Extant- Episode 6

This is super abridged because I couldn’t/didn’t want to concentrate on the live tweet with the injustice that is Ferguson, MO right now. It took over my twitter, which is good, since Boston news ain’t covering shit.

Man (“top scientist”) gets circles in his head and gets all crazy over Molly’s baby/fetus that’s incubating in a fish tank and murders someone and destroys thousands of dollars worth of equipment..

Ethan is having dreams even though John didn’t invent that yet.

Julie flirts with a babe at the gym (who checks out her stellar bionic legs). She was part of the team that designed her new friend’s bionic joints. And this is the kind of thing that I like, that she’s a woman of science but can use it to flirt -not with her married coworker. 

Molly goes off to the office to nose around. She asks Sam for another session, there’s a security breach. The male astronaut (the other one affected by the spores) is the one who caused it. Molly listens in and hears the dirt that Alan has on Sam. 

Odin, Julie’s crush sees Ethan at the lab. Odin comes in to get his joints checked. Ethan creeped out Molly by breaking all of the pencils to draws those circles. Julie brags about the work she did designing Ethan, and Odin agrees.

Meanwhile, John, Krieger and Molly have a meeting of the minds about “the circles” Krieger thinks it’s a distress signal. Krieger then separates and gets flogged by ISEA’s head of security.

Sparks’s daughter was impregnated by aliens and died on another ship. She ejected herself into space. Molly somehow concludes from this that the baby is still alive. That makes no sense.  

And there will be 2 hours of this next week. ohhh boy.

There are things I enjoy about this show, but the pacing is weirdly slow especially in the past couple episodes. And I wish we would get to the part where things start to make sense… like whose fucking baby is this? And what does it have to do with Sparks’s daughter.

Also I hope that Ethan stopped killing birds. 

Extant- Episode 5

Molly has all manner of crazy dreams involving her, Marcus and “their baby” one ends with an accident, the other ends with a crying baby and a dead Marcus. But Molly was not super pregnant and enjoying morning OJ. Molly is found by John knocked out in the woods. Ethan is intact (which John verifies before tending to his unconscious pregnant wife).

Molly is taken to the hospital where they tell her that she was never pregnant. There is no fetus. There are no pregnancy hormones. They tell her it was a hysterical pregnancy …they tell John it was a con.

Molly wants to see Sam. Sam knew. she did a scan. But she pretends not to remember any of it. The scan, the baby, that she called Molly and told her to run. At John’s workspace, Ethan is not waking up. Julie makes interloping and irrational comments written to sound as if she is under the impression that she is the robot in a coma’s mother. John questions Molly ever being pregnant. Yup. That’s right. Then John tries to wake up Ethan too early to see if Ethan knows what happened to Molly.

But Molly gets a bright idea: when she was at her father’s house a dog bit her and her blood is on a towel. She tests it (the blood on a towel thats been dry for greater than 16 hours) and finds her DNA mixed with someTHING else’s (that can’t be right). The DNA has tentacles. And then John is disappointed that the baby is not his (when a moment ago he didn’t even believe that there was a baby).

Molly goes back to work and some filter that a tech nerd invented sees why all the worms in her sample died. When Molly applies this filter to the footage when Marcus was on board a crazy web of spores is revealed.

Well, that’s weird. 

This show is creepy and atmospheric. But the characters are largely unsympathetic. I like Molly. And that’s about it. John doesn’t even know what to be mad about. Julie flirts with John too much, while simultaneously being ambivalent to his life falling apart. Molly’s bosses are cut out “secretive bad guys in suits.” Marcus is creepy. The other astronaut guy is probably dead. Sam sold her out. I don’t know what’s up with Ethan and birds but it’s fucking weird.

The season got shorter and so did the season finale 

The Strain- Episode 3

We open with opera and Eichorst’s freaky face. He applies silicone, makeup, hair, dentures and contact lenses to blend in as a human. He tells his reflection that he is almost done hiding. 

Eph and Nora are trying to find out what happened to the bodies. No jumping to conclusions. Did another agency take the bodies to hide the autopsy results? Was the military involved with the deaths? 

