Extant, one of the most anticipated thrillers of the summer, was so much more then I expected and Halle Berry makes her transition to the small screen effortlessly. The world Steven Spielberg created for this thriller mimics ours in so many ways, but the futuristic aspect is what really moves the storyline along. There’s the experimental government conspiracy, a robot child created by his father in an attempt to humanize the soul-less robots that now run the world, and a mother who got pregnant by form of alien/robot without fully knowing? I mean, if this isn’t your guilty pleasure of the summer, I don’t know what is. I should have never underestimated Mr. Spielberg, who literally blasted me into a world that I don’t ever want to be a part of. If this is where our future is heading, consider me out!
The sci-fi thriller focus on Molly (Halle Berry) who has just returned from a 13-month solo space mission and has to get back into the swing of things. This is the part NASA calls reentry– reentry into the normal world. And her body isn’t handling it too well. Molly’s son, Ethan, catches her vomiting up a storm in the bathroom before her welcome home party. What she explains is just her body adjusting to earth really just looks like morning sickness to me.
And that’s because it is. After getting her medical exam back, Molly finds out that she’s pregnant. But how could this be? She was in space… alone… for 13-months. Things are just not adding up here. Molly asks her doctor and friend to buy her some time before she gives the reports to __. Once news is out that she got impreganted in space, she’ll definitely be quarantined and put into observation and she wants to spend a little more time with her family.
But just like in any supernatural, futuristic setup, the people of the future have a lot of money and are super shady. Alvin Sparks is the director of all things space and he’s a little intrigued by Molly’s reports, mainly the ones with a 13-hour gap, which was deleted from the camera footage. She explains that during this time there was a solar flare and when she tried to get the backup video, she accidentally deleted it. Alvin plays it off like he’s glad she’s back, but deep down doesn’t believe her. It’s not like Molly to just accidentally delete something and he knows it. Does she know it? We’re provided some flashbacks to that night, which is allegedly the moment she became with child, but does Molly in the present actually remember this happening?
I’m going to assume that everything that happened that night in space was a government set up. As Molly does typical astronaut things, she’s hit by a solar flare that knocks out the power in the space station. She goes to reboot the system and notices someone standing in the doorway– her ex Marcus, whose suppose to be dead. He’s written “help me” on the window and Molly’s left questioning her sanity. After making sure she’s really awake, she wisely pins a camera to her suit and lets him in. The encounter is totally weird and I’m not sure if there’s even an explanation as to what happened. Marcus seems to be really distant and odd, quite possibly a robot or an alien. I mean, it’s not surprising given what Molly’s husband has created, but more on that later. She lets Marcus touch her face as he repeats phrases like “it’s ok” before E.T finger pointing at her belly. This may or may not be the moment where he virtually got her pregnant. I don’t really know how things like that work in the future. Is human connection even necessary? Some time obviously passes before Molly wakes up again, totally freaked out and eager to know what the hell just went down. When she checks the footage, it shows her alone, caressing a person that isn’t there and going in hard on a solo-makeout session. (Awkward!)
So, Molly does the only thing that makes sense. She deletes the footage. I mean, would you want people to watch footage of you hallucinating and making out with the air? Probably not. But, does she delete all of it? Before anyone’s seen it? And where’s our explanation for what the heck just happened? I mean, there’s no way someone else was in the spaceship with her for 13 months! Especially, not a dead guy who may or may not have been turned into a robot. And if this is a government ploy, why are they doing this? My theory is Marcus was never really dead. After seeing Alvin bring back Yasumoto, it’s safe to say anything is possible here.
Back at home, Molly tries to wrap her head around things while using her time to bond with her family. Ethan seems a little different since she last remembered him, and no it has nothing to do with the fact that he’s battery operated. But let’s dive into that shall we? This was probably the most interesting part of this whole episode for me. Aside from Ethan being really cute (and totally from OTH!) he’s also a humatic, created by John, Molly’s Dr. Frankenstein-ey husband. His invention comes from the idea that people have realized robots are efficient for their daily needs but are lacking that human connection. When he and Molly couldn’t have children, they created their own robotic human who was programmed in a way to react to a set of different formulas and experience “feelings”. He was raised as a child to be taught right from wrong, good from bad, etc. But like I said, something is off with Ethan. He’s malfunctioning and John is too set on getting funding from Yasumoto to notice it. He stands in front of a panel of Yasumoto’s people hoping to score some investors for humatics. Things go south after one of the investors asks John what his escape plan in is case one of these humatics malfunction. Aka- do you have a murder plan for your child. This question infuriates John, who strongly believes that his humatics can be taught proper behavior.
