The new CBS sci-fi drama "Extant" premiered on July 8 with a pilot episode titled “Reentry.” Viewers follow Halle Berry’s character Molly Woods as she reenters the world after traveling space, just to discover that nothing is as it was when she left.
Molly just got back from a 13-month solo mission in space, and is adjusting to life back with her husband and child. While undergoing some routine evaluations, her doctor tells her that she is pregnant.
This is shocking because Molly is infertile. The child she has, Ethan, is a robot that her husband designed. He has batteries in his back but seems to function like a normal kid.
John, Molly’s husband, wants to make more artificial intelligence robots with his company Humanichs. He brings Ethan to the Yasumoto Corporation to get funding. The people there ask how to terminate the robots. John has no plan in place for that. They are children meant to be raised as humans. If they don’t have an assassination plan for their human children, they shouldn’t have one for their artificial children. John wants to “bring humanity to the machine.” The others aren’t so easily convinced. They don’t fund him.
In an effort to reconnect with her family, Molly takes Ethan to the park where Molly is given a balloon with a cryptic message attached: “I know what happened to you. Contact soon.”
Molly can’t be too distracted by the message because Ethan is throwing a tantrum about his fallen ice cream cone. Ethan runs away from Molly and into the woods. When Molly catches up to him, Ethan has found a dead bird. He says, “It was like this when I found it…your hair looks very pretty.”
Molly senses that something is different about Ethan. When she brings it up to her husband, he brushes her off and says that he is a year older. John points out that Molly is also very different. They argue, but they immediately make up in the morning.
There are bigger problems in Molly’s life. She must deal with her job at ISEA. While her doctor is avoiding handing in her medical evaluation, Molly still has to meet with other higher ups. She has to explain why there are 13 hours of footage from her trip missing.
“Extant” shows flashbacks to Molly’s time in space throughout the episode. The lights flicker, and suddenly there is a man on her ship. He writes ‘help me’ on the window.
The man is Marcus, a friend from training. She lets him in, but he doesn’t communicate very well. He just repeats what she says. He touches her face and Molly says, “It’s okay.” He drags his finger down her torso and stops when he is pointing at her stomach. Then Molly touches his face and starts to cry while he repeats, “It’s okay.”
When Molly wakes up alone, she goes through the surveillance tapes. Marcus was never there. The footage shows Molly touching thin air instead of his face and passing out. She deletes the footage, but she doesn’t watch all 13 hours. She assumes that she was asleep for the whole time.
The ISEA knows she is lying. It’s too big of a mistake for Molly. After pulling Mr. Yasumoto out of a strange orange coffin, they talk to him about Molly. They convince Mr. Yasumoto that funding her husband’s artificial intelligence company will allow them to get closer to the family. Yasumoto explains to John that the company cannot invest in such a risky project, but Yasumoto himself is willing to invest as a private citizen.
Meanwhile, ISEA sends Molly to a psychologist. The psychologist wants Molly to feel that her office is a safe space to talk, but it isn’t really. Molly’s ISEA bosses and Yasumoto are watching surveillance tape of her therapy sessions.
The episode ends with Molly taking out the trash. She sees a mysterious figure in the distance, but then she recognizes him. He is Harmon Kryger and he is supposed to be a dead astronaut.
Harman says, “I’ll find you. Until then, be careful. Don’t trust them.”
“Who?” Molly asks.
“Extant” airs on Wednesdays at 9 p.m. EDT on CBS. Will you be tuning in next week?