One of the survivors, Ansel, is fighting symptoms, his gums painful and bleeding, his throat sore. He has pain in his neck and ringing in his ears. His spouse is upset, she is worried for his health.

Captain Redform is in an incubator, Eph makes promises he can’t keep about how they will find out what is infecting him. And it’s Nora who recalls “the old man they had arrested at the airport.” Abraham warned them. Not sounding so crazy now.

Jim from the CDC, who was involved with allowing Augustin to leave with the coffin, meets with Eichorst who tries to pay him. Jim demands to know what was in the box. Eichorst, obviously, won’t reveal and Jim says he is going to the police. Eichorst brings up Jim’s dying wife. Ohhh, the dying wife motivation ZzzzzzzzzZzzz…. Anyway, Eichorst says that he can get Jim’s wife into a limited drug trial that could mean her salvation on top of the money. Now Jim is entirely under his thumb.

Abraham is at his hearing for the nuisance charge of tresspassing. The judge is perturbed by Abraham’s sword cane. He plays for feeble. Nora confronts him outside, Abraham says that the survivors must be destroyed. Nora is freaked out.

Ephraim’s family drama hits the fan. Zach says he wants to live with his mom, every other week with his dad. “Because his dad has a really important job.” Eph lashes out verbally (out of earshot from his son) but the ex blames it all on him, but sh says it’s not too late. That Zach and Eph can be closer, but that he has to show it, not just say it. Then it’s back to work.

Gabriel is not into rehearsal or video shoots. Apathy.

The board of health dude is visiting the home of a child who was bitten by a rat at the mouth. He catches the patriarch smoking Cuban cigars. He says that rats like cigars too. “this place has changed hands 5 times in seven years and now you know why.” Outside he hears hoards of rats.

Jim’s wife gives him the news that she’s gotten into the drug trial after all. Ansel’s dog grows suspicious of him. Then he drinks beef blood. His wife catches him. RUN FOR THE HILLS.

Gabriel’s balls are falling off. His personal doc encourages him to go to the hospital but he’s scared he’ll end up on TMZ.

Abraham employs an industrious young techie chick to find the passenger list from the plane in exchange for a video game console.

Eph and Nora are with Redform who ominously says “He’s here.”

Zach is at home watching his dad save the world on his iPad. Then he goes down stairs to see his mom. His mom is tearfully flipping through a photo album. 

Eichorst kills someone. There’s too many people on this show.

Gabriel’s hair is falling out. One of his eyes is bloodshot. Then his dick falls off.

wteq

Jim delivers news to Nora and Eph that his wife is accepted into the drug trial. They are overjoyed, but Jim cannot take the same joy; knowing how this came to be. Redform has escaped. They go on the search. Jim finds him in the basement eating raw meat. Jim alerts the others that he’s found the Captain, they rush in while the pilot attacks them, that tentacle thing coming out of his mouth. Eph bashes the vampire’s head in. But, now those at the CDC can’t deny that something truly bizarre is happening here.

Let us take a brief moment to acknowledge the stereotypes involved that allowed Eichorst to employ people to spread the epidemic. Augustin, a gang member, was bribed/blackmailed over his brother’s criminal record and his mother’s immigration status. However, a large demographic of Hispanics in NY are Puerto Rican. PR, of course, being part of the US. Why so many people forget this is baffling to me. Now, Augustin could be Central American of Cuban, I don’t know, I didn’t see that it was noted, if it was when Eichorst showed the documents then feel free to correct. But portrayals that lead to the equation: poor + Hispanic = illegal is problematic as all fuck. Because chances are they’d be Nuyorican. (And yes, I am pointing this out even though del Toro is Mexican, it’s still a stereotype regardless)

And then of course we have Jim’s dying wife. A wife invented so that feeble Jim would have motivation for betraying his title and dooming the US to vampirism. A wife that will do nothing else to advance the plot in anyway, if I had to venture a guess.

But on the good? Kelly Goodweather (Natalie Brown, 2004’s Day of the Dead) gets a bit more sympathetic. And Nora and Eph don’t have untimely makeout sessions. Wooo! 

