Extant Review: The Final Showdown

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Well, that was a doozy.

A lot happened in tonight's two-hour season finale of Extant. While the block of episodes lagged in places and felt a bit baggy, when observed together, Extant Season 2 Episode 12 and Extant Season 2 Episode 13 did a pretty good job of tying up all of this season's loose ends – and it was definitely a huge improvement over the chaotic mixed bag of Extant Season 1.

Stopping the Plot - Extant

First thing's first: JD made it out alive! Honestly, no one could be more shocked about this than me. I was sure that he was a goner. Granted, the finale went a bit heavy with all of the red herrings about his fate (seriously, I swear that they hinted he was dying any minute now at least four separate times), but it was a pleasant surprise nonetheless.

JD: What the hell? Molly, that's damn near healed up. We both know that's impossible. Unless... Did you give me your blood?
Molly Yes.
JD: Were you gonna tell me or just wait until my eyes lit up when I was shaving?

The same can't be said for Fiona Stanton, Lucy, and the various other Humanichs. They were all wiped out as casualties of the fight to take down Taylor.

Lucy's death was a little weird. I don't feel that the writers did a very satisfying job of making her sympathetic. It was clear that we were supposed to take a cue from Charlie and feel a tinge of sadness as she died, but I didn't really have that reaction.

Lucy was selfish. That was her primary characteristic. She consistently acted in her own self interests, to the detriment of others. She leveraged personal relationships to achieve her own agenda. In short, she was not a likeable or sympathetic character.

On a rational, textbook level, I understand that we were supposed to be moved by the fact that as she died, she told Charlie she felt free. I understand that this was supposed to tie in to her larger goal to be recognized and treated like a person, rather than like a machine.

However, this ended up being one of many instances where Extant's clunky dialogue exhibited the writers' damaging mentality of "tell, don't show." We were told all of these things about Lucy, but didn't really have a chance to see them develop organically. I found it hard to take seriously, and therefore I found it hard to root for and/or sympathize with her struggle to be a "Real Girl," or whatever.

The other major death that occurred in the finale was that of Fiona Stanton. Fiona was developed into a much larger character in the latter half of this season, so I was surprised to see her death announced with literally no fanfare. She died off-screen, which was definitely shocking. I think that was an interesting choice, and I'm glad that we were spared a melodramatic death scene.

I'm a threat assessment algorithm. And what I've assessed is that human beings are locked in a death spiral. One that will end not only with their extinction, but the poisoning of the planet. My recommendation is to till the soil.

Taylor

I think we can all agree that Taylor isn't dead. That closing scene, with a mysterious man ordering a coffee under the name "Taylor" (spelled TAALR – the machine's accurate abbreviation spelling).

That, paired with the brief moment of a human-looking hand twitching to life over in the Humanichs lab right after the emergency start-up – it all seems to suggest that Taylor pulled off a very crafty little jump into a spare Humanich body.

Alternatively, this could be the best red herring of all the many red herrings this season: maybe the suspicious TAALR spelling on the coffee cup is just a joke about Starbucks baristas' atrocious name spelling, and this guy is just some other random Taylor.

Okay, probably not, but I thought I'd throw that possibility out there.

And speaking of spare Humanich parts: Molly & Team had such a well thought out plan for the majority of the Taylor takedown mission. Why didn't it occur to them to take the extra precaution of destroying the spare Humanich bodies?

Molly's closing speech, while sappy, was a nice call-back to the beginning of this season and closed Molly's arc in a very effective way.

Logically, I don't buy that Molly would be able to call an assembly of government officials after being a wanted fugitive for weeks, but disregarding that I thought it was a nice moment. (Basically, just suspend logic and watching this show will be a far more pleasant experience.)

My name is Molly Woods and I went to space on a thirteen month solo mission... but I didn't come home alone. I testified before Congress that no alien life form had ever set foot on planet Earth. I lied. And today, I'm here to speak the truth. I'd like you to meet someone. Ares, stand up. Ares is one of many survivors of atrocities committed by our government. Yes, he's different from us. But not so different, really. If you cut him, he bleeds. And if you hurt him, he'll fight. But he doesn't want war or destruction. He dreams of a family, of safety, of a place where he can settle among people he's never known, as if he's known them his whole life. He dreams of a home. Ladies and gentlemen, there is life out there. And now, it's here.

Molly

I also think it's worth mentioning that John Woods has now saved the day from beyond the grave at least twice.

First, John set the whole Taylor takedown plan in motion when it was revealed that he had programmed into Ethan an emergency message to be activated when a Humanich killed a human. That message ended up pointing them to Calderon and, in turn, to the key to destroying Taylor (the amulet).

Second, John apparently had that firewall set up for Ethan, which ended up preventing him from being destroyed along with the other Humanichs. This one was a little bit more believable (sure, he'd want his son to have a protective failsafe) but in all, the two instances were just so convenient. Honestly, it struck me as a bit lazy from a writing standpoint:

"Uh-oh, stagnant plot development/we can't believably introduce this obvious plot device? Better have a thing where John thought up contingency plans for every possible way something could go wrong with his inventions!"

Overall, I really liked how everyone came together and contributed in some way towards the plan to defeat Taylor/the Humanichs. Even Dorothy showed up, though I think that appearance was part of the bagginess that I mentioned at the beginning of this review – there was really no serious reason for her to be there, and if you removed her from the episode, nothing would have been lost.

Spare Parts:

  • What happened to Anna? Did I miss that? She wasn't really important, but she just kind of vanished. This show isn't great at balancing recurring character.
  • Ditto Terra. Where did Terra go after she brought Molly to Ares' hybrid hideaway? It makes sense that she would stay put with the other hybrids who weren't participating in the Taylor take-down plan, but I don't think that was explicitly addressed.
  • If this show makes it to season three, I'd like the writers to clear up the alien blood biology. Why exactly didn't JD turn into a hybrid? How does it work? Is it really just random – do some humans just randomly reject hybrid/alien blood? It was weird. I wish there was some consistency; it would be easier to keep track of everything.
  • I love how casual Barista Girl was about Molly's speech, and there being aliens on Earth now. She may as well have been listening to a weather report about how there was going to be a storm on Tuesday.

What did you all think of this two-part finale? How did it hold up as a season finale? How about as a potential series finale, in case the show is not picked up for a third season?

You can wrap your head around it all when you watch Extant online right here via TV Fanatic.

Double Vision Review

Editor Rating: 3.5 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.5 / 5.0 (12 Votes)

Caralynn Lippo is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.

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Extant Season 2 Episode 12 Quotes

Brazilia, Shanghai, Tel Aviv, Seoul, Mumbai, Lagos, Saint Petersburg. Have a nice flight.

Lucy

Artificial super intelligence controlling an army of highly-skilled killer robots. It's our futurist nightmare.

Charlie