Let’s not kid ourselves though. Robots are robots. You cannot replicate humans, nor their complex makeup. His response doesn’t convince the investors who deny funding for humatics, but Alvin insists that Yasumoto, who was just woken up from ice preservance, invest in John’s invention to stay close to the family and keep an eye on Molly. Yeah, a lot happened in this premiere!
Ethan is malfunctioning though and it makes me think of those fears I’ve had as a child where robots take over the world. After a day in the park with mom, Molly realizes that Ethan is much different then he was before she left. They share ice-cream but after she’s given a cryptic balloon note that reads, “I know what happened to you. Talk soon,” she decides it’s time to leave the park and accidentally drops Ethan. His rage button turns on and he demands a new ice cream, before running off in anger into the woods where he may or may not have killed a bird. The way he turns around and says, “I found it like this” sends chills up my spine. Alright Ethan, whatever you say….(where’s the off switch on this child?!).
Molly obviously freaks out and states that Ethan’s actions must be due to his inhumanity. “He doesn’t love me! He executes a series of commands that you’ve programmed into him. He approximates a behavior that resembles love, but that’s not love.” Strong words coming from a mother, but they make sense. The world Molly lives in isn’t normal. It’s basically a world run by computers, technology and robots and even her son is computerized. If he can’t love her, who can. This’ll be interesting to see play out. Will Ethan become close with his mom? Will he continue spiraling out of control? How will Molly’s relationship with John be affected? He clearly thinks there no problem and when he starts populating the world with little humatics, what happens next?
The solar flare Molly experienced draws similarity to the solar flare experienced by Harmon Kryger, which apparently lead to his suicide. Alvin explains that in order to prevent something tragic from happening again, the agency requires that Molly go through a couple of psychiatric sessions. Except as always, these sessions are totally being watched by Alvin and Yasumoto. Their waiting for Molly to basically tell them something weird happened to her in space. Thankfully, she knows something is up and isn’t that easy to crack. What kind of heroine would she be if she was?
And we’re hit with the first major PLOT TWIST. As she’s taking out her futuristic garbage, Molly sees Kryger. And no he isn’t a hallucination or vision like Marcus was. He tells her that he’s real and he’s alive and that he’ll find her again and they’ll talk. Apparently, he knows what happened to her in space and he warns her not to trust anyone. Yikes! I’m going to go out on a limb here and assume that Kryger didn’t kill himself, he was used as a test subject and possibly escaped? The futuristic world runs by instilling fear in people and using them as social experiments. But, does that mean Molly can’t trust her husband? How does Kryger know what happened to her? What actually happened to him?
What did you think of the pilot episode of Extant? The series has been picked up for a 13-episode summer run, but after such a good premiere, I think i’ll definitely be needing a little more then 13. There’s an alien baby, human robots, a corrupt government conducting experiments on it’s astronauts and tons of Halle Berry everywhere! Count me in! As long as I can keep my feet firmly on earth!
13 Best Government Conspiracy Shows to Watch During Your Self-Quarantine
Feeling a little restless and bored at home during your self-quarantine? It’s understandable. You didn’t expect to be living and working from home a month or so.
While you’re doing your part to flatten the curve and help prevent the spread of coronavirus, if you don’t have something to keep you occupied, your mind begins to wander just a little bit.
That’s honestly the only explanation I can think of for all the conspiracy theories I’ve been reading. While there’s absolutely no basis to them, it made me think that maybe there’s something there entertainment wise– people are craving a specific genre of television to help them through this tough time.
So, I’ve put together a list of shows surrounding government conspiracies that you might enjoy while you are cooped up inside.