But there are too many people on this show. And not enough Abraham. 

Under The Dome- Season 2 episode 5

Barbie meets up with Rachel, appartently Rachel is willing to talk. He tells her about Melanie. And that she died in the 80s. And that she found the mini-dome. And that Sam was there and knew Melanie.

Sam returns home to see his place wrecked up. By Junior, who is still there. Junior is looking for his mom’s journal. Lyle betrayed him Junior confesses that he got an email from his mom and that she’s alive.

The townsfolk are divide those against Jim, and Jim’s supporters (Julia’s new enemies). I’m noting that a vehement Julia opposer is an “angry black man” archetype. Speaking of UtD’s use of tokenism, Carolyn appears on screen for about 20 seconds ..and volunteers her services to represent Big Jim. 

Julia says that the trial will be fair and impartial… but her gpood intentions don’t mean much where the crowd quickly wants to play judge, jury, and executioner on their own. Phil shoots down a man running at Jim, Rebecca tries vainly to tend to the man. They pronounce him dead. To Julia, Rebecca confesses that Barbie wasn’t involved as Jim had implied. Julia tells Phil to fork over the badge, Barbie backs her up and he accuses them of being drunk on power.

Dome kids bring Melanie to touch the dome. But nothing happens.

Junior finds some pages of the journal and surmises that the theory was that the “4 hands” (he, Norrie, Joe and Angie) have to die. He freaks that he could be the next target and heads out to warn the others. So now, Sam knows that he knows. 

Rebecca and JIm, back in their neighboring cells and Rebecca asks if he’d ever seen a man die before. He has. And he says so. Rebecca confesses that she didn’t have it in her to inflict suffering like that. A drunken Phil shows up and is going to free Big Jim, but he says that he’d have no where to hide and public opinion would mean his head. They decide to “win the crowd over.”

Dome kids brouhaha: Norrie tells Melanie what an immature and vapid twat she thinks Melanie is. Joe chases after the fragile and crying Melanie… and they kiss. A pissed off Norrie catches them and starts a shoving match. Norrie falls in a bush and scrapes her arm… this somehow gives Joe an idea.

Back across town where Barbie and Julia are handing out supplies: Barbie opens a package when there is an explosion. More supplies KO’d, Big Jim’s plan? Definitely. Julia tries to calm the crowd, Phil shows up to antagonize the situation. He says the generator wires were frayed and that it was Julia’s negligence and incompetence. Barbie comforts her …and then they make out. Last ep she thought that Barbie was an up and coming mass murderer, after him being a love interest -he did murder her husband- then she tries to make him Sheriff…. waffler. 

At some point that I forgot to mention, Sam was getting Junior drunk so that he could kill him. But he has a change of heart when a drunken and sleepy Junior says “you’re the only family I’ve got”

Carolyn catches Phil looking in on the place where he moved the food so it wouldn’t explode. He takes her hostage and Barbie saves her after shooting Phil through the shoulder. He should recover quickly. Julia is fully healed -she was shot that same way only 5 or 6 days ago! 

Julia meets with a woman, Andrea, who was handing out food, turns out her husband was a survivalist. Basement filled, cabinets overflowing. Enough food to last everyone a while. Andrea hosts a big meal at the diner, Julia lets Jim out of jail. The power of FORGIVENESS. Julia is such a twit. Jim tells someone to “enjoy the food” like he had any damn thing to do with it.

Rebecca says to Jim that they should “give Julia a chance” which sounds ominous. Alien girl gives Rebecca blood samples from the Dome kids. Barbie decides he’ll be the Sheriff. Norrie tells Joe to get bent after he says that he loves her and Junior and Sam find a tunnel inside Angie’s locker (that makes no sense).

More woes for the WoC- Rebecca is still under Big Jim’s thumb, Carolyn is finally awake on screen for over a minute and she’s a damn hostage, This show also glorifies “purity” and “goodness” in ways I can’t fully articulate yet. Any woman employing logic or science is regarded as nuts while those who are trusting to the point of naivete and immaturity are glorified (Melanie and Julia in particular). 

