‘Extrapolations’ Episode 1: Recap And Ending, Explained: What Is Nick Bilton’s Masterplan?

Perhaps the most depressing series that mainly aims to serve as the eye-opener for the audience, Scott Z. Burns’ “Extrapolations” on Apple +, is about the condition of the earth when the false sense of safety that global warming is not real can no longer be maintained. The series begins in 2037 and jumps a few years with each episode, but the first episode shows just how horrible the conditions on the planet are. As forests keep burning unrestrained, ice caps keep melting, and freshwater is almost gone in multiple nations, some people can’t overcome their greed, with Nick Bilton being the all-consuming tycoon who wants to drain the earth of everything it has to offer. “Extrapolations” is meant to be viewed as a warning that this might be the world we’d be leaving for our next generation, where the air is too polluted to breathe, and the polar regions are now rocky islands. Here’s all that happens in the first episode of “Extrapolations.”

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Spoilers Ahead


The Climate Change Convocation

In 2037, a young girl named Carmen Jalili goes live with her hologram broadcast and says that back in 2015, the world had been warned that if the global temperature rose beyond 1.5 degrees Celsius, the consequences would be catastrophic. Several news clippings show the devastated conditions of the earth, with the glaciers almost gone, the earth riddled with cracks as water bodies dry up, a huge refugee crisis as people migrate to survive, and thousands of hectares of forests burning wildly. As Carmen’s hologram urges people to look around and see the nightmare they have to live through, a journalist reports that the Climate Change Meeting of the year 2037 is being hosted in Israel. More montages of the devastation that man’s actions have unleashed on the green planet are revealed, and Carmen continues that there’s a possibility that the earth’s temperature can go up by as much as 2 degrees. With a news report in Spanish reporting that there’s a constant increase in the need for batteries and pharmaceuticals, and scenes like oil spillage, hectares-long fields full of waste, and forest fires reminding us of a future that’s not too far away, the speaker poses a question. She asks what happens when the industrialists say that to maintain the economy, the temperature needs to be increased to a higher ceiling, like 2.1 or 2.2 degrees? An entertainment news reporter for a publication called Nightly Scoop informs the viewers about rumors that the CEO of Alpha Industries, Nick Bilton (Kit Harington), is investing in a new project for a casino in the Arctic Circle and that he’s partnered with a controversial developer. Carmen continues that inside the Climate Change Convention, the world leaders are discussing the kind of world the people shall have as the Algerian ambassador looks on.

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Tel Aviv, Israel, is covered in yellow smoke as the forests continue burning and the heat is getting unbearable. An American named Marshall has made up his mind that he wants to remain in Israel as a rabbi and help the people in need here, but his father isn’t able to agree with him. As the father has to leave the room to attend to a call from someone named Junior, Marshall’s mother complains that it’s barely breathable in the smoke, and the son has to explain that the forest fires in Eshtaol and Tzora are the reason for all the heat and smoke. ‘Junior’ wants to build on protected lands, and Marshall’s dad, his business lawyer, advises against it, but the developer cares very little about things that won’t continue making him richer. Junior’s actress girlfriend Hannah can’t recognize the outside, which was a computer-generated background, and the moment the filter is removed, the ruinous conditions of St. Petersburg are exposed as Hannah informs him that 750,000 hectares of forest in Ozera are burning and there are no firemen to put out the devastation. The news reports speak of protests and disturbances rising due to anger over wanting to build on protected lands, and the news reports are shut down so that Hannah can do yoga. In a restaurant, Junior meets a Russian builder who says the casino can be built within nine months and adds that the N79 ice sheet will be breaking apart very soon, and Junior shamelessly says that’s the next place they’re going to build, as protestors rally outside the restaurant. When the Russian warns that the sea level could increase by 3 meters by 2100, Junior says when the sea levels rise, they’ll just make a fortune by retrofitting the buildings, and when the world ends, they’ll be buried in gold coffins, so it doesn’t matter what happens.

