The premiere of the new CBS show Extant wastes no time getting us knee deep into the story. From bathroom mirrors that can serve as a giant tablet to a robot boy who needs an occasional flip, it’s clear that the technology in Molly Woods’ life is very advanced, though not too farfetched.  However, science cannot explain how an infertile Molly Woods gets pregnant on a 13 month solo mission. Before we get to the first commercial break we get a glimpse at what really happened to Molly and by the end, we have a lot more questions, than answers.

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13 Hours of Missing Security Footage

After getting grilled by Sam, she’s questioned by Alan Sparks and the new Deputy Director about the “solar flare” incident. Molly’s story seems solid, telling them exactly how long the power was out, what she did to get it back, and even how long she slept during that time. She seamlessly explained away the 13 hours of security footage that was deleted, saying that as she tried to copy it she accidentally deleted it. Everyone in the room seems to buy it, though we know that’s totally not the case.

So what did happen?  When a solar flare starts messing with the ships, the computers and all the power is knocked out. Molly is able to get it back online but as she does, she sees an unexpected person literally peeking through the door. It’s Marcus, her ex-lover and fellow astronaut who’s supposed to be dead and long gone. Instead, he’s on the ship, writing the words “Help Me” on the fogged glass. Making sure her uniform camera is rolling, she opens the door and Marcus steps in. She tries to talk to him, but he keeps repeating whatever she says. He embraces her face, she embraces his and the scene cuts to black. By the time we get back to the ship, Molly wakes up and deletes the security footage after seeing herself embracing air.

Alan Sparks doesn’t buy it either, expressing his concerns to Hideki Yasumoto. Their conversation alludes to a prior incident that they don’t want to happen again, though it’s unclear what that was. What we do know is that it wasn’t a happy situation; Alan wants to keep close tabs on Molly and her family and he has the idea to do just that.

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John Woods Robot Project

The episode flips back and forth between Molly and her husband, John Woods, a scientist that works with artificial intelligence. He’s looking for funding for his AI project — building robots that seek companionship and connection like humans do. In this episode, he leads a presentation in front of none other than Yasumoto’s board of directors (see how it all ties in!). While I admired John’s passion, I had the same reservations the board members had — there’s nothing stopping these robots from pulling a Terminator type of world domination. He was the only one in the room who saw his son Ethan as a human being. He even went as far as to say that humans don’t have any souls, so the argument that robots can never be like humans was moot.  While the board rejected his proposal for funds, Yasumoto personally meets with John to back him as a private citizen as a way of keeping a firm leash on Molly.

The Story Gets Stickier

As if there isn’t enough going on, the writers throw even more twists and turns into the show:

  • Ethan may not be the nice and gentle kid robot John wants him to be: the little AI kills a bird after his mom refuses to buy him more ice cream.
  • Alan Sparks and Yasumoto are eavesdropping on Molly’s private sessions with her therapist. Is she going to spill the beans? What will these two do if and when they find out?
  • Marcus isn’t the only dead astronaut who pops up. Harmin, another friend of Molly’s who supposedly died shows up at her house to tell her that she wasn’t hallucinating and not to trust anyone. Geez, what is really going on?

Watch an all new Extant next Wednesday at 9pm on CBS.

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(Image courtesy of CBS)  

Margaret McGriff

Contributing Writer, BuddyTV