These characters have no personalities. They make decisions seemingly at random. With the possible exception of Barbie (who is a straight white male action hero… and there’s no way that he’s not some wish fulfilment stand in).

Julia is probably the worst judge of character on earth. Aside from that, a couple episodes ago she was going to kill Big Jim only to immediately change her mind and save him, she decides to put him on trial then says “fuck the trial -let’s forgive!” She was briefly looking like a love triangle would be in her future… but that’s fallen by the wayside after she goes right back to trusting the man that she thought was capable of mass murder YESTERDAY. Junior and Sam: they’re going after Lyle, but Lyle can bring Sam’s transgressions to light. Sam definitely killed Angie. He probably killed Melanie, only to take care of her and be nice to her when she turns up again. Big Jim won back the favor of the town through dubious tactics after trying to repent and contemplating suicide a couple of episodes ago. He’s quick to throw Rebecca under the bus but then acts as if he needs her in the grander scheme of things. Rebecca has witnessed Jim’s deceit but still goes along with his plan, plotting against Julia who saved her life (after trying to fight her and lock her in jail) and then she gets up and leaves to help the Dome kids with their science project. And Joe doesn’t mention Angie ever and makes out with the alien. Norrie understandably pissed (and erratic behavior is very teenage) but then she let’s Joe take a blood sample to help Melanie?!? What?!?! Fuck all this.

mikevogel

this is Mike Vogel playing guitar on set between takes while filming this episode.

The Strain- episode 2

Augustin transports the “cargo”

Eph is at JFK, he finds his smashed up colleague. Did they say his name was Peter Bishop?! Nora sees that the same “white foam” that is separated blood proteins are all that remains. 

The attorney argues that they are not needed under quarantine. She works to try to get them sprung. Palmer is trying to get them sprung as well. Eichorst pays a visit to Abraham who is still being held at the airport. Eichorst refers to Abraham by the number he had tattooed on his arm at the concentration camp. Augustin returns home, tells off his lazy brother for bringing stolen goods into the house.

Eph and Nora try to find out why the quarantine is being broken. They say that a quarantine would “shut down trade” …there’s no way that’s accurate, but okay. They pay a visit to the pilot who tells them that the mysterious “box” was loaded on by “officials with badges”

Eph receives a text from his son while he and Nora are examining the parasites. He says that what they are working on Nora convinces him that he’s making his soon to be ex accurate, that his work is more important than his son. 

The rockstar and the lawyer are experiencing ringing in their ears, the lawyer is hiding that her gums are bleeding profusely. 

Eph’s wife says “I’m so glad you’re handling the emergency with the plane” while Matt is turning his office into a gameroom for Zach. Eph shakes the other man’s hand trying to keep peace just after her friend Diane tells Eph off for not remembering her name. She makes some biting comments implying that he’s self centered. Eph tries to talk to Zach about the custody hearing and that he wants joint custody. Then Eph is at an AA meeting. Trying to prove to himself and everyone else that he can be reliable… but he comes clean; that he is self centered, emotionally distant, that he’s upset about his situation, that he’s sarcastic and bitter. That he can’t lose Zach, because he’s all he has left.

Gabriel is having a foursome with three ladies but can’t get it up, he impulsively bites one, hard enough for her to drip blood as she exits, he screams at them to leave and laps the blood off the floor.

Pilot Redford is laid up, he says that his skin is crawling and he feels like he swallowed a razor. Eph sees the worms crawling under his skin.

The man who punched Eph calls him and says that his little girl came home to him. Alive. Eph thinks the man is seeing ghosts. He and Nora are heading to the morgue. Once they get there they find no signs of life… and that the body bags are empty, they find the ME’s smashed glasses.

Palmer goes to see “the box.” But it is empty except for the grave dirt. Then the master stands before him.

