It certainly wasn't perfect, but I have to admit that this was a pretty exciting episode of Extant. A lot happened... to say the least.
Don't Shoot The Messenger actually felt more like a penultimate episode, an immediate lead-in to the season finale, so I can't even imagine what other craziness is in store for us next.
On Extant Season 2 Episode 10, Molly (unsurprisingly) revived, only to be thrown right back into the thick of things – including the sudden uncovering of a potential mastermind behind the Humanichs' off-the-rails behavior.
Can we talk about that molting scene for a minute? For one, it was gross. For another, it's still more than a bit unclear exactly what Molly has become (or is becoming? or is?) We got that brief hackneyed science lesson a few weeks back, when the Asian woman being interviewed by Shayna was tested on by Nate, but it seems that they are implying Molly is now fully a hybrid.
Molly: Our people didn't come clear around the universe so you could die. We came to live.
Terra: You're not one of us.
Molly: Yes, I am. I shed the last of my old life today. Woke with clear eyes and an understanding of what can be. We can build the future... together.
The mythology on this show has always been shaky. I feel like they could have clarified this point better than they have – but then again, the show's dialogue has a tendency to veer towards the clunky, so maybe it's best we didn't end up with full-on exposition for Molly's current status on the human-alien spectrum.
Another issue I had with this episode (and, truly, with the season altogether) is the inconsistency of Toby's character. Ironically, his most consistent personality trait is his inconsistency (he can always be counted on to act out of character).
One minute, Toby is ready to eradicate an entire village of men, women and children to eliminate the so-called "hybrid threat," effectively kicking off the war between the humans and the hybrids single-handedly. The next minute, he's insisting to Terra that he doesn't want her to die, that she's too young to die. What?
I understand, in theory, that the show-runners were probably going for "he's a complicated guy" – but that's not the end result. Sure, we have what appear to be attempts at character-building moments (like his thirty second appearance at his niece's birthday party, which gave him a chance to unload a brief "woe is me and my tough line of work" shtick on his sister), but these moments are so sporadic and poorly integrated into the larger framework of the show that they become almost wholly ineffective.
In short: I don't buy it. I don't think Toby is a believable character (villain or hero, either way) and I only find it annoying when Molly consistently gives him the benefit of the doubt.
I would say that he's definitely dead now, but I was pretty sure Toby had died a few weeks back when Molly shot him in the chest, and that turned out to be completely false. So who knows? Maybe he can survive the impact of a fighter jet-directed missile, too. I wouldn't be surprised.
Speaking of death: the writing is on the wall for my beloved JD. We saw Molly flash back to that carnival dream-vision several times in which she watched him slowly bleed to death while she held a gun. Plus, he (in real life) gave her a gun this week. Is Molly going to accidentally kill JD?
Probably not. I do think that he'll die, though (unfortunately).
The dream-vision was most likely metaphorical. JD will die (or nearly die, if we're being optimistic) as a casualty (or near casualty – trying so hard to be
in denial optimistic, here) of the hybrid-human-Humanich war, and Molly will feel guilty. She will feel as though she effectively killed him herself, having gotten him involved in her mess of a life.
Then again, it's more than possible that this is a red herring, a deliberate misdirect, and that someone else will die in JD's stead. Perhaps Julie? That would do nicely to complete the excellent character rehabilitation/overhaul that's taken place over the course of the season.
Basically, someone is going to die in the finale; I'm sure of it. Even assuming that Toby is really dead, I refuse to consider that death the big shocker of the season. There has to be an upcoming death shocker.
Toby: Nicholas Calderon, what do you know about him?
Molly: All I know is that he and John created the Humanich prototype together, they had a huge falling out. And then...
Toby: His work took a turn for the dramatic. Blew up a defense building in Wichita a few years back. Swore he was just getting warmed up.
The big reveal of this episode was that Calderon, mentioned one or twice before, is either the Big Bad or the only hope for humanity.
I'm not thrilled with the way that Calderon was introduced so late in the game, or the (surprise) clunky way that Molly and Toby's exposition-filled conversation gave us the rundown on all things Calderon. That could have been handled better.
That said, I do think that this devil-or-savior twist is fairly interesting. I'm not sure how Calderon can possibly be configured as a savior given Toby's intel that he'd blown up a building in Wichita, so that's a little confusing – but I'm definitely game to see how this all turns out.
Molly? This is John. If you're listening to this, it means I'm dead. I built this message into Ethan in the event of the worst case scenario. That scenario has happened. A Humanich has killed a human being and breached the primary protocol. This is a harbinger of greater crimes to come. There's only one thing that can stop them. The person who has been entrusted with guarding this is Nicholas Calderon. He's your only hope.John (through Ethan)
John's voice-from-beyond-the-grave speech to Molly via Ethan was equal parts creepy as all get-out and amusing. I've said before that I love Pierce Gagnon's performance and his serious, adorable little facial expressions. The pairing of Goran Visnjic's voice and Gagnon's "this is all very serious" grimace was really funny (probably unintentionally so).
The actual message was ominous and provided a great turning point for how the group will deal with Calderon. Will they find him in time to stop mass chaos? If he isn't the controlling force behind the out-of-control Humanichs army, who is?
- Was anyone else feeling hit over the head with the oblique Star Wars homage in that John speech? All I could hear was "Help me Obi-Wan Kenobi, you're my only hope."
- The situation with Terra was resolved a little too easily, so I wasn't surprised to see Ares show up at the end of the episode. I wonder whether he'll be talked down from his violent ways/recruited to the good guy squad, or if he'll need to be taken out.
- THAT KISS. Don't think I forgot about that JD/Molly kiss, folks. It was absolutely worth the wait. That JDM/Halle Berry chemistry has been the shining bright point at the center of this season, and is a big reason why I considered it a vast improvement over the messier first season.
- I like that Molly and Julie have somehow, against all odds, wound up on the same side. Curious to know whether Molly has any recollection of Julie's heartfelt speech of last week, given over her unconscious carnival-dreaming body.
What did you all think of this week's episode? Is Toby really dead? Is JD a goner, or is all of this foreshadowing a misdirect? Is Calderon friend or foe? Sound off in the comments below and remember that you can watch Extant online right here at TV Fanatic to catch up on anything you've missed before Extant Season 2 Episode 11.
Caralynn Lippo is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.