Saturday, 12 September 2015

Extant: S02E11: "Zugzwang"

Rating: 4

In A Nutshell

Extant is adrift at sea at this point. Clinging to what remains of a decent opening episode to the season, it's only just keeping itself above water, mostly thanks to singlehanded greatness by JD but even he can't save the show anymore now that he's been fully integrated into Molly Madness Mania and started to become just about as dull as she is.

Things start off all reasonably strongly thanks to the stiff upper lip authority of the new head of GSC (although she was more senior than Toby anyway) Fiona, as she waltzes through the building stiring up the staff and making sure they roll up their socks after more breaches in security than quite frankly any of them should still be employed for.

"What do we want?" She asks.
"Hybrids Dead" the staff reply.
"When do we want them dead?" she shouts.
"At least two episodes ago!" they reply.

Ok, none of that speech went on but it should have. She might look in control and serious but she's also stupid as she's entrusting Lucy to be her personal security and spends her time talking to supercomputer A.I. Taalor for advice who is so pro-humanichs that you'd think she'd suspect his advice by now. His final recommendation of the episode for her is to get humanichs on the street to protect humanity. Seems like an OTT idea. We know hybrids are all over the world, but you'd think from this show that there's only a handful of them lurking within this one part of the USA.

Julie and Molly are all loved up together still, as she hands over Ethan to her. This makes little sense, as it's not exactly Julie's decision is it, and there's no mention of if it's for weekend or not. Seems no one is checking what Julie does with Ethan anymore. Charlie and Julie, despite now having humanichs everywhere in their lab, and so obviously being very fake spies as they slyly and amusingly watch everything the two remaining humans do, Charlie and Julie decide to lure Lucy to a date in order to hack her to find out who is sending her instructions. The rather quick and simple date with Charlie goes to plan, and the fake chip implanted into her, but things quickly go south rather predictably, when their hack is discovered. Lucy then turns on her evil chip, and kidnaps Julie, leaving her in an airtight and oxygen depleting storage box for Charlie to try and find. I'd wish him good luck, but I get the feeling he'll not need it.

Meanwhile, the only interesting part of last week's episode concerning if Calderon was good, bad, or maybe somewhere in the middle, is rapidly extinguished. After Molly pulls out a box (from somewhere??) that contains the only leftovers from her previous house, Ethan finds himself playing chess with Calderon using the chessboard from the box. Quite how they jumped at it being Calderon I don't know. He sends them his coordinates, and off they go to the middle of nowhere, where thanks to some dead birds, Molly figures out there's an invisible security fence hiding his establishment. Sure enough, there is, and in they go and end up briefly being held up by Calderon and his robot partner, before things are turned on their head and JD, Molly and Ethan have control of the situation. It's never made clear for ages that Calderon's partner is a humanich, so I don't know why he didn't have her do some special combat moves instead of just simply stick her hands up. Anyhow, Calderon turns out to be mostly all talk and rather dull when it comes to being much use. He blames Taalor for John and Toby's deaths, claiming the A.I. has gone nuts and will do anything to protect humanity, including killing billions of people in the process. After watching Calderon perve on JD and Molly having sex overnight at his place, we then hear him attacking Ethan, who could easily have broken Calderon into two but didn't. JD and Molly dress in super quick time to rescue Ethan, with Calderon claiming he only wanted Ethan's speech chip for his partner who is mute. Ethan fixes the mute and Calderon is then predictably and rather boringly super nice and helpful. He breaks cover to retrieve the pendant from a security box in town, giving it to Molly before he's arrested.

What I liked

Charlie and Julie's plotting was at least a decent subplot, but you just knew that Lucy would be one step ahead of them. I bet Lucy is finally silenced (again) by something rather pointless, like a short circuit, because she's far too intelligent for any complicated hacks.

Lucy is an obnoxious bitch but at least we all know what she's about by now.

There was a nice mystery as to who or what Calderon was about but ...

What I Didn't Like

... Calderon turned up to be very boring and ordinary. A sophisticated elaborate security system, and hidden clues to finding him and we get someone who didn't know much more than about the pendant and couldn't even fix his humanich's speech chip.

Molly and all her "I'm worried I'll kill you JD" rubbish. She's really willing to suddenly forget all the hybrid and humanich crap, just to save JD?


Lucy loves secretes. We love intriguing storylines and mystery but there's fat chance of that in this show.

No one wanted to see this; except Calderon who pervs on Molly and JD.

Julie is trapped, but at least she's got a handy countdown to death.

Calderon, a name only spoken  a few episodes ago, gives himself up, and becomes just another underused rubbish cog in a rather lagging plot.

Puck up those lips, GSC Chief Fiona is not to be messed with as she gives a rousing team speech this week. Well, she tried.
And Finally

Barely keeping itself above dullness, the show continues to suffer from the same issues of last season, when there were at least 5 episodes more to the season than anyone really wanted or needed. This all feels very much like filler and stretching out ways to make something vaguely interesting more dull by having too many concepts outstay their welcome.

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