Gary goes to check on Emma. Emma’s becoming a creep. She says she’s hungry, then her hair starts to fall out. Gary, still in shock pretends this is par for the course and tries to get her to dry off. But she attacks him, a fleshy tentacle springs from her mouth and sucks him dry through his neck

Both Robin Atkin Downes and Robert Maillet (upcoming films Septic Man and Hercules) are credited as playing “the Master” I’, unclear as to who is under the hood. Eph leaving to have personal probs while vampires are getting loose really takes away from the suspense …but it is more realistic. This trope though, with the main protag as an addict/alcoholic… most people can’t do their jobs messed up. So Eph is the top of his field… how did he achieve this station while boozing? He doesn’t seem to make friends easily. 

Not enough Abraham. 

The Strain- episode 1

Considering all the weird ass things that have happened with planes recently, this is very… uhh… timely. On an international flight out of Berlin. A stewardess is preparing passengers for landing. She’s called to the front of the plane by the pilot, deals with a couple trouble passengers and gets to the front. The pilot is freaking out, says there is something alive in the cargo hold. The stewardess tries to calm him so he doesn’t incite panic, but then something hops through the floor.

A man that can’t have it all!!! Dr. Ephraim Goodweather of the CDC is late for his third custody counselling session. He and his wife are separated. His life is work. She’s started seeing someone. Matt, he’s an operations manager at Sears. Ephraim thinks of him as a manchild. His soon to be ex-wife says that Eph was never present enough, that he got straight A’s at his job but isn’t what she needs. He doesn’t want to give up on their marriage, but it gets all sorts of “this is what we’re talking about as his phone rings and he’s called to investigate the plane.

Old man pawnbroker, Abraham, gets a visit from two thugs looking to unload a stolen watch, they try to grab money from the counter but he grabs an arm and threatens to slit the criminal’s wrist open. The men flee and The old man sees the news about a plane from Berlin and he knows immediately that “it is him” and he goes downstairs to talk to a heart in a jar about it. He says he doesn’t know if he has the strength to do it all over again. The heart responds, beating. He asks it if it is hungry and pierces a finger tip, then he drips the blood into the jar. 

Abraham gets one hell of an entrance.

Ephraim complains to his hot partner (and former/current? lover), Nora, about how his counselling went as they suit up. They get on the plane and go through the lengthy process of searching the plane and examining passengers for clues as to what may have happened… when a handful of passengers start to wake up.

The four surviving passengers get quarantined as they decide what to tell families and the press. Attorney, pilot, rockstar …and a nerdy guy. Eph and the CDC find a huge coffin …with a latch on the inside. Elsewhere, Eph’s ex-wife, son and the new guy are watching the news. Matt tries to make light of it, Zack says, “Don’t worry. Wat ever it is, my dad will take care of it.” But he sends a text to his dad to ask if he’s ok.

Eph smiles as he texts back, reassuring his son. His partner catches him and gives him a pep talk before he addresses the public, they hug and he kisses her hair. Which is sweet but also leaves his colleague alone inside while the CDC packs up the cargo. He thinks that he hears something and goes to investigate.

He encounters a shrouded figure with bloody extra limbs that claws his neck and sucks blood through those extra arms. The man is emptied of his blood, gets his neck snapped and skull cracked in.

Completely different manner of death than everyone on the plane..

Elsewhere an old man enlists the help of a Hispanic thug (and wanna be boxer) to drive cargo out of the airport. The man has provided a truck and security badge. In exchange for this errand, the old man says that he will clear the other man’s brother’s criminal record and take care of his mom’s “immigration status.” 

206 passengers are dead and they don’t know why.  One of the parents punches him in the face. Soon to be ex watches from home.The victims have no red blood cells, white foam appears in their veins. blood proteins have been separated. 

As they are trying to find what became of the coffin, the medical examiner is examining the organs and we see bunches of those tiny worms writhing around inside. The examiner drops a heart full of a swarm of worms as they try to get under his glove. suddenly, the deceased pop up around him and attack him.

The coffin escapes. Augustin calls his mother to check in on her. The old man who hired him tells his cohorts that the cargo is safe and that those on the plane will return home to their loved ones.

And they do, we see a young girl from the plane, Emma, whose father had punched Ephraim  return home to her father alone.

