[This review of Extant season 1, episode 11 contains SPOILERS.]
There have been plenty of secrets and revelations on Extant this season, but as Mr. Yasumoto revealed the origin of the serum keeping him alive (which he found while mining for Claypool Industries 140 years ago in an impact site that was made by an asteroid) and the nature of his "disease" (a fear of death which he has staved off with the serum), one couldn't help but feel a little disappointed by the anti-climactic reveal. Is that fair, though? Would anything have matched our expectations after we waited through the first 11 episodes of the season to know what, in a way, has driven this entire series?
Held by Molly (Halle Berry) after she re-teamed with a repentant Sparks (Michael O'Neill) who had left his ex-wife and the alien/Katie avatar behind, Yasumoto gets quite chatty, trying to appeal to Molly's still present ache over the long ago loss of Marcus - and what seems like their shared view that they have been "chosen" and that they are special. This is something that is more present on the surface for Yasumoto, but perhaps more dangerous in Molly's embrace of it, since she has such a strong bond to the alien force (and it to her). That's an observation that Gordon seems most aware of as he tries to introduce the possibility that her alien child may want more than her protection, but one that Molly seems more than resistant to.
The last two weeks have given us pretty significant evidence that when push comes to shove, Molly will choose her alien baby due to John and Ethan's seeming role as placeholders in her life (following the death of Marcus and their baby), but will that hold in perpetuity? John was nearly a non-factor this week, but if Ethan is in real trouble after Odin's latest turn - undermining Ethan's relationship with John by telling him that John was going to shut him down (and planting an explosive in the robot boy's back) - will Molly snap back into sanity and remember the embers of her bond with Ethan?
At this point, that and the alien race's true intentions feel like Extant's biggest remaining mysteries, but it seems inevitable that Molly will be compelled to take down her offspring for the good of mankind - her belief in the possible goodness of this creature coming undone when she is finally faced with what it truly is... whatever that is. There's always the chance for a left turn, but the alien has left too many bodies in its wake to simply be misunderstood.
One of those bodies is Sparks' ex-wife, which preceded a creepy and extremely effective image of the alien (now in human form) toddling through a tunnel on its way out into the world. To say that the obviousness of Sparks' quick betrayal of Molly could be picked up from space is an understatement - and it almost insults the viewer to push that "truth" on us for a few moments.
I will freely admit that the appearance of Katie on the shuttle with Enver Gjokaj - the latest Seraphin astronaut/lab rat (and, for the record, a thoroughly underused character and actor on this show) - was an interesting twist. Is she meant to be an alien reinforcement, is she just another hallucination, or is something else afoot? The real question, though, is how did Molly help to bring about her re-appearance?
We've got two more episodes left to find out but, after the flurry of revelations over these last few episodes, the biggest surprise might be if the show's producers decide to leave a few loose threads, when all is said and done - aware of the fact that this show has been the rare sci-fi mystery series where the journey has been consistently enjoyable.
Extant airs on CBS Wednesdays @10PM ET.