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From left to right: Abram, Feena and Ezra
Extinct is a post-apocalyptic science-fiction television series written by Orson Scott Card and Aaron Johnston, who previously collaborated on Formic Wars, the prequel trilogy to Ender's Game. It is BYUtv's second scripted series (after Granite Flats). It was picked up for 10 episodes, eight of which were released on 1 October 2017. The last two episodes were released on 19 November 2017. The series is available for free on BYUtv's web site. On 5 January 2018, BYUtv announced that they would not renew the series.
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In the near future, an alien race called the Karik invade Earth and annihilate the human race. Four hundred years later, humans are recreated by creatures called the Sparks to aid in reviving the species. However, the Reborns are opposed by the Skin Riders, parasitic creatures that infect and control Reborn hosts.


  • Abandoned Hospital: In "Reunion," Lynn visits one in a flashback to find medicine for Ezra. Although Extinct isn't a horror show, Lynn definitely does not have a good time there.
  • Adam and Eve Plot: Discussed. The characters note that they need sufficient genetic diversity in order to be able to viably restore humanity. The need to get more humans revived for this purpose drives the characters to cooperate (sometimes unwillingly) with the orders they get from the Originators through the Obelisk.
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  • After the End: Humanity was wiped out by the Karik invasion 400 years ago.
  • Alien Invasion: The series shows that a race named the Karik had invaded Earth prior to the "current day". The episode "Death Did Us Part" reveals that the Karik are actually a peaceful race, but they were infected by the Skin Riders, the true architects of the invasion.
  • The Atoner
    • At the end of the series, both Silas and Duncan are freed from the influence of the Skin Rider parasite and attempt to atone for their actions while infected.
    • To a lesser extent, Abram for his role in the creation of the virus.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Just when Ezra is about to be stabbed by Jax in the ancestor cavern, Duncan knocks him over to buy Ezra time to deploy the weapon.
  • Bio-Augmentation: Some Reborn choose to modify their DNA to defend them from the Skin Rider parasite. It doesn't go well.
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  • Bioluminescence Is Cool: The Skin Rider parasite manifests as a glowing lump on the back of a Reborn's neck.
  • Brain Uploading: The drones can scan a human brain and record its state. That state can then be used to run a holographic simulation of that person, or be implanted in a new body.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The box with the Knowledge glyph on the lid in Ezra's and Silas's mom's cabin. It contains the detonator to the weapon to destroy the Ancestor. Silas created the cabin inside the Ancestor so that Ezra could bring it there.
  • Clap Your Hands If You Believe: It is implied that Abram's willingness to cooperate is why he is able to use the Obelisk while the others can't.
    • When Abram learns of the origin of the virus in "Death Did Us Part", his rage causes him to lose his ability to use the Obelisk.
  • Cloning Blues: Some of the characters don't react well to discovering that they are clones of their original selves... especially when they find out that this isn't the first time they've been cloned.
  • Comm Links: The Obelisk is a rather obtuse one to the Originators, who cause glyphs to light up on its surface to send messages to the Reborns. The glyphs themselves have meaning, but when Abram looks at the glyphs, he is able to sense meaning without actually needing to parse syntax. Initially, the Reborns are unable to send a message back. Abram is eventually able to do so by drawing glyphs on the Obelisk with his finger, although it's implied that the Obelisk can sense thoughts from him, too.
  • Crisis of Faith: Lynn, in response to Kylie's death in her first life.
  • Cut Short: The show was cancelled after one season.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Feena went to prison for fraud. She doesn't want to talk about it.
  • Data Pad: Seen a couple of times in flashbacks. They seem pretty similar to today's tablets, except that they have transparent screens.
  • Descriptively-Named Species: The Skin Riders. Infected individuals sometimes call the parasite their "companion," which can cause some confusion about who exactly is talking.
  • Desolation Shot: Several in the first couple of episodes.
  • The Dinosaurs Had It Coming: Jax's Skin Rider believes humans deserve to be subjugated.
  • Endangered Species: Humans. They actually were extinct until the Sparks started resurrecting them. It's not clear exactly how many there are, although there definitely aren't a lot, and between the threats of death and being turned by the Skin Riders, they're certainly in danger of becoming extinct again.
  • Fate Worse than Death: Some consider being turned into Skin Rider to be this.
  • Genocide Dilemma: Destroying the Ancestor would not only eliminate the living Skin Riders on the planet, but also the consciousnesses of every Skin Rider that has been added to it.
  • Gone Horribly Wrong: The anti-Skin Rider virus.
  • High-Tech Hexagons: The displays on the spacecraft in orbit shown in "The Ancestor."
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: The Reborn engineer a virus that will alter their DNA to defend themselves against the Skin Rider parasite. Instead, it kills the Reborn.
  • Hologram: The drones are able to create holograms of people stored in their memory.
