Created by: Mickey Fisher
Starring: Halle Berry, Goran Visnjic, Pierce Gagnon, Grace Gummer, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Tyler Hilton, Henderson Wade, David Morrissey, Kiersey Clemons, Kate Burton
It’s fair to say, season 1 of Extant took its time to build up steam but when it did, boy, did it race! Season 1 ended with Molly’s (Berry) half alien and half human sprog escaping from the military using his arcane powers and leaving a bloody trail of slaughtered personnel in his wake.
Coming on the back of this, Season 2 doesn’t need any warming up and so storms out of the gate like a rabid greyhound. The action is thick and fast and from the first episode we have Molly testifying to a government committee that she did not bring back any alien spores with her from her space expedition. Six months later we find her banged up in the nuthouse, fending off randy wardens while trying to come to terms with her husband’s alleged accidental death – squished by a train when his car conveniently broke down on train tracks.
She’s broken out by JD Richter (Morgan) a cop, and ex-soldier, investigating the deaths of pregnant women who are dying from their foetuses’ unnaturally accelerated development. Molly seems to have all the answers, and the more time Richter spends with her the more smitten by her he becomes. And if that wasn’t problematic enough, he has to contend with an angry ex-wife and equally feisty, estranged daughter. Of course all this is paltry compared to the mystery behind the women’s deaths – it’s an invasion, Molly explains to a bewildered Richter.
Molly eventually reunites with her alien/human son, who has developed into a man in a matter of days, and is leading a community of alien/human hybrids.
Oh, and then there’s the humanichs issue – the human androids created by John Woods (Visnjic), Molly’s husband. Ethan (Gagnon), Molly’s robotic son, and the prototype humanich John created, is now in the care of Julie Gelineau, (Gummer) John’s assistant and lover, now in charge of the humanichs programme. She is tasked by the military and government to develop humanichs for military purposes, specifically, to fight the aliens as their mind powers make it virtually impossible for human soldiers to engage them. The humanichs, however, are developing free will and have a sinister agenda of their own.
There’s nothing stellar about Extant’s story arc. The writing is robust but season 2’s success has to be down to the performances of the ensemble cast which were, in a word, faultless. Halle Berry is in good form as the tough yet vulnerable Molly Woods, left emotionally battered by the birth of an alien child, the death of her husband, his infidelity and the loss of her silicon son, Ethan.
Jeffrey Dean Morgan is suitably grizzly and roguishly charming as JD Richter, a policeman, hero and all-round good egg, who falls in love with Molly and subsequently backs her to the hilt. Grace Gummer is convincing as the doubtful yet ambitious Julie Gelineau, as is Tyler Hilton as Charlie Arthurs, the young and talented coder in love with Julie and playing Jiminy Cricket to her morally challenged Pinocchio.
David Morrissey is a tough and competent General Tobias Shepherd, Head of the Global Security Commission, a patriot who will do anything to protect his country, sentiments shared by Kate Burton as Fiona Stanton, the president of GSC who oversees the progress of the Humanichs programme, and the Iron-Lady politician running the show.
The solid writing and fine performances from the cast meant Extant Season 2 was thrilling but its ending was far too abrupt and also left many questions hanging: will we learn more about the culture and home world of the aliens? What happens to the aliens and humanichs now? And what about the elephant in the room – the question of an enemy that almost wiped the aliens out and is now on its way to earth?
Here’s to hoping for a season 3 to explore these mysteries. However, my gut feeling is that this is the last we’ll see of Extant as Hollywood closes the book on this one. Sob!