Manifest (two seasons – currently airing)
Manifest is a mystery inside of a riddle that focuses on the return of Flight 828 five years after its initial disappearance. The plane’s re-emergence shocks everyone because they assumed their loved ones were dead. As the passengers begin looking for the truth, they stumble upon a government conspiracy that’s dangerous and frightening.
Emergence (one season so far)
Manifest made way for Emergence, a drama about a small-town cop who takes in a young girl at the site of a mysterious plane crash. The young girl begins exhibiting certain supernatural powers, and as high-ranking officials develop an interest in the girl, Jo realizes she’s entangled in a mystery larger than she ever imagined.
Stranger Things (preparing for season 4)
When Will Byers goes missing, three best friends in the small town of Hawkins, Indiana begin their search for him along with his mother and police chief Hopper. The investigation leads them to unraveling a series of supernatural mysteries that lead to secret government experiments with an alternate universe.
God Friended Me (two seasons – currently airing)
Not all government conspiracy’s have to be dark and dangerous, sometimes, they’re feel-good shows! Miles is friended by the “God Account,” a mysterious account on Facebook that allows him to help people in need. Miles and his friends try to figure out who is behind the all-knowing account, and the possibility of a government entity is high up on that list.
The Bodyguard (one season)
The British police thriller follows Police Sergeant David Budd, who is a war veteran suffering from PTSD. He currently works for the Royalty and Specialist Protection Branch of London’s Metropolitan Police Service and is assigned as security for Homeland Secretary, Julia Montague, who is rather controversial in the political landscape. It keeps you guessing until the very end over who did what and who knew what.
The Passage (one season)
The series, based on a trilogy of the same name, focuses on Project Noah, a secret medical facility where scientists test dangerous viruses that could potentially be a cure-all. However, there’s a chance they could potentially wipe out the whole human race if they get into the wrong hands (this might be a little too on the nose). A federal agent grows to love a young girl who becomes a test subject and attempts to protect her at all costs… even human destruction.
Alex Parrish is the one of the top recruits at Quantico, a training facility for only the best and brightest, but she’s being set up of masterminding the deadliest attack on U.S soil since 9/11 — a bombing at Grand Central. Can she solve the conspiracy and clear her name before its too late?
What’s better than a show that combines time traveling to relevant, pivotal, and iconic moments in history with a government conspiracy? Timeless is an adventure series that places you in the middle fo all the actions as Lucy, a historian, Wyatt, a soldier, and Rufus, a scientist, get recruited to thwart a nefarious government institution that wants to change the world as we know it.
Prison Break (5 seasons)
Michael Scofield’s brother, Lincoln Burrows, is convicted of a crime he didn’t commit and put on Death row. Michael holds up a bank to get arrested and begins his elaborate plan of breaking them both out, which eventually leads into the reason he was framed and yeah, you guessed it, it’s an intricate political conspiracy that’s really messy.
24 (9 seasons)
Jack Bauer, Director of Field Ops for the Counter-Terrorist Unit of Los Angeles, thwarts assassination attempts, torture, traitors, and nuclear attacks, while hoping to save his nation from ultimate disaster.
Designated Survivor (3 seasons)
In a similar vein and also starring Kiefer Sutherland, low-level cabinet member Tom Kirkman ascends to the role of President of the United States after a devastating attack on the night of the State of the Union blows up the Capitol and kills the President and most of the top-reigning officials. Soon, it’s revealed that Kirkman wasn’t the designated survivor on accident as a government conspiracy unfolds.
The Event (one season)
Extant (2 seasons)
After a year in space, Molly Watts (our girl Halle Berry) returns to Earth and reconnects with her husband, a gifted scientist, and her son, Ethan, who has skills and powers that make him incredibly special. However, she begins to realize something isn’t just right and the conspiracy that unfolds threatens her career and family. The thrilling drama hails from Steven Spielberg, so even if it’s slightly overcomplicated, you know it’s bound to be an adventure.
There’s likely plenty of other shows… which ones would you add to the list? Share them with us in the comments or on Twitter @CraveYouTV!