  • Just Before the End: The flashbacks to the characters' previous lives.
  • Left Hanging: The cancellation of the series has left several rather important questions unanswered:
    • Who are the Originators, and what do they really want?
    • The Skin Rider threat was dealt with, but it's clear there are more Skin Riders elsewhere, as the Karik are infected. Are there more Skin Rider colonies on Earth? Would the Skin Riders have sent reinforcements? What do the Skin Riders really want?
    • Where are the Sparks from? Are they an artificially intelligent creation of the Originators, or are they a species that has chosen to cooperate with them? If the latter, why are they helping the Originators and the humans? Why are they willing to heal Skin Riders?
    • Why are Duncan and Eleanor on the spaceship in orbit?
    • Who is the person who rises from the pool in front of Jax at the end of the finale? Why does Jax look so shocked?
  • Meaningful Name: Quite a few characters have names which are biblical in origin or otherwise meaningful:
    • Abram: "Exalted father." A biblical prophet who was later called Abraham, the father of the Israelite people.
    • Eleanor: "Bright, shining one."
    • Ezra: "Help." Priest and scribe who rescued a portion of the Israelite exiles from Babylonian captivity.
    • Feena: Short for Seraphina, "firey one." This is a reference to seraphim, angelic beings mentioned in the book of Isaiah.
    • Kylie and Nicholas: Kylie is derivative of Kyle, meaning "victorious;" while Nicholas means "people's victory." This hints at the relationship between these two characters.
    • Raven: An animal name is appropriate for a Wild Child.
    • Silas: Silvanus, "of the forest." A New Testament missionary companion to Paul and Timothy. Silas is often depicted in art carrying broken chains, referencing his miraculous liberation from prison, as recorded in Acts 16. Similarly, near the end of the series, Silas is liberated from the influence of the Skin Rider parasite.
  • Memory Jar: The Ancestor is a crystalline structure where the collective consciousness of deceased Skin Riders lives on.
    • On the other side, the drones contain brain states of humans. When the Sparks create a human body, the drones can then restore the brain's state from the moment it was scanned.
  • Mercy Kill: Discussed in "Broken." Faced with the prospect that the Skin Riders may have turned Lynn, Ezra states that he would have preferred that Lynn had never been reborn than become one of them. Yellow Drone replies that it hopes Ezra remembers that sentiment, because if she does get turned, "the only mercy you can show her is to take her life."
    • Duncan begs Feena to do this to him if his Skin Rider reasserts itself.
    • When Nicolas is shot by a Skin Rider arrow, he tells Lynn that she must kill him if the tip was infected with the parasite. Lynn refuses. Over Ezra's objections, Lynn and Kylie bring Nicolas with them on their journey to the settlement. Nicolas eventually turns and is killed by Kylie.
  • Mind over Matter: In "Wounds," Jax tells Duncan to "silence his pain" when he's shot in the leg, an ability apparently granted by the parasite.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Abram's reaction to learning that he (or rather, a past self) was one of the principal proponents of the disastrous anti-Skin Rider virus.
  • Nuclear Option: The weapon to destroy the Ancestor is actually two separate devices: one is a specialized weapon that destroys it from within, the other is a more conventional explosive which will kill the person who deploys it. The latter is explicitly referred to as "the nuclear option."
  • Older Than They Look: The drones can scan a person's brain and store its state in memory. After the Sparks create a new body, the drones can restore the brain's state to revive the person. The Sparks create bodies at the prime of life, which makes sense since they're being revived for the purpose of rebuilding the human race and are obliged to live in less-than-ideal circumstances. However, this means that the age of the body may not correspond to the age of the mind inside it. Abram was a 67-year-old grandfather at the time of his brain scan, and is somewhat taken aback to discover his newfound youth.
  • Psychotic Smirk: Duncan gives the barest hint of a smirk in "Broken." The smirk so subtle that you can't be sure of what it means. At this point, the viewer is unsure of whether he's telling the truth about resisting the parasite. Turns out Duncan's Skin Rider had given him leeway on purpose to trick him into thinking that he was successfully resisting, when actually it was a ploy to get inside the settlement and lower the shield.
  • Puppeteer Parasite: Skin Riders are parasites that can infect the Reborns. They are referred to as "companions" by infected Reborns. A Skin Rider manifests as a glowing lump on the back of an infected Reborn's neck. It also appears that the Skin Rider can become tired or sick, causing its influence over the human host to weaken, or the Skin Rider can voluntarily "back off" and let the human think they're back in control.
    • In the pilot, Abram is nearly turned with an injection from Jax. When Ezra realizes what's going on, he uses the Sparks to save him.
    • Silas prefers to try to convince his prisoners to be turned willingly. He has yet to succeed, and in the case of Lynn he gets tired of waiting and performs the infection himself. However, she had already learned from Jax about being healed by the Sparks, and uses them to eliminate the parasite before it can take hold.
