Last week’s episode of “Extrapolations” took place on New Year’s Eve of 2068 and was centered around a party being thrown by Sylvie and August. They had invited August’s favorite student, Nic, whose plus-one was his current girlfriend, Elodie. While they ate and drank as the world around them crumbled, Anna served them the food and the drinks and tended to all their needs. Everything was going relatively well until the topic of beaming one’s consciousness into a cloud-based service called LifePause, waiting out the apocalypse over there, and then regenerating in a fresh body came up. Why? Well, Sylvie and Nic were against the idea. Elodie was probably on the fence. But August was ready to leave the following day. This led to Sylvie cheating on August with Nic via contactless lovemaking and a full-on fistfight between August and Nic. Elodie obviously broke up with Nic. And the night concluded with August deciding to stay and watch the fireworks. However, since he didn’t cancel his reservation, Anna impersonated him and took his position in LifePause. This week’s episode takes place nearly one year after the events of that day and focuses on Nicholas Bilton and his crimes against humanity.
Major Spoilers Ahead
Martha Russell Works Against Nicholas Bilton And Helps Lucy Adobo
The finale of “Extrapolations” opens with Decima, Bilton’s foster daughter, listening to a musician who sings anti-capitalism songs, named Tyrone Downs. This is interrupted by Bilton, as he doesn’t like Downs, and the reason for that is revealed later on. By the way, the last time that we saw Bilton was in 2037. Back then, he was probably in his 30s. This episode takes place in 2070. So, Bilton is in his 70s, yet he looks almost the same. I say almost because his face looks like what an A.I. recreation of Kit Harington would look like because, even though it’s not explicitly explained, Bilton has had plastic surgery. You can clearly see the wrinkles around his neck and the stiffness in his movement. I don’t know about you, but the whites in Bilton’s hair seem to be evoking “The Bride of Frankenstein.”
Anyway, coming back to the plot, Bilton gets accused of ecocide, whose definition boils down to the act of committing genocide by purposefully degrading the environment. As he goes to the International Criminal Court (ICC) to fight his case, he appoints Martha Russell (this seems like a “Batman v. Superman” joke because Diane Lane has played Martha Kent) as the CEO of Alpha. We learn that Lucy Adobo is the prosecutor who is trying to make Bilton pay for his crimes. We see that she has a relationship with Tyrone Downs, who apparently protested against Alpha’s mining practices for months. When the narrative shifts from London to The Hague for the trial, we notice this weird mesh-like cover over certain buildings and areas. Again, it’s not explained clearly. But we can assume that they’re literal bubbles that have been created artificially so that humanity can survive. Everything beyond those bubbles probably requires some extreme form of protective measures to beat the heat. It’s clear that Bilton is responsible for this. However, while pleading in front of the International Criminal Court Tribunal, he says that he isn’t guilty. Hence, the proceedings begin in front of three virtual judges who’ve been programmed with legal practices from all over the globe.
The first witness to testify against Bilton is Rebecca Shearer. She first appeared in episodes 1 and 2 of the show, working to save animals from forest fires and then working for Menagerie 2100 to extract the DNA of animals for cloning. Shearer is of the opinion that Bilton has purposefully caused the decline of the environment so that all kinds of fauna can reach the brink of extinction. According to him, the decrease in the quantity of fauna is directly proportional to their monetary worth. Hence, the push to kill them while cloning them artificially and making them available to the public for a certain amount of money. Bilton’s lawyer, Ariel Turner, argues that Bilton couldn’t have predicted the outcome of his work in Menagerie 2100, and that’s why he can’t be accused of causing ecocide. Turner accuses Shearer of being a disgruntled employee after living off of Alpha products and says that she’s mentally unstable so that her testimony can be canceled. Well, Shearer doesn’t live to learn the result of her words because she dies by suicide.
Martha deals with the investors of Alpha and the dropping share prices by announcing a new product that can decrease the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. We see a brief flashback of the time when Bilton first came up with the technology, Newcomen, to bring down the carbon dioxide levels before returning to Day 2 of the trial, where Jonathan Chopin testifies against Bilton. Chopin first appeared in the fourth episode of the show, where he worked with the U.S. President to stop his ex-wife, Gita, and his son, Rowan, from altering the atmosphere with calcium carbonate. Back then, we learned that he was fired by Bilton, but we didn’t know the reason why. Now we know that Chopin ran point on Newcomen, and when he couldn’t overlook the issues in the program, he was thrown out. Chopin even alleges that Bilton saw the Newcomen as a means to not rid the world of its carbon problem but keep it on the edge so that they can make millions while emitting carbon, decreasing it, and then bringing it up all over again. To counter that, Turner brings up Rowan and his imprisonment for using Alpha drones to commit an act of terrorism. Turner accuses Chopin of giving this testimony in exchange for Rowan’s early release. Since it casts doubt on Chopin’s legitimacy, he is dismissed along with his testimony.
Decima, who has been watching the live trial and getting increasingly agitated about the accusations being leveled against her father, decides to testify via a recorded message in an attempt to give Bilton a clean chit. When it’s delivered to Bilton by Turner, he destroys it immediately because he evidently doesn’t want anyone to know about his secret daughter, who came from a refugee center in Sydney. We get yet another flashback, courtesy of Martha, where the duo talked about how people are hypocritical because they think that comfort doesn’t come at a cost. That’s interrupted by the reality of discrepancies in Shearer’s medical applications due to Alpha. In an attempt to dent Bilton’s reputation and probably keep Alpha to herself, Martha anonymously contacts Lucy and lets her know about what has actually happened with Shearer. Lucy wants her to testify, but Martha refuses to do so. She does leave Lucy with the information that Newcomen is functional because Bilton hasn’t made it. He has stolen or borrowed the program that runs it.
