Sunday, 19 July 2015

Extant: S02E03: "Empathy for the devil"

Rating: 5

In A Nutshell

I timed it this week, because the opening introduction from last week isn't a one-off. We had it this week. 57 seconds it lasts, whilst Molly summaries events from this and last season. Why do we need reminding of this every week? I've tried hard to forget last season!

The episode starts with far too long an explanation of what happened five months earlier to Molly's alien son. We didn't need to see this, because we knew enough from last week to have an imagination, and seeing it all was not any bit more interesting. So he metamorphoses in the morgue, nicks some clothes from the workers, and then spends a few months eating and watching TV in a flat he's tricked someone into letting him use. What was the point of all that?

Meanwhile, at that bar, alien son notices the cameras watching him, which it seems he's not noticed on any other night at this bar or for the last half hour he's been in there ... but he does when a drone is coming. Anyhow he doesn't know about drone, and invites Molly outside, which she seems really up for, like she's suddenly a hooker. Outside in alley, JD shows up, having tracked her, and this is when the plot goes bizarre as the alien uses mind control to have JD aim his gun at his own head, which is when Molly realises he's not only an alien but her son! Seriously! She didn't know? Why the heck was she at that bar and hooking up with a young man for sex then? This just makes no sense. Even the drone strike on the building, which JD amazingly figures out at last minute to protect them, doesn't knock any sense into them. They get interrogated by Toby and his military staff, which leads to some entertaining dialogue with JD but some rather plain and odd dialogue with Molly and anyone she talks to at that place. Just plain odd. Not only that, but minutes later, JD is released without charge and Molly is in a green looking space suit walking about the military place. Why did she change clothes? Is it compulsory for her to wear spacesuits?

Lucy is having more tests. Her behaviour is weird too, but one would expect that given her programming and lack of any ethical standards. She doesn't do what she's told and is happy to think that killing children is a good thing if it means getting the terrorist when she's given a field test. This I can all accept, even if it's all rather simpleton stuff. At least we finally get confirmation that Lucy is being built to tackle the alien. Any bets on it being Ethan who wins the day on that one? This episode though he's having several moments when he just pauses, stares into space, as he has memories of Molly. Seems deleting his memories that Julie did to have him think she's his mum, isn't a good idea. Go figure? These scenes are very cringe too. Very simpleton moments. He still annoys me as a character.

JD is the star of the show still. Oozing charisma and intrigue as he turns up, lounging about in Molly's home after she's been given some crash course on shooting a gun (which she seems to do laughably ace on). Everyone is expecting the alien son to visit her, so the conversation with JD is welcome over any dull alien son encounter. However, she starts her itching thing, and sends JD on his way, before the local power grid goes down and out of the shadows comes Captain no-charisma, her son. Totally expectedly she caves in at shooting him, and he speaks the most boring sentences ever, before showing her that there are other alien kids around. Whether they are actually in that room and invisible or spread over the planet, one doesn't know. It's enough to make her say the most rubbish sounding "no, no, no" cries ever.

Meanwhile, JD has gone home (although I figured he might have disobeyed Molly and stayed about nearby) and finds his daughter on the doorstep. She says she pregnant. He's shocked, although the convenient plot line tie in to alien pregnancies is not too shocking in this programme which seems to have limited shock value.

Molly awakes from her alien son encounter to find an empty house. Someone is opening the back door though and walking in! It must be her son, so she blows the crap out of him with the gun. Yup, just shoot and ask questions later. Turns out it's Toby she's shot! Is he dead? Is the world flat? It's a cliffhanger on the sort of badger mound kind. Guessing he'll be ok. Why did she think her son would be coming back in the door? Popped out for a smoke???

What I liked

JD; easily the most interesting and watchable character this show has ever seen.

What I Didn't Like

57 second opening summary of 1 and a bit seasons :(

5 months earlier flashback to show Molly's alien son come alive in the morgue and live it up in a flat. 4 or more minutes to tell us nothing that the narrative hadn't already told us.

Toby, aka David Morrissey, just seems to bellow commands and look like he's lying with everything he says. That seems to be the kind of person David plays in every show. And he seems to always be shouting, even when talking quietly!

Julie; this weeks random behaviour person. Ok, they all are pretty random, but she's the queen this episode. I get she's stressed but her behaviour with Charlie is just bizarre and desperate. It's not just Lucy that needs an ethical algorithm but Julie does too.


That's the sound of us viewers falling asleep my dear

... which just about makes the whole segment completely bizarre.

Why did she change into this green space suit thing?

... and give JD much more air time whilst you're at it!

So, there's lots of alien children going around? Invisible?

And Finally

The pace slows and so does any quality. The faster things move in this show, and the less time we get to think, the better. So it's really a serious degrade in believability and interest this week. The title of episode is about having empathy for the enemy but I'm not sure how we gain any from what's happened in this episode! 

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