Saturday, 4 July 2015

Extant: S02E01: "Change Scenario"

Rating: 6

In A Nutshell

I was seriously not expecting too much from this season two opener. I barely managed to get myself through the first season after it opened with a very promising debut episode before descending into boredom, farcical character behaviour, and tension that you could have broken with a sneeze. It spent much of last season like a poor budget B-movie with actors who couldn't convince their own mother that they were their offspring. Like most, knowing this show got a renewal, I was amazed. Having heard about the reboot, even I couldn't believe they could make this show work, but ... they did ... for now.

Season two started on a bad footing; we have an opening scene of Molly having sex with a man and then finding out it was a VR session. That's not something that goes down well with any viewer to be slapped in the mouth so quickly. They followed that up with another plotline sin; the "6 months earlier" text, and showing Molly in a mental institution. You could hear the groans all around the world. This was not shaping up very nicely in the first 5 minutes. What followed though for the next 30 minutes was mostly acceptable; we discovered that 6 months ago Molly discovered her husband John was having an affair with his assistant Julie before she had returned from space over a year ago. This seemed very convenient but not too far fetched after last season's OTT far-fetched stuff. Given I knew the character of John wasn't in this season, I was surprised to see him at all. Molly had given evidence to the government just before he turned up to say that she's sure no aliens were on earth. Complete lie, as we know. However, her alien love-child is killed off in the opening 10 minutes! He was about to feed off a baby belonging to the couple who found him in the street and instead his head blows up! Wowzers. Neither I nor him saw that coming, but at least they got rid of one of the least interesting characters of last season very quickly! Who was next? Turns out it's Molly's husband John. Yes, he doesn't get consigned to obscurity, but helps Ethan be "reborn" in a new body (yes, he is still alive. Seems he uploaded his consciousness via government computers at the end of last season. Yes, I know. Daft but hey). Molly confronts John over the affair. Things turn into a really daft but brief argument as government soldiers arrive and seize Ethan, declaring him a national security risk. He's certainly a national annoyance risk, that's for sure. Annoying to me! Anyhow, as Molly and John meet their chum at head of national security, Ethan escapes custody, but finds Julie is in with the government. yup, she's helping them develop the Ethan like bots into soldiers. John finds this out and is not happy, but on his way to somewhere (no idea where. It's not explained) his car is in an accident and it's assumed he's dead, what with the funeral being talked about in subsequent scenes.

Molly's stay in the mental institution is wholly plastic and cheese fest, but watchable. She conveniently overhears about a news story where a lady's stomach explodes and sees the similarities to last season and the aliens. So, based on just a photo, she takes it upon herself to break out of the institution, which she does with great ease. At the crime scene of this recent stomach explosion victim, she meets an investigator with more personality, charm and conviction than everyone who was in season one, called JD. After hearing bizarre claims by Molly at the crime scene, he initially doesn't believe her about aliens and conspiracies, but when he follows up on a throw away line that Molly mentioned before heading back to the mental institution, he then gets a court order to release her from this institute and into his custody. We end the episode at what seems to be speed dating, where a guy hooks up with a lady before his eyes glow just like the alien child from last season.

What I liked

Not too much Ethan. I know most critics seem to think he's the best part of the show, and sure he had more character than most, but ultimately everything he did last season didn't really fully engage me. It should of, and it was interesting, but it seemed far too CGI false, far too often. However, this season, thus far, he's on a back burner and in Julie's care/prison.

JD, the crime investigator. Easily the most interesting person of this series, and possibly this show's existence.

Nice fast paced, helping us clear out the rubbish from last season quicker than the quality of the show descended that season. Molly's husband John; dead. Alien love child; dead. Good decisions thus far, although John was actually more interesting in this episode than all of last season.

What I Didn't Like

Sure, everything moved pretty fast this episode, but that's no bad thing, as we cleared out a lot of the rubbish of last season quickly. However, starting with a fake sex scene, "x months earlier" and the classic "they put me in a mental institution, help me" was not good.

Plastic plot and cheese fest in the mental institution, but at least that's over now ... hopefully.

Aliens seem still very one-dimensional. That's ok in some ways. Maybe they only think simply, but the way they all move and speak like robots and have the awful glowing eyes, it's not scary or befitting at all.

Mental Institutions get bad stigma in this episode; abusive employees who use violence and sexual behaviour on patients, plus the institutes are not too hard to escape.


No sign of any of the space agency. Not a bad thing I guess because almost everyone who worked there was boring, plastic and changed their behaviour every time they blinked.

Dragon's Den, Extant style. Maybe someone is pitching them a decent plot?

Don't call me the governor.

Just call the show 'JD' and lets have something interesting

Didn't just grow some stubble. He grew some balls this season. And then got killed.

And Finally

A good start to season two. I enjoyed this. Everything I didn't like about most of season one was cast aside quickly, and much more interesting characters introduced. However, I'm very concerned about how this season goes, because last season the quality went downhill after 2 episodes quicker than a canon ball down a steep hill. I fear that Ethan will become critical to the plot once again and the aliens will continue to be uninteresting, despite world domination plans. Can they keep this season interesting and edgy? I hope so, but I doubt it. Almost made a 7 rating, based on clearing out the loose ends and every scene JD was in, but that wasn't quite enough.

No comments:

Post a Comment