The International Criminal Court Finds Nicholas Bilton Not Guilty Of Committing Ecocide
On the third day of Bilton’s trial, Matafele Kabua’s name came into the spotlight. According to the testimony of an ex-employee of a bank that was associated with Alpha, Bilton used the loans that were given out to women as a means to fund his inventions. Kabua apparently came up with the carbon removal device and approached the bank for a loan to fund it, get it working, and save the world. This revelation undoubtedly agitates Bilton. But he defends himself by saying that Kabua’s design didn’t work and, hence, was discarded or improved upon. While Turner manages to calm him down, the revelation that Decima is Kabua’s actual daughter (because Kabua’s device was named Decima) sends Decima off the edge. Despite Alpha’s insistence that Bilton is one of the greatest people to grace Planet Earth, Decima realizes that she isn’t an orphan with no origin. She is the daughter of a scientist who was probably better than Bilton. Unfortunately, she just wasn’t as ruthless and soulless as Bilton. It’s said that she died due to a virus. However, I have a faint feeling that Bilton killed Kabua and kept her daughter as a trophy.
Since the truth about the existence of Newcomen is out in the open, Martha formally makes it public. During yet another flashback, Martha is reminded of the time Bilton showed her that the permissible carbon levels aren’t decided by scientists. They are decided by money-hungry businessmen who want to keep the Earth sick so that they can stay rich. This essentially proves that what Chopin was talking about was right. Bilton and his cronies are merely creating an illusion of helping the world with Newcomen. In reality, they are keeping everyone in purgatory. On the fourth day of Bilton’s trial, knowing full well that she’s not going to win, Lucy implores those who are watching to hold the people who are responsible for the degradation of the environment responsible because they should have acted sooner. They clearly have the means and the technology. Instead, they chose to make everyone desperate and let billions of people die before doing anything substantial.
Bilton counters all that by basically saying that he isn’t at fault and that he has only played the cards that were dealt to him. He says that the previous generations’ and the current generation’s appetites had to be satiated. He saw that as an opportunity to do business, and he took it. And he reiterates that he isn’t guilty of any crime. Based on all that, the International Crime Court Tribunal comes to the conclusion that Bilton isn’t guilty. For your information, Bilton did talk about hacking the program that the ICC runs on. Turner warned him not to do anything like that. Therefore, it’s tough to say if the ICC’s decision is legitimate or if it’s been tampered with by Bilton’s technicians.
‘Extrapolations’ Ending Explained: Is Nicholas Bilton’s Punishment Harsh Enough?
When Decima was a kid, a shell-shocked Martha had given her a get-out-of-Bilton’s-jail-free card. I’m guessing that Martha felt for Decima because she was living her childhood with the A.I. and not actual, living, breathing human beings. And Decima has remembered that little act of humanity after all these years. Well, maybe it was lying dormant underneath the copious amounts of brainwashing by the A.I. and has been triggered by the recent revelations about Bilton. Talking about the arrogant man of the hour, Bilton visits Lucy at her office to rub salt into her wounds. Salt is an understatement here. Maybe ghost pepper is much more appropriate because Bilton accuses Martha of killing Lucy’s deceased lover, Tyrone Downs, because he was shutting down Alpha’s mines with his protests. This means that the version of Tyrone Downs that is sitting in Lucy’s house isn’t real but an artificial recreation of the person that’s running on some kind of loop. Lucy asks the virtual Tyrone whether she should go after Martha for allegedly killing him or if she should keep going after Bilton and ensure that he doesn’t get to meddle with everyone’s futures again. Tyrone says what any rational person would say by underscoring the fact that things that have been left in the past won’t come back, no matter how hard you fight for them. However, the future is yet to be written, and that’s a much more fruitful prospect to fight for. So, Lucy turns off the program and meets Martha.
Lucy lets Martha know that Bilton totally wants her to vacate the CEO’s chair and take the fall for everything. Or worse, he wants her dead by falsely accusing her of killing Tyrone, which means that Martha has nothing to lose at this point, and she’s free to help Lucy. Thankfully, that’s exactly what Martha does by bringing Decima out into the open. Lucy takes care of the rest by broadcasting Martha’s testimony as well as the bidding ceremony conducted by Bilton. In addition to all that, Bilton loses control of the Alpha program in his house because it has been reprogrammed to not follow his orders, as per Decima. This causes the ICC to reopen the case and send Bilton to jail.
At the end of “Extrapolations” Season 1, we jump forward by one year, i.e., into 2071, and things already seem to be looking better because Decima and Lucy can be seen walking along the beach without the need for portable oxygen masks. Bilton has been imprisoned in a cell that’ll orbit the Earth until the end of the criminal’s sentence. Lucy gives a heartwarming speech about how humans are the problem, and if we don’t change, then there’s always going to be an iteration of Bilton to rule over us. As Bilton looks on from his interstellar jail, I can’t help but wonder if the punishment fits the crime.
The man murdered billions of people, and he gets to watch Earth from the best seat in the galaxy? That doesn’t sound like justice. That seems like a silent vacation (because no one can hear you grumble in space). So that brings up the question: Can someone who is guilty of committing genocide ever be truly punished? Bilton doesn’t have anything synonymous with the word “human” in his body. So, solitude or physical pain will probably do nothing to him. It’s possible that the few seconds of anxiety that he faced upon seeing Decima testify against him were his true punishment. The moral of the story is that Earth is the only planet we have, and we should elect leaders whose politics and policies are pro-environment. If they aren’t, they should be thrown out. And, for the love of everything we consider sacred, we shouldn’t give away the keys to the planet to businessmen because the only thing they care about is money.