    • The Skin Riders have different opinions on how much leeway they should give their humans. Some seem to allow them to make some decisions on their own. Jax is kept on an extremely tight leash by his Skin Rider. Duncan's lets him believe that he's been temporarily freed, when in reality it's intentionally giving him free rein in order to get inside the settlement.
  • Reckless Bow Usage: In "Wounds," Feena has her finger over the drawn arrow she's aiming at Duncan. If she were to release, she'd grievously injure her own hand.
  • Resurrective Immortality: Of a sort. A human can be recreated after death: the Sparks create the body, the drones provide a brain scan. However, this requires getting the Sparks to water, and getting a drone with the person's brain scan. If something happens to the brain scan, the person cannot be revived and is dead permanently. Theoretically, there's nothing preventing them from making multiple copies of the same person, but from a practical standpoint, multiple clones would be a waste since they don't provide the genetic diversity required to restore the human race. However, in the finale, we discover that there is indeed another Duncan aboard the ship in orbit.
  • Rogue Drone:
    • Duncan appears to be this initially. Later it turns out that his parasite was giving him free rein in order to get into the settlement. Once he was in, the parasite reasserted itself and disabled the Obelisk and protective shield. Feena later destroys his parasite's crystal, which frees him from its influence but also sentences him to death. He uses his final moments to keep Jax busy so that Ezra can destroy the Ancestor.
    • Silas is also freed from his parasite and uses what little of his life that remains to help the Reborn destroy the Ancestor.
  • Say Your Prayers: Lynn suggests this as she, Ezra and Kylie flee the Karik invasion. Ezra initially resists.
  • Seven Heavenly Virtues: Played with. The Obelisk shows Abram nine symbols corresponding to virtues: knowledge, duty, labor, creation, self-mastery, peace, community, mercy, and justice. (It omits one shown in the web site: humility.) The web site displays these glyphs on the character bio pages, apparently describing the virtues most exemplified by that character:
    • Ezra: knowledge and duty
    • Abram: peace and knowledge
    • Feena: creation
    • Jax: justice
    • Duncan: humility and labor
    • Lynn: community
    • Silas: community
  • Screw the Rules, It's the Apocalypse!: Played with. In the pilot, Ezra tries to buy a map at a convenience store, but the card reader is broken and he has no cash. After the clerk is distracted by the Karik attack, we see Ezra getting back into his vehicle with the map. A few moments later, we see that he left an "IOU" at the convenience store.
  • Slow Transformation: Abram, Lynn, and Nicolas all become infected at various points and manifest the slow spread of parasitic tendrils under the skin. Abram and Lynn are able to use the Sparks to eliminate the parasite before it takes hold. Nicolas isn't so lucky.
  • Sufficiently Advanced Bamboo Technology: The Obelisk and the anti-Ancestor weapon.
  • Symbol Drawing Interface: The Obelisk, although there appears to be some form of telepathy involved, too.
  • Symbolic Baptism: Humans are reborn in a pond. From a practical standpoint, this allows the Sparks to float around the body as it is being formed, but the symbolism is undeniable. In "Death Did Us Part," the question is raised whether the new humans are really the same as the originals, strengthening the symbolism further.
  • Synthetic Plague: The Reborn, with the help of the Sparks and drones, synthesize a virus intended to inoculate them against the Skin Rider parasite. Unfortunately, it ends up killing the Reborn instead, obliging the drones to create the Reborn again and help them devise a vaccine for their own virus.
  • Telepathy: Skin Riders can transmit information to one another telepathically.
  • Touched by Vorlons: Those infected by the Skin Rider parasite gain telepathy and the ability to mentally dismiss pain, at the cost of their will being supplanted.
  • Tracking Device: Feena has Yellow implant Duncan with one in order to try to find the Ancestor.
  • The Virus: The Skin Rider parasite, although transmission is more deliberate than is typical for the trope.
  • Wham Shot
    • Near the end of the pilot, Jax telepathically communicates his knowledge of the three Reborns to another Skin Rider... who is revealed to be Ezra's brother, Silas.
    • "The Ancestor" has several: First we see a new, gray drone watching the Reborns. It then flies away and into orbit to a waiting starship.
    • Later, just when it looks like the Reborns have managed to get the upper hand at ambush at the Ancestor entrance pool, Duncan pops up out of the water and shoots Lynn and Kylie. Fortunately, Kylie was smart enough to bring Sparks.
    • At the end, we see the gray drone again. On board the starship, Eleanor and Duncan appear. Finally, as Jax drags himself to the edge of the pool, the Sparks create another human, who slowly rises out of the water. Jax looks shocked. Smash to Black.
  • Why Don't You Just Shoot Him?: Silas passes up more than one opportunity to infect Ezra. Jax calls him on it.
  • Wild Child: Raven
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