Extant Episode 3: “Wish You Were Here.”
Ethan is one creepy robo-child. For every moment that he does something “normal,” like throwing a temper tantrum or curiously asking about the subtleties of Darwinian evolution, he does something strange, like build an elaborate pigeon trap. Maybe this doesn’t sound particularly weird–children trap animals all the time, right?–but it harkens back to an awkward scene in the first episode where Molly catches him red-handed with a dead bird. He claims to have found it that way, though at this point it’s fair to assume he was lying. Why else would disobey John’s strict order to not go outside? This kid must have a thing for avian mutilation, and that is totally not normal.
His strange behavior is unknown to most people, but that doesn’t stop the parents of other children expressing concern right before Ethan’s first day at school. One stereotypically “outraged” fellow goes so far as referring to Ethan as a “toaster,” the worst possible thing you can call a robot, at least if Battlestar Galactica is to be used as reference. John is unsurprisingly adamant that there is nothing to worry about, that Ethan is simply a child who needs interaction with other “kids” his age. Even Molly–who isn’t particularly taken by her adopted son–stands up for poor Ethan. He’s different, she exclaims, but people shouldn’t be afraid of that.
Ironically enough, Molly isn’t exactly the most obvious person to berate the distressed parents. It wasn’t long before this particular scene that she expressed similar concerns to John. Her lack of affection towards Ethan is even highlighted during a pre-mission flashback sequence during this third episode. At this point, it’s safe to assume that she has never been fond of the idea of AI adoption. Ethan has always been John’s “son,” and she’s only in it for the ride.
Molly’s not the only one who isn’t too keen on the idea of bringing a humanic into their home. John’s assistant, Julie, is equally unhappy with the idea of introducing Ethan to an actual school, though her reasonings may veer more towards jealousy than anything else. She makes the claim that Ethan isn’t ready for an active social environment, but not before letting it be known that Ethan was “taken away” from the lab. In other words, she’s Ethan’s real mother, and she wants her baby back.
But enough of this robot melodrama! There are much bigger mysteries at bay. Like, for example, Molly’s hallucinations. During her belated birthday party at Casa De Woods, she runs into Marcus’ brother Tim, but it’s revealed that he wasn’t actually there–he doesn’t even show up in the obligatory group picture. It’s enough to literally drive her mad, and she takes these visions as a sign to commit herself into a quarantine study suggested by Sparks.
Sorry–getting a little ahead of myself here. Prior to the birthday party, Sparks catches Molly during an intense jogging session and admits that there were fertility testing going on while she was away during her 13-month solo mission, and that the baby she is carrying is indeed John’s as well. It’s with this little nugget of information that she decided to spill the beans and let her husband know they’re having a child together. Cue hugs, tears, and plenty of “I didn’t think you’d believe me”‘s.
This is all well and good, but there are sinister motives at play, notably with a circular pattern that Molly finds in the back of Harmon’s empty trailer. She begins to notice the same patterns pushing against her belly, but it’s unclear whether or not these are real. Hallucinations are a thing for her, so it’s hinted that Molly is just seeing things again. Unfortunately for her, these suspicions are confirmed when Sparks notices them as well.
“Wish You Were Here” ends with Molly getting a text from Dr. Sam telling her to get away from Sparks as he’s driving her towards further studying. She manages to escape the clutches of the “evil” ISEA agent, only to be apprehended by another.
Though the plot seems to be moving forward at a relatively rapid pace, big things are still left unknown. What is the ISEA really up to? This is the big question that continues to plague Extant, and judging by the events of the third episode, it doesn’t look like we’ll be getting answers anytime soon.