Casting News: “Happy Time” Casts Idina Menzel + “Extant’s” Newcomer
Idina Menzel, who flawlessly belted out the Star Spangled Banner at last night’s Superbowl XLIX, is coming to the small screen.
The Frozen actress will lead Ellen DeGeneres’s comedy, Happy Time, as a high profile woman who wants to stop pretending she’s happy…. all. the.time.
Jeffrey Dean Morgan is going to be facing off with some aliens!
The Greys Anatomy alum is joining Halle Berry on Extant.
He will play JD Richter, a “roguish…free-wheeling, hard-drinking” bounty hunter who is fearless and reckless. He thought he saw everything until he meets Molly and hears about her supernatural encounters.
The cast is getting a little makeover for the second season as well. Molly’s husband, played by Goran Visnjic, and her friend Sam, played by Camryn Manheim, will only return as guest stars on a few episodes. Seems a little weird considering their the two closes people in her life. But, season 2 was said to be focusing on Molly’s journey for her alien baby and she’s not taking those she loves for a ride. Yasumoto and Alan Sparks, will not be returning at all.
Morgan joins a cast that differs greatly from that of Season 1; Goran Visnjic, who plays Molly’s husband John, and Camryn Manheim, who plays her friend Sam, will return for a few episodes. Hiroyuki Sanada and Michael O’Neill, who played Yasumoto and Alan Sparks respectively, will not be back at all.
What do you think about the casting news for both Happy Time and Extant? Sound off in the comments!
Photo Credit: CBS/Extant
Extant- Ascension (1×13)
This series finale gave me major anxiety. Hands down, the best episode of Extant to date. I’m not sure if the show will get renewed, from the looks of it, probably no, but thankfully, there was a satisfying season finale that kind of gave us the answers we were looking for, while also leaving room for a season 2 if necessary.
Ascension was the root of it all. Would Molly save the world? Would she be able to fight the alien spores and the hallucinations? Would she die in space and become one with earth? The probability of success was unlike, as Ben mentioned several times throughout her mission. What a negative nancy. Despite the risk, the ISEA sent Molly up to the seraphim. After all, there were two lives (or so we thought) up there. And if the seraphim made it’s way to the atmosphere and exploded, all those spores would infect earth, which is exactly what the alien-life forms wanted. Humans? We don’t want that.
So Molly went on the most dangerous mission of all, leaving behind John and Ethan, who had some trouble of their own. Julie downloaded the video from Odin’s computer and showed John and Charlie. If what they were watching was factual, Odin planted a bomb inside Ethan. The only way to find out would be to shut him down and open him up. Of course, that was risky, cause if there really was a bomb, who knows if it would detonate or not. Charlie and Julie were against doing it themselves, opting to call in a bomb-squad, but John was against that knowing damn well that they wouldn’t do anything to help Ethan, just shut him down for good and destroy him. Ethan of course, was brainwashed by Odin to fear getting shut down because he thought his dad would want to shut him down for good, as he was afraid of his vast developments. John promised Ethan that he would never turn him off for good, and that’s when they all learned about “the phone” Odin gave him. You know, the phone that’s actually a bomb. Homie really thought this through didn’t he? John was able to talk Ethan out of pressing that button and blowing everyone to smithereens and eventually, Ethan agreed to shut down.
Meanwhile, Molly docked into the seraphim, equipped to fight any alien-formation and the hallucination it brings with a suit that would detect if the person she was seeing was real, or made up of spores. The seraphim was deserted, so Molly knew something was off. She found Sean, locked inside a room, banging on the door for help. After scanning to make sure Sean was okay, she injected him with some nutrients, let him in on the plan and found out that Katie, wasn’t real at all. The aliens hallucinations were just getting really good. She continued on to complete plan A and restore a battery, to raise the antenna. Unfortunately, she was met there by Katie, still pretending to be real. Obviously Molly came all this way, and she wasn’t going to let this thing stand in her way. She knocked her out and locked her in the room, compromising herself in the process. This is where things got tricky. As Molly went to complete the mission, Sean almost let the alien out of the room because she appeared as Molly now, instead of Katie. When Molly tried to contact him again, she got no signal. Making her way to their meeting point, she saw that the wires had been cut. Plan B was now out of the picture.She was losing consciousness, so she went to get some injections before continuing on with Plan C. That’s when she was taken into her “hallucination” world, but knowing better, injected the Marcus-look alike, who was really Sean, and knocked him out. She didn’t need the disturbances– she only had 11 minutes to compete the mission.
