Extant 1×13 Review: Ascension
I stuck with Extant the entire season, and though it made a few missteps, the finale made it all worthwhile for me. I’m all for shows that have a strong female lead (in this case, a POC one), aliens, robots, and raises questions about one’s humanity.
Minor spoilers are extant in this post. You have been warned!
CBS promoted the show very hard but their hope it will match the premiere of Under The Dome didn’t happen. Week after week Extant saw a drop in viewers, and the timeslots kept changing. The network evens started to air two episodes together. Some fans saw this as an indication that the show was going to be cancelled. I personally welcomed the ‘two-episodes-in-one-week’ change because it made for a better viewing experience. There are so many twists and turns in the show that I wish it had come out all at once like Orange is The New Black.
A lot of reviewers have already said that Extant isn’t for everyone, and I agree with them. It doesn’t have shirtless guys prancing around or love triangles. Extant is a sci-fi show that stars the Woods family as its heart and soul. And from my own experience as a reviewer, I know sci-fi isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. Even catering to loyal sci-fi fans is tough even if Steven Spielberg is the executive producer.
I agree with a lot of the viewers that have complained about the show tackling too much at once. The robot kid’s arc (played marvelously by Pierce Gagon) could’ve provided enough content to last a 13-episode season. Extant, howevver, gave us an alien pregnancy, an anti-machine revolution, Earth-invading aliens, and a villain obsessed with immortality at the same time. The writers did their best to tackle every storyline but more than once it came across as a mess. Revealing that Molly Woods (Halle Berry) was pregnant with an alien baby, before the show aired was a wrong move in my opinion. It would’ve made for a better surprising effect if it was revealed in the premiere.
With a lot of storylines, one can see that Mickey Fisher is a very ambitious writer. Yes, there were times the story went out of control but I applaud Fisher for nicely tying up a lot of loose ends in the finale. Even if the show doesn’t return for a second season, the finale was surprisingly satisfying and had one of the best acting in the entire season. Berry can cry and cry she did, and it looked beautiful and heart wrenching in the finale.
I loved the message the show tried to convey about humanity and love. Is it our connection with actual human being? Can a human have a strong bond with a machine? Can one love an alien? I have to be honest; I was weary of Ethan (Pierce Gagon) at first. I was anticipating an evil robot kid storyline but the finale took everything in another direction. In the end, it was Ethan who sacrificed himself to save Molly. If anyone is going to become an evil A.I, it’s going to be B.E.N. He reminded me of the Red Queen from the Resident Evil film series.
Another thing I enjoyed about the series was Molly Woods, the lead female character. She has a lot of flaws. She was also a bit annoying in a lot of the episodes but the writers took all of these traits and made her shine bright during the finale. I like characters that are layered. I want writers to make me hate as well as love a character at the same time, and that’s what they did with Molly. In the course of 13-episodes I got to see her different faces: a woman who wanted to escape all of her problems, a mother trying to protect her child (even the robot one), a fighter, a survivor, and in the end, a hero who saved all of humanity.
There were things I wished would’ve been resolved further. The finale didn’t show Alan Sparks or Hideki Yasumoto. I wanted to know what the two antagonists have been up to after their plans were revealed during the course of the season. I also wanted to see Odin and Femi Dodd. Maybe they left some things for another season? I also feel the show ended an amazing relationship between the male characters, Kern (Maury Sterling) and Kryger (Brad Beyer). Those two could’ve given shipping enthusiastic fans something to look forward to. Fingers crossed Kryger gets resurrected or something similar happens!
Speaking of a second season, is there any hope? I don’t know. But if it does get an order I hope the writers take into consideration the complaints of the fans and try to tighten the pace. Binge-watching Extant helps make it more enjoyable and the current pace needs to be changed if the network wants to release episodes on a weekly basis.
Did you watch the Extant finale? What are your thoughts about the show? Will Extant go extinct? Let us know!
Farid has a Double Masters in Psychology and Biotechnology as well as an M.Phil in Molecular Genetics. He is the author of numerous books including Missing in Somerville, and The Game Master of Somerville. He gives us insight into comics, books, TV shows, anime/manga, video games, and movies.
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