Extant recap: Cracking the Code | EW.com

TV Recaps | Extant

'Cracking the Code'

Molly's sickness gets worse, and Lucy proves to be the next big bad.

(Sonja Flemming/CBS)

Extant

Season 2, Ep. 4 | Aired Jul 22

Lucy is the type of artificial intelligence we should all be worried about. While Ethan still has the mind of a young boy, eager to learn and willing to be taught certain rules and parameters, Lucy fights the system. Her mind has grown beyond being, “the property” of the government, as Charlie so eloquently called it. Lucy doesn’t like authority, and she doesn’t understand why she isn’t allowed to make her own choices or opinions. I feel her there, since her mind has pieces of human emotion, so it’s only “natural” (as can be for a robot) to have these reactions, but the problem lies in that she does not respect authority at all — unless it serves her own agenda.

She coerces Ethan into breaking Charlie’s rules of leaving the house, (he’s watching them while Julie is gone), after she catches him looking at photos of Molly. She uses this as an excuse to bond and build trust with Ethan, telling him that his glitchy visions shouldn’t go unnoticed.

When Charlie realizes that Ethan is gone, Lucy runs to his aid. They track Ethan—before he turns off his GPS—to a rough area of town, where they run into drug dealers who stole Ethan’s scooter. Lucy saves Charlie from being attacked by the drug dealers, presumably to continue to win Charlie’s trust. She later has a tough conversation with Charlie, begging him to not reprogram her and change her personality. Cleary her personality can’t be all that bad if she felt the need to save someone, right?

This is where things get interesting—and terrifying—for me. We see Lucy reading the book, “The Prince” by Niccolò Machiavelli privately in her room. If you don’t remember from your freshman philosophy class, Machiavelli’s book (in a nutshell) is a piece that is noted to be one of the first works of modern philosophy, discussing the themes of survival and praise. It particularly discusses the justification of crossing the line, so to speak, in order to achieve this praise and survival. Check out this quote from the book:

“He who neglects what is done for what ought to be done, sooner effects his ruin than his preservation.”

Basically, Lucy is doing what she can in order to survive, whether that means destroying Ethan, Charlie, or whoever else steps in her path. After Charlie treats Lucy like property—and even calling her that—my thought is that she looks at him as a means to an end and has no emotional connection. (This theme is similar to that of Ex Machina, the latest Alex Garland film (of 28 Days Later fame), where the limits of artificial intelligence are questioned—definitely a must-see.) Surprisingly, the Humanichs story line is proving to be more interesting as the season progresses.

And related to Lucy: After Ethan gets his scooter stolen, he ends up at his old house. A construction worker kicks him out, but not before he grabs Molly’s new address. After arriving at Molly’s new apartment while she isn’t there, he sees a photo of the two of them and glitches again, this time passing out. Charlie and Lucy eventually find him and take him home to rest. Eventually Molly and Ethan will reunite, but I wonder under what significant circumstance? Ethan’s role right now seems to be just a supporting piece in the larger theme with Lucy.

Meanwhile, Molly’s side effects from alien-pregnancy continue to worsen. Her nails are growing at an unnatural rate, and she keeps blacking out and having one-night stands with random men. Sidenote, the nail manicure machine they have in the show needs to get invented like, yesterday.

Molly continues to not seek help for this and work toward finding her son. Toby gives her access to the genetics lab, where they are studying DNA from the alien spores brought back from space. Oh yeah, he didn’t die last episode—he was wearing a bulletproof vest (of course). The genetic code breakers can’t seem to find an anomaly in the DNA and neither does a new scientist we are introduced to, Nate Malone.

NEXT: JD’s tough love

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