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'Extant' recap: 'Zugzwang'

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Robert Voets/CBS

Extant

type:
TV Show
Current Status:
In Season
tvpgr:
TV-14
seasons:
2
performer:
Halle Berry, Brad Beyer, Goran Visnjic
broadcaster:
CBS
genre:
Scifi, Drama, Thriller

Extant was a little slow this week, but it was a filler episode to set up a (hopefully) action-packed finale. We learned that Calderon is not what he’s portrayed to be, Charlie is a pretty good schemer, and Fiona has officially gone off the rails. TAALR, surprisingly, had a big role this episode and might be the one pulling all of the strings. Let’s jump right into the details from “Zugzwang.”

Molly confirms Toby’s death from the news while at Julie’s house, and JD assures her that they will still find Calderon. On their way out of Julie’s apartment, Molly makes sure to finally hug and make up with Julie, ending their ongoing feud. When JD, Molly, and Ethan get back to the bunker, they find that Terra is missing—which isn’t too surprising to any of them. I thought for a minute Molly might panic and prioritize searching for Terra, but she realized that the bigger issue is finding Calderon, so she takes out John’s old things and searches for clues.

They come across a chess set, and Ethan discovers someone playing the game with him. They uncover a binary code in the board put in by John that provides what could be coordinates. Following the clue, the three of them head to the possible location in hopes of finding Calderon.

Meanwhile at the GSC, Fiona is fuming mad, screaming at all of the employees to take their efforts against the hybrids to the highest level. Clearly, Fiona deals with guilt through aggression. While she did charge Toby with aiding a known enemy, it’s no doubt that she is upset about his death. She asks TAALR for any leads on the outside source that killed Toby, to which TAALR has no information. Knowing the hybrids are still a threat, TAALR advises that Fiona makes Lucy her head of security.

When Julie rushes to Fiona to tell her about John’s message relaying that a Humanich killing a human, she is surprised to find that Fiona already knows this and is okay with it. Fiona informs Julie that Lucy is the one who killed a human for helping the enemy, and she is now the head of security. Julie knows now that she has no allies left in the GSC, so she takes matters into her own hands.

Rushing to Charlie for help, Julie tells him everything she knows about Calderon and that he may be the one working to control the Humanichs. In an effort to confirm this theory, they conspire to build and place an implant in Lucy that will allow them to track where her orders are coming from. Julie and Charlie act out a fake fight for Lucy, making her think Charlie is upset with Julie. Lucy believes their scheme, and she and Charlie make plans to have a date later that evening in the Humanich’s lab.

NEXT: Lucy and Charlie share croissants—and a kiss (or two).

[pagebreak]

When Lucy arrives for their date, she finds that Charlie has prepared an over-the-top Paris-themed dinner, complete with croissants, chocolate, and non-alcoholic champagne—learning a lesson from their last, “date.” Charlie has come up with an impressive cover for the chip he has created, telling her that it’s a beta program he’s been working to enhance Humanichs’ senses to provide a more human-like daily experience. Lucy is eager to try the beta project and almost too-easily agrees to let Charlie install it in her program. Excited by this new challenge, her and Charlie start making out, making her fall deeper for his trick.

Lucy’s program has “evolved” to be one that thrives on adventure, risk, and bending the rules. These can all be great qualities; however, her lack of real human experience has prevented her from recognizing right versus wrong, causing her to make rash decisions. This comes into play when she finds out that Charlie has tricked her. After their date, Charlie and Julie look at where Lucy’s orders are coming from and see it’s from all over the world. Before they can figure out what this means they get caught, and Lucy’s “higher power” informs her of their scheme and gives her orders to punish them.

JD, Molly, and Ethan arrive at the coordinates they uncovered from the chess board and find themselves in an open field with a random telephone booth—with no phone attached. Molly figures out that there is an invisible security fence up, and she uses the code they found to type into the phone booth, unlocking the fence. The gang arrives at a house and is greeted by a woman with a gun. She takes Molly and JD inside, and Calderon is there—also with a gun. Ethan, scared for his mother, turns JD’s jeep lights on to distract Calderon, who recognizes Ethan and calls him by name, allowing for JD to turn the tables and cuff him.

