  



NOTES

– Ethan did the Robot! That was cute. 

– "Wish You Were Here" felt like the most contemporary episode of the series thus far. Maybe the show's budget is already starting to dry up? Aside from a few shots of AppleTV 5.0, nothing seemed too futuristic this week. 

– Julie's place in the series is really coming along slowly. She needs something important to do, and I'm not sure she should be in the camp of not letting Ethan go to school. 


– Move over Ethan, you are no longer the creepiest thing in this show. That title belongs to Lucy! AHHHHHHHH!!!!!!


What'd you think of "Wish You Were Here"?


Previously Aired Episode

AIRED ON 9/9/2015

Season 2 : Episode 13

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Tonight's episode Shelter reflected much of the same flaws in plot, acting and overall storyline: why does Molly ask her father to take his grandson out when they're supposed to be in hiding ? As for Halle Berry, I'd also asked myself the same question - she is gorgeous but can she really act ? heard about Monster's Ball, so giving her some leeway, but here all you see are her big eyes and not much more. Then the monster is growing inside her in such a way that we can see its shape, but she can't tell anything is wrong? or at least feel her own belly ?
I may soon stop watching this show if it continues down the slope of ridiculousness - there's nothing worse than watching dumb characters, like the kids in a Friday the 13th movie
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I'm intrigued and that's pretty much all I need to continue to watch the show.
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I'm out. I'd rather do my taxes then watch one more episode.
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I hope not all astronauts are as dumb as Molly, otherwise we will get nowhere with the space program!
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I really hate it when astronauts and/or scientists are depicted as complete idiots on screen. What are writers thinking? Noone likes to identify with a main cast that is obviously dumb and slow, bring in some smart people for once ffs... Same thing happened with Gravity. I couldn't stand Bullock's acting. She was everything an astronaut is NOT supposed to be (like Molly). The only somewhat realistic depiction of astronauts I saw recently was in Europa which you could almost label as "daring" nowadays.
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I know this show is not for everyone but I'm willing to continue to stick with it. I said before if this was on SyFy or another network that caters to scifi shows I'd feel different, but it's CBS so I don't expect a lot. Also, having a big movie star on the show helps, even if she's not the best actress I still like it.
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It's not a hugely great show and I'm not overly fond of it, but it's not so bad that I would despise it. Began watching The Strain the same week and that's a show I'm more and more leaning toward dropping.
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I don't understand why Molly and John have to be such a vanilla couple. I can't decide if they lack chemistry or it's the way they are written but it's off-putting. A dose of realness would really make their relationship more believable. Like the guy with a slavic accent is named "John Woods"?

Halle also only has her one "acting voice", so monotone and lacking emotion, and it really does feel like she's running around waiting for things to happen to her. It really does feel like she has this woe me attitude all the time. Ugh whatever such a high-concept show and could be so much better.


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Frankly I take the lack of chemistry as intentional. Along with his character being totally self-absorbed, John is actually creepier than Jr. I see the writers writing that relationship straight into the dirt because he can't possibly be the true love of the lead for this show.
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I also thought their lack of chemistry was intentional, but I don't think the writers would premiere a disconnected relationship as a precursor to a break-up, when a pilot episode is always trying to attract an audience. Seems like self sabotage, but at this point, with the way things are going, that might be the case.
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Totally resonate with you. I'd say a lack of chemistry AND poorly written AND poorly shot AND poorly cast, is the reason why we both find Molly and John so "off-putting".

To pile on my disconnect with the show, the word "extant" meaning "still in existence" is an obscure adjective, the subject of which in the plot, is left a mystery, further distancing my connection to the show. If I knew from the beginning what was still in existence or what was a remnant, it would ground me and anchor my viewing experience a lot more.

Such wasted potential!
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Am I the only one who just can't stand that plastic man, Goran? I mean, Halle is almost equally bad in acting, but this "acting" of his is just unbearable....
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This show, in its ENTIRETY is just down-right stupid...There is zero believable or even scientific facts to make their talk plausible, Hally Berry as an astronaut is just dumb and a blatant move to attract young males to the show, the story thus far is about as ridiculous as a present-day White House action movie, where George Bush is killed by North Koreans, and all of George's staff are as ridiculous as Sergeant Shultz from Hogan's Heroes!!

Mark my words: This show is doomed to failure....Sure the 18-25 age group will love it, but that's the same age group that will pirate the show, so it has ZERO chance of going beyond 2 seasons, and the 2nd will only be CBS saving it's neck!!
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I didn't vote, because after watching this episode, NONE of the options pertained to my view of just how disgusting this show is....I'd rather see Tim do a daily review of Big Brother, as opposed to him wasting his time with this trash!!!
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Molly: ISEA messed up my brain, experimented on me without my permission, and scientifically raped me!
John: So let me take you to a different doctor!
Molly: Nah. I'm going with the ISEA. It's all good.

