Extant Season 1 Review “Ascension”

Extant Season 1 Finale 2014 Ascension-7

On the season (and possibly series) finale of “Extant,” it was time for Molly to potentially save the world- or not, as the case might be- in “Ascension.” This was the episode in which, for better or worse, all the various plot threads finally came together. To be sure, it was an intense episode, right from the jump, and easily the most exciting of the series to date. For one thing, everyone had something to do, and it was all fairly time-sensitive, giving the episode a forward momentum and concentrated storyline that the series as a whole lacked at times, as the show proper often saw fit to dole out information in a more mannered, steady-handed fashion.

Don’t get me wrong, there’s something to be said for this approach, and, as they say, patience is a virtue, but not everyone was as invested in the show as others, given the oft-spotty ratings, so that gambit might well have backfired on the show’s behalf. Obviously, we’ll find out soon enough if the show gets renewed or not. As of this writing, the show’s fate is still up for grabs, so you fans should keep an eye out online in the weeks to come to see what the show’s ultimate fate is.

In the meantime, here’s my take on the finale. I thought it was very well done, and definitely a nail-biter. I’ve said at various junctures that this is a show that would play like gangbusters as a binge-watch, and this episode certainly proved that with a solid pay-off that, should the show prove a one-and-done lone season, will play just fine as a stand-alone mini-series. Yes, there were a few loose threads- just enough, in fact, to allow some wiggle room for another season- but, if not, should have provided just enough answers to satisfy the long-term fans of the show, and to allow the show the play well as a self-contained unit.

As expected, Molly went back into space to deal with the situation at hand, which basically boiled down to stopping the alien spores from reaching Earth by any means necessary. There were a variety of plans at hand for her to pursue, including, if need be, blowing up the Seraphim, which is what ultimately happened. With only about two hours to do it, and with the spacecraft headed on a collision course with the Earth’s atmosphere, which would have caused the spores to potentially scatter all over the Earth, thus potentially infecting who knows how many people, certain hard choices had to be made, and I’m sure viewers will debate whether they were the right ones on Molly’s behalf.

I, for one, thought that Ben, the computer, had the right idea in trying to stop Molly, even though I obviously didn’t want to see her come to harm. I mean, she was infected, and there was a strong possibility that Glass was, too, so Ben was entirely justified in wanting to stop her, as, if she were infected, that would have meant her bringing the alien spores back with her to Earth, starting the insanity all over again. Although we know that Molly was, in fact, infected at one point, one thing the show never quite addressed in the end was whether or not she remained so upon her landing, much less Glass.

I think we were meant to assume that the antidote (or whatever that was in the mixture she shot Glass and herself up with) Molly brought with her worked to defuse her situation and Glass’ alike, but we never did get a definitive answer there. Still, given that everyone knew what was on the line, I can only assume that, if she, Glass or the ship were infected, that ISEA would have found that out before they let her go, so the fact that she was let go in the first place would seem to indicate that she’s okay and that the alien threat was defused- at least in terms of new spores landing on Earth. Either that, or she infected others when she got back and they worked to cover it up, which would be another way to go if the show were renewed.

I didn’t get the sense that was the case here, but you never know. For one thing, the spores could have stowed away on Molly’s escape pod, and maybe infected someone on the sly, this time keeping things on the down low as a means of playing it safe. After all, that gambit worked the first time around to a point. Why not try it again, only with a slightly different approach? Obviously, that could be another way to go if the show was renewed.

One thing we do know for sure is that Molly’s child is still out there, and may be able to spread the infection another way, possibly by getting someone pregnant, a la “Species,” when he gets older. We already know that the child is growing at an accelerated rate, so that might not take that long to become a possibility, so that’s another way the show could go in the future, if renewed.

Last but not least, there’s the Ethan situation, which looked to be a “ghost in the machine”-type scenario, not unlike the recent “Transference” or the old Stephen King adaptation “The Lawnmower Man,” only less nefarious. Here, Ethan is still his old self, he only needs to be interjected into a new form, which should be done easily enough by Dr. Woods. If the show gets renewed, I think that’s what will happen there.

Now, granted, we didn’t get certain info on certain people’s fates, so not all loose plot threads were dealt with, i.e. Sparks, Yasumoto, Odin and Femi. But, at the same time, it’s not as if we didn’t have a decent idea of what they were, or at the very least, probably were. Sparks is in custody, Yasumoto doesn’t have long to live, and Odin will likely be rounded up eventually. Or Odin and Femi might be still out there, planning their next move, which is another potential road the show could go down in a future season.

So, lots of possible ways things could play out, should the show get renewed, which is a good thing. To me, the finale answered just enough to be satisfying if this is it for “Extant,” but left the door open for another season if it isn’t, which is what you want in a show like this. No one likes investing their time in a new show that doesn’t answer the bulk of its questions in the end, and this one did, IMHO. The main issues were dealt with, and we ended on a positive note with the Ethan thing and Molly back home safe, but the door left open for more, with the reveal that the alien child had escaped the bomb. If that proves to be the end, I’m good with that.

What did you think of the “Extant” finale? Were you satisfied with the way things played out in the end? Were your primary questions answered? Or would you have preferred a more open-ended finale, with a more definitive set-up for a new season? Did you get a kick out of the “2001” reference like I did? (That would be computer Ben saying, “I’m afraid I can’t let you do that” to Molly when she tried to override him, in case you missed it.) Did you catch the title morphing from “Extant” to “Extinct” at the beginning, another clever touch? Did you like the scene where Dr. Woods talked Ethan into giving him the detonator and letting them shut him down? Let me know what you thought of the finale down below, and maybe I’ll see you for the next season- if there is one! In any case, thanks for reading!