Entertainment Weekly

Stay Connected

Subscribe

Advertise With Us

Learn More

Skip to content

Article

'Extant' recap: 'Cracking the Code'

Posted on

Sonja Flemming/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

Lucy is the type of artificial intelligence we should all be worried about. While Ethan still has the mind of a young boy, eager to learn and willing to be taught certain rules and parameters, Lucy fights the system. Her mind has grown beyond being, “the property” of the government, as Charlie so eloquently called it. Lucy doesn’t like authority, and she doesn’t understand why she isn’t allowed to make her own choices or opinions. I feel her there, since her mind has pieces of human emotion, so it’s only “natural” (as can be for a robot) to have these reactions, but the problem lies in that she does not respect authority at all — unless it serves her own agenda.

She coerces Ethan into breaking Charlie’s rules of leaving the house, (he’s watching them while Julie is gone), after she catches him looking at photos of Molly. She uses this as an excuse to bond and build trust with Ethan, telling him that his glitchy visions shouldn’t go unnoticed.

When Charlie realizes that Ethan is gone, Lucy runs to his aid. They track Ethan—before he turns off his GPS—to a rough area of town, where they run into drug dealers who stole Ethan’s scooter. Lucy saves Charlie from being attacked by the drug dealers, presumably to continue to win Charlie’s trust. She later has a tough conversation with Charlie, begging him to not reprogram her and change her personality. Cleary her personality can’t be all that bad if she felt the need to save someone, right?

This is where things get interesting—and terrifying—for me. We see Lucy reading the book, “The Prince” by Niccolò Machiavelli privately in her room. If you don’t remember from your freshman philosophy class, Machiavelli’s book (in a nutshell) is a piece that is noted to be one of the first works of modern philosophy, discussing the themes of survival and praise. It particularly discusses the justification of crossing the line, so to speak, in order to achieve this praise and survival. Check out this quote from the book:

“He who neglects what is done for what ought to be done, sooner effects his ruin than his preservation.”

Basically, Lucy is doing what she can in order to survive, whether that means destroying Ethan, Charlie, or whoever else steps in her path. After Charlie treats Lucy like property—and even calling her that—my thought is that she looks at him as a means to an end and has no emotional connection. (This theme is similar to that of Ex Machina, the latest Alex Garland film (of 28 Days Later fame), where the limits of artificial intelligence are questioned—definitely a must-see.) Surprisingly, the Humanichs story line is proving to be more interesting as the season progresses.

And related to Lucy: After Ethan gets his scooter stolen, he ends up at his old house. A construction worker kicks him out, but not before he grabs Molly’s new address. After arriving at Molly’s new apartment while she isn’t there, he sees a photo of the two of them and glitches again, this time passing out. Charlie and Lucy eventually find him and take him home to rest. Eventually Molly and Ethan will reunite, but I wonder under what significant circumstance? Ethan’s role right now seems to be just a supporting piece in the larger theme with Lucy.

Meanwhile, Molly’s side effects from alien-pregnancy continue to worsen. Her nails are growing at an unnatural rate, and she keeps blacking out and having one-night stands with random men. Sidenote, the nail manicure machine they have in the show needs to get invented like, yesterday.

Molly continues to not seek help for this and work toward finding her son. Toby gives her access to the genetics lab, where they are studying DNA from the alien spores brought back from space. Oh yeah, he didn’t die last episode—he was wearing a bulletproof vest (of course). The genetic code breakers can’t seem to find an anomaly in the DNA and neither does a new scientist we are introduced to, Nate Malone.

NEXT: JD’s tough love[pagebreak]​

Molly is able to find an anomaly in the code: sound waves that whisper, “help me.” The bad thing is, she is the only one that can hear them. Toby believes her, and I’m not sure if it’s because he’s obviously in love with her, or if he truly thinks she’s on to something. Toby’s jealous girlfriend thinks Molly is nuttier than squirrel turds, and Toby is forced to tell Molly to take a vacation from work. She’s forced out of the lab, but not before stealing her discovery in the DNA.

Elsewhere, JD takes his daughter, Kelsey, to one of the government clinics to get her DNA tested and make sure there aren’t any alien orbs floating around inside of her. The government is advertising that any woman who has gotten pregnant in a certain timeframe be tested, making sure they are containing any further outbreak of alien-babies running around. They are calling it the, “EVH 789 virus.”

Knowing the agency is sketchy, he investigates the facility before trusting the team with his daughter’s life. He sees one of the women aggressively taken away to who knows where, and immediately knows that his daughter would be in danger at the clinic. His next best option is to reach out to Molly for help, and she willingly agrees to test Kelsey.

After Kelsey meets Molly, she looks her up and finds her track record in the nut house. Kelsey uses this to fuel her already present hate for her dad, and she runs off on his motorcycle. Molly shows up to tell JD his daughter is all clear, and that her baby is indeed 100 percent human with no alien vibes. She then goes through one of her black outs and starts ripping her clothes off and kissing JD. JD knows that this really isn’t Molly, shoves her off, and the real Molly submerges. Clearly distraught, JD is insistent on helping her. Before they can solidify anything (or make out for real), Kelsey shows up having realized the clinics aren’t as safe as they advertise, and her and JD are okay again.

Knowing that Kelsey is now okay, I don’t expect us to see much more of her, since her presence was clearly to bring JD and Molly closer. Plus, now that JD doesn’t have his hands full with his daughter he can focus on helping Molly. It seems JD also genuinely wants to help Molly, whether it’s to make up for all the women he has failed in his life, or because he knows she’s the only hope he knows to save the world.

Back at her apartment, Molly finds a cryptic message on her bathroom mirror when she gets out of the shower: “Ethan was here.” Did Lucy sneak in and do this? Was it Adhu? I’m still completely lost as to the motive of the aliens and what they want with humans. I really hope it isn’t some sort of need for a host and their planet is dying, because that is too unoriginal for the hype of this show.

Questions:

  • What is the aliens’ endgame?
  • What is causing Molly’s blackouts, abnormal nail growth, and continued scratching? Is it just Adhu in her head?
  • Is Lucy the real threat here? My fear is that she’ll side with the aliens instead of fighting against them. Her track record of following authority points to that as the only outcome.
  • Ethan tried calling Molly once, but she was in blackout mode. Will he try to contact her again before he’s reprogrammed?

Comments