Extant is About More Than Space Babies

Posted by Leah Singerman

The highly anticipated "Extant" premiered last night on CBS, and although pretty much all we knew about the show was that Halle Berry has some sort of galactic immaculate conception incident, the space pregnancy takes up surprisingly little of the show's run time. In fact, even this trailer gives away more about the baby than the show's first episode does: 

In the pilot, all we hear about the baby is that there is one. We don't know anything about Molly's mission, or really what her job is, other than that it involves plants. We don't know anything about who she works for. All we know is that nothing strange happened on Molly's 13-month trip except for 13 hours of curiously deleted video footage. And this season will have 13 episodes. Coincidence?

Anyway, there is a plot around Molly's dead ex-boyfriend, who contacts her while a solar flare has the ship's systems all wacky. They have a few moments of contact before Molly passes out, and when she wakes up, she reviews the ship's footage- which shows her interacting with empty space. So that's interesting. Also, at the end of the episode, her supposedly dead friend and coworker shows up. So either Molly has the ability to see people who are dead, or some alien species is embodying people from her past to get to her. Either way, this is going to be interesting. Another clue: the show's title sequence shows the word EXTANT forming out of the word EXTINCT. And extant basically means "not extinct." So, it looks like somebody who we thought was gone... isn't. 

But more than all of those mysteries, which only take up a few minutes of the episode, is everything else going on in Molly's life. We see her happy relationship with the boyfriend who died, and her current relationship with her husband. We hear her talk about how everybody ends up where they're supposed to be (is this foreshadowing for something later?). Probably most importantly, we learn that her son is a robot. Oh, did we forget to mention that before?

One of the main themes in the episode (and possibly the series) is the idea of the humanity of machines. Molly and her husband were infertile- which makes this whole baby thing even more confusing- so they got the closest thing they could to a child, which was this humanized robot thing. And her husband is of the belief that robots will have "souls" if you give them the human experience- if you raise them from childhood and they learn the lessons all humans have to learn along the way. He's super passionate about this, but the topic is for sure divisive outside the family. And also inside: Molly seems to have some problems of her own with the fact that her own son can't really love her. Deep stuff.

So it looks like this series is about more than just a mystery space baby. If the rest of the episodes are anything like the first, we'll be asking lots of big questions about life and what it means to be human. We're not 100% sold yet, but this was definitely a solid start.

What did you think of the Extant pilot? Let us know in the comments below or tweet us @DweebCast

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