Apparently, in the future, you don't need to be smart to become an astronaut.
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Actually Lucy is kind of cute.
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The highlight for me was Ethan doing the Robot - "the song of my ancestors." The show needs to pick up the pace, make Molly less passive and more intelligent, give Dr. Sam more screen time and show us more about Ethan. I did think this episode was better than the week before.
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I liked it. It is slow moving at times but still entertaining. Julie is more like a mom to Ethan than Molly.

As to why Molly believe Sparks.

I am guessing Molly have a long history with Sparks, that is why she trust him. She did have her doubts and the one she really trust is Sam which she believes rightly is her real friend.

So when Sam text her "get out of the car" she did without knowing the reason. I am glad all three of them got away. It will be interesting to see them on the run next week.

I do hope there will be more "cool" tech beside the trash can that we saw.
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Did anything new actually happen. It seemed to be a bunch of scenes rehashing the same stupid situations and decisions as last week.
Was there any development at all? I must have missed it.
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Loved it. Love the show. However, I am very jealous of the amount of cashmere Halle Berry has been wearing so far.
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And in this episode of "Dumbest Astronaut Ever" Molly acts dumb. Believes dumb things people tell her because she isn't intelligent enough to call BS. I mean seriously this show and this story is so utterly bad, I can't believe that someone green lit this. The conspiracy is boring, I would rather watch a show how they conspired to give her a PhD. Because that had to have taken a concerted effort by multiple people and university officials. Wait, it is from an actual university right? Not some online degree machine? Because that would explain a lot.

I don't mind that it is slow, other shows have been slow but the story called for it and the characters and actors in the move were able to pull it off masterfully. But this is so horrendous. While I watch it, I can't stop thinking, how in the world did Berry ever win an Oscar. She is a freaking Oscar winning actress and she is right up there with the kid for worst actors on the show. Except the kid gets a pass because he is a kid and he is playing a robot.

I wanted to give this 4 episodes, but to be honest I could barely finish episode 2 and three. This might be the worst show this season certainly the summer season.
More+
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If Extant and the Leftovers got together and had a baby it would ride the short bus to school (you know, because it would be slow).

P.S. Please be creative when crafting your hate mail.
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at least The Strain saved us ;O
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I like this show. I don't mind the slow start, but I think things are about to really pick up.
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It's picking up the pace; this is good. I'm glad they didn't drag out the secret about the pregnancy. I still feel as though we are pushing this rock up a hill.
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It's an odd mix of three separate genres (maternal/family, action, science fiction), but I'm enjoying it. The show has been a little slow so far, but things started picking up near the end of this episode and I'm looking forward to next week.
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pretty much this show is going nowhere and fast, plot development was a little empty 3 episodes in and it was pretty much spent on Molly yet again deciding not to tell her husband nothing while tripping balls and hallucinating family members of her dead ex boyfriend who knocked her up in space, Extant needs to start rolling the ball and picking up the pace giving viewers something worthwhile if they plan to keep people invested in the show otherwise i don't see anything good coming out of Extant, even its its just a little summer show.
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I disagree. I think it's going nowhere slowly.
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Missed this episode. Does it rerun during the weekend? I don't live in a place where I can download.
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i dnt get it , wats the point of being in a relationship when u cant tell them ur problems or in molly case her alien pregnancy, finally she tells him,

i hope sam stays alive i dnt like killing or disappearance of main characters unexpectedly, i know some times its required to surprise the audience but i am already watching Got so i say No!!

i want to know more about the mission in the space, 13 month is a lot of time spent alone, experiment no experiment that alone can cause you psychologically.

in all i like this show just not keeping it closer on my watch list yet.
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If you hadn't seen your wife in 13 months, and she came back and said "Surprise, I'm pregnant!" then how do you think you'd react.

Two questions would come to mind: were you raped or were you unfaithful. Given the circumstances of her trip, it could go either way.

Meanwhile there was the impossibility of the whole scenario: she wanted proof that it wasn't just some fake hormonal thing. Which they only got recently via ultra sound.

So... honestly I wouldn't blame her for taking her time to tell her husband.
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Well, given the circumstances, it could go neither way, which is the hook of the show.

Barring a cosmonaut visitor (which they said didn't happen), she could not be pregnant because there was nothing in the space station that she could interbreed with however many weeks ago she got pregnant.
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Obviously... I'm just talking about first reaction.

Your second thought would be "Wait, weren't you ALONE"

And third thought would be "WHO THE HELL IS LYING TO ME. Someone OBVIOUSLY was up there with you. @$@#$" Since I doubt anyone would even consider divine or alien intervention even subconsciously.

In which case... as the wife, you'd probably not want all of THAT going on until you were sure your body just wasn't doing some hormonal weirdness to fake out the test.

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It was mostly slow until the ending.
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