Corey Stoll is incredibly cast as Ephraim. In the same way that I think Halle’s role on “Extant” is amazing at challenging domestic gender roles (Halle’s Molly doesn’t have a life centered around family or pregnancy, she thinks of her career and her own immediate safety/health) Ephraim is a good father but can’t seem to “have it all” with a demanding job and stable home life. 

Creepy parasites that turn people into vampires and the CDC comprises main characters? Well, that’s very V-Wars

Ephraim’s partner is a cliche. Men and women are never friends. She’s a spicy Latina. I imdb’d it and she only appears to be in 3 eps. 

David Bradley (Abraham) and the creepy effects are what really does it for me here.

Extant- Episode 3

John comforts Molly with science after her miscarriage. He had already been working on an android and decides that they should raise the program. Molly, in her grief, volunteered to go into space. Molly is remembering all this while she lays in bed.

John wakes up and proposes that they throw Molly a birthday celebration since she missed her birthday in space.

Ethan is nervous about orientation. Molly is going for an invigorated run, her health monitors encourage her to slow down, she sees a spaceship blast off. Orientation doesn’t go so hot, There are angry villagers there who call Ethan “a toaster.” 

Molly tries to see Harman but he’s not there, he’s drawn weird circle patterns (like the one that appeared on Molly’s stomach) on the wall. Sam is disappointed that Molly still hasn’t told John about the pregnancy. She says some version of, “the timing isn’t right.” 

At the party Sam takes Molly’s blood (which is weird). Molly’s dress is fantastic.

hallesdress

Then Molly collapses and sees herself in space with Marcus. A bit later, John’s lab tech tries to flirt and insert herself into their family structure, but John pays no mind. Marcus’s brother arrives at the party, and Molly has a misunderstanding when he says that he sees Marcus everywhere.

The power goes out. John finds something moving in a box and finds it’s a chicken that Ethan caught earlier. Ethan doesn’t understand what things need food or water. John says, “no more birds and no more secrets.” That prompts Ethan to say that “mom says secrets are okay if you don’t want someone to worry.” John confronts Molly. Then she confesses.

Sparks said that the ISE implanted something in her without her consent. Which is gross and weird. 

As the party wraps up Molly looks for Tim (Marcus’s brother) to say goodbye. Her husband keeps saying that he is not there. She remembers him next to her in a group photo, which is on a screen… but there’s a empty space next to her. SO YOU ARE TELLING ME: THAT NO ONE STOOD NEXT TO HALLE AT HER OWN DAMN BIRTHDAY PARTY?! John tries to calm her but she says she’s losing it, she insists she saw Tim there, saw him talking to other people. The secrets all come out and she manically recounts her hallucinations. She goes off with Sparks because Sam will be there and something bad is happening and she trusts Sam.

Sam tries to go to her office but is held up by security, she sneaks around and shee’s that they are taking her files. Knowing they can’t be trusted she tries to call Molly, she gets John, expresses concern and then texts Molly to get out of the car. 

Molly goes for might over cunning. I thought she would fake morning sickness for sure. Anyway, Molly grabs the wheel, the car swerves and she gets out and runs as we see weird circles protruding on her torso. John is behind them and picks her up.

This show is getting serious. So much craziness, and what could ISE be up to? Halle Berry is just so phenomenal. Her/Molly’s meltdown after discovering the truth about Tim was astonishingly painful to watch. She has no idea who to trust and those she trusts are in danger… with still no clue as to why. And the plot doesn’t center around Ethan. And for Molly the baby she is carrying isn’t even the main focus., she wants to know why she has been betrayed, not gushing over possibilities. 

Which is good, because it’s majorly sick that they implanted something in her against her will and caused her to have abnormal brain scans and jeopardized her physical and mental well being as well as her family life and career ENTIRELY. 

Is Harlan real? 

I hate that Julie is being written as a romantic rival for Molly. I enjoy that John entertains none of it (and that he is supportive of Molly even when dealing with insane situations). Julie being flirty toward John and catty towards Molly her behavior makes it seem as though she is infringing on thei parenting and inserting herself into their family situation. But rather Ethan is her life’s work, too. Not just John’s.It would be nice if she was portrayed as John’s colleague and not a potential hook up.