Two women are running through a forest lit by fire to the evacuation point, with one of them, Rebecca, pregnant. Her husband Omar calls her and she refuses to answer because of the surroundings she’s in with his unborn child. At the convention, the ambassadors are discussing how every country from Italy to Poland is suffering from individual issues, and at the moment, the EU can’t take any more people, but the Palestinian ambassador says that people are having to move because of a lack of water. The Algerian ambassador, Omar, whose wife is escaping the forests, says that they can agree to the proposals on temperature and carbon if their basic needs for water are met. They require the patents that Alpha Hydro Solutions created to desalinate and purify the seawater so that the people can survive, but the French ambassador says Bilton will not hand out his patents. Omar argues that drought will bring instability, like several nations that’ve fallen victim to the same, while the Palestinian ambassador reminds France that peace between Israel and Palestine has been achieved, but if drought happens, that can immediately break down, as Omar leaves to attend a call. It’s his wife Rebecca who’s being evacuated to the nearest hospital as the chopper flows above the burning forests, and Omar decides to head to where his wife is. Just then, a protestor breaks in wearing Bilton’s mask and is arrested.

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Marshall’s dad, Ben Zucker, can’t wrap his head around the fact that his swimming pool needs to be drained because forests are burning. The rabbi tries arguing that a Lebanese man immolated himself recently because of climate change, but Ben says actions like these don’t work. He then tries taking his son back to Miami, but Marshall has made up his mind. No matter how much Ben repeats that his connections helped Marshall get a job as a youth rabbi in Miami, his son wants to stay and help, so the exasperated dad leaves. In an undisclosed location, the man himself, Nick Bilton, is submerged under a swimming pool as an automated voice announces that several more countries have requested patents for the desalinization procedures, but handing out the patents will result in a loss of upwards of 2.7 billion euros. He asks about their standing in the Arctic, and the voice responds that the Arctic Council will listen to his proposal about underwater mining as soon as the UN approves the decision. As Bilton listens to the news about the glaciers in Greenland melting, a haunting montage of tons upon tons of ice melting leaves a terrifying feeling in the audience’s heart.


The Arctic, Or What’s Left Of It

In a private jet, Junior, the Russian, and Hannah are heading to the Arctic when she says she’s watching her newest music video that’s supposedly loaded with sensual appeal, and when she asks Junior to put the VR on, it’s news about forest fires. The builder says at times, pizzly bears—an offspring of a grizzly and polar bear—can be spotted in the Arctic, along with a few walruses, as Hannah suggests Junior host safaris. It’s difficult to say if she’s being sarcastic or as obnoxious as her boyfriend. In the helicopter, Rebecca asks her friend to distract her after telling her that she interviewed with Menagerie 2100, and the friend isn’t very pleased, but she tells a story about how the raven, which was initially white, turned black. Omar is leaving to attend to his wife in the hospital when the Palestinian ambassador asks him to stay, so he allows her to have his vote. As he waits for his plane, Omar hears news about the ways Bilton is consuming every possible natural resource without an iota of concern about the anger he’s earning from the common people. While traveling through a lake on a boat with bits and pieces of ice floating on the surface, the guide says the whole area was covered in ice until a few years ago, and Junior sees this as a celebratory thing because they can now build in the area. Junior becomes furious when he learns that the Arctic Council has a dedicated area in the location where the building is to happen, and he can’t believe that China has a base there as well. As Junior complains to his sister about how there’s a dispute with the Chinese over the area and she needs to intervene to solve the mess, the most terrifying part about it all is that the permanently frozen Arctic Circle is now a rocky island with a lake.

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While Marshall meets others during his initiation as the rabbi and reads a holographic greetings card from a few children, his father Ben tries reminding him that he should go back to Miami with him until he’s taken away by a call from Junior. Marshall’s mother talks to her son before deciding she can’t tolerate the smoke here and starting to climb the stairs. Ben explains to Junior that the Chinese are well within their jurisdiction if they don’t encroach upon the island, but the obnoxious Junior doesn’t care about what anyone else might have to say. Just then, a commotion began, and upon rushing to the stairs, Ben found his wife Isabel on the floor with a pool of blood near her head and Marshall pleading with others to find help. Ben is dumbfounded by the situation and can barely move. While having his breakfast, Bilton’s chief counsel arrives and asks him if he really plans on waiving the patents for desalinization, so the billionaire shows them the share prices of the base metals—substances needed for batteries. Bilton says that the world is an animal in desperate situations, but its actions can be predicted, so with the forest fires and the melting glaciers, they have opportunities on both sides, and negotiating with a person whose house is on fire is very easy.