Back on earth, John informed Ethan of the bomb in his body. Unfortunately they couldn’t move it, or remove it, in fear of setting it off and blowing him up. The fact that they couldn’t get into his system to control him, meant they couldn’t back up Ethan’s program. Thus loosing him forever if anything went wrong. He was then informed by the ISEA that they had to evacuate the building as Molly’s child had breached and they could not continue guiding her without his manipulations. He wanted to stop his mother, because that’s what the alien spores were telling him to do. Ethan realized he could go help her since he didn’t have the biology the aliens used to control people. Duh, he was a robot. It was risky, but something he felt he needed to do.
He made his way into the building on a scooter– brilliant– and wasn’t phased at all by the other “son” who was blowing up glass doorways with his mind. Anger issues much? I don’t know why Molly ever cared about this “second son” more than Ethan. He sucks. By this time in space, Molly had placed bombs all over the seraphim and moved Sean’s body into the shuttle, ready for blast off. Except that, as she tried to detach, Ben informed Molly that it was too dangerous. Both of them had been compromised by the spores, and going to earth would mean the spread of infection. Ben couldn’t allow her to do that. Molly tried to manually override the system, but to no avail.
That’s when she heard Ethan’s voice over the P.A. He was there to help. Molly informed him and John, who was also listening, that she couldn’t detach. Someone would have to override the system at the headquarters and it would involve a human to place their heat over the glass. Ethan said he would do it by raising his heat warmers to 96 degrees, but John said no. Raising his temperature could cause him to start an internal fire and kill him. Ethan didn’t care. First off, he’d learned that he could do it through Odin. He might have been trying to make Ethan do bad things, but he actually taught him a thing or two. Plus, he felt that this was his purpose. And we all know this kid had a hard time finding one… especially as a robot trying to be a human.
Ethan’s plan worked, and Molly’s ship detached and took off, just as the seraphim blew up behind her. Ethan had helped her save earth, but killed himself in the process. Minutes later, his whole body began glowing. He told the alien-child to run and save himself, before we’re told the ISEA blew up.
Five days later, Molly, John, Julie and Charlie were mourning the loss of their son and friend. It was a bittersweet moment. This whole episode, we weren’t sure who would survive and who would die. We got sweet and heartbreaking goodbyes between Molly and John, and John and Ethan. As a robot, Ethan proved to be more human than most humans, even Odin. He proved that despite negative manipulation, a robot is still able to chose right from wrong, make a decision, trust people, even if their hurting him, and ultimately, sacrifice himself for the greater good. Ethan taught to love, but he also taught the human experience. Much is to be learned from this little boy, so I’m not ashamed to admit, I shed a few tears when Ethan died… when his 3-d model shut down on the screen.
I also squealed with excitement when his system turned back on. How? I’m not really sure. But Ethan was everywhere. His program had saved somehow, somewhere. John didn’t need to do it, Ethan was advanced enough to do it himself. He lost his human body, but that’s nothing dad can’t rebuild again. But this way, he was more like Ben, everywhere all the time. It was a touching moment to know that while us humans, did so much evil to try to bring back the dead and preserve our time on earth/stop aging, a young humatic sacrificed himself, and returned from the dead anyways. Robots can’t die!
The last scene was there only in case the show gets renewed. Molly’s son never died. He was part human, part alien walking the streets of the earth. Was he angry that Molly didn’t listen to him? Stopped whatever his alien superiors were trying to do? Was he mad she didn’t come looking for him? Had another son who saved her? Some random nice family picked him up, so are they now in complete danger? Is anything ever really over? Who knows. If the show doesn’t return for season 2, it’s left up to your interpretation. But at least, everyone got a happy ending. And we can just pretend that Odin got what was coming to him, Julie and Charlie ended up together and Molly and John finally appreciated their humatic son a lot more.
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