Calderon, realizing they may not be a threat, tells them all about his work with John. He and John used the TAALR technology to raise funds for their Humanich project, which of course caught the attention of the government. TAALR’s technology was built to consult on situations, but grew to make decisions of its own. When Calderon discovered this, he tried to shut TAALR down, but TAALR turned the tables and framed him for the current crimes charged against him, which forced him to go into hiding.

The basis of TAALR’s technology now is to do anything it sees necessary—no matter the cost—to protect the human race. Right now, the hybrids are the biggest threat to humans, explaining why TAALR is pushing for the activation of thousands of Humanichs. The amulet from Molly’s dream is the kill switch to stop the Humanichs from deploying, but Calderon claims it has gone missing. Seeing him no longer as a threat, JD removes the handcuffs, and they agree to stay the night and map out their next course of action.

JD and Molly are at a loss of what to do to stop the Humanich/hybrid apocalypse, especially without the amulet. They decide to forget the end of the world for one evening, and JD brings Molly into his tent for their love scene (finally!). This worries me, though, because we know their fairy tale won’t last; however, Extant may not last without Jeffrey Dean Morgan.

Their perfect moment is interrupted by Ethan screaming, and JD and Molly find Calderon trying to extract a speech translator from his system, as his own Humanich’s speech translator—the woman, named Frankie—has been out for three years. Knowing that he couldn’t risk leaving their compound, Frankie (who Calderon doesn’t call a Humanich, but one of his own designs) has been stuck unable to speak. Ethan sympathizes with Frankie and builds one for her, making Calderon feel guilty for not telling them that he does indeed have something to help them shut down the Humanichs.

NEXT: Calderon gives Molly the key to stopping a Humanich apocalypse.

[pagebreak]

Calderon takes them to a bank, where he removes a safety deposit box. He describes the contents as a worm that he and John developed when the government took over TAALR. They poetically called it, “Einstein’s Regret,” referencing Einstein signing the letter that urged President Roosevelt to create an atomic bomb. The second reference of their worm John and Calderon titled, “zugzwang,” the chess term meaning any move is one that puts the player in a compromising position. Calderon references this, knowing that him retrieving the safety deposit box will result in him being caught. After Calderon gives Molly the box’s contents, the GSC arrives to take him away as Molly and crew escape.

Over at the GSC, Fiona is still consulting with TAALR, who tells her to unveil everything to the public, putting them in a panic that will require Humanich force. This means thousands of more Humanichs will need to be deployed immediately. When Lucy tells Charlie this, he calls Julie and she decides the only option they have to stop this is to melt the Humanich bodies with thermite. When Charlie arrives to where the bodies are being held, he’s greeted by Lucy and sees the Humanich bodies are gone. Lucy tells him that Julie is hidden somewhere, and he’ll be lucky if he ever finds her. We see that Lucy put Julie in what looks like a coffin in a random storage room with oxygen slowly depleting.

I’m finding myself not wanting Julie to die, but I think it’s only because she and Charlie’s characters are dependent on each other to develop (for now.) I’d almost prefer Julie exiting the picture and Charlie joining Molly’s Scooby Gang—imagine the JD/Charlie banter.

The episode ends with JD and Molly realizing Calderon has given them the amulet, bummed they can’t go to Montana and ride out the apocalypse as western botanists. Will we find out what exactly the amulet does in next week’s finale?

More Questions:

  • Fiona asks TAALR to look into Calderon. Will TAALR pick up that Fiona suspects someone else is controlling the Humanichs?
  • With Calderon being brought into the GSC, will he try take down TAALR? Or, is Calderon playing everyone with another plan up his sleeve?
  • Where are Ares and Terra? Has Terra switched her loyalties (again)?
  • Will Molly’s vision from her dream come true?

Best Quote:

“Says the woman who wiped a kid’s memory and rushed a bunch of robot soldiers into production like she was opening up a fast food joint.” —Charlie

Best scene:

Long-awaited tent time with JD and Molly.

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