Marshall learns from the doctor that his mother has a subdural hematoma, and his mother can’t speak or move, and when he tries telling his hunched-over father of the same, Ben says he’s on the phone. This makes the son scream in rage and throw away his father’s spectacle phone, and Ben says the people he’s speaking to have been their clients for 25 years, to which Marshall says the woman who can’t move has been married to him for four decades, before huffing off. Rebecca’s friend looks at a video of Menagerie2100 and learns that the organization plans to play God and decide which animals they want to breed based on their purpose. The friend asks Rebecca why she wants to be a part of an organization that plays God, so Becca says there are organisms that are extremely necessary. The friend says she hopes that the organization remembers to bring back some humans too. Omar arrives, and Becca tells him that their son’s heart is weak and she should’ve protected him instead of trying to save birds, while Omar says he left the convention to get here. She asks if they’re bad people, and Omar replies that they can ask their son the same when he grows up.

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Earth’s Revenge 

In Istanbul, Ben tells Marshall that Isabel came to the smoke-filled city to support him, which is why she fell sick. The son can’t believe his father would say that and leaves. Ben calls out for him, saying he needs his son, but by then, Marshall is gone. Upon learning that the shore is full of minerals needed to make batteries, Junior realizes the Chinese are here for mining. Omar speaks to the Palestinian ambassador, and she says she might’ve sacrificed the future to save the now-made mistake—she had unfortunately agreed to increase the temperature ceiling in exchange for patents to desalinize water. When Bilton’s convoy arrives to speak in the convocation to discuss climate change, a man wearing his mask stands before his car, douses himself in gasoline, and blames Bilton for his death before setting himself on fire. In the Arctic Circle, Junior is looking for valuable rocks when he finds a baby walrus, and his first thought is that if he had his gun, he’d immediately kill the kid. But it seemed nature had enough of a pest like him destroying her planet, so Junior heard the thumping noise of a massive walrus that waded towards him and ripped him to pieces with its massive tusks before retiring it to the water with its child. Junior’s blood reddened the water he wanted to build in as Bilton’s text arrived, saying that Alpha wouldn’t be a part of building a casino in the Arctic anymore.

Bilton arrives at the convocation to deliver his speech amidst cheers and mostly boos and says that Alpha shall provide patents for desalinizing the seawater, and they’ll also be a part of the Tel Aviv accord to help keep the global temperature rise as close to 2 degrees as possible, with the ceiling being 2.3 degrees. People erupt in boos, and Bilton smiles slyly and thanks his audience. The whole world continues going to waste; forests keep burning; floods ravage cities; and people are forced to leave their homes in a mass exodus as Carmen gets off her podium after completing her speech.

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‘Extrapolations’ Episode 1: Ending Explained – What Is Nick Bilton’s Masterplan?

In this severely depressing episode that shows the fall of humanity owing to our own greed, everything is falling apart, from the glaciers to the forests. As the whole planet is on its last legs, one man, Nick Bilton, keeps making billions off the resources of the planet. With the mandatory need to keep the planet’s temperature increase below 1.5 degrees, Bilton’s Alpha Industries keeps pushing the limits of this planet and, on top of that, plans to build a casino in the heart of the Arctic Circle. Perhaps the most satisfying part of “Extrapolations” Episode 1 is how the obnoxious and awful Junior gets impaled by a massive walrus after planning to extract the last bit of resources earth has to offer. Instead of gold coffins, however, his body lies on the same rocks he was scouring the shore for.

Bilton’s organization had patents for desalinizing and purifying seawater, which several countries requested as the cost of drinking water kept rising. So Bilton agreed to hand out the patents in exchange for letting his organization raise the temperature ceiling to 2 degrees, with the maximum being 2.3 degrees. This would mean his operations could continue unbridled as the upper limit just went higher, and he found a little more room to continue wasting the earth. The reason Bilton agrees to hand out the patents is that he realizes the metals needed for making batteries are in the highest demand, so he made deals with the countries that were in need of water and the ones that had burning forests so that his organization could mind their metals while they had temporary relief through food and water.

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Indrayudh Talukdar
Indrayudh Talukdar
Indrayudh has a master's degree in English literature from Calcutta University and a passion for all things in cinema. He loves writing about the finer aspects of cinema, although he is also an equally big fan of webseries and anime. In his free time, Indrayudh loves playing video games and reading classic novels.

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